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HOW THE POPE BECAME
CHOOSE A PROTECTOR.
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this is by no means the first event of the kind that has occurred. The successors of St. Peter have often thus been cruelly persecuted, and as often, by God's providence, as wonderfully reinstated on their temporal throne. We Catholics can see many reasons why Divine Wisdom has seen fit to permit these trials. It seems to us but natural to expect that he who represents Jesus Christ on earth should drink most deeply of the chalice of His sorrows, and be most near. ly conformed to His Passion; and it has a most antichristian look in our eyes, when we see Protestants pointing triumphantly on such occasions to our Holy Father's cross—that cross which Jesus calls His best beloved especially to share with Him--as a token of God's displeasure and abandonment. This very reproach only places in a stronger light the resemblance of his sufferings to those of our. Divine Redeem. er: we remember Him who was counted “as one struck by God and afflicted” (Isaiah liji. 4); we think we hear once more the chief priests tauntingly exclaiming "If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross" (Matt. xxyii. 42). No, Jesus will never descend from the cross till all His afflictions are fulfilled in His suffering members. How little do those
who have broken communion with the body in which He dwells understand of the spirit of that Gospel of which they talk so loudly and so confidently!
But we can perceive another reason why God should frequently have allowed the Popes to be treated with so much violence and injustice, and it is this, that men might see how necessary it was that the Father of Christendom should be placed in a situation which secured his independence of action, and thus be led to admire the wisdom of Providence, which has given him a territory of his own, in which, being himself supreme governor, he is free from all earthly control or interference. For had it been otherwise, instead of these occasional persecutions, which edify even while they afflict the Church of God, we should have had, humanly speaking, a permanent state of oppression on the one side, and of dependence on the other, such as we now see in the case of the Autocrat of Russia and his Bishops, and in former days of the Emperors of Constantinople and the Patriarchs of that city. At best, Catholics would never have felt sure that they heard the free and unbiased voice of their spiritual Father. Of course, it is conceivable that God
might have supernaturally restrained the rulers of this world from oppressing the head of the Christian Church, or by a constant miraculous interposition, have obviated the disastrous effects of their tyranny. But this would not have been in accordance with the usual laws of His government; God having seen fit in His general Providence to act by ordinary means even for the accomplishment of supernatural ends. You know how jealous earthly govern. ments are of any spiritual power, and how desirous always of reducing it to the condition of a mere engine in their hands. Their object is to make the ecclesiastical power a function of the state, which they can use for their own natural ends. It may be that they consider a certain portion of religious training desirable; so much, in fact, as they think tends to make men useful and quiet members of society, and has a decorous and respectable look about it; but this, I repeat, is a natural, not a supernatural end. But how utterly opposed is such a view to the design of our Lord, whose "kingdom," as you know, from His own blessed lips, "is not of this world." It is altogether supernatural in its object, in its aims, in its means, in its laws, and in its sanctions. The Church is a