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THE CHURCH IN AMERICA.
AND looking round in anxious and inquiring solicitude, for dear, unutterably dear to me is that America where my children's children will be reared, I behold, with grateful heart, provision made by the Supreme Regulator of human things against these ripening dangers ; dangers which the mind dares scarcely pause to look upon. А scheme of infinite Mercy has been divulged and committed to the wisdom and energy of appointed messengers to be fulfilled. THE CLERGY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF EUROPE, THE HEIRS OF THE FIRST PILGRIMS OF THE CROSS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, SEEK THEIR INHERITANCE; they rest their claims upon the Gospel which they preach, upon the services which they render, and the example which they give; taking neither purse nor scrip across the ocean, they carry with them the inestimable boon which maketh men wise unto Salvation. They have laid the foundation-stone of real education-education of the heart; the formation of character, without which liberty is licentiousness; and compared to which the mere accomplishments of the mind and fingers are airy nothings, unsubstantial in possession and useless in application. In the numerous and crowded Catholic schools of the United States are taught the exercise of prayer, the practice of morality, the laws of obedience and responsibility, and self-sacrifice, and moral and spiritual humility, and GooD WORKS as well as saving faith, and charity, and brotherly love; and here the strong hand of DISCIPLINE is felt and respected. Many well-judging persons of different religious persuasions have assured me that the one really useful and corrective education is that of the Catholic schools and colleges. So far as I have known, these Seminaries are crowded not only with pupils of their own Creed, but with those of other Sects. And I have high official authority for saying that the ministers and missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church are at this moment doing more good for the cause of virtue and morality throughout the whole continent of America, than those of any other religious denomination what
The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States seek not endowment; they love their independence; they seek not power; they prize their purity; they seek not sinecures; they value their high prerogative of usefulness. And thus as saintly men do they pursue their steady way, void of offence before God and man, approved on earth and registered in Heaven. I am an Episcopalian, or Protestant of the Church of England. But I am not, can not be blinded to the many excellences of the Catholic Church ; and especially as its institutions regard America ; they are, beyond comparison, the best adapted to curb the passions of a young, impetuous, intelligent, generous, and high-minded Democracy; to protect the religion of the Republic from annihilation; to subdue the struggling and discordant interests of an immense territory into harmony, and to enchain the sympathies of a whole people in one magnificent scheme of morality and devotion. “They shall be one fold under one Shepherd.”
The Institutions besides, of this Church, are themselves based upon that very equality which their discipline so efficiently modifies. There is one common law, and one alone, for all-in the words of the Old Testament, so admirably adapted to the description of the Catholic Faith : “Here the wicked cease from troubling, and here the weary are at rest; here the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and the great are there; and the servant is free from his master.” These words can not be said to the same extent of any other Church whatever.
The celibacy of the Catholic clergy is another great advantage in the wilds of this great continent, and in her populous cities. No domestic or personal anxieties distract or lead them from their flock. “ Dèsqu'un Prêtre se marie, il n'est plus Prêtre ?” observed the Marquis de Talaru to me one day upon the Mississippi. And I frequently experienced the truth of the remark.
I yield this tribute of just and high commendation to the professors of this faith with pleasure mingled with pain; for I owe them much excuse ; I blush for my former weak and contemptible intolerance. I was reared in the vulgar prejudices of ignorance against Catholic teachers and their disciples : in England I knew them not; sought them not; loved them not; but among the many benefits derived from my visit to America, has been that one of exceeding value, the acquaintance and friendship of the excellent and enlightened Bishop of New York,* who holds so high a place in his adopted country.
SARAH MYTTON MAURY,
The Statesmen of America in 1846. * Bishop Hughes.
THE CATHOLIC CLERGY.
CATHOLICISM has certainly a much stronger hold over the human mind than Protestantism. The fact is visible and undeniable, and perhaps not unaccountable. The fervor of devotion among these Catholics, the absence of all worldly feelings in their religious acts, strikes every traveller who enters a Roman Catholic country abroad. They seem to have no reserve, no false shame, false pride or whatever the feeling may be, which, among us, Protestants, makes the individual exercise of devotion private, hidden-an affair of the closet. Here, and everywhere in Catholic countries, you see well-dressed people, persons of the higher as well as of the lower orders, on their knees upon the pavement of the church, totally regardless of, and unregarded by, the crowd of passengers in the aisles moving to and fro. In no Protestant place of worship do we witness the same intense abstraction in prayer, the unaffected devotion of mind. The beggar-woman comes in here and kneels down by the side of the princess, and evidently no feel