THE agitation having for its object the selection of the pope as arbiter of the world gains strength with passing time. The suggestion has been repeatedly and openly made by papists and very many items looking in that direction, and designed no doubt to further the movement, appear from time to time in leading periodicals. The Review of Reviews for March has the following significant article:—
There are not a few signs of the moral desperation which, rightly guided, goads into a new and auspicious career. What seems to be the crying need of the hour is a great European leader, a truly international man, whom kings and statesmen and the common people in every land could trust, who, passing from court to court, from cabinet to cabinet, from one course to another, could negotiate the general desire for peace into a permanent organization, who could charm national pride and sensitive nation honor into loyal submission to a tribunal of international justice and international force. In default of such a modern edition of Peter the Hermit preaching the union of the nations in a crusade against war, Europe may have to wait the authoritative summons of the leagued English speaking peoples, or the spontaneous resolve of the continental proletariat, or the cruel dictate of mutual helplessness following on devastating war. But whatever be the occasion, the one condition of settled peace remains the same: The establishment of a central court, with power to enforce its sentence. Disarmament by mutual arrangement seems scarcely possible or wise, unless accompanied or preceded by this condition. Until a man knows that the law is strong enough to protect him from injury, he can hardly be expected to give up carrying arms; and until nations know that behind the high court of international justice there is material strength enough to prevent or punish the international aggressor, they are not likely in any fit of amiable enthusiasim [sic.] to disband their armies and dismantle their fortresses. That condition observed, the difficulty ought not to be insoluble. Are the powers willing to develop the concert of Europe, or such relics of it as survive, into a properly constituted judicial tribunal? If they are not willing, then there seems to be nothing for it but to let them burn in the hottest purgatory of militarism until such time as they shall be willing. A strange glint of coming possibilities showed itself last month in the Bavarian Diet. Two Ultramontane members, while denouncing the acceptance of the Army Bills, “proposed the institution of an international court of arbitration for the settlement of European quarrels, under the presidency of the pope.” His holiness is said to be preparing an encyclical on the general question.
The final and everlasting judgment of the papacy is certain. But before that time comes we may expect to see that wicked power exalted to the tops of the mountains. “For God hath put in their hearts [the hearts of the rulers of Europe] to fulfill his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the [papal] beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Then shall that wicked power boast herself, saying, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”