History of the Catholic Church - J. MacCaffrey

Foundation of the Church

State of the World at the Coming of Christ
In the Roman Empire

When Christ came on earth to redeem mankind the Roman Empire had reached the extreme limits of its power. Before the onward march of its well trained legions, nations like Greece and Macedonia, Egypt and Carthage, that once reigned supreme, were forced to yield submission and were reduced to the position of provinces. Spain, too, as also Gaul and Britain had been overcome, so that in the days of Augustus Ireland alone of the countries of Western Europe maintained its native independence. From the Rhine and Danube on the north to the deserts of Africa on the south, and from the Euphrates to the Atlantic, the authority of Rome was fully recognised and the decrees of the imperial authorities were received almost without a murmur.

Nor was the dependence of all these different peoples and races upon Rome merely nominal. The various parts of the empire maintained the closest relations with the capital. Garrisons were established along the frontiers and fleets stood in readiness on the rivers and inland lakes to guard the territories of Rome against invasion; roads were built to ensure easy communication; the governors of the provinces were obliged to, send a report on their districts at regular intervals to, the emperor and his advisers, and thus the most distant parts of the empire were closely connected with its centre.

Now, the existence of such an empire was of the greatest importance for the spread of the Christiana doctrine and the development of the Church. By means, of the empire the barriers that had hitherto separated the various nations and races were in part at least broken down; racial and religious prejudices were: softened; the means of transit from one place to another had been rendered easy; the language difficulty was to a great extent overcome, and the way was, prepared for the kingdom of God that was not to be confined to one race or one empire but was to include; all the nations and peoples of the world.

Religion, however, and material prosperity do not as a rule go hand in hand. The Romans of the days of Augustus were much inferior to their forefathers who had laid the foundations of the empire. They boasted, indeed, of their conquests and their legions, but by their lives of self-indulgence and wickedness they were preparing the way for the overthrow of their dominion. For this degeneration the presence of the slaves in Rome was largely responsible. The slaves were the property of their masters who could use them as they would use their cattle or their horses. Such a power tended to foster cruelty and immorality and to weaken the physical and moral character of the masters who possessed it. From the highest to the lowest, Roman society of that time was rotten to the core, and on all sides the prevalence of vice and sin was only too apparent. Nor was their religion likely to prove any barrier to the indulgence of their passions. Polytheism was still the official religion, but most of the educated and higher classes had long lost their respect for the gods. External rites and ceremonies were carefully observed, but these had no influence on the everyday lives of the people. The lower classes were attached undoubtedly to their ancient worship, but even with them their belief in the gods did not tend to set before them higher ideals. The presence of Bacchus and Venus and Jupiter and Olympus amongst the gods, the stories that were told about them and the manner of paying honour to them were not likely to improve the moral tone of those who believed in them.

Yet such a state of degradation is not natural to man. Men may be weak, and men may sin, but there is something in human nature that rebels and chafes against a perpetual round of vice and that hopes for higher things. Besides, the belief in a Redeemer to come that was once universal had not been entirely forgotten, and we find that in the days when vice and irreligion seemed triumphant, the hope and expectation that from the East a Saviour would arise who would redeem mankind and the world was not unknown even in Rome.

Among the Jews

The existence of the Jewish nation and of the Jewish religion helped also to prepare the way for the spread of the Christian gospel. This hardy race of people occupying a barren country, and having only one priesthood and one doctrine, was specially selected by God to keep alive the true religion and to serve as a model for the rest of the world until the Redeemer of mankind should come. For this purpose they had been brought into contact with most of the great empires of antiquity, with Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria and Macedonia, Greece and Rome, but whether scattered in exile in Alexandria or living in bondage at home they still remained loyal to the one true God who had selected them and who watched over them. Palestine had at this time become a province of the Roman Empire, and Herod the Idumaean held the sceptre of Judah.

The two great parties amongst the Jews of this time were the Pharisees and the Sadducees, distinguished from one another both in politics and religion. The former of these, hostile to all foreign influence in the affairs of Palestine, advocated a strict observance of the law and of the traditions that had been handed down, but as we know from the terrible denunciations levelled against them by Christ they themselves did not practise what they preached; while, in opposition to them, the Sadducees were the freethinkers and liberals of their day, anxious to reconcile Judaism with Greek philosophy, and ending by rejecting not merely the traditions but also most of the Scriptures and doctrines held sacred by their forefathers.

Some of the Jews were scattered throughout the provinces of the Roman Empire, though it was in Egypt, more especially in Alexandria, that they had secured their strongest foothold; but wherever they happened to be their hearts beat in unison with those of their countrymen at home, and their thoughts were fixed upon the temple that crowned the heights of Mount Moriah. In their zeal for their own religion they were anxious to secure converts amongst their Gentile neighbours, and for this purpose they carried on a regular campaign in various cities of the empire. In this way they helped to prepare the ground for the teaching of Christ and to win the people from their false gods, while the contact of the Jews with the Gentiles tended to spread the expectation of the Saviour which was universal throughout Judea and Samaria at this period. The Jews looked for a Redeemer who would be not merely a religious reformer but who would also rescue their country from the yoke of Rome, and it was because this hope was disappointed that so many of them refused to accept Christ.

The Work of Christ and His Apostles

Christ came on earth not merely to redeem mankind or to preach the doctrine that had been confided to Him by the Father, but also to found a society which should include all those who would accept His teaching. For this purpose He selected the apostles and disciples, to whom He handed over the exclusive right of preaching and preserving pure and entire what He Himself had taught them, so that the faithful in after ages were not to be left free to pick and choose for themselves, but were to be obliged to accept the instructions and the advice of those who had been appointed by Christ.

Hence, He chose from his followers a select body whom He instructed specially, and to whom He revealed the secrets not communicated to the multitude. To these men He entrusted the sacred duty of taking His place and spreading His doctrine when He Himself should have returned to the Father, and for this purpose, too, He invested them with the authority that He Himself had received. "As the Father has sent Me so also I send you," He said, "and whoever receives you receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me" (Matt. 10, 40). In regard to the forgiveness of sins He said, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are' forgiven, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained "(John xx. 22:23), and to these men also He gave the power of changing bread and wine into His own most sacred Body and Blood, as He Himself had done at the Last Supper. "Do this," He said, "for a commemoration of Me" (Luke 22, 19). When the time for His ascension drew nigh He summoned His Apostles to meet Him on a mountain of Galilee and He gave them His last solemn injunction; "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth, going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world "(Matt. 28, 18-20). That He appointed St. Peter supreme head of His society, is clearly evident from the words in which He declared him to be the shepherd whose duty it was to feed the entire flock (John xxi. 15-18), the man whose faith having been strengthened was to strengthen the faith of others (Luke, xxii., 31-32), and the rock upon which His Church should be built, and to whom He gave supreme power by conferring on him the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xvi. 18, 19).

After the Ascension the Apostles returned from the Mount of Olives sad at, heart and full of gloomy forebodings. They were oppressed with anxiety when they realized their own weakness and the magnitude of the work that had been given them to do. They retired to a room in Jerusalem to take counsel, and to await the coming of the Holy Spirit whom Christ had promised to comfort and strengthen them. On the great Feast of Pentecost as they were assembled together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, "suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting, and there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire and it sat upon every one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak" (Acts ii. 2-4). Immediately the Apostles, who had been hitherto weak men, distrustful of themselves, became bold and determined to preach Christ even at the risk of their own lives. The crowds, assembled from different nations in the streets of Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, were astonished when they heard Galileans speak in their own tongue so as to be understood by all. At first they were inclined to think that they were overcome with wine, but Peter the head of the apostles, addressing the multitude, pointed out that the Redeemer who had been foretold by the prophets had come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and that if they did penance and were baptised in the name of Jesus their sins should be forgiven them and they should receive the Holy Ghost. As a result of this first sermon, 3,000 were enrolled in the army of Christ, and the Church as a visible society took its place in the world.

Through the preaching of the Apostles and the miracles wrought by them in confirmation of the truth of their doctrines, they secured quickly a large number of followers in Jerusalem. To become a member of the society it was necessary to believe in Christ and to be baptised. All those who received baptism were required to lead blameless lives, to help one another in all difficulties and to assemble in common for prayer and for the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Otherwise, they lived like the Jews and attended the worship of the temple, but as their numbers increased the priests and the Pharisees took alarm. They realised that the spread of the new religion meant the downfall of their sacrifices and of all that they represented, and they determined to arrest St. Peter and St. John, the two most active leaders. These two apostles were brought before the Sanhedrim and were forbidden to preach in the name of Jesus, but they replied boldly that they were bound to obey God rather than man, and that they spoke only the things that they themselves had heard. Through fear of the people they were released, but as their work progressed and as their religious body grew larger the official leaders of the Jews determined to crush the movement, and a great persecution began. St. Stephen was the first to receive the crown of martyrdom for the sake of Christ. The Apostles were dispersed through Judea and Samaria, but this dispersion furnished an opportunity to spread the Christian doctrine throughout Palestine, and in all the leading cities flourishing Christian communities sprang into existence.

For twelve years the doctrine of Christ had been preached to the Jews, and at last the time came when light should be brought to the Gentiles who till then had sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. Such an idea was distasteful to many of the Jewish Christians, but St. Peter, strengthened by a special revelation given to him by God, overcame these scruples, and Cornelius the centurion was received into the Church as the first Gentile convert to the new religion. The way was now open to the apostles to spread the Christian doctrine and to carry out the command that had been given them by Christ, namely, to preach to all nations. Some of them remained in Jerusalem like St. James the Greater, who was martyred for Christ about the year 44 A.D., and St. James the Less, a cousin of Our Lord, who became the first Bishop of Jerusalem; others of them went eastward like St. Matthew, St. Thomas, St. Bartholomew and St. Jude; some of them turned to the south like St. Simon and St. Matthias, and some, like St. Andrew, to the west.

But the two apostles who did most to spread the gospel in the provinces of the Roman Empire were St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Peter, who had been appointed by Christ head of the Church, took the leading part after the Ascension. It was he who preached the first sermon to the multitudes in the streets of Jerusalem, who wrought the first miracle in proof of the Divinity of the Christian religion and who received the first Gentile into the Church. When he left Jerusalem and Judea he preached first in Syria, and became Bishop of Antioch. But, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he realised that it was fitting that he should set up his See in the very centre of the empire, as a sign that he and his successors were appointed by Christ to rule the world. The fact that St. Peter visited Rome and lived and died as its bishop was so well established that for thirteen centuries it was never called in question. Putting aside the testimony contained in his own Epistle, it is proved by the authority of St. Clement of Rome in the first century, of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria in the second century, and of St. Cyprian, Tertullian and Caius, the priest, in the third century. How long he remained in Rome is not known for certain, but the fact that he was present at the Council of Jerusalem (50 A.D.) goes to prove that he was often absent from the capital. When the persecution of the Church was begun he was seized and crucified on the slopes of the Vatican hill, and his body was laid to rest in a tomb over which the basilica of St. Peter now stands.

St. Paul it is who in a special manner merits the title of Apostle of the Gentiles. He was a Jew himself, educated in the school of Gamaliel, and he took a leading part in the persecution of the Christians at Jerusalem, having been present, as an active participant, at the martyrdom of St. Stephen. It was while he was on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians there that he received the call from Christ. Instead of attacking the Christians he began to preach Christ in the synagogue, and the Jews aroused by his desertion turned against him, and determined to put him to death. After years of preparation and after having received the approval of the other apostles he started on his missionary labours, journeying through Syria; Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece, winning numerous converts to the faith and establishing Christian churches in the cities that he visited. On his return to Jerusalem he was arrested and thrown into prison where he remained two years. As a Roman citizen he appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar he was sent. He remained in honourable captivity in Rome for some time, and on his release he visited, according to some, the church in Spain. When the persecution of the Christians was begun by Nero he was beheaded, and his body was laid to rest close to the remains of the chief of the apostles. Besides his labours as a preacher, St. Paul did much to spread the gospel by the Epistles which he addressed to many of the principal churches.

The apostle who survived all the others was St. John, the beloved disciple of Our Lord, to whose care Christ, hanging on the Cross, committed His Blessed Mother. He settled at Ephesus whence he was brought to Rome during the persecution under Domitian, and was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, from which he was rescued by divine intervention and was banished to the island of Patmos. Here he wrote the Apocalypse. He is the author also of the fourth gospel, known as the Gospel of St. John.

The Spread of the Christian Religion

In the Various Countries

From the Acts of the Apostles we learn that through the preaching of St. Peter and of the other apostles flourishing Christian communities were established throughout Judea, Samaria, Galilee and Syria. St. Paul was specially successful in spreading the Christian religion in Asia Minor, Greece and Macedonia. St. Matthew, St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas worked beyond the confines of the empire among the Persians, Ethiopians, Parthians and Indians. In Rome the Church had made great progress, as we know from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans and from the works of Tacitus, who declares that in the days of Nero an immense number of Christians were put to death for the faith. St. Justin Martyr in his Apology, written before the middle of the second century, points out to the Emperor that there was then no part of the world whether Greek or barbarian where prayers were not offered up to God through Christ crucified. Irenaeus of Lyons, writing against the heretics of the second century, appeals to the testimony of the great churches and includes amongst them the churches of Gaul, Germany and Belgium. "Were we disposed to resist you," says Tertullian, "think you we should lack men or courage? We are but of yesterday and already we fill your cities and castles, your hamlets, your fields and your senate. We have left you nothing but your temples. But it is our duty to suffer death rather than to inflict it. Besides, we need take no deeper vengeance than to withdraw beyond the limits of the empire. We should leave you appalled by the solitude that would surround you." Again, in his work against the Jews, he declares that among the races of the Gaetulians and in the confines of the Moors, throughout Spain, and the different peoples of Gaul, among the Britons, even in places inaccessible to Roman power, among the Sarmatians, the Dacians and the Scythians—in islands and provinces remote and almost unknown—in all, the name of Christ reigns.

The churches of Palestine, Asia Minor and Syria were founded by the Apostles themselves. The principal of these were Jerusalem, presided over at first by St. James, and afterwards by St. Simeon who was martyred, the church of Antioch which was honoured by the presence of St. Peter and afterwards of St. Ignatius the martyr, the church of Corinth, founded by St. Paul, to which St. Clement of Rome addressed his famous Epistle, the church of Ephesus where St. John the beloved disciple of Our Lord spent the closing years of his life, and where the Blessed Virgin breathed her last.

In Africa the Church made great progress from the earliest times. St. Mark, the disciple of St. Peter, went from Rome and founded the church of Alexandria, which on account of its position between the eastern and western world was very important for the spread of Christianity. In Carthage and North Africa the new religion was introduced from Rome, and with such success that in the beginning of the third century, when some disputes arose, a council of seventy bishops could be assembled. Spain and Gaul received the light of the Gospel in the first century. St. Paul is said to have preached in the former of these, but at any rate, we know for certain that in the third century the church of Spain was well organized. Gaul received the faith most probably from Rome, and in a short time the church of Lyons was recognised as one of the great churches, the most famous of its bishops being St. Irenaeus.

The conquest of Britain had been begun by Julius Caesar and had been continued by Claudius, (43 A.D.) and was nearly completed by Agricola, (83 A.D.), who subdued the country northwards towards the Grampian Hills. On account of the close intercourse between the different parts of the empire the Christian religion was soon introduced into Britain. The Venerable Bede states that Lucius, a British prince, sent an embassy to Pope Eleutherius (174–189) inviting him to send missionaries to Britain, a request with which the Pope readily complied. Be this as it may, it is certain that towards the end of the third century the church in Britain was well organized, and we find three British bishops present at the council of Arles. Several bishops from Britain were present at the council of Rimini, and so well known was the church in Britain to men on the continent that St. Hilary of Poitiers dedicated his work, De Synodis, to the British bishops. These facts go to show that from the earliest times the church in Britain was in communion with the rest of Christendom, both in faith and worship.

Causes of the Rapid Spread of Christianity.

The primary cause of the success of Christianity was the divine aid that had been promised by Christ. "I will be with you till the end, of time," Christ assured His apostles, and relying on this they and their successors were not disappointed. As Christ himself had wrought wonderful miracles to prove His divinity and His divine mission, so, too, He gave to His followers the power of working miracles in confirmation of the doctrines they preached. This power was given, as St. Paul indicates not for the sake of believers, but for the sake of unbelievers, and hence, when the Gospel seed had taken root and when the ecclesiastical organisation was fully established, miracles became less numerous, though in no age of the world, not even at the present time, have they completely disappeared from the Church. The truth of these miracles of Christ and His apostles has been called into question, but the evidence for them is so convincing that it can be rejected only by those who start with the belief that miracles are not possible.

Another great influence for the spread of Christianity was the zeal of the early Christians and their readiness to lay down their lives for the faith that was in them. The fact that so many of both sexes and of all ages and positions were willing to die amidst terrible and long drawn out suffering without a murmur and without complaint, made a lasting impression upon their pagan neighbours, and forced them to inquire into the truth of a doctrine for which men and women, boys and girls, senators and slaves were prepared to make such sacrifices.

Again, the Christian religion in itself was one likely to satisfy the cravings of the human heart. Man is naturally religious, but he was not likely to be satisfied with the worship of idols or of a multitude of gods, many of whom were patrons of vice rather than of perfection, nor with Judaism which derived its efficacy only from the fact that it was the herald of the great kingdom to be established by the Messiah. The Christian religion gave a rational explanation of the existence of the world and of men by its doctrine of the one eternal God who created the world and placed the first man and woman in it when it was prepared for their reception, of the existence of evil in the world by its doctrine on the fall of man through the sin of our first parents, of the necessity of leading good lives by its teaching about the rewards for the just and the punishment that await the sinner in the life to come. Its moral code was indeed strict, but at the same time it was in such complete harmony with everything that is best in human nature that it was calculated to bring consolation and happiness to all. More especially it emphasized the fact that all men, Jews and Greeks, Romans and barbarians, rich and poor, masters and slaves, are equal in the sight of God and that their position for all eternity is to be determined solely by the manner in which they fulfil the duties of their state of life. To the rich it recommended generosity, to the learned humility, to the servants obedience, to all charity. Such a code, so perfect, so complete and so harmonious, far surpassing anything that had been conceived by the great sages and philosophers of antiquity, recommended itself to the ancients and recommends itself to-day as one that must have been, and must be, divine in its origin and propagation,

Obstacles to the Progress of Christianity

The fact that Christianity was a new religion was one of the great difficulties that it had to overcome. Men are deeply attached to the religion of their fathers, and they are called upon to make a great sacrifice when they are asked to turn their backs upon the past, to break up old associations, and to go forth into a strange land among a strange people. Besides, the old religion is bound up with the traditions, the literature, the laws, the constitution of a nation and the everyday life of its citizens, The very language, metaphors; analogies, proverbs, are all influenced by the religious belief of the community and present a very serious difficulty to the would-be reformer. In addition to all this, the early Christian missionaries were obliged to overcome the strenuous opposition of both people and priests, some of whom were really zealous for their religion and others more anxious for themselves and their means of support. Judaism and Paganism, though so widely different on other matters, were at one in their opposition to Christianity.

From the Jews

The Jews had looked with suspicion from the beginning on the new religion, but their opposition became more pronounced once they learned that Gentile converts were to be admitted into the new society with all the rights and privileges of membership, and more especially when the apostles declared that circumcision and the ceremonial law were no longer binding upon those who had received the waters of Christian baptism. The unbloody sacrifice that had been foretold by the prophet Malachi had destroyed the efficacy of the sacrifices of the Jewish temple, but still the Jewish priests continued to sacrifice, and still the unbelieving, stubborn people refused to admit that the Messiah had come to set up the reality of which their ceremonial was only the shadow. So long as the temple stood, it was a stumbling block to the Jews and a hindrance to their conversion; but the day foretold by Christ was fast coming when the people should see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy places and when, of the building they revered, not a stone should be left upon a stone.

The Jewish people, groaning under the oppression of the Romans, made several unsuccessful attempts to regain their independence. At last their religious instincts were shocked by the command of the Emperor Caligula that his statue should be placed in the temple to be worshipped by the faithful. They rose in revolt, determined to sell their lives dearly at least; and in the beginning they were successful against the legions sent to subdue them. But soon numbers and organisation told, and they were forced back towards the capital in the defence of which they were resolved to die. The Christians, mindful of the prediction of Christ, fled to Pella while there was yet time and before the Roman army had drawn its lines around the city. The Jews, however, remained, and to make the situation worse, multitudes of their race had assembled from all parts of the world for the feast of the Passover. The siege began and all supplies from the outer world were cut off. Soon a terrible famine raged among the crowded population; men and women died of hunger or devoured their own children; awful scenes of madness and despair were witnessed in the streets of Jerusalem. On the 17th July (70 A.D.) the daily sacrifice was offered up in the temple for the last time, and on the 10th August the temple was taken by the Romans. One of the soldiers set fire to it against the express orders of Titus, the leader of the besieging forces. The city and temple were razed to the ground; the leaders of the Jews were held prisoners to grace the triumph of the conqueror, and the sacred vessels of the Temple were carried to Rome, where the Arch of Triumph still stands as a memorial of the victory of the imperial legions. Thus, the chosen people of God were punished for their unbelief, and thus was the greatest obstacle to the spread of Christianity removed from the world.

From the Pagans

Christianity had much to suffer from the philosophy of the heathens and from the calumnies that were set on foot in order to prejudice men's minds against the new religion. Christians were painted as rebels because they refused to pay divine worship to the emperor, as plotters because they met in secret for their religious observances, as murderers of children because their doctrine on the Eucharist was misrepresented, and as guilty of incest because they were so closely united in the bonds of charity.

Their doctrines were assailed by men like Lucian who, though not unfavourably impressed by the conduct of the Christians, denied that it was possible for man to arrive at truth, or Celsus who asserted that the apostles had been deceived by Christ and that the miracles alleged to prove its divinity were but the result of magic, or Flavius Philostratus who endeavoured to undermine Christ by setting up as a rival against Him Apollonius of Tyana. He did this by transferring to his hero most of the gospel narrative concerning Christ and His miracles.

The great philosophical revival undertaken by the school of Alexandria was also used as a weapon against Christianity. Alexandria was a very important centre and the flourishing school, established there by Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, Porphyry and others, was a great source of trouble to the Church. It was partly to counteract the influence of these men that the Catechetical School of Alexandria undertook the scientific defence of Christianity.

The Persecutions

But in addition to all this, the vast power of the Roman Empire was thrown into the scales against the Christian missionaries. The authorities at Rome were opposed to Christianity because it overthrew their Pagan gods, and they determined to crush it by force. For three centuries the struggle went on, but the power of the one true God was greater than the power of Pagan Rome, and at last, in the days of Constantine, the triumph of the Church was recognised and the Christian religion became the religion of the empire.

It is usual to speak of the ten great persecutions of the Church during this period, namely, the persecution of Nero (64–68), of Domitian (95–96), of Trajan (106–117), of Marcus Aurelius (161–180), of Septimius Severus (202–211), of Maximin the Thracian (235–238), of Decius (249–251), of Valerian (257–260), of Aurelian (274–275), and of Diocletian (303–324). Of these the most important and most violent were the persecutions carried on by Nero, Trajan, Septimius Severus, Decius and Diocletian.

The Christians in Rome were regarded at first by the pagans only as a special sect of the Jews, but as their numbers increased the pagans took alarm and sought an opportunity for persecuting them. Nero, well aware of this popular feeling, determined to avert from himself the suspicion of having burned Rome by accusing the Christians of the crime, and at once the mob of Rome set itself to hunt them out and to put them to death. From the capital the persecution spread to the provinces, and vast multitudes were subjected to the most cruel tortures and death. Amongst the first to be arrested were St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Peter was crucified with his head downwards and St. Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded. Under the Emperor Domitian a new persecution began, during which Glabrio the consul, Domitilla and Flavius Clemens, relations of the Emperor, were put to death or banished, and St. John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil from which he was rescued by a miracle.

During the opening years of the second century the Christians were not molested, but in the year 106 Trajan, annoyed by the refusal of the Christians to take part in the public thanksgiving for his victory over the Scythians, forbade all secret assemblies and a new onslaught was made on the Christians. They were obliged to retire to the catacombs for the celebration of the Eucharist. Amongst those who suffered death were St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and St. Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem. Under Marcus Aurelius, St. Justin Martyr, St. Polycarp, St. Cecilia and St. Felicitas were put to death. For fifteen years the persecution lasted at intervals, but finally, owing to the miraculous preservation of the Roman army in a battle against a German tribe through the prayers of the Christian soldiers, the persecution ceased.

For the first ten years of the third century the Church enjoyed a comparative peace, but in the year 210 Septimius Severus issued new edicts against religious assemblies. The persecution spread through the provinces, but more especially to Egypt where Leonides, the father of Origen, was put to death, to Carthage, where Perpetua and Felicitas suffered, and to Gaul, where hundreds of the citizens of Lyons were butchered in cold blood. On the accession of the Emperor Decius (249) a determined attempt was made to crush out the last remains of the new religion. Decius resolved to cut off the leaders, and then to submit their followers to slows torture in the hope that they might be led to abandon their faith. Pope Fabian and St. Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, were arrested and executed. Large numbers of the Christians manfully withstood all torments but many of them also fell away. These were known as the "Lapsed," and when the persecution had passed they were obliged to undergo the most severe penances before they could be reconciled with the Church.

The tenth and last persecution was begun by Diocletian. He divided the empire into four parts, reserving for himself the east, with Nicomedia as his capital. In the year 303 Diocletian, alarmed at the number of the Christians and at the open display of their religion, declared war against them. The churches were to be destroyed, the Scriptures were to be burned and the Christians were to be tortured until they renounced their religion. The persecution was carried on in the other divisions of the empire by his imperial colleagues. In 305 Diocletian resigned and his successor, Galerius, continued the persecution for some time.

But relief was at hand, and the power of God was to triumph over paganism. Constantius Chlorus, the ruler of Britain, Gaul and Spain died in 306, and was succeeded by his son Constantine. He was not liked by his colleagues in the empire, and knowing that Maxentius, the governor of Italy, was his sworn enemy, Constantine anticipated him by marching into Italy, and succeeded in driving back the forces of Maxentius towards Rome. The armies of the rival leaders lay facing each other, with only the waters of the Tiber separating them. The hour for the last desperate struggle between Christianity and paganism was at hand, and Constantine, skilled leader though he was, awaited the result with no little anxiety; but suddenly he saw a cross of light in the heavens, around which were woven the words: "In this sign thou shalt conquer." While he was still puzzled at this vision he was told by Christ to adopt the Cross as his standard instead of the Roman eagle. Strengthened by this encouragement he directed his troops against Maxentius who was completely defeated, and Constantine became ruler of the western world (312). Twelve years later he attacked Licinius, the ruler of the East, and overthrew his forces, thus making himself master of the whole Roman Empire. He took up his residence in the east, and Constantinople became the new capital.

Constantine himself, though favourably disposed towards the Christians, did not openly profess the Christian religion till the year 324. But he ordered the persecution to cease, restored the churches that had been confiscated or destroyed, forbade the pagan sacrifices insisted on the observance of Sunday, bestowed many privileges upon the Pope and the bishops and finally recognised Christianity as the religion of the empire. His mother, St. Helena, undertook a journey to Palestine to seek for the True Cross, and her search was rewarded with success. Finally, in the year 337 Constantine fell seriously ill and requested that baptism should be administered to him, he having delayed this ceremony, according to some, in order that he might be baptised in the waters of the Jordan. He died leaving his kingdom to his three sons.

The Organisation of the Church

The Papacy

St. peter, as we have seen, was set up by Christ as head of the Church, and the apostles were appointed to rule and govern it with the self-same authority possessed by Christ himself. When St. Peter was put to death by orders of Nero, his successor in the bishopric of Rome was recognised as the vicar of Christ to whom all the faithful were bound to yield obedience. In the early centuries the exercise of this supreme authority by the bishop of Rome was not so frequent as at the present time, because owing to the difficulty of communication the local authorities were obliged to deal with most of the questions that arose. It should be remembered, too, that a great deal of the literature especially of the first two centuries has been entirely lost, but yet, enough remains to prove that from the very earliest times the bishop of Rome was recognised as the successor of St. Peter and the head of the Christian organisation.

About the year 96 A.D. a dispute broke out in the church at Corinth. Some of the people rose against their pastors and tried to remove them from office. St. Clement who was Pope at the time interfered in the dispute and exhorted the people to submission, warning them at the same time, that if they did not obey his instructions they would be guilty of sin but that his own conscience would be free. Such an exercise of authority in regard to a Church so distant from Rome as Corinth, and at such an early period, can hardly be explained, except on the assumption that the supremacy of the bishop of Rome was well recognised by Christians throughout the world.

The respectful tone of the letter addressed by St. Ignatius of Antioch to the church at Rome taken in conjunction with his letters addressed to other churches bears witness to his recognition of its authority, as does also St. Irenaeus in his work Against Heresies, written about the year 187. In this book he declares that wherever you have an uninterrupted succession of bishops from the time of the apostles, there also you have the apostolic doctrine, and he asserts that though he could produce the list of bishops who governed the great churches from the beginning, yet it will suffice for his purpose if he traces the succession in the Roman Church. "For it is necessary," he adds, "that the whole Church, that is the faithful of the whole world, should be in communion with this church on account of its more powerful authority."

St. Cyprian speaks of the Roman Church as the principal Church, the chair of Peter, the source and centre of ecclesiastical unity, and declares that to be united with Rome was to be united with the Catholic Church. Tertullian, too, though writing against the Popes, bears testimony to the fact that in his own day Pope Callistus claimed the title of "bishop of bishops," and asserted his right to make decrees binding on the whole Church.

Again, on the question of the celebration of Easter, Pope Victor insisted that the whole Church must accept his decrees, and threatened those who refused with the penalty of being cut off from the Christian organisation. The wisdom of this policy was, indeed, called in question, but the right of the Pope to do so was denied by no one. St. Stephen, too, forbade the rebaptism of heretics on their conversion to the Church, and Pope Callistus (218–223) modified considerably the discipline of the Church relating to the Sacrament of Penance, especially in regard to the sins of adultery and fornication. The very fact also that heretics always endeavoured to secure the approval of the bishop of Rome, and that bishops in difficulties turned always towards Rome for protection, is an indication that the supremacy of the Roman See was universally recognised. In the council of Sardica held in the year 343, the right of appeal from all parts to the Pope was solemnly affirmed.

Bishops and Dioceses

The bishops throughout the Church are the successors of the apostles, as is abundantly evident horn the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, in which he exhorts the faithful and the clergy to act always in harmony with their bishops. They were appointed in the early Church at a meeting of the bishops of the province, the clergy and the people. The people were admitted to bear witness to the character of the candidate selected, but owing to the scandals that oftentimes arose, it was deemed best that elections should be left in the hands of the local clergy and the provincial bishops. The election was the preliminary to the consecration, and the ceremony of consecration could be performed only by a bishop. As a rule, in order to lend dignity to the consecration, it was carried out by three bishops.

The seat of the bishopric was generally the city, and the limits of the bishops' jurisdiction corresponded with the civil jurisdiction of the city authorities. At first the bishops were all equal, with the exception of the bishop of Rome, but soon one in each province was recognised as the head of the province. The ecclesiastical provinces as a rule corresponded with the civil provinces of the empire. The bishop who presided over the province was called a metropolitan, or archbishop, or primate. When disputes arose about matters of faith a general or a provincial synod or council of the bishops was held in order to restore peace to the Church.

Priests and Deacons

The priests lived at first in the same houses as the bishops and were their assistants. But when Christian communities were established outside the cities it became necessary to send priests to reside permanently in them. Their authority was very much restricted, but as churches were built and endowments provided for the support of the clergy, the priests were allowed greater powers by the bishops, and their position as pastors of their own churches was more fully recognised. At first no regular training for the priesthood was possible, but gradually the necessity for a regular novitiate was perceived, and candidates for the priesthood were required to live in close proximity to the residence of the bishops, and were educated and trained under their own supervision. The Deacons had been established, as we know from the Acts of the Apostles, to assist in looking after the temporal wants of the early Christians, but that their office was also a spiritual one is evident from the ceremonies used at their ordination and from the qualifications required in all candidates for deaconship. The deacons assisted at the celebration of Mass, carried the communion to the sick and generally helped the priests. Sub-deaconship, Minor Orders, and Tonsure were instituted, in order to secure a sufficient supply of clerics for the ceremonies of the Church, and to provide a novitiate for those who were to be ordained priests.


From the very earliest ages of the Church, some individuals were found who set before themselves the strict observance of the evangelical counsels, poverty, chastity, and obedience. At first these individuals did not separate themselves from their families, nor did they abandon their ordinary work in the world. They were called ascetics; but soon, in order to devote themselves better to prayer and the service of God, some of the ascetics began to withdraw from the world and to live apart in proximity to the gates of the cities or villages. These were called anchorites. Later on, owing to the persecutions and the desire for greater perfection, some fled into the deserts where they lived entirely alone. These were called hermits. Egypt was the great home of the hermits, and St. Paul of Thebes is recognised as the greatest example of the eremitical life.

The fact that the hermits scattered over the desert had no opportunity of assisting at Mass or of receiving the holy Eucharist, and the desire of placing themselves under the guidance of some well recognised master in the spiritual life, induced numbers of them to come together into a kind of community where each lived in his own cell without any common rule. This kind of community Was known as the Laura, and of this style of life St. Anthony is regarded as the founder. Later still, St. Pachomius drew up a rule for those who had come to seek his spiritual guidance, and he founded the first real monastery in the Thebaid, a valley of the upper Nile (325). The good results of such a mode of life were soon recognised, and it developed quickly in the east. In order to give it greater permanency St. Basil (329–79) drew up a rule and required all his subjects to take the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The rule of St. Basil was soon followed generally in the east.

From the east it was introduced into the western church in the fourth century, St. Ambrose, St. Eusebius of Vercelli, St. Honoratus of Lerins and St. Augustine being its most zealous patrons. St. Benedict, however, must be regarded as the real founder of monasticism in the west. He was born in the year 480, and having fled from his first community at Subiaco he set up his great monastery at Monte Cassino, from which his monks soon spread over Europe. The Rule of St. Benedict was strict but at the same time not beyond human strength. It insisted principally on prayer, labour and obedience.

St. Columbanus and his associates from Ireland also introduced the monastic life into the continent, and set up establishments at Luxeuil, St. Gall and Bobbio, from which other communities were founded. At first it seemed, as if the rule of St. Columbanus was likely to prove a rival to that of St. Benedict but its severity and strictness proved an obstacle to its general acceptance.

Clerical Celibacy

From the very beginning most of those engaged in the work of preaching the gospel, in obedience to the counsels of Christ concerning celibacy, and in imitation of the example of virginity set by His Blessed Mother, remained unmarried, or if married before their acceptance of the office of priesthood, lived apart from their wives. It was fitting that those engaged in such sacred duties and whose work it was to preach self-denial to others, should set the very highest example of self-denial in their own lives. Besides, having devoted themselves to the service of God, they were mindful of the words of St. Paul that "he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world how he may please his wife, but that he who is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to God how he may please God" (I. Cor. 33-34).

But though as a general rule celibacy was observed by the early clergy, yet there was no divine law on the subject. It was a matter of purely ecclesiastical discipline, and for some time was not enforced by any universal law of the Church. The decrees, however, of the synods held in the early portion of the fourth century make it clear that celibacy was pretty strictly enforced in regard at least to the bishops and priests, and before the end of this same century, celibacy was the common rule in the western church. The discipline in the east was less strict. It permitted clerics who had married before receiving Holy Orders to retain their wives, and this difference of practice exists till the present day.

Feasts, Fasts, Churches, Cemeteries

Even in Apostolic times Sunday was set aside specially for religious service in commemoration of the Resurrection of Our Lord. It was called the Lord's Day, and the faithful were expected to attend the celebration of Mass and to devote themselves to prayer. In order that they might be free to do this it was usual to abstain from servile work as far as possible, but during the years of persecution this was not always convenient, and it was only after the triumph of the Church in the days of Constantine that the practice of abstaining from work became really general. From the earliest times, too, the great Feasts of Easter in memory of the Resurrection, and of Pentecost in memory of the descent of the Holy Ghost, were celebrated with special solemnity. The feasts of the Epiphany and of the Nativity were also observed at a very early date. Besides, feast days were observed in memory of the saints who had laid down their lives for the faith. Their memory was commemorated on the anniversary day of their death.

Wednesday and Friday were observed as fast days, and later on in the Roman Church and in many parts of the world Saturday was also regarded as a day on which Christians should fast. The Lenten fast in preparation for the great festival of Easter is probably of apostolic origin, though there was a great difference of practice in regard to its duration. The Advent fast was introduced at a later period.

In the early days there were no churches, and the faithful met in private houses for prayer and the celebration of Mass. In the days of persecution they were obliged to meet in the forests and caverns outside the cities. In Rome they sought refuge in the catacombs where Mass was offered up on the tombs of their martyrs. In the third century when a period of peace was allowed churches began to be erected and dedicated entirely to divine service. They were, as a rule, plain oblong buildings without much decoration. Round the churches the Christians laid their dead to rest, to typify the union that exists between the church on earth and the church in heaven, and also to remind the faithful of their duty of praying for those that were gone. Cremation was unknown in the early Church.

Early Christian Literature

The New Testament was accepted by the early Church as inspired by the Holy Ghost. It contains the Gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Acts of the Apostles written by St. Luke, which gives a brief history of the early Church, fourteen epistles of St. Paul, two epistles of St. Peter, three of St. John, one of St. James, one of St. Jude and the Apocalypse. The epistles were addressed to different churches as occasion demanded, and do not pretend to contain an exposition of the entire Christian revelation. In addition to the New Testament, many writings of the early Christian Fathers have been preserved. St. Clement, bishop of Rome, wrote an epistle to the Christians at Corinth about the year 96 A.D. exhorting them to unity, and so highly did the Corinthians value this letter of the Pope that it was read for years afterwards in the church on Sundays. During the persecution begun by Trajan, St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was arrested and brought to Rome to suffer for the faith. On his way he addressed seven letters to some of the principal churches, from most of which representatives had come to console him. In these letters he emphasized three points in particular, namely, the obligation on the clergy and people to remain obedient to their bishop, the Divinity and Humanity of Christ, and the Real Presence in the Eucharist of the very same Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary and who died for mankind on the cross.

St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was martyred about the year 154. Shortly before his death he visited Pope Anicetus at Rome, in the hope of adjusting the differences which had arisen between the eastern and western churches concerning the celebration of Easter. He wrote an epistle to the Philippians in which he recalled to their minds the advice given by St. Ignatius, and warned them against the false doctrines of that time.

St. Justin Martyr was born of pagan parents and was himself a close student of pagan philosophy, but failing to find truth by an examination of the conflicting philosophical systems of his time, he turned to Christianity to seek for the light and consolation he had sought for in vain elsewhere. He went to Rome and wrote two apologies for Christianity, one addressed to the Emperor Antoninus (138–161) and the other to the Senate. In these he demanded the same toleration for Christians as was accorded to the worshippers of idols, and he called attention especially to the high moral code inculcated by the new religion and the results it had produced as a proof of its divinity.

Irenaeus was the disciple of St. Polycarp, and after visiting different parts of the Church he finally settled at Lyons, where he was elected bishop about the year 178. He was a man evidently well versed in the Scriptures and in the controversial writings of his day. In his great work, Against Heresies, he subjects to a severe analysis the various statements of those who had separated themselves from the unity of the Church, and in this way supplies a great deal of information both on the views of the heretics and the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Like Tertullian, he lays great stress on the importance of the living tradition and the authority of the Church as the only safe guide to the true apostolic doctrine.

The works of all these writers were in Greek. Tertullian, who was born at Carthage, and was converted to Christianity about the year 190 was the first prominent ecclesiastical writer who employed the Latin tongue. He was a man of great zeal and great ability who did incalculable service to religion; but he was also impetuous, proud and stubborn, and as he advanced in years he began to criticise the mild policy of the Church towards sinners, and finally abandoned it to join the sect of the Montanists. He is the author of many brilliant works written both while he was attached to the Church and after he had abandoned it. In his work on Penance he brings out clearly the power of the Church to forgive sins, though after he had become a Montanist he denied most of what he had previously written.

St. Cyprian, like Tertullian, was born at Carthage and was converted (242) only when he was advanced in years. Shortly after his conversion he became bishop of Carthage, and remained its bishop until he was put to death for the faith. Many of his letters have come down to us, as also his great work on the Unity of the Church. Like Tertullian, however, he was impetuous and inclined to go to extremes. This feature of his character is brought out strongly in his dispute with Pope Stephen regarding the rebaptism of converted heretics. He insisted that those who had returned to the Church from heresy should be baptised in all cases, and when the Pope refused to accept his opinion, casting to the winds what he had written about the authority of the Holy See, he insisted on his right to decide this question for himself without any interference from Rome.

In the east there were many great schools for the study and defence of Christianity, the principal of which was the school of Alexandria. Of the many learned teachers who helped to give the school of Alexandria a world-wide reputation, Origen was undoubtedly the greatest. In his youth his father was arrested and put to death for the faith, and he himself was kept from taking his place at his father's side only because his mother hid his clothes. When he grew up he became head of the school of Alexandria where he remained for several years. During his whole life he was an indefatigable worker, and the number of volumes written by him would fill a goodly sized library. The most important of these was the Hexapla, so called from the fact that it contained in six columns the Septuagint Version of the Bible, three other versions of the Scripture made in the second century, the Hebrew text in Hebrew characters and the same in Greek characters. He died about the year 254.

Of the later Latin writers the two most important are undoubtedly St. Jerome (340–420) and St. Augustine (354–430). St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia, and having studied at Rome he wandered through Gaul and various districts of the East. Later on he returned to Rome where he became secretary to Pope Damasus, and on the death of the Pope, he retired to Bethlehem where he remained till his death. Besides his historical works, notably his translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius, his Life of St. Paul the Hermit and his account of the ecclesiastical writers of the early centuries, his best known work is the translation of the Scriptures which passes under the name of the Vulgate, and which was declared by the Council of Trent to be a substantially correct reproduction of the Scriptures. St. Augustine was born in North Africa, and during his years of study at Madura and Carthage he yielded to the many temptations which surrounded him and began to lead a life of sin. Later on he joined the sect of the Manichaeans, From Carthage he went to Rome and from Rome to Milan, whither he was followed by his saintly mother, St. Monica, who was unceasing in her efforts to secure his conversion. Her prayers were heard at last. The preaching of St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, produced a great effect on Augustine. He abandoned his life of sin, was baptised in 387 and later on became bishop of Hippo, where he was the strenuous opponent of the heretics of his time, notably of the Donatists and the Pelagians. He was a very prolific writer. Possibly the most widely read of his works are the City of God  and his Confessions.

Heresies of the Early Centuries

Even in the days of St. Paul heresies existed in certain parts of the Church. Some of those who had been converted from Judaism still wished to maintain the binding force and efficacy of the ceremonial law, and this gave rise to what is known as the Judaizing sects. St. Paul was the stern opponent of these bodies, and took occasion in many of his epistles to warn the faithful against them. There were Gentile converts, too, who were so attached to Greek Philosophy, that they were willing to reject everything in the Christian religion which they could not explain and prove by the powers of human reason. In other words they set their own intellect above the authority of God, and insisted on being themselves the final judges of the truths of revelation. This was the guiding principle of the many bodies known in the early Church as the Gnostics.

Amongst these early heretics might be mentioned the Docetae, who taught that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity when he came on earth did not become man but took to himself only the appearance of man; Cerinthus, who held that Christ was a mere man born of Joseph and Mary on whom the Messiah descended at His baptism and departed from Him before His crucifixion; the Manichaeans, who sought to explain the presence of evil in the world by teaching that there were two principles, one of which was the author of all good, the other the author of all evil, and the Montanists, who in their zeal for greater strictness denied the power of the Church to forgive sins.


The mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation being beyond the powers of human reason to understand, and the doctrine of the necessity of Grace so opposed to human pride, were likely to be selected for special attack. Sabellius and others in the third century denied that there were three distinct persons in the Blessed Trinity, but this doctrine was rejected by the Church. Later on, when the days of persecution passed, and when paganism was no longer a dangerous rival that required the attention of Christian scholars, people began to investigate more closely the doctrine of the Trinity and Incarnation, and as a result new and dangerous heresies arose. From the beginning it had been taught that Christ was both God and Man, but now individuals set themselves to inquire in what sense was Christ God? Was He God as the Father was God, of the same substance as the Father, eternal as the Father was eternal, and equal to Him in power and glory? To this question Arius a disappointed priest of Alexandria gave a negative reply. He maintained that the Son was inferior to and dependent upon the Father, and though the source of life for created things He was Himself the creation of the Father. His bishop, having endeavoured to win him back to repentance by kindness, condemned him, but in spite of the condemnation the heresy spread through the east, and it became necessary to convoke a general council to meet at Nice in the year 325.

From the earliest times the Christian communities scattered throughout the world were bound together by unity of doctrine, worship and government. This close union is brought out strongly in the epistles of St. Paul, in the decrees of the Council of Jerusalem regarding the Gentile converts and in the letters of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch; but the convocation of the bishops of the entire world to meet in solemn assembly to discuss a serious question of faith, served as an example both to believers and unbelievers of the essential unity of the Christian organisation. Over 300 bishops were present, most of them being from the east, but the provinces of the western church also sent delegates, as did Pope Sylvester I.

Amongst those who played a prominent part against Arius at the council of Nice was Athanasius, a young deacon of Alexandria, who seemed to have been raised up specially by God to defend His Church at this critical juncture. The Fathers were practically unanimous in their condemnation of the teaching of Arius, but when it came to draw up a simple formulary of faith expressive of the true doctrine regarding the relation of the Son to the Father, there was considerable difficulty. Athanasius, however, came to the rescue. He suggested the word "consubstantial," meaning thereby that the Son was of the same substance as the Father, and his suggestion was accepted. Thenceforth in the struggle with the Arians the acceptance or rejection of "consubstantial" was regarded as the test of orthodoxy. After his return from the council Athanasius was elected and consecrated bishop of Alexandria.

Yet in spite of the solemn condemnation of the council of Nice the heresy of Arius was far from being crushed. Its success was due, partly to the difficulty of the subject and the skill of Arius as a popular speaker and writer, and partly also to the fact that his followers enjoyed the secret or open support of the imperial authorities.

Constantine, deceived by his councillors in regard to the doctrine of Arius, recalled him from exile and expressed himself content with the profession of faith which he presented, but Athanasius was immovable, and refused to receive Arius again into the Church unless he accepted without qualification the decree of the council of Nice. For this refusal he was sent into exile. The bishop of Constantinople was commanded to perform the ceremony of reconciliation, but on his way to the church Arius was stricken down suddenly and died. Athanasius finding himself attacked on all sides undertook a journey to Rome to secure the approval of the Pope, and in the year 343 the council of Sardica attended by close on 200 bishops from the east and west, declared him innocent of the charges made against him, and acknowledged the right of appeal from all parts of the Church to the bishop of Rome.

Constantius (337–61), however, was determined to force Arianism on the Church, and for this purpose he obliged the bishops assembled at Arles and Milan to condemn Athanasius under threat of the severest punishment. Pope Liberius refused to confirm these decrees and was sent into exile, from which he was allowed to return owing to the disturbed condition of Rome. For years the struggle went on, Athanasius bravely leading the forces of the Church till his death in 377, when victory was almost secured. The Emperor Theodosius was an opponent of Arianism, and in order to give it its death-blow a general council of the Church was convoked at Constantinople in the year 381.

The council affirmed once more the complete equality of the Father and the Son, and defined also the divinity of the Holy Ghost against Macedonius and his disciples who denied that the Holy Ghost was really God. These decrees of the council received the confirmation of the Pope. From this time Arianism began to decline, and many of those who had fallen away returned to the Church.

Amongst those who took a leading part in defending the true doctrine against heresy were Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. John Chrysostom in the east, and St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, who has been called with justice, the Athanasius of the west.


Hardly had Arianism been overcome than the doctrine of the Incarnation gave rise to new heresies. Christ, according to all, was both God and Man. In what sense? Were there two persons in Christ, one human, the other divine, or was there only one person? To this question Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, replied that there were two persons. He maintained that there was a human person in Christ as well as a divine person, that Mary was the mother only of the human person, and consequently could not be called Mother of God. This teaching shocked the great body of the faithful, and once more the patriarch of Alexandria—this time it was St. Cyril, not Athanasius—stood forth as the champion of truth. St. Cyril appealed to Pope Celestine, the same Celestine to whom Ireland is indebted for sending to its shores the first Christian bishop. The Pope condemned the teaching of Nestorius, and appointed St. Cyril as legate for the settlement of the controversy. A general council was convoked at Ephesus, the city of the Blessed Virgin, and met in the year 431 in the cathedral dedicated to her honour. The heresy of Nestorius was condemned, and the title of Mother of God was approved as being in perfect harmony with Catholic doctrine.


Many of those who took part in the struggle against Nestorius were led into the opposite extreme. Eutyches, from whom the heresy gets its name, Eutychianism, asserted that not alone were there not two persons in Christ but that there was only one nature, the human nature being absorbed in some way by the divine. Such an error, so subversive of the Catholic doctrine of the Redemption, found much favour in the east. But fortunately Providence had raised up a strong Pope at the time in the person of Leo the Great. As soon as he learned of the new teaching he wrote his famous dogmatic epistle in which he expounded the correct Catholic doctrine. At last a general council was convoked at Chalcedon in the year 451, and when this epistle of the Pope was read the Fathers cried out with one voice, "This is the faith of the Apostles; Peter has spoken by the mouth of Leo."

Monothelite Heresy

Finally, in order to reconcile those who had persistently refused to accept the decrees of the council of Chalcedon, a certain party proposed a compromise, namely, that though it should be admitted that there were two natures in Christ, the divine and the human, yet it ought also be explained that there was only one will. This party was known as the Monothelites, and their leader was Sergius the Patriarch of Constantinople. He wrote to Pope Honorius misrepresenting his own teaching and the teaching of his opponents. Honorius, who believed that the opponents of Sergius held that there were two conflicting wills in Christ, responded by asserting that there was only one will in Christ, meaning thereby that there could not be a conflict between the divine will and the human will. After some time the sixth general council was convoked to meet at Constantinople (680). The heresy was condemned, and it was defined that there were two wills in Christ. The council also applied the epithet heretic to Pope Honorius, but in confirming the decrees of the council Pope Leo II. expressed clearly what the council wished to convey by this word, namely that Honorius was guilty of negligence and that his negligence was largely responsible for the spread of heresy. The action of Honorius cannot be used as an argument against Papal Infallibility, because in the first place, the teaching of his letter to Sergius was most probably correct though in the circumstances liable to be misunderstood, and in the second place, even if it were otherwise, the Pope made it clear that it was only the expression of his own private views, and was not intended as a dogmatic definition that must be accepted by all the faithful under pain of separation from the Church.

Heresies in the West

Most of these heresies, it will be noted, were confined entirely to the eastern church and never found active defenders in the west. From the very beginning there seems to have been a tendency towards disunion amongst the eastern Christians, a tendency that was due in great measure to their character and temperament, and which was largely responsible for the separation that took place later on of the easterns from the Church. The west, however, was not entirely free from heresy. The Donatists, who fell away at first in a dispute as to whether a certain bishop in Africa was validly consecrated or not, disturbed the peace of the Church in that country during the fourth century.

But it was the doctrine on the necessity of Grace that gave rise to the best known heresy, namely, Pelagianism. Pelagius, its author, was a monk from Britain, probably a descendant of a settler in one of the Irish colonies that lay along the western shores of Britain. He left his native country to visit Rome where he was joined by a clever companion named Coelestius. He devoted himself to preparing commentaries on the epistles of St. Paul, and it was while he was engaged on this work that his heretical system first assumed definite shape.

He maintained that man by his natural powers could merit the Beatific Vision, and that Grace, at least if understood in the sense of a supernatural help given to man, was not necessary. From Rome he went to Carthage where his doctrine was condemned (412). He then retired to the east, and a synod of bishops was held at Jerusalem to discuss the question of Grace, but as the bishops were not confident that they understood Pelagius or his adversaries, they referred the whole question to Rome. Coelestius hastened to Rome, and by misrepresentations, endeavoured to win the approval of the Pope. But his misrepresentations were exposed by several synods held at Carthage, and Pope Zosimus issued the Trattoria (418) as a solemn condemnation of the heresy. Pelagianism made its way into Britain, and Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, was despatched to expose the error of its teaching. In this work, as we shall see, he was completely successful.

Christianity in Ireland and Britain

First Christian Communities in Ireland

Owing mainly to the fact that Ireland stood outside the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire it was only at a comparatively late period that Christianity made any progress in the country. But though Ireland was never reduced to the position of a province, it maintained very close relations with some of the provinces of the empire and more especially with Britain and Gaul. A brisk trade was carried on between the ports of Ireland and the ports of south-western Europe. Irish princes conducted their forces into Britain and penetrated even as far as Gaul. Irishmen fled from Ireland and took service in the armies of Rome, while on the other hand Britons left their own country and settled here and there along the eastern sea-board of Ireland. On account of this close intercourse with countries that were themselves to a great extent Christian the true religion was first introduced into Ireland. When St. Germanus returned to Rome after his mission against Pelagianism in Britain he probably announced to the Pope the existence of scattered Christian communities in Ireland. At any rate in this year, 431, Palladius, a deacon of the Roman Church, was despatched by Pope Celestine to be the first bishop of the Scots (Irish) believing in Christ. He landed in Wicklow where he founded three churches, but his mission not proving so successful as he expected, he left the country and returned to Britain,

Labours of St. Patrick

It was not Palladius, however, but St. Patrick who had been chosen by God to be the apostle of the Irish race. St. Patrick was born probably at Dunbarton on the Clyde about the year 372, and in one of the descents made upon the coast of Britain by the Irish he was carried off to Ireland as a captive. He was brought to Antrim where, for six years, he served as herd on the bare slopes of Sliabh Mish. During these years, mindful of the lessons of his youth, he turned to God for light and consolation and God listened to his appeal. He was warned in a vision that the hour of his escape had come and that if he sought a certain port he should find a passage on a vessel that stood ready to sail. He obeyed the instructions given him, and after many wanderings he found himself at last in his native place among his relatives in Britain.

But he did not remain long there. One night as he slept a man appeared to him with many letters, one of which was headed "the voice of the Irish," while at the same time he thought he heard the people who lived by the woods of Foclut on the western shore calling upon him to come back to Ireland. Guided by the Holy Ghost, he realised that the work of his life was to be the conversion of the people amongst whom he had spent his youth as a slave.

To prepare himself for this mission he went to the continent where he visited, as he himself tells us, Gaul, Italy and the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea. He spent his years of preparation principally in the monastery of St. Honoratus at Lerins, in the school of St. Germanus at Auxerre, and possibly at the monastery founded by St. Martin at Tours. He was on his way to Rome when the news was brought to him that Palladius was dead: and immediately he himself was consecrated bishop and with the blessing of Germanus and Pope Celestine he set sail for Ireland. He landed first in the county Wicklow, near the place where Palladius had begun his mission, but he soon sailed northwards towards the territory where he spent his years of captivity. He landed at the head of Strangford Lough, converted Dichu, the ruler of the district, and founded his first church at the place now known as Saul. Here he spent the closing months of the year 432 and the early months of 433, and having realised the fact that, owing to the social and political organisation of the country, if he could only win over the princes to the faith the success of his mission was assured, he determined to set out for Tara, where a meeting of the kings and princes was to be held at the court of Laoghaire, the then reigning Ardri.

It was Easter Saturday when he found himself on the Hill of Slane in full view of the royal residence at Tara, and according to the practice of the Christians, he kindled the paschal fire. This was against certain regulations of the high king, and Laoghaire, warned by the druids that if this fire were not extinguished destruction was certain to follow, set out with his followers to arrest the invaders. St. Patrick was brought into the presence of the king, and so good an impression did he make on the princes that many of them were converted immediately to the faith. Laoghaire did not himself become a Christian, but he seems to have permitted the saint to preach his doctrine freely throughout Ireland.

For two years St. Patrick preached the gospel with great success in the central districts of Ireland, and then turning westward he overthrew the great pagan idol, Crom Cruach, in Leitrim, crossed the Shannon and began the evangelization of Connaught. While engaged in this work he withdrew to the summit of the mountain now known as Croagh Patrick to spend the Lent, and while there he received the approval of Pope Leo the Great to whom he had sent messengers when Leo was elected Pope in 440.

From Connaught he travelled northwards and crossed the Erne above the falls of Assaroe into Donegal. Here he turned aside to a lonely island in Lough Berg to spend some time in prayer and penance, and it is this spot which was afterwards so famous throughout Europe as St. Patrick's Purgatory. Having made a circle of the northern counties he returned to Meath, and went southwards through Leinster and Munster where he was well received.

St. Patrick was assisted in his work by Romans and Franks, by natives of Gaul and of Britain, and by Irishmen trained on the Continent, like Auxilius and Isserninus. Wherever he preached he set up bishoprics in the chief tribes, left behind him priests and deacons, and established monastic communities both of men and women. In this way the complete success of the work that he himself had begun was assured, and even before the death of Patrick though there were still many pagans in the country, Ireland might be called a Christian rather than a pagan nation. He selected Armagh to be his own church, and he ordained that his successor in the See of Armagh should be recognised as primate of the Irish church. He held two synods to establish a body of laws for the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in Ireland. He died at Saul and his body was laid to rest at Downpatrick.

The Early Irish Church and Rome

Some people assert that St. Patrick founded his church and wished that it should remain independent of Rome, but, seeing that St. Patrick himself was a native of Britain, and that he studied in Gaul, both of which countries were in communion with the Holy See, and, seeing also that he was the disciple of St. Germanus who was the friend of Pope Celestine, it would be very difficult to believe such an assertion even were there no other evidence to disprove it. But, fortunately, reliable testimonies are not wanting to show that the bishop of Rome had no more devoted subject than the apostle of Ireland., The earliest lives of St. Patrick, written in the seventh century, bear witness to the fact that he came with the authority of Pope Celestine; the native annals recount the approbation and approval sent to him by Pope Leo; one of his own "Sayings" which has come down to us contains an exhortation to the Irish that as they were Christians so also they should be Romans, that is to say in communion with Rome; and one of the decrees drawn up by him for the guidance of the Irish church ordains that if any difficult questions arise, which cannot be settled by the authorities in Ireland, they should be carried for decision to the Apostolic See. All these things point to the close union which St. Patrick established between Ireland and Rome, a union which is attested at a later period by the letter of Cummian on the paschal question, by the attitude of the Irish missionaries on the continent towards the Pope, by the writings of St. Columbanus and by the frequent pilgrimages from Ireland to Rome.

St. Brigid

St. Patrick, as he himself tells us, found the sons and daughters of the Irish anxious to join the religious life. Amongst the most remarkable of the women who devoted themselves entirely to the service of God was St. Brigid, who was born at Faughart, near Dundalk about the year 451. Her parents wished to give her away in marriage, but she announced to them her intention of remaining a virgin, and accompanied by eight companions, she received the nun's veil and cloak from bishop MacCaille at Usnach in Westmeath. She became the superioress of a community, and settled for some time in the King's County. The fame of her sanctity having gone abroad numerous requests were made to her to visit different parts of the country and to establish new communities. For this purpose she went to Leinster and Connaught, but at last she founded her principal house at Kildare where she remained till her death. St. Brigid was held in the greatest veneration in the Irish church. She was the patroness, not merely of religious women but of Ireland, and at home and abroad she was spoken of as "the Mary of the Irish," "the second Mary."

Monastic Schools

During his own life St. Patrick had introduced monasticism into the country as we can see from his Confession. After his death the monastic spirit was quickly developed, owing to the great religious fervour of the Irish people, and owing also to the fact that many of their principal teachers were trained in monastic establishments in Wales, or on the Continent, or at Whithorn, founded by St. Ninian in southern Scotland. Nor were the monastic establishments in Ireland merely homes for prayer and meditation. They were also great centres of education and culture, and afforded a shelter and refuge to scholars, when England and the Continent were overrun by barbarian invaders and when the culture and civilisation of ancient Rome seemed destined to destruction.

Of these schools the most ancient is probably the school of Arran founded by St. Enda which became the spiritual training ground for many of the Irish saints of the sixth century. Clonard was founded about the year 520 by St. Finian, and so great was its fame that it is said that at times 3,000 students were in residence there; Moville, on Strangford Lough, had for its founder another St. Finian; Clonmacnois was founded by St. Ciaran, and Bangor, on the south-eastern shores of Belfast Lough, by St. Comgall.

That great attention should be paid to the sacred Scriptures in the monastic schools is what might be expected. St. Patrick himself had set an example in this direction that was not likely to be forgotten by his successors. Not only was the sacred text itself studied with care, but also the works of the great commentators of the early centuries were expounded in the schools. The interlined glosses on the scriptures—some of them the oldest specimens of written Irish in existence—preserved at Wurzburg, Milan, Vienna, Turin and elsewhere, the scriptural collections contained in such books as the book of Armagh, the book of Kells, the book of Durrow, &c., and the commentaries written by Irishmen either at home or on the Continent, only a few of which have been published, bear witness to the attention paid to Scriptural Studies in the Irish schools.

in theology, too, the Irish monks were particularly expert. They mastered the Old Testament as well as the New, and were also well versed in the writings of the Fathers, both Greek and Latin. Furthermore, the Irish teachers tried to reduce theology to a definite system by the application of the rules of logic to its exposition,, and in this sense the Irish theologians may be said to have been the founders of what was known in later ages as Scholasticism. Every distinctive Catholic doctrine taught at the present day, as for instance, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the necessity of Penance and Confession for the forgiveness of sins, the efficacy of the Sacraments, the duty of submission to authority, especially to the Pope, can all be traced in the Irish ecclesiastical literature that has come down to us. The work of Dungal, an Irishman, written against a certain bishop of Turin in defence of the reverence paid to images, relics and the Cross, and in support of the invocation of the saints and of pilgrimages, acquired a world-wide reputation. In Canon Law the Irish collection of Canons written about the year 700 and known as the Synodus Hibernensis, and the Irish Penitentials, setting forth the penances that should be imposed upon those guilty of certain crimes, exercised an enormous influence on many disciplinary questions throughout the entire Church.

But the Scriptures, Theology, and Canon Law were not the only subjects taught in the Irish schools. Great attention was paid also to the ancient classics, to the natural sciences, to the cultivation and production of a native Irish literature, and to the study and development of the civil law of Ireland. From a very early period most of the leading Latin authors were commented upon in the Irish schools, and the proficiency of Irishmen in Latin is attested by the many specimens of Latin prose and verse composed by Irishmen, as well as by their commentaries on the works of the well-known grammarians who had written before this time. Greek, too, was studied, and at least in the eighth and ninth centuries, with wonderful success. When John Scotus Erigena arrived in France in the ninth century people were astonished at the expedite knowledge of Greek which he displayed, and wondered how such a knowledge could have been acquired in a remote island situated in the western sea. In the natural sciences, especially in astronomy, the Irish schools were far ahead of the schools of their own time, as is proved by the treatise on astronomy written by an Irish monk, Dicuil, and by the fact that when Fergil, the Irish bishop of Salzburg, taught the sphericity of the earth and the existence of the antipodes he was entirely misunderstood, even by such a leading light as St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany. Nor did the love of the classics and of science prevent the Irish schools from devoting themselves to the cultivation of a native literature and the development of Irish legal institutions. Wherever it was possible they seemed determined to use the Irish language, even in their commentaries on the Scripture and in the rubrics of the Missal. Had we nothing else, the immense literature, both of prose and verse, that has been preserved, and the well-known code of Irish laws would be sufficient to establish the greatness of the Irish schools.

From all parts of the Continent, but more especially from Gaul and Britain, students flocked to Ireland, attracted by the fame of its sanctity and learning. Aldhelm, an English monk, tells that in his time people went from Britain in crowds to attend the Irish schools, and the Venerable Bede speaks in the highest terms of the hospitable welcome which awaited such visitors when they arrived in Ireland. Not merely was there no fee required of them for their education, but they received also lodgings, food and books free of cost. From the sixth to the ninth century the Irish schools flourished, and Ireland was the teacher of western Europe. For this statement we can cite the testimony of the English monk, Alcuin, who recalls the services rendered to the Christian religion by the learned Irish schools which did such work for the, Church in Britain, in Gaul and in Italy, as well as that of the German monk, Ermenric, who praises Ireland because "from it have come those great lights who have diffused throughout the Church the learning and the teaching of their native home."

Work of Irish Missionaries

In their zeal for religion hundreds of Irish monks left the ports of Ireland to carry the gospel to the heathen. Amongst the first to do so was St. Columba, who was born at Gartan in Donegal about the year 521, and having studied at the schools of Clonard and Moville he returned to his native district and founded the great monastery of Derry. It was, as some say, owing to his responsibility for the battle of Cuidreimhne, or, as others say, owing to his zeal for the spread of the gospel, that he went to Scotland to preach to the Picts. His mission was crowned with success. A grant having been made to him of the island of Iona by the Irish king who had conquered south-western Scotland, he established a great monastery there; and Iona became the centre from which the monks of St. Columba evangelised Scotland and the northern districts of England. St. Columba returned to Ireland about the year 590 to attend the great meeting at Druimceat where he was successful in settling the dispute that had broken out between the Ardri and the king of the Irish colony in Scotland, and also in preventing the suppression of the Irish bards. He died in 597, but his work in Scotland was continued by the abbots and monks of Iona and in England by the monks of Lindisfarne.

St. Columbanus was one of the first of the Irish monks to go to the Continent. Accompanied by St. Gall and some other disciples, he set out from his monastery in Bangor and made his way through Gaul to Burgundy. Here he founded the monastery of Luxeuil, and drew up a special monastic rule for the use of his communities. This rule was characterised by its great strictness and austerity, and for this reason it was obliged to give way in later times to the milder rule of St. Benedict. He was driven from this retreat by Theodric, King of Burgundy, and after many wanderings he made his way to Bregenz, a lovely spot on the shores of the Lake of Constance, where he founded a new house. Finally, leaving Bregenz to preach to the Lombards of northern Italy, he crossed the Alps and established a monastery at Bobbio in a valley of the Appenines, where he died in the year 615. For centuries the fame of Bobbio was known in every part of Europe, and exercised an influence hardly less than that exercised by the great Benedictine centre of Monte Cassino.

St. Gall and his companions went eastwards from Bregenz to spread the faith amongst the inhabitants of modern Switzerland, and founded a monastery from which the present Swiss canton of St. Gall takes its name. St. Fursey evangelised the region along the banks of the Marne, in France; and after he died his remains were brought to Peronne where a monastery was built for the exclusive use of the Irish, known in after years as "Peronne of the Irish."

In Germany, too, and in Belgium, Irish saints helped to spread the gospel. St. Killian, who left Ireland to become the apostle of Franconia, was martyred at Wurzburg, where a great Irish monastery stood for centuries and where the memory of St. Killian is honoured till the present day. St. Fergil helped to evangelize south Germany and was appointed by the Pope bishop of Salzburg. Though he was inferior to St. Boniface in his powers of organisation he was much his superior in theology and science, as the controversies between them about baptism and the existence of the antipodes clearly prove. St. Rumold, venerated as patron of Mechlin, and St. Livinus are largely responsible for the introduction of Christianity into Belgium. It should be remembered that these are only a few of the Irishmen who preached the gospel on the Continent, for hundreds of their countrymen imitated their example, and large numbers of Irish monasteries were established all over Europe.

In the revival which took place in the days of Charlemagne, Ireland, as might be expected, took a leading part. Charlemagne, wishing to put an end to the ignorance which reigned throughout his dominions, summoned scholars from all parts of the world to assist him. Amongst those who responded to his appeal or the appeal of his successors were Clement and Joseph, both Irishmen, the former of whom taught at Paris and the other at Pavia; Dungal, John Scotus Erigena, whose knowledge of Greek was unequalled in his own time and whose influence in philosophy made itself felt for centuries; Sedulius, the poet, and Dicuil, the astronomer. Wherever the Irish monks and scholars went they were kindly received, and grants of land were made to them by kings and princes for the establishment of Irish houses. The great Irish monasteries that studded western Europe from Iceland to Sicily, and from the Atlantic to the Danube, and the thousands of manuscripts lying in the libraries of Italy, France and Germany composed or copied by Irishmen bear witness to the success and the influence of the Irish schools on the Continent. Iona, Lindisfarne, Pobbio, St. Gall, Peronne, Wurzburg, Ratisbon and Cologne are places which cannot be forgotten by the historians of Europe.

Christianity in Celtic Britain

Britain received its name from a Celtic race, the Britons, who conquered the country about two centuries before the coming of Christ. These in turn were themselves reduced to subjection by various generals of the Roman army who effected a landing in the country in the years 54 and 55 B.C. Claudius continued the work that had been begun by Caesar, and Agricola nearly finished it when he subjugated the whole of the country south of the Grampian Hills. The northern portion of the country was occupied by the Picts, another Celtic race. To defend Britain against these, as well as against the Irish invaders who not unfrequently made common cause with the Picts, walls were built by Hadrian (122), Antoninus (142), and by Septimius Severus (202).

Christianity was introduced at a very early period into Britain, as is shown by the fact that the church of Britain was well known on the continent towards the end of the second century. At first the Christian religion was confined probably to the Roman colonists, but gradually many of the Britons were converted, and it is safe to say that in the fourth century a flourishing church existed in the country. The presence of bishops from Britain at many of the great councils celebrated in the fourth century, and the praise bestowed on the Christians of Britain by such champions of orthodoxy as St. Hilary and St. Athanasius establish beyond doubt that the Christians of Britain were at one with the Christians throughout the world in matters of doctrine. With the Arian heresy the Britons as a body had no sympathy.

But though Arianism failed to gain a foothold, the same unfortunately cannot be said about Pelagianism. Pelagius the author of this heresy was himself born in Britain, though his parents probably belonged to one of the Irish settlements established on the west coast of Britain. He was educated at Bangor, in Wales, which must have been even at that time a flourishing seat of learning, and went to Rome where he began first to make public his heretical teaching. There is no evidence to prove that after this time Pelagius returned to his native country, but some Britons, notably Faustus and Agricola, embraced his errors on the continent, and the latter helped to spread Pelagianism in Britain. The bishops finding themselves unable to combat the preachers of heresy turned to St. Germanus of Auxerre, then one of the best known men in the western world, for advice and assistance. St. Germanus was commissioned by Pope Celestine to undertake a campaign against Pelagianism in Britain, and assisted by St. Lupus of Troyes, he arrived in the country about the year 429. His efforts were completely successful, and before his return to the continent about the year 431 Pelagianism was practically extinguished in Britain. Some years later, however, the trouble began again, and he was obliged once more to undertake a journey to Britain about the year 447. From this time forward the Pelagian heresy seems to have had but little if any support in Celtic Britain.

The Anglo-Saxon Church

But hardly had this danger passed away than a new and more serious danger appeared from an entirely unexpected quarter. Even in the days when the Roman Empire was strong, it required the presence of its best trained legions and the skill of its ablest generals to prevent the Picts and the Irish from becoming masters of the country; but when the power of the empire began to go down, and when it was assailed on all sides by barbarian hordes, it became necessary to recall the garrisons from the outlying provinces for the defence of the capital, and the British princes were informed that they might be prepared to defend themselves. Bands of Saxons from the districts lying along the north east of the Rhine began to invade the country as early as the year 429, and these were followed by other Germanic tribes, notably the Angles; so that before the end of the sixth century the greater part of Britain was in the hands of the barbarians, and it was only in Wales, Cornwall and in the northern kingdom of Strathclyde that the Britons were able to maintain their independence. The new conquerors split up the country among themselves, and England was divided into seven or eight practically independent kingdoms. This invasion destroyed Christianity in the greater part of the country, and it became necessary to do again for the new conquerors what had been done in the early centuries for the Celtic inhabitants of Britain.

Towards the end of the sixth century St. Gregory, then a Benedictine monk, and afterwards the illustrious Pope Gregory the Great, passing one day through the Roman forum, and seeing some youths from England exposed for sale as slaves, inquired who they were and whence they came. When he learned that they were Angles and that they came from a country still pagan he determined to devote his life to the conversion of England, but the Romans were so attached to him that they would not allow him to undertake the mission. After his election as Pope he did not lose sight of the subject, and about the year 595 he despatched a number of monks to England headed by St. Augustine, who is known in later ages as the apostle of the country. Armed with letters of introduction to various persons of influence in Gaul, St. Augustine set out for England and landed in the kingdom of Kent.

Ethelbert, who was king at the time, was not entirely unacquainted with the Christian religion, and was not unfavourable to its introduction into his kingdom. He offered St. Augustine a site for a church at Canterbury, which offer was accepted, and at Canterbury the saint established his primatial see. Meanwhile, other missionaries had been sent from Rome, notably Mellitus, the first bishop of London, Justus, the first bishop of Rochester, and Paulinus, the apostle of Northumbria. In a short time the greater portion of the inhabitants of Kent were converted to the faith, and before the death of Augustine in 605, Christianity had secured a firm foothold in Britain.

In the work of converting the Saxon conquerors of England St. Augustine had sought for assistance from the Celtic bishops in Wales; but these men, mindful of the destruction and of the cruelties inflicted on their race and country by the Saxons, and regarding Augustine in some way as an ally and a friend of the Saxons, refused to assent to his request. Such a refusal was, indeed, wrong, but in the circumstances of the country) was not unintelligible, nor was it dictated by opposition to Rome as has been so often asserted. Owing to its insular position the Celtic church of Britain, like that of Ireland, preserved its own peculiar customs and discipline which differed slightly from those introduced by the new missionaries, but there is no evidence that the Britons wished to cut themselves off from the rest of the Church by refusing obedience to the apostolic See. The strongest document brought forward to prove the independence of the British church is the letter asserted to have been addressed by Dinoot, abbot of the great monastery of Bangor, to St. Augustine, but it has been admitted long since by scholars that this letter was not the work of the abbot of Bangor but of a Protestant forger of the seventeenth century.

Meanwhile, how fared it with the northern inhabitants of Britain? In the early years of the fifth century St. Ninian, himself a Briton, went to Rome and having studied there and probably also at the monastery of St. Martin at Tours, returned to his native country and set himself to evangelize the southern Picts. He built his first monastery in Galloway, on the northern shores of the Solway Firth. This house was known as Candida Casa, or Whithorn, and here a great many of the founders of the Irish schools went for their early training. In his own life St. Ninian's efforts among the Picts and the inhabitants of Strathclyde were attended with great success, but after his death about the year 412 many of them must have been lost to the faith, as we learn from the letter of St. Patrick to Coroticus in which he speaks of the "apostate Picts."

It was St. Columba, however, who had been chosen to be the apostle of Scotland. His countrymen had already established a strong Irish community in the district now known as Argyle, and after the battle of Culdreimhne, either on account of the penance imposed upon him for the part which he had taken in bringing about this battle, or, as is more likely, urged on by his zeal for the spread of the faith, he determined to devote his life to the conversion of the Picts. The little island of Iona, off the coast of Scotland, was placed at his disposal, and there he founded the monastery which for centuries was the most famous of western Europe. From Iona St. Columba and his monks went forth to preach the gospel throughout Scotland and the isles, and the inhabitants responded to their appeal. Brude, king of the Picts, astonished at the miracles which were wrought at his very gates by St. Columba, himself received the faith, and most of his countrymen followed his example, so that before the death of St. Columba in 597 a great portion of Scotland had embraced the Christian religion.

The missionaries from Rome were very successful in Kent, Essex, East Anglia, and Northumbria. Paulinus had succeeded in winning over Edwin, king of Northumbria, and had set up his see at York, but the victory of the pagan king, Penda, at the battle of Hatfield in the year 633, destroyed for a time the prospects of Christianity in Northumbria. Oswald, however, who had fled to Ireland or to the Irish colonies in Scotland, returned to establish himself as king of Northumbria. He was a devoted Christian himself, and being acquainted with the Irish monks naturally turned to Iona for assistance in the work of converting his countrymen. The monk Aidan and his companions responded to this request, and the king made a grant to them of the island of Lindisfarne, where Aidan established his monastery and bishopric. St. Aidan and his companions were so successful in the work that some writers have not hesitated to assert that it is St. Aidan and not St. Augustine who should be called the apostle of England. From Lindisfarne the faith was preached through Northumbria and Middle Anglia. To Aidan in the See of Lindisfarne succeeded St. Finian, and to St. Finian, Colman. It was during the episcopate of the latter that the dispute between the Roman missionaries and the Irish broke out regarding the date for the celebration of Easter. Colman not wishing to abandon the practice that had been observed by his countrymen left Lindisfarne, but his work was done. The missionaries from Rome and those from Iona had given the faith to the new conquerors of England, and English monks in turn were preparing to spread the gospel amongst the pagan nations on the Continent,

It was Theodore, however, who completed the organisation of the Church in England, and who helped to give the monastic schools in that country the high place which they held for Centuries in western Europe. Theodore was himself a Greek, a native of Tarsus, and was appointed archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian about the year 668. He came to England, and realising that the work of conversion was well nigh accomplished, he set himself to establish regular dioceses and to draw up rules for the guidance of the clergy and the government of the Church. In carrying out this work he came into conflict with the saintly Wilfrid, who had been appointed bishop of York and whose diocese Theodore determined to split up. Wilfrid appealed to Rome and the division that had been made was set aside. Both men were zealous for religion, and each lived long enough to appreciate the aims and policy of the other. Wilfrid shares with Theodore the honour of putting the finishing touches upon the work of Christianizing England.

The great progress of religion and learning in the country during the eighth century is clearly proved by the flourishing state of the schools, and by the large number of saints and scholars who went from England to spread religion and learning throughout western Europe. The most remarkable of the English scholars was undoubtedly the Venerable Bede (672–735). In the extent and thoroughness of his knowledge he stood alone amongst his contemporaries, and in ages after his death the authority of the monk of Jarrow was sufficient to put an end to nearly every discussion. Many works from his pen have been preserved, but the best known and probably the most valuable is his Ecclesiastical History of England. Amongst those who made the name of the English church famous throughout Europe were St. Wilfrid, St. Willibrord, the apostle of the Frisians, Alcuin who did so mach for the revival of learning in the days of Charlemagne, and, above all, St. Boniface the apostle of Germany.

Controversies in the Celtic Churches of Ireland and Britain

The Celtic church in Ireland and Britain was, as we have seen, closely united to Rome and to the other parts of the Christian world in faith and government, but in matters of discipline and ritual the Celtic Christians of Ireland and Britain had many customs and practices peculiar to themselves. This is what might be expected if it be borne in mind that ritual and discipline were likely to change with the lapse of centuries, and that Ireland and Britain being cut off to a great extent from the other countries were not likely to take notice of these changes. The Irish church guarded jealously the rites and customs which she had received from her earliest missionaries, and so devoted were the Irish of the seventh century to St. Patrick and St. Columba and to the other great saints who had instructed them in the truths of the gospel, that they were unwilling to change even an iota of what these saints had introduced or approved.

The subject which gave rise to the sharpest controversy between the Celtic church and the rest of Christendom was the date on which Easter should be celebrated. The council of Nice had determined that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the vernal equinox, but it did not fix any method for determining the exact date on which this Sunday should fall. Many systems were adopted and set aside in Rome during the fourth and fifth centuries till at last Dionysius, in the sixth century, devised the method of calculation which remains in use till the present time.

One of the older systems followed in Rome had been introduced by the early Christian missionaries into Britain, and was known to St. Patrick who brought with him Easter tables calculated according to the method in vogue in the British church. All went well until the arrival of St. Augustine and his companions in England about the beginning of the seventh century. They discovered in a short time that though the Celtic church in Britain always celebrated Easter on a Sunday, the date of Easter did not always correspond with the date on which the festival was celebrated at Rome; and they were still more astonished when they learned that on this particular point the church of Ireland was at one with the church in Britain. St. Columbanus on his arrival in Gaul was attacked on this matter by the bishops of Gaul, and he turned instinctively to Rome to secure the approval, or at least the toleration, of the Pope for his custom and the custom of his countrymen.

Laurence, the successor of St. Augustine in the See of Canterbury, addressed a letter of remonstrance to the Irish bishops and abbots. Little attention, if any, seems to have been paid to this document, but shortly afterwards some of the Irish ecclesiastics themselves began to maintain that Ireland should give up a custom that was against the practice of the rest of the Church. Cummian was the leader of this movement, and by his exertions a synod representative of southern Ireland was held at Magh Lene about the year 629. The conference seems to have agreed to abandon the Irish custom in favour of the Roman one, but opposition having arisen later on it was determined to send an Irish embassy to Rome. Owing to the report of the ambassadors who had been sent to Rome and to the letter of Pope Honorius I., the southern half of Ireland adopted the Roman practice before the middle of the seventh century.

In the north, on account of the influence of the monks of St. Columba who were jealous of the slightest interference with the custom approved by their founder, the old practice still continued. The bishops and abbots of this district sent a letter to Rome to explain their position but the reply was unfavourable. The Irish Easter had been introduced into England by the monks of Lindisfarne, and as the Roman Easter was followed in the parts of England evangelised by the Roman missionaries, the observance of Easter on different dates gave rise to grave inconvenience. At last a great conference was held at Whitby (664) between the supporters of the rival systems at which king Oswy presided, Colman, abbot and bishop of Lindisfarne, was present to defend the custom of his countrymen, and Wilfrid, a student of the Irish monks of Lindisfarne, was the champion of the custom of Rome. Colman alleged in favour of his own view the authority of St. Columba, and made an impassioned appeal to the assembly not to abandon what had been inculcated by such a great servant of God. Wilfrid, however, diminished the effect of this appeal by opposing to the authority of St. Columba the authority of St. Peter, to whom Christ had said, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My church, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Oswy demanded of Colman whether these words were really spoken to St. Peter and if they were, could he point to a similar promise made by Christ to St. Columba. Colman was obliged to admit that to Peter alone was this promise given, whereupon Oswy promptly closed the discussion by deciding in favour of Rome, Colman and his friends, rather than abandon the practice of their founder, returned to Lindisfarne, raised up the bones of their saintly dead, bade adieu to the monastery that they loved and set sail for Ireland. In a short time, however, the Roman custom was followed in the north of England, in Ireland and even in Iona. The Celtic Christians of Strathclyde followed the example of Iona and Lindisfarne by adopting the Roman custom, the Christians of Cornwall abandoned their own method of reckoning Easter, in the beginning of the eighth century, as did also Wales towards the end of the same century.

The Union of Church and State

The Overthrow of the Roman Empire

The division of the empire into two parts, one governed from Rome the other from Constantinople, and a long series of weak rulers, made it impossible for Rome to resist the barbarians who flocked from the north and east into its fertile provinces. In the anxiety of the emperors to protect the capital, the Roman legions were summoned home from the confines of the empire. Province after province was abandoned though not without a struggle; bribes were offered to stop the advance of the invader; but the torrent could not be rolled back by such means, and more than once Rome was obliged to open its gates to the foreigner. In the year 410, Alaric, king of the Goths, surrounded the city and for three days the Roman citizens and their treasures were at the mercy of his troops. In the year 452 Attila, leader of the Huns, marched into Italy and advanced upon Rome. Leo the Great who was Pope at the time went out to meet him alone, and so great was the impression made upon the savage leader by the saintly pontiff that Attila consented to withdraw his forces and returned towards the Danube. Three years later, Genseric, king of the Vandals, who had conquered Spain and northern Africa led his forces against Rome. Once more Leo went out to meet the invader, but this time he was not so successful and Rome was given up to plunder. Finally Odoacer, king of the Heruli, put an end to the western Roman empire about the year 476.

Chief amongst the warlike races before whom the empire went down were the Goths, the Vandals, the Huns, the Lombards, the Franks, and the Saxons. The Goths were the first to advance from the Danube, and after settling for a time in Italy, a branch of them, the Ostrogoths or Eastern Goths, returned whence they came, while the other branch, the Visigoths or Western Goths settled down in south-west Gaul and in Spain. The Franks were a Germanic tribe, one branch of which settled along the Rhine in the district now known as Belgium, and the other south of the Moselle in the north-eastern portion of modern France. The Vandals marched through central Europe and took possession of Spain and North Africa, and other Germanic tribes, the Saxons and the Angles, captured the Roman province of Britain; while the Lombards, who were the last of the invaders from the east took possession of the district in northern Italy now known as Lombardy.

The Conversion of the Barbarians

The new conquerors were either pagans who knew nothing about Christianity except to hate it, or Arians filled with enmity towards the Catholic Church. They were, as a body, rude and uncultured, detesting the clergy and their schools, and anxious to enrich themselves by plunder, so that for a time it seemed as if the results of centuries of civilisation were doomed to destruction before the onward march of the barbarian invaders.

At this critical juncture so important for the future of Europe, it was the Catholic Church alone that interposed its authority to prevent Europe from relapsing once more into barbarism and to preserve for future generations the treasures of ancient Rome. The Church stood between the savage conquerors and their helpless victims, exhorting the former to abandon their idols and false gods and to submit themselves to the one true God who had sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem mankind, and reminding the latter that by their wickedness they had brought upon themselves this awful visitation, and that by repentance and prayer alone could they hope for relief and consolation.

Nor were these exhortations without fruit. The new races, who had come determined to crush the Catholic Church, became in a short time its most ardent defenders. They recognised the zeal and the courage of Popes like Leo the Great, and Gregory the Great, who had shown themselves most anxious to share with them the blessings of the faith; they became deeply attached to the good Benedictine monks whose example and instruction had done so much to spread education and civilisation amongst them; they were amalgamated with the races they had conquered, and in a few centuries a new people was developed that contained much that was best in the characters of the Roman, the Celt, the Goth, and the Teuton.

Never was the power of the Church and of religion displayed to greater advantage than on this occasion, and never should Europe forget the debt which it owes to her for having checked the onward march of barbarism, for having changed and uplifted the characters of the invaders so as to prepare them for the great intellectual revival of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and for having preserved the literary and artistic treasures of ancient Rome so as to render possible the renaissance movement of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The Anglo-Saxons, as we have seen, were converted in the sixth century by St. Augustine and the Roman missionaries aided by the Irish monks from Iona and Lindisfarne. The Goths of Spain were won over from Arianism after the conversion of their king, Recared (586–601). The Lombards, too, abandoned Arianism through the exertions of their queen, Theodolinda, backed by the influence of Pope Gregory the Great and the Irish monks of Bobbio. The Burgundians, a people who had settled in the south-east of France, were strengthened in the faith by St. Columbanus and his monks, and the Franks, who had settled along the west bank of the Rhine were converted mainly through the efforts of St. Livinus and other missionaries from Ireland.

But of all these races none were destined to play such a part in the future of Christianity and of Europe as the Franks and the Germans. Clovis, who may be regarded in a sense as the founder of the kingdom of France, received the title of "eldest son of the church," on account of the fact that he and his race were the first of the invaders to receive the pure Christian faith untarnished by heresy or schism. He was married to Clotilda who was herself a Christian, and being hard pressed at the battle of Tolbiac (590), he implored the aid of the God of Clotilda and of the Christians, and promised that if his prayer were heard he should accept the Christian faith. His prayer seems to have been heard, for he was entirely successful. Clovis became a Christian himself, and through his exertions the true religion was embraced by the great body of his people, so that in a short time the church of France took its place as one of the great churches of Europe.

It was at a later date that the gospel was preached to the Germans on the other side of the Rhine. There, Irishmen like St. Killian and St. Fridolin aided by many of their countrymen, worked with great success. They preached the faith and established here and there Christian communities, but somehow or other they did not appear to have the gift of organisation. They took few steps to establish bishoprics, to arrange for a regular supply of clergy, and in a word to insure the permanency of their work. The man who really converted the Germans and who set up the Church in Germany was the Anglo-Saxon monk, St. Boniface, who deserved well the title by which he was known in after ages, namely, apostle of Germany. St. Boniface was born in Devon about the year 680, and after his ordination, aroused by the news of the success of his countryman Willibrord in Holland, he determined to preach the faith to the Frisians who inhabited that country. But many obstacles impeded his progress and he was obliged to return. The next year, having received the blessing and approval of Pope Gregory II. for his projected mission in Germany, he set out from Rome and preached in many of the states which now form part of the German Empire. When he saw the great results which attended his efforts he returned to Rome in 722, and was consecrated bishop of Germany. Ten years later he was appointed archbishop with full powers to set up bishops among the peoples he converted. He built a great monastery at Fulda which was for centuries the leading monastery in Germany; he established his own metropolitan See at Mayence; he arranged the limits of a great many bishoprics and drew up a code of laws for the government of the church in the country. When he had finished his work he was an old man, but neither age nor infirmity had diminished his zeal, and he determined to carry out the project so dear to his heart, the conversion of the Frisians. He set out on this mission accompanied by a few companions, and on the eve of Pentecost day, when he was about to administer baptism to a number of his converts assembled on the banks of the river Borne, he was surrounded by a band of pagans and was put to death for the faith. But he had lived long enough to accomplish the work for which Providence had called him. The church of Germany was firmly established.

The conversion of the Saxons was a difficult work, but after this sturdy race was subdued by Charlemagne about the year 805, large numbers of them embraced the Christian faith. Poland and Hungary were converted in the ninth and tenth centuries, as also the nations of the north, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The Temporal States of the Holy See

From a very early time donations and bequests were made by the faithful to the Holy See, in order to provide the Pope with the mean' of relieving the wants of the poorer Christians and of having the gospel preached to the unbelievers. After the conversion of Constantine and the recognition of the Christian religion as the official religion of the empire, valuable estates situated in different parts of Italy and Sicily passed into the hands of the Pope. About the same time, owing to his position as head of the Church, and owing to the important privileges conferred upon him by the emperors, the Pope secured a certain amount of temporal authority in Rome and the adjoining district. This authority was extended very much when the seat of the empire had been removed to Constantinople; and in later times when invaders began to threaten the capital and when the rulers were unable to protect their people, the Popes stood between Rome and danger, and the Romans came to regard the Pope as their natural protector. In the fifth century Leo the Great endeavoured to protect the capital; in the seventh century Gregory the Great adopted a similar policy, and in the eighth century Pope Zachary interposed in order to induce the Lombard leaders to withdraw their forces from the gates of Rome. In this way the people began to look to the Pope as their real leader and sovereign, and to pay very little attention to the eastern emperors who claimed the authority and yet were unable and unwilling to defend their subjects.

During the Iconoclastic troubles the eastern emperors practically declared war on the Popes, and tried to seize the estates that had been handed over to the Church. At the same time the Lombards were concentrating their forces on Rome and central Italy, and the Pope, seeing no other hope of protection, appealed for assistance to Pepin who had just been appointed king of the Franks. Pepin promptly responded to this appeal by leading an army into Italy, and when he had succeeded in driving back the Lombards, he handed over to the Pope large territories stretching along central Italy, to be ruled by him and his successors with full sovereign rights. The inhabitants were delighted at this change which gave them as king the man whom they had hitherto regarded as their protector. At a later period, the Lombards having again invaded the Patrimony of St. Peter, Charlemagne crossed the Alps, reduced the Lombards to subjection, confirmed the grant of Pepin and added additional territories to the kingdom of the Pope (774).

The Holy Roman Empire

The Merovingian line of rulers who followed Clovis on the throne of France were entirely worthless and wicked, and the whole power passed into the hands of the leading ministers, who were called Mayors of the Palace. The most famous of these were Charles Martel, who at Poitiers withstood successfully the advance of the Saracens from Spain, and Pepin the Short, on whom the people wished to bestow the royal dignity as well as the royal power. Pope Zachary approved of their choice and Pepin was crowned king. Pepin was succeeded by his sons Carloman and Charles, but on the retirement of Carloman after a few years, Charles, known as Charlemagne or Charles the Great, became the sole ruler of the dominions of his father. He was a man of great ability and great military genius who was determined to weld together the greater part of western Europe into one vast united kingdom. He conquered the Saxons in the east and the Lombards in the south. He repelled the Scandinavian invasion from the north, and he ruled with undisputed sway over an immense territory comprising modern France, northern Spain, northern Italy, Switzerland, the greater portion of Germany, Holland and Belgium.

In the year 800 Charlemagne visited Rome and while assisting at Mass on Christmas morning he was crowned by Pope Leo III. and saluted as emperor of the west. Thus a new kingdom was set up in place of the old Roman Empire, and its rulers pledged themselves to be the protectors of religion, the mediators of peace among Christian nations and the special defenders of the Holy See.

During his life Charlemagne was the patron of religion and of learning throughout his vast dominions. He secured the appointment of good bishops, and endeavoured to raise the tone of clerical life by insisting that those of the clergy who were not monks should live at least under a canonical rule. He convoked several synods which were attended by the bishops and princes to reform the abuses that had crept in, and to arrange for the better government of the Church. Anxious to put an end to the state of ignorance that was then too general in his dominions, he called together scholars from all parts of the world, especially from England and Ireland, and established schools in the country over which he ruled. When he died in 814 his remains were laid to rest in the cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, which he himself had built.

The Union of Church and Stale

The vast empire over which Charlemagne ruled did not long remain united after his death. On the death of Louis the Mild it was split up amongst his three sons, and the question as to who should have the imperial dignity gave rise to constant wars. France separated entirely from the empire on the accession to its throne of Hugh Capet in the ninth century, and the ruler of Germany who claimed to be the emperor was often unable to maintain his authority against the princes and leaders who contested it in Italy. As a consequence the emperors were unable to carry out their pledges to protect the Holy See; various factions in Italy struggled to place their own partisans in the chair of St. Peter; not unfrequently unworthy men received the papal dignity, and for the greater portion of the tenth century the condition of the Papacy can be described only as deplorable.

Again, on the introduction of the Feudal System according to which the land was parcelled out among the greater nobles, on condition of military service, rulers found it safe to have bishops and abbots as their feudal subjects. They were likely to be loyal when others might rebel, and hence the bishoprics and abbacies were endowed with immense territories and the bishops and abbots became great secular rulers. At first these endowments were useful, because they gave the ecclesiastical rulers a position of authority and supplied them with funds for carrying on works of charity and education.

As long as good men were elected there was little danger of abuse, but soon the ceremony of investiture by which the feudal subject received his authority began to take the place of canonical election, and men were appointed bishops or abbots for other reasons besides their fitness for these sacred offices. Even had the bishops been the best of ecclesiastics they had a difficult work before them on account of the frequent wars that broke out over Europe, but when many of the bishops were totally indifferent and paid no attention to their spiritual duties, it is not to be wondered at that the clergy fell from their high level and that demoralization set in rapidly among the people.

In spite of the efforts of men like St. Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, Ratherius of Verona, St. Peter Damian, and Benedict of Aniane, the reformer of monastic life, ignorance, immorality and simony were only too common amongst the clergy. These sad results were due entirely to the enslavement of the Church by the State, and to the want of freedom in the election of bishops and popes; and the tenth and eleventh centuries, the real dark ages, instead of being a reproach to the Church, serve rather as a reproach to the oppressors of the Church and a warning to those who would restrict her liberties.

The Eastern Church


While the western church was making great strides in the conversion of the new races who had overrun the greater part of Europe, the Christians of the eastern empire were torn by dissension, and unable to protect their territories against the dangers that threatened them from the Persians and later on from the followers of Mahomet.

Mahomet the prophet (570–632) was a native of Arabia, and both at home and in his travels abroad he was brought into contact from time to time with Christianity, Judaism and the principal religious systems of the east. From all these he devised a new religious system, the principal tenet of which was that there is but one God and that Mahomet is his prophet. Fired with enthusiasm by the visions and the promises of assistance which he imagined were given to him from on high, he presented himself to his countrymen at Mecca in the year 622, as the special messenger of God, but indignant at the threats hurled at all those who dared to oppose his progress they rose up against him, and expelled him from the city. Mahomet fled to Medina, the city of the prophet, and from this flight, known as the Hegira, the Mahomedan era begins.

In Medina the prophet was received with honour, and having gathered around him a body of devoted and loyal supporters, he advanced once more towards Mecca, captured the city by force and destroyed the idols that filled the Kaaba or Holy House. Before his death in 632 he had conquered the greater part of Arabia, and twenty years after his death Syria, Palestine and Egypt were reduced to subjection by the Caliphs, his successors. In the eighth century the whole of northern Africa fell into the hands of the Mahomedans, and from Africa they penetrated into Spain, where they were known in later ages as the Moors. Crossing the Pyrenees they advanced into Gaul. It seemed for a time as if Europe was at their mercy, but Charles Martel assembled an immense army, marched southwards, defeated them at Poitiers (732) and by this victory saved Europe from enslavement.

The religious system of Mahomet is contained in the Koran, which Mahomet alleged was revealed to him by the angel Gabriel, but which in reality is only a mixture of the teachings of the Old and New Testaments, the apocryphal writings, and of Parseeism. According to his system there is but one God. Of this God, Abraham, Moses and Christ were the special messengers, but it was reserved for Mahomet, the greatest and last of the prophets, to complete the divine revelation. It inculcated also prayers, fasting and alms deeds, but made no attempt to lay down a definite system of morality or to insure internal sanctification.

Mahomedanism owes its rapid propagation partly to the personal qualities of Mahomet himself, partly to the injunction laid upon his followers to spread his doctrine by the sword and the promise of eternal enjoyment held out to those who would die for the Koran, and partly also to its loose system of morality, whereby the followers of the prophet were allowed to give full licence to their passions in the places which they conquered. The spread of Mahomedanism cannot be compared for a moment with the spread of the Christian religion, because, unlike Mahomedanism, Christianity was a new religion, inculcating doctrines opposed to all that was sensual in man, relying merely on the preaching of the Apostles and their successors for its success and obliged to contend against all the forces of the Roman empire. Its soldiers were the apostles and those they left behind them to take their place, and its only weapon was the Cross.

The Iconoclastic Controversy

Disunion seemed to have been the great characteristic of the Eastern Christians, as is evident from the fact that in the east all the great heretical systems that disturbed the peace of the Church found sympathy and support. For the westerns the Greeks entertained feelings of the greatest contempt, and more especially after the seat of the empire was removed from Rome to Constantinople the Greeks were jealous of the authority of the bishop of Rome, so that it required great tact and patience to keep them from separating themselves from the centre of unity.

Various causes of dispute between the east and the west arose from time to time, but the one that did most to disturb Christian harmony and that left behind it the bitterest memories was the controversy about images, known as the Iconoclastic controversy.

From a very early time the use of pictures and statues in the buildings set aside for religious service was customary both in the west and the east. On the walls of the Catacombs were sketched rude pictures, some of them real representations of Christ and the Blessed Virgin, some of them symbolic, and at a later time when Christian churches were built, it was customary to adorn the walls with sacred pictures illustrative of scenes in the life of Our Lord, of His Mother or of His saints. This was done because, as St. John Damascene said, "Images are for the uneducated, what books are for those who can read; they are to the sight, what words are to the ear." But in the east, grave abuses had crept in, and some people seemed inclined to honour the statues and the pictures as the pagans honoured their idols.

The Emperor Leo, the Isaurian (717–741), aware of these abuses, and anxious to conciliate the Mahomedans who had a great aversion for images, ordered that all statues and paintings should be removed from the churches, and in 730 he issued a command that these statues and paintings should be destroyed. But this command was resisted by both clergy and people, and they were encouraged in their resistance by Pope Gregory II. and Pope Gregory III., the latter of whom held a synod at Rome and condemned the imperial decree (731). The Emperor in order to revenge himself on the Pope despatched a fleet against Rome, and confiscated the territories of the Holy See in southern Italy and Sicily. The war upon images was continued by his son and successor, Constantine (741–775), and by Leo IV. (775–780). On the death of the latter the Empress Irene took up the reins of government, and appealed to Pope Adrian to convoke a general council for the settlement of the controversy.

The seventh general council met at Nice in the year 787. It defined that though Christians do not honour images as gods, nor place their hope of salvation in them, nor give them the adoration due to God alone, still the use of images is lawful, and sacred images and pictures should be respected for the sake of what they represent. But this council did not put an end to the trouble. It was only on the accession of Theodora in 842 that the decrees of Nice were accepted, and the Feast of Orthodoxy was instituted to commemorate the overthrow of the Iconoclastic heresy.

A bad translation of the Acts of the council gave rise to a heated controversy in the west. Pope Adrian intervened, however, to explain his own position and the position of the eastern church. This intervention of the Pope and the learned defence of images by Dungal, an Irishman, helped to clear away misunderstandings and to bring back peace to the Church.

The Photian Schism

But hardly had the echoes of the Iconoclastic controversy died away than a new source of contention was found. Michael III. (842–867), surnamed the drunkard, was a man of very depraved character, and his uncle and minister, Bardas, instead of endeavouring to restrain him, encouraged him in his life of wickedness. Ignatius, the patriarch of Constantinople, denounced their scandalous lives and opposed their schemes. To punish him for his resistance he was deposed and Photius, a layman, was consecrated to take his place. But the followers of Ignatius were not inactive, and to make his own position secure, Photius sent an embassy to Rome to inform the Pope that much against his own will he had been chosen Patriarch. The Pope sent legates to Constantinople to decide between Ignatius and Photius, but unfortunately these men were not true to the trust reposed in them and allowed themselves to be cajoled into taking sides with Photius. The Pope, having learned the true state of things, annulled the sentence of his legates and restored Ignatius.

Photius was determined to uphold his position at all costs, and he endeavoured to stir up his countrymen against Rome. The introduction of Roman customs into Bulgaria, which the easterns claimed as part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, served to embitter men's minds and to strengthen the hands of Photius. On the accession of the emperor Basil, however, Photius was deposed (867) and Ignatius was recognised again as Patriarch. An Ecumenical Council, the eighth general council of the Church, was held to settle the dispute (869). In this council Photius was condemned, as were also the decrees against Rome that had been passed at a synod convoked by him at Constantinople.

On the death of Ignatius the emperor wished that Photius should be his successor. The Pope consented on condition that Photius should make a public apology for his conduct. Once seated on the patriarchical throne of Constantinople he continued his policy of opposition to Rome, and in the end Pope John VIII. was obliged to excommunicate him. Notwithstanding the sentence of excommunication Photius maintained himself as Patriarch until Leo VI. ascended the throne (886), when he withdrew to a monastery. But the day of separation between the east and the west was only postponed. About the middle of the eleventh century Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, issued a pastoral letter in which he renewed all the complaints alleged by the easterns against the Latin Church, and to this letter Leo IX. published a reply. His legates went to Constantinople to bring about a settlement, but the patriarch refused to meet them, and finally, in July, 1014, they entered the church of St. Sophia and placed upon the altar the sentence of excommunication. Unfortunately, the patriarch, by playing upon the national feelings of the people, was able to secure support. Since that time, though many efforts have been made to bring about a reunion, the eastern church has remained in schism.

The most important of these attempts at reunion took place at the council of Florence, in the year 1438. The Greeks, anxious to secure the help of western Europe against the Turks, professed themselves anxious for a reconciliation, and the emperor and his leading bishops consented to attend the council. After some preliminary discussion it was evident that the chief points of dispute between the two churches were Purgatory, the addition of Filioque  to the Creed and the jurisdiction of the Pope. In regard to the first both parties agreed about the existence of Purgatory, and the question of the nature of the punishment was left undefined. The second point was much more difficult. The Greeks contended that the addition of Filioque was contrary to the prohibition of the Council of Constantinople against additions to the creed and that in itself it was wrong, as it implied two entirely distinct principles from whom the Holy Ghost proceeded. In the end, however, they consented to accept the views of the western church. Finally, they agreed that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ on earth, and that to him was given the right to govern the Church. On their return to Constantinople the people, urged on by some of the bishops, refused to accept the terms of reconciliation, and in a short time the Turks surrounded Constantinople, captured the city and put an end to the existence of the Greek empire (1453).

The Struggle for Liberty

Policy of Gregory VII

The break up of the Empire and the introduction of the Feudal System deprived the Church of liberty to elect good Popes and bishops, and as a consequence, prepared the way for a general decay of discipline and for the corruption of the morals of both clergy and people. From the beginning of the eleventh century a change for the better might be noticed, but it was only when the great monk, Hildebrand, had been appointed Pope with the title Gregory the Seventh that the real work of reformation began.

Hildebrand, an Italian himself, was educated at the monastery of Clugny—the monastery to which in great part is due the movement for reform—and had served as legate of the Holy See and as adviser for more than one Pope. His abilities and zeal were so well known to everybody that on the death of Alexander II. clergy and people were unanimous that none but Hildebrand should succeed (1073). Against his will he accepted the office and took the title by which he is known in history, Gregory the Seventh.

The knowledge which he had acquired as legate and in the various offices that he held at the Roman court now stood him in good stead. He issued immediately very stringent laws against immorality, and warned the people not to receive the ministrations of religion from those clergy who were neglectful of their vows of chastity. The vice of simony which was then only too prevalent received his severest condemnation. The legates whom he sent to enforce these decrees, returned to report what Gregory himself had realised, that so long as the bishops and clergy were appointed by the influence of princes rather than by free canonical election it was impossible to hope for reform. The Pope at once rose to the occasion and struck a blow at the very root of the evil by forbidding investiture. Investiture was the ceremony by which the feudal lord conferred the ownership of property upon his tenants, and in the case of bishops and abbots it consisted in the giving to them of the ring and crozier.

The aim of this decree was merely to secure the freedom of election, but it was opposed by the lay rulers as an infringement of their rights, and by a certain number of unworthy bishops who wished for some protector to shield them from the authority of the Pope. Henry IV., who was emperor of Germany at that time, refused to accept these decrees, and knowing well that he could count upon a large body of the bishops, he convoked an assembly at Worms which decreed the deposition of the Pope. Gregory replied to this by excommunicating Henry, as well as his principal ecclesiastical supporters. The news of this excommunication made a profound impression upon the princes and people of Germany. They were unwilling to have as emperor a man who was cut off from the Church, and at the Diet of Tribur (1076) they decreed that unless Henry were reconciled to the Pope within one year he should be deposed. The unhappy emperor, deserted by all his friends and fearing for the result of the Diet, determined to make his way into Italy and to seek a reconciliation with the Pope. Accompanied by a few attendants he crossed the Alps, and presented himself as a penitent at the gates of the castle of Canossa where the Pope had taken refuge. Gregory VII., touched by his prayers and promises of repentance, absolved him from the censures that he had incurred on condition that he should attend the approaching Diet and abide by its decision.

Hardly had the emperor left the presence of the Pope than, casting his pledges to the winds, he returned to his old policy, and the princes of Germany in spite of the intervention of the Pope deposed him and elected Rudolph in his place. A civil war raged in Germany until the death of Rudolph, in 1080, when Henry marched to Rome bringing with him an anti-pope whom he determined to set up in the Vatican. After much futile discussion the forces of the emperor laid siege to the castle of St. Angelo whither Gregory had fled, but Robert Guiscard, leader of the Normans of Southern Italy, marched to the rescue of the Pope and obliged the imperial troops to retire. Gregory accompanied his liberator to Salerno where he died in ro83. "I have loved justice," he said, shortly before his death, "and hated iniquity, therefore do I die in exile."

Gregory fought not for the enslavement of the State, but for the liberty of the Church, and though he did not live to witness the triumph of his policy, yet he had given such a lead that his successors could never again tamely permit the Church to be held in a state of bondage. In a few years investiture, against which he struggled, was abandoned by most of the rulers of Europe. The king of France granted free canonical election, In England, St. Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, championed the cause of the Church with considerable success, and finally peace was made between the Papacy and Germany by the Concordat of Worms in rm. According to this concordat the emperor agreed to give up investiture by the ring and crozier and to permit free canonical election, while, on the other hand, the Pope allowed investiture by the sceptre and permitted representatives of the emperor to be present at elections. Investiture by the sceptre was not so dangerous as investiture by the ring and crozier, because it indicated clearly that the king conferred on the bishops authority only over the temporal possessions of their Sees.

The Papacy and the Empire

The controversy about investiture was only a preliminary trial of strength between the Papacy and the Empire. They were the two great powers of the middle ages, and the emperors were resolved to assert their control over the Church, while the Popes were equally determined to uphold its liberty. In order to have the Popes completely at their mercy the emperors endeavoured to establish their authority over the whole of Italy; while the Popes, on the other hand, anxious to have some power to rely upon against the emperors and against German invasion, strove to prevent the union of southern Italy and Sicily, known as the kingdom of the two Sicilies, with the empire, and encouraged the Lombard cities in the north to form a league for their own defence and the defence of Italy and the Church.

While Adrian IV., an Englishman, was Pope and Frederick I. (Barbarossa) was emperor, the second chapter in the struggle between the Papacy and the Empire began. Both were determined men, not given to compromise on what they considered questions of principle. The first misunderstandings were settled easily enough, but Frederick continuing to invade the rights of the Papacy, Adrian sent him a letter of remonstrance, which was taken by the emperor and his advisers to mean that the Pope regarded himself as feudal lord of Germany. Notwithstanding the explanations given by the Pope, Frederick led his army into Italy to assert his rights as its absolute ruler. He interfered in the appointment of bishops, and claimed authority in the territories of the Holy See, and Adrian IV. was about to excommunicate him when he himself died (1159).

The election of his successor gave rise to new trouble. The majority of the cardinals, anxious to continue the policy of Adrian IV., elected Cardinal Roland who took the title of Alexander III., while a few of the cardinals, attached to the imperial interest, gave their votes to Cardinal Octavian who claimed to be Pope under the name of Victor IV. Frederick espoused the cause of the anti-pope, and Alexander was obliged to escape to France. But the cruelty of the emperor drove the Lombard cities to form a defensive league, and under the protection of this league, Alexander III. returned. Again and again the emperor led his forces across the Alps but with little permanent success, till at last after the dreadful defeat which he suffered at Legnano he was forced to make the Peace of Venice with the Pope (1177)

In the time of Innocent III. (11981216) the struggle was renewed. It was during the Pontificate of Innocent that the policy of Gregory VII. finally triumphed, and the temporal power of the Popes reached its highest level. Innocent was involved in many quarrels with the rulers of Europe—with John of England about the election of an archbishop of Canterbury, with Philip Augustus of France whom he forced to take back his lawful wife even at the risk of the separation of France from the Holy See, and with the rival claimants for the imperial throne.

Henry VI. died leaving an infant son Frederick, to whom was given the crown of the Two Sicilies. Some of the German electors wished to have Philip, the brother of Henry VI., as emperor, others of them gave their votes to Otho, who belonged to a rival family: Innocent supported the latter who promised obedience to the Holy See, but after his coronation he broke his promises and began to invade the territories of the Pope. Innocent III. excommunicated him and released his subjects from their allegiance. The princes met and elected the son of Henry VI., Frederick II. (1215–50), and Otho was obliged to withdraw.

Frederick, however, soon showed that he was determined to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. Honorius III. (12161227) treated him with the greatest patience, and endeavoured to induce him to carry out his promise of undertaking a crusade. Finally, on account of his repeated delays in fulfilling his promise, he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX. (1227–1241), but notwithstanding the sentence of excommunication, he set out with an army for the Holy Land, concluded a truce with the Sultan and entered Jerusalem where he crowned himself as its king. On his return to Europe he was reconciled with the Pope by the Treaty of San Germano (1230).

But Frederick had no intention of changing his aims or his policy. He seized the papal territory of Sardinia for his illegitimate son, Enzio, and Gregory IX. excommunicated him once more. Frederick, instead of submitting, crossed the Alps determined to crush the Pope or to be crushed. While the army was in the vicinity of Rome, Gregory died and Innocent IV. was elected. The latter, fearing for his safety, fled to France where he convoked a general council at Lyons (1245). The bishops assembled at the council, having heard the best defence that could be made for Frederick by his chancellor, decreed his deposition and invited the electors of Germany to provide for the vacant throne.

But Frederick remained immovable, and instead of being dismayed by the dangers that surrounded him on all sides, roused himself to new activities. Leaving his son Conrad to keep in check his opponents in Germany, he himself led the flower of his troops into Italy, but disaster after disaster overtook him, till at last, while marching to the rescue of his son who had been captured, he died in 1250. Before his death he was reconciled to the Church. Conrad IV., his son and successor, died in 1254, leaving as his heir Conradin, a child of three years. The Pope anxious to secure the rights of the child appointed his uncle Manfred as regent of the Two Sicilies, but Manfred seized the throne for himself and in his treatment of the people showed himself to be a cruel tyrant. Finally, Urban IV. bestowed the crown of Sicily upon Charles of Anjou who defeated Manfred at the battle of Benevento. The people, disgusted with the rule of the French, turned to Conradin for assistance. In the struggle that ensued Conradin was captured, and in spite of the protests of the Pope, was beheaded, (1268). Thus ended the house of Hohenstaufen, and the long struggle between the Papacy and Empire seemed to have been decided finally in favour of the former.

The Great Movements of the Middle Ages

The success of the policy of Gregory VII. and the freedom which it secured for the Church gave a new impetus to religion and learning. Just as the ignorance and vice of the dark ages serve to show the results of the enslavement of the Church, so too, the religious and intellectual revival of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries bears splendid testimony to her educative and civilizing influence if only she were free to pursue her mission. Prominent amongst the great movements of the middle ages were the Crusades, the establishment of new religious orders and Scholasticism. The heresies that arose and the machinery employed for their extinction, namely, the Inquisition, also deserve consideration.

The Crusades

The Crusades were undertaken, not for the sake of acquiring new territory, but rather to rescue Jerusalem from the hands of the Turks, and to ensure the safety of the pilgrims who journeyed to the Holy Land. In these days, when the faith of many has grown cold, people fail to realise the wave of indignation that swept over Europe when it was learned that the very places that had been sanctified by the presence of Christ, even the Holy Sepulchre in which His dead body was laid to rest, were being desecrated by the unbelievers, and that the poor pilgrims who visited those shrines, so dear to the Christian world, were exposed to insult and persecution. If men are willing to die to save their national flag from dishonour, why should it be thought strange that Christian Europe should be prepared to pour out its blood in defence of the tomb of its Redeemer?

From the position the Popes held in Europe at the time it was only to be expected that they should take a leading place in such a movement. And a splendid lead they gave to the princes of Christendom. From Urban II. (1088–89) to Calixtus III. (1455–58), who, though an old man tottering to the grave, volunteered to lead the crusade in person, they left no stone unturned to make the Crusades a success. Nor did they seek from them any personal gain or profit. With such immense forces at their disposal never once did they attempt to employ them against their opponents, even when they were obliged to seek safety in flight from their capital. The Popes, indeed, hoped that the Crusades might serve to bring about a reunion of the eastern schismatics with the Church. It was the Christians of the east who were most exposed to danger, and the Popes believed that the spectacle of western Europe rallying to their defence and support would induce them, out of feelings of gratitude, to suppress their national prejudices and to unite themselves once more with the centre of Christian unity.

The first crusade owes its origin to the attacks made upon the Christians by the Seljuk Turks who had conquered Palestine. Pilgrims returning from the east, notably Peter the Hermit, spread through Europe the news of the Turkish desecrations, and Urban II. convoked two councils, one at Piacenza, and one at Clermont (1095). On the conclusion of the Popes address to the clergy and laymen assembled at Clermont they rose up and pledged themselves to a man to undertake a crusade. The crusade started about the year 1097 and had for its leaders Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine, Baldwin, Count of Flanders, Robert, Duke of Normandy, Raymond, Count of Toulouse and Bohemund of Tarentum. On the march to Jerusalem they founded two Latin Kingdoms, one at Edessa, the other at Antioch. With their numbers greatly reduced by war and plague they advanced and captured Jerusalem on Friday, the 15th July, 1099. Godfrey of Bouillon was appointed king of Jerusalem, but, unwilling to wear a royal crown where his Saviour wore a crown of thorns, he contented himself with the title of Protector of the Holy Sepulchre.

The news that Edessa had fallen gave rise to the Second Crusade (11471149), which was preached by St. Bernard. Its leaders were Conrad III., Emperor of Germany, and Louis VII. of France, but for one reason or another it proved to be a complete failure. The capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187 roused Christian Europe to make another great effort to break the Turkish domination in Palestine. Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, Philip Augustus of France and Richard Coeur-de-Lion of England volunteered to lead their forces to the rescue. Had they been as united and skillful as they were enthusiastic there could have been little doubt about their success, but unfortunately Frederick died shortly after his arrival in the east. Richard quarrelled with the Duke of Austria and Philip Augustus of France, both of whom returned. The departure of the French and the Germans so diminished the Christian forces that Richard could not hope for success, and he was obliged to make the best terms he could with the Sultan: On his journey through Europe he was captured by the Duke of Austria, and was held a prisoner until a large ransom had been paid for his liberation.

The Fourth Crusade (12024) allowed itself to be diverted from its main purpose, and was induced to take sides in the struggle between rival claimants for the throne of Constantinople. In the end, disgusted with both claimants, the crusaders determined to put them aside and to establish a Latin kingdom in Constantinople. This action only served to embitter the feelings of the Greeks and to make reunion more difficult, if not impossible. The Fifth Crusade (1218–20) was organized by Honorius III. and directed its efforts to the conquest of Egypt, but its sole result was the capture of Damietta. The Sixth Crusade was that organized by Frederick II. while he was actually excommunicated (1228). The last two crusades were led in person by Louis IX., the saintly king of France. He, too, marched on Egypt, took Damietta, and defeated the Mahomedans at the battle of Mansurah (1249), but his brother having pursued a section of the enemy too far, Louis was taken prisoner and was liberated only on the payment of a large ransom. Not disheartened by this defeat the king determined to make one last effort. He set out in 1270, but his fleet having been driven out of its course by contrary winds, he landed on the coast of Tunis where he was stricken down by the plague and died.

The crusades were to a great extent a failure, owing mainly to the want of organisation, the want of union between the Christian princes of Europe, and the contempt shown by the crusaders for the national character and customs of the eastern races. They failed to secure Jerusalem against the Turks, and they failed to bring about a reunion between the east and the west; but they delayed for a long time the great invasion with which Europe was threatened, and they taught the Turks to fear a conflict with the Christians whom they regarded before the struggle as cowardly weaklings. By bringing the west into contact with the civilisation and learning of the east they exercised an enormous influence on the intellectual life of Europe; while the necessity for building fleets to transport the Crusaders to the Holy Land and to maintain them in the field served to give a new impetus to trade and commerce, and to lay the foundations of the future commercial greatness of the Italian maritime cities.

The Religious Orders

The new Religious Orders may be divided into four classes, the Orders of Mercy whose special work was the care of the sick and the rescue of the prisoners captured by the Saracens, the Military Orders who were established mainly to fight in defence of the Holy Land and for the protection of the pilgrims, the Contemplative Orders who aimed principally at the sanctification of their members, and the Mendicant Orders who were distinguished from the others by the fact that they owned no property and were entirely dependent upon the alms of the faithful.

Of the Orders of Mercy the best known were the Anthonists, founded towards the end of the eleventh century for the care of patients stricken with leprosy; the Trinitarians, founded by St. John Matha and St. Felix of Valois for the redemption of captives taken by the Saracens, and the Order of the Blessed Virgin of Ransom, established in 1218 by Peter of Nolasco and Raymond of Penafort for a similar object.

The Military Orders were peculiar to the Middle Ages, and owe their organisation to the crusading and religious spirit of the time. The three great Military Orders were the Knights of St. John, the Knights Templars and the Teutonic Knights. The Knights of St. John were devoted at first to the care of the pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, but about 1118 a body of rules was drawn up for them according to which they were to fight in defence of the Holy Land. They were divided into knights, chaplains and lay brothers. After the fall of Acre (1291) they retired to Rhodes which they held for two centuries against the Turks, and on the capture of Rhodes in 1523, Charles V. bestowed upon them the island of Malta, from which they were driven by Napoleon.

The Knights Templars, so called because their house was built on the site of the temple of Jerusalem, secured the approval of the Pope at the council of Troyes, 1128. They were divided into knights, chaplains and brothers; and wore a white cloak adorned with a red Maltese cross. During the time of the Crusades they rendered great service to the Christian armies, and on the fall of Acre they retired to the estates which they held in the different countries of Europe.

More than once grave charges had been made against the Templars, even while in the east, and sometimes not without cause; but when they returned to Europe some of the rulers, more especially Philip the Fair of France, nervous about the existence of such a strong military body in their kingdoms and greedy for the riches which the Templars were supposed to possess, resolved upon their suppression. On the accession of Clement V. (1305), Philip the Fair laid before him a list of the grievances against the Order, but the Grand Master of the Templars promptly demanded a trial. This did not suit the policy of the king of France, and without consulting the Pope he ordered the arrest on one night of all the Templars in his kingdom (1307). The Pope protested energetically against such an act of violence, but in the end, moved by the confessions of guilt which some of the Templars were supposed to have made, he ordered that the members of the body throughout Europe should be brought to trial. During the course of the trial very damaging admissions were made by certain members of the Order in France, but in the other countries very little, if anything, was proved against them. Finally a general council assembled at Vienne in 1311 to decide the fate of the Order. At the council the majority of the bishops did not consider that the evidence was sufficient to warrant a verdict of guilty, but on account of the scandals that had been admitted and the widespread opposition to the Order, it was thought that the existence of the Templars as a body could not further the progress of religion, and that as a disciplinary measure they should be suppressed and their property handed over to the Knights of St. John.

The Teutonic Knights were a body formed at first for the care of German soldiers and pilgrims in the Holy Land, but later on they added to these duties the work of fighting against the Turks. They, too, retired to Europe towards the end of the thirteenth century, took possession of the lands assigned to them in Prussia, and acquired additional territory by the wars which they carried on against their pagan neighbours. At the time of the Reformation their Grand Master, Albert of Brandenburg, anxious to secure help against the Poles, passed over to the Lutheran camp, and converted the territories of the Teutonic Knights in east Prussia into a hereditary kingdom to be held by himself and his heirs.

Of the Contemplative Orders the two principal ones were the Carthusians and the Cistercians. The Carthusians were founded by Bruno, a priest of Cologne, who fled to La Chartreuse (Carthusium), a lonely spot near Grenoble, where he founded a new religious body (1084) and drew up for the guidance of his followers a most severe rule. This rule prescribed perpetual silence, complete abstinence from flesh meat, prayer and labour. The Carthusians were the strictest order in the Church, and in spite of many variations of fortune they clung persistently throughout the ages to the spirit of their founder.

The Cistercians were founded at Citeaux (1098) by Robert of Molesme, but the Order made little progress until it was joined by St. Bernard and his companions in the year 1113. Some time later St. Bernard founded a monastery at Clairvaux which soon became the leading monastery in Europe. No man of his time exercised such an enormous influence on ecclesiastical affairs as the founder of Clairvaux. He took a leading part in putting an end to the schism which disturbed the peace of the Church during the lifetime of Pope Innocent II.; to his preaching and his miracles was due the organisation of the Second Crusade, and in him Abelard and the false teachers of the age experienced their most powerful opponent. The renown of Clairvaux spread throughout Europe, and from Clairvaux, Cistercians went forth to found communities in the leading countries of the Continent. The relations between St. Bernard and his great Irish contemporary, St. Malachi, were very close. St. Malachi stayed at Clairvaux on his first journey to Rome, and it was at Clairvaux, on his second journey to Rome, that, surrounded by St. Bernard and his monks, he breathed his last. St. Bernard preached the funeral panegyric over his remains, and later on wrote the valuable life of St. Malachi. From Clairvaux the Cistercians came to Ireland to found the first house in the country at Mellifonf (1142).

The wealth of the Church, which arose from endowments granted by rulers and from donations given to it by the faithful, began to excite the jealousy of the enemies of religion and to furnish a weapon of attack to the heretics. Fortunately Providence inspired men like St. Francis and St. Dominic to establish new orders, the members of which should be the poorest of the poor. They were to own no property themselves, and were to rely entirely for their living on the generosity of those among whom they laboured.

St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscans, was born at Assisi (1182), and when he grew up to man's estate, having renounced his inheritance, he went forth from his father's house to devote himself to the service of the poor. Disciples soon gathered around him, attracted by the fame of his sanctity, and the church of St. Mary of the Angels (the Portiuncula), repaired by the labours of St. Francis, became the head house. The rule drawn up by St. Francis, was approved by Innocent III and afterwards by Honorius III. (1223), and large numbers hastened to join the order. St. Francis went to preach to the Saracens, and shortly after his return to Europe he received the Stigmata as a token of divine favour. The saint died in 1224 and a short time after his death Franciscan communities were established in nearly every country in Europe. Very soon disputes broke out among his followers about the interpretation of the rule of poverty, which disputes destroyed the peace of the Order for centuries. Ireland can never forget the debt which it owes to the Franciscan Friars who throughout the penal days did so much to keep alive both religion and nationality. The earliest Franciscan communities founded in Ireland were at Youghal, Kilkenny, Dublin, Multifernan, Cork, Drogheda and Waterford.

St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominicians, was a Spaniard born in 1170. Some time after his ordination, while travelling through the south of France, he was touched by the sad condition of the country, ravaged as it then was by the Albigensian heresy, and he determined to devote himself to preaching and to the instruction of the people. In this campaign he is said to have advocated warmly the devotion of the Rosary. Some volunteers hastened to his assistance, and in 1215 he secured from Honorius III. the approval of the rule which he had drawn up for his followers. The Order spread rapidly, and especially in the work of preaching and of education the followers of St. Dominic have conferred immense service upon the Church. The principal houses of the Order in Ireland were at Dublin, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Waterford, Athenry and Galway.

St. Berthold, a monk of Calabria, was the founder of the Carmelites in 1156 or, as others say, merely the reformer of an Order which can trace its descent from a community established on Mount Carmel by the prophet Elias. The rule was approved by Honorius III. (1124). It is said that the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite, and presented him with a scapular, promising at the same time her most powerful intercession to those who would wear it, and that this promise was approved and confirmed in the Sabbatine Bull issued by John XXII. The principal houses of the Order in Ireland were at Dublin, Ardee, Drogheda, Galway, Kildare and Thurles.


Scholasticism is a general term applied to the great intellectual revival which began in the twelfth century, and which manifested itself principally in the domain of Theology and Philosophy. The scholastics did not attempt to add anything to divine revelation or to teach new doctrines, but only to furnish a rational basis for Christianity by showing the harmony which exists between faith and reason, and also to reduce the doctrines contained in the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers to an orderly and definite system. The sources which they utilized were the Scriptures, the writings of the Fathers, the philosophical works of Aristotle, and the conclusions of natural science, in so far as they were known in their own time. In the exposition of their doctrines they relied more upon logical method than their predecessors had been accustomed to do.

Several causes conspired to make the movement possible, the principal of which were, the general revival which manifested itself in the Church once she had escaped from the bondage of state control, the introduction of the genuine works of Aristotle into western Europe, the establishment of religious orders and the rise of universities. These latter institutions of learning were but a development of the middle age schools; and generally owed their origin to the presence of some great teacher whose fame in some particular branch of learning attracted crowds of scholars. At first such establishments did not profess to cover the whole field of knowledge. Salerno, for example, was distinguished for medicine, Bologna for law, and Paris for theology. Later on the idea of grouping together in the one centre all branches of learning sprang up, and most of the universities had the faculties of theology, medicine, law, and arts. The whole university formed a corporate body endowed with many privileges both by Popes and rulers, and most of the Middle Age universities were established by Papal charter. The most famous of the early universities were Paris, Bologna, and Oxford.

The leading men in the early stage of the scholastic movement (twelfth century) were Anselm, the distinguished archbishop of Canterbury, Abelard whose restless spirit of enquiry, even if at times it led him astray, served to stir up his contemporaries to renewed activity, Richard and Hugh of St. Victor, and Peter Lombard, archbishop of Paris.

In the second stage of the movement the most distinguished leaders were Albert the Great and his pupil St. Thomas Aquinas, both Dominicans; St. Bonaventure, Roger Bacon and John Duns Scotus, all of them Franciscans. St. Thomas (1227–74), called Aquinas from the place of his birth, stands out prominently as the leading figure in the scholastic movement. Against the wishes of his relatives he fled as a youth to the Dominicans, and had the good fortune to have as his teacher one of the ablest philosophers of the time, Albert the Great. St. Thomas taught with distinction at Paris, Rome and Naples whither crowds of students flocked to hear him from all parts of the world. Drawing his inspiration from the Scriptures, the Fathers, the philosophy of Aristotle, and the natural sciences, to the latter of which his master, Albert the Great, had given great attention, and relying for help upon the divine illumination, for which he prayed so earnestly, St. Thomas succeeded in constructing a rational defence of the Christian religion, so complete and so harmonious, that the leading principles laid down by him must serve as a guide for all subsequent defenders of Christianity. His system is contained principally in his best known works, the Summa Contra Gentiles  and the Summa Theologica. As a testimony of the approval of the Pope the highest ecclesiastical honours were offered to St. Thomas, but he refused them all preferring to live and die, a simple son of St. Dominic. It was while he was on his way to the second council of Lyons (1274) whither he had been summoned by Gregory IX. that he was called to his reward.

The Franciscans have great reason to pride themselves on the labours of their General, St. Bonaventure (1221–1274), who, like their holy founder, was one of the most lovable of men and whose works have always been cherished by the Church; of Roger Bacon (1214–92), an Englishman, who, though at times too bold and too advanced, showed his keen appreciation of the right principle of philosophical method by strongly inculcating the necessity for testing the conclusions of philosophy by the results of natural science; and of John Duns Scotus, an Irishman, educated at Oxford who in the keenness of his intellect and his devotion to truth, was hardly inferior to St. Thomas, but whose constructive powers were by no means so highly developed as his critical capacity. He is famous especially for his defence of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In the fourteenth century Scholasticism began to lose its hold in the universities and to make way for other branches of study. This was due, partly to the fact that its greatest exponents having covered the whole field of philosophy and theology left very little for their successors to do except to quibble about trifles, and partly also to the great change which was then taking place in the whole outlook of the world. Scholars grew tired of viewing everything from a theological standpoint, and turned with eagerness from the barren discussions of the, later scholastics to the study of the classics and of the natural sciences. Instead of being united, as in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, scholars were divided into two camps, one party distrustful of the new learning, the other showing their contempt for the old system, and as a consequence religion was bound to suffer in the universities. Had there been a St. Thomas at the time or had the methods of St. Thomas been followed by his successors, the danger of a conflict between faith and science might never have arisen.

Heresies of the Middle Ages

The heresies of the Middle Ages were due, firstly, to the spirit of restless enquiry, which led some individuals to advance too rapidly and to occupy positions from which pride prevented them from retreating, secondly, to the intermingling of the western Christians in the time of the crusades with the heretics, schismatics and unbelievers of the east, and thirdly, to the excessive wealth of the Church, which excited the spleen of its critics and strengthened them in their demand for a return to the poverty and simplicity of apostolic times.

The greatest of these heresies were the Waldensian and Albigensian heresies. The Waldensians derived their name from Peter Waldo, a merchant of Lyons, who in grief for the death of a friend, determined to distribute his wealth in charity and to devote himself to the instruction of the poor. He gathered around him a number of followers, and sent them out two by two to preach in the country districts around Lyons (1170). Being laymen they were prohibited by the archbishop of Lyons from preaching, but they appealed from the archbishop to the Pope (1179). Alexander III. praised very highly their zeal but recommended them not to interfere with the duties of the clergy. They paid no attention to this advice and were excommunicated at the council of Verona (1184). Various efforts were made at later times to reconcile them with the Church but without success. Some of the Waldensians fled to Bohemia where they joined the Hussites, some of them amalgamated with the Protestants at the time of the Reformation, and some of them maintain themselves as an independent body in Italy till the present day.

The Albigensian heresy derived its name from Albigeois, a district in southern France, where it secured a very firm foothold. It was a revival of the Manichaean heresy of the early centuries, as is shown by its teaching on, the existence of two principles, one the source of all good, the other the source of all evil. The Albigensians denied the Catholic doctrines of the Incarnation and Redemption, condemned marriage and were opposed to the authority of the state. They had a regular hierarchy, resembling closely that of the Catholic Church, and relied upon one Sacrament, the Consolamentum, for sanctification.

Such a body, so dangerous alike to Church and State, so well organized and so anxious to secure recruits in France, Germany and Italy, required careful attention. During the pontificate of Innocent III. (11981216) St. Dominic preached in southern France with great success, but some of the most extreme partisans of the heresy murdered one of the papal legates sent to help in the work of their conversion. This act, in which Raymond, Count of Toulouse, was supposed to have had a hand, excited great indignation, and it was determined to send a crusade to suppress the heresy. The valiant Simon de Montfort led the crusaders, and succeeded in capturing Beziers the great centre of the Albigensian party. The provinces that were conquered were handed over to the leader of the crusade, but the war broke out once more; Simon De Montfort was killed; and in the end, owing to the intervention of the king of France, peace was made on condition that the Count of Toulouse should cede portion of his property to the king, defend the Catholic Church and establish a university to combat the heretics in his dominions.

John Wycliffe (1324–84), the founder of the Wycliffite heresy, was ordained a priest at Oxford and was appointed warden of one of the Oxford halls, from which he was removed by ecclesiastical authority. Annoyed by this removal he turned against his religious superiors, and threw himself into the camp of those who were opposing the Pope and the Church. The great social unrest then making itself felt in England gave him a splendid opportunity of creating trouble. In the disputes between Edward III. and the Pope, regarding the payment of the annual tribute promised by king John to the Holy See, Wycliffe took the side of the king, and was one of the commissioners sent to represent the king at the conference which took place at Bruges. From this conference he returned more embittered than ever against the Pope. His preaching having been brought under the notice of the authorities, the bishop of London summoned him to defend himself, but the influence of powerful patrons like John of Gaunt prevented his condemnation.

It was only in 1381, when he had gone too far in his teaching about Transubstantiation and when it was seen that his teaching was likely to stir up rebellion, that he was banished from Oxford. He took up residence at his parish at Lutterworth, where he died 1384. In his sermons and published works he contended that some men were predestined to punishment, others to salvation, that the Church was not a visible society as it consisted only of those predestined to glory, that the Pope had no divine authority, that the Bible was the sole rule of faith, that Transubstantiation should be rejected, that confession was not necessary for the forgiveness of sins, that the doctrine of purgatory was only a pure invention, and that any person guilty of mortal sin was incapable of holding property or of exercising any authority in Church or State.

In his own lifetime Wycliffe had brought together a body of followers whom he sent out as "poor. Priests" to preach to the people. Their preaching and poverty made a great impression, and the teaching of Wycliffe on ownership was only too acceptable to the lower classes then seething with discontent. Inspired largely by his doctrines they rose in rebellion and attacked both the Church and the nobles. Various efforts were made to suppress the Lollards, as the followers of Wycliffe were called, and in 1401 a statute was passed prescribing the punishment of burning for those who refused to abandon this heresy. By means of these severe measures the Wycliffite heresy was crushed, but not before it had made a deep impression on England and prepared the country in some way for the teaching of the Reformation.

From England the doctrines of Wycliffe were imported into Bohemia by John Huss, who by playing upon the national feelings of his countrymen, then bitterly opposed to the Germans, acquired great popularity and succeeded in securing strong support for his false doctrines. The archbishop of Prague forbade him to preach and this prohibition was confirmed by the Pope, but Huss refused to obey and appealed from the Pope to a general council. When the council of Constance met in 1414 Huss went to it and was allowed to explain his opinions, but on his refusal to abandon his heresy he was handed over to the civil authorities and condemned to death. His followers, embittered by his death, carried on a terrible war which disturbed the peace of Bohemia during the fifteenth century, and which secured support for Luther when he began his campaign against the Pope.

The Inquisition

The Inquisition is the name given to the tribunals established during the middle ages for the detection and suppression of heresy. From the very beginning the Catholic Church, claiming to be the sole custodian and exponent of divine revelation, took measures to prevent the spread of false doctrines by punishing those who put them forward, but in the circumstances of the times such punishments could be only of a spiritual character. Later on, when Church and State were united, and when so many of the heretics adopted violent measures against those who refused to accept their teaching, they were opposed by force, and in the year 383 the Emperor Maximus put some of the prominent Priscillian leaders to death. It is interesting to note that though nearly all the great Fathers of the Church were in favour of compulsion, yet men like St. Martin of Tours, St. Augustine and St. Ambrose objected to the death penalty for heresy. In the Roman code of civil law heretics were treated as disturbers of the public peace, and were to be punished by exclusion from office, loss of the privileges of citizenship, or by exile.

In the later middle ages the union between Church and State was so exceedingly intimate, that rebellion against the Church was also regarded as rebellion against the State. Such a view is not so strange as it might seem at first sight if it be remembered, on the one hand, that in these days practically the whole of Europe was Catholic and that to separate oneself from the Catholic Church at that time was to create disunion and disorder in the State, and on the other hand, that nearly all the heretics of that time as, for example, the Albigensians, inculcated doctrines subversive not merely of the Church but also of society and of constituted authority.

Many of the councils held during the twelfth century permitted the use of force against heretics where other means of persuasion failed, and ordered that the bishops should set up courts in their dioceses for the detection and punishment of heretics. Later on the Inquisition courts were placed in charge of the Dominicans. These courts had merely to try the question of the guilt or innocence of the accused. If a person who was found guilty refused to abandon his heresy he was handed over for punishment to the civil authorities. In judging the Inquisition courts, it is well to bear in mind that the warring sects that disturb the unity of the Christian world at present were then unknown, and that the Catholic Church, claiming to be the authoritative teacher of divine revelation, was bound to protect herself against those who tried to spread false doctrines amongst her children. If the State finds it necessary even to-day to prohibit the publication of rebellious or anarchical opinions and to inflict the severest penalties on those who attempt to stir up disorder among its citizens, and if all right-minded men give their approval to such a policy, why should it be thought so strange that the Catholic Church should endeavour to suppress heretical views and to punish heretical teachers?

Again, too, it should be remembered that in the middle ages the union between Church and State was very close, that the civil constitutions of most of the countries of Europe were based entirely upon Catholic principles, and that therefore every person who began to teach publicly heretical doctrines was thereby a disturber of the public peace, a rebel and a fomenter of disorder. The State itself could not undertake the work of judging what was heresy or what was not, as that belonged entirely to the Church, but once the Church decided that a person was guilty of heresy the civil authorities stepped in to inflict the punishment prescribed for such crimes by the civil law of the kingdom. It would be well, too, if critics would remember that though the Inquisition courts were cruel according to modern notions, they were much less cruel than the civil courts of England, Germany or France, and that the Protestant nations also had their Inquisition courts as, for example, the Star Chamber and the High Commission Court in England even though, according to Protestant principles, every man should be allowed to select his religion for himself. If the Catholic Church were severe she was at least logical, for she claimed divine authority in her preaching, but the same cannot be said for the oppressive measures adopted by the sects which claimed neither authority nor infallibility.

When, however, charges are made against the Inquisition, people have in their minds as a rule, not the Roman, but the Spanish Inquisition. Owing to the presence in Spain of a large number of Jews and Saracens many of whom pretended to be Catholics in order to escape punishment, the people clamoured for the introduction of the Inquisition, a step which was only too agreeable to Ferdinand and Isabella, who saw in such a measure a means of strengthening their own power. Ferdinand and Isabella petitioned the Pope to allow the establishment of a special Inquisition for Spain, and in 1478 Sixtus IV. acceded to their request. The Inquisition lasted in Spain till 1820 when it was finally abolished. It should be borne in mind that the Spanish Inquisition, although established by ecclesiastical authority and manned as a rule by ecclesiastics, was more a political weapon than a religious tribunal, and was controlled almost entirely by royal authority. Indeed, more than once the Popes endeavoured to moderate the severity of the Spanish Inquisition, but their representations produced little effect. It was employed by the rulers of Spain to strengthen their own position and to crush their opponents and not infrequently, especially in the closing years of its existence, it was used even against the Church itself. Nor should it be forgotten that most of the charges levelled against the Spanish Inquisition are made on the authority of Llorente, a traitor to his Church and to his country, and a most unscrupulous writer, some of whose statements can be proved to be false, others of them to be gross exaggerations.

State of Religion in Great Britain and Ireland


It cannot be denied that in Ireland, as elsewhere in Europe, a great decline of religion and discipline might be noticed during the tenth and eleventh centuries; nor are the causes which conspired to bring about this result in the Irish church difficult to discover. The inroads of the Danish and Norse invaders which began towards the end of the eighth century helped to prepare the way in some measure for the downfall. They came at first, these hardy warriors of the north, merely as pirate plunderers, and swooping down on the monasteries which studded the islands and the sea-coast they burned or destroyed what they could not carry away with them. Emboldened by their first successes they made their way up the rivers and lakes into the very heart of the country, carrying destruction wherever they went. Attracted by the fertility of the island, so rich in comparison with their own barren shores, they determined to effect a permanent settlement, and for a time, it seemed as if under Turgesius their design was likely to succeed, but the victory of Malachi I., and the death of their leader (845) put an end to these hopes. They settled in the maritime cities, especially in Dublin, Waterford and Limerick, and by allying themselves with some of the native princes, they were able to exercise a great influence in the country, so that it was only after the defeat inflicted on them by Brian Boru at Clontarf (1014) that their power was really broken.

During the course of these invasions the once famous monastic schools were plundered and burned—some of them more than once—and the monks and scholars killed or scattered. In later times, after the storm had passed, many of these institutions were rebuilt, but the glory of Armagh, Bangor, Clonmacnois, Clonfert and Clonard was gone, possibly for ever. When the invaders were induced to accept Christianity, owing to their hatred of the Irish and their racial connection with the Normans of England, they sent their bishops to Canterbury for consecration. It is not true to say that the archbishops of Canterbury had any authority over the Irish church. They did, indeed, for the reasons mentioned, claim jurisdiction over Waterford, Dublin and Limerick, but even in these cities their claim was contested, notably by Celsus, Archbishop of Armagh, and was rejected finally by the Pope who sent over his legate to confer the pallium on the Irish archbishops.

The second cause of the decline was the want of a strong central authority at the time, either in Church or State, in Ireland. At best the overlordship of the Ardri was seldom more than nominal. For a time it looked as if under Brian Born Ireland was to become a united kingdom, but his successful usurpation, by destroying the old law of succession, and his subsequent death at the battle of Clontarf before he had time to consolidate his power, only made matters worse, and opened the way to a ceaseless round of warfare for the title and dignity of Ardri. This want of unity prevented the establishment of a strong centre of ecclesiastical government. The archbishops of Armagh did, indeed, claim to be primates of the Irish church, but for political causes their authority was questioned in many parts of Ireland, and on this account, even had there been capable bishops in Armagh, it would have been impossible for them to exercise any effectual control.

But, unfortunately, as a matter of fact, the archbishops of Armagh were not likely to be the men to undertake a reform. Owing to the close union between the Church and the tribes, and to the fact that the civil authorities practically held in their own hands the ecclesiastical endowments, the very same results were produced in Ireland as were produced elsewhere by the working of the feudal system. Men were appointed bishops merely because they belonged to the reigning family, and in some cases laymen, as actually happened in Armagh, were appointed to the sees with the title of archbishop or bishop. These men drew the revenue but never received episcopal consecration, and they had with them a regularly consecrated bishop to perform the duties of their office.

The want of a strong ecclesiastical government tended to disorganisation in every department of religious life. The monasteries, which were once the strongholds of religion and learning, never recovered their former fame after the Danish invasion, and the monks went about without a rule. Every great family and every important monastery wanted a bishop, and in this way the number of bishops was increased without necessity, and the limits of their authority and their dioceses were not defined. In these circumstances it is no wonder that the Irish people were not what they should have been.

The authorities, for the charges levelled against the Irish church are mainly the letters of Lanfranc and of St. Anselm, archbishops of Canterbury, the works of Gillebert, bishop of Limerick, who was appointed papal legate in Ireland in the opening years of the twelfth century, St. Bernard's Life of St. Malachi, and to these might be added the decrees of the Irish synods held in the twelfth century, the testimony of the Irish annals and the Irish code of civil law. The main charges have reference to the sacrament of matrimony and divorce, to the multiplication of bishops without fixed sees and to the question of episcopal consecration by one bishop. Though it can hardly be disputed that there was some foundation for these charges, yet it should be borne in mind that this was an age of general religious decline, that some of these allegations were made by strangers who, not having an intimate acquaintance with the customs of the country, were inclined to mistake questions of ritual for questions of dogma, and that at any rate, the Irish church had still left enough religious vitality to reform itself from within in a space of fifty years.

Celsus, archbishop of Armagh, endeavoured to begin a reform by securing the erection of Cashel as a metropolitan see and by dividing Ireland into dioceses with fixed boundaries. It was St. Malachi, however, his successor, who carried through the work of reform. He was educated at Armagh, by the monk Imar, and after his ordination was employed by Celsus to assist him in the government of his diocese. But Malachi, realising that unless he himself were thoroughly conversant with the discipline of the Church, he could do very little real good, went to Lismore to study under Malchus who had been trained on the Continent. On his return to the north he re-established the monastery of Bangor, which was then in ruins, and a vacancy having occurred in the diocese of Down and Connor he was elected bishop much against his will. Celsus died in 1129, and he wished that Malachi should succeed him, but the reigning family persisted in introducing one of their own members into the see. The papal legate, Gillebert, the bishops and the princes insisted that Malachi should accept the sacred office, and after great difficulties he succeeded in having himself recognised as archbishop of Armagh. Once this work was accomplished he retired to Down. But mindful of his programme of reform, he undertook a journey to Rome to secure the pallium for Armagh as a recognition of its metropolitan dignity. On his way he stayed at the monastery of Clairvaux, and so charmed was he by the daily life of the monks that he wished himself to become a Cistercian. The Pope, however, would not give his consent to such a step, and Malachi was obliged to content himself with leaving some of his monks to be trained in the discipline of Clairvaux. These, together with other monks, came to Ireland and set up the first Cistercian house at Mellifont (1142). The Pope wished that the pallium should not be given except at the request of a national synod, but he appointed Malachi as his legate in Ireland. Accordingly a national synod was convoked at Holmpatrick (1148) to demand the pallium, and Malachi set out once more for Rome. On his way he rested at the monastery of Clairvaux where he took ill and died (2nd Nov. 1148). St. Bernard preached the sermon on the occasion of his funeral, and aided by some of the Irish Cistercian monk he wrote the valuable Life of St. Malachi.

The object of St. Malachy's mission was probably explained to the Pope by St. Bernard, and Cardinal Paparo was sent to Ireland. A national synod was convoked at Kells (1152) at which the Cardinal presided. Ireland was divided into four ecclesiastical provinces to be ruled by Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Tuam, the occupants of which sees were to be recognised formally as archbishops, the primacy, however, being reserved for Armagh. Owing to the labours of bishops like Celsus, Malachi and Gelasius of Armagh, St. Laurence O'Toole, archbishop of Dublin, Catholicus, archbishop of Tuam, and to the efforts of the papal legates, Gillebert of Limerick, Malachi and Christian of Lismore, as well as by means of the decrees passed at the synods of Rathbreasil and Kells, not to mention many others, the work of reform begun by Gregory VII. was carried to a successful conclusion in the Irish church.

But a new danger soon threatened the Irish church and the Irish nation. From the arrival of the Normans in England they had cast longing looks towards the neighbouring island, where the frequent wars between the native princes seemed to afford a good opening for invasion. It was only during the reign of Henry II. (115489) that a determined effort was made by them to secure a foothold in Ireland. The immediate occasion was the flight of Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster, to England to secure the assistance of the king against his own countrymen. Some of the Norman nobles, notably Strongbow, volunteered help. At the head of a body of trained soldiers they landed in Ireland and captured Waterford and Dublin. St. Laurence O'Toole tried to rally the Irish princes to unite and to drive out the invader, but failing in this, he endeavoured to secure for his people in Dublin the best terms possible. Henry having learned of the success of the enterprise, landed himself in Ireland 1171. He made a successful tour of the south and east of Ireland, and was accepted as feudal lord by many of the princes. He assembled a synod of bishops at Cashel "to reform" the Irish church, but the fact that this synod was called upon to legislate merely on trifling matters of discipline affords the best evidence of the success of the labours of St. Malachi, St. Laurence O'Toole and the other great Irish reformers of the twelfth century.

It is sometimes said that Henry II. secured a Bull from his countryman, Pope Adrian IV., empowering him to invade Ireland and to put religion upon a proper basis in the country. Whether this Bull of Adrian IV. is authentic or not, it is well to bear in mind that it had no effect on the conquest of Ireland, as it was only long after the Normans had secured a foothold in Ireland that the slightest reference was made to this supposed papal grant. The conquest of Ireland was neither due to spiritual weapons placed in the hands of the invaders by the Pope, nor to the cowardice of the Irish soldiers. It owed its success to the superior military tactics, training and weapons of the Normans, in a struggle with whom the Irish tribes were as helpless as would be a seventeenth century battleship against a modem dreadnought.

It is true that shortly after his accession Henry II. held a council at Winchester and despatched an embassy, nominally to congratulate Pope Adrian, but in reality to secure permission to conquer Ireland (1155). According to the statement of Matthew of Paris, however, it is evident that the ambassadors returned to announce merely that the Pope was well disposed towards England and towards the king. The embassy sent by Henry certainly failed, but where the embassy failed, John of Salisbury, claims that he succeeded. On this matter two questions are to be carefully distinguished, namely, first, did the Pope make a grant to Henry II. of the feudal lordship of Ireland, and, second, is the Bull, Laudabiliter, which purports to contain that grant, a forgery? That the Bull, Laudabiliter, drawn up as it is in contravention of nearly all the laws of the papal chancellory and especially of the very strict rules laid down for the drafting of feudal grants, can be anything else but a forgery, is difficult to conceive. The earliest authority for it is that most unreliable writer, Gerald Barry, who admits that the authenticity of the confirmatory Bull issued by Alexander III. was questioned by many in his own day. It is possible, however, that though the Bull is a forgery Adrian IV., deceived by the misrepresentations of Henry's agents, might have made the grant recorded by John of Salisbury. But if the character of Adrian IV., his knowledge of the aims and policy of Henry II., his acquaintance with the true state of affairs in the Irish church, and his refusal to make a similar grant to Louis VII. of France, be borne in mind, and if it be remembered also that no use was made of the grant for nearly twenty years after it was supposed to have been given, it is very difficult to believe that Adrian acted as he is represented to have acted by John of Salisbury or by an interpolator of John of Salisbury's works.

St. Laurence O'Toole, archbishop of Dublin, did not long survive the triumph of the foreigner. He was summoned to the third council of Lateran (1179) and was appointed papal legate in Ireland. On his death (1180) Henry determined to secure the appointment of an English ecclesiastic to the See of Dublin, and for centuries this policy was followed, not merely in Dublin, but wherever the English could exercise any influence in the country. When John Comin, the newly appointed archbishop, arrived in Dublin, he held a provincial synod at which Alban, abbot of Baltinglass, denounced in the severest terms the scandalous lives of the Norman clergy who had followed in the wake of the invader. Gerald Barry undertook the work of replying to this address but in the course of his sermon he was forced to admit that, "the clergy of this country are very commendable for religion and among the divers virtues which distinguish them they excel and are pre-eminent in the prerogative of chastity. Likewise they attend regularly and vigilantly to their psalms and hours to reading and prayer; and remaining within the precincts of the churches do not absent themselves from the divine offices to the celebration of which they have been appointed. They also pay great attention to abstinence and sparingness of food, so that the greatest part of them fast almost every day until dusk and until they have completed all the canonical offices."

Most of the great religious orders, notably the Cistercians, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, and the Augustinians were introduced into Ireland and did much for the spread of religion, both in Irish and English territories. The old Orders of Irish monks were amalgamated either with the new religious bodies or with the secular clergy, and the Irish church was organized in accordance with the canon law of that day. But the glory of the Irish schools was gone. Instead of Ireland being the teacher of western Europe, as she once had been, Irish scholars were obliged to go abroad for their education. In order to put an end to this sad state of affairs an attempt was made by the Dominicans to found a university in Dublin. Pope Clement V. and John XXII. (1322) approved of the idea of an Irish university, but for many reasons the attempt ended in failure.

During the fourteenth century Ireland was disturbed by contests between the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin regarding the primacy—a discussion which was ended in 1356, when the archbishop of Armagh was recognised as primate of all Ireland and the archbishop of Dublin as primate of Ireland—as well as by dissensions between the Irish and Norman ecclesiastics. These dissensions were carried into religious life. English monasteries refused to receive Irish postulants, and the Irish retaliated by excluding English subjects. Both parties lived side by side, but they had very little in common except the possession of the one faith and the one worship and their common submission to the Holy See.


The conquest of England by the Normans (1066) gave a new impetus to religious life in the country. For one reason or another, but principally on account of the Danish invasion, the Saxon church had fallen from the high position which it held during the seventh and eighth centuries. William the Conqueror and his successors, anxious to introduce reforms, and possibly also to secure their own power, took care to fill the important sees in England by the appointment of Norman ecclesiastics. The men appointed, as for instance, Lanfranc and St. Anselm in Canterbury, were generally worthy of their position, and spared no pains to carry out in England the policy that had been formulated by Gregory VII.

The Norman kings were thoroughly loyal to the Church and to the Pope, but they wanted to keep the control of ecclesiastical affairs to a great extent in their own hands. When Lanfranc died (1089) William II. delayed the appointment of his successor in order that he might have a free hand, and it was only when he took ill and feared that he was dying that he consented to the election of St. Anselm to Canterbury (1093). On his recovery he refused permission to St. Anselm to visit Rome, but in the end he consented, and Anselm went there in order to consult the Pope, principally regarding the attitude he should adopt towards the royal demands. On the accession of Henry I. (1100—35) the oath of homage to be taken by ecclesiastics and investiture, both of which had been condemned, led immediately to a new struggle. Anselm stoutly refused to take the oath of homage or to consecrate bishops who consented to receive investiture. As neither the Pope nor the king would give way Anselm left the kingdom, and returned only when Henry agreed to abandon investiture and to allow free election, provided that the bishops should take the oath of homage for the temporal possessions of their Sees (1106).

When Henry II. (1154—1189) ascended the throne, he resolved to assert the supremacy of the State and to hold the Church in slavery. He was a determined, unscrupulous ruler who might have succeeded in his wishes had not Providence raised up a man like Thomas a Becket to withstand his designs. Thomas A Becket, who was born about 1118, went abroad to study, and on his return, was attached to the service of Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury. Later on he was appointed Lord Chancellor, and was regarded by the king as his ablest and most trustworthy adviser. On the death of Theobald (1161) Henry, wishing to have a free hand in his policy by securing the appointment of one who would not resist him, selected his Chancellor to be archbishop of Canterbury. Much against his will, Thomas accepted this responsible office, and believing that he could not at the same time serve both the Church and Henry, promptly resigned the Lord Chancellorship, a step which cost him the friendship of the king.

Shortly afterwards they quarrelled on the question of whether clergy, accused of certain crimes, should be handed over for trial to the secular tribunals. Henry, fearing defeat on this question, suddenly changed the issue by demanding that the bishops should pledge themselves to accept the "customs" of the realm. After great persuasion Thomas agreed to do this, and then a meeting was convoked at Clarendon to formulate definitely these supposed customs (1164). The principal of these were that no election should be held for vacant benefices without the king's permission, that during the vacancy the revenues of the sees should go to the royal treasury, that no ecclesiastic should leave the kingdom without the king's permission, and that appeals should be sent to the king's court which would decide whether the cases should be tried in England or at Rome. As might be expected, Thomas a Becket promptly refused to accept such customs.

Finding his life in danger the archbishop left England and fled to France. Henry did everything he could id induce him to change his mind, but neither threats nor prayers availed to secure his confirmation of the constitutions. At last in 1170 a reconciliation was effected, when the archbishop returned to Canterbury and treated with severity the prelates who had supported the king. Misinterpreting some remarks made by Henry when the news of the archbishop's action reached him, four of his knights hastened to Canterbury, forced their way into the Cathedral and murdered the archbishop on the steps of the altar. Such a crime roused the indignation of the Catholic world; the Pope excommunicated all who had any part in the murder, and Henry, who expressed great sorrow for what had happened, consented to do public penance, and was absolved in the cathedral of Avranches (1172).

But, notwithstanding this repentance, the views and policy of Henry remained unchanged. During the reign of that worthless monarch, John (1199–1216), the dispute broke out more warmly than before. The king, anxious to have a pliant tool as archbishop of Canterbury, insisted on the election of John de Gray, but the junior monks of Canterbury refused and gave their votes to Reginald, their sub-prior. Both sides appealed to the Pope, who for the sake of peace set aside the two candidates and appointed Stephen Langton, a distinguished English ecclesiastic, who had been chancellor of Paris University and was then a cardinal of the Roman Church. John refused to consent to this election, but notwithstanding his refusal, the Pope proceeded to consecrate the archbishop-elect (1207). As the king would not allow the new archbishop to land in England the Pope laid the country under interdict (1208), excommunicated John (1209), and finally, in 1212 absolved his subjects from their oath of allegiance. The king, fearing the invasion that was threatened by Philip Augustus of France, and knowing that he could not rely upon the English, who were tired of his tyrannical rule, made a most abject submission and handed over his kingdom to the Holy See, receiving it back on condition that he and his successors should pay an annual tribute of Iwo marks to the Pope. Innocent thereupon absolved him from the censures that he had incurred, but hardly was John out of one difficulty than he found himself involved in another. The barons, disgusted with his rule, under which no man's life or property was safe, determined to force the king to grant a constitution. The archbishop of Canterbury strongly supported them in their demand, and they rose in arms and forced the king to sign the Great Charter of English liberty. (1215). John appealed to the Pope, who annulled this grant, not because he was opposed to its contents or that he was an enemy of liberty, but on account of the violent manner in which it was secured, and on account of the fact that the barons before having recourse to violence had not appealed to the Pope, who was feudal lord of England. The death of John and the subsequent confirmation of the charter put an end to the dispute.

During the thirteenth century, though the devotion of England to the Holy See was proved on more than one occasion, yet the attempts of the Popes to insist on the payment of the annual tribute so distasteful to the national pride of the English sovereigns and people, the appointments of foreigners to English benefices and the heavy papal taxes which were levied frequently led to a great deal of friction. In these quarrels much might be said on both sides. On the one hand, the Popes were obliged to employ a large number of officials to assist them in the government of the Church and to provide for their support, while the wars of the crusades involved great expense, and, on the other hand, the English people, not without reason, strongly objected to the frequent taxations and to the appointment of foreigners, who, in some cases, drew the revenues without residing in England. As a result of this friction two statutes were passed, one in 1351 called the Statute of Provisors, rendering invalid all appointments made by the Holy See to English benefices, the other in 1353 known as the Statute of Praemunire, directed against the transference to the Roman Courts of cases that should be tried in England. Both these measures were resented by the English bishops, and their observance was but rarely insisted upon by the Crown.

During the fourteenth century the progress of religion was retarded very much by the rise and spread of the Wycliffite heresy, and by the Black Plague, which ravaged the country in 1349, and during which so many of the priests and monks who stood by the post of duty perished, that several parishes were left without priests and many monasteries left practically tenantless. The wars with France and the unhappy struggle known as the "Wars of the Roses" disturbed the peace of the country and what was much worse, the civil war, by destroying the nobility, served to make the king of England what he had never been before, an absolute ruler. This will serve to explain how it was that the Tudor sovereigns could change so easily the religion of the majority of the English people.

Scotland, too, suffered badly at the hands of the Danish invaders. The great centre of religious life, Iona, was ravaged, and it was with difficulty that the bones of its saintly founder were saved from the hands of the desecrators. Many of the other centres of religion suffered also, and as in Ireland, the want of organisation helped to bring about a very serious decline of religion in Scotland during the ninth and tenth centuries. But, as in Ireland also, the work of reform was begun from within. Queen Margaret, the wife of Malcolm III. (1058–93), helped largely to correct abuses, to strengthen the ecclesiastical organisation and to abolish certain customs which were peculiar to Scotland. The want of a strong centre of Church government afforded the Normans an opportunity of claiming jurisdiction over the country. By an agreement concluded between Lanfranc and the archbishop of York (1072) Scotland was recognised as forming part of the metropolitan province of York. Later on, however, the successor of St. Anselm, in Canterbury, endeavoured to upset this decision by bringing forward the supposed jurisdiction given to St. Augustine over the. British Isles, and claimed to be himself the metropolitan of Scotland. Such a demand considering the estranged relations between England and Scotland would have been fatal to religion.

But, fortunately, it was resisted strongly and on the request of William the Lion, Pope Clement III. declared that the Scottish church was independent of Canterbury and directly subject to the Holy See. Three hundred years after this St. Andrews was erected into an arch-episcopal See (1472), as was also Glasgow twenty years later.

The new religious Orders, notably, the Benedictines, the Cistercians and the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, were introduced into Scotland, and took the places of the old monastic bodies. To provide for the education of the country, three universities, St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, were founded in the fifteenth century. The Church strongly supported the cause of national independence against England, and the relations between the Popes and Scotland were of the closest kind. But the general decline that manifested itself throughout the entire Church and the enormous wealth of the Scotch establishments, led to many abuses, and helped to prepare the way for the Reformation.

The Decline of the Papal Power

Boniface VIII

Though little more than seventy years had elapsed between the death of Innocent III. (1216) and the accession of Boniface VIII. (1294–1303), yet in that short period a great change had come over the attitude of Europe towards the Holy See. The long-drawn-out struggle between the Papacy and the empire seemed to have closed with a complete victory for the Popes, but it was a victory that was bought dearly. The downfall of the imperial power made it necessary for the Popes to look elsewhere for a protector, and as the saintly Louis IX. of France had proved his devotion to the cause of religion by his life and his policy, they turned instinctively for protection to France, and France began to exercise an enormous influence in Italy and in the councils of the Church.

But the overthrow of the empire did more. It opened the way for the rise of separate nations and tended to increase national jealousies and divisions. As the nations grew stronger, their rulers resented the interference of the Popes as a check upon their own power, and thus, while the Popes soon began to find that France was more of a dictator than a protector, the other nations of Europe—many of them hostile to France—came to regard the Pope as the ally of France and the Papacy as little else than a French institution. In this way the world was prepared for the unfortunate schism which divided the Church into hostile camps for forty years.

But Boniface VIII., regardless of the change in the world, resolved to maintain the temporal power of the Pope at the same high level which it had reached in the days of Innocent III. He soon found himself in conflict with Philip the Fair of France, who was determined to be an absolute ruler in his own dominions, and who had for advisers two ministers on whom he could rely in any struggle with the Pope. Philip required money for his wars with England, and levied heavy taxes upon ecclesiastical property. Boniface VIII. objected to this, and prohibited payment of such taxes under threat of excommunication. Gradually a quarrel developed; Philip strengthened himself against the Pope by alleging that Boniface wished to make himself feudal lord of France, and at last in order to prevent misunderstandings the Pope published the famous Bull, Unam Sanctam, which defined the relations between the spiritual and temporal powers. Before the dispute was settled Boniface VIII, died (1303) and was succeeded by Benedict XI. who lived only a short time.

The Residence of the Popes at Avignon

The majority of the cardinals who entered the conclave on the death of Benedict XI. were Frenchmen, anxious for a reconciliation with France. They elected the archbishop of Bordeaux who took the name of Clement V. (1305). He refused to come to Rome for consecration, preferring that this ceremony should take place at Lyons, and settled finally at Avignon, a city in the south of France placed at his disposal by the king. From 1309 till 1376, with one short interruption, the Popes continued to live at Avignon.

It is easy enough to understand why the Popes of this time were not anxious to come to Rome. The people of the capital were often at war with their predecessors who had been obliged more than once to flee from the city, and besides, the Roman climate was by no means inviting. If these things were true in the case of Italians they were still more true in the case of French Popes and French cardinals who naturally preferred to live in their own country amongst their own countrymen. But, nevertheless, the papal residence at Avignon was disastrous to the influence of the Holy See and most unfortunate for the Church. The Pope must be the head of the whole Church and the common Father of the Christian world, and the Papacy must maintain itself as an international institution but when the Holy See was transferred from the banks of the Tiber to the banks of the Rhone, when the Popes and their principal advisers were Frenchmen, surrounded by French soldiers and dependent more or less on the king of France, the people began to regard the Papacy as a French institution and the Pope as chaplain to the king of France. The results of the papal captivity at Avignon furnish the best argument for the necessity of maintaining the independence of the Holy See and the best justification of the attitude adopted by the Papacy towards Italy since the capture of Rome in 1870.

Again, the withdrawal of the Popes from Rome deprived the people of Rome of their principal source of revenue and employment, and led to a rebellion which was suppressed only after a long and expensive war which left behind it bitter memories, while the necessity of building palaces for the Pope and the cardinals and offices for the congregations and officials necessitated great expenditure, and made it necessary for the Popes to introduce new methods of taxation. Clergy and people alike objected strongly to these new methods, and quite apart from these objections, some of the means employed, as, for instance, the reservation of so many appointments to the Holy See and the permission granted to individuals to hold several benefices at the same time, were likely to prove harmful to religion. Urban V. (136270) left Avignon for Rome, but on account of the ruin of the papal buildings and the hostility of the people he returned to die at Avignon. On the accession of Gregory XI. (1370–78) he determined to bring back the Papacy to Rome. He arrived at Rome in January, 1377, and died the following year, leaving it to his successor to meet the dreadful storm which then threatened the Church.

The Great Western Schism

When the conclave assembled at the Vatican the Roman mob surrounded the hall, clamouring for the election of a Roman or an Italian, and threatening death to the cardinals unless they yielded to this demand. The cardinals were practically unanimous in electing the archbishop of Bari, but before the new Pope could be installed formally, the mob broke into the conclave hall and the cardinals were obliged to seek safety in flight. The majority of them returned next day and confirmed their selection, while practically all attended the coronation of the new Pope, who took the name of Urban VI. (1378–89).

Unfortunately, Urban VI. was not as prudent as he was zealous, and his harsh methods in dealing with the cardinals led many of them to complain and to question the validity of his election, on the ground that the electors were not free owing to the terrorism of the Roman mob. With one exception they left Rome and took up their residence at Anagni where they held another election, and this time they cast their votes for Robert of Geneva, who took the name of Clement VII. (1378–94). The schism was now consummated, and the Christian world witnessed the sad spectacle of two Popes, each claiming to be the successor of St. Peter.

Though in modem times very little doubt is entertained that Urban VI. was the lawful Pope, yet the case was not so clear to those who were engaged in the struggle. Both parties found many honest supporters. France declared strongly in favour of Clement VII. and was supported by Scotland and Spain, while the rest of the Church, including the greater part of Germany, Italy, Portugal, England and Ireland remained true to Urban. France at first was determined to force Clement VII. on the Church, but the French soon grew tired of the hopeless struggle, and especially after the death of Clement VII. and the election of the Spaniard, Benedict XIII. (1394), France took the lead in attempting to bring about a reunion. When it was seen that there was no hope of the rival claimants settling their disputes themselves, it was determined to appeal to a general council which was convoked by the cardinals of both Popes to meet at Pisa in 1409.

The council met at Pisa, but on account of the opposition of both Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII., many of the countries refused to send representatives or to promise obedience to the decision of the council. Both claimants were summoned to appear, and as they did not answer to the summons they were deposed, and Alexander V. was elected Pope. Instead of restoring peace to the Church the council of Pisa only helped to increase the confusion, for there were now three claimants for the Papacy and the Church was divided between them.

At last the emperor Sigismund induced John XXIII., the successor of Alexander V., to convoke a general council at Constance (1414). To this council nearly every country in Europe sent representatives. The general feeling amongst those who assembled at Constance was that the three claimants should resign. In order to counterbalance the votes of the great number of bishops present from Italy, who were supposed to be on the side of John XXIII., it was determined that the doctors of the universities and the representatives of the princes should have the right of voting, and, furthermore, that the voting should first be by nations. Four distinct nations were recognised from the beginning, namely, Italy, France, Germany and England, to which was added later on the Spanish nation. John XXIII,, fearing that the council would go against him, fled from Constance, and it was thought that this flight would destroy the council. But instead, it served only to increase the feeling of bitterness against the would-be Popes, and strengthened the hands of those who maintained that a general council was in all circumstances superior to a Pope. Decrees embodying this opinion were passed, but as the cardinals protested against them at the time, and as they never received the confirmation of the Pope, they cannot be regarded as having any force.

John XXIII. was deposed by the council, and accepted its decision. Gregory XII. offered to resign on condition that his legates should be allowed to reconvoke the council, an offer which was accepted. Notwithstanding the efforts of the emperor, Sigismund, Benedict XIII. refused to give way, but he was deserted by the great body of his followers and was deposed. The council, having got rid of the various claimants, proceeded to the election of a new Pope, and the result of the conclave was the appointment of Cardinal Colonna, who took the title of Martin V. (1417–31). Thus at last the schism was ended and peace was restored to the Church.

The Failure of the Movement for Reform

The next important work that should have occupied the attention of the Council of Constance was the question of reform, but the fear that the discussions to which reform would necessarily give rise might lead to a new schism, determined the council to postpone this portion of the programme and to allow the Pope to negotiate agreements with the various rulers. At the same time, influenced largely by those who wished to set up a general council as the ultimate court of appeal in the Church, the Fathers arranged that a general council should be convoked at certain fixed intervals.

In accordance with this decree a council was convoked at Pavia in 1423 which was transferred to Sienna owing to the prevalence of the plague, but as very few bishops attended, the papal legates dissolved the assembly (1424). Seven years later, as had been agreed at Constance, another general council was summoned to meet at Basle (1431). Cardinal Julian Caesarini was sent to preside at Basle, but as very few bishops attended, he proceeded to Bohemia to bring about a reconciliation of the Hussites with the Church. On his return, the numbers having increased, he determined to proceed with the work (Dec., 1431). But the Pope, having learned that the attendance was very small, and having been informed that it was the intention of the council to open for discussion with the Hussites questions which had been defined already by the Church, issued a decree dissolving the council (1431). The assembly, roused by this decision of the Pope, refused to accept it, and renewed the decrees that had been passed at Constance regarding the superiority of a general council over a Pope. It declared, furthermore, that the council of Basle being an ecumenical council, held its authority directly from God and could not be dissolved or prorogued by any person without its own consent. Owing to the general desire for reform, the extreme members of the council, most of whom were not bishops, found great support in France and Germany.

The Pope, yielding to the representations of the emperor, consented (1433) that the council should continue its work, on condition, however, that the decrees against the Holy See should be withdrawn and that the papal legates should be allowed to preside at the sessions. This concession only strengthened the enemies of the Papacy who neglected no opportunity of attacking the rights of the Holy See. Fortunately, delegates from the Greek empire arrived in Europe to seek a reunion with the Church. They wished that a council should be held in some place at which their representatives could conveniently attend. The great body of the bishops and moderate men at Basle passed a decree transferring the council to Ferrara (1437). But the extremists refused to agree to this decision, and growing more reckless, they proceeded to the election of an anti-pope, who took the name of Felix V. (1440). These violent measures only served to alienate those who were inclined at first to support them, and in the end the schismatics of Basle finding themselves deserted dissolved the assembly, and Felix V. was induced to submit to the Pope (1449).

The combined council, representative of both Latins and Greeks, met first at Ferrara (1438) and then at Florence (1439–42). It was attended by the Emperor, John Palaeologus, and most of the leading ecclesiastics of the east, and was presided over in person by Eugene IV. Both parties, having settled their differences regarding Purgatory and the addition of Filioque  to the Creed, turned their attention to the position of the Pope, and the result of their discussion was the solemn decree by which both acknowledged that " the Roman Pontiff is the successor of St. Peter, the true vicar of Jesus Christ, the head of the entire Church and the father and teacher of all Christians, that on him, in the person of St. Peter, was conferred by Christ the power of ruling and governing the Church, a fact which is set forth in the decrees of the ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons." Such a solemn recognition of papal supremacy by all parts of the Christian world, at a time when so many strange theories were in the air and when Europe was on the verge of the great religious rebellion that was to separate so many countries from the centre of unity, was of the greatest importance, and must have been designed specially by Providence.

But the unfortunate divisions to which the Council of Basle gave rise did immense injury to the cause of reform. They prevented the Pope from having recourse to the only means by which a proper scheme of reform could have been formulated or carried through, namely, a general council, lest such an assembly, following the example of Basle, might lead to a new schism in the Church. Besides, it must be admitted that the Popes from Sixtus IV. (1471–84) to Leo X. (1513–21) were not inclined to undertake such a heavy work. With one exception they were not entirely unworthy of their high position, but they were too much mixed up with Italian politics and the Renaissance movement, and partook too largely of the careless and indifferent spirit of their age, to throw themselves heart and soul into the movement for reform. The zealous and holy Dominican, Savonarola, who, unlike Luther and his followers, was truly loyal to the Church, attempted to arouse Alexander VI. to a proper sense of duty, but his methods were too violent, and resulted only in his own downfall.

Julius II. (1503–13), alarmed by the action of the king of France, who summoned an ecclesiastical assembly to meet at Pisa, convoked a general council at Rome (1512). This council, known as the Fifth Lateran Council, continued its work under Julius II. and his successor, Leo X., but the jealousies between the countries of Europe and the strange ignorance shown by the responsible authorities of the true state of affairs, prevented the council from doing anything to put an end to the abuses of which every one complained. Earnest ecclesiastics watched the labours of the council with anxiety, and when they saw that it was closed without having undertaken serious measures of reform, they realised that it was only through tribulation and suffering that the Church could be renewed. Nor was it long till their predictions were fulfilled. The last session of the council was held in March, 1517, and in November of the same year Luther opened his campaign at Wittenberg.

The Eve of the Reformation

The many causes which conspired to bring about the Reformation may be grouped under the various headings, literary, political and social, and religious. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries mark a period of transition from the Middle Ages to modern times. They witnessed a sharp struggle, waged between two ideals in politics, in literature and education, and in religion and morality. In this great upheaval which was characterised by its devotion to sensual pleasure and material comfort, and its demand for unrestricted liberty of investigation, and for a return to the study of nature and the natural sciences, as well as by the rise and development of national literatures and national schools of art, the Humanist movement played the most prominent part. In more senses than one the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries may be called the age of the Renaissance.

The Renaissance

The Catholic Church had never been the enemy of classical studies. On the contrary, she was always their generous patron, and it is to her care for the great literary masterpieces and to the labour of her monks that the preservation of the works of the classical authors may be attributed. With the rise of Scholasticism, however, the classics were relegated to a secondary place in the schools, and Latin, not to speak of Greek, scholarship practically disappeared from the west. The Scholastics, more anxious about the subject-matter than about the beauties of literary expression, invented for themselves a new dialect, which, however forcible in itself, must have sounded barbarous to one even remotely acquainted with the productions of the Golden Age of Roman literature, or with the writings of the early Fathers of the Western Church. In such circumstances it is not difficult to see how a reaction set in. Scholasticism could not hold the field forever, to the exclusion of other branches of study, especially since in the less competent hands of its later exponents, it had degenerated into an empty formalism. The successors of St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure had little of their earnestness, their universal knowledge and their powers of exposition, and as a result, students, growing tired of the endless disputes of the schools, turned their attention to the study of the masterpieces of pagan Greece and Rome and to the examination of the natural sciences.

The Renaissance movement began in Italy, where it owes its early success to the labours of men like Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio. Though these three men were themselves loyal to the Church, their writings, especially those of the latter two, at times so hostile to the Papacy and the monks, were harmful to religion. But their successors went much further. Many of the Humanists, influenced largely by the low moral tone of their age, aimed at nothing less than the revival of paganism pure and simple. The leaders of this school were Laurentius Valla, Beccadelli and Poggio, while others of the great supporters of the Neo-Platonic philosophy like Gemistos, Plethon, Marsuppini, and Pomponius Laetus, the founder of the Roman academy, were really pagans. Not all the Humanists, however, were hostile to Christianity. Writers like Traversari, Manetti and Vittorino da Feltre could see no opposition between Christianity and the study of the classics, and aimed at establishing complete harmony by assigning to the classics the place accorded to them so willingly by many of the early Fathers. Humanism owes its development in Italy to the presence of powerful patrons like the Popes in Rome and the de Medici family in Florence, to the establishment of academies in Florence, Rome, Naples, and Venice, to the flight of so many scholars to Italy after the capture of Constantinople in 1453, and to the introduction of the art of printing, by which the works of the classical writers could be multiplied without difficulty.

From the very beginning the Popes were friendly to the Humanist movement, but with the election of Nicholas V. (1447–55) the Popes became the most powerful patrons of the Humanist scholars. Nicholas V. recognised fully the advantages which religion might derive from the revival of letters, and that he aimed at employing the services of the Humanists in the defence of Christianity is evident from the works to which he directed the attention of scholars. Agents were dispatched by him to Greece, Turkey, Germany and France to hunt for manuscripts. No expense was spared to secure everything that could be purchased, or to have copies made where purchase was impossible. To preserve these treasures and to make them available, the Vatican library was built by orders of the Pope, library which for the number and value of its manuscripts has few rivals in the world. The policy begun by Nicholas V. was continued by most of his successors, notably by Pius II., Julius II., the patron of Bramante, Michael Angelo and Raphael, and by Leo X., who was himself one of the de Medici. Unfortunately, however, instead of the Popes succeeding in moulding the Humanist movement and giving it a religious turn, the Humanist movement exercised a baneful influence on the papal court, and helped to increase the spirit of indifference and sensuality which was only too apparent even in Rome.

From Italy the Renaissance spread into Germany, England, France, and the Netherlands. Most of the German scholars were men of high moral character, and, few of them showed any sympathy with Luther once they realised that he aimed at revolt rather than reform, In some ways, however, the relations between the Scholastics, who looked upon the enthusiasts for classical learning as dangerous, and the Humanists, who regarded the Scholastics as antiquated, helped to complicate the issues during the opening years of Luther's campaign. A dispute which broke out between Reuchlin, a professor of Heidelberg, and the Dominicans of Cologne, afforded a splendid opportunity to Ulrich von Hutten, who was an able and determined enemy of the Church to throw ridicule upon the monks and Scholastics.

But of all those connected with the German school Erasmus (1466–1536) was undoubtedly the most influential and best known. After many wanderings, during which he visited or lectured at Paris, Oxford, Rome, Bologna and Freiburg, he settled finally at Basle, where he died. In his knowledge of Greek Erasmus was surpassed by few of his contemporaries, and in the purity and ease of his Latin style he stood without a serious rival. Like many others of the Humanists he delighted in attacking the ignorance of the monks and the Scholastics, and in denouncing the abuses of the age, but, as in the case of the many would-be literary reformers of the time, his own life was far from being exemplary. Yet Erasmus was not an enemy of Christianity, nor did he desire the overthrow of ecclesiastical authority. He advocated reform, and in his advocacy of reform, and in his denunciation of antiquated educational methods he went at times too far, but in his heart Erasmus had no sympathy with the doctrinal changes put forward by Luther, and once he understood the real tendency of the Lutheran movement he took the field against it.

In France there was a sharp conflict from the beginning between the Scholastics and the Humanists. The Humanists denounced the Scholastics as patrons of old-world methods, and the Scholastics retorted by asserting that the Humanists were patrons of heresy; while in England, on the contrary, all the great advocates of classical learning, Selling, Hadley, Linacre, Colet, Bishop Fisher of Rochester, and Sir Thomas More were loyal to the Church, their devotion to which the two latter sealed with their blood.

Yet, though so many of the Humanists remained true to their religion, and though Popes and bishops were the most generous patrons of classical scholars, the movement did much to prepare men's minds for the great religious revolt. It tended to develop a spirit of restless inquiry that could ill brook any restrictions. The return to the study of nature and the natural sciences helped to push into the background the supernatural idea upon which Christianity is based, and the revival of classical learning, besides recalling memories of an early civilisation opposed in so many particulars to the genius of the Christian religion, served to raise very serious problems about the age, authenticity and value of many writings and documents hitherto accepted without question. By so doing, it created a spirit of criticism and doubt for which the theologians of the time were but poorly prepared. In a word, it was a period of transition and of intellectual unrest when new ideas were endeavouring to supplant the old ones, and when the friends of the old and the new were led into false positions owing to their inability to understand what was divine and essential in Christianity, and what was purely human and might be dropped.

Luther's movement was not the logical outcome of the Renaissance as is evident from the fact that once the early misunderstandings were removed, and once the real issues were understood, most of the Humanists in Germany, France and England remained true to the Church. Instead of regarding Luther as a friend they looked upon him as the worst enemy of their cause, and the Reformation as the death-knell of the Renaissance.

Political and Social Condition of Europe

The political and social conditions of Europe also favoured the Reformation. A great movement towards centralization might be noticed in nearly every country during the fifteenth century. France, which before this time consisted of a collection of provinces nominally subject to the king, was welded together into a united nation. A similar change took place in Spain where the union of Castile and Aragon and the conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada prepared the way for a united Spain. In England the disappearance of the nobility during the Wars of the Roses led to the establishment of the domination of the Tudors. As part of the same movement Henry VIII. had himself declared king instead of feudal lord of Ireland, and serious efforts were also made by him to put an end to the independence of Scotland. Similarly, in the German Empire the princes strengthened their own power at the expense of the lower nobility, the cities and the peasantry, but having secured themselves they used their increased influence to arrest the progress of centralization and to prevent the establishment of a strong imperial authority.

As a result of this centralization the kings of France, Spain and England became absolute rulers with little or no check on the exercise of their power. They resented any interference of the Pope as an insult to the national pride, and they were determined to put an end to the danger which might be apprehended from the only institution which retained any shred of independence in their kingdoms, by acquiring complete control of ecclesiastical appointments. They demanded that the Popes should allow them to nominate to ecclesiastical offices, to levy taxes on ecclesiastical property and to abolish many of the privileges of the clergy. The Popes went very far to meet the request, as, for instance, in the Concordat between Leo X. and Francis I. of France (1516), but not enough to satisfy the rulers. As a consequence, the rulers were not unwilling to lend a ready ear to the Reformers who boldly declared that the king or prince was the source of spiritual as well as of temporal jurisdiction in his own dominions.

Besides, the establishment of absolute rule led to a great oppression of the masses of the people, and the peasants were ready to revolt if only they could find leaders. In Germany this was not difficult as the lower class of nobles were themselves oppressed by the princes. Hence, in nearly every country in Europe; in Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Germany a violent upheaval took place. In all such revolutions the most extreme men are certain to take a leading part, at least in the earlier stages of the movement and their wildest onslaughts on Church and State are sure to win the applause of the crowd; but there was special danger that these outbreaks might be turned into an anti-religious channel at a time when so many of the bishops, especially in Germany, were also secular princes, and when the Church appeared to be so closely identified with the very interests against which the peasants rose in rebellion. In these circumstances it was not difficult for designing men to push forward their schemes of a religious change under guise of a campaign for liberty.

Again, political causes had much to do with the spread of the Reformation. Jealousy of the House of Habsburg, especially of Charles V., who held sway over Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Italy, led the rulers of France who were engaged in suppressing heresy at home, to ally themselves with the Lutheran princes of Germany and to give them support against the Emperor. In Switzerland it was really the opposition to the Duke of Savoy that secured Geneva for Calvinism; in the Netherlands it was hatred for Spain; and in Scotland the Reformation was due largely to the disputes between the friends of the French and English alliances.

The invasion of Europe by the Turks under Soliman, during which they captured the island of Rhodes (1523), defeated and slew Louis II. of Hungary (1526) and appeared before the walls of Vienna (1529), was most important for the Lutheran movement, as it tied the hands of Charles V., prevented him from suppressing Luther, and made it necessary for him to come to terms with the Protestant princes. An end, however, was put to the danger from the Turks by the crusade organized by Pius V., when the Christian fleet met and destroyed the Turkish fleet at Lepanto (1571). In memory of this success, to secure which Pius V. had ordered the recitation of the Rosary throughout the Church, the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was established.

Religious Condition of Europe

The residence at Avignon, arousing as it did the jealousy of the nations hostile to France, and the Great Western Schism with all its awful consequences, did much to weaken the authority of the Holy See and prepared the way for the break up of a united Christendom. Yet, in spite of all these reverses, had the Church been blessed with a succession of worthy Popes, burning with zeal for religion, free to devote themselves to thorough measures of reform and capable of understanding the altered political and social conditions of the world, the Papacy might have been restored to its old position of pre-eminence. But the fear of schism, the necessity of taking measures to guard Europe against Turkish invasion, the state of affairs in Italy and the difficulty of controlling the Papal states, together with the Humanist movement, occupied the attention of the Popes from Sixtus V. to Leo X., and prevented them from setting their own house in order so as to avert the threatened danger. The direct taxations imposed by the Holy See to meet its growing wants, and the indirect taxation, including as it did reservation of so many ecclesiastical appointments, the heavy fees required from the bishops and the priests on whom benefices were conferred, and the dispensations given to hold more than one benefice, created a great deal of bad feeling both amongst laymen and ecclesiastics and made some of them not unwilling to advocate a change which would secure relief.

Besides, the interference of the State led to the appointment of unworthy bishops, especially in Germany, who neglected the duty of visitation, and who even it they were anxious to restore discipline among the clergy, could do very little owing to the claims of the lay patrons of the parishes. Though many of the clergy were active and well instructed, yet the want of episcopal control, the interference of lay patrons, the absence of seminaries and the failure of the universities to give a proper ecclesiastical training, produced their natural effect on a great body of the clergy. The uncanonical appointment of abbots and superiors, the union of various monasteries under the one abbot and the total exemption of the monasteries from episcopal control did much to lower the spirit of discipline in the religious orders. Many of them undoubtedly needed reform, but it is well to note that before Luther began his campaign the work of reform was already well under weigh.

The Reformation

Lutheranism in the Empire

Luther (14831546) received his university education at Erfurt, and alarmed by the sudden death of a companion, he determined to join the Augustinians of that city. After his ordination as priest in 1507 he was appointed professor in the recently founded university at Wittenberg. He was of a nervous, gloomy temperament, and found but little comfort in the observance of his rule. This led him gradually to look with favour on the theory advocated before his time, that good works were of little avail for salvation and that faith in the application of the merits of Christ was all that was required. In his heart he had already broken with the doctrines of the Catholic Church, but the preaching of indulgences by Tetzel, a Dominican, furnished him with the occasion of making his views public (1517).

Leo X., anxious to secure funds for the building of St. Peter's, proclaimed an indulgence throughout Germany, on condition that those who wished to gain the indulgence should contribute according to their means. Tetzel was commissioned to preach this indulgence, and on his approaching the city of Wittenberg, Luther published his famous theses against indulgences (1517). These were drawn up very skilfully and in a style likely to deceive the people. Many of them were clearly opposed to Catholic teaching, while others of them professed the most complete submission to the Church and to the Holy See. The publication of the theses aroused great commotion in Germany, and many people hastened to assure Luther of their approval. Tetzel and others published very learned rejoinders, but while the defenders of the Catholic Church were wasting their time preparing learned dissertations that would be read only by a few, Luther was employing his extraordinary powers as a popular orator and writer to win support; and in a short time he had secured an enormous following, most of whom regarded him merely as a patriotic German anxious to put an end to abuses in the Church.

The disturbance in Germany soon came to the ears of Leo X. who failed completely to realise the seriousness of the movement, and who believed that at worst it was only a dispute between two rival religious orders. A letter sent to him by Luther at this time in which he expressed his complete submission to the Holy Father seemed to justify this view. The Pope sent Cardinal Cajetan into Germany in 1518, and a meeting was arranged between the papal legate and Luther at Augsburg, but the interview produced little effect. Luther published an appeal from the Pope badly informed to the Pope well informed. The next year, however, he was induced to write a most respectful letter to Leo X. in which he assured the Pope of his loyalty and devotion. A disputation was arranged at Leipzig (1519) between Luther and his opponents. Luther was supported by Carlstadt and the professors of Wittenberg, while Eck, the champion of orthodoxy, was assisted by the professors of Leipzig, Cologne and Louvain. Though Luther was completely beaten in this controversy, yet the disputation served to give him and his theories the notoriety that he desired, and won for him the man who was to be his ablest supporter, Philip Melanchthon. The Pope, having discovered at last the true nature of the movement, issued the Bull, Exsurge, condemning many of Luther's errors and threatening him with excommunication unless he retracted within sixty days (1520).

But Luther had now passed the stage when he feared even threats of excommunication. Supported by the students and the people of Wittenberg he burned the papal condemnation and the writings of his opponents. Throwing himself with renewed ardour into the struggle he issued pamphlet after pamphlet written in a terse and popular style and full of abuse of the Pope and of the Church. In turn he appealed to the racial pride of the Germans and their ill concealed hatred of the Italians, to the cupidity of the princes by offering to make them the heads of the church in their own states if only they threw off the yoke of the Pope, to the discontented nobles and peasantry by dangling before their eyes the wealth which would be ready for distribution among them if the bishoprics and monasteries were suppressed, and to the university students and professors by proclaiming that he was the champion of liberty and learning, who would save them from the ignorant rule of the Scholastics. As a popular speaker and writer of German prose Luther had few equals. He knew better than most men how to win the sympathy of the crowd by his coarse and ribald jokes and how to rouse them to action by his appeals to their passions and patriotism. Nor was he careful about truth if truth did not serve his purpose. In this way, while his opponents were at work in their cells preparing ponderous Latin refutations of his heresy, Luther had captured the masses of the people.

Charles V. had been elected emperor in 1519. As ruler of Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the greater part of Italy he might have been in a position to put an end to Luther's movement had he not been handicapped by revolts in Spain, by wars with France and by the Turkish invasion of the empire. On his arrival in Germany, (1521) he summoned Luther to appear at the Diet of Worms. Luther, strengthened by the promise of assistance from Frederick of Saxony and others of the German nobles, refused to retract his errors and was ordered to depart, but on his way from the Diet he was carried into a safe retreat at the castle of Wartburg by the soldiers of Frederick of Saxony. Charles V. declared his intention of putting an end to the trouble, and Luther was placed under the ban of the empire. Unfortunately, however, Charles V. could not enforce this decree owing to the troubles in Spain and with France.

While at Wartburg, Luther issued some of his most violent pamphlets attacking the Mass, the celibacy of the clergy and vows of chastity. The results of the wild onslaughts made by him on all authority, both ecclesiastical and civil, soon made themselves felt. Luther's followers, in accordance with the principles laid down by their master, began to interpret the Bible for themselves. The Anabaptists denied the necessity of infant baptism, and Carlstadt denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Luther hastened from his retreat to attack such daring innovators, and drove Carlstadt from Wittenberg. The parting scene between these two apostles of heresy was anything but edifying. At the same time the peasants, roused by Luther's teaching, rose against the princes and a frightful civil war devastated Germany. Luther, who was primarily responsible for this rebellion, alarmed lest the princes should turn against him, quickly changed sides and called upon the princes to slaughter the rebels.

While these scenes of confusion were being enacted Luther, much to the disgust of his friends, married the ex-nun, Catherine Bora (1525). He set himself to organise his party, and the outstanding feature of his ecclesiastical organisation was that it gave complete control into the hands of the civil rulers. It was this feature that secured the adhesion of most of the princes, as for example, Frederick, elector of Saxony, Albert of Brandenburg, and Philip of Hesse. Charles V. was taken up so much by the war with France that he was unable to give any attention to the course of affairs in Germany. A Diet was held at Spires in 1529 which was very favourable to the Catholics, and as a consequence the Lutheran princes protested against the decrees. It is from their action on this occasion that they got the name Protestants. Ten years later Philip of Hesse, who was already married, asked permission from Luther to take a second wife, and threatened that if this permission were not granted he would take no further part in the movement. Luther and Melanchthon consented to his request on condition that the second marriage should be kept secret, but the secret was not long kept, and to do him justice, Melanchthon at least was thoroughly ashamed of what they had done. On the return of the emperor in 1530 he summoned both parties to meet at Augsburg. Melanchthon on behalf of the Lutherans presented "The Confession of Augsburg" as a statement of their doctrinal views. A conference was held between the Catholic and Lutheran theologians, but the conference having failed, the emperor announced his attention of upholding the Catholic faith.

Both sides began to prepare for war. The Protestant princes joined together in the League of Schmalkald. They entered into negotiation with Francis I. of France, and with Henry VIII. of England, and refused to aid the emperor against the Turks. Later on the Catholics also formed the Holy League in defence of their religion. When peace was made with France (1544) Charles V. determined to take some decisive action. Frederick elector of Saxony and Philip of Hesse began to organise their forces. They were declared traitors by the emperor and were completely routed at the battle of Muhlberg (1547). After this defeat many of the Protestants announced their readiness to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent, and Melanchthon was actually on his way to the council when, suddenly, Maurice of Saxony changed sides and marched with a great force against the emperor. Charles V. was obliged to take to flight, and discouraged by his want of success he determined to abdicate and to retire to a monastery. He was succeeded by Ferdinand as emperor and by Philip II. as king of Spain. In 1555 Ferdinand was obliged to sign the peace of Augsburg by which the existence of Protestantism in the empire was recognised definitely.

In 1546, the very time when the triumph of the emperor over France had darkened the horizon for his party, Luther, after having spent a very pleasant evening during the course of which he had expressed himself in especially bitter terms about the Pope, took ill and died. As a popular leader he possessed most of the qualifications required for success. He was a clever writer, a first rate platform orator, as fond of a good joke or of a song as of his beer, and in every way the kind of man likely to secure the sympathy of the crowd, with whom his very weaknesses were a recommendation. But he was sadly wanting in nearly every characteristic that might be expected in a "heaven-sent" reformer. His language was always coarse and very often so obscene that it could not bear repetition in any decent society; his pride and self-confidence were colossal, and there were no extremes to which he was not prepared to go to revenge himself on those who opposed him, whether they were followers of the Pope or of Carlstadt or of Zwingli.

The foundation of Luther's system was the loss of free will and the complete corruption of human nature by the Fall, so that the best work that men could do was always bad. As a consequence of this teaching good works could avail nothing towards sanctification, which could be acquired only by faith in the merits of Jesus Christ. In such a scheme, as is evident, there was no place for the Sacraments, though Luther still retained Baptism and the Eucharist, nor for a priesthood. On the other side, his fundamental position was that the Bible was the sole rule of faith and individual judgment its sole interpreter. Hence, there was no necessity for a visible church, teaching with authority, nor for a Pope who claimed to be the head of such a society.

The Reformation in Switzerland and the North

Zwingli was for Switzerland what Luther was for Germany. As a priest he had been well known for his eloquence and unfortunately also, for his immorality. So early as 1516 he began to preach against the Blessed Virgin and against pilgrimages, and later on he laid down the principle that the Bible was the sole rule of faith. Though he claimed to have discovered his system independently of Luther yet in its main outlines it was in agreement with Luther's teaching, except that it was slightly more logical and more rationalistic. In 1522 he sent a request to the bishop of Constance asking him to suppress clerical celibacy, and as a proof that personally he had a deep interest in this question he took to himself a wife. Supported by the council of Zurich he broke into the churches of the city, destroyed the altars, statues and pictures, and set up in place of the altars plain tables for the celebration of the Lord's supper.

About the same time Oecolampadius, an apostate monk of Basle, began the reformation in that city, and set an example to others by taking a wife. Luther denounced both Zwingli and Oecolampadius as heretics for whose salvation there was no use in praying, because they ventured to deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist—a doctrine which he himself was anxious to reject in order to spite the Pope, only that on his own admission, the words of the Scriptures were too strong for him. The Swiss reformers replied to Luther that they were merely following his own principle of interpreting the Scriptures for themselves, and to refute them, Luther was obliged to fall back on the practice of the Church and the writings of the Fathers, whose works he had already denounced as "fetid pools from which Christians had been drinking unwholesome draughts." The cantons of Switzerland which had accepted the new teaching determined to force the other cantons to follow their example, and the result was an appeal to arms. A great battle was fought between the opposing forces at Cappel (1531) where Zwingli himself was killed, much to the relief of Luther, and his followers were dispersed.

Denmark was won over to Lutheranism by the tyrannical action of Christian I. (1513–23) and of Christian III. (1533–67), who recognised in it the best means of making themselves absolute rulers and of getting possession of the riches of the Church. All the bishops were arrested and held prisoners until they consented to resign and to offer no opposition to the movement. To his honour, be it said, there was one at least who refused to agree to such conditions and who preferred to die in prison. In place of bishops superintendents were appointed according to the German plan, who were immediately subject to the king, and the most violent measures were taken against all priests who refused to accept the new teaching. Norway was united with Denmark at the time, and the same methods were employed as in Denmark itself. Sweden fell from the Catholic Church owing to the action of the king, Gustavus Wasa, who had succeeded in winning the independence of his country (1523) and who had, therefore, great influence with the people. He thought that Lutheranism was likely to strengthen his own position and the position of his country, and he hesitated at no means to bring about the change of religion. Two of the bishops were put to death (1527), and force was used to suppress opposition.


John Calvin (1509–64), a Frenchman, was at first intended for the Church, but having changed his mind he took up the study of law, and soon became the friend and ally of the party in Paris and France who favoured the Lutheran movement. When active measures were taken against the heretics he fled to Basle, where he published The Institutes of the Christian Religion  (1533). In their personal characteristics there was a great difference between Calvin and Luther. Luther, with all his faults, had a big heart and could be at times generous and sympathetic, but Calvin seems to have been devoid of human feeling and utterly incapable of appreciating the bright side of human nature. The same difference may be noticed in their systems. Calvin taught the doctrine of absolute predestination according to which God created some men to be damned and some to be saved, irrespective of their merits. In such a system there was no place for Grace or Free Will. The Sacraments were merely signs, though Calvin found it necessary to admit that in receiving the Eucharist, Christ was virtually received, in the sense that the communicant partook something of the spiritual life and strength of Christ. Unlike Luther, Calvin refused to give supreme control of his organisation to the State. It was to be governed by a consistory which consisted of a certain number of representatives appointed by the different churches.

Calvin arrived at Geneva in 1536 at a time when the reform movement had begun, and was being warmly supported for political reasons by the opponents of the Duke of Savoy. His puritanical rule did not please a great body of the citizens and he was expelled, but he soon returned (1541) and became dictator of Geneva. The code which he laid down for the government of Geneva was remarkable for its severity. Heresy, blasphemy and adultery were punished by death, and very special penalties were decreed against dances, gaming and extravagance of dress. His spies were at work everywhere, and no man in Geneva felt himself safe. The number of executions and imprisonments during Calvin's dictatorship is almost incredible, but perhaps the most remarkable was the case of Michael Servetus, a Spanish doctor, who was seized while on his journey through Switzerland, brought to trial for heresy and burned. Calvin wrote a book in defence of putting heretics to death, and was strongly supported in this position by Melanchthon and the other leaders of the Reformation party. Assisted by his ablest lieutenant, Theodore Beza, Calvin succeeded before his death in 1564, in having his system adopted in many of the cantons of Switzerland.

In France the new doctrine found favour, especially amongst the party at Paris University and at the court who favoured the classical movement. The king, Francis I., was too much occupied by his troubles with the emperor to devote any attention to what seemed to him to be a dispute between the Scholastics and the Humanists, but roused by the repeated outrages against the Catholic religion which took place in Paris, he took serious measures to suppress the heretics in 1535. Still, the desire of keeping on good terms with the Protestant princes of Germany in order to utilize them against the emperor, and the protection afforded to heretics by his sister Margaret, prevented him from doing what he felt personally inclined to do to stamp out the movement. Several leading personages in France openly joined the Reformation, the most important of whom were Anthony of Bourbon, King of Navarre, the Prince de Conde, and Admiral de Coligny. In 1559 the French reformers were strong enough to hold a synod at Paris, in which they adopted Calvinism as their official creed.

Henry II. of France died and was followed by Francis II. (1559–60), husband of Mary Queen of Scots, Charles IX. (156074) and Henry III. (1574–89), but in reality France was governed by the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici, who was a clever intriguer, caring little about religion, and anxious only to maintain her own power by playing off the Calvinists against the Catholics. In 1562 a civil war broke out between the Catholics and the Huguenots as the Calvinists were called, and lasted till the Peace of Amboise (1563) which authorized the use of Calvinist worship wherever it had been established.

But this peace did not put an end to the trouble. The Huguenots rose again and again, acting with the greatest cruelty towards their opponents, and attempting to capture the government. Twice during the interval between 156270 France was obliged to undergo the horrors of civil war, and twice the Huguenots were beaten; but in order to conciliate them, great concessions were made in 1570, by which they were allowed freedom of worship and were to hold possession of four of the strongest fortresses in France.

This peace was exceedingly distasteful to the Catholics, and to make matters worse, Admiral Coligny and the other great leaders of his party were invited to court, and a marriage was arranged between the Calvinist king of Navarre and the sister of Charles IX. Coligny soon acquired complete control over the king and worked hard to induce him to take the side of the Calvinists of Holland against Philip II. of Spain. The Queen Mother fearing the power of Coligny, determined to bring about his murder, while the arrival of large numbers of Calvinists in Paris for the marriage of the king of Navarre, and the defiant attitude of their followers who went about the streets armed and with the airs of conquerors, roused the feelings of the Catholics. In these circumstances very little was required to bring about a dreadful conflict. The Queen secured the signature of Charles IX. for a decree ordering that when a certain signal was given the Calvinists in Paris should be murdered. In accordance with this decree the mob of Paris surrounded the houses where the Calvinists were lodged. Coligny and many of his followers were put to death, and from Paris the massacre spread into several other cities of France till altogether over 2,000 Huguenots were murdered. This is what is known as the massacre of St. Bartholomew (1572). Such a dreadful slaughter was not dictated by zeal for religion, nor was the Church in any way responsible for it. It was due entirely to the action of the Queen Mother and the excited feelings of the populace, and was in no sense a premeditated affair. In order to justify his conduct Charles IX. announced that a plot had been discovered, that the Huguenots had arranged to murder him, and that the only way of securing his own person was to anticipate them. This was the announcement that was brought to Rome, and in order to celebrate the escape of the king, Gregory XIII. ordered a Te Deum  to be sung.

The Huguenots flew to arms once more and concession after concession was made to them by Henry III. Henry had no children and the death of his brother seemed to prepare the way for the accession of the Huguenot king of Navarre. The Catholics took alarm and formed a league in defence of the Church. Both sides allied themselves with the foreigner. While the Huguenots turned to England and Germany, the League turned to Spain, and a civil war broke out once more. Henry III. favoured the Huguenot party and managed to bring about the brutal murder of the Catholic leader, Henry of Guise (1585). The people were roused by this act. Henry was obliged to join his forces with the forces of the king of Navarre, then marching on Paris, and at Saint Cloud he was stabbed to death (1589). Henry of Navarre now became king under the title of Henry IV., but realising that nobody except a Catholic would be accepted as ruler by the people of France, he announced his intention of abjuring heresy and of accepting the Catholic faith (1J93). To put an end to the trouble he published the Edict of Nantes (1598), by which the free exercise of their religion was guaranteed to the Huguenots, and they were allowed to retain most of the fortresses which they held.

During the minority of Louis XIII. (1610–43), Cardinal Richelieu, prime minister of France, annoyed by the constant demands of the Huguenots and wishing to put an end to a party which claimed to be a state within a state, captured their last fortress, La Rochelle (1628) Louis XIV. revoked the Edict of Nantes (1685) and demanded that the Calvinists should return to the Church or quit the country. Such a step was dictated entirely by political motives and was not in accordance with the wishes of the Pope.

In the Netherlands the religious trouble began to make itself felt during the reign of Philip II. (1556–98). This monarch gave great offence to the people by his contempt for their constitutional privileges, by sending Spanish troops to garrison the country, and by his appointment of Spaniards to most of the important offices of State. The opposition to Philip favoured the Reformation movement, and Calvinism soon got a great hold especially in the northern provinces. The principal leader of this party was William of Orange. Philip recalled the Duchess of Parma who had been governor, and appointed the Duke of Alva to put down both the heresy and the rebellion. He arrived in 1567 and took stern measures to insure the success of his work, but his severity only served to foster opposition and he was recalled in 1573. His successors, notably Farnese, were more successful. The southern provinces which remained Catholic returned to their allegiance, and the northern provinces, which had accepted definitely Calvinism, formed themselves into a separate kingdom. They were supported by England, and at last Spain was obliged to make a truce with them (1609), and, finally, to recognise their independence (1648).

The Catholic Reaction

Protestantism had reached the zenith of its power on the Continent in 1555. At that time everything seemed to indicate its permanent success, but soon the tide began to turn, and instead of being able to make further conquests, it found it impossible to retain those that had been made. The few traces of heresy that might have been discovered in Italy, Spain and Portugal disappeared. France, thanks largely to the energy of the League and to the political schemes of Cardinal Richelieu, put an end to the Calvinist domination. Hungary and Poland, owing mainly to the labours of the Jesuits, shook off the influence of the Protestant preachers. Belgium was secured for Spain and the Catholic Church by the prudence and diplomacy of Farnese, and in the German Empire the courageous lead given by Maximilian of Bavaria delivered Austria, Bohemia, Bavaria and most of southern Germany from Protestantism. Many causes helped to bring about this great Catholic reaction, the most important of which were the reforms initiated by the Council of Trent, the rise of zealous churchmen, the establishment of new religious bodies, notably the Jesuits, and finally the determination of some of the Catholic princes of the empire to meet force by force.

The Council of Trent

From the beginning of Luther's revolt both friends and foes of the Papacy demanded the convocation of a general council. Many difficulties, however, prevented the Pope from giving immediate effect to this demand. Pope Paul III. convoked a council to meet at Mantua in 1537, and at Vicenza in 1538, but hardly any bishops attended either place, and it was only in 1545 that the council met at last in Trent, a city of the Tyrol. It sat from 1545 till 1547 at Trent and was prorogued. It met again in 1551 and continued till 1552, when owing to the successful rebellion of Maurice of Saxony it was again prorogued, and finally, it sat from 1562 till 1563.

Never before, and never since, was the Catholic Church called upon to meet a graver crisis than that which confronted it at the time when the Council of Trent was convoked. Other heresies had been content to attack particular doctrines, but Protestantism aimed at nothing more or less than the complete overthrow of ecclesiastical authority and the substitution in its place of individual judgment. Besides, the question of reform, with all its difficulties, could be postponed no longer. This was a gigantic task to set before the council at a time of such general unrest, and the fact that the Fathers of Trent succeeded so completely, both in their exposition of the Catholic doctrines that had been denied, and in their well considered, moderate scheme of reform, is in itself a proof that they were guided in their deliberation by the Holy Spirit.

Against the reformers the Council defined that Scripture and Tradition are the two sources of divine revelation; that all the books of the Old as well as the New Testament are equally inspired because they have God for their author, and that the Scriptures cannot be interpreted against the authoritative interpretation of the Church or against the unanimous consent of the Fathers. It set forth, also, the Catholic teaching on Original Sin, Justification, the Sacraments, the Eucharist, the Mass, Holy Orders, Purgatory and Indulgences. In regard to reform the council decreed that the college of cardinals should be representative of the entire Church, that bishops should be obliged to live in their own dioceses, to preach to their flocks and to make periodical visitations of their parishes, that diocesan and provincial synods should be held at regular intervals, that priests in charge of parishes should instruct their people in Christian doctrine, that seminaries should be established in each diocese for the education of the clergy, and that clerics should not be allowed to hold more than one benefice. The results of these reforms were soon visible in the altered lives of priests and people, and in the great spiritual revival which made itself felt throughout the entire Church.

The New Religious Orders

The second cause of the Catholic reaction was the reformation of the older religious orders, such as the Benedictines, the Franciscans, the Dominicans and the Augustinians, as well as the rise of new religious bodies, notably the Jesuits, the Vincentians and the Oratorians. If the danger was great, the help given from on high was greater still; and never has the promise of Christ to be with His Church till the end of time been more clearly fulfilled than when He raised up a host of saintly champions, such as St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Philip Neri, St. Vincent, St. Charles Borromeo, and St. Francis of Sales to defend the Church, to stem the tide of heresy and to win back to God much of what seemed to have been lost for ever.

St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, was sprung from one of the noblest families of Spain, and in his youth he served as a soldier in the Spanish army. But, having been wounded at the siege of Pampeluna (1521), he began to read the Lives of Christ and of His saints, and attracted by their contents he determined to give up the army of Spain in order to enrol himself in the army of Christ. Retiring to a lonely grotto at Manresa he devoted himself to prayer and penance, and in this retreat he drew up his celebrated Spiritual Exercises  which did so much, and are still doing so much, for the progress of religion. With his keen perception of the crisis that then confronted the Church he realised that new dangers demanded new means of defence, and that the best defence of Catholicity at that period would, be a zealous body of learned ecclesiastics, devoted to the education of Catholic youth, brave to withstand the onslaughts of the heretics and completely at the service of the Holy See, then so bitterly assailed.

To qualify himself for a position in such an army he set himself to study, and passed some time at the universities of Alcala, Salamanca and Paris. In the latter city he gathered around him a body of young men, St. Francis Xavier, Rodriguez, Lainez, Salmeron, &c., who were to form the nucleus of the Society of Jesus, and on the Feast of the Assumption they wended their way to the summit of Montmartre, overlooking the city of Paris, where, on bended knees, they pledged themselves to preach to the unbelievers, or, if that were impossible, to place themselves at the disposal of the Pope. Paul III. recognised the value of such devotion, and in 1540 the new society received papal approbation.

The society spread rapidly. St. Ignatius despatched his soldiers to the posts of danger in the countries in which heresy was most threatening, and wherever they appeared their labours were attended with success. Realising the importance of education, and especially of the education of the clergy, St. Ignatius founded the Roman College for the training of priests from all parts of the world, and the German College for students from Germany. Wherever his disciples went they followed the example of their master, and set up schools and universities for the education of Catholic youths. Working, too, among the pagans they spread a knowledge of the Christian religion, and succeeded in winning many to take the place of those who had left the Church during the Reformation. In America, both North and South, in Africa, in India and Japan, members of the society laboured hard and poured out their blood for the faith. Nor were the penances and prayers of such well known servants of God as St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, St. Stanislaus Kostka, and St. John Berchmans, to mention only a few, without great results. Wherever a hard blow was to be struck against Protestantism, Jansenism, Gallicanism, Rationalism or Paganism, the Jesuits were there to strike it, and their labours were as a rule crowned with success.

St. Philip Neri did much in Rome and Italy by his own example and labours, and by the foundation of the Oratorians (1574) who helped greatly to raise the standard of education in the Church. St. Charles Borromeo was the friend of St. Philip Neri. He set up a body of secular priests to take charge of his seminary (1578) and to preach, and by his own exertions and their help he did much to hold a large number of the cantons of Switzerland Catholic. St. Francis de Sales (1622) won back the Chablais, a district south of Geneva, in which he converted over 500,000 people in his own life time.

St. Vincent de Paul (1576–1660) was, in a special manner, the saviour of France. Ordained priest, after a course of study at the University of Toulouse, he was taken prisoner by Barbary pirates, and on his return he held a position at the court of Queen Margaret of Valois. But here he did not find sufficient scope for his restless zeal. Realising the importance of good confessions he organized a course of missions throughout France, and surrounded himself with a body of disciples who assisted him in this work. From village to village he went preaching, and it is largely due to the efforts of St. Vincent that France remained so loyal to the Catholic Church. But he soon realised that the results of these missions would be lost unless a new spirit were infused into the French clergy, and for this reason he organized retreats for the priests, and arranged that his disciples should take charge of the seminaries that were being established in accordance with the decrees of Trent. His love for the poor was unbounded, and in order that their wants might be attended to, and that they might have devoted nurses in time of sickness, he founded the Sisters of Charity who won for themselves such a place in the hearts of the French people, that even to-day Frenchmen who profess to have abandoned Christianity always speak with the greatest reverence of the daughters of St. Vincent.

At the same time one of the disciples of St. Vincent Jean Jacques Olier (1608–57), brought together a body of secular priests, known as Sulpicians, from the first house founded at St. Sulpice in Paris, which devoted itself especially to the training of the clergy. It is impossible to speak too highly of the work and zeal of this devoted congregation, or of the benefits which it has conferred on the Church, especially in France, Canada and the United States.

The Thirty Years' War

After the peace of 1555 the Protestants of Germany seemed determined to bear down all opposition and to force their religion on the empire, but fortunately, Maximilian of Bavaria raised the drooping spirits of the Catholic princes and barred the progress of the Reformation. Feeling was running high in Germany, especially on account of the fact that the Protestants claimed, that if any bishop should come over to them from the Catholic Church he should be allowed to bring with him the possessions of his see. The Protestants united under the leadership of Frederick IV. of the Palatinate and formed the Evangelical League, while the Catholic princes, with Maximilian at their head, imitated this example. Very little was now wanting to bring about civil war.

Some disputes having broken out in Bohemia, the heretics elected Frederick V. of the Palatinate as their king, and war was declared. General Tilly advanced to meet the Protestant forces with an army of 42,000 men. The decisive battle was fought at the White Mountain (1620), where the Protestants, having left 8,000 of their men dead on the field, fled in disorder. Frederick was deprived of his territories, which were handed over to Maximilian of Bavaria, and the Catholic religion was secured in Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria and Hungary.

The king of Denmark, Christian IV., strengthened by the promise of aid from France, hastened to the assistance of the Protestants of Germany, but he was confronted by two armies, one the imperial army led by General Wallenstein, the other the army of the League led by General Tilly. Having been defeated at the battle of Lutter (1626) he was glad to make peace and to return to his dominions, bringing with him the remnants of his troops. Ferdinand II. now felt himself strong enough to issue the Edict of Restitution (1629), commanding that all the property that had been seized by the Protestants contrary to the terms of the peace of Augsburg should be restored. Such a decree, however just it might have been, was not politic in the circumstances, and afforded France and Sweden an opportunity of interfering in the affairs of the empire.

Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, at the head of his well trained troops marched into Germany, and though many of the Protestant princes felt some scruples in allying themselves with a foreign invader against their own countrymen and their own emperor, yet most of them overcame these scruples and joined the army of Sweden. The army of the League was defeated near Leipzig and General Tilly received his death wound (1631). The Swedish troops and their allies marched southward, and it looked for a while as if Gustavus Adolphus were about to make himself emperor, but at this critical moment General Wallenstein was recalled, and by extraordinary efforts he brought together an immense army with which he met the Swedes at Lutzen (1632). In this battle Gustavus Adolphus was killed.

The French, fearing that the success of the emperor would mean the establishment of a really united kingdom, determined to send their armies across the frontiers, and from 1635 till 1648 Germany was the battleground of Europe. The original causes of the war were forgotten and France and Sweden fought merely for their own political purposes. Finally, the peace of Westphalia (1648) put an end to the struggle. France and Sweden repaid themselves by insisting on large concessions of German territory; complete equality was established between the Catholics and the Protestants, and the goods of the Church that had been seized before 1624 were to remain in the hands of the despoilers. For this treaty, which in many respects was so unfavourable to Catholics and which put an end to the old ideal of the empire, France was mainly responsible. At home the French government put down heresy with a heavy hand, but it had no difficulty in aiding and abetting the Protestant princes of Germany in order to prevent the establishment of a strong kingdom on the other side of the Rhine.

Catholic Missions

At a time when so many of the nations of Europa were threatening to fall away from the Church, new races and peoples were being brought into her fold in the west and the east. The discovery of America by Columbus (1492), and the settlements effected in south and central America by Spain and Portugal, opened a new field for missionary enterprise. Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites followed in the wake of the conquerors, and to these were soon added the sons of St. Ignatius. Great progress was made in Brazil and Mexico, but it was in Paraguay that the results of the labours of the Jesuit Fathers were to be seen at their best. The natives of Paraguay submitted readily to the instruction of the missionaries and soon became an intelligent, hard-working and happy community. When, however, war was declared on the Jesuits in Europe by the Bourbon rulers the missionaries were expelled and most of their work was undone.

Canada was taken possession of by France, and priests went from France to evangelize the natives. Franciscans, Jesuits and Sulpicians settled in Canada, and soon a flourishing Catholic community was established which continued to grow in strength till the English captured the country in 1760. From Canada many of the missionaries penetrated into the territories now occupied by the United States, and carried the light of the gospel amongst the Indians who inhabited them.

While these events were taking place in the west, St. Francis Xavier set out with a few companions from Rome to evangelize India and Japan (1542). He landed at Goa, which was then a Portuguese settlement, and having done excellent work there both among the Portuguese and the natives, he went to preach in the neighbouring islands and coast towns. Having succeeded in winning over thousands to the faith he left his work there to be continued by other members of the Society of Jesus, and set sail for Japan where his labours were attended with wonderful success. From Japan he determined to make his way into China, but on the journey he took fever and died (1552). During the ten years of his preaching he had succeeded in bringing more than half a million into the Church. The work that he had begun was continued in India, China and Japan by the Jesuits and other religious orders, and everything seemed to indicate that all these countries were about to give up their old religions and to accept Christianity; but the fears entertained by the rulers of these countries that the acceptance of the Christian religion would mean the domination of the Westerns, the influence of the native priests, and the differences amongst the Christians themselves prevented these hopes from being fully realised.

The Reformation in Great Britain and Ireland

In England

In England the Wars of the Roses had put an end to the power of the nobility, and Henry VII. (1485–1509) found himself in the peculiar position of being absolute ruler of the country. When he died (1509) he was succeeded by his son, Henry VIII., who was welcomed by the people, and who, though he made some concessions to popular opinion, still claimed an unlimited power. The parliament was but a machine for registering his decrees, and the bishops and the clergy were almost as subservient as the parliament. The great body of the people were supposed to have no mind of their own, and were expected to follow blindly the directions of the ruler. Without realising this point, it is difficult to understand how England was separated from the Catholic Church and plunged into schism merely at the whim of a clever, self-willed, sensual despot like Henry VIII.

During the preceding centuries many disputes had broken out between the king of England and the Holy See. But these disputes did not interfere with the recognition of the Pope as supreme head of the Church by both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. So well admitted was this fact, that such a keen lawyer as Sir Thomas More declared in the speech which he made in his own defence at his trial, that the unity of the Church and the authority of the Pope were so clearly established, that for England to refuse obedience to the Holy See was as unreasonable as if any English city were to cut itself off from the rest of the kingdom and refuse to recognise the authority of the king. Yet, undoubtedly, these disputes did much to complicate the issues at the beginning of the quarrel with Henry VIII., and prevented many people from seeing that the question at stake then was very different from those involved in earlier conflicts with the Pope.

Nor does it appear that at the time there were very grave abuses in the English Church. The great body of the bishops were worthy men; the clergy were attentive in the discharge of their duties, especially of the duty of preaching; schools had been established and provided with ample endowments; the Renaissance movement had, indeed, made great headway, but its greatest scholars and patrons were attached to Rome; and as a general rule the monasteries were free from any serious scandals, a fact which may be proved from the reports of the commission appointed by Henry VIII. to inquire into their working. Here and there, no doubt, there were complaints about the negligence of the clergy and the riches of the monasteries, and there were also some who favoured the Lutheran movement, but the attempts made to introduce the German heresy into the English Church were sternly repressed. In this work of repression Henry VIII. himself took a leading part, and when Luther began to assail the doctrines of the Catholic Church Henry wrote a learned defence of the seven Sacraments, for which he received the thanks of the Pope and the title of Defender of the Faith, a title to which he and his Protestant successors have clung with such tenacity.

The sole causes of the separation of England from the Holy See were the unbridled passion of Henry VIII., the utter subservience of parliament and clergy, and the general misunderstanding of the issues at stake. At the instigation of his father, Henry VIII. took as his wife Catherine of Aragon who had been married previously to Henry's deceased brother Arthur. For this second marriage a dispensation had been obtained from Pope Julius II. For close on twenty years Henry and Catherine lived together as man and wife, six children having been born to them, all of whom died, except one daughter, Mary, afterwards Queen Mary. Henry grew tired of Catherine and wished to marry a lady of the court, Anne Boleyn, with whose sister, if not with whose mother, he had already contracted illicit relations. He decided to apply to the Pope for a declaration that the marriage with Catherine was null and void on the ground, principally, that marriage with a deceased brother's wife was forbidden by divine law, and consequently, that the dispensation given by Julius II. was worthless. When this application was presented to the Pope he appointed Cardinal Campeggio and Cardinal Wolsey to try the case in England. The commission opened in 1529, but Catherine refused to plead in the presence of such judges, and before any definite sentence could be pronounced the Pope summoned both parties to submit the case to Rome.

The failure to procure a divorce led to the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, whose place was taken by Thomas Cromwell, the man who first suggested to Henry VIII. the idea of making himself head of the English Church, and by Cranmer, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. An appeal was made to the universities in England, France and Italy, and owing to the threats of Henry, the interference of his friend Francis I., and the shameless use of money made by his agents in Italy, several of the universities declared that the marriage with Catherine was invalid, or at least doubtful. While the case was pending, in order to frighten Rome into consenting to his views, Henry forced the Convocation of the clergy to accept him as Protector and, supreme head of the church of England "as far as the law of Christ allows" (1531). Various other measures were passed in quick succession, such as the statute of convocation, forbidding the clergy to legislate for their own body without the king's consent, and the act empowering Henry to withhold the payment of first fruits to the Holy See. Just at this critical moment the archbishopric of Canterbury became vacant and Henry determined to make Cranmer archbishop. Cranmer was a man who was already committed heart and soul to the Lutheran movement, and in his wanderings in Germany had taken to himself a wife; the existence of whom he carefully concealed from his master. Cranmer, having first made a secret declaration that he did not intend to observe the oath which he was going to take, went through the ceremony of consecration and swore allegiance to the Pope (1533). Seeing that Rome was unwilling to grant a divorce, Cranmer offered to try the case himself with Henry's permission, and Henry having graciously consented, Cranmer pronounced the marriage with Catherine of Aragon invalid. Anne Boleyn, who had been secretly married to Henry, was now crowned (1533), and an act of succession was passed by Parliament declaring that the children of Henry and Anne were the lawful heirs to the crown. Finally, in 1534 the rupture with Rome was completed when the Act of Supremacy was passed by which Henry was declared supreme head of the church in England. Clement VII., who had been delaying his decision in the hope that Henry might change his mind and might be induced to submit, declared the marriage with Catherine of Aragon to be a valid marriage from which no divorce was possible.

The great majority of the people of England did not realise the significance of the events that were taking place. They had been accustomed to disputes between the kings and the Popes and they thought that on this, as on other occasions, the trouble would soon pass. The same excuse, however, cannot be made for the bishops, clergy and lay leaders, most of whom were so afraid of Henry that they carefully concealed in their own minds the fears which they entertained. Bishop Fisher of Rochester and Sir Thomas More were brought to trial and were put to death for refusing to subscribe to the recent legislation, as were also numbers of the Carthusians and the Franciscans who were unwilling to bend the knee to the king and his mistress. Thomas Cromwell was appointed Vicar General, and to him was committed the task of forcing the bishops and the clergy to accept the new conditions. A commission was sent to examine into the working of the religious houses, but the commission had little fault to find with the greater monasteries, though it reported unfavourably of the lesser monasteries. A Bill was passed ordering the suppression of the less important monasteries, and the suppression was carried out with great severity (1536). This step brought it home to the minds of the English people that a great religious change was taking place, and immediately the North and West flew to arms (1537). Their leaders demanded the restitution of the monasteries, the dismissal of Cromwell and the extirpation of heresy, and it looked as if the insurrection were bound to succeed. But Henry sent against the rebels the Duke of Norfolk, who induced them to disband by promising that their wishes would be attended to. Once the danger was passed a frightful slaughter began of all those who were suspected of having taken part in the movement; the monasteries were entirely suppressed, and their property was handed over to the greedy English nobles.

Meanwhile, the ecclesiastical and civil leaders in England were divided into two sections. One party wished for a return to the Catholic Church, or at least wished to prevent any innovations of doctrine or worship, so that on the death of Henry the schism might be ended; the other party, led by Cranmer and Cromwell, aimed at throwing England entirely into the hands of Luther. Henry refused to agree with either party, and in 1539 he passed the famous Statute of the Six Articles which laid down the truth of Transubstantiation, the sufficiency of communion under one kind, clerical celibacy, the validity of vows of chastity, the utility of private masses, and the necessity for auricular confession. For the denial of Transubstantiation the penalty was death at the stake, and for a denial of the other articles, imprisonment and forfeiture. Till his death in 1547 Henry strove to enforce this statute, and the enemies of Transubstantiation were punished as harshly as the defenders of the Papacy.

Thomas Cromwell, the man who took such a part in the separation of England from the Church, was put to death in 1540, and Cranmer on more than one occasion had a narrow escape. Anne Boleyn, for whose sake England was separated from the Holy See, was charged with incest and adultery, and was executed, Cranmer having previously declared that the marriage with Henry was null and void. Of this marriage Elizabeth was the only child. Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife, and mother of Edward VI., died a natural death. Anne of Cleves, Henry's fourth wife, was divorced; the fifth, Catherine Howard, was executed for adultery; and the sixth and last, Catherine Parr, escaped with her life, though, on one occasion when she ventured to disagree with Henry's theological views, she nearly met the fate of the others. That the parliament submitted to such a tyrant and consented to change the succession to the throne at his bidding, is a proof of the power of Henry and of the want of spirit among the English nobles.

On the death of Henry in 1547 he was succeeded by his infant son, Edward VI. (1547–53). The power passed into the hands of the Protector, Hertford, and his, friends, who belonged to the reforming party, and wholesale religious changes were undertaken at once. The Statute of the Six Articles was repealed; a communion service in English was inserted in the Mass; a new prayer book was introduced; later on the Mass was abolished, the use of the Book of Common Prayer was made obligatory on all, and a new creed consisting of forty-two articles was drawn up as the official creed of the English Church (1552). During the lifetime of Edward VI. his ministers had left nothing undone to wipe out the Catholic religion in England, but, as events in the next reign showed, the great mass of the people had little sympathy with such changes.

On his death-bed, Edward VI. arranged that Lady Jane Grey should succeed him (1553). But the people wanted Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII. and of Catherine of Aragon. As soon as the news of the death of Edward and the proclamation of Lady Jane Grey had spread through England, volunteers flocked to Mary's standard from all sides, and at the head of a large army she entered London in triumph. Lady Jane Grey and her principal supporters were put to death.

Queen Mary was face to face with a difficult situation, and it is no wonder that her cousin, Charles V., advised prudence and moderation. Bishops Gardiner and Bonner, who had been imprisoned for their opposition to the Reformation, were rectored to their sees; the bishops who were known to have been against the changes made under Edward VI. were allowed to retain their bishoprics; Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer were arrested; the churches were reopened, and in a short time a stranger might have failed to notice that any change had taken place in England since the days of Henry VII.

Parliament had no difficulty in accepting Mary as Queen, and in abolishing all the religious reforms that had been introduced into England during the reign of Edward VI. The only thing that prevented a complete reconciliation with the Pope was the fear that the nobles, who had secured the lands of the monasteries and the Church, might be dispossessed. Negotiations were opened with Rome, and when an agreement was arrived at by which those who held the property were allowed to retain it, Cardinal Pole was sent into England as legate to absolve the country from censure and to restore it to communion with Rome. Both Lords and Commons voted for reunion, and on their bended knees they received absolution from the papal legate (1554). Against the wishes of Cardinal Pole, Mary determined to put down heresy with a strong hand. Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer, the 'latter of whom showed himself an arrant coward almost to the last, were put to death, as were also a large number of their friends. But, if we compare the number of those who suffered death in the reign of Mary with the number of those who met a similar fate in the reign of Henry or of Elizabeth, it is difficult to understand why Mary should have been singled out for the epithet "bloody." The marriage of the Queen with Philip II. of Spain, and the fear that England was going to become a Spanish province to be ruled by Philip II., for whom the English people entertained the greatest dislike, helped to turn the people against Mary and prepared the way for their acceptance of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen on the death of Mary (1558). During the lifetime of her sister she had kept in close touch with the Protestant leaders, though in externals she lived as a Catholic. But hardly was she seated on the throne than she threw off the mask and followed in the footsteps of her father. All the legislation that had been passed against the Pope was renewed. By the Act of Supremacy, passed in 1559, the Queen was declared supreme governor in spiritual as well as in temporal matters. The Act of Uniformity was also enacted, which prescribed the use of the second Prayer Book of Edward VI., and ordered the attendance of the laity at divine service. Later on, in 1563, the Thirty Nine Articles were drawn up as the official creed of the church.

This time, however, the bishops were not so subservient. They realised that now at any rate they were face to face with heresy, and, like men, they refused to make any compromise. To every step taken in favour of heresy they offered the strongest resistance, and when they failed, they went to prison rather than submit. Kitchen, the bishop of Llandaff, was the only man of the English bishops who betrayed his trust. The Catholic bishops having been removed the next point was to fill the vacancies thus created. Parker was created archbishop of Canterbury, but none of the bishops would agree to consecrate him. Finally, Barlow, a bishop appointed by Henry VIII., and two Edwardine bishops were induced to perform the ceremony, and they employed at it the formula of consecration prescribed by Edward VI. It is from Parker the English clergy derive their orders, and it is because the form used on this and subsequent occasions was so completely corrupted by the reformers, that the Anglican Orders have been declared invalid. Many of the clergy refused to conform, and were dismissed, while a large body of the people that attended the English service also went secretly to Mass.

The Pope, who had hoped that Elizabeth would change her policy, refrained from taking any decisive action, but at last, in 1570 Pius V. published the bull of ex-communication. This served only to raise the anger of the queen who ordered a violent persecution of the Catholics, and great numbers, especially of the clergy, were put to death. The intrigues carried on by some of the Catholics with Spain, and the attempt made by Philip II. to invade England, served to strengthen the position of Elizabeth by rousing the national patriotism of her people, and enabled her to succeed in her policy of making England Protestant.

Yet, on the accession of James I. (1603), a large number of Catholics were still in England, and were ministered to by the priests who had come from Douai, where Cardinal Allen had established an English college, as well as by members of the religious orders. The Catholics hoped for some relief from the son of Mary Queen of Scots, but the Gunpowder Plot, which aimed at blowing up the Houses of Parliament and which was the work of a few desperate men with whose action the Catholic body had no sympathy, prepared the way for a new persecution. Many were put to death and large fines were exacted for non-attendance at Protestant service. During the closing years of the reign of James, his anxiety for the marriage of his son, Charles, to a Spanish princess, helped to put an end to the persecution.

Charles I. (1625–40) was not inclined to enforce the laws against Catholics so long as they were willing to pay for his protection. When the civil war broke out, almost to a man they ranged themselves on the side of the king, and they paid dearly for their loyalty by the punishments they were called upon to endure after the triumph of Cromwell and the Parliamentarians. On the restoration of Charles II. (1660), the Catholics who had done so much for him when his cause seemed hopeless, expected freedom of worship. Charles himself was personally favourable to them, but his advisers strongly objected, and Charles was not the man to take any risks for his friends. During the greater part of his reign, though the laws against Catholics remained on the statute book, and though proclamations were published from time to time yet they were really seldom enforced. In 1672 the king issued a declaration abolishing the penalties enacted against Catholics and Nonconformists; but Parliament objected strongly to this declaration, and passed a law requiring all who held any office under the Crown to subscribe a declaration against Transubstantiation and to receive the Eucharist according to the rites of the English church. His brother, James Duke of York, resigned his office of Lord High Admiral rather than submit to such a law. Later on, the infamous Titus Oates brought forward his story of a Catholic plot, and great numbers of Catholic clergy suffered death, the last victim being the Venerable Oliver Plunket, Archbishop of Armagh, When the first wave of panic and bigotry had passed, the English people began to realise that the plot existed only in the minds of Oates and his perjured assistants, and the persecution was abandoned. Charles II. died in 1685, having been reconciled to the Church before his death.

He was succeeded by his brother, James II. James was an ardent Catholic himself and sincerely anxious for the conversion of his countrymen, but was entirely wanting in the prudence and caution required for such a delicate situation. He was at first immensely popular, but the cruelties of his officers and judges, during and after the rebellion of Monmouth, his attempts to override the law by royal dispensations, and his unconcealed intention of reintroducing the Catholic religion, alienated a large body of his subjects. In 1688 he published the Declaration of Indulgence, abrogating the laws and tests against Catholics and Nonconformists. The clergy were ordered to read this declaration from their pulpits, but the archbishop of Canterbury and six of his suffragan bishops protested. For this protest they were imprisoned and brought to trial, but the king failed to secure a verdict against them. Their acquittal, and the birth of an heir, determined the Protestant party to revolt. They invited William of Orange, the son-in-law of James II., to invade the country, and James, instead of taking the necessary measures for his defence, fled to France (1688). Parliament conferred the crown on William III. and Mary. Personally, William was not in favour of persecution, but he was obliged to give way to Parliament, which passed the most violent measures against the Catholic clergy and laity. During this reign and the reign of Anne the situation of Catholics in England seemed to be desperate. Their lives and their property were at the mercy of the spy and the priest-hunter.

The Reformation in Scotland

Many causes favoured the Reformation movement in Scotland. The interference of the Crown in ecclesiastical affairs had led to the appointment of very unworthy men to the highest offices in the Church, and as a consequence, discipline had broken down badly, especially in the monasteries. Besides, the very wealth of the ecclesiastical institutions proved a source of danger by exciting the cupidity of the greedy Scottish nobles, who wished to enrich themselves by the plunder of the lands of the Church, and who, on account of the clan system then so strong in the country, could nearly always rely for support upon their people. Furthermore, the division in Scotland between those who favoured an alliance with France and those who advocated a union, or at least a good understanding with England, did much to promote the Reformation movement. It was good policy for England to raise up an English party in Scotland and to promote disunion by fomenting heresy; and Henry VIII. and the advisers of Queen Elizabeth were too clever statesmen not to take advantage of a line of action so favourable to their country and to their religious changes.

James V. of Scotland was a good Catholic and took stern measures to prevent the spread of the Lutheran teaching. He refused to follow the suggestions of his uncle, Henry VIII., who wished to involve Scotland in his own struggle with Rome. On account of this refusal Henry spared no pains to win over to his side the Earl of Arran and other Scottish nobles who had leanings towards heresy, and in this way Scotland was divided into two parties. Finally, it came to war, and James V., as might be expected, was completely routed at the battle of Solway Moss (1542).

Shortly after the battle he died, leaving as his successor an infant daughter, Mary, afterwards known as Mary Queen of Scots. Arran, who openly professed Protestantism, became regent, and for the moment the English party was triumphant in Scotland. Cardinal Beaton, as good an ecclesiastic as he was a patriotic Scotchman, was arrested on account of his opposition to their schemes, but the Pope promptly laid Scotland under interdict and the people insisted on his release. A plot was formed with the connivance, if not with the approval of Henry VIII., to murder the Cardinal, and unfortunately, it was successful (1546). The murderers fled to the castle of St. Andrews, where they were joined by John Knox who began his career as a reformer by his public approbation of the murder. With the aid of the French the castle of St. Andrews was taken, and Knox and his fellow conspirators were condemned to the galleys. The Protector, Somerset, hastened to the assistance of his allies, and the Scots were defeated at the battle of Pinkie (1547).

In spite of this defeat the English failed to get possession of the young Queen, who was sent to France for her education. Her mother, Mary of Guise, became regent, and made an honest effort to introduce measures of reform, but she was too weak to cope with her opponents, and the Protestant party continued to make great progress. The nobles favourable to England met in 1557 and formed the Solemn League and Covenant for the overthrow of the Catholic Church in Scotland. They demanded freedom of worship, but Parliament refused to make this concession.

In 1559 John Knox arrived in Scotland after he learned that there would be no danger in his return, because, as a rule, he was a man who took no risks. In his wanderings he had imbibed the doctrines of Geneva and he began to inveigh in the most violent terms against "Anti-Christ" and "Babylon." Where ever he went serious disturbances broke out. Finally, troops were despatched by the French to crush the rebellion, but the rebels were aided by men and money from England. A parliament was called in 1560 which proclaimed Protestantism as the State religion, abolished papal supremacy and the privileges of the clergy, and decreed very severe penalties against anybody found celebrating or assisting at Mass. Mary Queen of Scots, who had been married to Francis II. of France, determined to return to Scotland after the death of her husband. She arrived in 1561, and though she received a good welcome, she found it difficult to get permission to have Mass celebrated even in her own private chapel. The violence of fanatics like Knox and her own prudent policy soon secured for her, however, strong support.

But the question of her marriage created new troubles. Despite the advice of her friends, she married Lord Darnley who was a Catholic. Both Elizabeth and the Protestant lords were annoyed by this marriage, but an attempted rebellion was quickly extinguished. Darnley soon proved himself to be a worthless husband. Disappointed because the queen did not allow him to rule Scotland, he allied himself with her opponents who murdered Rizzio, her private secretary. Shortly afterwards he was taken ill of small pox, and the house in which he lodged was blown up. The Earl of Bothwell was supposed to have had a hand in his murder, but when he was brought to trial he was acquitted. A little later Bothwell seized the queen and she consented to marry him (1567). Whether or not she had any knowledge of the guilt of Bothwell is not clear, but at any rate she acted foolishly, and her marriage with Bothwell gave the greatest offence to the people of Scotland. The nobles rose against her, and both armies met at Carberry Hill, where Mary surrendered herself without a struggle into the hands of her opponents. She was imprisoned in the castle of Lochleven, from which having made her escape, she raised a new army, only to be defeated at the battle of Langside (1568). Against the wishes of her supporters she threw herself on the mercy of Queen Elizabeth, who refused to see her until she had cleared herself of any complicity in the murder of her husband. A commission was appointed to examine into the case, but the commission decided that the evidence was not sufficient to prove her guilt. After nineteen years of imprisonment in various places in England she was beheaded by orders of Queen Elizabeth at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.

Her son, James VI., had been baptised and crowned a Catholic, but having fallen into the hands of the Protestant regent and nobles he was reared a Protestant. When Mary, his mother, was put to death, he showed some little spirit, and it was hoped that with the help of France he might take the field, but fearing to endanger his chances of succession to the English throne he took no action. Some of the Highland lords who still remained Catholic, having seen that there was no hope from the king, rose in rebellion. But James marched against them, overthrew their forces, and Huntly and Errol, their leaders, were forced to go into exile (1595).

From this time the Catholics of Scotland were subjected to the most cruel persecution, notwithstanding which many of them, especially in the Highland glens, clung to the old faith. Under James, as well as under Charles I. and Charles II., the laws against Catholics were carried out with vigour by the Calvinist party in Scotland, and the children of Catholic parents were seized and brought up Protestants. For the three years of the reign of James II. the Scottish Catholics enjoyed comparative peace, but when he was driven from the throne the persecution became still more violent, notably after the unsuccessful rebellion of 1715 and the defeat Of the forces of the Pretender at Culloden (1745).

The Reformation in Ireland

In Ireland practically the same causes were at work to bring about a decline of religion as in the other countries of Europe. The interference of the State in ecclesiastical appointments, the nomination by the king of English clerics to most of the Irish sees, the limitation of episcopal authority owing to the claims of the lay and monastic patrons, the plurality of benefices by which one man held several offices to which the care of souls was attached, the want of good schools for the education of the clergy and the constant friction between the Irish and English ecclesiastics help to explain the downfall of religion that was so evident in the early years of the sixteenth century.

Yet, though there were abuses, there was hardly any trace of heresy. Individuals here and there had questioned certain doctrines but they found no following, and the people of Ireland, both Irish and Anglo-Irish, were thoroughly loyal to the Church and to Rome. Nor, even though the Irish schools had fallen; had learning entirely disappeared from the country, as is proved by the compilation of the Book of Ballymote, the Yellow Book of Lecan, the Book of Lecan, the Annals of Ulster, the Annals of Lough Ce, and the continuation of the Annals of Tighernach and of the Annals of Innisfallen, not to speak of many other literary treasures. At the time of the Reformation in England Henry VIII. determined to carry out the work that had been begun but never accomplished by his predecessors, namely, the complete subjugation of the country. The fact that England was then strong and united, with a well filled treasury, and with little if anything to fear from foreign invasion—for France and Germany were engaged in a life and death struggle—and the complete failure of the rebellion of Silken Thomas (1535) afforded him a good opportunity of making himself absolute ruler of Ireland, and of involving Ireland in his dispute with Rome.

He appointed Brown, an apostate Augustinian Friar, who had found favour by his support of the divorce proceedings, archbishop of Dublin (1534), and commissioned him to introduce the new teaching into Ireland; while about the same time he sent over Leonard Gray to reduce the country by force. On the arrival of Brown in Dublin he convoked a meeting of the clergy and announced the object of his mission, but Cromer, archbishop of Armagh, and the others present refused to accept the royal supremacy, and called upon the people to support them. Brown soon recognised that his work was a failure, and wrote to Cromwell suggesting that a parliament should be called.

The parliament met in Dublin in 1536. It was composed entirely of Anglo-Irish nobles, some of whom, as for instance the Earl of Ormond, had already accepted the royal supremacy in the hope of winning the favour of the king and of getting possession of the riches of the Church. The bill regulating the succession to the throne and the bill of royal supremacy were brought forward, but the representatives of the clergy offered such a determined opposition to the latter measure, that until they were deprived of their votes, it could not be carried. Lord Gray then undertook a campaign throughout Leinster to compel the chieftains to submit, and to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the king. For a time it appeared as if the Irish were about to unite in face of the danger that threatened themselves and their religion. O'Neill and O'Donnell joined their forces and marched southwards to the assistance of their allies, but the deputy met them and defeated them at the battle of Bellahoe (1538), and ravaged the territory of Tyrone. From Tyrone, Leonard Gray marched right through the south and west, receiving everywhere the submission of the Irish chiefs. All the heads of the great families, including O'Donnell, O'Brien of Thomond, and Burke of Connaught, submitted to the king, and renounced the authority of the Pope. A parliament was called in Dublin in which Irish and Anglo-Irish sat side by side, and Henry was proclaimed king of Ireland (1541). Those of the Irish not present agreed to this measure, and even Con O'Neill, after much hesitation, accepted the authority of Henry and renounced the jurisdiction of the Pope (1542).

But, though the princes proved themselves cowards by their ready submission, the bishops, with three or four exceptions, refused to accept the royal supremacy, and even though Brown went through the country in the wake of Leonard Gray, his preaching failed to produce any effect. War was declared upon the monasteries, the riches of which Henry and some of his Irish supporters were anxious to grasp. Most of the monasteries lying in the territory over which the English could exercise control were seized, and the monks were either put to death or dispersed, their only crime being, as far as reports go, their loyalty to the Pope. Many of the great shrines were plundered, and many of the priceless relics broken and destroyed. Yet, at the time of the death of Henry VIII. (1547), little if any change had been effected in the feelings of the people towards Rome,

During the reign of Edward VI. (1547–53), when an attempt was made to introduce heretical doctrines and to force the Book of Common Prayer on Ireland in place of the Mass, even those who misunderstood the aims of Henry, began to realise the danger. Dowdall, who had been appointed archbishop of Armagh by Henry VIII., took the lead in opposing the reformation, and was warmly supported by the great body of the clergy and people. Brown of Dublin, Staples, an Englishman who had been intruded into Meath, and Bale, an apostate Carmelite Friar who was appointed bishop of Ossory, were not the class of men from whom the Irish people were likely to receive a new religion. Their denunciations of one another did not make for the success of the work. Even in Dublin, Brown could make but little progress; the priests of Meath refused to listen to the preaching of Staples, whom they denounced as a heretic, and the inhabitants of Kilkenny, incensed by the blasphemies of Bale, determined to inflict punishment on him by their' own hands, but he was rescued by a troop of English soldiers. Grateful for his escape he left the country and never returned.

When Mary ascended the English throne in 1553 the persecution of the Catholics as such was stopped; Brown and Staples were deprived of their Sees; Dowdall, who had taken such a firm stand in the reign of Edward VI., was appointed archbishop of Armagh by the Pope; Curwin, an Englishman whose conduct was not above suspicion, was nominated by the advisers of the queen to the See of Dublin, and the rest of the bishops and clergy were restored. So little impression had heresy made on the country that after the short reign of Mary hardly a trace of it could be detected in Ireland, except that the Anglo-Irish nobles still clung to the lands of the Church. Nor was there any persecution of heresy in Ireland. On the contrary, many of the English Protestant refugees fled to Ireland to escape the laws and punishments which awaited them at home.

When Elizabeth became queen (1558) she determined to pursue the same policy in Ireland as she was pursuing in England. A parliament was called in 1560. The Act of Supremacy was renewed and its acceptance made obligatory upon all officials of the Crown. The Act of Uniformity of worship ordering the use of the Book of Common Prayer and decreeing punishments for those who refused to assist at Protestant service was also passed. But these measures could not make Ireland Protestant. The bishops, with one or two exceptions, offered their strongest resistance to the change of doctrine and worship. Outside the places where the English writ ran nobody paid any attention to the new laws, and even where the English had power, political reasons often prevented Elizabeth from going to extremes. The dangerous attitude of Shane O'Neill in the north, the rebellion of the Earl of Desmond in the south, and the determined attempt made by Hugh O'Neill to bring about a union of his countrymen to put an end to English rule in Ireland, engaged the earnest attention of the queen and her advisers, and left them little time to deal with the purely religious side of the question.

Yet the Reformation was not neglected. Protestant bishops were appointed, some of whom dared not venture to visit their dioceses, and others of whom, like Miler Magrath, would have done much more to promote their religion by their absence. The churches were handed over to Protestant service; the monasteries outside certain Irish districts were suppressed, and especially after 1570, a most violent persecution was carried on against the Catholic bishops and clergy. Dermot O'Hurley, archbishop of Cashel, was arrested and put to death after terrible torture; Patrick Hely, bishop of Mayo, Redmond O'Gallagher, bishop of Derry, and Cornelius O'Duane, bishop of Down and Conor, met a similar fate; Richard Creagh, archbishop of Armagh, was arrested and done to death in prison; Magauran, bishop of Kilmore, was killed while with the army of Maguire, and many of the other prelates were obliged to make their escape to the Continent. Hundreds of the clergy, both secular and regular, underwent martyrdom for the faith, but, notwithstanding the persecution, priests were still found to minister to the spiritual wants of the people, the Franciscans and the Dominicans being specially active. In order to keep up the supply of priests many Irish seminaries were established on the Continent, at this time and at a later period. France and Spain vied with each other in their generosity to Irish students. Colleges were established at Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes, Douai, Antwerp, Lisbon, Salamanca, Seville and Rome, while the services rendered to Ireland by the Franciscan College at Louvain and by the learned Irishmen who found a refuge there and who, did so much to preserve their country's history, should never be forgotten by the Irish people.

The accession of James I. (1603–25) gave the Catholics some cause for hope. The old religion was practised openly even in the cities of the Pale, but soon a royal proclamation was issued announcing that no toleration could be accorded to the Catholics. The northern princes, O'Neill and O'Donnell, aware of the plots that were being hatched against them, left the country and sought refuge at Rome, where they were welcomed by the Pope. After their flight a large portion of Ulster was confiscated, the Catholics being driven out to make way for Scotch and English planters. In order to insure a majority for the parliament called in 1612 there was a wholesale creation of parliamentary boroughs, The Catholics protested strongly at the opening of the parliament, but their protests were unheeded by the king. The English Lord Deputies, Chichester and Oliver St. John, spared no pains in order to destroy the Catholic religion in Ireland during their terms of office, but in the latter years of the reign of James I. his anxiety to stand well with Spain helped to put an end to the persecution in Ireland.

When Charles I. (1625–49) came to the throne, he let it be known that the Catholics might have his protection if only they would pay him a sufficient sum of money. In return for a large amount, subscribed mainly by Catholics, Charles promised the "Graces," but the promise was never fulfilled. In 1633 the deputy Wentworth arrived in Ireland, determined to raise money for his master at all costs, and by alleging defects of title he managed to confiscate a large portion of Connaught and Munster.

Meanwhile, the trouble in England between Charles I. and the parliament had begun. The Catholics of the North of Ireland, alarmed at the threats of total extirpation that had been thrown out by the Parliamentarians and the Calvinists, and incensed by the plantation of their lands by English and Scotch settlers, determined to rise on the night of the 23rd of October, 1641. Their plans were betrayed to the government in time to save Dublin Castle, but, under the leadership of Phelim O'Neill and others the North rose, and in a short time nearly every stronghold in the province was in the hands of the Irish forces. The Anglo-Irish lords of the Pale finally decided to throw in their lot with their co-religionists; the rest of the country showed signs of following their example, and in 1642 Owen Roe O'Neill and Colonel Preston arrived from the Continent to help their countrymen. The bishops approved of the war. In October, 1642, a general assembly, consisting of the bishops, lords and commons, representative of the Catholics of Ireland, met at Kilkenny and took charge of the affairs of the country. From the beginning there were two parties in the assembly, one in favour of Charles, anxious for nothing more than the toleration of their religion, and the other mindful only of Ireland.

The king opened negotiations with the assembly for a cessation of arms which was granted in 1643, and he sent over Glamorgan to arrange a peace in 1645, but the terms having been discovered, Charles with his usual duplicity disavowed his agent. Archbishop Rinuccini, representing the Pope, arrived in 1645 with supplies of money and arms, and did his best to preserve union between the two parties in the assembly. The splendid victory won by O'Neill at Benburb (1646) did something to put new life into the confederation, but later on it split up entirely over the peace with Inchiquin, and the Nuncio, having protested in vain against the peace, left the country (1649).

In the same year Oliver Cromwell arrived in Ireland. Unfortunately Owen Roe O'Neill, the only general who was capable of withstanding him, died, and his place was taken by Heber MacMahon, bishop of Clogher, who was taken prisoner and put to death. After the terrible slaughters inflicted by Cromwell on the people of Drogheda and Wexford, he left his generals to complete his work. The Catholics were once more subjected to the most violent persecution; the majority of the land-owners were deprived of their properties and banished into Connaught, and a great many of the children were shipped as slaves to the West Indies.

On the restoration of Charles II. (1660) the Catholics who had been deprived of their property—many of them for their loyalty to his father—expected some reward, but, generally speaking, they were disappointed. Charles was not a man accustomed to take any risks for the sake of his friends. The laws, however, were not enforced against them with much vigour, though, when the Titus Oates scare prevailed in England, the cry of Popish plots was raised in Ireland also, and for a time the chapels were closed and many of the clergy were arrested. Amongst those who were thrown into prison were Peter Talbot, archbishop Of Dublin, and the Venerable Oliver Plunket, archbishop of Armagh. The latter prelate was taken prisoner, and his enemies fearing that they could not obtain a verdict against him if he were tried in Ireland, determined to transfer him to London. Here, without being allowed time to prepare his defence or to summon witnesses, he was condemned as guilty of conspiracy on the evidence of a few perjured witnesses and was put to death at Tyburn (1681).

When James II., who was himself a Catholic, became king of England (1685), the laws against the Catholics were suspended and a Catholic was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The Protestant party, alarmed for their ascendency in the country, determined to throw in their lot with the English rebels. Aided by the English soldiers and mercenaries brought into the country by William of Orange, they overcame the Catholic forces at the Boyne (1690) and at Athlone (1691); but before Sarsfield surrendered Limerick he insisted on a solemn treaty by which he thought that the rights and religion of his countrymen would be safeguarded. Hardly, however, had he and his army departed from the country than the very men who had professed to fight for "civil and religious liberty," forced William of Orange to break the terms of the treaty of Limerick, and set themselves deliberately to enslave three-fourths of the inhabitants of Ireland by depriving them of their civil and religious rights. With the year 1695 the era of the penal laws began. These laws probably reached their climax in the reign of Anne (1702–14), and continued in force till about the middle of the eighteenth century. According to these laws all Catholics were excluded from the two houses of parliament, from voting at parliamentary elections, from acting as jurymen, from holding any offices in the State, or from practising as lawyers or solicitors. No Catholic was allowed to teach a school or to send his children abroad to be educated; bishops, monks and friars were ordered to leave the country under the penalty of death, and rewards were held out to all who would give evidence about priests or schoolmasters. If the eldest son of a Catholic father turned Protestant he could claim his father's land; and, in order to weaken the Catholic families, the land was to be distributed equally amongst the sons. No Catholic was allowed to purchase freehold property or to secure a lease. These laws were made to put an end to the Catholic religion, and for a long time they were strictly enforced, but instead of succeeding in their object they succeeded only in impoverishing the Protestant landowners and the country generally, and in giving Catholicity a stronger hold than it ever had before on the great body of the people in Ireland.

Revolts against Authority

The principle of individual judgment put forward by Luther and his associates had a great influence on their followers of a later age, and even on a certain section of those who remained loyal to the Catholic Church. It dealt a severe blow to all religious authority, and hence, even some Catholics began to chafe against the authority and teaching power of the Church, while a large portion of the Protestants, more extreme and more logical than Luther, began to doubt about the very foundations of Christianity, and ended by becoming religious skeptics. Besides, the principle introduced by Luther of placing all ecclesiastical power in the hands of the civil rulers, coupled with the tendency towards absolute rule which manifested itself throughout Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, led even Catholic rulers to be more exorbitant in their demands and to attempt to leave the Pope only a shadow of power in religious affairs. The results of these tendencies were to be seen in::—


The discussions with the Calvinists in the Netherlands had brought the question of Grace again into prominence. Michael Baius, a professor of Louvain, advanced certain propositions which were suspected of Calvinism, and these were condemned by Rome in 1560, whereupon he retracted. His teaching, however, was adopted by Jansenius, who died in communion with the Church as bishop of Ypres (1638), but who left behind him a work which was published later on under the title of Auguslinus. On the publication of this work a sharp controversy broke out.

St. Cyran, an old friend of Jansenius, helped to spread the doctrines of Augustinus  in France, and to bring about a great reform movement which professed to aim at a return to the severity and strictness of the early Church. The justice of God was emphasized, almost to the exclusion of his mercy, and the conditions laid down for the worthy reception of Holy Communion were so difficult to fulfil that communion must necessarily be rare. St. Cyran was helped by many, especially by Arnauld and his sister Angelique, superioress of Port Royal, which became the great centre for the dissemination of Jansenism in Paris and France. The doctrines of the Jansenists were attacked, especially by the Jesuits and by St. Vincent de Paul, but notwithstanding their preaching and the many condemnations issued by the Pope, the heresy found many supporters owing mainly to the strictness it inculcated, as well as to the influence of Port Royal and the assistance of powerful patrons. Pascal wrote his famous Provincial Letters  against the Jesuits, on account of the strong stand they took in resisting Jansenism. For years France was divided, and many people, disturbed by the alleged miracles brought forward by the Jansenists in favour of their view and not knowing well what to believe, abandoned religion entirely. The Popes had often condemned the doctrines of the Jansenists, but the latter always found some loophole of escape from these condemnations. Finally, the publication of the Bull, Unigenitus, in 1713 made it clear that anyone who favoured Jansenism was an enemy of the Church, and from that time the Jansenists began to lose their power, though the heresy continued to disturb the Church in France for years.


Louis XIV. (1643–1715), influenced to some extent by the constitution of the Protestant State churches, determined to make himself absolute ruler of the Church in France; and some of the bishops, forgetful of the fact that their submission to and their union with the Pope were the best guarantees for their own liberty, were not unwilling to assist him. Relying upon the ancient customs of the realm he began to put forward claims to authority in ecclesiastical matters which were strongly resisted by the Popes. He then determined to summon a General Assembly of the French clergy (1682), where the four articles, known as the Gallican Articles, were passed. These were: (a) that the Pope could not interfere directly or indirectly with the temporal concerns of princes; (b) that in spiritual matters a General Council was superior to a Pope; (c) that the rights and customs of the Gallican Church were inviolable; and (d) that the Pope was not infallible, even in matters of faith, except his decision was confirmed by the consent of the Church.

The great body of the French clergy and of the doctors of the Sorbonne had no sympathy with these Articles, and the Popes protested strongly against them, refusing to confirm the nomination to French bishoprics of any of those who had taken part in the Assembly. It seemed as if Louis X1V. was determined to plunge France into schism, but alarmed at the dangers which threatened him in Europe at the time, he sought to bring about a reconciliation with the Holy See in 1693. Those who had been nominated to bishoprics expressed their regret for the part they had taken in the Assembly, and their nomination was confirmed by the Pope, while the king informed the Pope that the teaching of the Gallican Articles would not be enforced in the seminaries of France. But more than once the Articles were revived by his successors and did much to weaken the authority of the Holy See.

On the other side of the Rhine a similar movement against the Holy See was noticeable. The Emperor Joseph II. (176590) made a determined attempt to restrict the power of the Pope in his dominions, and was warmly supported by the prince bishops of Mayence, Treves and Cologne, who met at Ems in 1786, and issued a number of decrees which, had they been acted upon, would have meant the foundation of an independent national church in Germany. Fortunately, the bishops and clergy refused to support the movement, and the prince bishops were forced to make their submission in 1789. The Synod of Pistoia (1786) was also an indication of the same feeling, but the Synod found little support even in Tuscany.


Luther and his followers, not content with attacking particular doctrines, paned at the overthrow of all ecclesiastical authority by making individual judgment the ultimate criterion of revelation. As a consequence, many of those who accepted his doctrines began to question the very foundations on which Christianity rested, and ended by rejecting it entirely. Hence, everywhere in Europe, Rationalism made great progress in the eighteenth century and became highly fashionable amongst the educated and higher classes. It had its beginning in England in the works of writers like Hobbes, Locke, Lord Herbert of Cherbury and others, and soon found its way into France, where the open and shameless immorality of the court and of a section of the nobles helped to prepare the ground for the growth of religious skepticism. One of the ablest and most influential leaders of the movement was Arouet, better known as Voltaire, who, by his popular philosophy, his ready sarcasm and keen appreciation of the weak points of his opponents, did more to spread irreligious views among the middle and lower classes than any other man of his time. A group of able rationalist writers in France determined to bring out an encyclopedia, the articles of which were to be written in such a style as would shake the belief of its readers; and the authors of the encyclopedia might well congratulate themselves on the success of their work. Another writer who exercised a very disturbing influence in France, and whose works prepared the French people for the Revolution, was Jean Jacques Rousseau who in his work, Le Contrat Social, strongly emphasized the fact that the right to govern came not from God but from the people, and that if it were abused, the people could take the matter into their own hands and unmake what they themselves had made. In Germany, especially during the reign of Frederick II, (1740–86), the rationalist, irreligious movement made great progress.


Nor were the religious views, even of many Catholics who still remained true to the Church, entirely uninfluenced by the rationalist movement. In Germany the party of "Enlightenment" aimed at bringing about a complete change in the doctrines and discipline of the Church, in the hope of making the Catholic religion more acceptable to their rationalist opponents. It was under the influence of views like these that Joseph II. undertook his scheme of religious reform which would have destroyed the Church had it been successful, and it was for the same reason that the prince bishops of Germany and some of the clergy showed themselves so decidedly hostile to the Pope. The same movement in Catholic circles can be detected in Spain during the reign of Charles III. (1759–88), who expelled the Jesuits because they were the most dangerous opponents of his reforms; in Portugal during the reign of Joseph Emmanuel I. (1757–77), who also drove the Jesuits from his dominions, and in England to some extent during the earlier conflicts between the Catholic Committee and the Vicars Apostolic.

The Catholic Church in the Continental Countries

During the Age of Revolutions

The French Revolution changed the whole aspect of affairs on the Continent, and opened up a new era in the political conditions of the various countries of Europe, in the relations of the peoples towards the governments, and in the position of the Catholic Church. It owed its origin principally to the well-grounded discontent of a large body of the French people, to the spread of writings and opinions hostile to both Church and State, and to the disordered condition of the public finances in France. The assembly of the Three Estates, at Versailles in 1789, may be regarded as the beginning of the French Revolution. New developments followed one another in rapid succession. The National Assembly assumed to itself complete control; the king and queen, Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, were arrested, deposed and beheaded (1793); the government of France passed practically into the hands of the Committee of Public Safety, which, owing to its violence, led to the establishment of the Directory, and finally, Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed First Consul in 1799. For ten years France had been deluged with blood, the only result of which was the establishment of a strong tyrant in place of a weak one. During the conflict the Church suffered much. Its sources of revenue were destroyed; its property confiscated, and the clergy reduced to dependence on the State. The priests and bishops were called upon to accept the Civil Constitution of the clergy, which aimed at placing the Church under the control of the masses and at separating it from Rome. Those of them who refused to accept it were either put to death or forced to seek a refuge in some of the neighbouring countries. The states of the Pope were seized, and Pope Pius VI. was carried into exile to Valence, where he died in 1799.

When Napoleon succeeded to the position of supreme ruler in France, wishing to strengthen his own position by making peace with the Church, he opened negotiations for a Concordat with the Pope. This celebrated treaty (1802), regulating the question of the ecclesiastical property and of the appointment of French bishops and clergy, would have done much to secure the freedom of the Church in France had it not been nullified to a great extent by the publication of the Organic Articles, which were an embodiment of Gallicanism in its worst form. After his coronation at Paris as emperor by Pius VII. (1804), Napoleon, annoyed because the Pope would not declare war on all the enemies of France, seized Rome, arrested the Pope and carried him to France, where he remained till the advance of the allies forced Napoleon to liberate him (1814). Pius VII., however, refused to yield to the wishes of. Napoleon, and Napoleon, fearing that the country would not follow him, did not wish to break with the Church.

The restoration of the Bourbons meant the continuation of Gallicanism, and as a protest against the enslavement of the Church, Lamennais, Lacordaire and Montalembert founded the newspaper L'Avenir  and tried to establish a Catholic party that would bring about a union of the Church and democracy. But their zeal carried them too far, and their views were condemned by Gregory XVI. (1832). The work of organizing a Catholic party in France was continued and was to a great extent successful. It secured a large measure of educational freedom for the Church (1852).

In Germany the wars of the Revolution, followed by the Napoleonic wars, led to the complete downfall of the Holy Roman Empire (1806), to the seizure of the territories ruled over by the Catholic bishops and abbots and to their transference to Prussia and the other German states. During this secularization movement the Church suffered severely in the loss of her property, in the destruction of the monasteries, and especially in the total disturbance of the ecclesiastical organisation. The states of Germany, influenced by Lutheran ideals, claimed complete control over religion, and the concordats which were negotiated between the Holy See and the different rulers did very little to put an end to this state of affairs. The controversy on Mixed Marriages (1825–41), the conditions for which marriages Prussia insisted upon laying down, and during which Clement Augustus of Cologne and Von Dunlin, archbishop of Gnesen-Posen, were arrested and thrown into prison, marked the beginning of the Catholic organisation which developed so quickly in Germany.

In Switzerland the disturbances brought about during the French Revolution put an end to the old constitutions of the cantons, and served to strengthen the hands of the Protestant party. The frequent attacks upon religion, and the armed attempts made to drive out the Jesuits from Lucerne, forced the Catholics to take up arms, and the civil war, known as the Sonderbund, broke out, which ended in the complete overthrow of the Catholic Cantons (1848). But this defeat, bad as it was, only helped to prepare the way for future victories.

The union of the two kingdoms, Belgium and Holland, under the house of Orange according to the arrangements made at the Congress of Vienna, was very unfortunate and led to constant disputes between Belgium, which was Catholic, and Holland, which was largely Calvinist. These disputes resulted in the rebellion of 1830, which brought about the establishment of an independent Belgium, and the acceptance of a constitution that was distinctly favourable to the Catholic Church. The old revolutionary faction in Belgium was still strong, and the differences of opinion which soon manifested themselves among Belgian politicians led to the formation of political parties on religious lines, namely, the Liberal party and the Catholic party.

Spain and Portugal were disturbed, both by the French Revolution and by civil wars. The rulers of Portugal were forced to flee to Brazil, and the king of Spain was obliged to abdicate in favour of Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon. After the restoration in Spain a civil war broke out between Don Carlos, the brother of the late king, Ferdinand VII., and the partisans of Ferdinand's daughter, Isabella (1833). Owing to the fact that Don Carlos was a good Catholic, the clergy generally supported him, and after he was defeated they were obliged to pay the penalty. The persecution lasted for a long time, and it was only when a concordat was concluded with the Holy See in 1853 that peace was restored in some measure to the Church. In Portugal a civil war broke out between Dom Miguel and Dom Pedro, in which the clergy took the side of Dom Miguel, the friend of the Church, against Dom Pedro, the leader of the Freemasons. When Dom Miguel was driven from the country (1834), the conquerors took vengeance on the Church by the destruction of the monasteries and of the seminaries, and by the seizure of ecclesiastical property.

During the Age of Constitutionalism

The revolution of 1848 gave the people a voice in the government by the establishment of constitutions, and since that time the power of the people has increased steadily. This period is remarkable for the development of constitutionalism in politics and of secularism, especially in education, as well as for the sharp division that has taken place between capital and labour.

In France the government of Napoleon III. (1852–70) was at first favourable to the Catholics, but the dissensions between the liberal and conservative parties, led by Montalembert and Dupanloup on the one side and by Louis Veuillot on the other, the interference of Napoleon III. in Italian politics—an interference which prepared the way for the downfall of the temporal sovereignty of the Pope—and the spread of irreligious views would have led undoubtedly to a conflict had not the Franco-Prussian war put an end to the second empire (1870).

The establishment of the Third Republic placed the power in the hands of the party opposed to religion; while the dissensions amongst those who were really friendly to the Church, the indifference and the coldness of a large section of the French people, the imprudent mixing up of religion and politics, and the splendid discipline and organisation of the enemies of Catholicity have maintained them in power since. The campaign against the Church that began in 1879 was carried to a successful conclusion in the period between 1900 and 1905, when most of the religious orders were expelled, the Catholic schools were closed, official relations were broken off with the Holy See and the separation of Church and State was brought about. This latter step, which was meant to put an end to religion in France, has served, instead, to give a new impetus to religion by restoring to the Church a large measure of freedom. Many of the schools have been re-opened; better relations exist between the clergy and people than formerly, and the union of the bishops and clergy with the Holy See has never before been so close.

In Germany the Catholic organisation, that had been begun before 1848, was carried to perfection during the war known as the Kulturkampf  (1873–86) waged by Bismarck against the Church after his success in the Franco-Prussian war. He framed a body of laws, the "May Law," the effect of which would have been the complete enslavement of the Church, but the bishops and clergy preferred to go to prison rather than accept them, and the people stood loyal to their spiritual leaders. Windthorst, to whose skill in leadership the Catholic party in Germany owes so much, took up the challenge thrown down by Bismarck and forced him to sue for peace. As a result the Centre Party, representing the Catholics of Germany, is now the strongest party in the empire and the organisation of German Catholics is the envy of their co-religionists throughout the world.

Austria followed the example of the other countries in trying to assert complete control over the Church, and after the Vatican Council the Liberal party was triumphant; but the Catholics, encouraged by the success of the Catholics of Germany, took advantage of the excesses and mistakes of their opponents and the result has been a strong Catholic reaction in Austria. The appearance in Austrian politics of the Christian Democrat party for the organisation of which Dr. Lueger was largely responsible, is likely to prove of advantage to the Catholic Church.

In Switzerland the progress of Catholicity has been little less than marvellous. This is due again to good organisation, developed under stress of persecution, to the efforts of Cardinal Mermillod and of Decurtins to weld the Catholic labourers and artisans into a great Christian labour organisation, as well as to good schools and colleges, and more especially to the recently founded University of Freiburg. (1889).

In Belgium the differences between the Liberals and Catholics came to a crisis when the Liberal party, having been returned to office in 1878, determined to drive out religion from the schools. The Catholics strongly resisted such a measure; the country supported them, and the Liberal government fell. Since 1884 the Catholic party has ruled Belgium, and with what success the present industrial and agricultural position of Belgium bears ample testimony. In Holland, where Catholicism appeared to have been almost suppressed, a remarkable revival has taken place. Owing to the divisions between the liberal and conservative sections of the Calvinists, the Catholics hold the balance of power in the government, and have secured complete freedom and an excellent system of religious education.

In Spain the revolt of 1868 and the disturbed state of affairs till the accession of Alphonsus XII. in 1874, did much to injure religion, while the quarrels between the Carlists and the supporters of the present reigning family, together with the rise of a strong socialist, anti-religious party, have tended to create trouble at times. But in the main, the people of Spain are still thoroughly Catholic, and with a little more organisation they would have nothing to fear. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of Portugal. There, the effects of the anti-Christian teaching of the universities and of some of the schools, of the spread of the free-mason and other secret societies, and of the interference of the government in all ecclesiastical matters, more especially in the education of the clergy, have been shown in the recent revolution, when the king was forced to flee from Portugal, and when the separation of Church and State was carried in such a high-handed and tyrannical manner. Possibly in the end this separation may, as in France, help to create a better religious spirit.

The Papacy in Modern Times

From 1800 to 1846

When Pius VI. died in prison at Valence in 1799 the enemies of the Church hailed his death as an end of the papacy. But their hopes were doomed to disappointment. When Pius VII. (1800–23) was elected at the conclave held at Venice, almost his first work was the negotiation of the concordat by which the Catholic religion was re-established in France. Later on he visited Paris for the coronation of Napoleon' (1804). The good relations between the Pope and the emperor did not last long. In 1808 Napoleon published his famous decree by which the sovereignty of the Pope was abolished, and Pius VII. replied by levelling ex-communication against all those who used violence against the Church. The Pope was arrested in Rome and brought to Savona, from which he was transferred to Fontainebleau. At Savona he was treated very harshly, as, indeed, also at Fontainebleau. The fear that the Pope might fall into the hands of the allies induced Napoleon to set him at liberty, and he returned to Rome amidst the rejoicings of the people in 1814.

The Congress of Vienna restored the States of the Church almost in their entirety, but the revolutionary ideas planted in the minds of the people by the French invaders soon manifested themselves in the secret societies that sprang up, and principally in the party of the Carbonari, founded for the overthrow of both Church and State. Pius VII. made some concessions but not sufficient to satisfy all demands.

He was succeeded by Leo XII. (1823–29), who was an exceedingly austere man, both in his own life and in his rule. He was followed by Pius VIII., who reigned only twenty months. The conclave for the election of a new Pope was held amid the storm of the revolution that swept over Europe in 183o, and in which the Papal States were involved. The result of the conclave was the election of Gregory XVI. (1830–46), who was, throughout his life, the uncompromising opponent of secret societies and of rebellion. This attitude was due in great measure to his own experience in the Papal States which were still very much disturbed, notwithstanding the concessions that had been made by his predecessors and by himself. The old anarchical party represented by the Carbonari lost their hold upon the people, but their place was taken by the Young Italy party, who wished to unite the various Italian states into one strong kingdom. Even some of those who were strong defenders of the temporal sovereignty of the Popes wished also for a united Italy, and they proposed as a compromise, that there should be a federal union of the Italian states, like the union of the Swiss cantons, over which confederation the Pope should be permanent president. Gregory XVI. was unwilling to listen to either party, and he died just as a new rebellion was about to commence, leaving to his successor an exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, task.

From 1846 to the Present Time

Pius IX. (184678) was well received by all parties, and he proceeded immediately to make concessions to the popular demands. A general amnesty was proclaimed; a Council of State was appointed, and finally, in 1848, Pius IX. set an example to most of the rulers of Europe by granting a very liberal constitution.

But the feeling of the Italians was rising rapidly against the Austrians, who held Lombardy and Venice, and when the news came that a revolution had broken out in Venice the people of these provinces rose in revolt. Charles Albert, king of Piedmont, determined to support them. The cry went up on all sides that Pius IX. should send his army to the assistance of his countrymen engaged in a life and death struggle with the foreigner. The Pope was placed in a difficult position. As a patriotic Italian, nobody could doubt on which side his sympathy lay, but as head of the Catholic Church he felt it difficult to draw the sword on a Catholic nation that had not interfered directly with the Papal States. Immediately, a rebellion broke out in Rome; the Pope was forced to make his escape to Gaeta from which he returned after a French army had put down the rebellion in his capital, but the result was that Piedmont had now taken the leading place in Italy, and Italians hailed the ruler of Piedmont as the future king of a united Italy.

It was Cavour, however, the prime minister of Victor Emmanuel, who contributed more than any other individual, to bring about the union of Italy. Owing to his action in assisting the English and French during the Crimean war (1854) he won their sympathy for his own country, and secured a promise of assistance from Napoleon III. in the struggle which he contemplated with Austria. The war broke out in 1859, and by the aid of Napoleon III. and the French troops the Austrians were defeated at Magenta and Solferino. According to the terms of the peace of Villafranca (1859) the Italian states were to be grouped together into a confederation, with the Pope as its permanent president. But the revolutionary party refused to accept such terms; the people in some parts of the Papal States were stirred up to rebellion; a Piedmontese army marched in and defeated Lamorciere, the general of the Pope, at Castelfidardo and took possession of the greater portion of the Papal States.

The Pope still retained Rome, while the supporters of the new kingdom of Italy clamoured that it should be seized and made the capital. But Napoleon interfered to prevent such a move being accomplished. When, however, the Franco-Prussia war broke out (1870) the French troops were recalled from Rome, and the forces of Victor Emmanuel made a hurried march towards the city of the Popes and captured it by storm. The rule of the Pope was overthrown, and Rome was declared to be the capital of Italy. In order to satisfy the Catholic world, a Law of Guarantees, securing to the Pope certain privileges and honours, was passed by the Italian Parliament (1871), but the Pope wisely refused to avail himself of it, and since that time he and his successors have remained shut up in the Vatican It ought to be evident that the Pope, whose subjects are to be found in every part of the world, cannot himself afford to be the subject of any ruler; and if he were to accept the guarantees of the Italian government the same evils would once again afflict the Church as afflicted it at the time of the Avignon captivity. The Popes would be regarded by many Catholics merely as the chaplains of the kings of Italy. With the present state of affairs in Rome no Catholic can be satisfied.

In 1854 Pius IX., with the approval of the bishops of the world, solemnly defined the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, that is to say, he defined that the Blessed Virgin in the first moment of her conception, by a special grace of God, and in consideration of the merits of her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, was preserved free from all taint of original sin. Ten years later he published the Syllabus, which was a collection of the principal errors that were then finding support outside and inside the Church.

But his greatest work was the convocation of the Vatican Council, which was the first general council held since the days of the Council of Trent. From the point of view of the number of bishops present, the Vatican was the largest and most representative council in the history of the Church. The great question that occupied the attention of the Fathers was the question of Papal Infallibility. About the doctrine itself there was very little difference of opinion, but the members of the council were sharply divided as to the wisdom of making it at the time an article of faith. The great majority held that it was necessary to oppose a strong bulwark to the inroads of Rationalism, and that the best bulwark would be the recognition of the infallible authority of the Pope. A minority, however, contended that such a definition, at such a time, would have the effect of driving away many who were in sympathy with Catholicism, and might also lead to a new schism in the Church. The council, however, by 533 votes to two passed the decree (1870). In most parts of the Church the doctrine of Papal Infallibility was received without a murmur of dissent, but in Germany some of the university professors, notably Dellinger of Munich, refused to accept it and were excommunicated. A new sect calling themselves Old Catholics was formed, and owing to the assistance given this body by the governments in Germany and Switzerland, they exercised a very disturbing influence for a few years; but their numbers soon began to fall away, and most of those who remained are now merged in the various Protestant parties.

On the death of Pius IX., Pope Leo XIII. (18781903) was elected as his successor. The new Pope found it impossible to bring about a reconciliation with Italy, but with most of the other countries he succeeded in establishing excellent relations. The war that was carried on against the Church in Germany was brought to an end by an honourable peace, as was also the struggle between the government of Switzerland and the Swiss Catholics. A friendly understanding was arrived at between the Pope and Austria, and even between the Pope and Russia. But despite the efforts of Leo XIII, to put an end to the disturbed state of affairs in France, his policy failed, mainly owing to the opposition of the extremists on both sides. Many Catholics who belonged to the royalist party took offence at the Pope's advice about accepting the Republic (1892), while the enemies of religion would not be satisfied with any concessions that could be made. Possibly, however, it is by his encyclicals, in which he displayed such a wonderfully keen appreciation of modern requirements, that Leo XIII. will be remembered best. Of these the principal were the encyclicals on the labour question, in which he laid down the broad general principles according to which the present struggle between capital and labour might be ended, on the relations between Church and State, on the necessity for rulers maintaining Christian theories of government if they wished to kill the prevailing spirit of revolt, and on ecclesiastical studies, especially Scripture and Philosophy.

On the death of Leo XIII. Cardinal Sarto was elected Pope, and took the title of Pius X. (1903). His motto is, "to renew all things in Christ," and he selected the best means of doing this by recommending strongly the practice of frequent Communion. During his pontificate he asserted the rights of the Church against the French government, and vindicated the freedom of future conclaves against the veto of civil rulers. In opposition to the Modernist Party in the Church who directed their attacks against the most fundamental doctrines, such as the Resurrection of Christ and the establishment of a visible Church, he issued the Syllabus of Errors and the Bull, Pascendi Gregis  (1907), both of which should recommend themselves to every man who professes to be a Christian.

Progress of Religion in Ireland, England, Scotland, the United States, and Australia

In Ireland

With the beginning of the reign of George III. (1760–1820) a better era began to dawn for the Catholics of Ireland. Notwithstanding the severity of the penal laws they still formed more than three-fourths of the population of the country, and though shut out from the land and from the learned professions, there were many of them who, as merchants, had amassed considerable wealth. The fear that the Irish Catholics would ally themselves with some of the Continental enemies of England, the desire to secure soldiers and sailors for the army and the fleet, the anxiety of the landlords to receive good prices for their lands by allowing Catholics to acquire property, the advocacy of Catholic claims by men like Henry Grattan and Edmund Burke, and the rising spirit of toleration, due in great measure to the spread of religious indifference, served to bring about a relaxation of the penal code.

The Relief Bill of 1771 permitted Catholics to take a limited lease of bog land, on certain conditions, while that of 1778 went further and empowered them to hold leases for 999 years. The Volunteer movement in Ireland was welcomed by the Catholics, and was successful in securing an independent Irish parliament. Yet, nearly all the leaders of the Volunteers, men such as Lord Charlemont and Henry Flood, were bitterly opposed to the concession of complete political equality to their Catholic fellow-countrymen. They were prepared to abolish the civil disabilities of the Catholics, but they would not allow them to sit in Parliament, or even to vote at Parliamentary elections. Grattan, on the other hand, realising that Ireland could never be free so long as three-fourths of her population were enslaved, wished to give Catholics full political rights, but such a view found little support among his colleagues. In 1782 other acts were passed which abolished the laws made against bishops and regular clergy, allowed Catholic schoolmasters to teach with the permission of the Protestant bishop of the district, and abolished a great many of the more insulting sections of the penal enactments.

But the opposition of a large body, even of the patriot party, prevented any attempt at introducing such a reform of the Irish parliament as would admit Catholics to the enjoyment of the parliamentary franchise. Principally for this reason the reform movement failed, and the Irish parliament continued till the end the most corrupt assembly in Europe. The Catholics, however, who had already formed a strong committee to voice their views, took the matter into their own hands in 1792 by convoking a great national convention to meet in Dublin. The convention met and sent an embassy to London, with the result that the English ministers advised the Irish parliament to make some concessions. Accordingly an act was passed (1793) by which Catholics got the right to vote for members of Parliament, to serve on juries, to become members of the corporations of the cities and towns, and to hold certain military and civil offices, but they were still excluded from the House of Commons and the House of Lords, from all offices and emoluments in Trinity College, from the position of sheriffs, and from most of the great offices of state.

The recall (1795) of Lord Fitzwilliam, who came to Ireland determined to grant complete emancipation, led a great body of the Catholics to believe that they could hope for no redress from constitutional agitation. The Catholic committee, which had passed from the control of the aristocratic section into the hands of the democratic party led by John Keogh and others of the Dublin merchants, had already concluded a working agreement with the Presbyterians of the North, among whom the republican spirit was very strong. Negotiations were opened up with the French government, and preparations were made for a rebellion. This was just what Pitt and the English ministers desired. They knew that they could easily crush the rebellion and that then there would be little difficulty in bringing about the union. The rising in Wexford was suppressed; the French forces which landed in Killala Bay were obliged to surrender (1798); and immediately the proposal for a union was submitted to the Irish parliament.

Irish Catholics had no great reason to be attached to the Irish parliament, which was the citadel of Protestant ascendency in the country. The idea of allowing it to be contaminated by the presence of Papists was so distasteful to such men as Flood, Charlemont and Foster, that they would have preferred to see the Parliament sacrificed rather than rally the Catholics to its defence by offering to grant them complete emancipation. Pitt and his ministers, on the other hand, opened negotiations with the Catholics, and promised emancipation as soon as the Union would be carried.

But once the Union was secured Pitt forgot his promises. A new means of dividing the Catholics was found by alleging that they must give guarantees for their loyalty before emancipation could be carried. The principal guarantee required was a government veto on the election of Irish bishops. Owing to misrepresentations and threats of a new persecution, the veto in a moderate form was accepted conditionally by a small body of the Irish bishops in 1799, but once the question was brought forward publicly the bishops strongly opposed the veto, and were supported by the clergy and people (1808). A document was sent from Rome by Mgr. Quarantotti, who was acting as secretary of the Propaganda during the imprisonment of Pius VII. in France (1813), but it was rejected and representatives were sent from Ireland to put before the Pope the true state of affairs. Pius VII. explained to the Irish people what it would be lawful for them to grant in return for emancipation (1815), but as no minister was willing to bring forward emancipation at the time, an end was put to the controversy.

The Irish Catholics realised that they must rely entirely on themselves. Mainly through the exertions of Daniel O'Connell the Catholic Association was started in 1823, and the Catholic rent was introduced in order to give the whole people of Ireland an interest in the movement. When the country had been sufficiently roused, so that Catholic voters could be depended upon to bid defiance to their landlords, it was determined to offer a strong opposition to all parliamentary candidates who refused to pledge themselves for emancipation. The elections in Waterford, Louth, Monaghan and other places went in favour of the Association, and finally, O'Connell determined to take the very important step of offering himself as a candidate for Clare. He was returned (1828) amidst the acclamations of the people, and when he presented himself in the House of Commons he refused to take the oath. The Duke of Wellington, alarmed at the danger of a civil war, forced George IV. to give his consent to the introduction of an Emancipation Bill, which was passed, and received the royal signature in April, 1829. It allowed Catholics to sit in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords, and opened to them most of the greater offices of state, except the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and a few others, but unfortunately, the forty shilling freeholders, who had made such a splendid fight on behalf of O'Connell, were disfranchised.

Even after emancipation had been secured, Catholics were still obliged to pay tithes and to contribute to the support and maintenance of the Protestant churches. Opposition to such a badge of slavery soon spread through the country, and there was a general strike against the payment of tithes (1830). Several desperate conflicts took place between the police and the people, in which many lives were lost, until at last, in 1838 the tithe was transferred from the tenant to the landlord, but in most cases the landlords compensated themselves by increasing the rents. "Ministers' money," which took the place of tithes in the cities, was abolished at a later period. So long, however, as the Protestant Church was the established church of Ireland Catholics had every reason to complain. In 1869 Gladstone passed a measure by which the Protestant Church was disestablished, though the financial clauses of the act were so favourable to the Protestants as to provide practically a new endowment.

The question of education, too, was a burning one in the country. Nearly all the endowments for schools and colleges had passed into Protestant hands, and Catholics were expected to be content with establishments set up expressly for proselytizing their children. A great effort was made by the clergy to provide primary schools from private resources, but it was impossible owing to the impoverished state of the country to meet the wants of the people. Splendid success did, however, attend the foundation of the Irish Christian Brothers. They were established by Edmund Rice, a merchant of Waterford, in 1802. From Waterford the society quickly spread into many of the leading cities of Ireland, notably Cork, Dublin and Limerick. By a Brief of Pius VII. the Irish Christian Brothers were recognised as a religious congregation of the Church. It would be difficult to describe adequately the splendid service rendered to religion by these devoted teachers, who have sent communities to England, Australia, Newfoundland, India, and lately, even to Rome itself, whither they were invited by Leo XIII. (l900). At last, in 1833, the National Educational System was established, on the principle of excluding religion entirely from the schools during school hours. Whatever may have been the intention of the framers of this measure, it is certain that archbishop Whatley and some others of the first commissioners wished to utilize the National Schools for crushing out both the national feelings and the religious principles of the pupils attending them. Dr. MacHale warmly attacked the system, and was supported by a minority of the bishops. When, however, the question was referred to Rome it was decided that the National School System might be tolerated (1841). Gradually, however, mainly owing to the exertions of Cardinal Cullen, concessions were made of such a kind as to make the system more acceptable to Catholics, especially as the clergy were, in most instances, appointed managers of the schools frequented by Catholic children. The same cannot be said of the Model Schools, which were to remain exclusively under the control of the Commissioners, and which were condemned by the authorities of the Catholic Church. The Catholic secondary colleges were established entirely out of private resources, and received no support whatsoever from the government till the Intermediate Act was passed in 1878. This act merely provided prizes for the pupils, and fees to be paid to the schools, on the results of the yearly examinations.

The history of university education in Ireland is not calculated to evoke the gratitude of Irish Catholics towards English statesmen. Trinity College was thrown open to Catholics in 1793, but no Catholic could hold any of its scholarships, or fellowships or any office of emolument. Against this Catholics naturally protested, and in order to meet their demands, Sir Robert Peel set up the Queen's Colleges in Galway, Cork and Belfast (1845). Like the National Schools, these, too, were established on the principle of undenominationalism, and as the bishops failed to secure any sufficient guarantee for the protection of the faith of Catholic students, they condemned the Queen's colleges at the National Synod of Thurles in 1850, and the condemnation was confirmed by the Pope.

To meet the wants of Catholics, the bishops determined to set up a university in Dublin. Large sums of money were subscribed, principally in Ireland and America, and the university was started in 1814, with Dr. Newman as its first rector. Owing, mainly to the fact that the government refused to grant a charter, by which students of the university might receive degrees, and to the want of any permanent endowment, as well as to the divisions of opinion among the governing body, the university was not successful, except in regard to its medical school. The government at last granted the Royal University in 1878, which was only an examining body, but which enabled Catholic students to get degrees, and provided them with some little endowment by assigning a certain number of fellowships to the Catholic University College. Finally, the National University was established in 1908, with three constituent colleges, Dublin, Galway and Cork. Funds were provided for the erection of a college in Dublin, and for the maintenance of the university. Trinity College was left entirely in the hands of the Protestants, and the Queen's University, Belfast, was given over almost entirely to the Presbyterians. Maynooth College was founded in 1795 for the education of the Irish Catholic clergy. It received an annual grant from the State till its disendowment in 1869. It has become a recognised college of the National University, and all its students are required to have obtained a degree on arts before being allowed to begin the Study of theology. The other ecclesiastical colleges are, All Hallows (missionary), Carlow, Thurles and Waterford, in Ireland, and on the Continent, Rome, Paris, and Salamanca.

In England

The Relief Act of 1778 marked the end of the penal laws, and the beginning of a new era for English Catholics. In itself it made very little concession, but it was significant as indicating a great change in the attitude of the English people towards Catholicism. The old determination to stamp out the Catholic religion was gone, and not all the exertions of fanatics like Lord George Gordon could avail to revive it. Hopes were held out that further relaxations of the penal code might be expected, but unfortunately, these hopes served to create grave dissensions amongst the Catholic body. In 1782 a Catholic Committee was appointed to take charge of the interests of English Catholics. It consisted mainly of laymen most of whom certainly meant well; but not all of them were free from the suspicion of being tainted with the spirit of false liberalism, then so prevalent on the Continent, and of being willing to secure complete emancipation at the sacrifice of Catholic principles, or of the rights of the Holy See. Hence, in many cases, grave differences of opinion manifested themselves between the Catholic Committee and the four vicars apostolic who then governed England. Charles Butler, secretary of the Committee, defended his own body, while Dr. Milner, afterwards vicar apostolic of the Midland District, put himself forward as the champion of orthodoxy. The Relief Act of 1791, which gave a large measure of freedom to Catholics, and the dissolution of the Catholic Committee, in 1792, helped to put an end to the controversy for the time.

On the outbreak of the French Revolution large numbers of the bishops and priests of France fled to England, rather than submit to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. At one period fully 5,000 clergy were in England or Jersey, without any means of support, and entirely dependent upon the generosity of the English people. Nor had they any reason to complain of the hospitality shown them. Large sums of money were quickly subscribed for their relief, and Parliament supplemented the charity of individuals by devoting a share of the public funds to aid the French refugees. The presence of such a large body of ecclesiastics, and the national enthusiasm which was stirred up on their behalf, helped to allay the suspicion and anxiety with which Catholics were regarded by their fellow citizens, and afforded a good opportunity of showing how unwarrantable were the charges levelled against the Catholic clergy. Thus, the misfortunes of the Church in France were used by God as a means of re-awakening Catholic life in the neighbouring island. In 1808 the Catholic Board was formed to forward the cause of Emancipation. In a sense the Catholic Board was a continuation of the Catholic Committee of earlier days, except that it acted with much more prudence and circumspection, nor could any charge of unorthodoxy be proved against it. But Dr. Milner, who had proved himself such an able opponent of the Catholic Committee, felt himself obliged to take the field against the Catholic Board, and he was engaged soon in a conflict with the other vicars apostolic. His position was rendered specially difficult by the fact that, besides being vicar apostolic of the Midland District, he was also the accredited London agent of the Irish bishops. For a time grave misunderstandings existed between Irish and English Catholics in regard to the guarantees which might be given in return for Catholic Emancipation, and also in regard to the attitude which should be adopted towards the French ecclesiastics, resident in England, who showed unwillingness to accept the policy of Pius VII. and the terms of the Concordat with France. These misunderstandings were, however, soon forgotten.

Between 1829, when Emancipation was granted, and 1850, when the Hierarchy was re-established, the progress of Catholicity in England can be described as little less than marvellous. This progress was due partly to the large influx of Irish immigrants, whom misgovernment had driven from home, and partly also to the great number of converts who turned to the Catholic Church as a result of the Oxford movement. The control exercised by the government over the Anglican Church had paralysed its spiritual energies for years, and it was only when its privileges, and even its very existence, were threatened by the progress of the reform movement that some of its ablest and more far-seeing defenders were stirred to action. Some of these, such as Whately and Arnold, thought that the only way for the Anglican Church to weather the storm was to declare her readiness to make herself national in the fullest sense of the term, by admitting within her fold all who received the fundamental dogmas of Christianity; while others, such as Keble, Hurrell Froude, Pusey, and Newman, all of them connected with Oxford, believed that it was only by a return to antiquity, by bringing the Anglican practices and beliefs into closer conformity with the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church of the early centuries, that a new life could be infused into the Anglican body. Of the latter party, Newman soon became the leader. By his position as fellow of Oriel College, his unrivalled powers of literary expression and his recognised honesty and disinterestedness, he seemed to have been selected by Providence to become the centre of a great national religious movement.

The opening of both Houses of Parliament to Dissenters and Catholics, and the success of O'Connell and the Irish Catholics in their battle against paying tithes to the Established Church in Ireland, filled Newman and his friends with alarm for the future of Anglicanism. Keble gave expression to the feelings of his party in his famous sermon on National Apostasy, when he denounced the Tithe Bill as opposed to the whole history of England, and when he called upon all her loyal children to rally round the Anglican Church in her hour of peril (1833). In response to this appeal Newman began the publication of the Tracts for the Times. The aim of these tracts was to destroy the distinctly Protestant element in Anglicanism, by bringing into prominence the teaching of the early centuries, and to attack the liberal position by directing attention to the importance of dogmatic beliefs, as well as to the existence of a visible Church with a real Priesthood, Apostolic Succession, and a Sacramental System. The success of the Tracts surpassed the expectations of Newman and his friends. In reply to his critics Newman undertook to define his own position towards the Catholic Church. He admitted that in many respects the Catholic Church was far superior to the Anglican body, and he argued against it solely on the ground that by introducing new doctrines such, for instance, as had been defined at the Council of Trent, she had broken her connection with the Church of the early Fathers, and had forfeited the note of Apostolicity. On the other hand, he insisted strongly that the Anglican Church was also separated from the Church of the early centuries by the Protestant corruptions introduced in the stormy days of the Reformation, and he concluded that the only safe course was a Via Media  (a middle path) between Rome and Protestantism. Such a theory found great support among the younger generation of Anglican clergymen, but was regarded with ill concealed suspicion by nearly all the bishops.

It was very fortunate that at this critical juncture, when a large and influential body of English Protestants were endeavouring to recast the attitude of their co-religionists towards the Catholic Church, that in the person of Nicholas Wiseman, afterwards Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Providence had raised up a defender of Catholic interests, who, as a scholar, a writer, an orator and an ecclesiastic, had few equals in the nineteenth century. As a student from an English diocese, in the English College at Rome, Wiseman was the idol of English Catholics, as an Irishman by birth, he was in close touch with O'Connell and the Irish Catholic body, while, as a scholar of recognised ability and learning, his views were likely to have a great influence on the brilliant band of Oxford men who were engaged in an earnest search for religious truth. Dr. Wiseman resigned his position in Rome, returned to England and founded the Dublin Review. While Wiseman was endeavouring to help the Tractarian Party, Newman set himself to the study of the Fathers, but more especially to examine the history of the Eutychian controversy. In the course of his reading, it suddenly dawned upon him that the Eutychians, in their day, stood in the same relation to the Catholic Church as did the Anglican Church of his own time to Rome, and that every argument which could be adduced to justify Anglicanism, might be urged with equal force in favour of Eutychianism. Before he had recovered from the shock of this discovery, his attention was directed to an article in the Dublin Review, by Dr. Wiseman, in which he quoted the principle laid down by St. Augustine against the Donatists, namely, that a safe rule to follow in case of heresy or schism is the opinion of the universal Church. If the great body of Catholics throughout the world refuse to communicate with an individual or a local church, then the individual or local church must be in error. This dealt almost the finishing blow to Newman's faith in Anglicanism. Yet he made one last effort to recommend his Via Media  to his followers, by undertaking to show how a person who accepted all the defined doctrines of the Catholic Church, could with a safe conscience, profess his adhesion to the Thirty Nine Articles of the Anglican Church, for the simple reason that these articles are not opposed to any dogma of the Catholic Church. Such is the substance of Tract 90, which aroused such a religious storm in England (1841). The bishops made it clear that they were in complete opposition to such a theory. Newman stopped the publication of the Tracts and resigned his position as rector of St. Mary's.

He went into retirement, and set himself to remove the one remaining obstacle which barred his way to Rome. This obstacle was, what he considered to be, the new doctrines introduced into the Catholic Church after the sixth century; but he soon discovered that these so-called "novelties" were but the legitimate deductions drawn by competent authority from the deposit of faith given by Christ to His apostles. Many of his companions, Ward, Dalgairns, Ambrose St. John and others, had already taken the decisive step, and in 1845 Father Dominic, the Passionist, arrived at Littlemore to receive Newman into the Catholic Church. His conversion made an enormous sensation in England, and with reason. Newman was the leader and the champion of Anglicanism against Rome, and what could his friends think but that their cause was hopeless, when they saw him abandoning the contest in despair, surrendering the sword which he had wielded so skillfully, and making submission to the very enemy against whom he had fought for years?

On account of the great advance of Catholicity in England it was decided that the time had come again to set up a regular hierarchy. Dr. Wiseman was appointed Archbishop of Westminster, and created a cardinal, while England was divided into a certain number of dioceses (1850). This step, simple enough as it was in itself, served to rouse the latent bigotry of the English masses. The cry of "papal aggression" resounded on all sides, and for a time it was feared that the Gordon riots were to be re-enacted in London. Lord John Russell, Prime Minister, added fuel to the flames by his violent "No Popery" letter to the bishop of Durham. Legislation of an alarming character was foreshadowed; but in the end a rather harmless measure, known as the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, was passed, and thrown into the waste-paper basket. The agitation served at least one useful purpose by bringing Dr. Manning, the friend of Gladstone, into the Catholic Church.

On the death of Cardinal Wiseman (1865) Dr. Manning was appointed to succeed him. The opening years of his reign were troubled by dissensions amongst what were known as the liberal and conservative sections of English Catholics, both of which parties were thoroughly devoted to the cause of religion, and differed only as to the best means of promoting its interests. Dr. Manning himself favoured the conservative section, while Newman was supposed to have some leanings towards liberalism. In the controversies that preceded the Vatican Council, Dr. Manning took a leading part in favour of Papal Infallibility, and during the sessions of the Council he was amongst its most strenuous defenders. Enemies of the Church hoped that the definition might lead to the retirement of Dr. Newman from the Church, but they little knew the depth of his religious convictions. When Gladstone, having been driven from office on the Irish University question, attacked the Vatican Decrees, he found in Dr. Newman his ablest opponent. Both men, Manning and Newman, were appointed cardinals, the former in 1875, by Pius IX., the latter in 1879, by Leo XIII.

Cardinal Manning was always remarkable for his sympathy with the working classes and with the poor. He recognised more clearly than did most of his contemporaries, how much the future progress of the Church depended on the attitude it assumed towards Labour. His celebrated lecture on The Rights and Dignity of Labour  secured for him the sympathetic attention, even of non-Catholics, and his brilliant success in bringing to an end the great London Dock strike in 1890 made him for the time the most popular man in England. Cardinal Newman died in 1890, and was followed to the grave two years later by Cardinal Manning. Dr., afterwards Cardinal Vaughan, succeeded to the See of Westminster. During his reign a sharp controversy broke out regarding the validity of Anglican Orders; a commission was appointed by the Pope to examine the question, and the result was the solemn, official condemnation of the Orders of the Anglican minister as invalid and worthless (1896). It was also during the reign of Cardinal Vaughan that the Cathedral of Westminster was begun, and it was mainly owing to his personal exertions that the work was pushed forward so rapidly.

Catholics in England have spared no pains to ensure a good religious education for their children. Since 1847, Catholic schools, built out of private resources, received some help by way of State endowment. When, by the Education Act of 1870, School Boards were established and were permitted to levy rates for the support of the public schools, the voluntary schools, both Catholic and Anglican, soon found themselves at a great disadvantage in being obliged to compete with institutions, the resources of which were almost unlimited. The Education Act of 1902 was an attempt to establish equality between both classes of schools. It placed all schools under public control, thus doing away with the objection, "no taxation without representation," but at the same time, in case of the voluntary schools, the foundation managers secured a majority on the school committee. Since 1902 the Nonconformsists, who have never subscribed anything for the erection of schools, have struggled hard to secure the abolition of the safeguards provided for the voluntary schools, but so far their efforts have not been successful. Catholic Training Colleges and secondary schools have also been provided, but both have suffered severely from the recent regulations of the educational authorities. The question of university education was a great source of contention among English Catholics, especially during the life-time of Cardinal Newman, who was anxious for a Catholic hall at Oxford. Since 1895 Catholics have been allowed to attend both Oxford and Cambridge, at both of which suitable halls of residence have been founded.

In Scotland

Perhaps in no part of the world were Catholics persecuted more bitterly than in Scotland. Every means that human ingenuity could invent were adopted by the Calvinists in order to stamp out the old religion, and the adherence of the majority of Scotch Catholics to the House of Stuart afforded them a good pretext for each new act of violence. With the defeat of Prince Charles Edward at Culloden (1745) the future of Catholicity in Scotland seemed well nigh hopeless. As a result of persecution, war and massacres the Catholic population of Scotland was reduced to about 17,000, whose spiritual wants were attended to by two vicars apostolic and by about forty priests. But in the providence of God the defeat at Culloden was to be the means of securing for the Church the services of one of the ablest ecclesiastics in Great Britain during the seventeenth century, Dr. George Hay, the author of a translation of the Bible and of many valuable spiritual works. Having joined the standard of Prince Charles Edward he was arrested and sent to London where he made the acquaintance of some Catholics, and after his return to Edinburgh he was received into the Church. On the completion of his studies at Rome he was ordained priest, and came back to assist his countrymen (1758). He was appointed vicar apostolic, and did much to rouse the drooping spirits of his co-religionists. When the Catholic Relief Bill of 1778 was under discussion,' he made every effort to secure the extension of its privileges to Scotland, but the very mention of toleration for Catholics roused a perfect storm of religious bigotry. The Glasgow Synod proclaimed a general fast, and the preachers lashed the populace to fury by their extravagant denunciations of Popery. The houses where Mass was celebrated in Glasgow, the house of Dr. Hay and the residences of most of the prominent Catholics in Glasgow and Edinburgh, were burned to the ground. Dr. Hay hastened to London to fight the battle of his co-religionists, and was successful in securing some compensation for the losses they had' sustained. He also founded a seminary for the education of priests for the Scotch mission.

The Catholic population of Scotland in 1800 was about 30,000; at present it is well over 500,000. The increase is due largely to immigration from Ireland, especially between the years 1829 and 1890. The Irish immigrants were principally from the north of Ireland, and they settled, as a rule, in and around Glasgow, a fact which accounts for the very large Catholic population of this city. Owing to this increase, and in order to put an end to certain local disputes which disturbed the peace of the Catholics of Scotland, Leo XIII. established a regular hierarchy in 1878. According to the arrangement made by him the metropolitan see of St. Andrew's was erected at Edinburgh with four suffragan sees, Aberdeen, Dunkeld, Galloway, and Argyle and the Isles, while Glasgow was created an archbishopric. Catholic secondary schools have been provided, and are as a rule, in charge of the religious orders, while the State system of primary education is almost entirely satisfactory. Close on 100,000 children receive education in the Catholic schools.

In the United States of America

The Spaniards were probably the first to found Catholic missions in the territories now known as the United States. They began their missionary work in the early portion of the sixteenth century, and the sphere of their influence was in the present states of Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and California. French priests made their way from Canada into the territories represented now by Maine and New York, which were blessed by the labours of Fathers Jogues and Marquette. The earliest English colonies were Virginia, New England, Maryland (1634) and Pennsylvania. Of these, Maryland was a Catholic colony, founded by Lord Baltimore as a refuge for his co-religionists in England and Ireland; but, at the same time, religious and civil liberty was accorded to all, and in Catholic Maryland the dissenters were freer from persecution than in Protestant Virginia. The triumph of the Parliamentary Party in the Civil War which broke out in England during, the reign of Charles I. (162549) led to the overthrow of Lord Baltimore and of the Catholics in Maryland. The religious liberty they had accorded others was denied to themselves, and except for a brief spell during the closing years of the reign of Charles IL and in the short reign of James IL, Catholics in the English colonies of America were obliged to endure a persistent and bitter persecution.

But the War of Independence (177482) put an end to this condition of affairs. The need of securing the help of all the colonists in the struggle with England, and the assistance generously given by Catholic France, made it necessary to proclaim toleration for Catholics. Charles Carroll was amongst those who stepped into the post of danger by appending his name to the Declaration of Independence, and his co-religionists in Maryland and throughout the colonies imitated his loyalty and devotion to America. In 1787 the constitution was adopted by Congress, according to the sixth article of which constitution it was provided that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States." According to an amendment carried in 1789, it was further agreed that Congress should make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; but, at the same time, the individual states of the Union were free to do as they liked regarding religion. As a matter of fact, a good many years passed before New York, North Carolina, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Virginia recognised the principle of complete religious equality.

The total number of Catholics in the former English colonies was about 25,000, who were ministered to by slightly over twenty priests. The superior of the mission was the vicar apostolic of the London district. Such an arrangement, whereby the clergy in the United States must seek jurisdiction from an English vicar apostolic, could not be tolerated. The question of the appointment of some of the American clergy as head of the mission was discussed, and after some negotiations, Father John Carroll was appointed bishop. He received consecration in England (1790), and returned to fix his see at Baltimore. The new bishop found himself with but few clergy, no seminary, no colleges or schools, no religious orders of women, and no body of ecclesiastical statutes suited to the genius or requirements of the country. Fortunately for him, the persecution in Ireland and the outbreak of the French Revolution helped to provide him with capable workers. He founded a seminary at St. Mary's, Baltimore, and handed it over to the French Sulpicians; he erected a good college at Georgetown, near Washington, which college received a university charter in 1815; the Poor Clares came from France; the Visitation Nuns were established by an Irish lady, Miss Lalor; the Sisters of Charity by Mrs. Seton, and a Synod was held by him (1791) to draw up a code of canon law suited to the conditions of religion. Finding that the number of Catholics was increasing, he petitioned the Holy See, and in 1808 New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Bardstown were founded as separate dioceses. Before his death in 1815 Bishop Carroll had the happiness of seeing the Catholic Church in the United States well organized with its hierarchy, its clergy, religious orders, colleges, schools and charitable institutions. Such a development, both in numbers and in organisation, was due entirely to immigration from Ireland, and to the aid given by the Catholics of Ireland and France. A very large proportion of both the clergy and bishops at this period were Irish by birth.

The undeveloped resources of the States attracted large numbers from the Continent and more especially from Ireland. Owing to this immigration the Catholic population went up by leaps and bounds, and as the Catholic population increased, it became necessary to secure the services of more clergy and to erect new dioceses. But there were also many obstacles to impede the spread of Catholicity. The greatest danger threatened its organisation from the authority which the parochial trustees claimed for themselves, not alone over the administration of ecclesiastical property, churches, schools and cemeteries, but also over the appointment and dismissal of the officiating clergymen. The causes which gave rise to the system of Lay Trusteeship in America were:—(a) the fact that Catholics were but a handful in the midst of the Protestant sects, among whom ecclesiastical property was controlled by lay committees; (b) the laws governing the rights of religious associations to hold property were framed according to the Protestant standpoint, and insisted on the election of the trustees by the congregation; (c) many of the Catholics in the United States were from the Continental countries and being accustomed to committees controlling ecclesiastical property, they did not see any harm in having them in America, forgetful of the fact that it was not yet clear how the different states would deal with legal conflicts between the bishops and the trustees. The system of Lay Trusteeship did immense harm, and was a source of many ugly scandals. In some cases the trustees refused to accept the priests sent to them by the bishop, and insisted on retaining priests against the will of the bishop; while, in other cases, they ranged themselves on the side of rebellious clergymen, and took forcible possession of the churches and schools. Bishop Carroll made a strenuous fight against the system in his own day, but was unable to kill it. It was left for a few strong men to attack the evil at the root, and by appealing to the good sense of the Catholic people, to rid the Church of America of one of the greatest dangers which threatened its progress. Those men were Archbishop Hughes of New York, Dr. Kenrick of Philadelphia and Dr. England of Charleston—all natives of Ireland.

Another great obstacle was the strong feeling amongst the native-born Americans against the crowds of immigrants who flocked to the United States from Europe. The native Americans wished to keep the resources of the country for themselves, and lived in perpetual terror of being swamped by the foreigners. The agitation against foreigners became more violent after 1830, when it was seen that the majority of the immigrants arriving were Irish Catholics. Religious bigotry added fuel to the flames. From the pulpit and platform and through the press, Catholics were denounced as subjects of a foreign power, incapable of loyalty to the constitution, and of appreciation of the blessings of republican rule. The Catholic bishops met and tried to induce a better feeling by a very moderate and tactful pastoral, but their efforts were without avail (1833). The storm burst in Charleston (1834), when the convent of the Ursulines was burnt to the ground, and from Charleston it spread to Boston, where, for some days the city was in the hands of an infuriated mob. Later on (1844) another outburst took place in Philadelphia. Two churches, one convent, as well as the houses of leading Catholic citizens, were burned, and it required the advance of a large military force to restore peace to the city. In New York, the determined attitude of Archbishop Hughes and of his people forced the city authorities to take speedy action to prevent any violence.

The vast body of American citizens were thoroughly ashamed of such conduct, but a small section continued the agitation and formed the Native American Party, commonly known as the "Know-Nothing Party," with the object of excluding foreigners from all positions of trust in the United States. This society was killed by the ridicule of the people, and by the noble sacrifices made by Catholics for their country during the dark days of the Civil War. Yet, in later times an effort has been made to create a similar party, with a similar purpose. The American Protective Association (A. P. A.) was formed in 1887, on the same lines, and exercised some power for a time. But after its failure to capture the republican convention in 1896 it disappeared to a great extent from public notice.

The wonderful progress made by the Catholic Church in the United States during the nineteenth century, is one of the most consoling chapters in the modern history of the Church. In 1785, according to the reports furnished to the Propaganda, there were about 25,000 Catholics in the States. At that time there was no bishop; the number of priests was not more than twenty-five; there was no seminary, no Catholic schools or college, no religious order of men or women, and the few churches in existence were of the rudest kind. At the present time the Catholic population of the United States is, according to the lowest calculation, well over fourteen millions, possibly, according to many, seventeen millions. If to this be added the Catholic population of the Philippines, the number of Catholics under the Stars and Stripes falls little short of twenty-two millions. The Church in the States is also extremely well organized, with its three cardinals (Baltimore, New York, Boston) and about ninety bishops, its well-trained and excellent body of clergy, both secular and regular, its religious orders of women, its cathedrals and churches, many of them models of good taste, its universities, colleges, schools and charitable institutions. The Catholic Church in the nineteenth century can boast of no other such success.

The main causes of this rapid development were immigration and conversions. The large stream of immigration from Ireland during the past century contributed most to build up the Church in the United States. In many districts the Church is composed almost entirely of Irish, or of descendants of Irishmen, and a glance at the names of the bishops and clergy shows that to a great extent they are recruited from the same source. After the Irish, the Germans and the Poles have probably done most for the Church. In the early years of the republic, the Church was greatly indebted to France for its missionary priests, religious orders of men and women, and for the liberal financial support given to Catholic institutions in America. The Church, too, in America has gained largely, especially in recent years, by conversions from the various opposing sects. The American people are as a rule intelligent and fair-minded, with little of the religious prejudices against Catholicism to be found too often among Protestants in England or Ireland. They are willing to listen to the claims of the Catholic Church, and to give them consideration. In former times very little organized effort could be made to bring the arguments in favour of Catholicity before the non-Catholic population, but in later years the Congregation of the Paulists, founded by Father Hecker and the diocesan missionary bands organized in many of the dioceses, have done much excellent work. It is calculated by competent authorities that the average annual number of conversions in the United States is fully 25,000.

In order to perfect the organisation of the Church in the States, various provincial and plenary councils were called, the three principal of which were the three Plenary Councils of Baltimore, the first held in 1852 in the time of Dr. Kenrick, the second in 1866, presided over by Dr. Spalding, and the third in 1884, presided over by the present archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal Gibbons. One of the subjects which engaged the attention of the bishops at all three meetings was the subject of education. Though there is not one system of schools common to the whole country, yet the primary schools in all the states are organized on the basis of the exclusion of dogmatic religion. Catholics from the very beginning protested against the public schools, and set themselves to build up free parochial schools in which the faith and morality of their children might be safeguarded. In this gigantic task they have achieved a very large measure of success. Close on 1,300,000 children are receiving their primary education at the present time in the Catholic schools. The maintenance of such a system, especially in view of the fact that Catholics are also bound to pay taxes for the upkeep of the public schools, imposes a great and unfair burthen on Catholic parents, which it would be impossible to bear were it not for the devotion of the religious orders of women who are willing to teach without any earthly reward.

Large numbers of flourishing Catholic colleges are already established and are well supplied with pupils, Many colleges have also secured university charters, as, for example, the Georgetown University, Fordham University in New York, the University of St. Louis, the University of Notre-Dame, &c., but still the bishops of America were anxious to have one grand central Catholic University which would elevate the tone of the Catholic schools and serve to unify the whole Catholic educational system of America. They selected Washington as the site for the new institution, which was opened in 1889. Since that time, and more especially in recent years, the Catholic University of America has made most satisfactory progress, and has shown clearly that it is worthy of the confidence of the country. Its complete success is already assured.

Great attention is also being paid to missionary work among the Indians, who still survive in the Indian reservations, and among the negroes, while large sums of money are subscribed annually by the Catholics of the United States to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In the struggle between Capital and Labour, which promises soon to become as acute in the States as it is in some of the countries of Europe, the position of the Catholic Church is clearly understood. She is not the enemy of the workman, neither is she the patron of revolution. She recognizes fully that the labouring classes have many grievances, and she is prepared to assist them in securing redress, but she can offer nothing but the most unflinching opposition to the irreligious schemes of the Socialists who would seek to deprive the poor of their greatest consolation, namely, their religion.

The Church in Australia

In 1770 Captain Cooke landed in Botany Bay, and eighteen years later a penal settlement was founded there to which was given the name Sydney. On account of the disturbed state of affairs in Ireland towards the close of the eighteenth century, many Irish Catholics, accused of political offences, found themselves among the convicts. The position of those unfortunate people was exceedingly trying. They were not allowed to have any minister of their own religion to assist them, but, on the contrary, they were obliged to attend Protestant religious services under threat of very severe penalties, and to send their children to be educated in the Protestant Orphan School. Three Irish priests, Fathers Harold, Dixon and O'Neill, were sent out as convicts (1798–1800), but for all practical purposes they were prevented from giving any spiritual consolation to their co-religionists. In 1817 Father Flynn volunteered to go to Australia, but as he had not received the necessary permission from the Colonial Office, he was arrested shortly after his arrival and deported. The discussion to which such an action gave rise led to a change in the attitude of the authorities. The Colonial Office announced its willingness to appoint two Catholic chaplains, one to Botany Bay, the other to Van Diemen's Land. Father Connolly of Kildare, and Father Therry of Cork, volunteered for service in Australia. But in spite of this change of front the authorities had not abandoned the idea of making Australia a thoroughly Protestant colony. While every obstacle was thrown in the way of Father Therry in Sydney, large grants of territory were made to support the Protestant Church and schools.

But with the concession of Catholic Emancipation, a change came over the administration in Australia: Some Catholic officials were sent out there who showed themselves friendly to the missionaries. The government requested that some resident superior of the Catholic body should be appointed, and Father Ullathorne was sent (1833) as vicar general. The following year the English Benedictine, Dr. Polding, was appointed "vicar apostolic of New Holland, Van Diemen's Land and the adjoining islands." He was consecrated bishop, and arrived in Sydney in 1835. Dr. Ullathorne returned to Europe to seek for assistants and found many volunteers among the clergy and nuns in Ireland. Encouraged by his success, Dr. Polding visited Ireland in 1840 and was surprised at the number of priests and students who expressed their readiness to accompany him to his distant mission. The Christian Brothers also determined to send out a community to take up their work of education in Australia. Dr. Polding visited Rome, and in 1842 he was appointed Archbishop of Sydney, under which diocese were placed as suffragan sees Hobart and Adelaide. Perth was established as a separate diocese in 1845, and Dr. Brady was appointed its first bishop.

A small colony of Irish Catholics settled in Melbourne, and on the petition of Dr. Polding, a new see was erected at Melbourne, of which Dr. Goold was appointed bishop (1848). In 1851 the news spread that gold had been discovered in Victoria and large numbers of people flocked there from all parts of Australia. The population of Melbourne and of Victoria increased rapidly, many of the new arrivals being Irish Catholics. On account of the increase, Melbourne was created an archiepiscopal see with two suffragan dioceses, Sandhurst and, Ballarat (1874). Later on, a new diocese, Sale, was established. In South Australia, Adelaide was fixed upon as an episcopal see in 1843. In 1887 it was erected into a metropolitan church with several suffragan dioceses in South and West Australia. For Queensland, Brisbane was selected as an episcopal city in 1859, from which Rockhampton was separated in 1882. For New South Wales, under Sydney, Maitland was created an independent diocese in 1865, Goulburn 1864, Bathurst 1865, Armidale in 1869, and Wilcania and Lismore in 1887.

Dr. Polding laboured zealously during his life to improve the Catholic position in Sydney. Dr. Vaughan, another English Benedictine, was appointed as his coadjutor, and on the death of Dr. Polding he succeeded to the archiepiscopal see. On his death in 1883 the bishops petitioned for the appointment of Dr. Moran, then bishop of Ossory. The Pope granted their request, and as a testimony of his regard for the Church in Australia, as well as of his appreciation of the great labours of the new archbishop, Dr. Moran was appointed the first Australian Cardinal in 1885. He held the first plenary Council ever celebrated in the Australian Church in Sydney in 1885, and since that time two others have been convoked in 1895 and 1905. Cardinal Moran also completed the great cathedral of St. Mary's.

During the century Catholicity has made great progress in Australia. In 1800 the Catholic population was only about 300, without priests or schools. At the present time there are close on 1,000,000 Catholics in the country, with a well organized hierarchy and clergy, and with a good system of schools and colleges. The increase is due almost entirely to immigration from Ireland. Efforts, too, have been made to civilize and convert the natives of Australia, the most important, settlement for this purpose being New Norcia, founded by the Benedictines. In New South Wales, in 1879, the control of the primary schools was vested in the Minister of Public Instruction, and the teaching was to be exclusively secular. The Catholic bishops of the province issued a pastoral condemning this measure and calling upon pastors and parents to support the Catholic schools. The advice of the bishops was followed, and an excellent system of Catholic schools has been built up and is maintained without any help from the government. In 1872 the principle of undenominationalism was enforced in Victoria, but the Catholic schools have continued to flourish. Practically the same thing is true of Queensland, South Australia, West Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The total number of Catholic children attending Catholic schools in Australia and New Zealand at the present time is over 112,000.

The first priest who settled down permanently in Tasmania was Father Connolly, who arrived there in 1821. Father Therry went to Hobart later on, and as the Catholic population began to increase rapidly, Hobart was fixed upon as an episcopal see. In 1888 it was made an archbishopric. The total Catholic population at the present time is over 30,000. In 1835 the mission in New Zealand was handed over to the Marist Fathers. In 1848 New Zealand was divided into two dioceses, but at the present time there is an archiepiscopal see at Wellington with three suffragan dioceses, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. The total Catholic population is over 130,000.

List of Popes

First through Fifth Centuries

St. Peter 29–67
St. Linus 67–79
St. Anacletus 79–91
St. Clement I. 91–100
St. Evaristus 100–109
St. Alexander I. 109–119
St. Sixtus I. 119–128
St. Telesphorus 128–139
St. Hyginus 139–142
St. Pius I. 142–157
St. Anicetus 157–168
St. Soter 168–176
St. Eleutherius 176–190
St. Victor I. 190–198
St. Zephyrinus 198–217
St. Callistus I. 217–222
St. Urban I. 222–230
St. Pontian 230–235
St. Anthems 235–236
St. Fabian 236–250
St. Cornelius 251–253
St. Lucius I. 253–254
St. Stephen I. 254–257
St. Sixtus II. 257–258
St. Dionysius 259–268
St. Felix 269–274
St. Eutychian 275–283
St. Caius 283–296
St. Marcellinus 296–304
St. Marcellus 308–309
St. Eusebius 309–310
St. Melchiades 311–314
St. Sylvester I. 314–335
St. Marcus 336–336
St. Julius I. 337–352
St. Liberius 352–366
(Felix) 355–365
St. Damascus I. 366–384
St. Siricius 384–399
St. Anastasius I. 399–401
St. Innocent I. 401–417
St. Zosimus 417–418
St. Boniface I. 418–422
St. Celestine I. 422–432
St. Sixtus III. 432–440
St. Leo I. 440–461
St. Hilary 461–468
St. Simplicius 468–483
St. Felix III. 483–492
St. Gelasius I. 492–496
St. Anastasius 496–498

Sixth through Tenths Centuries

St. Symmachus 498–514
St. Hormisdas 514–523
St. John I. 523–526
St. Felix IV. 526–530
St. Boniface II. 530–532
John II. 533–535
St. Agapetus 535–536
St. Sylverius 536–537
Vigilius 537–555
Pelagius 556–561
John III. 561–574
Benedict I. 575–579
Pelagius II. 579–590
St. Gregory I. 590–604
Sabinian 604–606
Boniface III. 607–607
St. Boniface IV. 608–615
St. Deusdedit 615–618
Boniface V. 619–625
Honorius I. 625–638
Severinus 639–640
John IV. 640–642
Theodore I. 642–649
St. Martin I. 649–653
St. Eugene I. 654–657
St. Vitalian 657–672
Adeodatus. 672–676
Donus 676–678
St. Agatho 678–681
St. Leo II. 682–683
St. Benedict II. 684–685
John V. 685–686
Conon 686–687
(Theodosius) 687–687
(Paschal) 687–692
St. Sergius I. 687–701
John VI. 701–705
John VII. 705–707
Sisinnius . 708–708
Constantine 708–715
St. Gregory II. 715–731
St. Gregory III. 731–741
St. Zachary 741–752
Stephen II. 752–757
St. Paul I. 757–767
(Constantine II.) 767–768
Stephen III. 768–772
Adrian I. 772–795
Leo III. 795–816
Stephen IV. 816–817
Paschal I. 817–824
Eugene II. 824–827
Valentine 827–827
Gregory IV. 827–844
Sergius II. 844–847
Leo IV. 847–855
Benedict III. 855–858
St. Nicholas I. 858–867
Adrian II. 867–872
John VIII. 872–882
Marinus I. 882–884
Adrian III. 884–885
Stephen V. 885–891
Formosus 891–896
Boniface VI. 896–896
Stephen VI. 896–897
Romanus 897–897
Theodore II. 897–897
John IX. 898–900
Benedict IV. 900–903
Leo V. 903–903
Christopher 903–904
Sergius III. 904–911
Anastasius III. 911–913
Lando 913–914
John X. 914–928
Leo VI. 938–929
Stephen VII. 929–931
John XI. 931–935
Leo VII. 936–939
Stephen VIII. 939–942
Marinus II. 942–946
Agapetus II. 946–955
John XII. 955–964
Leo VIII. 963–965
Benedict V. 964–964
John XIII. 965–972
Benedict VI. 973–974
Benedict VII 974–983
John XIV. 983–984
John XV. 985–996

Eleventh through Fifteenth Centuries

(names of antipopes in parenthesis)
Gregory V. 996–999
(John XVI.) 997–998
Silvester II. 999–1003
John XVII. 1003–1003
John XVIII. 1003–1009
Sergius IV. 1009–1012
Benedict VIII. 1012–1024
John XIX. 1024–1032
Benedict IX. 1032–1944
Sylvester III. 1045–1045
Gregory VI. 1045–1046
Clement II. 1046–1047
Damasus II. 1048–1048
St. Leo IX. 1049–1054
Victor II. 1055–1057
Stephen IX. 1057–1058
Benedict X. 1058–1059
Nicholas II. 1059–1061
Alexander II. 1061–1073
(Honorius II.) 2062–1069
Gregory VII. 1073–1085
(Clement III.) 1084–1100
Victor III. 1086–1087
Urban II. 1088–1099
Paschal II. 1099–1118
Gelasius IL 1118–1119
Calixtus II. 1I19–1124
Honorius II. 1124–1130
(Celestine II.) 1124–1124
Innocent II. 1130–1143
(Anacletus II.) 1130–1138
(Victor IV.) 1138–1138
Celestine II. 1143–1144
Lucius II. 1144–1145
Eugene III. 1145–1153
Anastasius V. 1153–1154
Adrian IV. 1154–1159
Alexander III. 2259–1181
(Victor IV.) 1159–1164
(Paschal III.) 1164–1168
(Calixtus III.) 1168–1179
(Innocent III.) 1179–1180
Lucius III. 1181–I185
Urban III. 1185–1187
Gregory VIII. 1187–1187
Clement III. 1187–1191
Celestine III. 1191–1198
Innocent III. 1198–1216
Honorius III. 1217–1227
Gregory IX. 1227–1241
Celestine IV. 1241–1241
Innocent IV. 1243–1254
Alexander IV 1254–1262
Urban IV. 1261–1264
Clement IV. 1265–1268
Gregory X. 1271–1276
Innocent V.  
Adrian V 1276–1277
John XXI.  
Nicholas III. 1277–1280
Martin IV 1261–1285
Honorius IV. 1285–1287
Nicholas IV. 1288–1292
Celestine V. 1294–1294
Boniface VIII. 1294–1303
Benedict XI. 1303–1304
Clement V. 1305–1314
John XXII. 1316–1334
(Nicholas V.) 1328–1330
Benedict XII. 1334–1342
Clement VI. 1342–1352
Innocent VI. 1352–1362
Urban V. 1362–1370
Gregory XI. 1370–1378
Urban VI. 1378–1389
(Clement VII.) 1378–1394
Boniface IX. 1389–1404
(Benedict XIII.) 1394–1417
Innocent VII. 1404–1406
Gregory XII. 1406–1417
(Alexander V.) 1409–1410
(John XXIII.) 1410–1415
Martin V. 1417–1431
(Clement VIII.) 1424–1429
(Benedict XIV.) 1424
Eugene IV. 1431–1447
(Felix V.) 1439–1449
Calixtus III. 1455–1458
Pius II. 1458–1464
Paul II. 1464–1471
Sixtus IV. 1471–1484
Innocent VIII. 1484–1492

Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries

Alexander VI. 1492–1503
Pius III. 1503–1503
Julius II. 1503–1513
Leo X. 1513–1521
Adrian VI. 1522–1523
Clement VII. 1523–1534
Paul III. 1534–1549
Julius III. 1550–1555
Marcellus II. 1555–1555
Paul IV. 1555–1559
Pius IV. 1559–1565
Pius V. 1566–1572
Gregory XIII. 1572–1585
Sixtus V. 1585–1590
Urban VII. 1590–1590
Gregory XIV. 1590–1591
Innocent IX. 1591–1591
Clement VIII. 1592–1605
Leo XI. 1605–1605
Paul V 1605–1621
Gregory XV. 1621–1623
Urban VIII. 1623–1644
Innocent X. 1644–1655
Alexander VII. 1655–1667
Clement IX. 1667–1669
Clement X. 1670–1676
Innocent XI. 1676–1689
Alexander VIII 1689–1691
Innocent XII. 1691–1700
Clement XI. 1700–1721
Innocent XIII. 1721–1724
Benedict XIII. 1724–1730
Clement XII. 1730–1740
Benedict XIV. 1740–1758
Clement XIII. 1758–1769
Clement XIV 1769–1774
Pius VI. 1775–1799
Pius VII. 1800–1823
Leo XII. 1823–1829
Pius VIII. 1829–1830
Gregory XVI. 1831–1846
Pius IX. 1846–1878
Leo XIII. 1878–1903
Pius X. 1903

List of Ecumenical Councils

Council of Nicea 325
Council of Constantinople 381
Council of Ephesus 431
Council of Chalcedon 451
Second Council of Constantinople 553
Third Council of Constantinople 680
Second Council of Nice 787
Fourth Council of Constantinople 869
First Lateran Council 1123
Second Lateran Council 1139
Third Lateran Council 1179
Fourth Lateran Council 1215
First Council of Lyons 1245
Second Council of Lyons 1274
Council of Vienne 1312
Council of Constance 1414–1418
Council of Ferrara-Florence 1438–1445
Fifth Lateran Council 1512–1517
Council of Trent 1545–1563
Vatican Council 1869–1870

Catholic Population

These figures have been taken from the article Statistics in the "Catholic Encyclopedia."


Austria-Hungary 38,195,000
Belgium 7,350,000
Bosnia 413,354
Bulgaria 29,684
Denmark 7,871
Great Britain 2 269,000
Greece 44,265
Ireland 3,238,656
Italy 33, 750,000
Netherlands 2,045,000
Norway 2,000
Portugal 5,438,000
Roumania 167,000
Russia 13,450,000
Servia 11,000
Spain 19,280,000
Sweden 2,600
Switzerland 1,463,000
Turkey 280,000


Canada 3,017,231
United States 14,347,927
Mexico 13,533,013
Central American Republics 4,353,000
Cuba 1,824,897
Porto Rico 1,000 000
Haiti 1,488,000
San Domingo 600,000
British W. Indies 303,928
French Possessions 400,000
Dutch and Danish Possessions 77,539
Venezuela 2,640,000
Colombia 4,390,990
Ecuador 1,270,000
Peru 4,500,000
Bolivia 2,150,000
Chile 3,800,000
Argentine Republic 6,100,000
Uruguay 1,080,000
Paraguay 580,000
Brazil 20,250,000

Australia and Oceania

Commonwealth of Australia 951,429
New Zealand 127,227
New Hebrides 3,000
French, German, American, and English Possessions 162,399


Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Independent States in the Himalayas 629,799
Russian Possessions 112,000
British Possessions 2,350,000
French Indo-China Siam 33,267
China with Dependencies 1,210,054
Korea 68,016
Japan 65,741
Dutch Possessions 56,214
Philippines 7,205,052


Egypt 100,257
Abyssinia 3,000
Tripoli 6,100
Algeria and Tunis 663,000
Morocco 10,000
French N. and W: Africa 53,898
Other French Possessions 365,000
Spanish Possessions (inclusive of Canary Islands) 434,000
Portuguese Possessions (inclusive of Madeira) 568,000
Belgian Congo 34,475
German Possessions 55,004
British N. and W. Africa 21,829
British South Africa 90,689
Other British Possessions 267,689
Italian Possessions 17,000