THE New York Sun, of the 9th inst., has an editorial article, in which is discussed the relations of the papacy and the civil power in Italy.
In a speech, noted in these columns two weeks ago, Premier Crispi said that there must be a union of forces against anarchism under a banner inscribed, “For God, our King and our Country.”
Crispi’s utterance is properly regarded as a bid for the favor of the pope; but judging by the Roman Catholic press of Europe, the pope will accept nothing short of abject surrender of the Italian government and a restoration of the temporal power, at least in the city of Rome.
“Some light,” remarks the Sun, “is thrown upon this subject by the London Tablet, which collects in a recent number the comments of several Italian newspapers that are supposed to represent with more or less fidelity the views of Leo XIII. The purport of their declarations is that a restitution of the temporal sovereignty of the pope cannot be looked for, and that, in the absence thereof, no compromise between the papacy and the civil power in Italy is possible.”
If Crispi would make peace with the pope he must follow in the footsteps of Henry the IVth. The Sun says:—
It is true enough that the pilgrimage the Canossa involves penance and restitution no less than professions of faith. The German Emperor who made the memorable journey recognized its implied obligations, and Bismarck, when seeking the support of German Catholics in the Reichstag, acknowledged that he must earn it by repealing most of the Falk laws.
The Voce della Verita congratulates Crispi on his conversion, but asks for some tangible evidence of it in “the restoration of the Decalogue and the divine law which,” it says, “the Italian government has not merely forgotten, but trampled under foot.”
The Unit Catollica, suggests that “before talk of reconciliation should come mention of reparation. To Signor Crispi we would put the question, ‘Are you ready to undo the work of the revolution in regard to the church; to restore to the pope effective and tangible sovereignty, liberty, and independence within the limits assigned by history and the pontifical rights; in a word, to overturn from top to bottom all that constitutes modern Italy?’”
Other more or less pertinent opinions are quoted, all of the same import, namely that there can be no reconciliation without restoration. The Sun, however, thinks that “these Italian Catholic editors are inclined to be more papistical than the pope; as if, in other words, they are disposed to ask too much, and above all, too much at once.” But Italy is in dire straits, and an abject surrender to the pope need surprise no one.
The temper of the papacy upon this question cannot be mistaken. A writer in the Tablet, referring to resolutions passed every year by Catholic congresses, urges that these are useless until public opinion changes in Italy, or until the Catholics of France, Spain, and Austria are ready to do more than pass resolutions; says:—
Not until the Catholics of these three States, or even of one of them, acquire the supremacy over the anti-Christian portion of their fellow-subjects and hold in their hands the destinies of their country, can they invite the two hundred million of Catholics, in the rest of the world, to aid them by furnishing money and volunteers for the undertaking, which should be carried out in the name of the whole Catholic community.
“This is the real spirit of the papacy,” says another London paper, “the encyclicals on peace and good-will amongst men notwithstanding.”