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Title: The World's Debt to the Catholic Church
Author: James J Walsh M. D., PH. D., Sc. D., ETC.
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
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Language: English
Date first posted: May 2011
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Title: The World's Debt to the Catholic Church
Author: James J Walsh M. D., PH. D., Sc. D., ETC.


THE STRATFORD CO., _Publishers_




For some nineteen hundred years the Church established by Christ when
He said, "Go teach all nations," has stood for all that is best in
human life. The very fact that it has endured the cataclysmic changes
from Roman Empire through Middle Ages and Renaissance down to modern
times singles it out as a unique institution in the history of
humanity. During all these profoundly trying vicissitudes of the race
the Church has fostered the sense of beauty and the sense of duty.
These are the sources of happiness for mankind more than any other
factors. Architecture, painting, sculpture, music, poetry and the arts
and crafts are indebted to the Church for constant inspiration, for
the subjects that have touched men most deeply and for the opportunity
to display art for the benefit of the mass of the people--the artist's
greatest stimulus to achievement. The arts have been re-created over
and over again, poetry provided with lofty motives and the drama
reborn in the service of the Church.

"Art sees as God sees" would seem to have been the aesthetic criterion
of churchmen. Besides, the Church has fostered and encouraged
education, feminine as well as masculine, provided a vocation for the
woman who felt that she was not called to matrimony and has cultivated
all the fruits of the deeper thinking, philosophy, ethics, science.
Men who have not studied the history of science as we now have it
doubt this last but the  revolutionizers of science all down the
centuries, Roger Bacon, Copernicus, Vesalius, Galileo, Morgagni,
Mendel, were all faithful sons of the Church, three of them indeed
churchmen. The supposed persecution of some of these proves to be
largely but another example of the myth making tendency in mankind
when religious feelings are involved.

Christ came to give men life and give it more abundantly--not the life
of the body but of the spirit. The history of His Church is the story
of the spiritual life among men. Of divine origin, its members are
human and it would be futile to expect perfection. Among Christ's own
chosen Apostles, one betrayed and one denied, so that the Church would
not be following in its Founder's footsteps--would not be
Apostolic--unless there were a fair proportion of very human elements
in it even among the leaders. The Church has stood for all that is
best in human life as no mere human institution has ever done. "The
witchery of trifles that obscures good things" is still active and
will be so long as this stage of humanity lasts. But the Church has by
its cultivation of the sense of duty made life significant by
distracting human attention from self to our fellows. It is only when
its achievements are all gathered together even in the inadequate
fashion possible in a brief volume of this kind, that it becomes easy
to realize that here is the supernatural in the world.


Chapter                          Page

I     Introduction                  1

II   Architecture                  18

III  Painting                      32

IV  Sculpture                      49

V   Arts and Crafts                65

VI  Music                          85

VII  Poetry                       103

VIII Education                  124

IX  Feminine Education           141

X  Science                       161

XI Philosophy                    192

XII Ethics                      212

XIII Helping the Helpless       233

XIV Helping Men to Help Themselves  258

XV The Life of the Spirit         284

Notes                               303




The subject of this book is, in brief, the contribution of the
Catholic Church to civilization. Civilization is the process by which
men come to be more interested in their minds than in their bodies. In
order to go on living we have to be reasonably interested in our
bodies. It is very easy to be more interested in them than is
necessary or even good for them. There is a constant tendency gripping
us to be occupied more with our bodies than with our minds, that is to
devote ourselves to the seeking of the satisfaction of the body either
present or prospective rather than the satisfaction which comes with
the cultivation of the mind. Every man must care properly for his
body, because otherwise his mind will not function as it should and he
will inevitably be diverted from the intellectual and the spiritual
life by the insistent claims of a neglected body.

Every attention to our physical being beyond what is necessary to keep
it in good condition just takes away that much time which might be
spent in developing the mind and making life mean more. We all want to
have life and have it more abundantly. That was what Christ said He
came to bring to men. The Christian Church has been the supreme bearer
of good tidings in this regard, the evangelist of the higher, better,
nobler life.


We all realize that the formula for life that is worthiest of man as a
rational being is "Plain living and high thinking." By plain living we
mean taking such simple food, securing such proper exercise and
obtaining the amount of sleep necessary to keep the body in health
while working so as to make a suitable living, taking such recreation
as will prove appropriate diversion and leave all the rest of the time
for occupation of the mind with thoughts that lift us above the sordid
round of life. Men do not readily follow such a program however. The
body has many temptations for indulgences of one kind or another that
are being constantly put forward. Cultivating the mind is not of
itself an easy nor always a satisfying occupation. The medieval
philosopher said that "Knowledge makes a bloody entrance," and while
this may not be literally true and some knowledge comes with
comparative ease, there is no doubt at all that the intellectual life
for the great majority of people requires such self-control and
self-discipline, as well as quite definite persistence of character,
as cannot be expected of the great majority of men unless their
emotions are deeply stirred or their hearts are deeply touched and
they have therefore other than selfish motives.

Nature has so constituted the body that it is not only easy but even
pleasant and often very alluring to occupy one's self with the
satisfaction of its desires. This condition of human life was
necessitated by the fact that the individual had to be very definitely
committed to self-preservation even under the most trying
circumstances and inclined to self-propagation in order to {3} secure
the continuance of the race. In the scheme of things as they are in
this little world of ours the conditions of human life are so arranged
that it is, as it were, assumed that the mind will through its power
of reasoning be quite capable of and deeply intent on taking proper
care of itself and its development while the body needs instincts and
natural tendencies of many kinds to secure its healthy persistence.
Our intellectual curiosity is a very strong impelling motive, and yet
it has nothing like the influence over us nor the power to get us to
do things which is bound up so forcibly and almost compellingly with
the various physical tendencies which we have inherited with our
bodies and which constantly manifest themselves.

Unfortunately, while the mind ought to be thoroughly capable of
organizing life so as to secure proper development and cultivation and
thus enable its possessor to live a life that will be more abundant in
the things of the spirit, it too needs allurements to secure its
proper co-operation in making life fuller. The great source of these
allurements is the sense of beauty which all genuinely intellectual
people possess. This sense of beauty gives a satisfaction that is
higher and more amply complete than any of the pleasures of the body.
All men have some of it. It is not necessarily associated with
education and even the child possesses some hints of it. Very well
informed people who think themselves educated and who perhaps have
received some academic stamp that would seem to indicate the
possession of mental development may have very little of it. The
savage may have a rather keen sense of it. He {4} may even try to
express it in some extravagant fashion, and so we have such
expressions as "barbaric splendor", which indicate a striving after
beauty that is carried to excess because it is not according to the
canons of good taste. Any man who has a sense of beauty to a marked
degree and the power to express it is an artist, and the artist and
the poet are the highest products of our civilization such as it is.
[Note  1]

Civilization, then, is the process by which man's sense of beauty is
aroused and trained and satisfied. What the Catholic Church has done
for civilization has been the stimulating of the sense of beauty and
the affording of opportunities for its expression with the
preservation of the results of this, so that they may continue to be a
joy to mankind and a further stimulus to the development of the sense
of beauty. In thus diverting man from over attention to his body to
definite cultivation of his mind and the recognition of the beauties
of the world around him and the creation of beautiful things, the
Christian Church has accomplished more than any other agency and has
indeed been the one institution which all down the centuries has
constantly and consistently lifted man up to what is highest and best
in him. While its main purpose was to prepare men for happiness in
another world than this, it thus afforded the greatest possible help
to making the life of every individual happier in this world just in
proportion to the faculties that he possessed. Without art man would
be little better than the savage. By art we mean the expression of
man's thoughts in a beautiful enduring way that will enable him to
enjoy himself and {5} permit others to enjoy what would otherwise be
but fleeting emotions within himself.

Men who have a strong sense of beauty need no special stimulation but
make opportunities for themselves to express their thoughts in some
enduring fashion. The cave man, the earliest man that we know anything
about, used the flat surfaces of his cave home to paint pictures of
animals. This was thousands of years ago, and it would probably be
expected that his art would be extremely crude and altogether
primitive. Primitive it is, but like the primitives in art generally,
vigorous and vivid. It lacks all the modern technique of art that has
come as the result of practice, but it is as finely artistic as
anything could well be. Modern art critics have not hesitated to say
that there is no animal painter alive today who can make such vivid,
vigorous pictures of animals as the cave man did. He painted them at
rest and in action, both in quiet and vehement action, and above all
he painted them with every muscle tense just preparing for action
though not as yet moving, thus accomplishing one of the most difficult
feats an artist can perform. He painted in oil colors after having
drawn his lines with a piece of flint and often filled them with
carbon from the by-products of his fires, so that they are eminently
enduring and have lasted down to our time; otherwise we would not have
believed the possibility of the cave man ever having produced such
veritable triumphs of art.

The feeling of anthropologists now is that the cave man made these
pictures as a sort of religious exercise. A man who could see so
clearly and then reproduce {6} his vision for others so exactly, who
could invent oil painting because he wanted to reproduce the animals
exactly in the colors that he saw, was evidently in no sense of the
word a being lower in the scale than we are ourselves. Indeed, one can
scarcely help but have the feeling that if the legend of the seven
sleepers were to come true and some of the cave men's children who had
been shut in behind a fall of rock in the long ago were to be awakened
and sent to school in our time, these children of the artist inventor
of oil painting would rather be ahead than behind our children in
school work.

This man could manifestly think clearly, and he seems to have thought,
that if he could make a very lifelike picture of an animal, he was its
superior and should be its master, and that there was a being that
somehow beholding this relationship between him and the animal through
the evidence of the picture, would give him the victory over it in
hunting. The cave man buried his dead, perfectly sure that they were
still alive, though their bodies were already beginning to decay, so
that it is easy to understand the religious elements that entered into
his life and his belief in a world of spirits and a Supreme Spirit who
ruled the destinies of things. After all we have never found a tribe
of savages, no matter how low in the scale of mentality, who did not
have such religious ideas. They represent our intellectual instincts.

All forms of religion since the cave man's time have had this tendency
to art expression very definitely present in them. The arts have come
into existence {7} very largely in association with religious
services. Is it any wonder that the churches became treasure houses of
masterpieces of painting? Music and song were born in men's hearts
when their aspirations to serve the Deity in some way properly came
home to them. It has been the custom among certain classes of scholars
to say that sex was the beginning of art and even to suggest that
religion itself was very largely confounded with sex feelings. As more
and more investigation and research have been made, however, this has
been seen to be a very partial view due to certain extravagant sex
interests of the last generation or two and certain reactions against
religion which led men easily to accept anything that would in any way
discredit its manifestations. The first great poems that have been
preserved for us, the Book of the Dead in Egypt, the Upanishads and
the Rig-Vidas, Homer's Iliad among the Greeks, have very large
religious elements in them. Indeed, it has often been said that Homer
was the Bible of the Greeks and had more to do with keeping the old
Olympian mythology alive and an influence in men's minds than any
other single factor. The great dramatic poems of Aeschylus and
Sophocles and Euripides were written in honor of Dionysos, the Greek
god of inspiration, and were composed for use in religious
celebrations with plots founded on the stories of the gods and their
interventions in human affairs.

Indeed, dramatic literature came into existence twice in the world's
history, as a development out of religious ceremonials and
celebrations. This happened once in Greece in the fifth century before
Christ and {8} then in modern Europe in the later Middle Ages, when
the mystery and morality plays gradually evolved from the ceremonials
in the Church. Rhyme was first used in lyric poetry in hymns written
by the Irish not long after their conversion to Christianity in the
fifth or early sixth century. The Oratorio from which developed the
opera in Italy was at the beginning an extension and elaboration of
the musical services of the Church. The opera came into being with
sacred stories for plots.

Deep religious feeling has always exhibited a very definite tendency
to express itself in poetry and supremely great poetry has nearly
always had an element of profound religious inspiration in it. This is
very well illustrated in the Old Testament and also in many places in
the New Testament. Job is one of the greatest dramatic poems ever
written. It has been said that there are five supremely great poems in
the history of literature that have for themes the problem of evil in
the world; that is, they are written round that great natural mystery
as to why, though man wants so much to be happy, so much of
unhappiness comes here below to most men and even to the best of men.
These five poems, Job, Aeschylus' Prometheus, Shakespeare's Hamlet,
Calderon's _El Magico Prodigioso_ and Goethe's Faust, are all of them
deeply religious in temper even though they also express something of
that skepticism which comes inevitably to the human mind in the face
of the evil around us, particularly when it affects ourselves deeply.
Of these five the first one written, Job, is usually said to be the
greatest. The poetic ideas in {9} it come from eighteen hundred years
before Christ, though the literary form as we have it now was probably
given to these ideas more than a thousand years later. The Psalms rise
to lyric heights in the expression of the emotions of mankind that are
unsurpassed. The Canticle of Canticles, as construed by the mystical
poets and the saints who have been particularly favored, has proved a
wonderful excursion in symbols of earthly love into what Coventry
Patmore in our time so well called "The Unknown Eros."

The new dispensation has complemented the old in its influence upon
poetry and the arts quite as much as it has fulfilled the law and the
prophets. Christianity has taken the arts and given them inspiration
for marvelous development and has stimulated men to the making of
things beautiful that in the words of our ill-fated young English poet
were to be "a joy forever." Without the inspiration afforded by Church
architecture and the opportunity to build "Houses of the Lord," how
little would be known of man's power to conceive and execute beautiful
buildings that are of such size that it seems almost impossible that
this puny creature man should have made them? These buildings are
often so charming in their lines, so delightful in their decoration,
that it is no wonder that they have always lifted men's minds up to
higher interests, above the trivial things of life and the sordid
cares of the body. It has been very well said that you cannot enter a
Gothic church without having your eyes and your mind and your heart
lifted up. Goethe, who was far from medievally minded and who had a
distinct penchant for {10} the old pagan mythology, in his_ Dichtung
und Wahrheit_ tells the story of his first entry into the Strassburg
Minster:--"I seemed suddenly to see a new revelation; perception of
beauty in all its attractiveness was impressed on my soul." Goethe, as
pointed out by De Wulf, from whose _Philosophy and Civilization in the
Middle Ages_ the quotation is borrowed, "had been educated in the
traditions of classicism, 'among the detractors of Gothic
architecture,' as he phrases it himself." In spite of that, the great
Gothic church was a revelation.

No wonder that they talk of the "dim religious light" of these Gothic
churches. What Longfellow calls "the gloom of these long aisles" has
in it more of "the light that never was on land or sea" than is to be
found anywhere in all the world. They tempt to the mood in which man
thinks deep thoughts and feels profoundly, as nowhere else, about the
mystery of existence and something at least of the only satisfying
solution of it. To be for any length of time in one of these Gothic
churches, especially if alone, is to find the awakening of religious
emotion that lifts one up to higher things. Longfellow, after spending
so many years in translating Dante until surely, if anyone ever had
done so, he had come to feel as the great poet himself had felt in the
poem now acknowledged as the greatest that ever came from the mind of
man, could find nothing more appropriate as a metaphor for the Divine
Comedy than a Gothic cathedral. His three beautiful sonnets, very
probably the most beautiful sonnets ever written in this country, are
{11} simply the poetic summing up of the religious effect of a great
Gothic cathedral.

Is it any wonder that these marvelously beautiful structures tempted
men to make every portion of them beautiful? As a result of this
over-powering temptation the arts and crafts, the making of simple
useful things beautiful, developed during the Gothic period as never
before. Everything about the cathedral was made beautiful. The hinges
on the doors, the locks, the keys, the latches, the woodwork, all were
fashioned into lines of beauty, the books were illuminated until they
became precious treasures, the vestments represented the most
beautiful textiles and needlework ever made. The stained glass in the
windows was such a triumph that it has been the despair of glass
makers ever since. And the bells were so beautiful that they have made
the standard for all after time. The very utensils of the altar, the
cruets for the wine, the dish in which the priests' fingers were
washed, the candlesticks and above all the candelabra, were all
handsome in their way. The censers or thurifers, the incense boat, the
lamp of the sanctuary, none of these were neglected, but like the
altar railing and the pulpit and the chairs and benches were all
beautifully designed and executed. The churches became veritable
museums of things of beauty; and indeed, our modern museums are
crowded with objects from the churches whenever these are no longer
needed in the service of the church, or when, sad to say, for some
lamentable reason, they have been removed from the church to which
they belonged. Mr. Yeats, the Irish poet, once said, "There is {12} no
culture in the hearts of a people until the very utensils in the
kitchen are beautiful as well as useful." However that may be, one
thing is perfectly sure, that the people of the Middle Ages, under the
inspiration and the protection of the Church, made nothing for their
churches that was not beautiful as well as useful.

Sculpture is one of the major developments of the arts and crafts
which came to occupy a very prominent place in connection with the
Gothic churches. The portals supplied an opportunity for sculptured
figures that were eminently decorative and yet beautifully expressive
of great religious truths as illustrated in the lives of the saints
and the Lord Himself. There used to be the feeling that these figures
followed the lines of the architecture so closely, acquiring a certain
obvious stiffness and cramped air in the process, that they were not
to be considered as artistic sculpture in any proper sense of the
word. We have changed our minds on the subject in recent years, and
now the sculptors of the Middle Ages are looked upon as having done
supremely beautiful work and achieved, as almost never was done
before, that supreme triumph of art, the purpose of fitting their
ideas appropriately into their surroundings. François Millet, our
greatest modern painter, once declared that the best definition of
beauty that we have is "suitability to the conditions around." For a
gnarled oak may be beautiful and a stiff and formal figure under
certain circumstances is eminently decorative. No matter what the
theory, sculpture has always been beautiful down the ages under the
inspiration and in the service of the Church.


Painting has been even more beautiful under the same stimulus and
incentive. How the history of painting would dwindle to nothingness
without the religious paintings which make so large a part of its
material! The churches were the museums; and as the people were
required to go to church all the Sundays of the year, and between the
holy days of obligation and their own devotion attended at least fifty
days more, painting and sculpture and the arts and crafts had an
audience of the whole people, such as our museums cannot command to
anything like the same degree, and that aroused the sense of beauty
and the artistic talents of all, even of those without formal
opportunities for education. Church music sublimely beautiful and the
great Latin hymns, poetry such as only Dante and Shakespeare might
have written and no one has ever excelled, completed the round of the
arts in the highest intellectual sense of that word and stirred deeply
every possible taste for beauty and intellectual faculty that people
might possess.

These great Christian Churches constituted a liberal education in
themselves for all those brought in intimate contact with them; but,
besides, they became centres of the intellectual as well as of the
moral and spiritual life of the people. The earliest Christian schools
were founded in connection with the churches and the first teachers
were the priests and their clerical assistants. After a time the
monastic schools came into existence, but the centre of interest in
them, too, was the church of the monastery, and the religious orders
prided themselves on the beauty of their churches, {14} though also on
the charm of the sites which they selected for their monasteries.
Often these were bare enough and quite unpicturesque until the labor
of the religious turned them into places of beauty and appropriate
settings for the beautiful church, the chapter house, and other
monastic buildings. When the first universities came into existence
they were scarcely more than advanced cathedral schools with the
chancellor of the cathedral as the rector of the university and with
the cathedral property as the home at least of the administrative
officials, and the cathedral chapter houses and even sometimes the
cathedral itself or the open space in front of it as the place for the
holding of university exercises. Most of the cathedrals had a group of
canons whose ecclesiastical duties took but three or four hours a day
and who were quite willing to devote the rest of their time to the
education of all who had the talent and the desire for intellectual

The greatest triumph of Christianity, however, was in leading and
inspiring a certain number of men and women to make their lives a
thing of beauty, a great poem, a work of highest art in the sublimest
sense of that word. In that striking passage of the tenth chapter of
St. Mark Christ meets the young man who ran up and knelt before Him
and asked Him, "What shall I do that I may receive life everlasting?"
Christ said to him, "Thou knowest the commandments." And the young man
replied, "Master, all these things I have observed from my youth."
Jesus looking on him, loved him and said to him: "One thing is wanting
unto thee: {15} go sell whatever thou hast, give to the poor and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven; and come follow me."

In Matthew's Gospel the phrase is, "If thou wouldst be perfect, sell
all thou hast and give to the poor and come and follow Me." Literally
many many thousands of men and women have taken this injunction, and
under the aegis of the Church have striven to be perfect even as
Christ suggested to the young man that he should. Unfortunately, the
young man himself to whom that injunction was given found it too hard
a saying and "went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." Many
others down the centuries since, who have had great possessions either
of money or of talents or of power, have found this saying too hard
and have turned away even though the Lord had looked on them and loved
them and suggested to their hearts that they should make what was
highest and best out of their lives. They have made "the great

There has always been the open opportunity for men and women to lead
this perfect life in Catholic Christianity, and the religious men and
women, using religious in the sense of those who had re-obligated
themselves to the highest aims for religious motives and services,
have counted up in the many millions. Not all of them have been worthy
representatives of the striving after the perfect life. They were
human, and to err is human. The vast majority of them, however, have
followed this injunction of Christ and not only found happiness for
themselves but have also helped others to happiness through it. Many
many thousands have deserved to have their names inscribed high on
{16} the scroll of humanity's greatest men and women and have had
their lives written in many generations because of the appeal and the
inspiration that their mode of living made for others even in the long
subsequent time. Among them are St. Francis of Assisi, "the little
poor man of God," as he loved to call himself, "the greatest Christian
since Christ's time" as he has been called, of St. Teresa, perhaps the
greatest of intellectual women, of whom more lives has been written
than of any other except the Mother of the Lord, of St. Vincent de
Paul, founder in modern charity, of St. Francis de Sales, "the
gentleman saint," of St. Catherine of Sienna, the most influential
woman of her time, and almost it might be said of all time, of St.
Ignatius of Loyola, knight for Christ, of St. Benedict, whose life and
rule probably brought more happiness to a greater number of
individuals than that of any other mere man who has ever lived, of St.
Scholastica his sister, who did as much for the women of many
centuries as her brother did for the men, of St. Antony of Padua,
beloved of mystical souls, of St. John of the Cross, the divine lover,
of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, queen and mother, the apotheosis of
charity, of St. Brigid of Ireland, whose name is in benediction, the
"Mary of the Gaels," whom they honor so highly a millennium and a half
after her death, of St. Hilda of Whitby, patroness of our first great
English poet Caedmon, of St. Margaret of Scotland, wife and mother
whose molding of the character of her son, St. David, meant so much
for Scotland, of St. Louis of France, greatest of monarchs who ever
ruled a people, one of {17} the most beautiful of characters and yet
with a family resemblance in every way to his cousin-german St.
Ferdinand of Castile,--and so through a list that would make a volume
in itself.

In a word, what the Catholic Church has done for men and women is to
afford them an opportunity to express in their lives and in their
sense of duty to themselves and to others, the sense of beauty they
possessed in the arts and even in the crafts. Blessed is the man who
has found his work is the supreme natural beatitude. This the Church
has constantly and consistently fostered, making men blessed in the
midst of a trying world as no other institution has ever done it. No
wonder that it has been said that if there had been no Christian
Church it would have been necessary to invent one for the sake of the
benefits it brings to man in a worldly way. Man wants happiness more
than anything else. The Church points how he can secure it by living a
life worthy of his better nature.




The greatest contribution that the Church has made to civilization,
that is to the human cult of the beautiful, is in architecture. "A
thing of beauty is a joy forever," is thought a modern culture formula
but Church edifices all over the world, whenever the Catholic Church
has been free to express herself, have been an exemplification of this
and have lifted people up by the beauty that they expressed. This was
all the greater because the people felt that these beautiful edifices
belonged to them; indeed, at the time of their erection, they knew
that their fellow citizens, often their relatives, sometimes those who
were very close to them, had labored in the production of all this
beauty. They themselves had by their contributions of money, or,
oftener still, of labor or of materials, made possible the erection of
these wonderful structures. No wonder then that they had a definite
sense of ownership which made them appreciate the splendor of the
churches and helped to arouse in them a taste for what was fitting and
to develop a sense of beauty which is almost the highest faculty that
man has. Besides, the Church by providing manifold opportunities for
the exercise in handiwork of any and every kind for all those who had
the talent or the power to produce the beautiful, was lifting people
above the sordid round of every day life. {19} There is probably
nothing which reacts more for the happiness of mankind and for the
development of the best that is in man than an opportunity of this

The beautiful buildings which were erected for Church purposes thus
became themselves an important source of education in so far as one
extremely significant part of that is the training of taste and the
development of the sense of beauty. Christianity did not stop with the
Church beautiful. Besides churches, monasteries, convents and schools,
guildhalls and hospitals were made beautiful architecturally and were
studiously fitted with appropriate decorations, interiorly and
exteriorly, and thus of themselves were a very valuable educational
feature. Contact with these beautiful structures and with the
painting, the sculpture and the fine arts and crafts products so
patiently and genially made for them, was of itself an education, a
liberal education, that counted for much in the genuine cultivation of
the human intellect in its taste for beautiful things. This is the
sort of education that cannot be tested by examinations nor measured
by rules of thumb, but it is very real and extremely significant. We
are gradually working back in this generation to a recognition of what
was accomplished in this matter, and we too are making our school
buildings beautiful and decorating them as finely as possible, because
we appreciate how much this means for education. When we do so, we go
back for our models to the time when the Church was the beneficent
patron of education and wished to educate not only the mind but also
the heart and the soul in the sense of developing a love for {20}
beauty and a desire for the bringing out of what was best in man. All
this is quite intangible and incommensurable according to material
standards; but then, most of the things in the world that are really
worth while are quite intangible.

Just as soon as the Church was free through the edict of Constantine
to come out of the catacombs into the open, her beautiful churches
began to appear. Indeed, even in the catacombs, as archaeological
investigations during the past generation have made very clear, there
was a definitely successful attempt to employ all the charms of beauty
consistent with the situation as an appropriate setting for divine
worship. Some of the decorative effects on walls and ceiling and the
sacred vessels and various utensils employed in the services were made
beautiful as well as useful. From very early days the textiles
employed as altar cloths and the garments worn during the sacred
ceremonials were distinguished for their beauty and finish. Very early
in Church history the Mass books and other volumes employed in the
services of the Church were the subjects of devoted artistry and the
Scriptures themselves were written out with a loving devotion that
made these books much more than mere useful articles, as is very well
illustrated by the fact that the Book of Kells comes from one of the
early centuries of the Middle Ages and must have represented the
culmination of a tradition in this matter which had been in existence
from early Christian history.

Under Constantine the Christians adopted and adapted the plan of the
basilica which had been in use {21} in Rome for centuries for their
place of worship. The name "House of the King" suited them exactly
because of their belief in Emmanuel, God With Us, and they proceeded
to modify the basilica, as it had been used for public halls and
courts of justice, for the purpose of public worship. The old
construction of the basilica with an apse was particularly adaptable
to the services of the Church. Two rows of columns dividing the main
hall into a nave and ambulatories allowed for some circulation of the
people even during services or in the midst of preaching. A transept
was added after a time in order to give more room and also because the
cruciform shape of the church then became symbolic of the Cross, the
basis of Christianity. These early basilicas, of which examples may
still be seen in Rome, as for instance San Lorenzo, built originally
during the first half of the fourth century, and St. Paul without the
walls, erected in the second half of the same century, furnish the
best possible idea of how beautiful these churches might be. They were
very simple and yet were marvelously effective in their construction
and gave abundant opportunity for decorative effects of many kinds.

With the introduction of the arch the beginning of the Romanesque
style is seen, and the use of what was known as the arch of triumph,
which represented the opening of the nave into the transept, was
particularly striking, and the space above this arch was used for
decorative purposes. The next development was the erection of the dome
at the crossing, and this was first exemplified in the great city
which was built at {22} Byzantium by Constantine to be his capital
city and which came to be called after his name, Constantinople. Santa
Sophia, the first of these great buildings, is a veritable triumph of
architecture. It has been suggested that there are three supremely
beautiful buildings that are the product of the religious spirit:
Santa Sophia in Constantinople, the Cathedral of Chartres and St.
Peter's in Rome. All of these represent developments of the devotion
of the Christian people as displayed in architecture.

The dome of Santa Sophia was so marvelously set upon its pillars that
it was said that it seemed as though it must be suspended from Heaven
by chains. Santa Sophia still remains as it was thirteen centuries
ago, as an index of what the Christian spirit could accomplish. It is
still the admiration of mankind; and though it has now been so long
the mosque of Omar and has deeply influenced the building of many
mosques, there has been the fond hope in the Christian heart of the
world that sometime or other this wonderful old Church with its
marvelous beauty of construction would be returned to its pristine use
as a Christian temple to the Most High.

When Ravenna became the capital of the Exarchate, the Eastern Empire
headquarters in Italy, a series of Byzantine churches under Romanesque
influence were erected there. Such churches as San Appollinare Nuovo
or San Appollinare in Classe or San Vitale, all of them in Ravenna,
have been a source of pleasure for visitors and a subject for study on
the part of architects and artists ever since. They were beautifully
{23} decorated with mosaics, and while unimposing from the exterior
are wonderful examples of effective devotional church architecture.
The tomb of Galla Placidia at Ravenna, which is, as so many of them
were, a chapel tomb, is one of the most beautiful things of its kind
in the world. It shows how beautifully these Christians of the earlier
Middle Ages could build under the influence of religious feeling. When
in the modern time the French wanted to honor Pasteur, the man who
saved more lives probably than any other who has ever lived, they
built his tomb beneath the main door of the Pasteur Institute in Paris
in imitation of the tomb of Galla Placidia. They went back nearly
twelve hundred years at the end of the nineteenth century, which was
so proud of its accomplishment, to find a model for a monument that
would in some way serve to honor worthily a great modern man of
science. No one who sees that tomb of Pasteur's will be disappointed,
for the beauty of the design is such that everyone comes away with a
feeling that the architect displayed excellent judgment in his choice
of a model.

The culmination of this Byzantine style is to be found in St. Mark's
in Venice. That is so beautiful and has attracted so much attention
that very little need be said about it here. It is quite literally one
of the most interesting churches in the world. What needs to be
recalled particularly however, is that it was built not long after the
year 1000. Those years are sometimes said to be the Dark Ages, when
men had reached their lowest ebb in the power to think and in their
interest of the things of the intellect. Yet here is a great {24}
church, one of the most beautiful of all time, the structure of which
at least comes from this period and shows very clearly that the men of
this generation had taste and a sense of beauty and an artistic
discrimination and a power of accomplishment in structural work and a
talent for solving architectural and engineering difficulties, all of
which indicate developed intelligence of the highest order. Such a
church would never have been built except that there were people in
that time capable of appreciating it, able to achieve the work on it,
ready to make sacrifices of time and money and energy in order to
build it. It is a monument to their culture no matter what may be
thought of them from other standpoints.

So far from this Byzantine style being outworn or suited only for
people of much more primitive tastes in architecture than our
generation, it is well to note that two of the great churches of
recent years, Westminster Catholic Cathedral in London and St. Louis
Cathedral in St. Louis, Mo., were designed by architects after the
Byzantine. Their impressiveness makes it very clear that here is a
great mode of construction that can be used to the very best advantage
in modern times with wonderful effectiveness. In England it probably
seemed better to the architect of Westminster not to try to rival the
great Gothic churches which had been built in the flourishing Gothic
period, and many were inclined to think that he made too great a
sacrifice for this purpose. Even a short visit is likely to disabuse
one of that opinion and to show {25} very clearly that the Byzantine
style can still be wonderfully impressive. What these devout
Christians of an older time worked out as worthy of their basilicas,
their houses of the King, are not mere passing fancies but enduring
modes of what is highest in human expression in structural work.

Then came the great development of the true Romanesque which gave us
the beautiful cathedrals of Aix and Spire and Mainz. There are some
who affect to consider this style as representing a transition between
the Byzantine and modern Gothic and as scarcely worth recording as a
definite achievement in architecture. It was, however, ever so much
more than that. Anyone who has been near the Cathedral at Mainz, not
merely for a passing visit, but in intimate association with the old
church, will realize how wonderfully impressive it can be when
familiarity has bred, not contempt, but ever increased admiration. The
fact that the most fashionable church in Boston, Trinity Church, was
built at the end of the nineteenth century in this style shows how
thoroughly modern architects have appreciated its structural value.
Originally the cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York was to
have been built in the Romanesque, and there is no doubt at all that
the round arches and the dome of the style would have been very
impressive on Morningside Heights, even though it is possible that the
reconstructed design which will give us a great Gothic fane at the
highest point of the city may prove even more charmingly beautiful. It
will {26} require all the resources of a great architect, however, to
accomplish this, for the Romanesque is not an unworthy rival of the
Gothic even at its best.

After the Romanesque came the development of Gothic and the erection
all over the north and west of Europe of the great Gothic cathedrals
and abbey churches. There are many, whose years of study and whose
tried experience and cultivated taste give them a right to an opinion
in the matter, who declare that these are the most beautiful church
buildings in the world. Undoubtedly some of them are. It would be very
hard to make a choice among them. No two of them are alike. Indeed
they are almost infinitely diversified and yet the souls of the
builders have gone into them and they represent no mere copying but
the individual expressions of cultivated human hearts. Even when there
are mistakes in the structure design, still the churches are
beautiful. It has been said of St. Stephen's in Vienna that an
architect could scarcely have made more mistakes, or at least more
departures from a formal Gothic plan, in the building of the
cathedral. And yet St. Stephen's is indeed beautiful and grows on one
as all of us who made our medical studies in Vienna learned to know;
and architect visitors have declared that the man who built it was a
poet working in stone as a medium and has put his soul into it and
that it will always continue to be interesting in spite of the fact
that on first visiting it nearly everyone who has definite structural
interests is {27} inclined to think that he would like to have the
chance at bettering it.

This Gothic architecture came to be applied not only to the churches
but also to the abbey buildings, to the guild halls, the chapter
houses, and public edifices of various kinds. Developed by the Church
and under the emotion associated with religious feeling this style
came to play a wonderful part in making the towns of the Middle Ages
beautiful. It influenced not only the structural work but also the
furniture and the fittings, the carvings of various kinds and the wood
and stone, the hammered iron work and the stained glass. It provided
large window spaces for the display of transparencies which under the
influence of the sense of beauty of the time became great art. These
window spaces were needed in the dark and northern countries where
they have so much less sunlight than we are accustomed to. New York
after all is on the latitude of Naples, and England and northern
Germany approach the latitude of Newfoundland and Labrador and light
is a great desideratum. But a utility that arose from imperious
necessity was changed into a thing of beauty unsurpassed. These
churches were immense in size, even though built in what we would
think very small towns. Cities of six to ten or twelve thousand people
had a cathedral that would accommodate four or five thousand people.
This seems entirely too large and many in the modern time have felt
that the erection of such buildings was mere bravura and a matter of
boastful {28} rivalry with neighboring towns. It must not be forgotten
that there was but one religion in these towns and most of the
population wanted to attend the principal service on the great feast
days of the year and room had to be provided for them, and then,
besides, the country people crowded in from miles around in order to
share in the celebration of the feast days in the great cathedral. As
a matter of fact most of these churches were crowded to the very doors
a number of days in the year.

The influence of the Church on architecture can be very well
appreciated from the fact that, as the result of the religious
disunion in civilization since the religious revolt of the sixteenth
century, in spite of all our ardor in the building line, there is not
a new idea in architecture for the last four hundred years. The
nearest thing to a new idea that we have is to be found in the
Franciscan Missions in California. There the Franciscans in the later
eighteenth century, taking Indians who are said to have been among the
lowest savages in mentality in this country, transformed them in the
course of a single generation into builders of beautiful structures
that have been the source of admiration and amazement to our
generation. We really did not appreciate these properly until we
ourselves began to be cultivated to such an extent as to look for
beauty in the structures in our cities and in the furnishings in the
houses that we lived in. Then the mission style and mission furniture
and fittings became fashionable. Of the beauty of these Missions {29}
nothing need be said here; they are the enduring witnesses themselves
of their worth and charm. Where they are still in reasonable
preservation, as at Santa Barbara or Los Angeles, they constitute an
unending source of surprise as to how the friars ever succeeded in
training the Indians to do such building. Not only the structural work
is beautiful, as we have already suggested, but the Mission furniture
and furnishings that went with it, the iron and wood and tile work and
all the rest--singularly attractive as well as eminently useful and
enduring. The spirit of the old Church was still able, in distant
western America, some 1800 years after the Lord's death, to take the
most ordinary of mortals and convert them in their hour of devotion to
religion into artists who could raise enduring monuments of beauty
that would quite literally be joys forever.

With the Renaissance and renewed interest in the classics it is not
surprising that the architecture of Greece and Rome came to be studied
very deeply once more and there was a revival of it. Brunelleschi
started it all when, after studying the Pantheon and the other great
buildings left by the Romans, he was given the commission to finish
Santo Spirito and conceive and design the great dome. Leon Baptista
Alberti built the beautiful little church of San Francesco at Rimini
and the classic type came into vogue. A series of extremely beautiful
churches were built and the Renaissance ideas dominated architecture
for centuries after. {30} St. Peter's at Rome, designed originally by
Bramante whose plan would, if followed, have prevented many of the
faults that subsequent architects permitted to creep in, is the
outstanding monument of this structural mode. Raphael, Sangallo,
Baldassare Peruzzi, carried on Bramante's work, and then came
Michelangelo to finish it, and above all to add that great dome which
seems more like the work of the Creator than of a mere creature.
Ferguson, severe in criticism, did not hesitate to say, "In spite of
all its faults of detail the interior of St. Peter's approaches more
nearly to the sublime in architectural effect than any other which the
hand of man has executed."

Besides Church buildings many other beautiful structures were designed
and built as the result of the Renaissance influence. Everywhere in
Europe where the Renaissance spirit and the Church conspired,
magnificent structural results were achieved. One of the most striking
examples is the monastery of the Carthusians known as the Certosa, not
far from Pavia. The university of Alcalá in Spain, at the other end of
Europe, shows how this influence was diffused, and the cloister of
Lupiana, the Alcazar in Toledo, the Giralda Tower, simply confirm this
expression. At Rome there was the Sistine Chapel, and at Oxford and
Cambridge some of their most beautiful buildings, while in Louvain
there was the library and the hotel de ville. The palaces of bishops
and archbishops often became the models on which public buildings of
various {31} kinds or the homes of the nobility were erected. Down in
Italy particularly the library of St. Mark's in Venice, as well as the
Palace of the Dumani, are the demonstration of the fine spirit of
magnificent architecture that was abroad. Palladio at Vicenza erected
buildings that have been the admiration and sometimes the despair of
architects ever since. Genoa was the city of palaces and of beautiful
churches until the old city well deserves the name of "Genoa the




According to a very old tradition, St. Luke, who wrote the third
Gospel, was a painter and a physician. In the last generation the
authenticity of the tradition of St. Luke's having been a physician
was very seriously doubted and indeed it was thought for a time that
the Higher Criticism had completely contradicted the idea. Harnack,
however, following Ramsay, has written very positively with regard to
Luke during the present century, emphasizing the fact that he was
beyond all doubt a physician, and now the idea that he was also a
painter seems to be confirmed by historical researches. Certainly his
Gospel is full of scenes and events that are word pictures of the most
complete and beautiful description. His second chapter has furnished
artists almost innumerable with ideas for pictures of the Annunciation
that have made a wonderful chapter in art history. Such stories as the
raising to life of the son of the widow of Nain or of the raising of
Lazarus from the dead could only have been done by a man of artistic
eye and spirit, and one can scarcely think of their emanating from one
who had not done some painting. It is Luke above all who has given us
striking detailed pictures of the miracles of the Lord and it {33}
must not be forgotten that, as Harnack and Ramsay point out, he has
taken the stories told by the other evangelists and has put them in
medical terms so as to give exactly the diagnosis and therefore makes
the miraculous cures all the more certain. These miracles particularly
have supplied subjects for Christian artists ever since. Every story
in Luke's Gospel is a picture in simple beautiful words inviting its
reproduction with the brush.

Under the circumstances it is not surprising that from the very
beginning painting has been used by the Church for the decoration of
ecclesiastical buildings of all kinds in order to attract and hold the
attention and arouse the religious emotions. Excavation of the
catacombs has revealed, during the past generation particularly, a
whole series of paintings which indicate very clearly that the
symbolism of the Church in art dates from the first and second
century. Pictures of the Lord Himself, of the Lamb, of the
Crucifixion, and of the Apostles, come from the very earliest
Christian time. The fact that in the ruins of the palace of the
emperors on the Palatine Hill there was found, sketched rudely on the
wall with a stylus or nail, a caricature of the Crucifixion in the
shape of an ass nailed to a cross, is of itself a definite indication
that the Christians must have been using very commonly a figure of the
Crucified One as the most striking symbol of their religion. This
early art is primitive, and yet it has a spirit and a vigor and
vividness that give it a place in the history of art and {34} that set
it above ever so much of modern art that represents merely a copy of
what someone else has done, with but very little, if any, meaning for
the artist himself.

This is what has characterized Christian art all down the ages. The
artist had his heart in the work, saw things for himself and expressed
them with an ardent individuality that makes for true art. When the
Church came out from the Catacombs the walls of the basilicas afforded
abundant opportunity for decoration, and painters availed themselves
of it very well. There may still be seen on the walls of San Lorenzo
in Rome and of St. Paul's without the walls, exemplifications of the
artistic work of this kind that was employed. The original paintings
have themselves long faded or been destroyed by the vicissitudes of
fire and water and the crumbling hand of time, but the renewal of them
only served to emphasize the fact that painting had been looked upon
as a valuable handmaid of the Church from very early times. Indeed not
a few of the early heresies were founded on the refusal of some people
to think that art ought to be used this way in the service of the
Creator, for they feared that it would lead to idolatry. It is
surprising how often it happens that people themselves who have no
sense of art fail entirely to understand the fine effect that art has
on others and how the emotions it produces can be used to lift up the
heart and mind for the highest purposes of worship. In the modern time
we have found that the Quakers, {35} who count it a fault in men to
dress in anything but simple gray or to use decorations of any kind in
their meeting houses, are in very large proportion color blind and
therefore fail entirely to understand the extremely interesting effect
produced on those possessed of color vision by the colorful beauties
of the world around them.

The first great period of artistic decoration of churches was
characterized by mosaics which had all the attraction of color and the
enduring quality of resistant substances. These mosaics have come down
to us in all the beauty of the original quite unfaded. The mosaics in
St. Mark's, nearly a thousand years old, are almost the same as up at
Ravenna where they are a thousand five hundred years old and are still
beautiful. It has often been said that these Byzantine decorations
were stiff and formal, but it is marvelous how decorative they were.
In recent years, when the decorative sense has come back to us once
again we have learned to esteem ever so much more the solid colors and
the straight lines of these Byzantine decorators. Occasionally they
combined raised work with plane and this was deprecated by the critics
of a generation ago, but Sargent in the Boston Public Library has come
back to this mingling of the low relief plastic and the smooth colored
surface with marvelous effectiveness. These old artists were right and
the modern critics were wrong, and it is only because our artists had
not had enough experience in doing this kind of work under the
inspiration of {36} religious motives and the patronage of churchmen,
who were willing to spend money freely to secure decorative effects,
that the mistake was possible.

It was not until after the Byzantine period that the supreme
efflorescence of art took place. Cimabue was the first to depart from
Byzantine formalism and to paint pictures that were not part of the
decorative scheme but were just human beings as he saw them. His
motifs were always taken from religious subjects. There has been some
confusion as to whether Duccio did not paint some of the pictures that
have been attributed to Cimabue and the two are now rivals in
prestige, but both of them painted great religious art. It is the
custom to speak of these artists as primitive, and to many people the
word primitive means crude or even lacking in true artistic power, but
almost needless to say, that is not the way that great critics have
characterized the art of these men. Of the Madonna of the Ruccellai
Chapel attributed to Cimabue and later to Duccio, W. J. Stillman,
writing on Italian artists in _The Century_, said, "Like all the work
of its time it has a pathos which neither the greater power of modern
art nor the enervate elaborateness of modern purism can ever attain.
Something in it by an inexplicable magnetism tells of the profound
devotion, the unhesitating worship of the religious painter of that
day; of faith and prayer, devotion and worship, forever gone out of

The old tradition is that when this picture was carried through the
streets of Florence word had {37} gone abroad that one of their
artists had painted a marvelous picture of a Mother and Child so true
to nature that it would seem almost as if they could speak. So the
Florentines gathered on the streets to see it during its transport
from studio to chapel and they were so taken up with it and they
crowded around it so much that business was stopped for the afternoon.
And then when the transfer had been completed and they had gazed at
the Madonna and Child where it still hangs in the chapel of Santa
Maria Novella, where Dante saw it and "it is still one of the chief
objects of pilgrimage, of lovers of art who go to Italy," (Stillman)
they were so proud of it, so touched by it, so carried away by this
new spirit that had entered into the art of their time that they made
the day a holiday and kept it so gloriously that that quarter of the
city in which the picture had been painted was ever afterwards called
_Borgo Allegro_, the Joyful Quarter of the city. Think for a moment of
what would stop business in one of our modern cities in that same way.
It would surely not be a picture and above all not a picture of a
Mother and Child and surely not a religious picture. I have been told
when I asked the question, a heavyweight champion coming in to town or
the Giants after winning a new pennant might have such an effect, for
now the multitude thinks in terms of the body rather than of the mind
and the soul.

And then came Giotto, that marvel among painters. Is there anyone who
thinks of Giotto as a {38} primitive? Well, it was Giotto and Giotto's
masters who were the only ones who deeply influenced the greatest
painter of our time, François Millet, painter of The Angelus. Giotto's
religious pictures are among the most wonderful creations in the
world. It was the very spirit of Catholic Christianity that animated
him in the wonderful paintings which have been the delight and the
admiration and the despair of modern painters. Our own great artist
Timothy Cole, sketching for his series of reproductions in wood-cut
that were the delight of the past generation in _The Century_, said,
"I am here in the Arena Chapel, and am at last confronted by Giotto.
How brilliant, light and rich the coloring is! It quite fulfills all
that I had read or thought of Giotto. I am conveniently located and
the light is good, but it is hard to keep at work with so many fine
things above one's head. I can scarcely escape the feeling that the
heavens are open above me, and yet I must keep my head bent downward
to the earth. Surely no one ever had a more inspiring workshop."

But I would have to make this chapter a catalog of painters' names if
I were to try to enumerate all those who in Italy alone, inspired by
religious reverence and awe, pictured to themselves the doctrines and
the mysteries of their religion and then reproduced them on canvas. I
remember once wandering around Florence with a man who had no religion
and to whom much that he saw was absolutely novel, for he was
following the guide {39} books and seeing the churches and the picture
galleries. He was lighting candles everywhere and he was taking great
interest in Madonnas. At the end of two days he said that he thought
he must have seen thousands of Madonnas already and he wondered if
there were any more. Of course there were ever so many more to see and
when I told him that every other city in Italy was like Florence in
proportion to its population in the possession of pictures of the
Madonna he could scarcely understand what it was all about. When he
learned that these pictures, in spite of their abundance, were
considered extremely valuable and that many of them would easily
command if they were for sale not tens of thousands but hundreds of
thousands of dollars he began to have some faint inkling of what
wonderful things these old painters had done. And yet there are scores
of subjects besides the Madonna, all of them inspired by Christian
doctrine and belief and all of them capable of arousing the creative
spirit of the artist as no other motif in the world can do it. For
religion is the very soul of great art, a fount of inspiration for
great artists who believe.

Besides Cimabue, Duccio and Giotto in the later Middle Ages there were
Taddeo Gaddi and Orcagna and Fra Angelico, Fra Bartolomeo, Fra Lippo
Lippi and Benozzo Gozzoli and Gentile da Fabriano, Andrea del Sarto
and ever so many others. Modern artists know their value, some of them
are highly praised by such men as Raphael and Michelangelo, {40} who
were their pupils--men like Perugino, Penturicchio, Signorelli, all of
them did wonderful work in religious painting.

And then came the Renaissance with the three supreme artists, Raphael,
Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Of Raphael a great French artist
once said, "Two men seem to have had a glimpse into heaven, so
marvelously do they paint the inhabitants of heaven. One of these is
Raphael the Italian, the other Murillo the Spaniard, and of these two
by far the greater is Raphael." Many who have a right to an opinion do
not hesitate to declare that he was the greatest artist who ever
lived. Certainly no one has painted what is so close to the human
heart as he. One bit of evidence for that is the fact that copies of
his works are found more widely distributed than those of any other
artist of all time. There is scarcely a hamlet of one hundred
inhabitants that has not in it, if it has books or pictures at all, a
copy of Raphael's Sistine Madonna. See the original at Dresden and
then you can appreciate the reason. It is placed in a room by itself
because interest in it would kill any other picture placed near it.
People enter on tiptoe, speak in whispers as if they were in the
presence of a personage and not a picture, and usually back out of the
room reverentially with face to the picture.

One of Raphael's major pictures, though not a large one, the Cowper
Madonna, changed hands a few years ago and the price paid for it was
$725,000.00. The canvas is only seventeen by {41} twenty-four and it
is marvelous to think that a man of about thirty should take a piece
of canvas of this size and by spreading a little paint over it make it
worth this amount of money four hundred years after it was originally
done. And these pictures were hung in the churches in suitable
environment and produced their effect in the silent hours of
recollection and devotion. They were not meant to be hung, as
unfortunately we hang them, in the glare and the bustle of a modern
museum with distracting pictures all around them and constant movement
near them, and yet in spite of all this handicap we appreciate
something of their wonderful beauty. Leonardo da Vinci painted
Madonnas almost equal to the greatest of Raphael's and some of them
better than many of those that Raphael painted. And Michaelangelo
painted Madonnas and painted many other religious subjects, and
achieved veritable triumphs of art. All three of them are among the
greatest geniuses the world has ever known. Men of wonderful
versatility. Raphael was much more than a painter, he was an architect
and an archeologist. Leonardo was one of the greatest engineers that
ever lived and yet left in his will a legacy for candles to be burned
at the shrine of the Blessed Virgin where he prayed as a boy, and
Michelangelo did everything well, painting, sculpture and architecture
and poetry. He has written sonnets that are equalled only by Dante and
Shakespeare and have never been excelled by anyone. And one of those
sonnets is to his Crucified God and in it he asks {42} pardon of Him
if at any time he should have employed his great talents, of which he
could not help but be aware, for his own glory and not for the glory
of God from whom he received them. When we look around us in our time
and see the little whippersnappers who do trivial things in art or in
science and how conceited they are about them and how they lay the
flattering unction to their souls that they must be wonderful fellows
and then think of Michelangelo in reverent spirit asking pardon of his
God for anything like conceit, we appreciate what the spirit of
religion is and we feel that it is no wonder that it enables men to
achieve or at least arouses, incites, stimulates them to accomplish so

But to delay among the Italians would take a volume. Think of having
to leave them without mentioning Botticelli and his great Magnificat,
or Correggio and the picture of the Holy Night, or Fra Angelico and
his angels, or Titian's glorious Madonnas; but if we cross Europe over
to Spain we find another series of supremely great artists doing work
of the highest type and the most enduring significance under the spell
of Catholic Christianity. There is Murillo, whom we have already
mentioned and whose Madonnas are so charming, but whose pictures of
Biblical scenes and their significance have meant so much and have
always had such an attraction for men; and Velasquez, whose pictures
of the Madonna are among his great works and who painted for the
gloomy Philip II some noble {43} pictures of the Passion and
especially the Crucifixion; and then Ribera, whose greatest pictures
are religious and El Greco whose canvases were for so long
unappreciated but now are coming into their own of praise because men
have come to understand them and who as a result is now looked upon as
one of the artistic geniuses of the world. How much religion meant for
these men in the exercise of their talents and what an opportunity was
afforded them because churches and the rich and the monasteries and
the nobility and the king demanded religious pictures and they were
afforded the chance to paint them!

Over in the Low Countries it is the same story. The Van Eycks who
invented oil painting did their greatest work on religious subjects.
Still men go to see in the Cathedral at Ghent the wonderful work of
these artistic geniuses now more than five hundred years old and yet
marvelously preserved, beautiful in the brilliancy of color, still an
object of devotion on the part of the people. All over the Netherlands
it is the same thing. For two centuries men did wonderfully beautiful
art in the service of the Church under the inspiration of their
religious beliefs. Copies of these paintings are to be seen all over
the world because they are so attractive in their simple humanity and
yet there is something divine which shines out from them and draws the
heart and produces emotion such as modern art fails to evoke.


The marvelously beautiful pictures painted in the Netherlands during
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were mainly of subjects inspired
by abiding faith and Catholic Christianity. We are likely to think of
Madonnas as Italian or Spanish in origin but some of the most
beautiful pictures of Mary as the Mother of God were painted by the
artists of the Netherlands. Some of Roger Vander Weyden's are
extremely attractive but are excelled by those of Memmling whose
exquisite pictures in the hospital of St. John at Bruges, done just
about the time of the discovery of America in the generation before
Luther's time, show clearly how deep was the devotion to the Blessed
Virgin in the Teutonic countries. So far from being solitary examples,
these are but two of many. Quentin Matsys and Dirk Bouts are other
genius artists of this period who painted pictures of the life of the
Lord in which His Mother was the centre of attention, and these
pictures have continued to hold the admiration and reverence of people
ever since. And then there was Albrecht Dürer, some of whose pictures
of the Madonna are among the most charmingly human, with something of
divine shining out of them, that have ever been painted. Even Holbein
following the old tradition and with the old faith still in him
painted a very beautiful picture of the Burgomaster Meier with his
wife and children in prayer before the Blessed Virgin. Few pictures
are more impressive than this.


Albrecht Dürer is a typical example of the inspiration that the Church
proved to be to great painters before the unfortunate religious
revolution in Germany spoken of as a reform. Trained under great
masters in Germany itself but deeply influenced by Mantegna, living in
Venice for some years he became a very great painter. He was an
intensely practical genius, the inventor of etching and a marvelous
designer of woodcuts. Practically all of his etchings and woodcuts
represent religious themes. The Greater Passion and the Lesser Passion
have fifty topics in all. His Apocalypse in sixteen subjects is a work
of genius. His copper plates which now command high prices in the
auction rooms are nearly always on religious subjects. The Little
Passion, as it is called, is among the greatest of these. Such
subjects as St. Jerome in his Study, Death and the Devil, are very
well known. Among his paintings are the well known Adam and Eve in
Florence, the Four Apostles in Nuremburg, the Adoration of the Trinity
in Vienna. Like the other great Renaissance artists and especially the
Italians he made important contributions to other subjects besides art
and was an engineer as well as a wood engraver, etcher and painter. It
is for men with a breadth of genius like this that religion means most
as an incentive to great work.

A hundred years after Albrecht Dürer came Peter Paul Rubens, educated
by the Jesuits, deeply influenced by the Italians, spending five years
in Italy and a year in Spain where he came under the {46} influence of
Velasquez. He was a great collector of art, most of his collection
being of religious subjects. A great many of his paintings are to be
found in churches where they properly belong, for they are on deep
religious themes. The titles of his chief works, "The Descent from the
Cross," at Antwerp, which is undoubtedly a masterpiece, the "Elevation
of the Cross" and "Fall of the Damned," which are to be seen in
Munich, demonstrate very clearly how much religion meant as an
inspiration and incentive for his greatest art. Rubens was in his day
very probably the best known and most appreciated artist in Europe.
Everywhere he was received with admiration and respect. He was invited
to France to decorate the Luxemburg, was sent to Spain on a diplomatic
mission, went to England and was given a degree by the university, and
a commission to decorate Whitehall, yet without religion as an
incentive it is hard to conceive of him rising to great heights as a

With the disturbance of religion produced by the religious revolution
of the sixteenth century came decadence in painting. This was noticed
particularly in the Protestant countries, though the political
dissensions consequent upon religious disaffection hurt art
everywhere. It has often been said that in modern times it is the lack
of the inspiration afforded by deep religious feeling that more than
anything else has kept us from having great painters. Portrait
painting seldom proves an incentive to great art and may serve from
merely sordid {47} motives to lower artistry. Historical painting has
an appeal to the mind that may be an impulse to artistic achievement
but can scarcely prove an inspiration to really great art. When
personal patriotism serves to point the significance of historical
scenes in the painter's native country there may be some hope of the
creative expression of truth touched with emotion such as would
constitute great art. But this combination of influence seldom
obtains. Mythological subjects may catch the attention and may serve
to stimulate the fancy but they do not touch the heart of either
painter or beholder. Sentimental subjects are a pitfall to the painter
as they have been to the poet and the litterateur. These two latter
themes represent scarcely more than exercise in the technique of art
but make no call upon the deeper feelings which must be aroused if
great art is to be done.

Hence in our time we have conventional artists of excellence, often
exquisite technicians in landscape art or in portrait painting, but we
can scarcely expect to reach any great art in these modes. If we were
to have a revival of religious feeling accompanied by the profound
beliefs of the older times then once more we might look for supreme
artistic achievement. We are paying a high price for our free
thinking, as we call it, in religious matters in the exclusion of
supreme spiritual motives and profound religious emotions that it
brings with {48} it. What Gerhard Hauptmann said of sculpture (see end
of chapter on sculpture) might well be repeated here of painting.




At the beginning of Christianity there seems to have been some little
feeling of suspicion as to the employment of sculpture in Church
decoration and some discouragement of its use in connection with
religion. The Jews who had been converted to Christianity still
retained the objection that had been created in them by the
prohibition of graven images, while pagan converts were deterred by
their remembrance of the use of sculpture in their temples and the
abuses connected with the worship of these. Recent research, however,
has revealed the fact that in the East much more than in the West
sculpture was cultivated in connection with Christianity, though
unfortunately the iconoclastic movement of the early Middle Ages
destroyed many precious monuments of this kind which would have served
to illustrate the influence of Christianity on the sculptors of the
early Christian time. There are but few examples of the statuary of
the first two or three Christian centuries, but among these are a
really beautiful _Pastor Bonus_ which may be seen in the museum of the
Lateran and a "Christ" in Berlin. Sculptured works in relief, however,
were very common, especially in connection with sarcophagi, and a
number of these in {50} the fourth and fifth centuries show that
Christianity was not only not discouraging but on the contrary was
affording opportunity for the development of sculptural genius. The
sarcophagi of Ravenna are particularly interesting in this regard and
very definitely related to Byzantine art.

While life size sculpture did not flourish to any extent in early
medieval Western Christianity, the artistic carving of smaller objects
in other materials besides stone or bronze was cultivated very
interestingly under the influence of the Church. Sculpture in wood is
illustrated in the doorway of the basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome,
and there were a number of book covers, book stands and other objects
in connection with Church services that were beautifully carved. Ivory
came to be a favorite material for sculpture in the earlier Middle
Ages and flourished particularly in France. The use of the precious
metals for the making of altar vessels afforded another opportunity
for plastic art that was taken very finely. Collections of Merovingian
art work show that some of the best specimens were made for Church
purposes and that there was a real artistic spirit manifested in their
creation. The French sculpture in ivory was declared by Kleinschmidt
to "approach the creations of the early Renaissance in delicacy of
execution, in rhythm of line and in well considered observance of the
laws of composition."

With the beginning of the second millennium of the Christian era, and
in connection particularly {51} with the development of Romanesque
architecture, there was an important evolution of sculpture in bronze
in Germany at Hildesheim and at Magdeburg in the eleventh century and
in Belgium in the twelfth century. The famous baptismal font at Liége,
resting upon twelve bronze oxen, the date of which is the early
twelfth century, the work of _Renier de Huy_, is a striking example of
how men were inspired to do work of artistic character and at the same
time most difficult performance in connection with the Church. Carving
in stone during this period was subordinated to architecture, but some
of it as done for churches was extremely interesting and artistic.
Stone reliefs, which served as decorations of baptismal fonts, portals
and choir screens, are still visited very often by architects in
search of ideas and not a few of them have been copied in plaster to
find a place in the modern museums. Our own Metropolitan Museum in New
York shows some striking examples of twelfth century stone carving and
relief which find a place there only because they represent extremely
important steps in the history of art.

With the beginning of what is known as the earlier Renaissance, at the
end of the twelfth and the early years of the thirteenth century,
Gothic sculpture as it was called flourished very strikingly and came
to occupy a place in the history of art that has probably never been
excelled. The statue of Christ over the main portal of the Cathedral
of Amiens is an interesting example of this. It was {52} finished not
long after the middle of the thirteenth century. It has often been
said to be perhaps the most beautiful presentation of the human form
divine ever made in stone. It is really a marvelous piece of
sculpture. The people of Amiens did not call it in the old fashioned
way _Le Bon Dieu_, but because of its beauty, _Le Beau Dieu_, the
beautiful God. Amiens was not ahead of other cathedrals except in this
one specimen and the cathedrals at Chartres, at Bourges and Le Mans
surpass most of the work of northern France because they "achieve an
imposing: effect by reason of their solemn dignity and silent repose."
The Gothic cathedrals presented abundant opportunities for the
exhibition of sculpture and these opportunities stimulated churchmen
to patronize sculpture and provided men who had any tendency in this
direction with occupations that afforded them pleasure in their work
and a living wage while they were executing beautiful things that gave
them a joy that could be secured in no other way.

The extent to which sculpture developed in the Gothic period in France
is very well illustrated by the fact that in the Cathedral of Rheims
there were about two thousand five hundred statues altogether. Some of
them were gems of artistry. Whenever any of them were destroyed during
the war there was always the feeling that no one in our generation
could ever hope to equal the sculptured beauty that modern chemistry
in its development of high explosives had enabled us to break up so
easily.   [Note 2] {53} From 1150 at Chartres through St. Denis in the
beginning of the thirteenth century down to the statues of the twelve
apostles in the Ste. Chapelle in Paris at the end of the thirteenth
century there are some wonderful examples of how men may express the
deepest thoughts and the moods of humanity in stone. Everywhere the
impetus to this form of art spread because of the stimulus of the
churchmen and their liberal patronage. In Burgundy and in the
Netherlands a whole series of artistic triumphs in sculpture were
erected in the churches during the fifteenth century. This was all
under the influence of the Gothic and had nothing to do with the Greek
and Roman remains which had been unearthed and were so deeply
influencing the latter part of this period down in Italy.

After the great Gothic sculpture of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries came the glorious renascence of sculpture under the
influence of restored interest in Greek and Roman models in the
Renaissance time. The group of names in connection with that movement
is the best known in the history of sculpture. It begins with
Donatello and includes Leopardi, Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, the
Della Robbias, Benvenuto Cellini, Michelangelo and John of Bologna.
Practically everyone who has any pretense to education anywhere
throughout the world knows these names. But there are other sculptors
of such distinction as Mino da Fiesole, the two Rossellinis, Benedetto
da Maiano in Florence alone and the rivals and imitators of
Michelangelo, Baccio {54} Bandinelli, Giacomo delia Porta, Montelupo,
Ammanati, and Vincenzo di Rossi who are very well known by everyone
really interested in sculpture or art. These sculptors of the second
rate in the Renaissance are probably greater than any sculptors of the
modern time, yet their names are quite unfamiliar to even the educated
public because the ordinary memory refuses to hold more than a certain
number of names and Italy had too many geniuses at this time for them
all to be recalled.

All these men did their work under the inspiration of Catholic
Christianity and under the patronage of the ecclesiastics of the
Catholic Church. Only that heads of religious orders and the hierarchy
and those responsible for the decoration of cathedrals and abbey
churches had the good taste to employ really great sculptors, there
would have been comparatively little opportunity for these men to
display their genius. Does anyone think for a moment that at a time
when there were so many great men there were not a whole host of
smaller men who were constantly being "boosted" and with regard to
whom political and family influence of one kind or another was
constantly being used so as to secure them commissions? It would have
been cheaper, doubtless, though money meant very little for the work
of this time, to have employed the smaller men. Many of them would
doubtless have been much more obsequious in following out ideas
presented to them and pretending that patrons had artistic sense
enough and a sense of beauty to enable them {55} to dictate the
composition of art subjects. These men would have been much more ready
to flatter their patrons than were the really great sculptors, but we
have as the result of the taste of the churchmen of the time a
wonderful treasure of artistic achievements in sculpture during this

The subjects for most of these great works were suggested, even
inspired, by the teachings of the Church. Donatello's great statue of
St. George outside the church of Or San Michele at Florence, is a
typical example. Critics consider that it is surpassed only by some of
Michelangelo's work and that of the Greeks. We have in the
Metropolitan Museum in New York his Boy St. John the Baptist, which is
one of the treasures of the museum. There were many other saints done
evidently with the heartiest of religious feeling by Donatello.

Michelangelo was a deep believer and a faithful follower of Church
tradition. Probably nothing illustrates this so well as his famous
group known as _La Pietà_, which may be seen at St. Peter's in Rome.
Executed when Michelangelo was less than twenty-five years of age, it
has come to be looked upon as one of the greatest sculptures of the
world. Only a man with deep belief in the doctrine that Mary was the
Mother of God could have made this wonderful group in which the dead
Savior taken down from the cross is lying across His Mother's knee.
Some critics objected to the youthfulness of the Mother's face and
even in Michelangelo's time this was commented upon. His famous reply,
all the {56} more interesting in these days of discussion of the
Virgin birth, was, "Don't you know that chaste women keep their
youthful looks much longer than others? This is much more true in the
case of a virgin who had never known a wanton desire to leave its
shade upon her beauty!" Michelangelo's next important work was his
David, a copy of which is the crowning feature of the hill above
Florence. After this work Michelangelo was summoned to Rome by Pope
Julius II and commissioned to make that great tomb which occupied so
much of his attention for the next quarter of a century.
Unfortunately, owing to political and other disturbances, he was never
able to finish it and he was called away to do the less congenial but
triumphant work of decorating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The
figure of the Moses and other details of the tomb show how much the
commission stimulated him. His statue of Christ, executed in
marble,--and the difference between the marble and the bronze David in
Florence shows how much more suited marble is to bring out the feeling
of humanity,--is another of these wonderful triumphs of Michelangelo's
genius. It well deserves to be placed beside even the statue of Christ
over the centre portal at Amiens and there is the same almost
worship of it by the ordinary citizens of Rome who come visiting it in
the church. The Amiennois called their statue of Christ, as we have
said, _Le Beau Dieu_, the beautiful God. At Rome they have had to
protect Michelangelo's Christ from having {57} its foot all kissed
away,--after sad ravages had all ready been made on it,--by shielding
it with a sandal made of bronze. Unthinking people may talk of such
customs as superstition, but when they bring the men and women into
intimate contact with beautiful works of art such as this while all
the time fostering a strong sense of personal relationship, they are
marvelously productive of that elusive quality we call culture.

There are men whose names are scarcely known outside of Italy and
surely not known outside of intimate art circles who did art work in
the service of the Church that is simply exquisite. Take for instance
the sculptor, or perhaps the series of sculptors whose names we are
not sure of, who decorated the façade of the Certosa of Pavia. This
was the Carthusian monastery three miles outside of the city of Pavia
that has been for nearly five centuries now a place of pilgrimage for
art lovers because of the beautiful things made for it. The Carthusian
monks kept perpetual silence, never ate meat, never went outside of
their monasteries, took a shovel full of earth out of the grave that
they were to lie in and meditated on death every day, but they made a
beautiful edifice as a home for Emmanuel and themselves; and people
who came to visit it learned to know that a thing of beauty is a joy
forever and that the most beautiful things in the world were
associated with religious ideas. Or take the beautiful work done by
Giralamo Lombardo and his sons who wrought the magnificent bronze
gates of the {58} Holy House of Loretto and the sculpture on the
western façade of the church of the same place. It was one of the
delights of pilgrims to Loretto before the fire ruined some of it to
find how charmingly the little old house which, according to
tradition, was the home of Christ and His Mother while He was on
earth, is here enshrined. It adds a new item of proof, as it were, and
creates a willingness to believe the legend.

Even in such apparently unsuitable material as terra cotta these
Renaissance Italians did some marvelously beautiful sculpture. Luca
Della Robbia, after having made the beautiful angels of the choir
gallery at Florence and ever so many other charming things in marble,
set himself the task of making equally beautiful things in terra cotta
and accomplished his purpose so marvelously that replicas of his work
have ever since been favorite bits of adornment for drawing rooms and
living rooms all over the world. His brothers and a sister and his
nephews also became interested in the work and now we are not always
able to decide how much of Luca's work is in these pieces. We have
some striking examples at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Luca
liked above all to make terra cottas of the mysteries of the Rosary.
the events in the life of the Blessed Virgin, the Annunciation, the
Visitation of St. Elizabeth by the Blessed Virgin, the Nativity. He
had a wonderful charm in the plastic reproduction of children. His
_putti_ in marble are famous and the _bambini_, little babies wrapped
{59} in swaddling clothes, usually in white on a blue circular ground
or blue on white, were exquisitely done. They were made for the
decoration of the Hospital of The Innocents, which was the gracious
name that the Florentines had for the foundlings instead of the rude
betrayal term that we employ. These are favorite subjects for
reproduction and copies of them are probably to be found in more homes
than of any other piece of sculpture in the world. It was Luca's
studies of the Christ Child that led up to these.

There were other great sculptors who drew their inspiration from
religious subjects. Antonio Begarelli of Modena, who died just about
the end of the Renaissance (1565), was enthusiastically admired by
Michelangelo. His Descent From the Cross in San Francesco at Modena
shows how much can be accomplished by a genius in producing great
sculpture even in so complicated a composition as this, and justifies
Michelangelo's admiration fully.

After this comes decadence. Bernini was the greatest sculptor of the
seventeenth century. In his younger years his Cain and Abel under
Church influence represent really beautiful sculpture. Later came his
classical period and deterioration. He was probably more admired than
any sculptor has ever been in his own time and he deserved it least,
though he was a man of artistic genius or at least of supreme talent
and in a better environment would surely have accomplished some
wonderful work. His contemporary, Stefano Maderna, under {60} the
influence of religious feeling produced the really very beautiful
statue of St. Cecilia lying dead, the figure which under the high
altar of her basilica at Rome attracts so much admiration and copies
of which are to be seen all over the world. The sculptor has caught
with marvelous realism the pose in death of the martyr and his
treatment of the drapery shows positive genius for plastic art.

It was not alone in Italy, however, that religious inspiration led to
the making of supremely great sculpture during this Renaissance time.
The Germans were famous as wood carvers and an immense number of
carved altars, pulpits, choir screens, choir stalls, tabernacles and
church furniture of many kinds, as well as church fittings of nearly
every description and of very great elaborateness and usually fine
artistic quality, were produced. One of the first of the great German
wood carvers, Jörg Syrlin, executed the famous choir stalls of Ulm
cathedral, so richly decorated and ornamented with statuettes and
canopies. His son of the same name did the great pulpit in the same
cathedral and the elaborate stalls in Blaubeurn church. These works
were finished within a few years of the discovery of America. Veit
Stoss was another of these skillful artists in church woodwork and he
was invited to many parts of Europe, to Cracow, to do the high altar
and the tabernacles and the stalls of the Frauenkerchen. His
masterpiece is the great wooden panel, nearly six feet square, carved
toward the end of the fifteenth century with an immense {61} number of
scenes from Bible history,--which is now among the treasures of the
Nuremburg town hall. And yet one will hear it said that they were
keeping the Bible away from the people at this time.

Albrecht Dürer, the great painter, with Renaissance versatility took
up sculpture and did not despise even the humble medium of wood in the
service of the Church. As might be expected, he could execute
beautifully and artistically even in this mode, and as an act of pious
devotion he executed a tabernacle with an exquisitely carved relief of
Christ on the cross between His Mother and St. John, which still may
be seen in the chapel of the monastery in Landan.

Then came the work of Adam Kraft and the Vischer family for three
generations in bronze, though at the beginning the influence of wood
carving can be seen. These men, too, took their inspirations from
Catholic Christianity, and how much that could mean as a stimulus to a
great artist is seen very well in the magnificent masterpiece of the
Vischers, the shrine of St. Sebald at Nuremburg. There is a copy of
this to be seen in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The original
is a wondrous shrine to which many visitors of the modern time turn
their steps with very little thought of the religious elements
represented by it yet attracted by the marvelous artistic value. It is
a veritable triumph of plastic art, admired and reverenced by the
people of that time very highly, and modern critical appreciation of
it has completely {62} corroborated contemporary admiration. Its
details are a never ending source of interesting study. Some of the
statuettes of saints attached to the slender columns of the canopy are
among the most beautiful examples of their kind extant. They have
grace and dignity as well as fine expressiveness. They could have come
only from a man who believed thoroughly and heartily in the doctrine
of the communion of saints. Faith alone could have given such a
supreme stimulus to expression.

No wonder that Gerhard Hauptmann, the world known German dramatic poet
to whom the Nobel prize for literature was awarded not long before the
war, said after praising the tomb of St. Sebald as a veritable stroke
of genius: "I as a Protestant have often had to regret that we
purchased our freedom of conscience, our individual liberty at
entirely too high a price. In order to make room for the small, mean
little plant of personal life we destroyed a whole garden of fancy and
hewed down a virgin forest of aesthetic ideas. We went even so far in
the insanity of our weakness as to throw out of the garden of our
souls the fruitful soil that had been accumulating for thousands of
years or else we plowed it under sterile clay."

And then he added, "In my workroom there is ever before me a
photograph of St. Sebald's tomb. It seems to me one of the most
wonderful bits of work in the whole field of artistic accomplishment.
The soul of all the great medieval period enwraps this silver coffin,
giving to it a noble unity, and {63} enthrones on the very summit of
Death, Life as a growing child. Such a work could only have come to
its perfection in the protected spaces of the old Mother Church."

Modern sculpture has deteriorated to a very great extent, and while
there are occasional pieces of sculpture that represent a worthy
striving after the expression of emotional truth in plastic mode,
there are very few critics who are ready to admit that our sculpture
in any way compares with that of the Renaissance or of the Greeks.
Especially the Renaissance sculpture, that was done under the
influence of religious motives and with the definite purpose of
finding its place in a church or religious structure of some kind
where it would be the admiration of the people, proved to be
wondrously beautiful. Many of those who know most about sculpture are
quite ready to confess that in our time the great lack of the sculptor
is not so much talent as the depth of feeling which comes so readily
in connection with religion and the incentive to do the best that is
in one when one feels that it is being accomplished not merely for
selfish ambition and still less for sordid gain but as an act of
worship of the Creator or of reverence for some favorite saint. It is
deep emotion that our artists and poets lack. Poetry is truth touched
with emotion and sculpture is plastic art similarly touched. Without
the profound emotional element in it the sculpture is commonplace
almost inevitably. The Church has ever provided not only the
opportunity to house {64} great sculpture suitably where it would be
admired, but has also been the medium to arouse the profound emotion
that the artist needs.



Arts and Crafts

The making of the various adjuncts that were employed in religious
services provided the greatest stimulus for the movement known as the
arts and crafts, that is, for the making of things beautiful as well
as useful, that has ever been known. Man is differentiated from the
animals even more by his sense of beauty than by his reasoning power.
From the very beginning man has exhibited a cult for beauty that has
characterized him very definitely as separated by an almost infinite
distance from the animals whose body he shares. Even the cave man made
all his utensils and also his tools beautiful as well as useful. He
shaped them prettily and then engraved figures on them. He then
proceeded to make his home beautiful by painting pictures on the walls
of it, and in order to do so he invented oil painting; and while his
pictures are primitive, they are so vivid and vigorous that a good
critic has said that there is no animal painter alive today who can
paint such life-like pictures of animals as the cave man made. Good
anthropologists have declared that the cave man had a religious motive
in this. He had come to the idea that if he could paint an animal to
the life so as to demonstrate as it were his mastery of it, the {66}
spirit who ruled the world would give him power to hunt it
successfully. As he buried his dead, confident that they were alive in
another world than this,--for he interred with them some of their
implements and utensils which had often been made at great expense of
time and labor, and this in spite of seeing their bodies putrify and
disappear,--the idea of a great spirit overruling things must have
come very definitely to him.

Ever since, in connection with religion, art which means
etymologically only something made with hands has been invoked as an
auxiliary to worship and a symbol of reverence. All the ancient
religions inspired people to the making of beautiful things. The
temples of Assyria and Babylonia and of old Egypt are the witness to
this, and when the Greeks came with their wonderful burst of
intellectuality, religion proved the source of motifs not only for art
of all kinds but also for literature in its various modes. The Romans,
following the Greeks in this, not only built beautiful temples for
their gods, but also made charming adornments for them and exhausted
their cult of beauty in the production of furnishings of various kinds
and of objects of worship in grove and field and temple. Even among
the nations that we know as barbarous, as for instance among the Mayas
and Aztecs in America, there had been similar manifestations and the
most wonderful remains that we possess from them are as a rule
concerned with the religion of these old time people. As their art
vied even with the {67} Greeks it is easy to understand how much
inspiration their religion gave them.

It is not surprising, then, that when Christianity came with its
belief in a very intimate relationship with a personal God Himself
there was a magnificent outburst of art impulse which manifested
itself in everything in any way associated with the service of
religion. The churches were beautiful and painting and sculpture lent
their charms to render the interiors and exteriors even more
attractive than the artistic lines of the buildings made them
originally, while the arts and crafts made even the smallest
accessories beautiful as well as useful. The result was a simply
astounding production of art objects which served to show very clearly
how much of charm man can lend to the simplest materials, even when
they are being used for what seem to be very humble purposes, if only
he has the inspiration of feeling that somehow these purposes are
associated with the worship of the Deity.

The furniture of the churches came before very long to be of fine
artistic quality. The seats in the choirs represented very practical
needs for those engaged in the service; though they might have been
the merest stools or benches, they came to be extremely beautiful
objects of art that now are admired for themselves. In an immense
number of churches throughout Christendom the wood carving for these
was so exquisite that it has been the subject of study ever since and
of reverent emulation though often without the slightest hope of {68}
being able to rival it. Other wooden furnishings took on the same
character. Vestment cases, sacristy fittings, the altar itself of
course, whenever it was made of wood, the stations of the cross, the
people's benches and even the movable seats of various kinds, all were
beautiful, made with patience, devotion, and an artist's heart in
them, so that they have been quite definitely joys forever. Nothing
was ever made merely useful; in the house of God everything had to be
beautiful, and when in some dark corner one finds a particularly
beautifully finished bit of stone or wood or an elaborately finished
piece of some other kind and asks why it was placed there and why, as
it were, so much of beauty is thus hidden away, the answer of the
sexton will probably be, "God sees everywhere." Above all there was no
shame or pretense about the churches. Things were what they seemed.
They were honest-to-God churches.

What was true of wood, comparatively so easily worked, was quite as
true of the refractory metals like iron or equally refractory
materials like stone or glass. The Angel Choir at Lincoln was so
beautifully carved that an old tradition declared that it did not come
from the hand of man but was made by the angels, and as Dr. Osler said
not long before his death, it is probably one of the most beautiful
pieces of work that ever came from the hand of man. It is surrounded
by an iron grille which was meant to have a very definite protective
purpose. On the important Church feast days it must have {69} often
happened that the cathedral at Lincoln was jammed to more than its
capacity. On certain of the great festival days not only everybody in
town wanted to be present at the ceremonial but people came in for
miles from the country around, and it was extremely important to keep
the crowd from interfering in any way with the services. Nothing could
have been more effective in this regard than the wrought iron grille
work which surrounds the choir and it would make the most serviceable
kind of protection for the window of a bank or an open work partition
in a banking interior, and yet it is so beautifully hammered that it
looks like a piece of lace and after seven centuries is still as
beautiful and as secure as it ever was.

Hinges and latches and locks for doors and keys were all hammered out
of wrought iron in marvelous beauty of line. I have seen on a single
occasion artists from places so distant from each other as Australia,
Russia and United States sketching a hinge of the door of the cloister
at York. It was so beautiful that they wanted to have a copy of it in
their notebooks. It had been made by a small town blacksmith seven
centuries before. The bill for it is extant, I believe. It still
swings that heavy English oak door as satisfactorily as at the
beginning. Its arborizations spread out over the door and hold the
planks of it very firmly together. There is no doubt at all about its
usefulness, yet its beauty has an appeal that has lasted all down the
centuries and now was to influence distant nations {70} in the modern
time, because, though it was only wrought iron, a man had put a bit of
his soul into it. No wonder that when pieces of this kind are no
longer to be used for the churches they find their way into the
museums, for they are real works of art.

The churches were quite literally full of such specimens of the arts
and crafts. The stained glass windows were so beautiful that they have
been the admiration and the despair of those who tried to imitate them
ever since. There does not seem to have been any common centre for the
making of them. Each little town made its own, and the marvel is that
they succeeded in doing such beautiful work; but there it is as the
proof of the artistic excellence of the religious inspiration that
created them. It happens that at Lincoln (England) there is on one
side of the church a set of modern stained glass windows which were, I
believe, ordered at great expense from somewhere on the continent a
generation ago when England was making no stained glass. On the other
side, some of the glass from the thirteenth century which furnished
the windows of Lincoln is to be seen, and thereby hangs a tale. When
in the Parliamentary time the stained glass in the Cathedral was
stoned out by Cromwell's soldiers because the figures on it
represented to them definite tendencies to idolatry and the forbidden
worship of images, the old sexton, who as man and boy had gazed
reverently at the beautiful old stained glass windows for more than
seventy {71} years, was heartbroken over the devastation. He gathered
up into bags the broken fragments of the jewel-like glass which had
been made more than four hundred years before, and deposited them in
the crypt. When two generations ago they set about the restoration of
Lincoln this old glass was found; and though of course it was only a
mass of sad fragments, the coloring of it was so beautiful that they
resolved to patch it together and make use of it. The result is to be
seen in the windows on one side of Lincoln. After gazing at this
lovely play of color the visitor has so little of patience with the
modern expensive stained glass at the other side made with a
commercial motive instead of with the deep religious inspiration that
influenced the old workmen, that he scarcely deigns to give it a
second glance.

What Lincoln's windows might have been if preserved in their original
beauty is very well illustrated by York's treasures and especially by
the famous Five Sisters window. York was more fortunate than Lincoln.
General Ireton who commanded the Cromwellian troops before York, was a
friend of the Yorkites and his influence saved York's windows to a
great extent, though not entirely. In those that are left is to be
found some of the most beautiful stained glass in the world.

The missals, or Mass books that were used on the altar, the office
books that were used by the monks for the singing of the office, are
all of them so beautiful that it is not too much to say that they {72}
are the most beautiful books ever made. They are charmingly decorated,
illuminated with loving care, gilded with the most meticulous
attention and the gold is burnished and has not faded after many
hundreds of years, though when we try to do similar work the
burnishing fades in a generation. All the colors were displayed on the
beautiful pages of these books and the blues have not faded in spite
of the lapse of time, though our blues of the modern day are so prone
to fade when we use them in similar fashion. Their respect for the
Scriptures is finely illustrated by such specimens of their work as
the Book of Kells to be seen in the library of Trinity College,
Dublin. This is probably the most beautiful book ever made. It was
made in the eighth century in Ireland and owes its preservation to the
devotion of the Irish. To study all the charm and detail of its
decoration we have to use a magnifying glass in modern time. How the
artist ever made it without a glass is almost impossible to
understand. It has curves of all kinds, spirals of every sort, and all
of them without a break in their regularity. It must have meant almost
a life work for one or perhaps for several artists and supreme depth
of devotion and sublime height of religious inspiration must have
conspired for its production. If we did not actually possess it, no
one could ever be persuaded for a moment to believe that such a book
could have been created in the Ireland of the eighth century, or
anywhere in Europe at that time.


Not only the larger office books of the churches and the monasteries
but also those of smaller size that were in private hands for personal
devotion partook of this beauty of book making. Ladies delighted to
have dainty volumes for their devotions, and the taste thus cultivated
spread to include other books of theirs. As a consequence, just before
printing came in, a great many extremely beautiful books were made.
The substantial tribute of our time to them is to be seen in the
immense prices which they command in the auction rooms. No wonder that
about the time of the invention of printing some of the well-known
book collectors of the day refused to have anything to do with these
new fangled mechanically made books that were coming in. Their
discrimination had been cultivated to such a degree in the handling of
beautiful books that anything less than very high artistic quality in
a book seemed to them almost a desecration. As one of the well-known
Italian collectors said, "As long as I have my own beautiful hand made
books why should I care to possess any of these cheap machine made

As the result of the veritable climax of beautiful book making which
had come in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and especially
just before the invention of printing, the printers had before them
book models which they could not hope to emulate but from which they
did not dare depart very far lest they might not secure the patronage
of their wealthy artistic patrons who were accustomed to {74} handle
the beautifully illuminated books of the earlier period. Hence it is
that the very first generation after the invention of printing had the
opportunity to purchase some of the most beautiful printed books that
had ever been made. The "incunabula," as they are called, that is, the
books printed during the fifteenth century down to the year 1500,
command high prices in the auction rooms because they are "cradle
books," as the Latin word incunabula implies, and are comparatively
rare, for first editions were usually small in number, but they
deserve the price very often not so much for their rarity as because
they are such beautiful specimens of the printer's art. The Bible was
the first book printed. It was followed by many books written by the
priestly scholars of the older time or by books that had a special
interest for churchmen. The churchmen were the great patrons of the
new art, the customers of the early printers for whom the beautiful
books were made.   [Note 3]

Even the perishable textile materials that were used in connection
with the church services, the vestments and hangings, the altar linens
and laces, were made so beautifully that they represented works of
art. Some of these which now get to the auction rooms because of the
suppression of monasteries or come into the market because of serious
political disturbances in countries which have led to lootings, or
sometimes are offered for sale as the voluntary sacrifice of beautiful
things in order to keep orphans or members of communities, especially
the old and feeble, {75} alive in the midst of the hardships of
Europe,--quite as St. Lawrence in the early days of Christianity
thought that church treasures must come after the poor in
preciousness,--have commanded prices that have sometimes been simply
astounding. One instance will illustrate this very well. Some years
ago Mr. Pierpont Morgan, Sr., bought the cope of Ascoli and paid, it
was said at the time, $60,000 for it. The cope which is the outer
garment worn by the priest in Church processions, had been made at a
little convent of North central Italy toward the end of the thirteenth
century. The experts consulted by Mr. Morgan assured him that it was
probably the most beautiful piece of needlework in the world, hence
his willingness to pay this high price in spite of the fact that the
precious stones which had adorned it originally had been removed. The
cope was in this country for a while and through Mr. Morgan's kindness
I had the privilege of seeing the painting that was made of it for him
when it was found that he would have to part with the original. For
after a while it was discovered that the cope had been stolen from the
little convent and so Mr. Morgan returned it, though not to the little
convent but to the Italian government, which I believe did not give it
back to the nuns because it was considered a national treasure to be
preserved henceforth in a national museum. The nuns had made it and
guarded it faithfully for six hundred and fifty years but now must be
without it for reasons of state.

This cope of Ascoli is scarcely more beautiful than the almost equally
famous cope of Syon which was made in England in the early fourteenth
century and {76} is on exhibition now at South Kensington Museum in
London. The fact that at points so distant from each other in Europe
as England and Italy, the nuns of two different orders should have
been able to do such beautiful work during almost the same generation
is quite definite evidence that there must have been a very general
tradition of beautiful needlework. As a matter of fact the _opus
Anglicum_, or "English work" as it came to be called,--a particular
style of needlework from this period,--is usually considered to be one
of the most effective employments of needlework in connection with
textiles ever invented. Everywhere vestments, especially those for the
use of the clergy on the great festival days, were quite literally
works of exquisite art. This tradition is being revived in this
century, as anyone who has been in touch with the movement for more
beautiful vestments knows. Those who have had the privilege of seeing
the beautiful vestments made by St. Hilda's Guild in New York or the
very attractive vestments made by some of the contemplative religious
orders which are modeled on the examples of the older time, will
appreciate very readily what a right to the term "artistic triumphs"
such materials merit. Religious inspiration aroused devotion in the
making of beautiful things which lifted even the apparently transient
textile materials into enduring monuments of artistry in the past and
does so in our day still.

Every phase of material adjunct to church service was lifted onto the
same high plane. The linens for the altar, the hangings for the
tabernacle, the antependium of the altar were beautifully made. Even
{77} the cruets for wine and water were beautiful and of course the
vases and the candlesticks for the altars shared the artistic
inspiration. It is not surprising then that the sacred vessels, the
chalices, the ciboria and the ostensoria were exquisitely beautiful
works of art. The chalice of Ardagh, which dates from sometime after
the Book of Kells in Ireland, simply serves to show how long ago this
tradition of exquisite artistry had its beginning. There have been
times down the centuries of course when the degradation of taste has
served also to make even religious articles of various kinds not so
admirable as they might have been, but even at these times the effort
to make things beautiful has never ceased, only the underlying
principles were wrong and men could not lift themselves above their
times unless they were geniuses or artists so highly talented as to
appreciate what ought to be the real principles of art as applied to
such objects as these. Sometimes even articles that might be
considered as scarcely deserving of the ordinary craftsman's attention
have been lifted up to the plane of exquisite artistry, as of course
those who are at all familiar with this phase of art history
appreciate very readily.

I remember once seeing a thurible, or censer, being sold in an auction
room in New York just about the beginning of the war. It was one of
our most important auction rooms and therefore the large audience
present who were very ready to pay high prices for beautiful things
were all the more surprised to hear the auctioneer say, that while it
was the custom of the house not to permit an "upset" price to be
placed {78} on objects offered for sale, they had made an exception to
that rule with regard to this particular object, because experts had
declared that it was the most beautiful thing of its kind in the
world. It was of bronze, scarcely more than a foot high, and while
manifestly very beautiful when closely examined, it would easily have
escaped notice as of any special value unless one were particularly
interested and expert with regard to such things. The upset price
announced was $55,000, and unless a bid to that amount were received
the thurifer would not be sold. The auctioneer had barely finished the
announcement when someone very calmly bid $55,000. Scarcely a moment
passed before another voice said $60,000, and then while the audience
gasped a bit, two gentlemen proceeded to outbid each other at $5,000,
a raise until $75,000 was reached. Then the next bid was $76,000 but
after that now with raises of $1,000 each time the bidding proceeded
to $80,000. Manifestly one of the gentlemen had reached his limit at
this price, the next bid promptly given was for $81,000 and after due
delay the auctioneer declared it sold.

As the newspapers announced the next day the thurifer or censer was
"knocked down" at $81,000. I suppose that most of us breathed a sigh
of relief that it was not "knocked down" on us at $81,000, and, yet
the gentleman who bought it seemed to feel that he had secured a prize
and apparently there were not a few others present who envied him the
treasure that he had succeeded in securing. The thurifer had been made
not by one of the greatest of the sculptors but by a {79} disciple of
Leonardo da Vinci and was thought to have some of the conception of
the great sculptor, painter, engineer, in its lines. It was just an
example of some of the Renaissance work in bronze made for the
churches of Italy during that precious 150 years from 1450 to 1600
when the patronage of churchmen and especially of monasteries gave to
the great artists of that time the opportunity to express themselves
in some of the most beautiful things that have ever been made. Without
the enlightened admiration of the Churchmen of the time it is very
hard to understand where the artists would have received the orders
which encouraged them to take up such artistic work. While they were
not money seekers they needed the stimulus of set tasks to evoke
inspiration and to give them the feeling that their work would have a
place before the public such as it deserved. To have beautiful arts
and crafts develop there must not only be the artistic talent for the
purpose but there must also be the buyers whose taste for the
beautiful will appreciate the best and foster its production. This was
the secondary role played by the Church. Its primary role was that its
teaching provided the designs and inspirations.

Anyone who thinks that such an account of the beautiful things in the
old churches is exaggerated or at least magnified by love for the
medieval and partiality for Church influence should read some of the
documents in the matter. We have room here for excerpts from but one,
but that is official and should be convincing. When not long before
the beginning of the war a commission was appointed by the French {80}
Government, one member of which was an American artist, to make a
catalog of the beautiful things from the older times to be found in
the churches of northern France, the American artist, writing a
magazine article on the subject, declared that these were so numerous
as to be almost beyond belief. There were villages of three hundred
inhabitants and sometimes less which possessed treasures in their
little parish churches that were veritable museum pieces of great
value. The commission found it impossible to make anything like an
adequate catalog of all the beautiful things that were scattered here
and there throughout a part of France which is usually considered not
to have been in any sense a peculiarly great artistic centre, nor at
all the home of the greatest art impulses, but only a type of old-time
interest in beautiful things for religion's sake. His article in
Scribner's Magazine, giving some of these details, must have been
astounding to those who are inclined to think that it was only in the
larger cities, or at least in certain very important places, that such
art treasures came into existence and gradually accumulated from
generation to generation. The experiences of our auction rooms and the
high prices that have been bid for objects from comparatively obscure
places ought to have been a lesson in this matter and should have
served to make it very clear that the art education afforded by such
frequent contact indeed almost daily with beautiful things had had the
educational effect which might have been expected. Unfortunately this
war, as so many others before it in that very neighborhood close to
what has been called the {81} cockpit of Europe, destroyed ever so
many objects of beauty which are absolutely irreplaceable. No one in
our time could ever be expected to execute them.   [Note 4]

It is easy to understand how extremely valuable for the education of
popular taste and the arousing of a sense of beauty, intimate contact
in the churches with such beautiful things must have been. In the
Middle Ages people were required by Church laws to go to church much
oftener than at the present time. Besides the fifty-two Sundays of the
year there were actually some two score holy days of obligation, in
some places even more, on which attendance at Mass was obligatory
unless there was some very good excuse. There were, besides, certain
days of devotion on which many people went to church, and as Cardinal
Gasquet has pointed out in his account of the medieval parish, in many
places very large numbers, sometimes half the adult members of the
congregation, went to Mass nearly every day in the year. This brought
them once every three days or oftener into the presence of the
beautiful art of the churches, their pictures, statues, decorations,
the fine examples of the arts and crafts, vestments, books, ironwork,
precious metal work and all the rest, so that if they had any sense of
beauty it was thoroughly cultivated. When nearly a hundred times every
year everyone is required, though they are very willing to fulfil the
requirement, to spend nearly an hour close to such beautiful things as
were in the churches, they cannot help but have their taste refined to
the highest possible extent and they are given, just as far as they
are capable of experiencing it, that joy in beauty which {82} our
modern English poet so emphatically declared to be enduring. After all
it is the sense of beauty that with the sense of duty in mankind
represents its highest qualities. Kant's two great mysteries, the
starry heavens without and the moral law within, illustrate these. Art
is the climax of our civilization. We are reasoning animals with a
superadded sense of beauty that lifts us as far above the animal as
heaven is from earth. It was this faculty that the beautiful things in
the churches cultivated so marvelously.   [Note 5]

In the modern time we are striving to foster, one might almost say to
create, this sense of beauty among our people, especially in the
cities. We are founding and endowing and organizing museums. In the
larger cities of the world immense sums of money have been expended on
these museums. In spite of this it is extremely difficult to get the
great mass of people to go to them. Here in New York, where our
Metropolitan Museum is one of the greatest museums of the world,
probably giving an outlook on supremely great art of all the schools
better than almost any other, we are very glad to have scant one in
ten of our people go once a year to see its treasures. As a matter of
fact probably one half at least of those who visit the Metropolitan
come from outside the city. It is perhaps a jest, but surely it is
more than half in earnest to say that at least half the time when a
New Yorker goes to either of our great museums it is because there is
some friend visiting in the city who wants to go and he or she goes
with the visitor. It is extremely doubtful if more than one in fifty
of our population goes spontaneously from {83} love of art once a year
to see the Metropolitan. Those who go are repeaters and usually make
several visits a year at least. Besides, the attendance lists are
largely increased by those who attend lectures and go for school
purposes and the like. In other cities the situation is no better with
perhaps one or two exceptions like Boston or Philadelphia, where there
is less absorption in material things and an older cultured class. In
most of our American cities conditions with regard to museum
attendance are very much worse than in New York. In cities of the
middle class with populations of half a million or less the museums,
if they exist at all, are scarcely known outside of a very small
circle of art devotees.

Contrast with this state of affairs the compulsory church attendance
in Catholic countries nearly one hundred times a year for all the
people and recall that the churches were veritable treasure houses of
beautiful art. In our modern museums so many objects of so many
different kinds are gathered that there is distraction of mind. In the
churches people stayed in one place with certain beautiful things
before them for an hour or more and were in the state of mind where
they had dismissed most distracting thoughts and were therefore in
particularly susceptible mood. The art objects, and above all the
paintings and statuary, represented subjects with which their thoughts
were naturally engaged and profoundly touched at the moment. Under
such circumstances beautiful things were likely to be supremely
effective in fostering the sense of beauty if there was even the
slightest trace of {84} it in the individual. Young folks, for
children from the age of seven came under the law of required church
attendance, must have been especially affected very deeply. What this
frequent contact with great art means all of us acknowledge. What it
did for really artistic spirits in awakening them to all the
possibilities of creative impulse can be understood from the fact that
in ever so many small towns the medieval and Renaissance peoples found
the artist workman who could make these beautiful things. Men were
seldom sent for from a distance but each town found its own creators
and proceeded to encourage them, to foster their inspirations and
their powers of achievement so that everywhere there was a marvelous
wind of the spirit of art blowing where it listed and accomplishing




Music is one of the arts of life which the Church has used constantly
and consistently in her services from the very earliest times. As with
all the other arts music owes ever so much more to the Church however
than is the Church's debt to music. Indeed the Church has enriched
music to such an extent as the consequence of the devotion with which
the art has been cultivated for the worship of the Most High that
practically all the great developments in music have come as the
result of effort made by Churchmen to enlarge musical modes for the
ceremonial uses of the Church.

Of music in Greek and Roman days we know almost nothing. Undoubtedly
the beauty loving Greeks had a magnificent development of music, but
it was lost. Music as we have it in modern times may well be declared
to be little more than the result of the evolution of the use of
melodious and harmonious sounds for Church purposes. The original
musical mode of the Christian Church came to us from St. Ambrose. The
tradition in this matter has been doubted in some regards, but there
is universal agreement that between the fourth and seventh centuries a
series of great new developments in music took place in connection
with the Christian ceremonials. The most noted example of this was the
establishment of antiphonal singing at {86} Milan by St. Ambrose,
bishop of that city, toward the end of the fourth century. This fact
St. Augustine, a contemporary, mentions in his Confessions. After this
a musical system called the Ambrosian sprang up. Four authentic
scales, the basis of the medieval musical system, have been attributed
to St. Ambrose, but like many of the hymns also declared his, they
were probably rather the development during succeeding centuries of
the needs of the Church ceremonial and were due to many minds.

Antiphonal psalmody after the model of that in Milan was introduced
into Rome by Pope Celestine I about the end of the first quarter of
the fifth century. This was the signal for the foundation of the first
Christian singing school, and after this the development of musical
liturgy went on apace until St. Gregory's time. As with regard to St.
Ambrose, there is also a doubt as to whether St. Gregory, that is Pope
Gregory I, the Great, really invented or arranged out of preceding
musical elements the Gregorian music or Plain Chant which now goes
under his name. One thing is sure, however, that this mode in the
musical liturgy as it exists today was essentially completed not long
after the year 600 and during the next two centuries a series of
magnificent developments of the music associated with the Church
ceremonial followed each other.

This time saw, beginning with St. Ambrose, the writing of a series of
hymns of beautiful rhythm and of a depth of poetic meaning which
tempted musical genius to give them an appropriate setting in music.
It has been said of some of these hymns that they must {87} be counted
among the most sublimely beautiful wedding of sense and sound to be
found in the whole body of human literature. It is easy to understand
then how appropriately beautiful musical numbers would naturally be
found for them by the musical geniuses of the time. During the course
of the following centuries of the early Middle Ages many thousands of
hymns were written and many thousands of variations of musical
settings were composed. Musical history continued its development
along these lines all during the medieval period. Probably no greater
poetry has ever been written and no greater hymns than those which are
to be found in the later Middle Ages, and therefore it is not
surprising to learn that the musical settings for them also were
marvelously effective and worthy accompaniments.

The Plain Chant which came into vogue at this time achieved veritable
triumphs of musical composition, though in the very simplest form. Mr.
Rockstro, in his article on Plain Chant in Grove's Dictionary of
Music, does not hesitate to say that probably no greater or more
beautiful expression of grief in single notes in succession has ever
been written than the chant used by the Church in the services of
_Tenebrae_, the Lamentations for Holy Week; and no more joyous
succession of single notes has ever been arranged than that of the
chant for the _Exultet_ on Holy Saturday. These chants came later in
the history of hymnody and music, but the fact that the Church should
have had the wonderful good taste to select in poetry the magnificent
hymns that have been chosen as the sequences and that are {88} the
most frequently used, and should have preserved for us the melodies or
chants that were of such supreme quality, shows how much music owes to
the Church and the churchmen of this time.

In the first century of the second Christian millennium Guy of Arrezo
or Guido Aretina or Fra Guittone as he is variously called reformed
musical notation. He was a teacher of music among his religious
brethren, the Benedictines, at the monastery of Pomposa in the Duchy
of Ferrara. A number of inventions and discoveries in music have been
attributed to him that evidently are not his, for some of them existed
before and some of them came in only after his time. There seems no
doubt, however, that Guido invented the principle on which the
construction of the staff is based and the old F and C clefs. He
probably did not invent the complete five line staff itself. On the
other hand, solmisation, that is, the process of using certain
syllables to name or represent the tones of the scale is almost surely
his invention. He also invented the hexachord and probably introduced
the use of the syllables, _ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la,_ from the initial
syllables of the lines of a hymn to St. John beginning _"Ut queant
laxis"_ to designate the tones of each of the hexachords then
recognized. Guido is also said to have called the seven notes of the
musical scale after the first seven letters of the Alphabet down to G,
when the name Gamma taken from the last of the series, came to be
applied to the whole scale as gamut, the syllable ut at the end
perhaps being added because of the use of "ut" {89} for the first note
in the named notes, which has since been changed to "do."

The next great development of music came in the Renaissance time. The
beginning of it came in the Netherlands in the latter half of the
fifteenth century, two generations before the Reformation so called
was thought of, and at a time when the Netherlands was distinguished
for initiative of high order in all the arts, above all in painting
and architecture, and when a great wind of the spirit of genius must
have been blowing in the Low Countries. The first of their great
musical geniuses was Ockeghem, or Ockenheim, as he is variously
called, of Hainault in Flanders, who during the latter half of the
fifteenth century came to be looked upon as probably the greatest
musical teacher of the time in Europe.

Authorities in music and especially in the history of the art, while
emphasizing the originality of Ockenheim's genius, declare that he was
surpassed in fame by his pupil Josse Despres, usually known by the
name, familiarly used among his friends, of Josquin, who was also a
native of Hainault. Henderson declares that "in technical skill no
master has ever surpassed Ockeghem; and all that he knew he taught
Josquin, who made it the outlet for his real musical genius." Luther
said of him, "They sing only Josquin in Italy; Josquin alone in
France; only Josquin in Germany; in Flanders, in Hungary, in Bohemia,
in Spain, it is always only Josquin." From this testimony and the
otherwise well-known popularity of this composer's music, it is
probable that there has never been a great European {90} musician who,
in his own time, has gained more universal acclaim among music-lovers
than Josquin. There is no doubt at all of the merit of his work.
Arcadelt, who was Palestrina's teacher at Rome and himself a
distinguished musician of this time, said of him: "Other composers
make their music where their notes take them, but Josquin takes his
music where he wills." His musical compositions were nearly all made
for use in connection with Church services. After all that is not
surprising since religion meant so much to people and they went so
often to Church--at least 100 times a year. And this was the easiest
way to get vogue for music,--and what composer does not desire that?

Arcadelt was the next of these great musical geniuses from the
Netherlands during the Renaissance period. It would have been
distinction enough for him to have been, as we have already said,
Palestrina's teacher at Rome, but he was much more than merely a
teacher. Perhaps the most notable feature of his musical genius is the
fact that it anticipated centuries of development, so that there are
compositions of his which are still used in Church services and
notably an Ave Maria by him which is still often sung.

It was with the rise of the great Roman school of music in the second
half of the Renaissance that musical development came to a climax, and
indeed there was a culmination of musical achievement that places this
among the greatest musical epochs of the world. Rome owed its musical
incentive and teaching to a Fleming, the first great master was Claude
Goudimel, who is said to have been born at Avignon but who was {91}
educated in Flanders and who is known as a Fleming. Among his pupils
at Rome, where he opened a school, are the most famous musicians of
the sixteenth century and some of the most famous of all time. Among
others, probably, were Palestrina, the supreme master of modern church
music, though the old tradition of Goudimel's great influence over him
is now denied; the brothers Animuccia, one of whom was the penitent
and intimate friend of St. Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratory,
after which the Oratorio is named, and the brothers Nanini, who
contributed so much to Italian music before the end of the sixteenth
century. Another of his pupils was Orlando di Lasso, known as Lassus
or Latres of Mons, who was one of the greatest and most popular of the
musicians of his time. He was known in many countries and popular in
all of them. To him we owe the definite attempt to make words and
music run along in such harmony as would emphasize and thoroughly
co-ordinate the meaning of both. An abuse had been growing for a
considerable period by which prolix florid passages of music were
written for single syllables. Even Josquin had indulged much in this
vicious mode. After Orlando di Lasso's reformation, the practice was
to come back again in the _fiorituri_ of the opera composers,
especially the Italians of the early nineteenth century, which was to
be combated by Wagner. There is little in the revolution effected in
music by the modern German composer, in this regard at least, that was
not anticipated by his great predecessor, Orlando, full three
centuries before. Orlando di Lasso was known, moreover, for {92} the
sweetness, beauty, as well as the great number and variety of his
works. Some of his part songs have been pronounced the most charming
part songs in existence.

Lassus (di Lasso) tried every form of music at this time, but devoted
himself chiefly to musical compositions for church purposes. We have
from him psalms, hymns, litanies, magnificats, motets, as well as more
lengthy musical settings for religious services. Bonavia Hunt, the
Warden of Trinity College, London, and lecturer on musical history, in
his "History of Music" declares that Lassus' settings of the Seven
Penitential Psalms for five voices are among his best works. They
contain elements that have made them a favorite study for students of
music even in our time. Lassus introduced such musical terms as
Allegro and Adagio into music and brought chromatic elements into
musical composition. He was very greatly appreciated in his own day
and was called _Princeps Musicae_, "the prince of music." He received
as much honor from statesmen as Palestrina did from churchmen, and the
story of the honor paid to both of them by their own generation is the
best possible tribute to the musical taste of the time. Lassus was
made a Knight of the Order of the Golden Spur.

The greatest development in music was yet to come and was to be
directly connected with Church influences and accomplished mainly by
churchmen. The greatest musician of this Renaissance time, probably
indeed the greatest of all times, was Palestrina, who in 1551 was
appointed the musical director of the Julian Chapel in the Vatican
with the definite hope that he would {93} reform the evils that had
crept into music and were making the art in its most recent
development so unsuitable for religious purposes. The Council of
Trent, whose sessions were being held with interruptions at this time,
had to legislate so as to secure suitable music for the Mass.
Ornamental passages of all kinds, or at least what were supposed to be
such, had been introduced into church music, until finally it was
almost impossible to follow the words of the service. As Cardinal
Borromeo said, "The singers counted for their principal glory that
when one says _Sanctus_ another says _Sabbaoth_ and a third _gloria
tua_ and the whole effect of the music is little more than a confused
whirling and snarling, more resembling the performance of cats in
January than the beautiful flowers in May." He was one of the
committee who insisted at various sessions of the Council of Trent on
musical reform, and while their work has sometimes been falsely
represented as hampering the development of music itself, all that the
Council wished to accomplish was to secure intelligibility of the
words, and as a matter of fact their insistence on the simplification
of music led to a magnificent new development in the art.

It has sometimes been said that Palestrina's work represented a
revolution in the music of his time. This is not true, however, for
his great Mass music was only an evolution in the hands of the great
master of the musical movement that had preceded his time. The story
of his having been commissioned to write music very different from
that which had been in immediate use before this time in order that
music in its latest {94} development might be arranged for Church
purposes and figured music be thus still employed in ecclesiastical
services, has been discredited by recent historical research. At the
end of what is known as the Renaissance a climax in musical expression
had been reached which Palestrina represents and which marked an epoch
in the history of music. The abuses that had crept in were quite apart
from the genuine evolution of music. Henderson, in his "How Music
Developed" (New York: Stokes, 1898, page 73), has told the story:

  "The mass of Marcellus was not written to order, and there was
  nothing new in its style. The mass is simply a model of all that was
  best in Palestrina's day. It embodied all that was noblest in the
  polyphonic style developed by the Netherlands school. Its melody is
  pure, sweet and fluent, and its expressive capacity perfectly
  adapted to the devotional spirit of the text. Palestrina's
  contemporaries, such as Lasso and some of his predecessors, wrote in
  the same style. Lasso's 'Penitential Psalms' are much simpler in
  style than this mass. Its apparent simplicity lies in the fact that
  its profound mastery of technical resources conceals its superb art.
  The polyphonic writing is matchless in its evenness; every part is
  as good as every other part. The harmonies are beautiful, yet there
  is apparently no direct attempt to produce them. They seem just to
  happen. But above all other qualities stands the innate power of
  expression in this music. It is, as Ambrose has hinted, as if the
  composer had brought the angelic host to earth."


Mees, in his "Choirs and Choral Music," has outlined what the place of
Palestrina's music in church services is, and made it very clear how
helpful it is for devotion instead of suggesting distractions, as
modern music is almost sure to do. Dickenson, in his "Study of the
History of Music," says, that in "comparing a mass by Palestrina with
one of Schubert or Gounod he (the hearer) will perceive not only a
difference of style and form, but also one of purpose and ideal. The
modern work strives to depict the moods suggested by the words
according to the general methods that prevail in modern lyric and
dramatic music; while the aim of the older music is to render a
universal sentiment of devotion that is impersonal and general. Music
here conforms to the idea of prayer. There is no thought of definite
portrayal; the music strives merely to deepen the mystical impression
of the ceremony as a whole."

Mees has emphasized the influence of the Church for over one thousand
years for all that was best in music. Palestrina represented only a
climax of the musical expression which the Church tried to cultivate
from the beginning.

"Palestrina's conception of what the music of the Roman church should
be was in perfect accord with the principle held by the early church;
that the music should form an integral part of the liturgy and add to
its impressiveness. . . . No sensuous melodies, no dissonant
tension-creating harmonies, no abrupt rhythms distract the thoughts
and excite the sensibilities. Chains of consonant chords growing out
of the combination of smoothly-flowing, closely-interwoven parts, the
{96} contours of which are all but lost in the maze of tones, lull the
mind into that state of submission to indefinite impressions which
makes it susceptible to the mystic influence of the ceremonial and
turns it away from worldly things."

Perhaps the best proof of the enduring value of Palestrina's work is
to be found in the fact that some of his compositions are still to be
heard in the Sistine Chapel, and that even in our own time a definite
movement to restore his music to its proper high place in the service
of the Church has been initiated and is proceeding very successfully.
Whenever, since his death, music has been really on a high plane,
Palestrina has been thoroughly appreciated. Whenever musical taste has
been debased and men have gone seeking after novelty and bizarre
effects and over-decoration, Palestrina has been neglected. For music,
he is what Dante is for literature and art, the touchstone by which it
is easiest to estimate properly the value of a generation's critical
faculty and spirit of appreciation.

In Palestrina's lifetime came the development of the Oratorio. Philip
Neri, that wonderful social worker in Rome to whom the designation
Saint has been given, was very much interested in securing occupation
of mind for young men and women with music. The Miracle Plays of the
latter half of the fifteenth century had always been accompanied by
songs and glees with words relating to the sacred subject often set to
popular music. St. Philip recognized that these performances might be
raised to a higher plane by introducing more and better music.
Accordingly, in the {97} course of services held in his oratory to
which young men crowded because of the wonderful personal attraction
he exercised over them, he introduced the singing of sacred allegories
with a musical setting, calling as a rule on his musical friends in
Rome and especially Animuccia to supply him with compositions. Hence
the term Oratorio, the Italian word for oratory or place of prayer,
for this class of music because used in his oratory. It developed to a
very interesting degree and came to be in the course of time one of
the great modes of musical expression which gave opportunity for
genius to set words and sounds in harmony with the production of
emotions of the most beautiful character in connection with sacred
subjects. It is entirely a church invention and development and
represents a noteworthy chapter in the history of music.

Opera developed out of oratorio very much in the same way as drama
developed out of the mystery and morality plays of the preceding
generations and those in turn out of the Church ceremonial and the
symbolic interpretation of mysteries connected with it. Opera Buffa,
the Opera Bouffe of the French or Comic Opera and the later Musical
Comedy developed out of the opera itself. But oh! what a fall was
there! The farther from Church influence the worse the music. Most of
the men who wrote operas devoted themselves also to the writing of
Masses, and the Mass became the subject for the greatest music of a
whole series of great musicians. Many of them also gave time and
energy to the production of accompaniments for the great Latin hymns
of the Church and particularly for {98} the Ave Maria. There are a
score of musical compositions, each eminently characteristic of a
great composer, that represent his effort under the influence of
religious emotion to produce a proper setting for the prayer that
represents the announcement of the coming of the Lord. In a word,
religious subjects continued to be all down the centuries the most
stimulating and the most satisfying themes for musical genius and the
result was that the Church came into possession of a series of
melodious accompaniments that are themselves a veritable group of
treasures in music.

The _Dies Irae_, greatest of Latin hymns, was set to many different
accompaniments but scarcely more than was the _Stabat Mater_.
Rossini's _Stabat Mater_, and especially that portion of it known as
the _Inflammatus_, is sometimes said to have been the origin of modern
syncopated music. Certainly the great Italian composer succeeded in
producing a very wonderfully interesting accompaniment which
unfortunately modern composers, though they scarcely deserve that
name, have taken advantage of to produce a composition of a very
different kind. Aquinas' great hymns written for the office of the
Blessed Sacrament, the _Pange Lingua_ especially in its terminal
stanzas, the _Tantum Ergo_, the _Lauda Sion_ and the _Adoro te_, have
also been given some of the most charming musical settings and as a
result the simple little ceremony of Benediction has become one of the
most beautiful and the most attractive in the Catholic Church

In a word, the Church has been the patron of music and the provider of
the subjects which have proved {99} particularly inspiring for musical
composers. In the corresponding field of musical instruments the
Church has been equally effective as a patron. The organ was developed
originally for use with her services and still continues to be the
single instrument on which the most varying and profound impressions
can be produced by music. To see an organist on a great organ sway all
the deeper, holier, profounder emotions of an immense congregation, is
indeed to appreciate something of what the Church has succeeded in
accomplishing by making harmonious sound a handmaid of the spirit and
a veritable messenger of Heaven to mankind in a world that is very
little occupied with other-worldliness.

The use of the bell as the summoner to church is one of the proofs of
the feeling for music that Christianity always had. The bell at
various hours in the day, at least three or four times, has been the
signal for the raising up of the heart to God in that prayer which
makes the ordinary things of life an act of worship of the Creator
because of the intention with which they are done. The Church fostered
the development of the bell and even in the later Middle Ages had
succeeded in making it so musical in tone that there was nothing more
to be done in this matter. The bells of the thirteenth century have
never been excelled for fine charm of tone. The employment of a series
of bells as chimes to be played on as if it were a great organ of
beautiful clear tones came in before the end of the Middle Ages and
has continued to be one of the most striking forms of Church music. It
was not until the use of bell chimes by some of the great composers in
the midst {100} of their musical compositions called attention to the
charming musical quality of these bell tones that humanity generally
came to appreciate how much they meant.

Some idea of how profoundly impressive were the hymns and canticles of
the Church even in the fourth century will probably be best understood
from some expressions of St. Augustine. His was the greatest mind of
that time, one of the greatest minds of all church history, and not
infrequently he has been bracketed with Aristotle as a type of supreme
intellectuality. Manifestly he was very profoundly affected by music
and he said, "How deeply and greatly moved did I weep with the sweet
hymns and canticles of Thy Church! Their voices pierced my ears and
the truth distilled into my heart and desires filled it with ardor for
piety and the tears trickled down my cheeks and I was happy."

Italy continued to be the home of great music and the Church continued
to be the foster mother of it during the succeeding centuries down to
the last generation of the nineteenth century. Practically all of
these great Italian composers did some of their best work and found
their highest inspiration for the Church and for church themes. Such
men as Monteverdi and Scarlatti brought about the evolution of music
and prepared the ground for the coming of Handel and Bach. Handel
began with the writing of Italian operas for the London stage and then
employed the genius which had been thus developed for the writing of
oratorios which make it very clear that a great subject is the {101}
most important factor for supremely great music. Bach thought that his
greatest work was to be found in his sacred cantatas and especially a
famous Mass and other musical compositions for the Catholic Church.
Indeed it has been said that the best similitude that we have for
Bach's music is that it is like a Gothic cathedral, while that of
Handel is more like an old-fashioned basilica with classic lines.

The Italians continued during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
to be the great leaders in popular music, but also in Church music. It
was Domenico Scarlatti to whom the invention of the sonata must be
attributed, and such men as Paesiello and Cimarosa carried on the
work. Rossini and even Bellini are better known than these but that is
only because of a certain popular appeal. Verdi in the modern time has
demonstrated how much of vitality there is in the Italian spirit of
music even in our generation. All of these men devoted themselves to
the making of music for Church purposes and felt that nothing had
contributed more to their serious development as musicians than the
work spent on great religious themes to which they devoted themselves
with whole-hearted simplicity and sincerity.

In the meantime German music had begun its modern phase in Haydn and
Mozart and Beethoven. To Haydn we owe three oratorios and fourteen
Masses, so that the place of religious music in his life will be
readily understood. Mozart was only thirty-five when he died, but no
one perhaps has ever shown greater musical genius or completed a
longer course in musical {102} composition than he. His great Mass was
sung at his own funeral but there are more than a dozen besides which
show his intense devotion to religious themes. Probably no one has
ever been able to put such a torrent of passionate fervor into music
as this youthful genius whose supreme worth was so little recognized
in his own time that his body was buried in a common trench and no
trace of where it lies can now be found. Beethoven followed Mozart at
Vienna as a rival genius and these two represent the climax of German

Beethoven's Mount of Olives in chromatic form shows what a fine theme
religion can afford to great music. Haydn's Creation is another
example and Mendelssohn's oratorios exemplify the possibilities of
religious subjects. In the modern day Schubert, the sweet singer,
Gounod, Liszt, to say nothing of many others, have found their
consolation through life and the satisfaction of their musical
aspirations in the Church.




The consensus of the intellectual portion of the race is that the
highest achievement of man is poetry, that is to say that the
expression of "truth touched with emotion in language that is
appropriate and that appeals to the feelings and the imagination by
the instrumentality of musical and moving words" represents man's
climax of accomplishment. Ever so many more books have been written
about the poets than about any others. More editions of their works
have been issued. The great poet is sure of immortality here below.
Alexander, having conquered the world in his time, sighed for a Homer
who would celebrate his deeds, for then he knew that the memory of
them would be deathless. No wonder then that the poet has been looked
up to as above his fellows partaking more deeply of the divine in man.
Sometimes appreciation has been lacking and recognition has failed
during his lifetime. _Poeta laudatur et alget_, the poet is praised
and starved, is unfortunately as true now as it was when Horace said
it of the centuries before his time. His reward has not come in many
cases until after his death, but the great heart of humanity beats
right in the matter of profound admiration for great poetry and sooner
or later accords its lasting esteem {104} and even reverence to the
man who has proved himself a great poet.

The Greeks invented the word _poet_, which means _maker_, because they
felt that the mind of the poet created something out of nothing, and
we still speak--and who will deny the appropriateness of the
expression--of great poetry as creation. The poet gives "to airy
nothing a local habitation and a name." The strictly English word for
poet is _seer_, because he sees more than the rest of us with the eye
of the mind and we are glad to borrow his vision to enable us to
appreciate something of all that he sees. Ill fares the land whose
young men see not visions and whose old men dream not dreams. One of
our American poets sang, "For the dreamer lives forever, and the
toiler dies in a day." Men have come and done great things and their
names are at best an empty memory and their deeds are gone forever,
while men have had their visions and those visions have endured and
are a source not only of pleasure but of stimulation to thought and to
what is best in human nature ever since. Humanity has been willing to
make great sacrifices to preserve what the poet has done because of
the supreme conviction that he best sees the meaning of our relations
to ourselves, to other beings around us, corporeal and incorporeal,
and to the universe, and that therefore his thoughts are worthy of our
every effort for their preservation.    [Note 6]

Religion has always been a source of poetic inspiration and
Christianity has proved a veritable fountainhead of the sublimest
poetry that has been a consolation {105} and a satisfaction to man
greater very probably than anything else that the race has done.
Bailey in the Proem of Festus said,

  Poetry is itself a thing of God;
  He made his prophets poets.

They were the forerunners in the older dispensation of what was to
come in the fulfilment of things under the new law, and therefore it
is not surprising that poetry should be an outstanding feature of the
progress of Christianity. All religion however imperfect, as so well
outlined by Cardinal Newman, partakes of the nature of the perfected
religion that was to be revealed with the coming of the Christ, and
poetry is one of these foreshadowings that is of itself an extremely
interesting adumbration of the meaning of religion. Christian poetry,
however, has reached a sublimity almost undreamed of before the coming
of the Lord. And so it should be. For if Christ's Church had not
proved the foster mother of great poetry, if there had not been an
immense wealth of poetic material created under Church inspiration and
the stimulus of the feeling inspired by her services, _that_ would of
itself have been almost a demonstration humanly speaking of the lack
of anything divine in the Church's constitution. For great poetry
lifts the human mind nearer to divinity than anything else we possess,
except religion itself. Indeed the two are very intimately related.

The fact that poetry and Catholic Christianity have from the very
beginning and constantly since then gone hand in hand, so that
Christianity as thus organized has {106} been the inexhaustible source
of poetic _motifs_ of the greatest sublimity, yet also of the finest
sympathy with all the aspirations of humanity towards what is best in
the race, is humanly speaking a demonstration of the Church's divine
origin and of the continued presence of the spirit of God with her.

The origin of Christianity is the scene in which the angel Gabriel
announces to Mary, "Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee," What a
wealth of poetry, what a depth of inspiration, there has been in these
few simple words! Poets and painters have vied in reproducing with
brush and pen that scene in the carpenter's home in Judea. And then,
when Mary having assured herself by her visitation of her cousin of
the truth of the angel's message to herself, because Gabriel had told
her as the proof of his words that her cousin Elizabeth was in her old
age to have a son, and after she had found that Elizabeth divinely
inspired knew her secret, she burst forth into the first great
Christian poem, one of the sublimest pieces of poetry in all
literature,--the Magnificat. "My soul doth magnify the Lord, my spirit
hath rejoiced in God my Savior." Out of the mouth of this little
maiden of Judea, only in the middle of the second decade of her life,
came the condensed history of mankind in the brief telling formula,
"For He hath put down the mighty from their seats and hath exalted the

The gospels themselves contain sublime poetry, and this was preserved
for us by the Church and kept from the deterioration that is almost
inevitable when great literature is in the hands of the people and
when {107} popular taste changes and popular ideas are so prone to be
modified from period to period. Very early in the Church's history
poetry in the form of hymns, sacred songs, came to be used in the
Church services. Just as soon as Constantine's edict made public
worship possible there was a great outburst of Christian hymnody, and
the Ambrosian period in the history of hymnology has been famous ever
since. St. Ambrose himself probably did not write a great many of the
hymns attributed to him, but undoubtedly he did write many of them and
his example proved an inspiration to others. The fact that Ambrose had
been born in the West, probably in Gaul, made his work as hymnologist
attract attention particularly in the West, and probably he himself
had been deeply influenced by Hilary of Poitiers, some of whose hymns
are among the very beautiful examples of Christian hymnology. Hilary's
_Lucis Largitor Splendide_ was a worthy predecessor even to the _Te
Deum Laudamus_ so often attributed to Ambrose, or the _Ad Regias Agni
Dapes_ which is surely his.

From Augustine, from Prudentius, from Damasus, from Sedulius the
Irishman, as well as from Gregory the Great during the fifth, sixth
and seventh centuries and from Venerable Bede in the following century
we have hymns that are so beautiful that it is no wonder that they
have endured for this nearly millennium and a half ever since and
satisfied the pious aspirations of learned and unlearned, of the
simple child as well as of older men and women. During the fifth and
sixth century, Ireland having become converted to {108} Christianity,
some very beautiful hymns were written by the Irish.

Curiously enough, while all the other modes of formal expression in
poetry, rhythm and metre, the recurrent quantities and syllabic
arrangement, as well as the caesural pause, came to us from the
distant East and are to be found in the Vedas in India, rhyme was
invented in the distant West. The Irish first used alliteration, that
is similar vowel sounds, at various parts of lines, and then a
combination of similar vowel and consonant sounds recurring at regular
intervals. They were a very musical people from whom have come more
original melodies than from any other nation in the world, indeed many
of the national airs of other countries can be traced to melodic
motifs among the Irish airs, so that it is not surprising that it was
they who put this mode of music by recurring similar sounds into
poetry. A series of hymns in rhymed verse written in the fifth, sixth
and seventh centuries, have come to light during the recent revival of
interest in the Irish language and literature and they prove to be as
perfect in their way as most modern rhymed poetry. There is a little
poem written by St. Ita, one of the companions of St. Brigid in the
fifth century, to the Christ Child whom she calls by the affectionate
diminutive Jesukin, which is one of the gems of early rhymed poetry.
It has been translated by Dr. Sigerson into the original meter in
English. After a commencement of literary values like that of Ambrose
and the Irish hymnodists, it is no wonder that Christian hymnody
flourished and produced some enduring poetry in every century.


In the twelfth century came the beginning of a supreme period of
Christian poetry. The rhymed Latin hymns of St. Bernard of Clairvaux,
and of Adam of St. Victor (the famous abbey near Paris) are
masterpieces, yet only the preface to a famous chapter of hymnology.
Bernard, who was undoubtedly the most influential man of his time and
its deepest thinker, was called _Doctor Mellifluus_, partly because of
the marvel of his eloquence but also because of the charm of his
poetry. Of Adam of St. Victor, Trench, the Protestant archbishop of
Dublin, says, that he is "the foremost among the sacred Latin poets of
the Middle Ages." Our own Neale declared, "If this estimate have a
fault, it hardly does this wonderful poet justice." Hambacht calls him
"the Schiller of the Middle Ages." Besides Bernard of Clairvaux there
was Bernard of Morlaix, or Bernard of Cluny, who wrote that wonderful
poem _De contemptu mundi_ from which all our modern beautiful hymns
with regard to the heavenly Jerusalem have been adapted. Schaff in his
"Christ In Song" says, "This glowing description is the sweetest of
all the Jerusalem hymns of heavenly homesickness which have taken
their inspiration from the last two chapters of Revelations." Neale
says of it that it is, "the most lovely in the same way that the _Dies
Irae_ is the most sublime and the _Stabat Mater_ the most pathetic of
medieval poems."

Bernard did not hesitate to take for his great poem of three thousand
lines probably the most difficult metrical rhyme scheme that has ever
been attempted. His verses consist of regular Latin hexameters but
{110} each line contains a double rhyme and alternate lines rhyme with
each other, all rhymes in dissyllables. The most familiar lines are
those at the beginning--

  "Hora novissima, tempora pessima sunt, vigilemus,
   Ecce minaciter imminet arbiter ille supremus."

These lines have been translated haltingly enough as follows:--

  "These are the latter times, these are not better times,
      Let us stand waiting,
   Lo, how with awfulness, He, first in lawfulness,
      Comes arbitrating."

The surprise is that Bernard was able to carry this rhyme scheme
through so many lines, fulfil its severe requirements and yet make a
poem which fairly teems with significance, that has besides a
marvelous mystical beauty and yet at the same time a popular appeal
through its air of "heavenly homesickness," which has made it one of
the most popular hymns for all time. The English versions of it
arranged by Archbishop Trench and others are still very frequently
sung in churches of all the denominations.

The thirteenth century was the greatest period of Christian
hymnody--not even excluding the Ambrosian period--in the whole history
of the Church. During this time we have Thomas of Celano, the author
of the _Dies Irae_; Jacopone da Todi, the author of the _Stabat Mater
Dolorosa_; St. Bonaventure, author of many hymns, and St. Thomas
Aquinas, whose hymns for the office of the Blessed Sacrament are among
the most {111} beautiful contributions to this mode of literature ever
made. Of Thomas of Celano's _Dies Irae_ it has been said that "It is
the most sublime of all uninspired hymns." (Schaff). Professor
Saintsbury of Edinburgh did not hesitate to say that it was the most
wonderful wedding of sense and sound ever made. There are versions of
it by Dryden and Jeremy Taylor, Dr. Johnson and Sir Walter Scott, by
Goethe and Schlegel, by Lord Macaulay and Crashaw, by Herder and
Fichte, by Drummond and Trench and Roscommon, not to mention literally
hundreds of others who have tried to give it a suitable form in modern
vernacular. Of Jacopone's _Stabat Mater_ it has been said that it is
the saddest of poems ever written in any language. It has been
translated almost as often as the _Dies Irae_. It has furnished the
text for many renowned musical compositions. Of Bonaventura or St.
Bonaventure it has been said that he is the sweetest of all hymn

Thomas Aquinas is known as one of the greatest philosophers. There
have been many whose long years of study of philosophy gave them the
right to an opinion in the matter who did not hesitate to say that his
is the only mind in the modern world to be compared with Aristotle.
When he was asked by the pope to write the office for the feast of the
Blessed Sacrament, it might have been expected that he would select
the lessons and turn over the writing of the hymns to someone else, or
perhaps pick out hymns from the luxuriant hymnody of his day. Instead
he wrote the hymns and they are among the greatest poems of their kind
ever penned. Neale says of the _Pange Lingua Gloriosi_, {112} "This
hymn contests the second place among those of the western Church with
the _Vexilla regis_ (Fortunatus), the _Stabat Mater_, (Jacopone), the
_Jesu Dulcis Memoria_, (Bernard of Clairvaux), the _Ad Regias Agni
Dapes_ (Ambrose), the _Ad Supernam_ and one or two others, leaving the
_Dies Irae_ in its unapproachable glory."

If the Catholic Church had done nothing else but foster hymnody so
effectively that these great Latin hymns were written for her services
and then her ecclesiastics had the good taste to pick out and preserve
such marvelous examples as we have of religious poetry, she must be
considered the greatest foster mother of poetry in all the world's
history. These hymns are marvelously simple, charmingly religious,
often supremely mystical, and yet always run with a smoothness and a
directness that make them the despair of the translator and the
enduring models for the poet of any time for the expression of the
deepest thoughts and the profoundest feelings in musically arranged
words. People have become so familiar with them that they do not
always appreciate their marvelous beauty, but they are the very gems
of poetic diction. We have mentioned a scant dozen, but there are many
thousands of them that have been preserved and a complete hymnal would
be as large as an encyclopedia.

The greatest of poets, if there can be a superlative in such matters,
is Dante. More has been written about him than about any other man who
ever lived except Him Who died on the Cross for us and was more than
man. Certainly if the suffrages of the {113} intelligent among
humanity ever since Dante's time are to be counted he must be
considered our greatest poetic genius and poetry is our highest
intellectual expression. Men who write books usually have a right to
an opinion on the subjects concerning which they write. If it were
only the number of writings, however, there might still be some doubt
as to Dante's primacy in mankind. It is the quality much more than the
quantity of the tribute to Dante that shows us the lofty place he
holds in men's minds. Nearly every great writer since Dante's time who
knew Dante has held him in highest admiration. Petrarch, Boccaccio,
Chaucer, in the generation immediately following, Michelangelo,
himself one of the greatest of geniuses who declared that he would
have given up all that he ever did to have shared Dante's exile, are
only examples. And in the modern time Coleridge, Carlyle, Ruskin,
Cardinals Manning and Newman, Dean Milman, Dean Church, Dean Plumptre,
Gladstone, all place Dante on the highest of pinnacles. Over here in
America the men whom we rightly think the most of, Longfellow, Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, Charles
Eliot Norton, are the ones who thought the most of Dante and were
willing to devote many hours in many years for the purpose of
elucidating the great Dante for their contemporaries.

The subject of Dante's great poem is just Catholic Christianity. It is
probably the highest tribute ever paid to Christianity from a natural
standpoint that when a supremely great poet took it for the subject of
his poetry he created a poem which is the greatest in {114} its
interest for critical and intelligent mankind that has ever been
written. After all, the Divine Comedy is only the _Summa_ of St.
Thomas in poetry, as those who know both works well are agreed in
saying. Only within the bosom of the Church, only under her influence
could Dante have written this great poem. It has proved a rich quarry
ever since for subjects for works of art under the patronage of Church
authorities. There have been brief periods when Dante has been
misunderstood by ecclesiastics but some of his greatest admirers all
down the ages have been distinguished churchmen and it was said that
you could quote a line anywhere in the _Commedia_ to Pope Leo XIII and
he would continue the following lines indefinitely, so steeped was he
in the knowledge of Dante. The greatest popes ever since Dante's time
have been his greatest admirers. In the recent celebration of the six
hundredth anniversary of his death, Catholic churchmen the world over
were the most prominent in the organization of various phases of that
movement and contributed more than any others to the success of it.

After Dante, far over on the other side of Europe, came the next great
Catholic poet, Shakespeare apart, perhaps the greatest of English
poets. This was Chaucer, whose _Canterbury Pilgrims_ is full of the
spirit of Catholicity and who is a direct product of the Church of his
period. He had been in Italy at least three times during his maturer
years between 1370-1380 and was deeply influenced by the Italians. It
has been pointed out by Snell, in his volume on The Fourteenth Century
in the series Periods of European {115} Literature, that Chaucer's
beautiful poem on the Blessed Virgin is almost a translation of
Dante's tribute to the Virgin Mother at the beginning of the
thirty-third Canto of the Paradiso. Chaucer himself undoubtedly made
the pilgrimage to Canterbury once, if not oftener, and the germ of the
Canterbury tales is to be found in his actual experience. Chaucer was
no unthinking Christian. He saw and recognized abuses in religious
matters and did not hesitate to deprecate them vigorously, but he was
always a faithful son of the Church, drawing inspiration from her
doctrines and practices.

The century of Dante's death had the distinction of producing another
supremely great poet in Thomas à Kempis. The Imitation of Christ is in
many ways such a practical book, so full of instruction as to the
proper conduct of life under any and all conditions, that we do not
usually associate the term poetry with it. There are passages in the
Imitation, however, which in their simple direct way are as sublime
poetry as are to be found in the choruses of the great Greek dramas.
It is with these lyrical masterpieces indeed that the lyrical passages
of à Kempis, such as that on divine love in Book III, must be compared
to be really appreciated. The title of the Imitation of Christ is said
to have been originally Ecclesiastical Music as emblematic of the
harmony of the religious life which it was calculated to foster. The
titles of à Kempis' other works, The Valley of Lilies, The Garden of
Roses, The Soliloquies of the Soul, serve to indicate very clearly
something of the poetic quality which touched the imagination of their


Beside à Kempis in this regard should be placed St. Teresa, in the
sixteenth century, whose writings are not in the form of poetry unless
by exception, but contain in many places passages that are sublimely
poetic and which show very clearly that if poetry is to be thought of
as truth touched with emotion there is no more fruitful source of that
mode of literature than religious experience, especially when it
partakes of the nature of the mystical. As is true also of à Kempis,
some of St. Teresa's writings were cast in the formal mould of poetry.
Her ardent series of aspirations in rhymed strophes beginning _"Io
muero porque no muero,"_ "I die because I do not die," is a sublime
piece of poetry. The set of verses often known as St. Teresa's
Bookmark is an excellent example of her direct power of expression of
great thoughts. No wonder that Crashaw said, "It is not Spanish, it is
Heaven that she speaks."

The question as to whether Shakespeare was a Catholic or not is still
undecided. There is no doubt at all that he transformed Romeo and
Juliet from the Protestant tract it was meant to be by its author (see
the preface to The Tragical Historie of Romeo and Juliet) into a
Catholic apology for auricular confession and religious orders which
had been attacked in the original English version of Romeo and Juliet
as written by Arthur Brooke. King John states in trenchant terms
English objections to Roman meddling in English domains, but when one
reads the older King John (The Troublesome Raigne of King John) and
compares it with Shakespeare's play it is easy to see how much he
{117} has modified the plot and wording in favor of Catholicism. His
Henry VIII alone would seem to make it very clear that he had no
sympathy with the Reformers and he never mentions the word Puritan
without contempt, and Sir John Oldcastle, the Protestant martyr,
became in his hands the Sir John Falstaff that we know. Archdeacon
Davies, a local historian and antiquarian of Warwickshire, well
acquainted with Stratford and its history, declared that "Shakespeare
dyed a Papist." Both his father and mother lived and died Catholics,
and Anne Hathaway seems undoubtedly to have come from a Catholic
family. Indeed the presumed scandal as to his marriage is best
explained on the score of an unrecorded Catholic ceremonial which had
to be repeated to be legal.

Whatever may be said as to Shakespeare's personal Catholicity, one
thing is sure that Shakespeare was a product of Catholicism. Carlyle,
usually so out of sympathy with everything Catholic, declared, "In
some sense it may be said that this glorious Elizabethan era with its
Shakespeare as the outcome and flowerage of all that had preceded it
is itself attributable to the Catholicism of the Middle Ages." Heine
had declared before him, "It is lucky for us that Shakespeare came
just at the right time, that he was a contemporary of Elizabeth and
James, while Protestantism, it is true, expressed itself in the
unbridled freedom of thought which prevailed but had not yet entered
the life of feeling, and the kingdom lighted by the last rays of
setting chivalry still bloomed and gleamed in all the glory of poetry.
True the popular faith of the Middle Ages of {118} Catholicism was
gone as regards doctrine, but it existed yet in all its magic in men's
hearts and held its own in manners, customs and views."

Most of the great dramatists of the Golden Age of Spanish literature,
when at the end of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth century
Spanish writers were doing the best creative work anywhere in the
world, were intensely Catholic and indeed the majority of them were
priests. Lope de Vega took orders and was a very faithful clergyman in
his later years, but Calderon did also and so did Tirso de Molino.
Indeed the last named was a Mercenerian monk and superior of the
monastery of his order at Trujillo, which shows how highly his brother
religious must have thought of him. It is a little strange to find the
author of Don Juan as a member of a religious order, but his
experiences in the confessional would readily furnish an abundance of
material for the theme. Lope de Vega continues to be the storehouse
from which a great many modern writers draw their plots, for he was a
master of invention. Calderon's _El Magico Prodigioso_, a thoroughly
Spanish and thoroughly Catholic version of the Faust legend, the story
of the sale of a man's soul to the devil, has been proclaimed one of
the greatest dramas of all time. James Russell Lowell, whose years of
teaching at Harvard and long experience as Minister to Spain gave him,
in conjunction with his abilities as a critic and his own poetical
talents, a thoroughgoing right to an opinion in the matter, declared
this drama of Calderon to be the only modern play worthy to be
mentioned in the same breath with Hamlet. {119} It has been counted,
as we have said in the chapter on philosophy, one of the five greatest
dramatic poems of all time.

There are many other Spanish writers who have an enduring place in
Spanish literature who were priests or intimately related to the
Church. Antonio Mira de Amescua, the chaplain of Philip IV, is known
as a playwright from whom Calderon, Moreto and Corneille borrowed
themes. He was praised by all his contemporaries from Cervantes
onward. Spain's greatest historian, Mariana, was a Jesuit, and Father
Baltasar Gracian wrote what was in its day world literature in his
_Criticon_. Addison refers to him a number of times in the Spectator,
the French writer Bouhours proclaims him "the sublime," Defoe is
thought to have borrowed the idea of his man Friday from him, and in
the nineteenth century Schopenhauer proclaimed the _Criticon_ one of
the best books in the world and Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff, following
Schopenhauer, has extolled Gracian to the skies. Another of these
Jesuit writers was Father Isla, who was very well known throughout
Spain and also in France. In the Spanish peninsula more than anywhere
else priests had the opportunity to devote themselves to literature,
and it is interesting to find how many of them occupy distinguished
places. Even Cervantes asked that he should be buried in the habit of
the Franciscans and Spain's Golden Age is always intensely Catholic.

In France, where the classical period in literature developed at the
end of the seventeenth and during the eighteenth century, a great many
of the most prominent {120} writers were rather fervent Catholics and
most of them indeed Catholic clergymen, some of them bishops. The
founder of modern French prose is St. Francis de Sales, the bishop of
Geneva. The great orators, Bossuet, Massillen, Flechier, and
Bourdaloue, down to Dupanloup, Lacordaire and De Ravignan were bishops
or members of religious orders. Racine, the greatest of French
dramatists, became a priest and while in orders wrote _Esther_, the
greatest of French dramas. Probably no book written in the last two
centuries has been so universally popular among the educated classes
all over the world as Bishop Fenelon's Adventures of Telemaque;
Pascal, one of the greatest of French philosophers was a member of the
religious congregation of the Paraclete. Even Rabelais, though like
Wycherley one might hesitate to express pride in him, was a priest and
in spite of a rather wandering life was on rather good terms with the
ecclesiastical authorities who appreciated something of his genius and
seem to have made allowances for him. Montaigne in spite of his
epithet, the skeptic, was a deep believer, a practical Catholic, who
made the pilgrimage to Loretto in deepest faith and died during the
course of a Mass which was said in his room because he was not strong
enough to go to Church.

In English literature Catholicity has not had as much chance to
express itself as in the Latin countries, and yet the list of Catholic
poets is very striking and is ever so much longer than it should be
according to the proportionate numbers of Catholics in England and
America. Among them are Father Robert Southwell, Thomas {121} Lodge,
the physician-dramatist, contemporary of Shakespeare, James Shirley,
Philip Massinger whom Mr. Gifford, the late eminent editor of the
English Quarterly Review, declared to have been a Catholic convert,
Sir Kenelm Digby, Sir William Davenant, reputed the son of
Shakespeare, "O rare Sir William," William Habington, Richard Crashaw,
the friend of Cowley, John Dryden, one of the greatest figures in
English literature, William Wycherley of whom we are not proud but who
became a convert in early life, left the Church while he was writing
his licentious plays but then came back to the Church in his later
years. Dryden, surely an excellent judge, said of him:--

  "The satire, wit and strength of manly Wycherley."

Sir Samuel Garth the distinguished physician poet, Alexander Pope one
of the greatest of our English poets over-estimated in the eighteenth
century, underestimated by reaction at the end of the nineteenth and
now coming into his own meed of merited appreciation as a great poet
and literary man.

One of the most productive motives for poetry, as well as of course
for painting and indeed all the arts, has been the Blessed Virgin and
her relation to her Son as the Catholic Church teaches it. Artists
have vied with each other all down the centuries, painters, sculptors,
artistic craftsmen, to do her honor, but poets have very commonly
followed their example. Dante and Chaucer in the older time were not
more ardently poetic in her regard than in their measure are many of
the non-Catholic poets of the modern time who draw {122} their
inspiration from the beautiful doctrine of the Church in her regard.
There is scarcely a great Protestant poet of the modern time who has
not his sonnet or set of verses in honor of the Mother of God. A sheaf
of poems from such non-Catholic sources has been published and is a
very striking demonstration of the fact that poetry and the Catholic
religion have such intimate relations as render it clear that the two
modes of expression of truth have very close connections and that the
sense of beauty fostered by both of them inevitably brings about a
devotion of intellect to the deeper meanings of life which makes for
the development of the better side of humanity and its interest in the
things of the mind and heart and soul, the root of happiness for men,
rather than in the sordid things of the body, the source of so much

Some of the greatest of the poetic literature of the modern time is
linked inextricably with Catholicity. There are those who say that the
greatest hymn of the nineteenth century is Cardinal Newman's _Lead
Kindly Light_, and the greatest poem of that time _The Dream of
Gerontius_. Francis Thompson's "Hound of Heaven" is one of those
wonderful cries of the soul that finds an echo in every other.
Coventry Patmore, having become a Catholic, went back to the fountains
of Catholic inspiration in the mystical poetry of John of the Cross
and in his Unknown Eros stirred deeply the poetic feelings of the day.
Aubrey de Vere and Kenelm Digby as well as Mrs. Meynell and others
show very clearly that the Catholic spirit of poetry is thoroughly
{123} alive though in the midst of a Protestant country. Abroad such
men as Manzoni, Silvio Pellico, and in the later times Papini in
Italy, and such others as Frederick Ozanam, Lamartine, Ferdinand
Brunetière, François Coppée, Huysmans, wanderers and yet happily
returned to the fold, as well as Bourget and René Bazin in France,
serve to show very clearly that the religious spirit of the Catholic
church is conducive to the expression of the highest ideas of poetry
and that a man who believes is much more likely than others to have
the deep thoughts come to him that we call poetry.   [Note 7]




Histories of education a generation ago were rather inclined to
suggest a certain attitude of opposition on the part of the early
Christian Church toward education. The reason for this was said to be
that the ecclesiastical authorities were afraid that if people knew
much they would lose their faith or at least have their belief in the
doctrines of Christianity dimmed by their knowledge. Some educators
did not hesitate to declare quite positively that it was Church
opposition to the development of scientific knowledge which prevented
advance in that department until the Church ceased to be such a factor
in the educational world as she had been during the early centuries.
Anyone who will turn to the chapter on Science will find that the only
reason for thinking there was no interest in science during the Middle
Ages is the ignorance of the realities of the history of the time
among those who think so. There was abundant interest in science on
the part of men who were canonized as saints by the Church, and they
wrote large tomes on various scientific subjects, though the fact that
the history of science has been worked out only in quite recent years
has led to a very general ignorance of these facts.

This is true with regard to education to an even greater degree than
it is of science, because the {125} ecclesiastical authorities were
not particularly interested in science for its own sake but they were
in education. It is true that some of the Fathers of the Church did
not hesitate to declare that certain kinds of education puffed people
up and made them think that they knew ever so much more than they
really did. Any education that makes people conceited always does
harm. In Rome as well as in Greece and in the East in the early days
of Christianity the schools were pagan and the Fathers of the Church
insisted that there was very serious danger to faith in allowing
Christian children to attend them. This was not at all because of
opposition to education, but because of the realization that
children's minds are extremely plastic and that habits of thought
formed under teachers of pagan philosophy would endure. The policy of
the Church with regard to education in the pagan countries had to be
precautionary because of the kind of education that was being given.
That is just as true today and the Church takes the same position and
maintains her own schools. Just as soon, however, as a whole nation
was converted to Christianity and the Church had her opportunity to
shape the curriculum so as to provide thorough education and
development of mind without philosophic perversion, then the real
policy of the Church with regard to education became evident. Ireland,
a nation that had already made a magnificent literature and was highly
intelligent, was converted as a whole people and then proceeded to
become the island of saints and of scholars. St. Patrick established
his great school at Armagh and a whole series of other schools were
{126} founded throughout the island, and in the course of a century
Ireland became the university home to which men flocked from England
and Gaul as well as from Iberia and various portions of the
Mediterranean Coast and even from northern Africa and from Asia Minor.
Such an expression is sometimes thought to be simply the result of
partiality for Ireland and her influence, but it has been
substantiated by so much evidence unearthed during the past generation
as now to be an accepted chapter in the history of education.

Irish monks went forth to found schools in many parts of the world.
St. Columba's great school at Iona was followed by the schools at
Tours in France, at St. Gall in Switzerland, even at Bobbio in Italy.
The Irish taught Latin and Greek and Hebrew, with the Scriptures as
the nucleus of their education. The Scripture is such a great work of
literature that whenever its translation has been reasonably well done
it has become an important work in the literature of every language.
Our own King James version is only a type of what has happened nearly
everywhere. Nothing could well have formed the central idea for
education better than the Scriptures, and these three old languages
made themes of magnificent interest around which world history and
erudition might be gathered. No wonder that Irish education proved so

When the barbarians from the North gradually filtered in to the Roman
Empire and the Romans between divorces and the absence of children
gradually disappeared to a very great extent, very little trace of the
intellectual life was left in Europe. Always when {127} an inferior
race comes in contact with a superior race it takes first the vices
and only much later the virtues of civilization. It was under these
almost hopeless conditions for education that Saint Benedict founded
the Monks of the West and established a series of institutions which
proved to be homes of peace and of happiness in the midst of almost
chaos in the social order, but of a very active life intellectually
and also physically. These Benedictine monasteries became the seats of
libraries in which copying was constantly done and books exchanged,
the old classics preserved and teaching carried on. The sons of the
nobility or of wealthy townspeople went to the monasteries to be
educated and the monks taught their own neophytes and kept alive the
torch of the intellectual life and passed it on from generation to
generation. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest debts that the
modern world owes to the Church, for it is very hard to know what
would have happened to civilization during the precious centuries at
the end of the Middle Ages, when so much that we are now proud of was
accomplished in architecture and art in literature and philosophy,
only that the Benedictines and other religious orders shaped after
their institute had kept alive the spark of learning during the darker
centuries while the barbarians were being converted not only to
Christianity but also to the cult of the life of the spirit.

Many hundreds of monasteries were erected throughout Europe and proved
to be centres not only for the intellectual life in the narrower sense
of the term as to what concerns book knowledge, but in the broader
{128} sense also of diffusing information with regard to agriculture
and horticulture. One of the first precious lessons given by the monks
was that in the dignity of labor. Every man, prince or peasant, who
joined the Benedictines had to work with his hands a certain number of
hours a day. This was a matter of health, but also the result of the
conviction of the moral influence on a sick world that had been
trusting to its slaves to do its manual labor, of such a regulation.
[Note 8] The monasteries became the first agricultural schools. This
may seem to some a far fetched idea but at the foundation of the first
agricultural school in this country, the Massachusetts Agricultural
College, President Goodell in an address on "The Influence of the
Monks on Agriculture" did not hesitate to say that these old monks
"saved agriculture when nobody else could save it, they practiced it
under a new life and under new conditions when no one else dared
undertake it, they advanced it along every line of theory of practice
and when they perished they left a void generations have not filled."
He added, "But what the monks did was equally true of the missions in
this country in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. ... There
was the same evolution and at their dissolution the same fate."

The monks gathered information very carefully as to what sort of
plants would grow best and what sort of animals could be raised to the
greatest advantage. They passed on their knowledge to other
monasteries and exchanged seeds and sprouts and stock. They learned
how to care for forests and what trees were best for the various parts
of the country and they kept {129} their woods in excellent condition.
They drained the marshes and the fens until the country blossomed into
a garden. When the visitor stands on one of the towers of Lincoln
Cathedral and looks out over that beautiful east coast of England he
is told that this is the fen country and he wonders why it should be
called that. It was however nothing but forbidding fens, sea swamps
until the monks came and drained and dyked and ditched and made it the
wonderful farmland that it is. The monks also trained the tenant
farmers on the monastery lands as to rotation in crops, furnished them
with the best seeds they knew and also supplied them with the best
stock and grazing for working on shares. No wonder there was an old
proverb that it was a happy thing to live under the crozier, that is
on abbey land under an abbot or an abbess.

For the nuns shared these responsibilities in the teaching of
practical things to the people which the monks took so seriously to
heart. St. Brigid in Ireland is the patroness of that dairy farming
which now in our time of a free Ireland is coming to mean so much to
that country once more. Brigid herself, even while abbess of Kildare,
took her turn in caring for the herds of the monastery so as to
emphasize how much this simple duty meant for the good of the country.
Everywhere the lady abbesses were deeply interested in the development
of the tracts of land which belonged to their convents, and as they
had a seat in Parliament and could exert strong influence they
succeeded in keeping their tenant farmers from being taxed beyond what
was proper and providing them with opportunities for {130} happiness
for themselves and their children. The girls were taught needlework in
which the nuns excelled, and those who had taste were given lessons in
that fine needlework that meant so much for the provision of the
garments for the higher nobility and for royalty itself and were paid
for so well. In the chapter on Feminine Education the rest of this
story of the Church and education for women will be found. They had
abundant opportunities and took those opportunities very well.

Under Benedictine influence the first university of modern times came
into existence down at Salerno, not far from Naples, in southern
Italy. The nucleus of this first university was a medical school, one
of the first great teachers in which was Constantine Africanus, who
after having learned many medical secrets in the East and in Africa,
settled down at Salerno. After some years teaching there he became a
Benedictine monk at the monastery of Monte Cassino not far away. The
Benedictines continued to have great influence at Salerno and to help
in the development of the university. The undergraduate teaching was
largely in their hands and philosophy and theology were taught by
them. What is very interesting is that it was under this Benedictine
influence that women were admitted to the university of Salerno and
even to the medical school, though that fact is not surprising when we
recall what fine opportunities for women in education had been
afforded by the Benedictine nunneries in the centuries before this.
(See Chapter on Feminine Education.) In the succeeding centuries other
universities were founded at {131} Bologna, at Padua in Italy and at
Paris in France, as well as Montpellier and then at Oxford and

All of these universities were founded as a rule in connection with a
church or cathedral and the rector of the university was usually the
chancellor of the cathedral or the pastor of the church. In order to
regulate education, charters were granted by the popes requiring a
certain number of years of undergraduate and then of graduate work
before degrees could be granted and the standards of university
training had to be maintained equal to those of Paris or Bologna with
oath bound examinations and definite co-ordination with other
universities. At the beginning of a new university as a rule only
masters and doctors of Paris or Bologna were allowed to teach and
there was a rather free exchange of students and professors between
the various universities, due credits being given for courses in any
institute of learning conducted under a papal Bull. There is a large
series of these Bulls extant granting privileges to universities but
surrounding the grant with safe-guards of various kinds to insure the
maintenance of educational standards.

There are some who think that these universities had comparatively
little educational influence and that indeed not enough was known and
not enough serious consideration given to subjects to make the
education of value. That was not the opinion, however, of Professor
Huxley after he had looked into the matter a little seriously. In his
inaugural address as Lord Rector of Aberdeen University, Professor
Huxley said, "I doubt if the curriculum of any modern university shows
{132} so clear and generous a comprehension of what is meant by
culture as this old Trivium and Quadrivium (the so-called liberal
arts) does." Professor Saintsbury of Edinburgh, in his discussion of
scholasticism, said that if there was one thing the scholastic
philosophers were able to do it was to think. He praises very highly
"the influence in vocabulary and in logical arrangement which
scholasticism exercised in prose," and says that the value of these
two qualities which are so precious for style and power of expression
"is beyond dispute."

In the chapter on Science we have brought out the fact that these
universities were really scientific universities occupied with the
scientific aspects of a series of most important subjects, grammar,
logic, rhetoric, mathematics, music, astronomy, metaphysics. Dante is
a typical example of a graduate of one of these universities who
probably during his wanderings had the opportunity to do at least a
certain amount of graduate work as we would call it, that is to get
into intimate touch with distinguished professors who were doing the
most original work in their time. The supremely human interest of his
great poem is of itself the best evidence of how thoroughly his mind
was developed and how many interests he had acquired in consequence of
his study. Perhaps that will give the best notion of the significance
of university work. Aquinas is the prince of scholasticism and now his
great teaching after seven centuries is coming back into use in the
universities of England and of America. It is very probable that ten
years from now there will be no important university in the English
speaking countries, in spite of old {133} fashioned prejudices against
scholasticism, which will not offer its students a course in
scholastic philosophy and give due credit for it. Thus are the Middle
Ages and their universities being vindicated by our own broadening
interests and by our own effort to get down to fundamental principles
and to know as far as we can the basic elements in our intellectual
and social problems.   [Note 9]

After the universities came the schools of the New Learning, as it was
called in the Renaissance time. Latin and Greek came to occupy the
place in education that the seven liberal arts had taken in the
earlier time in the curriculum. At first the universities refused to
accept the classics and give them a place in the curriculum. They did
exactly what the universities of the modern time did with regard to
the sciences. It took several generations to secure university
attention for scientific training.

Just at the time of the Renaissance came also the "Reformation," as
the religious revolt in the Teutonic countries in the early sixteenth
century has been called. That movement very seriously disturbed
education in all the countries that accepted the "Reform"; and while
nearly a dozen universities had been founded during the century just
before it, only two were founded in the century afterwards, and as
Professor Paulsen of the University of Berlin points out, academic
freedom in the reformed universities was very much limited because the
professors had to avoid leanings to Catholicity on the one side and to
infidelity on the other. The result was a very serious setback for
education. {134} Erasmus the greatest scholar of the time said,
"Wherever Lutheranism reigns, scholarship perishes."

There were two forward looking movements in education that took place
during the period just before and after Luther's movement began. One
of these was represented by the schools of the Brethren of the Common
Life founded originally in Amsterdam and which spread all over the
Rhineland. They had among their students such leading thinkers as
Erasmus of Rotterdam, Nicholas of Cusa, the great scientific mind,
Bishop John of Dalberg, Reuchlin, the Hebrew scholar, Jacob
Wimpheling, "the schoolmaster of Germany," and many other well known
Renaissance scholars. This list alone would be sufficient to show that
the Brethren of the Common Life must have been good teachers, for
these are the most distinguished scholars of that period. The
Brethren's schools were meant mainly for the poor, and Hamilton Mabie
has paid them a deserved tribute for their teaching of the Latin and
Greek classics in the little towns along the Rhine.   [Note 10] Their
most distinguished pupil was undoubtedly Thomas à Kempis whose little
book, The Imitation of Christ, has been more printed than any other
book except the Bible.

The other educational movement of this period, which came after the
Reformation had secured a foothold, was the foundation of the Jesuits
by Ignatius Loyola. They became quite literally the teachers of
Europe. Before the end of the sixteenth century they were a power in
education and their order schools were being founded all over Europe.
These schools were always endowed institutions at which no tuition
fees were {135} charged. This left the fathers absolutely free to
accept only such pupils as would be likely to benefit by their
teaching and at the same time permitted them to eliminate all
undesirable pupils from among their students. The best index of their
success as teachers is to be found in the fact that members of the
nobility, sometimes of ruling families, or more rarely wealthy men,
who had seen for themselves or had heard of the wonderful effect of
Jesuit teaching, in order to secure the benefit of their services for
their native town made a foundation providing a building with an
endowment attached to it so that the Jesuits might be invited to come
and teach.

Their students were among the most distinguished men of Europe. The
Jesuits were deeply interested not only in Latin and Greek but also in
various phases of science and of mathematics, of philosophy and
theology. In the chapter on Philosophy we have given some
illustrations of their work. It was one of them, Father Clavius, who
was asked to come to Rome to make the correction of the calendar, and
a whole series of them won distinction in astronomy. Attention has
recently been called to the fact that Father Saccheri, the Italian
Jesuit, anticipated the work of Lobachevski and Bolyai as regards
non-Euclidian mathematics and gave the first hint of the theory of
relativity. The Jugo-Slav government has within a year reprinted
Father Boscovich's "Theory of Natural Philosophy," which makes a large
tome in reprint and actually contains nearly a quarter of million of
words but for which Boscovich himself apologized quite seriously for
its {136} insignificance in size when dedicating it to his friend the
Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna. The learned Jesuit mathematician has a
theory of the constitution of matter very like the latest advanced by
the physical chemists of our day. There are many other anticipations
of modern science by the Jesuits that have been brought out in recent
years. This ought to be sufficient to indicate that their education
was not at all the narrow devotion to the classics it is sometimes
supposed to have been. The classics were meant for undergraduates who
received at the same time some knowledge of science, but no one knew
better than the Jesuits themselves the place that science held in the
intellectual life.

The place that the Jesuits came to occupy in education will be best
understood from the history of the extension of their teaching
institutions. Their history begins as a teaching order about the
middle of the sixteenth century. In a century and a half they had over
750 collegiate and university institutions under their control. Nearly
100 of these were in Latin America. Some of the Jesuit colleges had
over two thousand pupils each. The very lowest average number, was
300, so that at the beginning of the eighteenth century there were
well above 200,000 students in Jesuit schools. Among their pupils were
such men as Calderon, Tasso, Corneille, Molière, Goldoni, Galileo,
Bossuet, Descartes, Buffon, Muratori, Montesquieu, Malesherbes,
Richelieu, St. Francis de Sales and Benedict the XIV, called "the most
learned of the popes." What is still more interesting and significant
is that all of these pupils of the Jesuits, when later on in life they
had become {137} famous, almost without exception paid a high tribute
to the educational influence that had been exerted on them by their
Jesuit teachers. Some of them were unstinted in their praise. The
Ratio Studiorum, that is, the method of studies and of teaching of the
Jesuits, was the most significant contribution made to methods in
education in its time and still remains the basis of whatever teaching
that hopes to be successful in making students think rather than
merely memorize.

This _ratio studiorum_ was founded on the experience of Ignatius of
Loyola and his first companions at the University of Paris and on the
traditions of the schools of the New Learning during the Renaissance
period. The methods of teaching of the Brethren of the Common Life
undoubtedly formed an important basic element, and the flourishing
schools of the Netherlands, especially those of Louvain and Liege,
furnished the models for various features of the ratio. That is why it
has sometimes been said that the methods of Sturm and Vives
constituted the basis of the Jesuit ratio, but their similarity is due
only to the fact that they went to the same sources but were not
borrowing from each other. The value of their method of education can
be best estimated from the expressions of Francis Bacon, who said very
frankly of them that they were the best educators in Europe and that
he was sorry that they were not Protestants but that he could not help
but admire the success that they attained in their education. In his
work on the state of learning he did not hesitate to say that the
Jesuits "partly in themselves and partly by the emulation and
provocation of their example have {138} much quickened and
strengthened the state of learning in Europe."

The suppression of the Jesuits through political machinations which
brought to bear so much pressure upon the pope that it seemed as
though he must choose between two evils and sacrifice the Jesuits for
the Church itself, left the better classes in Europe without
educational training for a generation. There are serious minded
students of history, who have spent much time over the study of the
causes of the French Revolution, who have not hesitated to say that
one of the immediate causes of it was the suppression of the Jesuits
in 1773, and the consequent lack of serious religious training for a
very large number of the men who were to exert most influence at the
end of the eighteenth century. Fortunately their suppression in Russia
was prevented by the Czar, who refused to permit the papal documents
to be published in his dominions because he wanted the Jesuits to
continue their great good work in education. They were revived in the
early part of the nineteenth century with the approval of the pope. At
the present moment there are nearly twenty-five thousand Jesuits
throughout the world and they have probably as many pupils in
attendance at their schools as ever, though in a much more populous
world. As one of their pupils who knows them well, who has met them
all over the world, who has had much experience in universities in
many countries in Europe and not a little in America, I can only say
that I know no system of teaching more likely to cultivate the habit
of thinking than theirs.


As a consequence of the state of mind of most university teachers and
especially the younger ones who most deeply influence the students,
the Catholic Church, faced with the problem of sending her children to
schools where the teaching is that man is merely an animal, that
immortality is a delusion and religion merely a defense mechanism on
the part of weak-minded people against the dread of a painful
hereafter, has proceeded to organize her own schools. Beginning from
the earliest years Catholic children are placed in the charge of those
who have an abiding sense of religion and whose lives are the best
possible examples of influence for good and yet also for that
happiness and satisfaction in life which religion brings with it. For
Catholic Christianity represents the cult of the mind and heart and
soul and not of mind alone. The parochial school system in the United
States now provides for nearly 1,500,000 children. Some 50,000 women
and nearly 20,000 men devote themselves to this work. Besides the
elementary schools there are high schools and colleges and
universities, so that Catholic youth during their formative period are
constantly under the influence of religious principles and religious
practice and have before them the example of men and women who have
given up all sordid considerations in life in order to devote
themselves entirely to the benefit of others.

The pupils of the parochial schools consistently win scholarships and
prizes in competition with those of the public schools and there are
many places in this country where merchants and bankers have the
feeling {140} that they would rather have the graduates of the
parochial schools than those of the public schools. There is evidently
no neglect of the mental training, only the children are in addition
given the moral training that may mean so much for life and the
religious outlook that has constituted the happiness of practicing
Christians since Christ's time. The convent schools have many children
who are not Catholics and they could have many more of them if they
would take them, but they prefer as far as possible to afford
opportunities for education for the Catholic children for whom they
were established and from whose parents they derive support. As one
who was educated in Catholic schools from the age of nine, I have some
right to feel that I know the work they are doing and I do not regret
the slightest bit, so far as intellectual training is concerned, my
attendance at the parochial schools, though they were only in their
primitive formative stage when I went fifty years ago.



Feminine Education

Ordinarily feminine education is presumed to have developed only in
very recent generations and to have flourished just in proportion as
the Church lost ground in its influence over life and above all over
education. Any such opinion would be amusing only that it is so
amazing, for it presumes that we are the first generation that ever
afforded women a chance for the higher education. What is the meaning
in that case of the women of the Renaissance who not only in Italy but
in every other country in Europe, in France, Spain, England, and even
Germany are deservedly so famous for their intellectual influence and
the taste they displayed in a great artistic period? What of the many
details that we have of women professors teaching in the universities
of Italy, as during the Renaissance time they taught in the
universities in Spain? As a matter of fact there is not a single
century since the twelfth when there have not been women professors at
the universities of Italy. What of the wonderful stories that have
been told us in recent years of the fine opportunities for education
afforded in the Benedictine nunneries? What of Brigid of Ireland, who
founded the great school of Kildare, which attracted women students
from many countries, and what of Hilda of Whitby, abbess of a
monastery following the Celtic {142} tradition, the patroness of our
first great English poet Caedmon.

There is manifestly a long history of feminine education, and it is
when this is told that the place of the Church and her influence as
regards the provision of education for women can be properly
understood. The appreciation of the place of women in Christianity and
of the value of an education for her came in the generations
immediately following Constantine's edict which gave the Church full
freedom to express herself and to shape her policy according to the
needs of humanity. Before the end of the fourth century we find groups
of women not only afforded full opportunity to develop their intellect
and secure education but also to use their intellects to the highest
advantage in the life of the time. The establishment of the Order of
Deaconesses in the first century of Christian history shows that the
Church wished to use the heart of woman for the benefit of mankind,
and now came the recognition of the value that her mind might have in
the same great field.

We have a very definite account of the famous _Ecclesia Domestica_,
the Church of the Household, on the Aventine Hill in Rome, and know
the distinguished women, many of them from old patrician families, who
were its chief ornaments. Their main purpose in life, in the midst of
the utter neglect of the intellectual and spiritual life which had
come over Rome at this period was to develop their intelligences to as
high a degree as possible and occupy themselves with serious things
when others around them were devoting themselves to trifles. They
belonged to some of the most {143} distinguished families of ancient
Rome. This group of women came to know Latin and Greek literature and
philosophy very thoroughly, and many of them under the influence of
St. Jerome became proficient in Hebrew and deeply versed in Scripture.
When distinguished visitors like Athanasius, the famous old Greek
father of the Church whose creed has immortalized his name, came to
Rome, he was asked to lecture for them.

St. Jerome's letters make it very clear that he felt that without the
assistance of Paula and her daughter Eustochium, who were members of
the Church of the Household, it would have been quite impossible for
him to have completed his great Latin version of the Scriptures which
we know as the Vulgate. It is even said that the Latin Psalter, as it
has come down to us is not, as is generally supposed, the translation
from the original Hebrew by Jerome, but rather a corrected version
made from the Septuagint by his illustrious collaborators Paula and
Eustochium. No wonder that St. Jerome dedicated a number of his books
to them, and while there were a great many people of the time and
especially of course in the East where Jerome was working at Bethlehem
with Eustochium and Paula, who were bitterly intolerant as regards the
affording of opportunities for education to women, Jerome felt quite
convinced that it was only when women would be allowed to have the
fullest education that the Church could hope to develop all her powers
for the benefit of mankind. His sentiments with regard to the higher
education for women were expressed quite explicitly {144} in his
writings which are readily available for those who care to consult

One feature of Church life has put women all down the centuries very
deeply in the debt of the Church. That was the provision of an
opportunity for women, who evidently did not have the call to be wives
and mothers, to find a career in which they could satisfy their
intellectual and spiritual aspirations and at the same time exercise
their affections in the care for others, even though it might be only
by contemplative life and the exercise of prayer for others. The
chance to become religious, that is to vow themselves to the special
service of God under proper Church regulations, began for both men and
women in the first generation or two of the Church's history. It was
more prominent in the Orient than in the west, but that was in accord
with the very natural tendency of the two peoples. Almost as soon as
the Church became free after Constantine's time to do her good works
in public, women became very prominent in them. The Ecclesia Domestica
of which I have spoken was really a convent in our modern sense of the
word, a centre for the life of the spirit among the women of the
better classes, as so many convents have proved to be in many cities
ever since, and yet never neglecting the poor but finely organizing
charitable works and education in an effective way for them.

The question of education for women at Rome was a difficult one
because most of the schools were pagan and in the eyes of Christians
their teaching did more harm than good. Just as soon as a whole nation
was {145} converted to Christianity and the Church was perfectly free
to form a policy of education among them, Ireland, as we have said,
became the island not only of saints but of scholars. Education was
afforded not only to the men but also to the women, and Brigid's great
school at Kildare became famous and attracted students from Iberia as
Spain was called and Gaul, as well as from Ireland and the neighboring
islands, and as the foundation of Whitby shows, the Celtic tradition
of education for women spread beyond it. At Kildare the abbess was the
superior not only of a large community of nuns but also of a small
group of monks who were attached to the foundation and who taught and
exercised their religious functions in connection with the nunnery.
This was also true at Whitby, where Hilda was the Abbess with some men
under her jurisdiction. The Abbess at Kildare for centuries had the
privilege of veto as regards the bishop of Kildare, and though she
might not nominate to the See she could refuse to approve the
nomination of anyone who could not be confidently expected to be
favorable to the policy and traditions of the great nunnery. Her word
was sufficient in the matter according to established tradition to
prevent the appointment.

In the sixth century came the foundation of the Benedictine nuns by
St. Scholastica, and these nunneries became the refuges for women of
high ideals and lofty aspirations during the disturbed time when there
was scarcely any interest in the intellectual and the spiritual life
left in the world around them. Nunneries spread all over the Christian
world, and daughters of {146} some of the best families, very often
closely related to royalty, entered them and found not only peace but
the opportunity for an existence that was eminently satisfying in the
opportunities that it afforded for the cultivation of the mind and of
the life of the spirit. The more one knows about these nunneries the
more one realizes that what has just been said, so far from being an
exaggeration, expresses only to a very small degree the wonderful
influence that was exerted by these institutions. The example of these
women giving up what seemed to be an opportunity for happiness on
earth in order to devote themselves to a higher life meant ever so
much more than any amount of preaching of the necessity of self-denial
and for self-control. It also made a forcible _argumentum ad hominem_
for immortality, since these good women were willing to give up all
that life held dear because they were so deeply convinced that there
was another life than this, to last for eternity and for which after
all this was only a comparatively short period of preparation.

When Benedict founded the Monks of the West and proceeded to organize
those homes of peace in which the intellectual and spiritual life were
so assiduously cultivated, in which the ancient classics were copied
and saved for subsequent generations and the traditions of the
intellectual order preserved for the modern world, his sister,
Scholastica, founded what may well be called the Nuns of the West. It
is often presumed that the nunneries thus founded and soon to be seen
all over Europe had very little to do with the intellectual life, but
this presumption is based entirely on ignorance {147} of the actual
details of their history. Mrs. Emily James Putnam in her volume on The
Lady (New York, 1910), after special studies with regard to these old
nunneries, was very emphatic in her declaration that they accomplished
a wonderful purpose for feminine development. She does not hesitate to
say that they are above modern colleges for women in that regard.
[Note 11] She had a right to an opinion in this matter, for as Miss
Emily James she had been for fifteen years the Dean of Barnard
College, the women's department of Columbia University, New York, one
of our pioneers for the education of women in this country. She is not
the only one who has made declarations of this sort and Miss Lena
Eckenstein, for instance, in her very scholarly work on Women Under
Monasticism (page 479), does not hesitate to say with regard to the
studies pursued in the convents of the Middle Ages that they were
fully equal to those pursued by the monks of the time even at periods
when monasticism was at its height of interest in the intellectual and
spiritual life:--

  "The contributions of nuns to literature, as well as incidental
  remarks, show that the curriculum of study in the nunnery was as
  liberal as that accepted by the monks, and embraced all available
  writing whether by Christian or profane authors. While Scripture and
  the writings of the Fathers of the Church at all times formed the
  groundwork of monastic studies, Cicero at this period was read by
  the side of Boëthius, Virgil by the side of Martianus Capella,
  Terence by the side of Isidore of Seville. From remarks made by
  Hroswitha we see that the coarseness of the Latin dramatists made
  {148} no reason for their being forbidden to nuns, though she would
  have seen it otherwise; and, Herrad was so far impressed by the
  wisdom of the heathen philosophers of antiquity that she pronounced
  this wisdom to be the 'product of the Holy Spirit also.' Throughout
  the literary world, as represented by convents, the use of Latin was
  general, and made possible the even spread of culture in districts
  that were widely remote from each other and practically without

It is only fair to ask for some evidence at least as to definite
intellectual products of these nunneries said to have been homes of
the intellectual life, and they are not lacking. In the tenth century,
that is, just when the mental and artistic life of Europe was at its
lowest because of the unfortunate effects produced by the invasion of
the barbarians, the famous nun of Gandersheim Hroswitha wrote a series
of plays which were meant to be read and perhaps even acted in the
convents and monasteries of the time. Books are usually not written
unless there is an audience assured for them. This volume, first
published by Conrad Celtes in the Renaissance time, is extremely
interesting. In the preface Hroswitha states that she has written
these dramas to provide edifying reading for monks and nuns lest their
consciences should be soiled by the reading of Terence with the excuse
that their reading was for the sake of his style. Manifestly she knew
that a great many of them were quite familiar with Terence, and
apparently she thought that she was imitating the Latin dramatist,
though the result in the matter of style is about as far as possible
from that of the Afro-Roman {149} writer. The fact that this is one of
the few books preserved for us from this period shows the interest
that there must have been in it and its very presence probably
indicates that there were many more of less appeal.

In the twelfth century there was the famous St. Hildegarde, of whom it
has been said that her writings disclose a better knowledge of science
than those of any other writer, man or woman, in her time. She has
attracted very much attention during the twentieth century, that is,
during the feministic movement of our time and has been written about
to a considerable extent. There is an edition of her works published
in Migue's _Patrology_, for she has been accorded a place in this
great collection of the writings of the Fathers of the Church. Reuss,
the editor of this edition, does not hesitate to say with regard to
her book: "All those who wish to write the history of the medical and
natural sciences must read this work, in which this religious woman,
evidently well grounded in all that was known at that time in the
secrets of nature, discusses and examines carefully all the knowledge
of the time." He adds, "It is certain that St. Hildegarde knew many
things that were unknown to the physicians of her time."

How important St. Hildegarde has come to be looked upon in the history
of science can be very well appreciated from the article on "The
Scientific Views and Visions of St. Hildegarde," by Dr. Charles
Singer, which is the leading article in the volume _Studies in the
History and Method of Science_, published at the Clarendon Press.
Oxford, 1917. This really deserves {150} the name of a monograph, for
it contains, apart from a score of plates not numbered with the text,
nearly sixty pages of a large quarto volume. The concluding paragraph
of the introduction to this article will be illuminating, for those
who may be surprised to find a woman, and above all, a nun, prominent
in the history of science in the twelfth century. Dr. Singer said:--

  "The extensive literature that has risen around the life and works
  of Hildegard has come from the hands of writers who have shown no
  interest in natural knowledge, while those who have occupied
  themselves with the history of science have, on their side, largely
  neglected the period to which Hildegard belongs, allured by the
  richer harvest of the full scholastic age which followed. This essay
  is an attempt to fill in a small part of the lacuna."

When one is aware of the history of all this attention to education
and to the development of the intellectual life on the part of the
Benedictine nuns, it is much easier to understand how, when the
university of Salerno was founded mainly under Benedictine influence
in the twelfth century, women were afforded an opportunity to study
there. Indeed, De Renzi, the historian of Salerno, insists that there
was almost no obstacle in the way of women obtaining any kind of
education that they cared to have at the university of Salerno. This
university was founded with the medical school as a nucleus, and the
medical faculty continued to be the most important part of the
university. Between Benedictine influence and medical prejudices and
{151} the fact that the study of medicine would seem particularly
unsuitable for women, it would be presumed that all question of
feminine opportunity for education at Salerno must have been negative.
And yet the unexpected happened. De Renzi declares that not only were
women allowed to study medicine, but the department of diseases of
women was handed over to women teachers. He mentions particularly a
distinguished woman teacher in that specialty, Trotula by name, who
was the head of the department. She was the wife of one of the male
medical professors, Platearius I, as he is called, and the mother of
another, Platearius II. However this may be, for there is some doubt
with regard to it, one thing is perfectly sure,--that a large number
of women graduated in medicine at the university of Salerno and
received a license to practice, for copies of their licenses are still
extant in the archives of Naples. It is not surprising, then, that
when the University of Bologna was founded around a law school under
the influence particularly of Irnerius, his daughter, Irneria, was
given the opportunity to study law and afterwards to teach that
subject in the law school. At Bologna, however, women taught in all
the departments. We have traditions of their teaching philosophy and
mathematics and even teaching in the medical school. One young lady
who taught mathematics was according to tradition so conscious of her
own personal beauty and the fear that it might disturb her students
that she lectured from behind a curtain, which serves to show at least
that these blue stockings of the Middle Ages were very considerate of
the {152} feelings of the men. A young woman was assistant to the
professor of anatomy and evidently did many dissections, and it is to
her that we are said to owe the beginning of a method of preserving
bodies so that the work of dissection might not be so deterrent as it
would otherwise be. The tradition of women professors of the
universities of Italy continues down to our own day, so that there is
not a single century from the eleventh until the nineteenth when there
have not been women professors teaching in the universities of Italy
and when there have not been some opportunities at least for women to
obtain not only the higher education but even the very highest in the
particular department in which they were interested. All this in
universities which had then charters from the pope and many of whose
most prominent officials were ecclesiastics. Cardinals, archbishops
and bishops were enthusiastic admirers of these scholarly women and
did not hesitate to show their pride in them.

Feminine education did not spread in the West of Europe in the Middle
Ages. The reason for this failure of a precious phase of educational
evolution was undoubtedly the Hélöise and Abélard incident. Apparently
Paris in the twelfth century was about to follow Italy in this
university tradition of opportunities for women, when this scandal
seriously disturbed the West. As most of the western universities,
Oxford, Cambridge and the French and Spanish universities, as also
those of south Germany, were founded mainly under influence from
Paris, the West received a distaste, amounting to positive distrust,
for feminine education. {153} So small an incident as this changed the
course of history.

With the coming of the Renaissance there was a new order of things in
education and whenever there are new interests women always ask and
always obtain the privilege of education. After the novelty wears off
somehow they seem to lose interest, and with the deterioration of
education feminine education disappears. That has happened three or
four times in history at least. The first great teacher of the
Renaissance, Vittarino da Feltre, made two conditions when he was
asked to come to Mantua to teach for the Gonzagas. The first of these
was that the poor as well as the rich when they had the talent should
have the chance to attend his school. The second was that young women
as well as young men should be allowed to take advantage of his
teaching. He is one of the greatest teachers who ever lived. He
emphasized the principal aim of education to be to have healthy minds
in healthy bodies. He believed in horseback riding and other exercises
for young women and in long walks. He used to take his classes out for
an excursion to the little village of Andes some six miles away, where
Virgil is said to have been born, and hold what would now be called a
seminar on Virgil. Vittorino's influence at the beginning of
Renaissance education was paramount. His disciple, Guarino of Verono,
followed his example in this matter and between them they established
a tradition by which the schools of the New Learning all over Italy
came to be frequented by young women. This gave us the well-known
women of the Renaissance {154} in Italy whose fame as educated
scholarly women has gone abroad.

During the Renaissance time the Ursulines were founded by Angela
Merici, and their principal purpose was the teaching of girls,
especially of the better class, though their pupils included all
classes. The importance of the Ursulines will be best understood from
the fact that when the pope, Paul III, signed the Bull of their
foundation which was really their charter, he said to Ignatius Loyola,
for whom he had signed the Bull of foundation of the Jesuits not long
before, "I have given you sisters." And such the Ursulines have proved
to be. They too, have schools all over the world, even in Alaska and
China, and they have shared the persecution of modern governments with
the Jesuits. Here in America they founded one of the earliest of the
Catholic colleges for women at New Rochelle nearly twenty-five years
ago. It has an attendance of well above five hundred, a freshmen class
of one hundred and fifty and a graduating class that approaches one
hundred. It was a convent of the Ursulines that was burned down by the
mob in 1833 at Charlestown in Massachusetts, not far from Bunker Hill.
The reason for that act of destruction was two fold; the first part of
it was religious intolerance, but a secondary reason that influenced
not a few of the mob and was one of the main motives which prevented
respectable citizens from preventing the lamentable incident, was that
Bostonians of the better class were very much disturbed over the fact
that these sisters were affording a better opportunity for education
to young women {155} than had ever before been given to them in New
England. There had been quite a discussion over this in Boston
circles, and most men were agreed that the three r's were quite enough
for women and that knowledge beyond that was only a source of
distraction to them from their household duties.

During the Renaissance period the women of France, at first under the
leadership of Queen Anne of Bretagne, secured an opportunity for
higher education and took it very well. Down in Spain there were women
professors at all the important universities. It is not a little
amusing to read the paragraphs devoted to that subject in Prescott's
chapter on Castilian Literature and Education in his History of
Ferdinand and Isabella. He relates with an air of surprise the names
of the women who taught and their qualifications and apparently is not
a little amazed as to how it could possibly be, but he tells the story
as he finds it. At the moment when Prescott wrote, there was no place
in the United States of America where any woman could secure the
higher education. There were some finishing schools at the south and
they were veritable finishing schools. They would settle any ambitious
intellectuality there might be. The north did not indulge in feminine
education, even to that extent.

There was an abundance of feminine education in England in the
Renaissance time and Queen Elizabeth read Greek and Latin quite well,
and so did Lady Jane Grey, as her preceptor Sir Roger Ascham has told
us, and though she was only eighteen when she lost her head, after
having been a Queen for nine days, in the {156} conspiracy of the
Northumberlands, she seems to have been very much more interested in
the cultivation of her intellect than in politics. She preferred the
study of Greek to attendance at balls and routs and parties and seems
to have read the language very well. So did Margaret More; indeed
Erasmus who surely was a competent judge, thought her the cleverest
young woman of Europe. Many other women among the nobility of England
were deeply interested in the intellectual life. Mary Queen of Scots
knew Latin very well, as her verses in that language disclose.

Convents are homes of peace and happiness and of ardent pursuit of the
intellectual and the spiritual life. In recent years, when women have
asked for the higher education, these sisterhoods in this country have
proceeded to found a series of colleges, many of which have done very
good work. The success of these institutions is simply marvelous. How
the sisters succeed in obtaining funds to finance them is an ever
recurring mystery. They select beautiful sites, they build beautiful
buildings, decorated with the taste that makes living in them a
liberal education of itself, they provide them with chapels that are
so beautiful that they are gems of decorative work, and they do all
this without any special endowments and on such meagre fees that it
seems almost impossible that they could accomplish it. Their taste in
buildings and in sites is enough of itself to show that the sense of
beauty which characterized the religious orders of the older time has
come down in unbroken tradition to them, and they gather into their
institutions a number of very beautiful things. If the {157} Church
had done nothing else but provide these homes of peace and happiness
for the women--some of whom are always among us--who feel that they
have not the vocation to be wives and mothers, that of itself would
be, humanly speaking, one of the signs that the Church was divine.
Certainly Christ's Church has proved a veritable mine of happiness for
women and the devout female sex have found a satisfaction for their
devotion that has meant very much.

After the Reformation, so-called, there came a great decadence in
education. In the Protestant countries whatever of education had been
afforded by the convents was now a thing of the past. All education
declined. Men lost interest to a great extent, and naturally woman
scarcely thought of it. Here and there a few women by their natural
talents, white blackbirds in the exceptional quality of their minds,
secured for themselves some development of their intelligence. The
great majority of women were quite without education or educational
interests. They could read well enough to read their prayer books,
they could write well enough to indite letters, and that was about
all. In the meantime, in the Catholic countries, Angela Merici came to
found the Ursulines, and these spread rapidly and her religious order
proved to be a germinating influence for similar teaching bodies.
These continued to multiply during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries and have probably never in history flourished so wonderfully
as at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth


At the present time there are over fifty thousand women religious in
the United States alone, most of them engaged in teaching, though many
of them are in hospitals, but it must not be forgotten that in the
midst of hospital work they are engaged in the training of nurses, a
real pedagogical task of great significance. Altogether in the world
of the present day there are probably nearly half a million of women
who have taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and mean to
continue to live their lives within the convent walls because they
think of that as their vocation in life and because this mode of life
affords them opportunity for their self-development intellectually
and spiritually and provides them occasion for the care of others.

Owing to conditions I am probably acquainted with more of these
religious women in the United States than almost anyone else. I have
lectured to them in nearly every part of the country, I have spent
several days each summer with a number of the congregations, I have
been asked to share their recreations with them, that is the hour of
talk which they have after their midday and evening meals, so that I
feel I have a right to an opinion with regard to the meaning of their
lives. I think that they are beyond all doubt the happiest human
beings that I know. As a rule, because I am a physician and a
specialist in nervous troubles in a certain way, mother superiors have
been not only willing but anxious to consult me with regard to members
of the community who have exhibited any signs of neurotic or
psychoneurotic conditions. It has been a constant source of {159}
surprise to me to find how few such cases exist among the sisters and
to realize what sensible, practical women they are. Their confined
life, the duties assigned to every hour during the day from five in
the morning or earlier until nearly ten at night, would seem to many
people to be almost too much for human nature to bear. And yet these
good women are healthy and hearty and happy. They are the easiest
people in the world that I know to make laugh and their laugh is
spontaneous and whole-hearted, and no one can see the incongruities of
life and the humor of things as they are as these women.   [Note 12]

There is an old maxim which declares that a novice is "a creature who
breaks crockery, spills oil and giggles." As to the breaking crockery
and spilling oil I do not know, but I am quite sure that the maturer
members of the religious orders laugh every chance they get and that
the younger ones among them giggle as much as school girls. Indeed the
school girl in our time takes herself so seriously as to be far behind
the young religious in this.

This then is what the Church has provided for women who felt that they
had no vocation to be wives and mothers and who needed a definite
calling in life. Like St. Teresa they do not mind obedience, even
though they may not care to obey one man all their lives. They want
the opportunity for the intellectual and the spiritual life and
occupation for their hands and hearts and minds and an assurance of a
home in their old age and they have found it. Blessed are the women
who have found their work, and these members {160} of the religious
orders must surely be counted among them. They sought for happiness
hereafter but they have found it here and they enjoy the promised




In the minds of a great many people the chapter in the Catholic
Church's relations to human progress in knowledge of the world around
us which would surely be the briefest would be that of science. In the
sense of physical science at least, this seems to most of our
generation to be the only kind of knowledge worth while talking about
and is supposed by a very large number of educated people to have been
almost constantly under the ban of the Church. They do not blame the
Church but feel that it acted only in self-defense. Churchmen were
afraid that the study of nature and of the world around them would
disturb the faith of members of the Church and so, just as far as
possible, they suppressed the curiosity of men in this direction, or
allowed it only to be exercised in such a limited way as would enable
them to guide the development of science so as to be sure that it
would not interfere with faith. This is supposed to have been the
constant policy of the Church from the very beginning with regard to
all forms of knowledge, hence the objection to pagan education in the
first century, but this policy is presumed to have been emphasized and
rendered ever so much stricter when the danger of the development of
scientific knowledge, that is, knowledge of the physical world
becoming a source of {162} contradiction of the articles of faith,
became manifest.

As a matter of fact this chapter on science and the church's relation
to it has been the hardest of all the chapters to compress since there
is so much material which deserves to be presented and which evidently
needs presentation, since there is so much misunderstanding and
positive ignorance with regard to it. The Church has been quite as
literally the patron of science, that is of physical science, as of
art and architecture, of poetry and of philosophy, indeed of
everything except charity which, because of Christ's second
commandment, has always been a special feature of Church interest.
Statements to the contrary, that is, expressions that set forth Church
opposition to the development of physical science, are entirely due to
the ignorance of the history of science, which has been very common
until comparatively recent years. Interest in the history of science
has only developed to any considerable degree practically during the
twentieth century. Just as soon as it did, it became perfectly clear
that the old notions with regard to Church opposition to science must
vanish. Indeed they were proved to be only the results of religious
prejudice fostered by the so-called reformers in order to alienate
sympathy from the old Church for their own purposes and make it easier
for people to accept the thought that the Church authorities had
constantly interfered with the freedom of men's minds in order to keep
them in ignorance in the bosom of the old Church. The more a man knows
about the history of science, the less he talks about any policy of
Church opposition. As Cardinal Newman said, for {163} most people the
case of Galileo is supposed to be the _proof_ that for seven hundred
years the Church was opposed to science. When the Galileo case itself
is understood it proves to be really an example of an effort on the
part of well meaning ecclesiastics to foster rather than hamper what
they thought to be genuine physical science.

The Fathers of the Church were deeply interested in many scientific
questions. Canon Dorlodot, Director of the Geological Institute of
Louvain University, in his volumes on Darwinism and Catholic Thought
brought out the fact that many of the old Fathers of the Church,
notably St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nyssa, would in our modern day
have been called evolutionists. He declared, "That Gregory of Nyssa
certainly believed in the evolution of the world by the sole exercise
of the active powers with which God endowed it when creating it, is
evident." Augustine, among the Latin fathers, pointed out that God did
not create the universe as it is but that he created the seeds of
things _rationes seminales_ and that out of these the world as we know
it developed. The last sentence of Darwin's Origin of the Species
would have expressed the conclusions of the Fathers of the Church as a
rule quite as well as they did those of the modern English biologist.
[Note 13]

The Fathers were far more interested in theology than in physical
science of course, and touched the latter only in passing, but we find
in other writers a devotion to science which shows that there was not
felt to be any incompatibility between Catholic Christianity and the
pursuit of science. Cassiodorus, who after {164} having been Prime
Minister of the Empire under Theodosius became a monk and organized a
monastery, wrote with regard to the library which should be supplied
for the use of the monks and enumerated among the books the works of
the Greeks on medicine and on science as particularly important.
Boëthius, the Christian martyr, who wrote the "Consolations of
Philosophy" which proved so profoundly influential during the Middle
Ages, wrote also on arithmetic and geometry, and while there has been
some doubt thrown on the authenticity of these works, their mention by
Cassiodorus who was a contemporary and their attribution of them by
him to Boëthius would seem to make it clear that the cultivation of
the basis of science was not frowned on but encouraged at that time.

The first great collector of scientific information in our modern
sense of that term was Isidore of Seville, who began his master work
of making an encyclopedia of all knowledge available in his time
probably before the end of the sixth century, at a time just after he
was made bishop of Seville. He took all knowledge for his sphere of
interest and he treats of medicine, of beasts and birds, of the world
and its parts, of physical geography, of stones and metals, of
agriculture and of man, as well as many other details relating to
these subjects.

It has been the custom to think that there was very little interest in
science in the Middle Ages, but that was entirely because we knew so
little about the Middle Ages. The impression apparently obtained that
since we, who were quite confident that we knew so much, knew almost
nothing about them, the only possible {165} reason there could be for
our ignorance was that there was little or nothing to know about them.
Hence the almost universal persuasion that the thousand years from the
fall of the Roman Empire under Augustulus (476 A. D.) until the fall
of Constantinople (1453) were "the Dark Ages," and that the Church was
very largely responsible for the darkness because of her efforts to
keep men ignorant and therefore more ready to believe. Every advance
in our knowledge of the Middle Ages has been followed by a complete
and surprising revolution in our estimate of them. In spite of this
each subsequent advance in knowledge has been the subject for as much
surprise in this matter as the preceding phase of development of
information proved to be. The generation at the beginning of the
nineteenth century particularly was so thoroughly persuaded that
nothing good could possibly have come out of the Nazareth of the
Middle Ages that they contemptuously refused to take in any way
seriously any hint of medieval interest in the things of the mind.
They just _knew_ that these poor medieval people, bound by the
shackles of decadent Christianity that needed reform and under the
influence of unworthy churchmen, were buried in ignorance and
superstition without freedom of mind or stimulus to think for
themselves; a striking example of what human beings may become under
unfortunate conditions and of how serious abuse there may be of the
best things.   [Note 14]

The reaction from this entirely unjustified state of mind began with
the rise of Gothic architecture into prominence and recognition.
Architects came to {166} appreciate that here was the most beautiful
architecture in the world which had been executed with marvelous
success and exquisite finish of detail during the despised Middle
Ages. Men had solved not only the architectural and decorative
problems, but also the immense engineering problems involved in the
building of huge structures of this kind which were so well erected
that they are still monuments to the genius and constructive ability
of their builders after seven hundred years. It would have been quite
out of the question for the men who achieved this series of triumphs,
and who must have had ever so many of their generation to appreciate
their work or it would have been quite impossible to accomplish it, to
have been without education and taste. This led to the appreciation of
their art, painting, sculpture and the arts and crafts, and the
recognition of the success of the artistic education which had
prepared them for their solution of the many difficult problems
associated with these achievements which are far beyond anything our
generation can do. From this to a proper estimation of their
literature was but a step, and when every country in Europe made
literature that has enduring interest down until our day and some of
it as the Arthur legends, the Cid, the Nibelungen, Reynard the Fox,
and Dante, of immortal prestige, the conclusion that this must have
been a time of wide diffusion of education and the stimulation of
profound thinking could scarcely be avoided. Only a little study was
necessary to reveal that this was a period of great nascent
universities which had more students in attendance in proportion to
the populations of the various countries than has ever been the case
{167} since. They were actually larger universities than have ever
been in existence until perhaps in our day since the war, when there
has come to be such a multiplication of students at universities

A study of the curriculum of the universities reveals the fact that
they were scientific universities. Most people are inclined to think
of undergraduate education before our time as having always been
founded on the classics. It is presumed that the Latins founded their
education on Greek and subsequent people on both Latin and Greek, and
this continued until our era, with its supreme interest in science,
changed it. As a matter of fact it was not until the Renaissance time
that the use of the classics, Latin and Greek, as a basis of
education, came into effect. The medieval universities presented the
study of the sciences for the formation of men's minds and would
probably have been not a little contemptuous over the suggestion that
they were using language for that purpose. The university
undergraduate curriculum consisted of the _seven liberal arts_ as they
were called, but the term arts was really used for sciences and much
of the thought of the time was occupied with physical science. The
seven liberal arts were rhetoric, the science of persuasive speech;
grammar, the science of language; logic, the science of thought;
astronomy, mathematics, which included geometry, music and
metaphysics. Mathematics formed the basis of science, under
metaphysics came cosmology or the science of the ordered universe,
including the consideration of matter, its constitution and
modalities, and problems relating to it.


The graduate departments of the universities consisted of medicine,
law and theology. Medicine was pursued from a very definitely
scientific standpoint that will perhaps be best understood from a
consideration of the surgery of the time, though their medicine had
much more in it than is usually thought. The Regimen Sanitatis
Salernitanum, the Rule of Health of Salerno, a compilation of health
maxims from the professors of that medieval university, the first
university of modern times, has circulated very widely at all times
and has been very much appreciated. It is the most printed medical
book in the history of medicine. There have been probably nearly four
hundred editions issued at various times and not a few of them during
the past hundred years. The book is much more than a literary curio,
however, it is a very precious representation of the common sense
attitude of learned physicians toward health. Many of its health
maxims are those which have been current ever since and form the
background for much more of our thinking with regard to personal
health than we would be likely to imagine unless we had some definite
realization of the power to think of these men of the older time.

In surgery the surgeons of the medieval universities scored a
veritable triumph. As evidence for this we are in possession not of
vague traditions but of the text books of the professors of the
universities. Fortunately these were preserved for us by the early
printers, to whom, as I called attention in the _Scientific Monthly_
(February 1924) we owe a very large debt of gratitude because of the
ardent scholarship with which they {169} sought out and edited the
best works from the older time for the benefit of the modern world. A
series of these surgical text books were printed at Venice among the
_incunabula_ of printing. They began with the great text book of the
Four Masters at Salerno, a work which, like our own systems in
medicine and surgery, called upon a group of men to give their
opinions with regard to their specialty. Then came Bruno of
Longoborgo, Theodoric, William of Salicet, Lanfranc, Mondeville, and
Guy de Chauliac. They operated on the skull by trephining for tumor
and for abscess, did not hesitate to open the thorax for abscess and
other fluids, and operated rather extensively on the abdomen,
insisting that if there was a wound in the intestines the patient
would surely die unless it were closed up. They invented needle
holders of various kinds for their intra-abdominal reparative
operations and designed metal implements, anticipating in certain ways
our Murphy Button, and employed the tracheas of animals as
predecessors of our bone plates and the like. They did some
magnificent plastic surgery for the repair of wounds of the face,
including the remaking of the nose, the eyelids and other important

It would have been quite impossible to do such extensive operating
without an anesthetic, but they used anesthetics very commonly and
particularly used a combination of mandrake, hyoscyamus, opium and
wild lettuce, to induce a state of narcosis in which the patient was
quite insensible to pain. This is the reason why the friar suggests
the expedient in Romeo and Juliet of putting Juliet into the long
sleep which shall seem like {170} death. When Middleton, the English
poet, in 1605 wrote of "the pities of old surgeons who put their
patients to sleep before cutting them," that expression was thought to
be poetic license, but he had in mind the old tradition of surgery
under anesthesia. Such extensive operating would surely lead without
antiseptics to intense mortality among patients from infection and
septic conditions, but though they had not discovered the theory of
antisepsis nor the reasons for their effectiveness, the medieval
surgeons had discovered the practical use of them and employed them
with great success. They used strong wine, soaking their dressings in
it, and when this evaporated they called the treatment the "dry
dressing." Beneath this they secured "union by first intention";
indeed, that expression is originally medieval Latin _unio per priman
intentionem_, which means nothing unless one understands the old Latin
expression. No wonder, then, that we should speak of medieval surgery
as representing a veritable triumph of applied science in the truest
sense of the word.

The amusing thing about it is that when writers like Professor John W.
Draper and President Andrew D. White were proclaiming the opposition
of the Church or of theology to science, and specifically to medical
science and to surgery and anatomy, in the Middle Ages there was
actually a much better development of surgery, particularly, than in
the very time in which they lived, though that time was the latter
half of the nineteenth century. John W. Draper was a physician, and he
would not have been able to understand, had he known anything about
it, the account of the surgery done in {171} the Middle Ages.
Anesthesia had come back but antisepsis had not. Listerism only came
in as a definite practice during the last twenty years of the
nineteenth century. As late as 1870 a great European surgeon refused
to operate any more in the general hospital at Munich because his
mortality rate on operated cases during the preceding year had been
seventy-nine per cent. He lost four out of five of them. That was not
unusual. The trained nurse came to Bellevue hospital only in the early
70's, and before that the hospital conditions were awful, while the
hospitals of the Middle Ages had been beautiful and finely regulated.
Our surgery had sunk to the lowest possible ebb because of impossible
hospital conditions (see chapter Helping the Helpless). All the great
surgeons of the Middle Ages had been Churchmen, some of them canons of
cathedrals, at least one of them a bishop, and all their work had been
done in universities established under papal rule and with the
heartiest encouragement of the ecclesiastical authorities of the time.

In the other two graduate departments both law and theology were
studied from the scientific aspects. It is sometimes forgotten in the
modern time that science can apply to other disciplines of knowledge
besides those which are directly concerned with matter. Certainly the
applied science in these two departments would be a thoroughgoing
contradiction of any such thought.

The interest which these medieval scholars took in science has been
very well brought out by Professor Lynn Thorndyke, professor of
history in Western {172} Reserve University, in his work, "A History
of Magic and Experimental Science During the First Thirteen Centuries
of Our Era" (Macmillan, 1923). In this he emphasizes particularly the
knowledge which the so-called schoolmen or scholastics had of
scientific principles; their devotion to the study of them and the
voluminous works they wrote on them. Magic was of two kinds, black and
white. Black magic supposed some connection with the devil, but white
magic was only a knowledge of the secrets of nature which enabled men
to accomplish ever so much more than others who were ignorant of these
secrets. This was science in our sense of the word; and then, besides,
there was ever so much attention devoted to experimental and
analytical science as well as to scientific observation.

Men like Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon wrote immense works
containing literally millions of words on scientific subjects. The
appreciation of Albertus Magnus by scholars of his day, the majority
of them clerics, may be judged from the fact that he is the only man
with whose name has become so inextricably associated the word Great
because of scholarship, that most people take the epithet for his
family name. Albertus Magnus means simply Albert the Great but he is
like Charlemagne (Charles the Great) in the incorporation of the
distinctive title with his name. He has been proclaimed a saint by the
Church and was honored and revered in his own time, looked up to as a
counsellor whose opinion was to be sought on many questions.

It has been suggested that the persecution of Roger Bacon, who went
much farther than Albertus Magnus {173} in scientific investigation
and observation and the elucidation of problems of science, is an
index of the policy of the Church towards suppressing science whenever
ecclesiastics feared they could not control the individual scientist.
As pointed out by Professor Lynn Thorndyke, however, the first hint to
be found in history that Roger Bacon was persecuted comes in a
document more than a hundred years after his death, under
circumstances that make its authority very suspicious and there is
almost no reason to think that Roger Bacon was seriously interfered
with in his scientific work. He was certainly not in prison, for monks
were not imprisoned, and while he may have been confined to his cell
for a time, for he was a rather difficult individual to get along with
and insisted on people following his way of looking at things, though
he was long ahead of his time, there was no question of restriction in
his career except by the discipline of the monastery. It must not be
forgotten that it is to the order of the Pope, who had become very
much interested in his work, that we owe the composition of his great
masterpieces of scientific writing.

Anyone who will take the pains to read even a little of Professor
Thorndyke's work, which contains some three quarters of a million of
words, would never again venture to say that there was no attention to
science in the Middle Ages and that the reason for this lack of
science is suppression by the Church. The fact of the matter is that
they were very much interested in science, learned a great many
things, anticipated not a little of our modern scientific knowledge,
and this was lost {174} during the Renaissance time and the
Reformation when attention was distracted from medieval accomplishment
of all kinds, when medieval architecture was called Gothic, that is,
barbaric, worthy only of their Gothic ancestors, and literature
received the same epithet, and when the men of the Middle Ages were
supposed to have done nothing and thought nothing worth while talking
about. Roger Bacon, to take but a single example of anticipation of
knowledge supposed much later in origin, declared that the time would
come when men would travel over the land without men or horses.
pulling them and over the water without sails or oars. He was studying
gun powder, had come to realize the power that it developed, and
predicted that it would be only a question of time until men would
harness explosives and use them for motor purposes. He also said that
he thought that man could make a flying machine worked by a windlass
by hand power. This seemed to many even a decade ago to indicate that
he had failed utterly to grasp the problem of flying, but now that men
are flying without an engine his suggestion of man-power flight is not
so visionary as it seemed to be even a few years ago.

For many modern scientists the fact that the medieval scholars had
such reverence for Aristotle seems to negate altogether the idea of
any possibility of real research in science. The more we know about
Aristotle the less imputation we are likely to put upon medieval
students for reverencing him. Darwin said of him in a letter to Ogle
written in 1882 at the very end of his career, "From quotations I had
seen I had a high notion {175} of Aristotle's merits, but I had not
the most remote notion what a wonderful man he was.... Linnaeus and
Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they
were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle."

As a matter of fact, the medieval students of science and philosophy
did not swear by Aristotle in anything like the way they are sometimes
said to have done. Albertus Magnus, for instance,--and Albertus was
Aquinas' teacher and the favorite study of all the men at the
universities,--in his treatise on physics did not hesitate to say,
"Whoever believes that Aristotle was a god must also believe that he
never erred, but if one believe that Aristotle was a man then
doubtless he was liable to err just as we are." Smaller men have sworn
by the very words of Aristotle or have thought they were expounding
him when they were expounding their own notions, just as was true of
the disciples of Darwin in our day, but the real scholars knew how to
take advantage of what was best in Aristotle and to eliminate the
dross and the inevitable errors.

The best demonstration of the attitude of the Church towards science
in the later Middle Ages is to be found in the fact that a physician
rather famous for his work in science was elected pope and served
under the name of John XXI. Before his elevation to the pontificate he
had been known as Peter of Spain, a professor at several universities
until he was made a bishop and eventually chosen pope. He is the only
pope whom Dante mentions as in heaven, though he has referred to a
number of popes as in other parts of the after world. He had been
physician to the pope and physician {176} to the papal city under the
title of archiater. As a physician he wrote a little volume on eye
diseases, but he was interested in many other phases of medicine. Two
popes before Pope John XXI had reached distinction in the science of
their time. The first of these was Gerbert, who under the name of Pope
Sylvester II, is looked upon as one of the great original thinkers of
the Middle Ages. Every form of physical science interested him. His
studies in astronomy led him into some speculations with regard to
light, but it was in sound that some of his best work was
accomplished. He is said to have given the organ its modern form, and
he made a clock, or sun dial, which measured the hours very exactly
and was soon imitated in many parts of Europe. Another man of
scientific interests was Pope Victor III, who had been for some time
the abbot of Monte Casino, after having taught at Salerno when that
was a medical school. He was a great personal friend of Constantine
Africanus, the greatest of the Salernitan writers on medicine, and it
was he who persuaded Constantine to give up his teaching and devote
himself to writing out the account of all he had learned in medicine
during his travels in the East. If he were not actually a scientist
himself there is no doubt at all about his beneficent patronage of

If a man like Dante be taken as an example of the university man of
the Middle Ages, more interested in poetry and in history than in
science, and yet care is taken to note how much science he knew, it
will be very easy to understand the thoroughly scientific temper of
the universities of that day. In a chapter in my volume {177} "The
Popes and Science" I have taken Dante as a type of the university man
in his relation to science in his day. Dante knew much more science
than the great majority of modern poets. In proportion to the amount
known he knew ever so much more than any of them of the science of his
day. He knew a great deal about the astronomy of his time, was deeply
interested in natural history, takes many figures from the habits of
insects, knows of metamorphosis and something about the sex of plants,
and was evidently profoundly occupied with the principles of the
science of education as well as of political science. He insisted on a
healthy mind in a healthy body as the essence of the first, and proper
obedience to authority as the basic principle of the other. Professor
Oscar Kuhns has written a volume on "The Treatment of Nature in Dante"
that is full of details of Dante's scientific knowledge. Mr. George
Trobridge, in the Westminster Review for July and August 1907, treats
Dante as a nature poet and does not hesitate to declare that the
Divina Commedia is full of vivid pictures covering the whole range of
natural phenomena. Indeed he proclaims that "there are few even modern
poets who have taken so wide a view of the things of nature and even
Shakespeare himself scarcely excels the great Florentine in felicity
and concentration of expression" (on natural subjects).

The Middle Ages have been the stumbling block for those who would have
been only too glad to think of the Christian Church as fostering all
manner of development of the human intelligence and being the patron
also of scientific advance, but who felt that unfortunately {178} by a
short sighted policy this had not been so. This supposed stumbling
block has become a stepping stone for right appreciation of the
Church's policy at all times, which was of utter devotion to truth, no
matter what its origin.

With the coming of the Renaissance this becomes ever clearer and
clearer and the earliest students of science, when the Greek texts
began to be read once more, were most of them clergymen held in high
honor. The first serious original paper in astronomy in modern times
was written by Nicholas of Cusa, who proclaimed that the earth could
not be the center of the universe and that it was a star in the
heavens and moved as the other stars. He anticipated many ideas in
modern science and was deeply interested, as his works show, in
mathematics and mechanics, he was the first to mention the cycloid
curve and made the first suggestion for laboratory methods and exact
observation in medicine. In the midst of this scientific work he was
made a bishop, eventually became a cardinal and was the close friend
and counsellor of many popes.

The next great name in modern astronomy is that of Regiomontanus, so
called, according to the custom of the time, from the Latin
translation of the name of the place of his birth, Koenigsberg. His
name was really Müller and he was a priest, high in favor with the
ecclesiastical authorities who summoned him to Rome after he had
demonstrated that he was deeply learned in astronomy, in order that he
might correct the calendar. Unfortunately he died at the comparatively
early age of forty, before this task was accomplished, but not {179}
before he had stamped his name indelibly upon the renascent astronomy
of that day.

The effective beginning of modern science came with Copernicus. He was
a physician interested in medicine, mathematics and astronomy, who
spent ten years in Italy studying these three subjects and then went
back to practise medicine in the little town of Frauenberg, the bishop
of which was a great personal friend who had probably helped in the
payment of Copernigk's (to give him his Polish name) Italian studies.
After a time Copernicus seems to have given up his profession of
medicine to become a clergyman, though he was still consulted on
medical subjects by his clerical colleagues and by the poor of the
city. He became a canon of the Cathedral, though it is not sure that
he was ordained a priest. He did not make many observations; nor were
those that he made of very exact character, but on the basis of them
he thought out a new theory of the heavens which attracted
comparatively little attention in his time and was not seriously
accepted by astronomers generally until after the middle of the
seventeenth century, more than a century and a half after he had
originally presented it to the scientific world. The first sketch of
his theory was drawn up while he was a student in Italy, and after the
fashion of his time he defended a thesis on it in Rome with the
approbation of the ecclesiastical authorities. When he published his
great book, which was to work what is probably the greatest revolution
ever effected in men's thinking, he dedicated it with permission to
Pope Paul III.


There was no objection to Copernicus' theory on the part of the Church
authorities, nor to his book until Galileo insisted that this was the
only way of looking at the heavens and that it represented a
contradiction of the Scriptures. Then certain corrections were
required to be made in Copernicus' book, bringing out the fact that it
was taught as a theory explanatory of the movements of the heavenly
bodies and not at all as a contradiction of Scripture. Copernicus
himself continued to be looked up to by those near him all his life.
They had no idea of the wonderful significance of the theory that he
had elaborated. None of the astronomers of his time were ready to
accept it. He was very like Abbot Mendel, two centuries and a half
later, doing his work on pea plants and working out the laws of
heredity a full generation before the scientists of our day were ready
to accept it. Copernicus continued all his life to be a faithful son
of the Church, a close personal friend of his bishop, whom he helped
during the disturbances incident to Luther's teaching to keep his
diocese in the fold of the Catholic Church, though dioceses all round
it were very seriously disturbed and many of them fell away from
Church teaching.

After Copernicus came the correction of the calendar long recognized
as needed and which the popes had been planning to make. Regiomontanus
had been summoned to Rome to make it but had died untimely and then
Father Clavius, the Jesuit, had the task assigned to him. He worked
out the correction and announced a calendar since called the
Gregorian, because it was done under the patronage of Pope Gregory
XIII, which {181} requires only the dropping of a single day once in
four thousand years to keep it absolutely correct for the next hundred
thousand years. Characteristically enough, the Protestant countries
refused to accept even a correction of the calendar made on
mathematical grounds at the hands of the pope. England continued to
have "old style" for several centuries and Russia still holds on to
it. When the days were dropped in England there was an epidemic and
other public misfortunes not long after, and a mob wandered through
the streets of London demanding back the ten days that had been taken
away from them and insisting that it was the displeasure of the
Almighty at interference with the calendar at the behest of the pope
which brought misfortune upon them.

Just after astronomy came the development of anatomy in its scientific
aspect. This all developed down in Italy most of it at papal
universities and at the hands of men who were devout Catholics. The
great father of anatomy, Vesalius, was a Belgian who found that he
could not get material or opportunity for advanced study in anatomy in
Louvain, so that he went to Paris but was disappointed even though he
studied the bones from the Catacombs. He then went down to Italy,
stayed there for twenty years, secured abundant material and
encouragement and patronage, and wrote his great text book of anatomy
there. It was published in beautiful form, magnificently illustrated
and it is now one of the most precious bibliographic treasures in the
history of medicine.

There is a Protestant (it is nothing else) tradition of Church
opposition to anatomy and dissection, but there {182} is not the
slightest evidence for this of any serious character. There is said to
be a Bull of Pope Boniface VIII forbidding dissection, but what he
forbade was the custom that arose in the later crusades of cutting up
bodies, boiling them and then transporting them to long distances for
burial. This was rightly considered a barbarous practice, dangerous to
health. That papal Bull was issued in 1300, and I have published the
full text of it in my volume The Popes and Science. It not only did
not forbid dissection, but it was not by any misapprehension twisted
to represent a policy of the Church in opposition to dissection. As a
matter of fact the history of modern dissection begins immediately
after that Bull, and we have the account of a whole series of
dissections for anatomical purposes that were made in Italy in that
first generation of the fourteenth century.   [Note 15]

After this time Italy continued always to be the home of the best
anatomical teaching in Europe. That is what attracted Vesalius there.
And there is a series of magnificent contributions to anatomy before
Vesalius' time. Not only anatomists but also artists did dissection,
and everyone of the great artists of the Renaissance time manifestly
had opportunities to study the human body in that way. Leonardo da
Vinci made literally hundreds of dissections and left thousands of
sketches of them. These have only come to light in recent years, but
they are among the best pictures of dissections ever made.
Michelangelo and Raphael also did dissections freely, but so did many
others of the artists. The idea that President White has given of
Vesalius dissecting in {183} fear and trembling, hidden away from the
agents of the Inquisition, when a generation before his time artists
in Italy were dissecting so freely, is very amusing. And yet a number
of educated people have assumed on President White's authority that
that must have been the case. It is but another of the hoaxes of

Professor Huxley suggested in his address as Lord Rector of Aberdeen
University that "Physical science was an irreconcilable enemy to be
excluded at all hazards. The College of Cardinals has not
distinguished itself in physics or physiology; no pope has as yet set
up public laboratories in the Vatican." It is easy to understand that
such a sally would be greeted with a good humored smile over the bare
idea of such a thing, and yet it is quite literally true that the
popes did set up a laboratory in the Vatican,--for an observatory is a
laboratory, the first laboratory in the history of modern science, and
there has been a Vatican observatory practically ever since Clavius'
time in the sixteenth century. There was no dissecting room in the
Vatican, but there was a dissecting room in the papal university in
Rome, and when Vesalius wanted to get material and opportunity for
research in anatomy he came down to Italy, and some of his work was
done at Bologna when that was in the papal states; and while the
College of Cardinals did not distinguish itself in physiology, the
papal physicians did in both these subjects and they were great
friends of the cardinals and were encouraged in every way. Cardinals
left directions for autopsies on their bodies to help the study of
medicine. The Church was doing at least as much for science as it was
for art {184} and architecture at this time, though the relationship
to the Church was less direct.

At the beginning of the century following the period of Copernicus and
the great Italian anatomists, Colombo, discoverer of the circulation
of the blood in the lungs, Cesalpino, physiologist and botanist, the
discoverer of the circulation of the blood in the body, Varolio, after
whom the pons is named in the brain, Eustachio of the tube, and
Fallopio of the other tube, most of whom were papal physicians, and
Vesalius who was a very devout Catholic and according to the old
tradition had a crucifix before him always while dissecting, came
Galileo. It is when one realizes the policy of patronage of science on
the part of the popes before Galileo's time that it is easier to
understand the Galileo case. He insisted that the Copernican theory
was the only one worthy to be considered, though at the time all the
prominent astronomers of Europe were convinced followers of the
Ptolemaic theory. He insisted on dragging the scriptures into the
discussion, though the reasons he advanced for the Copernican theory
have since been rejected and it is now held on quite other grounds. He
was warned not to mix religion and astronomy and promised that he
would not. He was given a pension to enable him to pursue his studies,
and it was while enjoying this pension and still bound by his promise
that he wrote the Dialogues in which once more he set forth the
Copernican theory in a manner particularly offensive to all
conservative thinkers and his personal friend the pope. None of the
reasons that he advanced in the Dialogues are now accepted as
demonstrating the truth {185} of Copernicanism. He was tried once more
and punished for his conduct. Is it any wonder that Huxley wrote St.
George Mivart that he had been looking into the Galileo case while he
was in Rome and found that the pope and the cardinals had rather the
better of it?

Galileo was punished, not by imprisonment in a dungeon as is usually
said, for Galileo was never in prison for an hour. During his trial he
was confined to the home of a cardinal friend, one of the most
beautiful palaces in the papal city. After that the principal part of
his punishment was to recite the Seven Penitential Psalms once a week
for three years. In the meantime he was under surveillance, but that
surveillance was entrusted first to his dearest friend and afterwards
to his son. Galileo himself remained a faithful Catholic and his
greatest happiness consisted in his association with his daughter who
was a nun. When he was very ill the pope sent him his blessing. The
pope and he had been great friends and the pontiff was very much
shocked over Galileo's impudence in writing as he did under the
circumstances and holding the pope up to some ridicule. It was much
more a personal affair than any question of ecclesiastical policy.
Galileo himself has told the story of his trial and his surveillance
better than anyone else and the passage may be found in the Notes.
[Note 16] This is the case on which is founded in most people's minds
the idea that the Church has had a constant policy of opposition to
science. All sorts of myths have gathered around it. Galileo is
supposed to have said when he made his recantation _"E pur se muove,"_
"And yet it does move." This expression is {186} not to be found in
the literature for nearly a hundred years after Galileo's death, and
then it occurs first in the seventh edition of a French biographic
dictionary though there was no mention of it in the sixth edition.
Galileo's long life was a very happy one in the pursuit of science, as
Bertrand the perpetual Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences,
has emphasized. One need only read his own account of his trial to be
quite assured of this.

The best historical commentary on the Galileo case is to be found in
the career of Father Athanasius Kircher, the Jesuit scientist who was
summoned to Rome to teach science not long after Galileo's trial.
Kircher wrote no less than forty-four folio volumes on scientific
subjects. To him we owe the word "electricity" and he wrote large
volumes on magnetism, on light, on sound, on astronomy, on geology, as
well as most other scientific subjects. He might very well be thought
to have been a mere compiler but he was thoroughly objective and an
indefatigable observer. He had himself lowered into the crater of
Vesuvius in order to observe it and the changes taking place within it
in connection with earthquakes in the neighborhood. He risked the pest
in order to study it, wrote a volume on it in which we have one of the
first definite declarations of the existence of living germs of
disease. He thought he had seen them. He experimented with hypnotism,
he invented a number of instruments for demonstrating phases of
science, he founded a museum of ethnology which still attracts many
visitors to the Roman College today, and he solved some of the
problems connected {187} with hierogliphics and the Eastern languages.
He corresponded with nearly every important scientist in Europe. He
was a great friend of the popes of the century who encouraged his
works in every way and missionaries all over the world gathered
materials for his ethnological museum. Father Kircher, not Galileo, is
the index of the Church's attitude toward science in the sixteenth
century.   [Note 17]

As a matter of fact Poggendorf's Biographic Lexicon of Science
contains the lives of some ten thousand scientists about a thousand of
whom are Catholic priests or prelates. Almost needless to say a
priest's interests are quite apart from science as a rule. It is only
because of deep interest in some phase of science and devotion to it
so as to make original investigations that a priest's name will find
its way into Poggendorf's great work. That so many of them did reach
such a distinction without in any way disturbing their ecclesiastical
status shows not only that there was no opposition to the study of
science but that there must have been actual willingness on the part
of ecclesiastical authorities to allow priests whose principal duty
lay in other fields to take up such work and pursue it successfully.
In the modern time as in the older days priests are found doing
pioneer work. The Jesuits had a series of great astronomers during the
century of Galileo when astronomy was still in its infancy but they
have continued their interest ever since and their observatories in
many of their colleges. To them, beginning with Father Secchi, the
world owes more for increase of knowledge in meteorology than to any
other body of {188} men. That tradition is maintained by the work of
such men as Father Alguè of the Philippines and of Father Richard of
Santa Clara, California, whose study of sun spots has meant so much
for a real science of the weather. The new science of earthquakes they
have taken up with that quiet persistence which has always
characterized their work. Most of the Jesuit colleges throughout the
world have gone to the expense of installing a seismometer and they
have done very much for seismology and are looked upon as the
authorities on this subject.

Biology has been the dominant science of the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries. Some may be of the opinion that perhaps the really
dangerous department of science so far as faith is concerned developed
only with the rise of interest in biology. It would be in this then
that Church opposition should manifest itself. Anyone who knows the
history of that science, however, will realize that some of the most
important workers in it have been Catholics and not a few of them
priests. The greatest biologist of the eighteenth century was
undoubtedly Father Spallanzani who has been quoted so often in the
modern time since we have been taking up the study of regeneration
once more. His sister was his best helper and represents the
opportunities often afforded to women for intellectual development in
the sphere of the Church's influence. Lamarck to whom we owe the first
modern presentation of the idea of evolution was a faithful Catholic.
Father Mendel who afterwards became prior or abbot of his monastery is
the greatest contributor to scientific as {189} opposed to theoretic
biology in the modern time. Father Wasmann, S. J. is one of the
greatest of living entomologists. Such men as Johannes Müller and
Theodor Schwann, Claude Bernard, Pasteur and Fabre were Catholics and
found nothing at all incompatible in their faith and science. There
have been any number of distinguished teachers of science in the
Catholic universities who have been priests. The Catholic university
of Louvain has been a pioneer in biology and its journal, _La
Cellule_, is well known. The most distinguished workers in one
department of modern archeology, Father Obermaier and Abbe Breuil, are
priests who take their priestly duties even more seriously than they
take their work as archeologists though this has given them world
reputations for their assiduous devotion to the elucidation of
problems connected with the excavation of caveman remains in France
and Spain.

The Church's interest in science is best demonstrated by a list of the
men who did ground breaking work in science and who were either
churchmen or very devoutly attached to the Church. The greatest
medieval writer on surgery was Theodoric who was a bishop. The father
of modern surgery is usually said to have been Guy de Chauliac who was
a canon of the Cathedral of Lyons as well as papal physician. The
first to insist by public teaching that the earth was not the centre
of the universe but a star like the other stars moving in the heavens
was Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa. The founder of modern mathematical
astronomy was Regiomontanus. The father of modern astronomy is
Copernicus, canon of the cathedral of Frauenburg who {190} studied in
Italy and made the preliminary announcement of his theory down there.
He dedicated his great work to the Pope with permission. The father of
modern anatomy is Vesalius a very faithful Catholic who as a penance
for what he considered a fault made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Harvey the father of modern physiology was not a Catholic but he spent
five years in Italy making the fruitful studies on which his great
discovery is based and he was such a friend of the Jesuits that it was
sometimes said that he was more than half a Catholic at heart. The
father of modern interest in glands was Stensen the Dane the
discoverer of the duct of the perotid gland and also of the fact that
the heart is not the organ of the emotions but just a muscle. He
afterwards became a Catholic bishop, having been a professor of
anatomy at the University of Copenhagen.

The father of modern pathology according to Virchow, who surely should
have known, was Morgagni a great friend of four popes who always
stopped in the papal palace when visiting Rome and who was very proud
of the fact that out of his dozen of children eight girls had become
nuns and one of his sons a Jesuit priest. The list of papal physicians
is the greatest series of names in the history of medicine bound
together by any bond. They are much greater than the faculty of any
university in Christendom. Among them are many men forever famous in
the history of medicine and the allied sciences. Two large quarto
volumes are required for the account of them in the formal history
{191} of them. The third edition of my work, "The Popes and Science,"
has some 60 pages of small print for a condensed account of their
labors.   [Note 18]




Philosophy, a term which comes to us from the Greek and means by
etymology love of wisdom, was originally employed according to
tradition by Pythagoras, who preferred to call himself a lover of
wisdom, though the term _sophos_ meaning _wise_ was very common for a
scholar at that time. Philosophy is above all the occupation of the
mind with the great truths around us, the nature of things as they
are, the meaning of existence as far as we can penetrate it, the place
of humanity and its relation to the universe, as well as the
consideration of the freedom of man and the sense of beauty and the
sense of duty of which he enjoys the possession. Philosophy came to
mean the body of highest truth so far as men had reached it at any
given time. It represented the organized sum of human knowledge as
exemplified in the great principles which men had deduced from their
study of things as they are and therefore the science of which all
other modes of knowledge are branches, since it concerns the most
fundamental matters which lie behind and beyond all the other
knowledge that men possess.

Philosophy is above all the science of things as we know them in their
causes or the science of sufficient reasons for things in so far as we
have been able to find them out. Its greatest maxim is undoubtedly the
truism "Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers." It is {193} comparatively
easy to know a great many things, to possess an immense body of
information and yet to understand very little of it and perhaps to be
quite incapable of applying it to the most important affairs of life.
It is perfectly possible to know a great many things that are only
partial truths and that in the course of time will prove to be
distinctly erroneous. Facts are truths but constitute truth only when
we know all the facts. Josh Billings, one of our beloved American
philosophers, declared that "It is not so much the ignorance of
mankind that makes them ridiculous as the knowing so many things that
ain't so." There is a definition for a fool that has been suggested by
some one in our generation which illustrates very well the difference
between knowledge and wisdom, between philosophy and science, or
perhaps we should say pseudo-science. It runs, "A fool is a man who
has read everything and remembers it all." If it were possible for a
man to have read everything and remember it all, he would not have any
time to do any thinking for himself, and a fool is a man who does not
think for himself, no matter how much he may know. The philosopher
cultivates thoughtfulness rather than memory and tries to penetrate
beneath the surface of things and understand their meaning.

Philosophy has always been a favorite study of churchmen. They have
recognized the mysteries that lie all around us and they have
endeavored just as far as possible to find the solution of those
mysteries, though all the time recognizing the fact that very probably
many of them are insoluble. There are many natural {194} mysteries
that are quite beyond our comprehension as yet. There are a great many
people who are inclined to think that science is solving mysteries,
but as a matter of fact every advance in scientific knowledge
multiplies the mysteries. A typical example is to be found in
astronomy. With the naked eye we can see three thousand to five
thousand stars. With the last great telescope that has been built it
is said that they expect to see many billions of stars. We know ever
so much more about the heavens, but the mystery of the universe is
multiplied by the difference between a few thousand and many billions.
The same thing is true in the world of the almost infinitely little.
We are studying certain microbes now which produce definite diseases
that we know and recognize easily, yet we cannot hope ever to see
their bacterial causes, for they pass through the pores of a
Pasteur-Chamberland filter and are therefore beyond even the
theoretical powers of our microscopes. As for matter, see what a
mystery it is. The hardest question in science, now after all the
knowledge we have gathered is, what is matter? And yet it is no harder
than that other comparatively simple question in appearance, what is

It is not surprising, then, that there should be mysteries in the
relations of man to a higher being and that these should be difficult
of elucidation. It is not surprising either that there should be many
as yet insoluble problems with regard to man's relations to the
universe and his origin and destiny; and yet it is the business of
philosophy or at least of the philosopher, the lover of wisdom, to
come as near the solution of these problems {195} as possible. To
leave them aside and say that we cannot know anything about them and
therefore must not occupy ourselves with them is to refuse the
fundamental urges of the intellectual life, while occupying ourselves
with the knowledge gathered by our senses from the material world
around us. We heard much of the promise and potency of matter after
Tyndall made his famous address as the President of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science, but twenty-five years
later almost to the day Michelson before the same body suggested that
present day knowledge represented matter as only electricity and law.
It is the laws of things that we want to know, but much more than
that. These laws answer the question "how," but we want also the
answer to the question "why," and above all we must go on seeking the
answer to the question "what." The whyness and the whatness of things,
their final causes and their essences, this is philosophy worthy of
the mind of man at its best.

Just twenty-five years ago also Dubois Reymond, the great German
physiologist, one of that group of deep thinkers who made the prestige
of German science in the last generation of the nineteenth century, in
his well known address as the President of the Society of German
Naturalists and Physicians, declared that there were seven world
riddles (Welt-Raetsel). They were _matter, motion, law, life,
sensation, consciousness_ and _free will_. Of at least three of
these,--_life, consciousness_ and _free will_, he declared not only
that we did not know what they were, but that we would probably never
know, indeed could scarcely hope to know about them {196} so far as
science is concerned. _Non solum ignoramus sed ignorabimus_. It was in
answer to this address that Haeckel wrote his volume _Die
Welt-Raetsel_, a title which Father Joseph McCabe translated into "The
Riddle of the Universe." Had it been translated "World Riddles" or
better still "The World Riddles" fewer people would have thought that
they were assisting at the solution of the mystery of the universe
with Haeckel. To anyone who knows the records of the two men Dubois
Reymond is so far ahead of Haeckel in scientific genius and in
original scientific observations and achievements as to render the two
quite beyond comparison. Naturally Dubois Reymond's expression created
a sensation. It remains however as the humble confession of a
philosophic scientist. While we may feel all the mystery of these
subjects, it would be a confession of intellectual futility to refuse
to search after knowledge with regard to them. It is the quest of ever
deeper knowledge with regard to these great underlying subjects which
constitutes philosophy and its cultivation is the one supremely worthy
task of human life.

Christian contributions to philosophy began formally with the Fathers
of the Church. It is true that toward the end of the first century
after Christ and during the second century there was a new wisdom with
regard to the meaning of life making itself felt, which can scarcely
be explained unless one recalls the fact that the teaching of the
Master in Judea was abroad in the world and was being widely diffused.
Paul's speech on the Acropolis at Athens, his teaching in Corinth and
at {197} Rome, the traditions of the East which kept constantly
pouring in and the tendency of the Romans, who had outgrown their
curious state religion which was at best only a series of adoptions
and adaptations of the religious ideas of peoples whom they had
conquered, to look to the Orient for religious principles, must have
deeply influenced Roman ethical thought. Hence the stoicism almost
Christian in character of Seneca, hence too very probably the
confident finality of Epictetus on human conduct, and though Marcus
Aurelius himself was a persecutor of the Church and was quite
unconscious of the fact, hence the almost Christian philosophy which
at times finds its way into the meditations of the philosopher
emperor. Paul's Epistles must have attracted wide attention at that
time and they contain not only the essence of Christianity but the
well developed philosophic principles of the faith and many of their
applications to human conduct.

The Fathers are thought of as theologians rather than philosophers and
such they are, but they were engaged above all in setting forth the
reasonableness of theology and demonstrating that its mysteries were
not absurd according to human reason, which is the greatest business
of philosophy. A book like Augustine's Confessions, however,
represents an important contribution to philosophy, and it has an
appeal not only to the human intellect but to that deeper faculty of
thinking that by tradition, for want of a better term, we call the
human heart, that is the intelligence of man touched by emotion which
enables it to concentrate on the higher interests of mankind. Ever
since, Augustine's {198} Confessions has been one of the books that
has deeply touched men's hearts whenever they have been in quest of
the highest truth. It is one of the few great autobiographies of the
world's history that has never gone out of date and never will. It is
the ardent thought of a supremely great thinker with regard to the
mysteries of existence and the meaning of life and its relation to a
Higher Power which it was given him to know--though not to
understand,--and to love and to direct his life for, because that was
the only course of action that gave a meaning to existence. For if
there is no God and no hereafter, life is absurd and there are no laws
that need bind a man except his own desires.

The first great Christian philosopher, apart from the Fathers, is
Boëthius, who wrote _The Consolations of Philosophy_ in the sixth
century. The work was probably written while he was in prison with
abundant opportunity for reflection on the instability of the favor of
princes and the inconstancy of the devotion of friends. It is a
dialogue between Philosophy and Boëthius, in which the Queen of the
Sciences sets forth the consolation that she has for the statesman
favorite of the King Theodoric who had lost the favor of his king. The
thesis of the discourse is the transitory quality and unreality of
earthly greatness and the supreme desirability of the things of the
mind. There is a constant tradition since Boëthius' time that he
really died a martyr for the Christian faith, and while there is
nothing Christian in his book, that is because it was strictly a
philosophical exercise after the model of Seneca and the pagan
philosophers; but it contains, {199} to quote Bishop Turner, passages
"which seem plainly to hint that after philosophy had poured out all
her consolations for the benefit of the prisoner there are more potent
remedies _(validiora remedia)_ to which he may have recourse."
Boëthius' work had an immense influence in the Middle Ages. It was
translated into Anglo-Saxon by King Alfred of England and into old
German by Notker Tuetonicus. Its influence may be traced in Beowulf
and in Chaucer, in Anglo-Norman and Provençal popular poetry, and it
was one of the favorite books of Dante. It was printed among the
_incunabula_ (Venice 1497), and has been reprinted many times since
and very often even in the last hundred years, so that the book
represents one of the favorite books of mankind which have undoubtedly
had a very deep and wide influence.

For several centuries during the time known as the invasion of the
barbarians there could be very little attention paid to the
cultivation of philosophy. The first of the philosophers of the Middle
Ages whose name has come down to us as an original thinker was John
Scotus Erigena, John the Scot born in Erin, as the Latinized form of
his name means, who is said to have gone to Oxford at the invitation
of Alfred the Great in the ninth century and to have founded a school
at Malmesbury. He composed a comprehensive philosophical work, _De
Divisione Naturae_, in which he insisted that any authority which is
not approved by right reason must be considered weak. He did not
realize how far some of his doctrines went in confounding God with
nature, but there is no doubt of his sincere {200} devotion to the
Church, though he was an early Pantheist. His book was condemned three
centuries after his death. In the meantime his philosophic method had
influenced many and the first step in the organization of philosophy
was made. Scotus Erigena was followed in the tenth century by Gerbert,
who became pope under the name of Sylvester II in 999. He introduced
the Arabic numerals into Europe, was well acquainted with astronomy,
and was a mechanical inventor of distinction. To him we owe the
introduction of the scholastic method in philosophy, which for nearly
a thousand years since has meant so much. It should not be forgotten
that it came from a man deeply interested in physical science and
mechanical appliances, for scholasticism is usually presumed to have
been the product of impractical men with an unconquerable tendency to
theoretic speculation who scarcely looked at things as they were, and
had no idea of how the secrets of nature might be useful for making
life better.

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries come the great scholastic
philosophers properly so-called, beginning with Anselm down to St.
Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and Raymond Lully. It has been the custom
during several generations for a great many educated people to
belittle scholasticism and to say that it represented only the idle
speculations of men intent on their own thoughts and not on the world
around them. Men who presumed that they were educated have actually
contented themselves with dismissing the scholastics by suggesting
that a very important subject for discussion among them was "How many
angels can {201} dance on the point of a pin?" I shall never forget a
teacher of bacteriology who impressed upon us medical students the
fact that bacteria were very small by saying that some thousands of
them could rest quietly on the head of a pin and a man could not. I
often wonder if some future humor-lacking critic of our education
might not quote that phrase as showing how devoid of practicality was
the teaching of medicine in our day. Certainly to suggest that the
scholastics occupied themselves with such trifles is quite on a par
with _such_ a misinterpretation of the teaching of our bacteriology

What is interesting is that all these contemptuous expressions with
regard to scholasticism come from people who know nothing about
scholasticism except what they have heard or read about it but without
having studied any of it. The less they know the more contemptuous
they are. Just as soon as anyone knows anything of scholasticism
itself he takes up a very different position. Toward the end of his
life some of Huxley's favorite reading was St. Thomas Aquinas because
he found him so satisfying to his logic and reasoning powers. This
same thing has been true of many others. Professor Saintsbury, of the
University of Edinburgh, went so far as to say that scholasticism was
probably more important than modern science in human values. He said,
"Yet there has always in generous souls who have some tincture of
philosophy, subsisted a curious kind of sympathy and yearning over the
work of these generations of mainly disinterested scholars, who,
whatever they were, were thorough, and whatever they could not do,
could think. And there {202} have even, in these latter days, been
some graceless ones who have asked whether the Science of the
nineteenth century, after an equal interval, will be of any more
positive value--whether it will not have even less comparative
interest than that which appertains to the Scholasticism of the

When Pope Leo XIII in a great Bull decreed that the teaching of
philosophy and theology in Catholic colleges and seminaries should
follow strictly the doctrine laid down by St. Thomas, who died nearly
six and a half centuries ago, a great many people outside the Church
were inclined to think that this was hopelessly reactionary and that
it represented the typical obscurantism of Church thinking at all
times. As a matter of fact many of St. Thomas' teachings when they
happen to touch underlying principles in modern science have proved to
be much nearer basic truth than many things which were taught even
half a century ago by enthusiastic scientists. Thomas' teaching of
matter and form for the constitution of matter is almost exactly what
the physical chemists are teaching at the present time. He anticipated
the doctrine of the indestructibility of matter and the conservation
of energy, reaching these truths by pure reason, while what we did in
the nineteenth century was to make an experimental demonstration of
them. He anticipated all the principles on which our modern political
and social problems must be solved. He laid firmly the basis for
democracy and taught the stewardship of wealth and the living wage and
the necessity for the consideration of the fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man {203} as the basis for any enduring solution of
social problems.

Aquinas' assumption of Aristotle as the basis for his system of
philosophy is sometimes considered to be an index of his failure to
recognize that men had made progress in the meantime. The more we know
about Aristotle, however, the less likely is anyone to think of
Aquinas as being in any sense backward in his philosophic purview.
Aristotle was undoubtedly possessed of the greatest mind that humanity
has ever had and he proved capable of penetrating the meaning of
things that he knew better than anyone has ever done. I shall never
forget how once, in talking about the question of progress at a
luncheon with President Roosevelt and a group of modern magazine
editors, I ventured to say that surely no one would think for a moment
that we in our generation were in philosophy ahead of Aristotle and
Plato, and the President in his impulsive way at once interposed "But
Plato and Aristotle belong to our generation." That extends our
generation backwards somewhat in time, though not in spirit, and it
represents the feeling of most of those who know their Greek
philosophy. Even in biology Darwin's tribute to Aristotle, which may
be found in the chapter on Science, is a very definite testimony to
Aristotle's marvelous power of getting beneath the surface of things
and seeing realities as they are and must ever continue to be.

It is often thought that after the scholastic period there were no
great contributions to philosophy under the aegis of the Church, but
this is quite as untrue and as unfounded as the contempt for
scholasticism. As a {204} matter of fact, the founder of the inductive
method of reasoning, or at least the man who worked out the principles
of its application to natural science, was Bernardino Telesio, who
"abandoned completely the purely intellectual sphere of the ancient
Greeks and other thinkers prior to his time and proposed an inquiry
into the data given by the senses." The first part of his work _De
rerum natura juxta propria principia_, was published in 1565 in Rome,
where Telesio had resided for several years enjoying the patronage of
Pope Paul III. Francis Bacon confesses his obligation to Telesio, whom
he frankly hails as the first experimental observer of nature.
Giordano Bruno and Campanella, both of whom were the subject of legal
persecution for political opinions which they held and whose names are
therefore well known because they are supposed to be "horrible
examples" of the way the Church suppressed freedom of thought, were
disciples of Telesio's, but they mixed politics and religion with
their philosophy and got into trouble. Bruno was what we would call an
anarchist or Bolshevist in our time. He rejected many of the accepted
principles of his time and had loose teachings on marriage. Everywhere
that he wandered in Europe he attracted attention but always also
opposition and persecution and governments felt that they could not
have such a man freely teaching in their states. It is this and not at
all his scientific teaching which accounts for Bruno's death at the
stake in Rome. Campanella indulged in politics in Naples but succeeded
in escaping to Rome and was afforded a refuge in the papal capital.


The inductive method was the last important step in philosophical
development. It is true that Kant's critical philosophy has attracted
much attention, but that was because in Germany and England where
philosophy was most cultivated there was no link of union with the old
scholastics and men were without the advantage of that traditional
basis of thought which had been constructed by great thinkers for
centuries. It has been pointed out that Kant's philosophy was
anticipated in an objection formulated by Aquinas himself to one of
his propositions and then refuted. While Kant has been the dominating
influence in modern philosophic thought in Protestant countries,
everyone is ready to confess his inability to completely understand
him and Kant himself once said there was only one man in Europe who
really did understand him and he did not understand him fully. Instead
of the clarity of the scholastics we have the muddy waters of modern
loose thinking which men like Saintsbury have deprecated rather
bitterly. The great critic of the Scotch university did not hesitate
to say, "If at the outset of the career of the modern languages men
had thought with the looseness of modern thought, had indulged in the
haphazard slovenliness of modern logic, had popularized theology and
vulgarized rhetoric as we have seen both popularized and vulgarized
since, we should indeed have been in evil case."

The Church's most valuable contribution to philosophy concerned the
rights of man and the underlying principles in democracy. The great
principles in this subject were laid down by Thomas Aquinas and the
{206} culmination of the philosophy of democracy came from Suarez, a
Spaniard teaching in Spanish universities during the reign of Philip
II, of whom the Jesuit philosophical professor was a personal friend.
Grotius, often looked upon in the modern time as the father of
international law and the writer to whom moderns look back for their
principles in what concerns international relations, recognized in
Suarez a profound philosopher who anticipated much of his own
thinking. Mackintosh, the Scotch writer on Philosophy, hailed Suarez
as one of the founders of international law. Suarez has besides the
very enviable distinction of having had one of his books, _De
defendone fidei_, burned publicly by the hangman in London by order of
the king of England (James I) because it contained matter entirely too
liberal and democratic in what concerned the right of kings to rule
and the duty of subjects to obey. For similar reasons the parliament
of Paris prohibited the circulation of certain of Suarez' works and
they even discussed the question as to whether these Spanish
philosophers were not encouraging regicide by their writings on
democracy and their teaching that authority came from the people and
that there was no such thing as "the divine right of kings."

This doctrine of the divine right of kings is frequently said to be a
heritage from the Middle Ages, but as with so many other things that
have originated two or three centuries before our time and that we
have learned to reject and then with false historical perspective
often called medieval, the Middle Ages had nothing to do with it. No
such doctrine is to be found among {207} the medieval philosophers,
and on the contrary it came into existence as the result of the
religious revolution in Germany in the sixteenth century, commonly
spoken of as the Reformation, which made the ruler of the land the
head of the Church as well as of the state _(cujus regio ejus
religio)_. James I of England, "the wisest fool in Christendom," the
first of the Stuarts, wrote the first book on the divine rights of
kings. Indeed it was unfortunate family insistence on this teaching of
the first Stuart king of England which brought so much trouble to the
Crown in England during the seventeenth century. Suarez emphatically
pointed out that the opinion formulated by the King of England was
"new and singular, invented to exaggerate the temporal and to minimize
the spiritual power."

Suarez' teaching was that supreme political authority is given by God
directly to a political community as a whole, inasmuch as He made men
of such nature that they need to have a political organization. There
is nothing in the nature of things to show that this organization
should take the form of a monarchy or of an aristocracy or of any
other mode of government, nor is there anything in the nature of
things to show that the ruling authority should be located in any
given person or group of persons. Political authority rests in the
community as a whole and may be transferred by the community to one or
more persons, whence it follows that no monarch has ruling power
immediately from God but through the medium of the human will and
human institutions.


Many educated people were shocked when Pope Leo XIII decreed that the
teaching in Catholic theological seminaries and colleges should follow
St. Thomas Aquinas, and most of them were inclined to think that this
was pure reactionary backwardness for the sake of theology. Suarez,
however, laying down the doctrine of modern democracy, was only
following the doctrines of St. Thomas, just as with regard to social
problems the Catholic Welfare Council was doing the same thing when it
issued its pamphlet laying down the principles of social right and
wrong after the war. Aquinas is ahead of, not behind the procession.
The Neo-Scholastics, represented by a group of distinguished Catholic
teachers of philosophy in the various countries, have in recent years
followed Aquinas' methods and taking advantage of the greater
knowledge of the physical world that we possess at the present time
have applied his principles to the newer available information and
have brought his philosophy up to date. Aquinas himself probably knew
more of the available data of "science" in the sense of what it is
given to man to understand about the order of things as they are than
anybody else in his generation. Herbert Spencer in the modern time
scarcely compares with him in that regard.

It is the fact that the Church has always been deeply intent on
philosophy, has insisted on the study of it by her priests of course,
but also on its having a place in the curriculum of all educational
institutions under Church influence, which has constituted the
intellectual appeal and humanly speaking the strength of the position
of the Church all down the centuries. {209} Comparatively few men who
devote themselves to science after having been trained in their early
youth in the Christian sects outside the Catholic Church are able to
retain their religious belief as their scientific knowledge
accumulates. The logical position of any of the Protestant sects is
not strong enough to bear the beating of the waves of modern
rationalism against it. It would be almost a surprise to find that a
man who was a deep scientific thinker could continue to hold his faith
in any of the sects. They lack a philosophical thoroughness in point
of view. This is not true for the High Church Anglicans because they
occupy the position of the Catholic Church. One is not surprised then
that Lord Kelvin or Clerk Maxwell insisted that science demonstrates
the existence of a Creator. Scientists who have lost their faith come
back to Catholicity and find consolation in the Church and
satisfaction as to the meaning of life because of the profound
philosophy which is the basis of all its doctrines and which has been
a favorite subject of study for intellectual Catholics all down the

We have had some striking examples of distinguished scientists who
have left the Catholic Church and then, while at the height of their
fame as scientists, have become Catholics once more. Among them are
such men as Claude Bernard, to whom modern science owes so much, and
Fabre, the great French entomologist, of whom Darwin said that he was
an incomparable observer. Here in America we have had a series of
distinguished scientists who have become Catholics. Professor
Hilgarde, to whom scientific agriculture owes {210} more in this
country than to anyone else, is one of these. Professor Dwight,
professor of anatomy at Harvard, is another. A large number of
physicians such as Emmet, Horatio Storer, Van Buren, Edward L. Keyes,
Battey, Derby, and others have become converts to Catholicity. It is
sometimes said that where there are three physicians there are two
atheists, but that is not true for Catholic physicians, who retain
their faith very well. Joseph O'Dwyer to whom we owe so much for his
invention of intubation, is a striking instance of this. So was Dr.
John B. Murphy, the greatest of American surgeons and perhaps the
greatest surgeon of the last three hundred years.

It is sometimes said that the Catholic Church has no attractions for
intellectual people. They are afraid of or would resent the imposition
of her authority. A Church, however, which satisfied Cardinal Newman
and Cardinal Manning, and such geniuses as Pascal, Galvani, Volta,
Coulomb, Ampere and Frederick Ozanam, to say nothing of Leverrier,
Lavoisier, Lamarck, Claude Bernard and many others who might be
mentioned, is not likely to lack attraction for intellectual people.

Dean Inge suggested sometime ago that anyone who is inclined to think
that there is no attraction for the intellectuals in the Catholic
Church and that it does not present a source of satisfaction that must
be profound should recall that some very distinguished writers of the
nineteenth century, after having dropped away from the Church for a
time, returned to the fold and found happiness there. Among them are
such men as Brunetière, François Coppée, Paul Bourget, Huysmans, Paul
{211} Verlaine in his saner moments, and of course at the end of his
life. A Church that has an appeal to such men, which causes them to
reverse themselves in so important a matter as religion, cannot but
have a profound appeal not only to the mind but to the heart,--that
is, to that part of mankind in which man thinks when most deeply


Chapter XII


Kant said there are two supreme mysteries, the starry heavens at night
and man's conscience. Since his time we have greatly increased the
scope of the heavens. Instead of the few hundred thousand stars that
had been discovered at that time by the human eye and their imperfect
telescopes, the photographic plate and our perfected telescopes have
revealed many hundred millions of them, probably even billions. In
spite of the immense increase in the mystery of the universe, the
extent of which has been modified by the difference between a few
hundred thousand heavenly bodies and almost as many billions of them,
the moral law stamped on man's conscience is still quite as great a
mystery as that of the universe itself. We have extended the domain of
the almost infinitely little in bacteriology and of the indefinitely
minute in the realm of the atom down to the negative ion, but it is
still as true as it was when Clerk Maxwell, the great English
Physicist, first stated it that the most wonderful thing in science is
"that spirit of order, our scientific confidence in which is never
shaken by the difficulty which we experience in tracing it in the
complex arrangements of visible things, and of which our moral
estimation is shown in all our attempts to think and speak the truth
and to ascertain the exact principles of distributive justice" He
added, "From the ineffaceable characters {213} impressed on them (the
ultimate particles of matter) we may learn that these aspirations,
after accuracy in measurement, truth in statement, and justice in
action, which we reckon among our noblest attributes as men, are ours
because they are essential constituents of the image of Him Who in the
beginning created not only the heaven and the earth, but the materials
of which heaven and earth consist."

All men have an abiding sense of right and wrong. It is true that it
is perfectly possible for men when their own interests or desires urge
them and when the example of others disturbs them, to form a habit of
contravening this sense of right and wrong. And such a habit like
every other habit creates a second nature and may make them feel that
they are justified in doing things which their inner voice of
conscience at first told them to be wrong. A false conscience, that
is, the creation of a false sense of right and wrong, is not so
difficult if a man is determined on the pursuit of certain selfish
ends. Above all there are a number of very natural bodily cravings
with regard to which, if they are once deeply aroused, the laws of
conscience may prove barriers of but the slightest kind. The love of
money, or covetousness, for it may be an overwhelming desire for even
small amounts of money, may lead people to contradict the deepest,
holiest feelings that we have. Fathers and mothers may send their
children of six and seven to work long hours in a factory to the
manifest detriment of their health and their affection may be
completely eclipsed by the thought of the few miserable pennies which
they receive as their children's wages. {214} They may even come to
think that they are quite justified in doing this because they see
others doing it, but even in them there is always a sense of
obligation in the matter that nags at them and constantly has to be
pushed into the background and there are twinges of affection which
prompt them to pity their children and take better care of them; but
backed up by the example of others they persist in their cruelty to
their own flesh and blood until others intervene and prevent them from
exploiting them. The story of the abuse of children down the ages and
the necessity for them to be cared for by others besides their own
fathers and mothers is one of the striking examples in the history of
mankind of the need of a guardian for the weak and of a mentor who
shall make the strong realize that might is not right and who will
thus arouse their dormant sense of right and wrong.   [Note 19]

It must not be thought that this sort of thing, that is, the formation
of a bad conscience, occurs only among the ignorant, nor even among
those who though perhaps educated according to certain standards have
but a comparatively small amount of intelligence. The example of
Francis Bacon is a striking instance of the fact that the most
intelligent of men may permit themselves to be carried away by
personal interests into the ugliest kind of meanness. Just about three
hundred years ago Francis Bacon, the Lord Chancellor of England,
confessed that he had taken bribes. He did not confess until it had
been proved up to the hilt so that denial was no longer possible. He
was throwing himself on the mercy of the court. When he took {215}
these bribes he was the holder of a series of offices under the
English Crown, receiving a salary equivalent to well above one hundred
thousand dollars a year in our money. In spite of this he, as the Lord
Chancellor, the head of the judiciary in England, had taken bribes. He
had his excuse. Such men always have. What he said was that he was the
best Lord Chancellor that England had had for fifty years. He was
probably right in this. The others had been worse than he was,--if
possible. He might have made it nearly one hundred years. Lord
Campbell in his Lives of the Lord Chancellors concluding his sketch of
the life of Sir Thomas More said, "I am indeed reluctant to take leave
of Sir Thomas More not only from his agreeable qualities and
extraordinary merits, but from my abhorrence of the mean, sordid,
unprincipled chancellors who succeeded him and made the latter half of
the reign of Henry VIII the most disgraceful period in our annals."
Sir Thomas More's successors were among Bacon's predecessors.

How familiar Bacon's excuse sounds when we put it in every day words.
What he said was "They were all doing it." Men in the highest
positions in England, men noted for their knowledge of the law and
their intelligence, men chosen for the position only after they had
exhibited high talents, were blunting their consciences, clouding
their sense of right and wrong and taking bribes for the dispensing of
what was called justice. It becomes perfectly evident under such
circumstances that men need a guide and a director of conscience.
Knowledge has often been supposed by {216} people in the modern time
to make people better, but it has nothing at all to do with the
production of any such effect. It is perfectly possible for a man to
be extremely intelligent and supremely well educated and yet go
completely wrong in matters of conduct. The influence of bad example,
and it is eminently pervasive, especially when there is added to it
the corrosive influence of graft or the allurements of luxury or the
seduction of bodily satisfaction, may have very serious consequences
and lead to infractions of the moral law which every man in his heart
knows to be wrong, yet he justifies himself in doing them, or if he
cannot quite justify himself at least he blunts the still small voice
of conscience within and pretends that he thinks that it is all right.
At least he is no worse than others and he finds his consolation in

It is easy to understand that there must be some institution which
shall hold the balance and insist upon standards for mankind, and
emphasize the natural law and its obligations and point out that it
must be obeyed even though there may be excuses and it may be
difficult to break away from the commonly accepted notions of those
around and the cult of selfishness which leads to wrong. This is what
the Church has been all down the ages. She has stood as the pillar and
support for men's consciences and told them over and over again, when
fashion or custom or bodily craving or over-weening ambitions led them
to the violation of the laws of conscience, that these must be obeyed
and must be vindicated. This constitutes the most important office
that the Church has had in her history and on {217} her fulfilment of
this depends her right to claim to be the representative of Christ
upon earth.

This does not mean that the Churchmen themselves are all free from
faults or that bad example and graft have not affected many of them.
When the Lord Himself chose His apostles it might possibly have been
expected that He would pick out a dozen of men who would be a striking
example of all that is best for mankind in the after generations. Had
he done so we would be lacking in one great source of consolation. Out
of these twelve divinely picked men one betrayed (for money) and
another denied (through fear) the Lord. Some one said, "Unless
something like one out of six of the great leaders in Christ's Church
have not some of the qualities of Judas and of Peter at their worst,
then the Church lacks one of the important notes and is not
Apostolic." Churchmen themselves would be the first to confess that
ecclesiastics have the weaknesses of humanity and the faults of the
race.   [Note 20] What is wonderful, however, is that these weak men
have been upheld in the direction of the Church, which has thus proved
a pillar of support for the great principles of morality and the
lighthouse of ethics which has guided ever so many all down the ages
into the harbor of rightness of conscience and righteousness of life.

Casuistry, that is the settlement of cases of conscience or of
difficulties of determining the right from the wrong, has come to
labor under the innuendo of hair-splitting distinctions by which the
wrong may be made to appear to be the right, but it must exist as a
practical science because it is often an extremely {218} difficult
matter even for the most intelligent to differentiate between the
right and the wrong. Even in what relates to apparently such simple
matters as money transactions it is not always an easy thing to decide
upon obligations and indebtedness binding in conscience. It not
infrequently happens that what is eminently legal is absolutely
unjust. Bankruptcy laws are for instance extremely valuable in order
to enable the embarrassed business man to get on his feet again, but
it must be understood that the moral obligation to repay his creditors
their losses is incumbent upon the bankrupt if he should ever
accumulate sufficient money to have a surplus that would enable him to
pay his debts. The question of the restoration of ill gotten goods or
money is always a living one and the Church has proved a great medium
for arousing men's consciences and securing repayment. Conscience
funds of all kinds have been swollen as the result of advice given in
the confessional. Men learn to neglect duties of this kind because
they see others around them refusing to be bound by them, so that
there is need of a tribunal or reminder and a monitor and guide.

In many other moral difficulties besides those relating to money the
necessity for laying down certain principles which shall guide men
cannot but be clear. There are friendly suits at law in order to
determine legal rights and wrongs that remind us of the necessity for
the similar settlement of cases in matters of conscience. Priests who
are consulted by those who want to do what is right and are not sure
as to their obligations, must be trained so as to be able to give
proper advice and {219} the only way that this can be done is by the
study of cases of conscience involving the various moral principles,
and this is casuistry. The one who is consulted must neither be too
lax nor too rigorous in his decision. Men are sometimes prone to
forgive themselves too easily the wrongs they have done to others,
while on the other hand when a man has been deeply stirred by some
religious appeal or profoundly affected by some incident in life which
has made him realize the truth of the maxim "What doth it profit a man
to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" he may be too rigorous
with himself and perhaps even go to the extent of doing injustice to
his wife and family or those dependent on him while in this mood. The
expert Catholic casuist holds the balance for him and enables him to
decide in strict justice to all concerned. This subject has been
deeply studied and many thousands of books have been written about it
and many hours of teaching devoted to it because the Church recognized
its importance.

Some of the Church's achievements through maintaining her position in
this matter have served to revolutionize human conduct in serious
matters. When the Church came into existence and began to exert moral
influence over society, the great evil of the day was the neglect of
children. Children's lives were held so cheap as to be almost
negligible. Practically anywhere throughout the civilized world a
father had the right to say whether a female child should be raised or
not and if he refused, the child was simply done away with. If a child
male or female was crippled or deformed it {220} was almost inevitable
that it would be put to death. According to Roman law a father had the
right of life or death over his children. Personal human rights in
this matter meant nothing. At the end of the first and the second
century after Christ there had come among the pagans more respect for
the rights of the child's life and the Romans even enacted laws that
safe-guarded the child to some extent. This was such a change from the
spirit of the Roman law of the earlier time as to make one feel that
there must have been some extraneous agent at work in the social order
of Rome. The conclusion is almost inevitable that the spirit of
Christianity was making itself felt and Christian insistence upon the
rights of man was exerting influence even over the minds of those who
were not at all conscious of the undercurrent of feeling that was
gradually leading up to the Christian concept of human rights that was
to become the watchword of the world for the after time. The right of
every individual to life must be respected and the weak must be
protected, no matter how old the tradition of might making right
should be.

The Church very soon made herself felt for the protection of children
of all kinds, even the crippled and the weaklings, yes even the
weak-minded and the backward in intelligence. They were all human
beings with a soul to save and the right to life and liberty and the
pursuit of happiness so far as that did not impinge upon the rights of
others. That position the Church has continued to hold and insists on
even at the present day. Churchmen look with suspicion on movements
{221} that would supposedly bring about the betterment of the race by
the elimination of the unfit.

Just as the Church protects the children so she protects the old and
those suffering from incurable disease. Euthanasia, that is the giving
of people an easy death when they are in pain and there seems to be no
hope for them or at least getting them out of existence when they are
but a useless burden on the community, is not permitted. If life had a
meaning only for this world then these movements would be perfectly
justified, and any of us might find ourselves so old or so useless
that the community would decide that it would be better without us and
we should have to take our turn at the chloroform bottle. Life is
absurd if there is no other life than this, but when the existence of
another life is once admitted, the terminal stage of existence even in
pain takes on a new meaning and has a significance of possible
developments in magnanimity for another plane of existence than this,
and of evolution of soul under stress of conditions that develop
patience and forbearance, which helps us to understand the real
meaning of life.

Neither at the beginning nor at the end of life does the Church permit
interference with human rights. Human beings have rights and those
rights must be respected.

Even before the beginning of independent existence the human being has
rights to life that are the equal of those of any other individual, no
matter how apparently important that individual may be. The unborn
child has very definite rights to life which the Church {222} has
always vindicated. An infant is very often a weakling. Before our time
and the improvement of hygiene and sanitation that came after
Pasteur's work, nearly one in five of the infants born died during the
first year of life. It is no wonder, naturally speaking, that putting
the life of the mother of children, important in her sphere,
indispensable to her husband and family, in the balance over against
that of the unborn babe, the physician was inclined to think that the
mother had a prior and a preeminent right to life where there was any
question between the two. Yet the Church held that the little delicate
mortal had its own right to life and must not be sacrificed even to
save its mother. The doctrine was not popular, but the Church has
constantly maintained it and society has had to be brought back over
and over again from wanderings away from the principle, wanderings
which might never have been retraced only that there was a monitor to
warn and a definite authority to express the underlying moral law that
must rule in these cases.

Here in the United States about the middle of the nineteenth century
there was a great deal of loose teaching on the part of professors in
medical schools with regard to this very important matter of' the
right of the child to life and of the performance of abortion for all
sorts of more or less unimportant reasons, or sometimes no reason, but
just because it suited the convenience of the mother or her physician.
Dr. Horatio Storer of Boston, distinguished for his work in
gynecology, a student of Sir James Y. Simpson, and looked up to as one
of the coming surgeons of the country, {223} laid down the principles
of morality on which such cases must be decided. This act of justice
was not accomplished without some personal odium for a time and even
some limitation of his consultant practice. Such are the ways of men!
His prize essay on abortion was published in a series of very large
editions by the American Medical Association and widely distributed.
It called particular attention to the rights of the child after the
first moment of conception as equal to those of any other human being
and to be considered just exactly as those of other living
individuals. The movement thus initiated revolutionized medical
practice in many ways in America and above all greatly lessened what
was known as "therapeutic abortion," which by an unfortunate medical
abuse had been done very often quite regardless of the rights of the
child. Dr. Storer who came of an old New England family became a
convert to the Catholic Church when he found that the Church was the
living authority that insisted on the principles which he had been
inculcating for the medical profession.

As the result of the Church's stand in this matter, craniotomy, that
is the crushing of the skull of the child in order to facilitate
delivery in difficult or impossible labor, was absolutely condemned.
This teaching gradually led to the abandoning of craniotomy and the
cultivation of Caesarean Section in order to secure the safety of
mother and child in cases where natural delivery could not take place.
The result has been the development of this operation until now there
is almost no danger in it. Women are saved hours of most {224}
poignant suffering by not being allowed to stay in labor for long
periods and there is much less danger to the life of the mother
herself and that of the child is saved. At that time a group of
Catholic physicians throughout the country were very much interested
in the subject and many of them made important contributions to the
literature. They felt it a duty, as they said, "to check the slaughter
of the innocents." Every teaching that impugned in any way the rights
of the child to life was met by a straightforward attitude of
opposition by the Church. When "Twilight sleep" came before the
medical profession it was found to save the mother some pain but
seriously to endanger the life of the child, and Christian counsels
were against it.

The Church's teaching is that the mother's task is but half done when
the child is born. She must if possible nurse it because that saves it
from many dangers and is good also for the mother herself in many
ways. The immense difference in the death rate even under favorable
circumstances between the artificially fed and the nursed child is now
well known. As a result of it in New York and Boston the foreign born
mother raises one-seventh more of her children than does the native
mother. This in spite of the great difference there is in the material
circumstances of the children of these two classes of mothers.

Just as the Church has been intent on the right of the child so also
she has been intent on the right of the wife and mother to the loyalty
of her husband. Over and over again down the centuries, when monarchs
or members of the high nobility wanted to put {225} their wives away
and marry younger and handsomer women, the Church has interposed her
absolute negative. In the case of Henry the VIII it cost the apostasy
of England from the Church. Luther, knowing the weakness of men and
yet their obstinacy under such circumstances, permitted the Elector of
Saxony to take two wives. The Church's stand with regard to divorce is
the one consistent position to assume in the midst of the flood of
divorces in which the world is involved at the present moment. Many
rich and influential people leave the Church because their desires in
this matter will not be satisfied, but the Church stands firm and
while making all due allowance for human nature's weakness recognizes
that there is a moral principle to be insisted on in this matter.

Just exactly the same sort of position as the Church took with regard
to abortion and the right of the child to life from the very first
moment of its conception, was taken also with regard to birth control.
There is perfect liberty on the part of parents to limit the number of
children in their family and the Church has even canonized husbands
and wives who have lived together as brother and sister and have had
no children. It is not a question of having a large number of children
to swell the membership in the Church or any other worldly reason. It
is a question of individual fulfilment of natural laws which forbid
the frustration of nature for selfish reasons. Nature has attached
certain satisfactions to acts for the purpose of bringing about
propagation of the race. When the word nature is used in that way the
only reality behind the word is {226} nature's God. To frustrate this
purpose, then, is a serious infringement of law. Where the Church's
doctrine in the matter is neglected races are disappearing. In any
city in this country where there is not a large foreign born
population, except in certain parts of the South, the death rate is
higher than the birth rate and Americans are disappearing. Race
suicide is just ahead as the result of refusal to receive the Church's
teaching. If our universities and colleges were to receive only the
children of their graduates the numbers in attendance would soon
dwindle sadly. Education makes people selfish and there is need of a
guide and monitor to awaken people's consciousness and make them
realize that they have allowed themselves to drift into serious
neglect of important natural laws.

At all times the Church has taken a stand against social abuses. When
duelling became a serious evil in modern society and men called each
other out often to fight unto the death, often because of absurd
customs and peccadilloes of honor, the Church refused Christian burial
to those who had been killed in this way and refused the sacraments to
those intent on such a settlement of personal differences and thus
created an undercurrent of opposition that finally led to the
eradication of the duel. All this was not accomplished at once nor by
drastic measures but by quiet teachings that directed men's hearts and
beliefs and eventually reached them. When in certain parts of Europe
suicides increased in number and manifestly social usage was
encouraging the crime, as in the old pagan days, similar special means
of condemnation were taken and above {227} all Christian burial was
prohibited and the suicide rate at once fell. The difference between
the suicide rate in the Catholic and Protestant cantons of Switzerland
is very striking. The lowest suicide rate in Europe is in Ireland and
has been for centuries in spite of the suffering among the people and
the little satisfaction there might seem to be in life under the
trying circumstances of their national life for so long.

And so the Church has been the guardian of men against themselves and
their own tendencies to self-destruction, as it has always been their
best protector against the injustices of others. All down the
centuries she has consistently taken her position as the upholder of
the weak against the strong whenever there was question of moral
principle involved. She has done this not by exerting strength against
strength but by moral influence, directing men's minds in the
knowledge of right and wrong but above all changing men's hearts so as
to have them do the right. Unfortunately man is so constituted that in
the words of the Apostle, he may know the better and wish to do it and
yet follow after the worse. If the Apostle himself felt thus, it is
easy to understand that churchmen have at times been in the wrong and
have used their influence for the worse instead of the better. That
represents the human side of the Church and to err is human, and there
always will be abuses. The better things are, the more they are liable
to abuse, but from the abuse of a thing no argument holds against its
proper use and the Church has in the great majority of instances
proven to be the {228} moral influence and pillar of truth that was
needed to guide the affairs of men.

In times of war the Church has insisted on the rights of the weaker
party and has always organized Christian charity for the care of the
wounded and the ailing. During the Middle Ages her insistence on the
right of refuge or sanctuary, that is that people who were in danger
of their lives and who took refuge in a church or under the protection
of the Church must not be harmed, secured for many a man accused of
wrong and pursued by some one powerful enough to take his life, the
right to proper trial and such delay as led to the calming of men's
minds and the arousing of the latent sense of justice. The
proclamation of the Truce of God, by which, even in the midst of war,
men were at first required to abstain from all fighting from the
Vesper hour on Saturday until Sunday was passed and later Friday and
Thursday of each week were added to this period, had much to do in
breaking up the savagery of warfare among the barbarous people in the
earlier part of the second millennium of Christianity and brought
about the establishment of international law and respect for the
rights of non-combatants.

The Church did not try to reform the world nor change human nature by
setting up a Utopian policy to prevent all war and then discouraged
over the unattainment of the impossible give up as it were in despair
the idea of being able to accomplish any good. You cannot change human
nature, but you can modify it by degrees and bring it to more humane
conditions in which some of the evils at least that have existed will
{229} be lessened. That is the difference between the Church and the
philanthropists or the philosophers who would establish their policies
on pure reasoning about abstract right and wrong, forgetting the
nature of man. There is little reason to think that war will ever
cease to be a feature of human history. Wars can however be lessened
in frequency and in barbarity. Our last Great War was a typical
instance of the contradiction of ordinary impressions with regard to
war. Nearly everybody was sure that we could not have a great war
involving practically all the civilized nations and if we did by any
chance have it, it could not last any more than a few months or even a
few weeks, and we not only had it but it lasted for four years and a
quarter and caused more death and human suffering than any war in
human history. Indeed the wars of recent times have all been worse
than their predecessors. And the twentieth century has had more wars
for its years than any other.

In recent years the Church has devoted herself particularly to the
social problems of the industrial world and especially to those which
concern a decent living wage for the workman and the principles that
are involved. Pope Leo XIII thirty years ago wrote a great Encyclical
on labor in which the principles of the proper relations between
employer and employee were laid down. The teaching of the Church has
always been that the employer is bound in conscience to pay the man
who works for him a decent living wage, that is, one which will enable
him to provide a proper dwelling for his wife and family and afford
them such food as will keep them in health and strength.   [Note 21]
After all, this {230} is only to ask for fellowmen what we demand for
the animals in the service of men, proper shelter and sufficient food.
Unless at least this much is secured, if the employer is making money
from the work of his employee he is committing two of the "sins that
cry to Heaven for vengeance," oppressing the poor and defrauding
laborers of their wages.   [Note 22] There must be no question of the
employer obtaining his workman at as cheap a wage as possible
regardless of whether that will support him and his wife and family,
and he must not wait until the employee insists on demanding a living
wage. He is bound in conscience to grant it.

But the Church goes much farther than this and suggests that a wealthy
man is bound to share of his superfluity with others. He does not
possess riches in the sense that he can do anything that he wants to
with them and he is bound in conscience to take care of those around
him who may be seriously in need. This was the teaching long ago of
the Fathers of the Church and especially of Basil, but it has been
renewed all down the centuries and now is emphasized once more when
money has so largely taken the place of God and the spiritual in the
eyes of men. Just after the war the National Catholic Welfare
Conference and the Bishops and Archbishops of this country dwelt on
the necessity of wealth being considered only a trust and of a man
thinking of himself as the steward of his possessions for the benefit
of others.

The Church's position with regard to evolution has been typical of her
place as the teacher of all nations. While a number of Catholic
scientists have been {231} evolutionists and such men as Abbot Mendel
and Father Wasmann, S. J., have made distinct contributions to the
subject, there has never been any question of Catholics believing that
the world came by chance, or that there is not an overseeing
Providence, or that man, even though his body may have been in some
way derived from the animals by forces put into nature by the Creator,
is not a being of an entirely different order from any of the animals.
His ideas of immortality, his feeling of relationship with the
spiritual world, his definite persuasion even in the lowest savages we
know that the dead live though he sees their bodies disappearing, his
sense of beauty and his power of  expressing it, his sense of duty and
of right and wrong are all proofs of the spiritual character of man
that could not have come by any process of evolution, but must have
been a special creation. We talk of the work of the poet and artist as
creation, thus proclaiming that man was made in the image of God. The
idea that the universe around us could have come by some fortuitous
concourse of atoms and that law and order and life and consciousness
could be the result of blind chance, the Church has emphatically
repudiated. When Lord Kelvin asked Liebig, the great German chemist,
if he believed that the grass and Bowers around us grew by mere
chemical forces he answered, "No, no more than I could believe that a
book of botany describing them could grow by mere chemical forces."
This rationally common-sense view of the greatest of scientists has
been the constant teaching of the Church.


While the greatest possible freedom is allowed students of biology and
all the allied sciences, the idea that man is merely an animal, a
tool-making and a tool-using animal, as some of the zoologists have
declared, an animal without any more responsibility than the animals,
and perishing as they do without a trace, has been formally rejected.
The old scholastic philosophers believed in the possibility of
spontaneous generation, and careful studies were made long ago of the
growth of the hair and the nails for long years after the death of the
body, so that there has been the greatest possible liberty of
investigation with the production of a feeling of the most absolute
confidence on the part of students that truth is the one object sought
and that there is no question of interference with research but only
with hasty half-baked conclusions. Always the ethical guide has been
needed and has proven a blessed monitor for what was right and for
real happiness.


Chapter XIII

Helping the Helpless

When Christ Himself lived here on earth there were just two things
that He occupied Himself with,--teaching all men who came to Him and
helping the helpless around Him. He went about doing good, curing the
sick, enabling the lame to walk, the blind to see and the deaf to
hear, but devoting Himself to the care of suffering humanity, though
not neglecting His great duty of teaching. These two phases of
Christ's life are very well exemplified in the history of the Church.
Teaching all nations has been always exemplified. From the earliest
days the houses of the Christian bishops even in the time of
persecutions were homes for the very poor, for travelers and for the
ailing. In their ceremony of consecration bishops are required to make
a special solemn promise to care for the poor. As time went on
bishops' houses became really hospitals, in both senses of that word,
as guest houses and places for the ill who had no otherwhere to lay
their heads. The orders of deacons and deaconesses were established
and maintained so that their members might devote themselves to the
care of the poor and the ailing and the instincts of the feminine
heart were given an object, and women's affections were called upon so
as to secure the best possible conditions for the poor.

When the Lord taught men how to pray, the prayer was "Our Father Who
Art In Heaven." When a {234} doctor of the law asked Him, tempting
Him: "Master, which is the great commandment of the law?" Jesus said
to him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart....
This is the greatest and the first commandment, and the second is like
to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two
commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets." The love of
God is the first but the love of one's neighbor is not less in
significance and is like unto the first so that it also is the great
commandment of the law. Man's duty towards his neighbor was set down
by God Himself as on a par with his duty towards God. He deliberately
transferred man's obligations toward his Creator to his fellow
creatures. On the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man
Christianity is founded. When one asked Him, who is my neighbor? He
told the parable of the good Samaritan and proclaimed that every man
is our neighbor when we have the chance to do good to him. God called
the quality of mind which incited us to do good to others charity.
_Caritas_, the Latin original, means the dearness of men to others
because of the obligations that we are all under as the result of the
fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of human kind.

There are two great phases of charity. The first consists in helping
the helpless, that is, in aiding those who cannot help themselves
because of illness or crippling or physical or mental conditions which
make it impossible for them to accomplish the ordinary work of
mankind. Christ emphasized the obligation of helping such persons by
going about during His active life {235} and doing good for them in
every way possible. He healed the physically ailing and above all he
consoled human hearts and lifted men up from ruts of discouragement
and despondency so as to make life mean ever so much more than before.
Christianity, if it is to deserve its name and fulfill its purpose of
carrying on Christ's work, must therefore make this phase of charity
one of the most important of its occupations. Anything like neglect of
the helpless poor, of those who cannot help themselves, is a definite
index of lack of true Christianity. The Church must be ready to make
sacrifices for these people at all times, or else it is not following
in the footsteps of its Lord and Master. Almost needless to say,
nothing has been more characteristic of Catholic Christianity all down
the centuries from the very beginning, and never more so than at the
present time, than its care for those who could not help themselves.
There have been vicissitudes and unfortunate ups and downs in the
organization of charity, there have even been abuses of very serious
character in connection with it, because the better a thing is the
more it is open to abuse, but the exercise of charity in this sense of
the term has been a main purpose of the Church that has attracted the
attention of all thoughtful people outside of the fold.

The other phase of charity is that of helping people to help
themselves. There are a very large number of men and women who, though
in good health and strength, are quite incapable of helping themselves
effectively. The psychological test made during the war is still in
dispute so far as regards its real significance as an intelligence
test, but at least it brought out very {236} clearly that a very large
number of young men even in our day and with our great public school
system could not be expected to make even a reasonable success of life
unless special attention were given to them by those possessed of more
of the capacity for and the practical wisdom of life. They need to be
helped to help themselves. It is probably true that in all times one
in three of mankind, perhaps more, are thus conditioned. It is a very
great charity to care for these, as much of a charity indeed as it is
to care for the helpless who are made so by positive disease or
serious abnormality or defect. The Church has taken care of this phase
of charity also. This is so large a subject in the history of Church
social influence, however, that it cannot be treated in a single
chapter with the other phase of Helping the Helpless, and so it will
be found in the subsequent chapter.

It had been one of the disgraces of the older civilizations during the
centuries just before Christianity, deeply intellectual though they
were, that they made almost no provision for the poor. To a very
great extent the rule of life had been, "Every man for himself." Blood
relationship imposed a duty and created a claim on others, but beyond
that there was almost nothing to bind men to each other. The best
demonstration of this is to be found in the fact that the modern idea
of a public hospital was quite unknown in the pre-Christian time.
Magnificent medical institutions, luxuriantly arranged health resorts
for the wealthy, or the friends of the wealthy, they had in abundance.
They also had hospitals in our modern sense of the word for {237} the
care of the sick soldiers founded by the State and maintained at
government expense, and there were similar institutions in which
ailing slaves would be cared for at the expense of their masters, but
it is easy to understand how far such institutions were from public
hospitals as we know them. If you belonged to someone else your health
was a subject of special interest and would be cared for. If you were
a soldier or a slave so that there was a distinct advantage to others
in having you in good health, then there were public institutions to
house you. But if you belonged merely to yourself and anything
pathological developed, unless you were in a position to help yourself
or there were friends to assume that burden for you, there was no
provision to help you regain health and above all none to soothe your
last hours if you were afflicted with an incurable disease. No wonder
we hear about so many suicides among the Greeks and Romans, for life
must have seemed quite worthless and almost hopeless whenever a
disease was severe.

Christianity changed all that. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself" was one of the two great laws of Christianity. Your neighbor,
according to the parable of the Good Samaritan, was anyone who needed
you and the more he needed you the greater was your duty to help him.
If he were old and poor and in suffering you had an obligation to him
no matter who he was. If he were suffering from an incurable disease,
if he were a leper and aroused natural feelings of deterrence, if he
were suffering from cancer and there was not a shred of hope for him
living beyond a few painful {238} months, your obligation was all the
greater. If he were insane and could not care for himself, if he were
an imbecile and could never hope to be able to care for himself, your
duty as a Christian toward him was all the more manifest. Hence there
arose, just as soon as the persecutions were at an end and
Christianity had a chance to express itself in a public way, a series
of institutions in which all these different classes of the helpless
were cared for. Back even in the fourth century there are very
definite accounts of _orphanotrophia_ for the orphans, _nosocomia_,
hospitals, particularly for the care of the chronic ailments, nursling
institutions (they did not call them foundling asylums), homes for the
aged, and then asylums for the care of the insane and the feeble
minded. They represented a very definite policy on the part of the
Church in which she was following the injunctions of her Divine

The first hospitals came into existence shortly after Constantine's
edict, after the battle of the Milvian Bridge, which allowed the
Christians freedom of worship and permitted them to exercise publicly
the various functions of Christianity. Fabiola, herself a descendant
of the distinguished old Fabian family whose ancestor Fabius had saved
Rome by delaying, founded the first formal hospital in Rome and
organized social service for the ailing poor in connection with it.
There was regular visitation of the sick outside of the hospital and
such an organization of charity that when Fabiola died all of Rome
crowded to her funeral, and unfortunately the ardor of their desire to
do honor to this woman who had done so much for the poor was so great
that some {239} people are said to have been trampled to death during
the funeral services. Her example, as might have been expected under
the circumstances of her birth and prestige, was very soon followed in
other Roman cities and the organization of hospitals came to be the
order of the day very much as in our own time.

In the East the hospital movement among Christians had begun even
earlier than this. It is said that St. Zoticus built one at
Constantinople during the reign of Constantine, though there is some
question as to this. That the Christians in the East had founded many
hospitals before Julian the Apostate came to the throne is evident
from Julian's letter to Arsacius in which he declared that it would be
impossible to hope for a return of the old Olympic religion into
prestige unless it could rival Christianity in the fruits of charity
and care for others. Julian's words show that Christian charity
provided care not only for Christians but also for pagans. According
to a very old tradition that is well authenticated a splendid instance
of this comprehensive charity is found in the work of St. Ephraim, who
during the plague at Edessa about the beginning of the last quarter of
the fourth century, provided some three hundred beds for the sufferers
from the disease who had no one to care for them. No wonder that
Julian ordered the establishment of hospitals both as guest houses and
homes for the sick, in each city to be supported out of the public
revenue. Christianity had aroused men to a sense of their duty in such
matters which had not existed before in the history of mankind.


The finest example of the organization of social service, as we would
call it, in the early Christian times under Church auspices is the
famous foundation of St. Basil, the Greek father of the Church, in his
diocesan city of Caesarea in Cappadocia. This foundation was laid in
the third quarter of the fourth century. It was of such an extensive
character and contained so many buildings outside of the city of
Cappadocia that it came to be called "the new town." It had regular
streets, buildings for different classes of patients, a house for
infants, a home for orphans, a refuge for the old, a place for the
segregation of those suffering from contagious diseases, it had
dwellings for physicians and nurses, there were even work shops and
industrial schools, so that no wonder this institution, known in honor
of its founder as the _Basilias_, has been famous ever since in the
history of organized charity. They actually seem to have done
reconstruction work in our very latest sense of that term, by enabling
maimed men to learn trades which they would be able to follow in spite
of their crippled condition, and they had employment agencies and
other arrangements for making life easier for those who needed such
special care. No wonder that St. Gregory Nazianzen was so loud in his
praise of the efficiency of this institution and that he has described
it very enthusiastically.

St. Basil's example as might have been expected, was followed
generally throughout the East. St. John Chrysostom, the archbishop of
Constantinople, founded a hospital there, and St. Pulcheria the sister
of the emperor Theodosius II, founded {241} _multa publica hospitum el
pauperum domicilia_, "many public guest houses and homes for the
poor." St. Samson founded a hospital near the Church of St. Sophia in
the sixth century, and when this was destroyed it was restored under
Justinian, who also built other hospitals. Du Cange enumerates
thirty-five hospital foundations in Constantinople, and we have very
definite accounts of the work that was done in them. The West was not
behind in the taking up of this hospital movement. At Lyons there was
a Xenodochium, or home for strangers, especially the ailing, founded
by King Childebert and his wife before the middle of the sixth
century. After this we have similar foundations by Brunehaut, wife of
King Sigibert, at Autun, and by St. Radegunda, wife of King Clotaire,
at Athis near Paris, of Caesarius and his sister, St. Caesaria, at
Aries, and finally of the Hotel Dieu in Paris, which is still in
existence, though according to Haeser, the well known historian of
medicine, it was founded shortly after the middle of the seventh
century. In Spain hospitals were founded before the end of the sixth
century and the orders were that wherever they found a sick man,
"slave or free, Christian or Jew, they should bring him in their arms
to the hospital and provide him with bed and proper nourishment."

For the benefit of pilgrims to the Holy Land before the Crusades came
the foundation of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, known as the
Knights Hospitalers, because the principal duty was the care of
strangers and the ailing. During the crusades their hospitals in
Jerusalem provided for over a thousand {242} patients. In connection
with this there was an order of nursing women of St. Mary of
Jerusalem, whose hospital also became famous. Later the Knights
Templars, originally established as an order for the care of the
ailing and the wounded in an edifice which stood on the site of the
Temple of Jerusalem, hence their name, came into existence. The
Teutonic order of Knights who afterwards conquered Prussia and whose
general at the time of the Reformation sequestrated the property and
domain of the order and took it for his own family, becoming King of
Prussia, developed out of a field hospital under the walls of Acre in
which Count Adolph of Holstein with other Germans, especially from
Bremen and Lübeck, ministered to the sick and wounded.

The members of these orders bound themselves by vow to the service of
the sick and the rule prescribed that wherever the order was
introduced it should build a hospital. The heart of Europe went out to
the Crusaders quite as the American people's heart went out to our
young soldiers during the war, and the contributions made for the care
of the wounded during both periods were enormous. As a result
properties of different kinds, many of them productive, were given to
these nursing orders as endowments and they enjoyed immense revenues
and did very great good. Unfortunately their prosperity, as always,
proved their undoing at times: but reforms, as is necessary in
everything human, were made and they continued to accomplish an
immense amount of good. {243}

After the Crusades these endowments which consisted mainly of
properties rented in various places were used for the benefit of
sufferers from flood and fire and especially from epidemics of various
kinds which raged rather severely during the fourteenth century, until
the work organized in connection with them would remind one very much
of what our own Red Cross is doing. The sisters of St. Mary of
Jerusalem, to whom much of this work was confided, curiously enough
wore a red cross on their tunics, though this has no relation to the
modern red cross. It is very interesting to find that St. Camillus of
Lellis, who organized in the sixteenth century a religious order of
men who as neutrals succored the wounded in times of war and took care
of the ailing in the armies also adopted a red cross as the badge by
which his community was recognized. He did an immense amount of good
work, and branches of the order were established in many places.

A special feature down the centuries of abiding charity has been
various organizations for the relief and redemption of captives taken
by the Moorish pirates, held as slaves and often suffering very
severely in their slavery. Literally hundreds of thousands of these
captives were relieved in one way or another and many thousands of
them ransomed by these religious orders which began their work in the
thirteenth century and continued it until the religious revolution of
the sixteenth century so disturbed political conditions in Europe as
greatly to hamper the charity. We who know as a result of the last war
how much of good was {244} accomplished by those who made themselves
intermediaries between the prisoners in Germany and their home folk
will realize to some degree, though not completely, what these
religious orders for the ransomed captives accomplished. Cervantes,
the hero of Lepanto, was captured by the Barbary Moorish pirates and
was a slave for several years until ransomed. The United States only
with the beginning of the nineteenth century finally placed a term to
the abuse by which Christians were reduced to slavery in the Barbary

During the thirteenth century an immense number of hospitals were
built. The Italian cities were the leaders in the movement. Milan had
no less than a dozen hospitals and Florence before the end of the
fourteenth century had some thirty hospitals. Some of these were very
beautiful buildings. At Milan a portion of the general hospital was
designed by Bramante and another part of it by Michelangelo. The
Hospital of the Innocents in Florence for foundlings was an
architectural gem. The hospital of Sienna, built in honor of St.
Catherine, has been famous ever since. Everywhere throughout Europe
this hospital movement spread.   [Note 23] Virchow, the great German
pathologist, in an article on hospitals, showed that every city of
Germany of five thousand inhabitants had its hospital. He traced all
of this hospital movement to Pope Innocent III, and though he was
least of all papistically inclined, Virchow did not hesitate to give
extremely high praise to this pontiff for all that he accomplished for
the benefit of children and of suffering mankind:   [Note 24 ]


To Innocent is owed the foundation of the famous old hospital of the
Holy Ghost, the well known Santo Spirito in the Bargo, not far from
the Vatican. The pope had made inquiries as to who would be the best
to whom to confide the establishment of a hospital and was told that
Guy, or Guido, of Montpellier, had made the model hospital of the time
in the south of France. Guy was summoned to Rome then and given _carte
blanche_ for the building and organization of the hospital. This the
pope decided upon as the type, and when bishops came from their Sees
to make their required visit _ad limina_ to the Holy Father, the
pontiff suggested to them that they should visit the Holy Ghost
hospital and as far as possible make one like it in their dioceses.
These hospitals were in charge of the Brothers and Sisters of the Holy
Spirit and were famous for the good order with which they were
maintained.   [Note 25] Their rules and regulations are extant and
they emphasized above all the necessity for taking every care of the
poor and providing them with everything needed for their ailments.
They were to be treated as the Lord Himself, and as a matter of fact
hospital care was so good that precautions had to be taken not to
permit "sturdy beggars" to take advantage of it or impose upon the
hospital by pretended ailments and thus secure for themselves a nice
easy life or at least a refuge during the colder months until they
could take the road again.

Some of the most beautiful hospitals ever built were erected, as we
have said, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Care was
taken to secure a good location, the bank of a river being preferred,
and most {246} of the hospitals were built outside of the city walls
for the express purpose of providing better air for the inmates and
preventing the spread of contagious disease. It was the custom to
decorate the hospitals with beautiful frescoes and the result was that
patients had much more occupation of mind than they have in our bare
walled hospitals. (See Walsh "The Popes and Science" Chapter,
Hospitals.) It is only in very recent years that we have come back to
building hospitals with anything like the architectural beauty they
had in the older times. The hospital at Sienna, built in honor of St.
Catherine, and the _Ospedale Maggiore_ of Milan are typical examples
of this architectural beauty. Dr. W. Gill Wiley, in his Boylston Prize
Essay on Hospitals, has high words of praise for what was accomplished
under the influence of the church of Rome for the erection of
beautiful hospitals and the development of hospital organization.
Everywhere this was true. Italy was not alone; France and Spain, as
well as England and Germany and Sweden, all present some magnificent
hospital foundations during the period preceding the Reformation.
[Note 26]

The hospitals for the sick, meant to house mainly the ailing poor who
could not be cared for at their homes, were usually very beautiful
buildings. They were looked upon as public institutions and were built
with the idea of being appropriate to the dignity of the city rather
than fitted for the housing of the poor. [Note 27] Great artists were
asked to decorate them and some of their most beautiful pictures were
made for hospitals. The pretty _bambine_ of Luca Della Robbia were
made {247} for the Hospital of the Innocents, as it was called, or as
in our ruder northern way we would say a foundling asylum. Catholic
charity did not label children with a badge of infamy. The very
beautiful hospital at Sienna was erected in memory of St. Catherine of
Sienna, who had served in it for many years taking care of the ailing
poor, not shrinking from the task even during the time of the Black
Death, and who organized a sort of visiting nurses' system in the
Sienna of the fourteenth century. She visited the prison also, and
though she dreaded the sight of blood was known to accompany a man to
the scaffold where he was to be beheaded in order to tempt him to make
his peace with God. The Siennese proclaimed her a saint and therefore
rebuilt this hospital in her honor, and it was decorated by some of
their great artists. It is one of the most beautiful monuments ever
erected to a woman.

This custom obtained not only in Italy but also in western Europe and
the very beautiful pictures of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand
virgins were made for the great hospital of St. John at Bruges by
Memmling. It is said that the artist was unable to pay his hospital
fees and did not want to accept the service without some return, so he
painted the pictures. They have been one of the most precious
treasures of the hospital ever since. The last time I visited them in
1913 I was told that nearly one hundred thousand people had paid
admission to see them the year before. As admission was a franc that
meant nearly twenty thousand dollars that in a single year came into
the funds of the hospital for the exhibition of these pictures four
hundred {248} years after they were painted and presented by the
artist in lieu of money. Anyone who has ever seen them and has any
feeling for art must be quite sure that it was well worth while paying
the franc to see them. They were accepted by the hospital authorities
with the idea that there should be beautiful things for the patients
to see, so as to distract their minds from themselves and to lift
their hearts up above the sordid consideration of their sufferings and
their surroundings.

Down in Spain the governors of the great hospital of Seville gave to
Murillo the commission of painting a dozen of paintings for its walls,
mainly of the scenes of Christ's life in which He went about healing
the sick and doing good. These are sometimes said to be his greatest
paintings, and it is easy to understand how much his pictures must
have satisfied the minds of not only the patients but the visitors who
came to see the patients and how much such surroundings must have
tempted them to make their visits more frequent. We keep our great
pictures in the modern time in museums to which people must pay
special visits in order to see them. In the older days, mainly under
the influence of the Church and religious orders, the pictures were in
the churches and the hospitals, the guild halls and public buildings
generally. People had to go to these a certain number of times every
year either for the purpose of fulfilling their religious obligations
or else for other reasons and they were brought in intimate contact
with great art. This was a much better way of getting art in touch
with the people. We are beginning {249} now to paint our court houses,
state capitols and even sometimes our town halls in the cities in the
way that was popular in the Middle Ages, and in so far as we are doing
that we are imitating the movement with regard to art that was so
manifest six or seven centuries ago. We have not as yet come to the
point where we decorate our hospitals and make them things of beauty
inside as well as outside. It might be done without interfering in the
slightest degree with the surgical cleanliness of the hospital and to
the great benefit of patients in the effect produced on their minds
and the occupation with other thoughts besides those with which they
concern themselves, often disturbingly.

Their care for the insane was very interesting, particularly in the
light of traditions which proclaim that before our time the insane
were frightfully abused. Undoubtedly they were in the post-Reformation
time, down to the beginning of the latter half of the nineteenth
century, when reform began to make itself felt. Under the protection
of the Church, however, the insane were well cared for during the
Middle Ages. In the earlier days there were special congregations of
religious who housed them and then, when hospitals increased in
number, they were cared for in these. The Hospital of St. Mary of
Bethlehem in London gradually came to care exclusively for the insane.
It is usually considered that they knew very little about insanity in
the Middle Ages, but anyone who will read the brief paragraph of
Bartholomew, the Englishman, who wrote an encyclopedia for priests
about the middle of the thirteenth century, will not be likely to
think that {250} insanity was not understood. Bartholomew described in
a few words but quite fully the causes, the symptoms and the proper
treatment of the insane. They were to be gladdened with music, given
occupation and were to be taken away from the environment in which
their insanity had developed.  [Note 28]

They evidently had the open door system as we would call it, for we
hear of "bedlam beggars," that is, men who had been in Bedlam for a
time and then were allowed to go out, wearing a distinctive badge
however, which showed that they had been in Bedlam. This put them
under the protection of the public and in case of necessity they were
cared for and were not imposed upon. Indeed, they were treated so well
that sometimes sturdy vagrants, that is, the tramps, for we have
always had the tramp with us, stole the Bedlam tokens, or obtained
possession of them surreptitiously when the original owner died. They
then wore them in order to secure the sympathy and aid which would be
so freely given to those who had been in Bedlam and were deemed to
need it.

Under the aegis of the Church the Middle Ages began the proper care of
the imbeciles or feeble-minded. The village of Gheel in Belgium has
been for many centuries a village colony for the feeble-minded. A
young Irish girl named Dympna went over to Belgium to help the Irish
missionaries convert the fierce Germans along that north sea coast.
They refused to allow her to teach their normal children, but they
allowed her to take care of the feeble-minded, and she was glad to do
it so as to have the chance to baptize {251} them. After a time Dympna
was martyred and her martyrdom brought about the conversion of the
people and the shrine in her honor was erected. As they remembered her
interest in the feeble-minded they brought the backward children to
her shrine hoping that they would be cured. Many of them came to be
left in the village and so there grew up about a thousand years ago
that village plan of caring for defectives and epileptics which we
have come to realize in our day represents the best possible
environment for them and we are imitating it in Craig Colony for
epileptics and Letchworth village in New York, as well as in many
other parts of the country. Many other villages took up the sort of
work done at Gheel and the traditions of some of them remain to our

The medieval care for the leper, organized mainly under the stimulus
of the Church, is an extremely interesting feature of the life of the
time, and a striking exemplification of the solution of a thorny
social problem in a very satisfactory way. Leprosy developed very
probably in connection with the visitation to the Holy Land by
pilgrims and then was given a great impetus in many parts of Europe by
the Crusades. It has been suggested that perhaps leprosy was as common
in the later Middle Ages as tuberculosis is in ours. The two diseases
have certain relations to each other in their pathological picture,
they are both chronic granumolata and their microbic causes are
probably related. Leprosy is mildly contagious though ever so much
less than tuberculosis. It was resolved to get rid of it, so laws were
made segregating the lepers. They were {252} compelled to live in
colonies by themselves outside of the towns and by the enforcement of
these laws the medieval people succeeded in wiping out leprosy. It has
been said that if we shall succeed in eliminating tuberculosis in
anything like the same way we may very well be proud of the fact for
the sake of humanity.

These lazar colonies, or leproseries, as they were called, were under
the patronage of Lazarus, probably not the Lazarus who had been raised
from the dead, but the Lazarus whose sores had been licked by dogs
outside the door of the rich man. Ordinarily it is presumed that
condemnation to a leper colony must have been an awful thing, a sort
of social death. To some extent this was true. But the leper colonies
were very often beautifully situated. They consisted of a series of
small neat houses, a chapel in the midst of them, Mass was said every
morning and the lepers themselves came to be quite well satisfied with
their condition. They looked upon their affliction as something that
they might offer up as a sacrifice for their own sins and those of
others, their prayers were asked for by their neighbors because they
were thought to have a special efficacy, since suffering had purified
their intentions, and many of the inhabitants were looked upon as
saintly in character. Members of the nobility and especially members
of royal families often made it a point when passing leper colonies to
visit them, or if they passed lepers on the road to greet them and
give them a dole of alms and they were regularly sent presents on the
high festival days. There were priests and religious who were willing
to make the sacrifice to care for them just as there have {253} been
in the modern time. Father Damian in our generation went to Molokai to
care for the lepers and himself died of the disease, and the world
heard much of him but very little has been said of his colleagues in
similar work in many places, and almost nothing about the Sisters who
made the sacrifice of caring for the lepers at Tracadie, in eastern
Canada, and in Louisiana, though their sacrifice was made just as
whole-heartedly. At the present moment there are Catholic religious
caring for the lepers in many parts of the world.

All down the centuries then the Church has been the good Samaritan,
helping those above all who could not help themselves, those who were
stricken with incurable disease of mind or body, the maimed and the
crippled, the blind and the leper, the imbecile and the idiot. There
is no mode of care for these in which the Church has not been the
pioneer; and yet today, after nearly two thousand years, the Church is
doing more than ever for all these classes of people and doing it
quietly and without any fuss and as a rule doing it ever so much more
efficiently than other people. At the present time, at the end of the
first quarter of the twentieth century, they are in this country of
ours some six hundred sisters' hospitals, besides institutions of all
kinds that care for the orphans, the insane, the old and the
incurable. The sisters' hospitals are finely managed. They succeed
where others fail. The surprise is how they succeed in doing as much
as they do. Their efficiency is a proverb. Some of the best surgery
done in our generation is being done in sisters' hospitals in this
country. At his death Dr. Murphy of {254} Chicago was proclaimed the
greatest surgeon that we had for three hundred years, and most of his
surgery was done in Mercy Hospital in Chicago. It is sisters who are
in charge of the great hospital of St. Mary's at Rochester, in
Minnesota, where the Mayo brothers are doing their magnificent work in
surgery and to which all the world looks for instruction in surgery.

When one hundred years ago there was an epidemic of cholera in
Philadelphia and old Blockley hospital was crowded with cholera
patients the nurses struck for higher wages, got them and then went on
a drunk. The Board of Trustees of the Hospital in despair over
conditions went to Bishop Kendrick of Philadelphia and asked him if
sisters could be secured to take care of the patients. A messenger was
sent down to Emmitsburg and six Sisters of Charity started on
horseback two hours after the summons was received. Their feelings can
be better imagined than described. They were coming to take charge of
a hospital full of cholera with all the nurses intoxicated, but they
put order into the place at once and gave Blockley its "one short
interregnum of peace which broke the long and distressing reign of
violence and cruelty."   [Note 29]

When New York had an epidemic of smallpox in 1876 and there were
scandals in the pest house on the island, the Sisters of Charity of
New York, took charge there and at once revolutionized conditions. No
wonder that in both cases the sisters were given heartfelt glowing
tributes by those who had the responsibility for the patients.


Only the Catholic Church can supply at all times in history the
workers who are capable of forgetting themselves in this way and
accomplishing such wonderful results. Ask the soldiers of the last war
and they will tell you the same story of the thoroughgoing
forgetfulness of self on the part of the Catholic chaplains. The old
tradition is as strong now as it was nineteen hundred years ago. Our
Civil War showed this clearly.   [Note 30]

The principal feature of charity as practiced by Christians lay in the
fact that when they did things for others they had no feeling of
condescension because they were good enough to be helpful to other
people but on the contrary they felt that it was a privilege to be
allowed to help the poor since they represented God Himself. They had
been told, "Whatsoever thou shalt do for the least of these, my
brethren, thou doest even unto Me." Best of all, the poor themselves
had the feeling that it was not being done so much for them as for
God's sake, because of the obligations implied by the Fatherhood of
God, and hence there was no feeling of pauperization that went with
it. Besides, sacrifice is looked upon as the highest exercise of
Christianity, and hence the person who did the charity felt that the
sacrifice involved reacted to make his own character as a Christian
better. Just in proportion to the amount of sacrifice required was the
value of the act for the individual doer of it. St. Francis de Sales
is said to have said that "unless the charity you do does as much good
for you as it does for the one for whom it is done, there is something
wrong with the charity." Unless charity involved some sacrifice there
was very little of {256} merit in it. If all that it required was the
signing of a check for a sum of money almost negligible in itself out
of a large income there was but the slightest sacrifice involved and
the smallest of merit. Indeed if there was any complacency over the
doing of it the merit of the charity disappeared in the midst of that.

The charity of Christianity has always been exercised ever so much
more by those who were comparatively poor than by the very wealthy or
even by those with a considerable competence. Hence it has often been
said in Christian circles that if the rich gave half as much in
proportion to their means in charity as did the poor there would be no
poverty left. It is not an unusual thing for a poor family to share a
portion of their last dollar with the family next door who they know
need it. Sometimes the very last dollar itself has been known to go
out of a poor man's home and especially a poor woman's hand for the
help of a neighbor in dire distress. Literally following the spirit of
Christianity the giver was ready to follow the injunction, "Consider
the birds of the air how they reap not neither do they sow, yet your
Heavenly Father hath care for them." Often and often the poor have
been ready to commit themselves and their future entirely to Divine
Providence when they had before them the spectacle of a neighbor in
distress and their fullness of heart was not limited to fellow
Christians alone.

Above all it was the personal charity, that done by one man for
another when there was personal knowledge of the need and personal
realization of how those needs might best be succored. There was
comparatively {257} little of organized charity in our modern sense of
the word. The great Catholic organization for charity in our day, the
St. Vincent de Paul, has its members visit the poor, become familiar
with their surroundings, and then help them if helpless, but above all
help them to help themselves. It is this intimate contact with those
in need that does the doer of the charity so much good as to make it
quite invaluable. Such an occupation is often an extremely valuable
resource for those who are suffering from psycho-neurotic conditions
consequent upon nothing to do and over attention to themselves.


Chapter XIV

Helping Men to Help Themselves

Christianity recognized from the very beginning that the helpless must
be cared for, and though that idea had never before been put in
practice the early Christians, as we have seen in the chapter on
Helping the Helpless, proceeded to organize institutions of various
kinds for this purpose. There are a large number of men and women,
however, who though they are not helpless are quite incapable of
helping themselves to make the most of life or at least to secure such
happiness and contentment as makes life really worth while. The man
who does things for the sick and the ailing, the lame, the halt and
the blind is doing a real work of charity, and yet not more than the
man or the woman who is enabling fellow men to help themselves to make
more out of life. In our time this is spoken of usually as social
service, but Catholic Christianity has never used any such indefinite
term but has called it charity and has proclaimed it a duty owed to
others. The Church has insisted that there is a definite obligation in
this matter as in the caring for the helpless. This obligation is
dependent not on any vague sense of fellow feeling, much less on any
indefinite sentimentality, through which we feel better for doing
things for others, but are left in full liberty to think that whenever
we care to stop doing them we are perfectly free to do so. This duty
to our neighbor is not {259} merely a work of supererogation, a
product of especially beneficent feelings flowing from a natural
disposition to do good that may be called by the high-sounding term
philanthropy, but it is a part of the duty of the brotherhood among
men in our mutual sonship of God.

When the disciples of John the Baptist came to ask the Lord in the
name of their master whether He was the Christ or whether they should
wait for another, He told them to go back and tell John that they had
seen the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind see, the dead raised to
life again, and the Gospel preached to the poor. Apparently the
greatest miracle of all that He was working during these missionary
years was the preaching of the Gospel to the poor. From the very
beginning the Church has demonstrated that its principal mission is to
the poor. A great many of the proud Romans and Greeks refused to have
anything to do with it because it was the Church of the poor and the
slaves. All down the centuries it has remained the Church of the poor.
Look around in any city of the United States at the present time and
note where the poor crowd in on Sunday and you will find a Catholic
Church. This is the greatest of social services, the finest
exemplification of Christian charity that there is. The poor need the
consolations of religion more than any others. They have very little
in their lives to provide any satisfaction or contentment. The Church
affords all of them a time, every week at least, during which they
feel something of the Fatherhood of God {260} and the brotherhood of
man which represent the greatest source of contentment there is.

The story of what the Church has accomplished for what is so often
called social service, though long before that term was invented, is a
very long one. It would take many volumes to tell the tale from the
time when they held the Christian _agapé_, or love feasts, even in the
days of the catacombs down to the meetings and banquets and
entertainments of the sodalities and other Church organizations in
this year of grace, 1924. For one of the features of Church life which
particularly attracted the attention of the pagans in the early days
of Christianity was the brotherliness which existed among them and
brought high and low together not only in their meetings for religious
services, but also in the social life which the Church ardently
encouraged. As a result of this definite feeling on the part of
churchmen that it was the Church's duty to provide social
entertainment for its members, the drama arose in the later Middle
Ages from religious ceremonials, just as it had done among the Greeks
more than a thousand years before under similar circumstances. The
Oratorio is the development of Church music in a very similar fashion
and the opera developed from the Oratorio, and indeed at first had
religious subjects for its theme much more than others. These are only
examples of the seriousness with which the Church took the work of
diverting as well as teaching the people and caring for them when they
were seriously in need.

This obligation has been felt particularly as regard the children. At
a time when throughout nearly the {261} whole civilized world children
were exposed to perish from hunger or cold if their parents for any
reason did not want to raise them, the Master said "Suffer little
children to come unto me and forbid them not." The last phrase was
added because some of His disciples considered children should be kept
from Him, since His work was too important to be disturbed by them.
That was not His feeling, however, and it has never been the feeling
of the Church. From very early days there have been special
celebrations in honor of the Baby Lord as the children love to call
Him, the Christmas crib was invented and the story of the shepherds
and the Magi or kings from the east bringing presents renewed by
Christmas gifts for all. Good St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, lover of
children, became a beautiful myth according to which there was a dear
saintly old man who thought so much of them that he spent all the year
making things for their Christmas and then distributed them to them
all impartially according to their desserts. The Christmas decoration
of the Church, the evergreens and the Christmas trees, the special
glees that were sung, the Christmas festivities for a fortnight or at
least until Twelfth-night or Epiphany, were all a great children's
party. The fact that all human beings are only children of a larger
growth gave everybody a place in it, and the Christian Church
encouraged the happy diversions.

What was so well exemplified at Christmas time in the renewal of
rejoicing over the liturgical recurrence of the Lord's coming was to
be found at many other times during the year. It has often been said
that the {262} Church festivals represent pagan rites of various kinds
which the Church adopted and adapted. What they represent really are
the definite efforts of the Church to make its children happy. There
had been festivals in the older religions the memory of which
survived. These were taken and Christianized and made occasion for
innocent joys instead of the pagan orgies of various kinds and
sometimes even the human sacrifices that had disgraced them in the
days before Christianity. As a result, in nearly every month of the
year there was some public celebration of a Church festival that
brought people together and led to joyous greetings and happy
pastimes. In January, besides the New Year, there was the Epiphany;
in February, the Candlemas procession and then usually the carnival, a
bidding of goodbye to meat and feasting for forty days to be followed
by the glorious celebrations of Easter which lasted a week and were
renewed in the great feast days that followed. In Spring there was the
blessing of the planted field; in Autumn of the harvest. In June there
was the feast of the Blessed Sacrament with its processions, and St.
John's day brought bonfire night,--and so on through the year, with
something for the young folks to look forward to every month, as an
occasion for meeting and greeting and some of the human happiness that
comes from personal association at these times.

The most important social feature of the life of the nations in the
time of Christ and during the generation after it was slavery. Out of
nearly two millions of population at Rome, considerably more than one
half were slaves. It is a definite historical tradition that the {263}
Romans refused to allow their slaves to be dressed in a distinctive
dress lest they should find out how numerous they were and perhaps
revolt against their masters. The life of the slave was held at the
will of the master. While many of the Roman masters were kindly there
was never any guarantee of the continuance of this kindness and at any
time the necessity or the death of a master might lead to relegation
to conditions where life would be almost impossible. Almost needless
to say, this state of affairs very seriously disturbed morality. This
was particularly true as regards the female slaves, but undoubtedly
had a place also as regards the male slaves. Slavery continued to be
an institution for centuries after the beginning of Christianity and
the Church has often been blamed for not having abolished slavery at
once or at least made that a cardinal point in its policy.

Christianity has, however, never been revolutionary in its mode of
dealing with humanity. Slavery was wrong but not with the peculiar
individual malice that ever so many other things in life were wrong,
and Christ assumed human nature but did not come to change it nor to
make the race and the world different except in so far as men _wanted_
to be different from what they had been. Christ provided the means by
which men would be led into betterment and eventual righteousness, but
they must will it themselves. They must recognize evil for what it was
and then must change it and such change must necessarily be gradual.
Christianity proclaimed that the slave had a soul to save as well as
his master and that this was the most {264} important thing in life,
but he could save it as a slave and the master might save his by
kindness to his slaves. To attempt a general manumission of slaves
would probably have led to a slave revolt and the next state of the
world would be worse than the one that had preceded it. Slaves must be
made ready for freedom, as we have learned in our day in this country
and Europe, or it fails to reach them. Slaves were received into the
Church in just the same way as their masters, and indeed at the
beginning that was the reason why a great many of the Roman patricians
refused to have anything to do with Christianity, because they said it
was a religion of slaves and unworthy of the attention of Roman

In the course of time the slaves were freed, but in the meantime many
of them were proclaimed saints and martyrs, not a few of them had
brought their masters and mistresses into Christianity by their good
example, and had found satisfaction of soul and even happiness in the
bound state. The barbarians from the north came not as an invading
host at first but filtering in to do the hard work which the Romans
despised. By degrees many of them became freedmen and even Roman
citizens. Many sold themselves into voluntary slavery when they first
came to Italy because in this way they were assured of a livelihood
and they were willing to take the chances of doing the hard manual
labor required. After all the conditions were not so very different
from those in our country to which the immigrants came in large
numbers to do our hard work. Until the abolition of the twelve hour
day and the {265} improvement of living conditions in connection with
industry many of these were worse off than the Roman slaves ever were.
They had at least proper food and shelter because of their master's
self interest in his possessions. Our laborers were not chattels, but
they came so near being that under padrone systems of one kind or
another, that the difference is easier to declare than to demonstrate.
Among these immigrants of ours the old Church in our time has done her
work so well that so acute an observer of human nature as Mark Hanna
declared that there were two great safeguards in this country for our
constitution on which he depended with absolute reliance. These were
the Supreme Court of the United States and the Catholic Church. Her
teaching can always be depended on with absolute confidence to support
authority properly.

Roman slavery was followed by medieval serfdom under the feudal
system, and this constituted another problem which the Church had to
meet and solve. The serf was a slave in a certain sense. He was bound
to the land and he passed with the land when there was a change of
ownership. His support, however, was a first charge on the land.
Before any rent could be collected and before taxes could be levied
the serf and his family must be supported. The Church secured this for
him and gradually an amelioration of his conditions. If he was away
from the land for a year and a day he was no longer bound to it. This
gave opportunities for those who enlisted in the Crusades and in war
generally if they were progressive enterprising people to secure
opportunities in life for themselves. Those {266} who were born on
monastery or convent lands were given every opportunity for happiness
in the simple life. There is an old expression "Blessed are those who
live under the crozier," that is, tenants of the abbeys or convents,
because they were treated so well. [Note 31] Their sons and daughters
had the chance to rise in the Church and if they were talented might
go far. Sons of the soil had been known to become Lord Chancellors of
England and sometimes even popes.

Christianity's effort down the centuries has not been to make mankind
better, for mankind does not change, but to lead men to use the means
organized by Christ to make themselves better. Some of the most
exquisite humor of human life is concerned with the attempt of men to
make others better and as it were reform the world, forgetting that if
each man would make himself better we would have a little heaven on
earth. Samuel Johnson's favorite passage in Thomas à Kempis was the
one which runs, "Be not disturbed that you cannot make others as you
wish them to be since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be."
This is one of the most delightful bits of humor in the world. If
there is anything in life that disturbs most people it is the fact
that they cannot make other people better, though they have the most
striking demonstration of the fact that they cannot make themselves
better. A French commentator on the passage of à Kempis said, "The
Lord wants us to be good and to make other people happy, but we insist
on being happy and making the other people good." Christ came to teach
men how to be better, not to change human nature but to give it a
loftier aim {267} than before. He assumed human nature and showed men
what a beautiful thing human life can be if but lived divinely.

In the Middle Ages the Church's greatest contribution to the idea of
the brotherhood of man came from the organizations known as the
Guilds. These were societies of workmen of various trades, including
the merchants and even professional men, whose main purpose was to
serve the social order round them and to secure rights and privileges
for their members. Under the old Roman law no one had any rights
unless they had been conferred upon him by some authority. Of himself
a man enjoyed no privileges except such as had been formally granted.
Conditions were very different from ours when we boldly proclaim that
all men have equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. Under the aegis of the Church, and indeed nearly always as
the result of stimulation by ecclesiastics, men who had interests in
common organized associations which in co-ordination with the Church
proceeded to obtain rights and privileges for those belonging to them.
These were the Guilds. Their power and extension of influence will be
best appreciated from the fact that Toulmin Smith, in his History of
the English Guilds, declares that there must have been some thirty
thousand of them in England before the end of the Middle Ages.
Practically everybody belonged to one or more of them. The tradesmen,
meaning by that mechanics as well as merchants, constituted the great
majority; but other people, including professional men and even
nobility and members of the royal families, were proud to be {268}
chosen as honorary or actual members and it is easy to understand how
much of influence these associations exerted.

Unfortunately, in the course of time money accumulated in their
treasuries and then they became possessed of magnificent properties,
and when the disturbances of the so-called Reformation occurred these
became the subject of envious covetousness. Because the Guilds were so
closely affiliated with the Church they were declared to be religious
organizations and their treasuries were escheated to the crown and
their properties were handed over to favorites of the king. Their
schools were suppressed and as a result there was so much disaffection
among the people in Edward VI's time that some portion of the money,
though not nearly all of it, was given back for educational purposes.
Hence the so-called Edward VI grammar schools in various parts of
England through which, as Gardner says, Edward VI obtained a
reputation for interest in education and in charity that he did not
deserve. Something like the equivalent of one hundred million dollars
in our time was taken from the treasuries of the Guilds. It is
doubtful if two percent of that ever got back to the people again. The
Guilds came to be an extremely important factor in the life of England
and also in that of other nations. In our time there has been much
discussion as to whether a revival of the Guild State might not be the
best solution for our social and industrial problems that could be
secured. The place of the Church in the Guild State was, needless to
say, extremely important. The guilds were in essence Church
sodalities.   [Note 32]


The business of these Guilds was to provide schooling and training of
mind and eye for the children of the members of the Guild, to furnish
recreation for them and their families and friends, and to afford
amusement of various kinds for themselves and their children. The
Guild schools were very well known and a typical example is to be
found in that of Stratford. This little town furnishes an epitome of
Guild activities. Interest in Shakespeare has stimulated careful study
of every possible source of information with regard to the history of
his birthplace and as a result we are in possession of many details
with regard to the Guilds of Stratford, originally three or more in
number, but uniting into the Guild of the Holy Cross. This came to
represent the source of nearly every form of initiative for the social
life of the time. Periodic banquets were provided, pageants organized,
the poor cared for, orphans and the disabled and the old were
supported, the grammar school endowed, and scholarships established
for children of the members who had the talent and aspired to higher
education. The Guild of the Holy Cross became famous for its
benefactions not only to the life of Stratford itself but to that of
all the neighboring country, so that distinguished members of the
nobility and of the professions, notably the magistrates and others in
judicial positions, as well as prominent merchants from all the
surrounding neighborhood, were proud to be accorded the privilege of
becoming members of it. The Guild acquired property and had a definite
income besides the fees from its members and thus was enabled to keep
up its varied benefactions.


In many parts of England the Guilds provided a series of plays each
year for the delectation of the townsfolk. The Mystery Plays, which
represent the origin out of religious ceremonials of modern drama,
were staged by the various Guilds. In the famous Chester cycle of
Mystery Plays during the thirteenth century, some twenty different
Guilds took part, each providing the wagon on four or six wheels on
which their particular scene of the mystery play was presented. Each
Guild paid for the costumes and even gave certain sums for the payment
of the actors so that no little expense attached to the duty which
they thus willingly assumed. These performances attracted great
attention among the people, developed more and more as time went on,
the Mystery Plays by gradual evolution became morality plays and took
on very definite literary and dramatic qualities. "Everyman," which
attracted so much attention when played some years ago in our American
cities, is a striking example of this and it must not be forgotten
that this play comes from the Middle Ages.

There were many advantages in this provision of dramatic entertainment
over our method of commercializing the drama. The actors who took part
were themselves most effectively entertained during their study and
practice of the plays and they were also developed mentally in the
very best way, that is through their own efforts. The Mystery Plays
were founded on Scripture and the morality plays had large elements of
Scripture in them also and this brought all concerned in contact with
great literature. They were not such solemn plays always as might be
anticipated from that {271} fact, for Noah was always a comic
character and there were other biblical personages who lent themselves
to comic treatment, and the devil personified appearing upon the stage
was always a subject of derision and even poor Judas was laughed at.
There was not the temptation of the present day, however, to appeal to
the lower tastes of mankind in order to make money on the
performances, which has led to the unfortunate condition of the stage
at the present time when we have so many immorality plays.

Besides the plays, given usually about Christmas time and in the
spring time, there were four banquets provided every year to which all
the members of the Guild with their wives or sweethearts were expected
to come. They did not believe in separating husbands and wives in
these matters as we have done, at least until very recently, and they
were rather frank in the matter of sweethearts. They believed in the
young folk coming together for recreation and in getting acquainted
with each other while in the presence of their elders. There were
dances on the green after the banquets and games of various kinds.
Many of the old-fashioned kissing games come from the medieval period,
when the people danced on the green before the church and England was
Merrie England. Sundays were not barred as days for the holding of
such festivals, for after attendance at Mass the people were quite
free to enjoy themselves, and there was absolutely nothing of the
Puritanic about the Church's attitude toward hearty, wholesome
recreation on Sundays after the obligations to the Lord had been
fulfilled by attendance at Mass in the morning. {272} Sports of
various kinds were enjoyed, quoits and hockey among them, which is
very old, and then athletic contests, archery, tennis at least in the
cities, and various games with balls.

The Guilds also organized the singing of glees at various times during
the year, and on Christmas night went around and woke the townspeople
up for the early Mass by singing Christmas carols before their houses.
In recent years there has been an attempt to organize in various parts
of our country an early Easter service, so that people might greet the
rising of the sun, which according to very old tradition is said to
dance on rising on Easter day. This is a revival of a very old custom
and represents only one of a series of celebrations organized by the
Guilds for the important festival days and beginning very early in the
morning. People were expected to visit the Christmas crib and greet
the figures of the Baby Lord and His Mother not long after the dawn
and on Twelfth Night at the end of the Christmas time to repeat the
visit in honor of the Magi or Kings of the East who had come bearing

During the Christmas week came the celebration of Holy Innocents day,
on which, over a great part of Europe, the boys of a town and
especially those who had served Mass during the year, had a special
feast day for themselves. One of them was elected, in cathedral towns
at least, as the "boy bishop" for the day and he wore robes very like
those of the real bishop and was greeted by the others as such as well
as accepted by the grown-ups who shared in the masquerade. A special
dinner was provided for the boys and the {273} whole town took part
and interest in the proceedings. There was also the celebration of the
first martyr St. Stephen, so that during much of the Christmas time
there was a feeling that work was not quite so important as the
celebration of the feast days. Christmas Eve after the vesper hour (2
p. m.) was a day of recreation; so was New Year's Eve, and then came
Christmas and New Year's and the Sundays of this time and Twelfth
Night, until the Yuletide was a real vacation for everybody.

That is the most important part of the Church's service to humanity
during the time when she had the power to enforce her decrees
properly. One of her principal objects was to lessen the amount of
work that people had to do and give them opportunities for recreation,
and recollection of mind, apart from their duties. Holydays gradually
increased in number until everywhere there were nearly forty and in
some places actually more than fifty of them in the year. The feast of
each of the twelve apostles was celebrated as a holyday of obligation
on which none except absolutely necessary work might be done and
people were supposed to go to church. Then there were the feast days
of the saints of the country and the patron of the church and, the
diocese, and very often of the city or the district, and the great
feast days celebrating epochs in the Lord's life or in that of His
Mother. As a result of this, including the fifty-two Sundays of the
year, there were well above eighty and sometimes nearly a hundred days
in the year on which no regular work was done. People were required to
go to Mass in {274} the morning and spend the rest of the day in rest
and recreation.

The first thing the so-called Reformation did was to do away with
these holydays and the next was to make Sunday a day of enforced
seclusion and Bible reading after compulsory attendance at a long
sermon in the morning that sometimes lasted for several hours. Sunday
was no longer a recreation day and the holydays--and holidays--were
gone. This was carried to such an extent that they worked even on
Christmas day in New England and were very much surprised when the
Irish employed in the mills and on the farms wanted to keep that day
as a festival. The medieval church practically made one day in every
four a day of rest and recreation. We are gradually inserting into
various parts of the year holidays that are bringing us back to
something like the old custom. Nearly every month has a holiday or two
beginning with New Year's day in January and Lincoln's and
Washington's birthdays in February and Good Friday with some time off
for Easter in March or April and Decoration Day and the Fourth of
July, Labor Day and Columbus Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of
these have only been gradually acquired as days of rest and recreation
for working people. In England they have, besides their holidays for
national or church reasons, the four bank holidays declared at various
seasons of the year in order to put in a time of rest and recreation
when it is needed. The medieval church's plan was much better, for it
gave people a definite duty on the morning of these days which got
them out promptly to meet their friends at {275} church and then the
elaborate church services themselves with music, singing and the
church decorations, often supplied a very interesting mode of
inspiration and uplift. In the churches people were brought in contact
with beautiful art and the day began well without that lounging around
in the morning which is so likely to spoil a holiday and make it often
a very tiresome institution.

The Guilds went even farther than the Church and demanded the Saturday
half holiday, though this had been prepared for by Church regulation
with regard to freedom from work obligations on the vigil of a feast
day after two o'clock, in order to allow people to prepare for the
festival and especially to go to Confession and perform other
preliminary religious duties. Besides, as Urbain Gohier reminded us
when lecturing at the universities of this country, the Guilds asked
for and secured the "three eights," that is, the eight hour day for
labor with eight hours for sleep and eight hours for recreation and
the necessities of the body. Under these circumstances, with almost an
extra day besides Sunday every week free from labor, the medieval
workman found himself in a position in which his daily task was not a
burden and an oppressive monotony, but only due exercise for the body,
and there was recreation and diversion of mind for everyone, no matter
how humble or poor, and an opportunity to think and to enjoy himself
and to share the joys of family life with his wife and little ones.
Life is much more for joy than for pleasure. Joy is simple and comes
in the performance of duty and kindly relations with those near and
dear {276} to us. Pleasure is complex, is often followed by remorse,
is more often the source of deterioration of the body than almost
anything else. It was the joys of life rather than the pleasures of
living that the medieval workmen had the opportunity of enjoying.

The amount of recreation, or of holidaying, thus afforded to the
working people of the Middle Ages, will probably seem to some people
in our time to be excessive. Some folk are so bound up in their work
that they cannot understand why people should want recreation days so
frequently and they can scarcely understand what they would do with
them. Mr. Standish O'Grady, the distinguished Irish literary man to
whom we owe more for the first steps in the modern Celtic revival than
probably anyone else, made use of a very interesting expression in
this regard while on a visit to America not long before his death. He
reminded us that twice in the world's history men have accomplished
wonderful things in art and literature that have been a source of
profound admiration ever since. When they did them, they were spending
one-third of their time at least in the celebration of religious feast
days. One of these periods was in the fifth century before Christ and
the other was in the latter part of the Middle Ages when they were
doing so much in architecture and the arts and crafts as well as in
literature. One-third is even more than I have suggested, and yet it
is probably true in many portions of Europe that men did not follow
their regular occupation for more than two-thirds of the year and had
the time and the opportunity, on more than 120 days each year, to
think {277} about other things than their work and to let their
thoughts mature and flow in on them, and above all to think of things
that were not of interest to their bodies but to their minds and
hearts and souls.

It is when men have many days to spend, not in idleness but in
occupation with the higher things of life, that there is some chance
for them to develop and bring out the best that is in them. If men
have to work hard every week day, even Sunday is not enough for
recreation, especially if they are to think seriously about other
interests than their sordid cares of life. Occupation with religion
lifts them up, purifies their emotions, gives them aspirations after
what is best in them and thus develops character and intelligence.
Only a comparatively few men have it in them to produce anything
original, of value, but they are sure to be afforded the opportunity
under these circumstances. As for the rest of men, their one chance
for happiness is to be found in the joy that comes to them in
connection with the seeing of beautiful things, and this the Church
afforded them by its insistence on their attendance at Mass on all the
Sundays and holydays in their beautiful churches. To a great extent
our poorer classes have lost all real appreciation of beauty and their
taste lacks development. Hence the popularity of the comic strip of
cartoons in the afternoon papers and the satisfaction with the hideous
pictures in colors that constitute the comic Sunday supplement. In
these matters the great majority of our people are childish to a
degree that is almost incredible.   [Note 33]


The Guild performed other interesting functions for the social life of
the time. When a man fell ill or had been injured the Guild usually
appointed a man to sit up with him during the night allowing the
family to take care of him during the day. The man who sat up during
the night was paid his regular wage out of the Guild treasury and then
did not have to work the next day. If a husband died, the widow was
helped to care for her children. Orphans were cared for by the Guild,
a special fund being established for that purpose, but there were no
orphan asylums,--the orphans being distributed among the neighbor
families. In most families there were at least half a dozen children,
and under these circumstances it was not hard to take another one. The
Guild paid the expenses and some poor families considered it a
privilege to have the raising of these orphans. It helped out the
family budget very much as the taking in of a foundling does in our
day, and regularly-appointed visitors from the Guild saw that the
orphans were properly cared for. In the little towns, where every one
knew everyone else, there was small chance for abuse in this matter.
Indeed there was a tradition that it was a rather fortunate thing to
be a "child of the Guild," as the orphans were called. Some of these
orphans got the chance to take scholarships in the universities and as
a result succeeded admirably in life.   [Note 34]

When people grew so old that they were unable to care for themselves,
if their children were dead or if they had gone away to a distance,
the old folks were cared for by the Guild. For this purpose almshouses
{279} were supplied, but these were very different from what we call
poor houses. A typical example of the Guild almshouses is to be seen
at Stratford. On one of the principal streets there is a row of little
houses in which live old couples who are unable to care for
themselves. They are supported by a pension which was originally
established for them in the thirteenth century. Living in the heart of
the town, a great many people who go by step in to talk to them and in
good weather the old folks sit out at the door and chat with the
passers-by. Next door to them is the Guild school, and the children
went by four or more times a day on the way to school. The old folks
had a chance to see the children at play. Nothing could give them more
pleasure than this, and the medieval churchmen cultivated the contact
of the old and the very young. The Bluecoat Boys' School in London is
an example of the association of old men and young boys under
circumstances that are likely to be beneficial for both of them.
Thackeray's picture of the social life of such an institution in the
Newcomes brings out the good there is in it.

The old folks if married were not separated but lived together, though
special provision was made also for widows and widowers and indeed for
old maids and old bachelors, though there were not many of these in
the older times. At Stratford the Guild chapel was just down the
street from the Guild almshouses, and as there were four Masses every
morning, four chaplains being paid to say them for the living and dead
members of the Guild, the old folks were tempted to get up early and
go to Mass. This temptation was all the {280} stronger because, as
Cardinal Gasquet has shown in his "Medieval Parish Life in England,"
more than half the population of the town went to Mass every morning.
The obligation of Mass on Sunday and nearly an extra day every week
did not exhaust the piety of these people, and daily Mass hearing was
quite a common practice. When we contrast this care of the aged poor,
and their content therein, with our poorhouses usually situated miles
out of town in ugly buildings where no one comes to see them unless at
long intervals, where husbands and wives who have lived together for
perhaps forty or fifty years have to live apart, where children are
almost never seen and where there is no chance to talk with neighbors,
it is easy to understand how much of real charity, that is of the
feeling of the dearness of others to them because of the brotherhood
of man and the Fatherhood of God, was exemplified in these practices
of the Middle Ages. There were almshouses like those at Stratford at a
dozen or perhaps a score of places in England, and similar
institutions existed in the Scandinavian countries, in Germany, in the
Netherlands and in France and Spain that we know of. In Belgium the
Beguines took care of the old and the orphans in their little towns of
separate houses under circumstances that must have made a real home
for them.

When members of the Guild died, all the other members were bound to be
present at his funeral Mass or to pay a fine. The fine was not large
and it was to be distributed in alms for the benefit of the dead
brother's soul, but the infliction of a fine was enough {281} of
itself to remind people of their duty in this matter. They solved the
street beggar problem by having tokens which they distributed and if
the beggar presented these to the bursar of the Guild or to the sexton
or the parish priest, he would be helped in whatever way he needed
most. These tokens were purchased as alms especially for the dead, so
that the recipient did not feel pauperized by the gift to him, since
it had already been given for the benefit of a dead brother and he was
only the agent by which the gift should be properly used. The fact
that the beggar had to make himself known to some central authority
kept down the abuses so likely to creep into indiscriminate street

A favorite mode of Christian helpfulness was the giving of sums of
money by bequest or sometime even before the death of the owner to
provide dowries for honest maidens who married within a certain time
after the bequest. Dick Whittington, the famous Mayor of London of cat
fame, though that story is probably without foundation, left dowries
for the girls of his native town and so did many of his friends. Sir
Hugh Clopton of Stratford-on-Avon, who, when he retired after having
made his fortune in London, built New Place which Shakespeare
afterwards purchased, left money for dowries for the girls of
Stratford. The practice still continues in such Catholic countries as
Spain and Italy. The idea behind it is that young couples need as far
as possible to begin housekeeping without being in debt. If they marry
young it is very probable that the young husband will not have saved
much money, and yet if they are to have a home by themselves it must
be {282} furnished. The dowry would enable them to purchase this
furniture and to start housekeeping with a clean slate. The husband
earns the money for their support, but the wife has a substantial
stake in the home and the newly-weds are much likelier to be happy
than if they began with debt hanging over them. So much depends on the
success of the early years of matrimony for all the after life, that
this dear old Catholic practice of providing dowries cannot but be
considered of great social significance.

It is sometimes said that medieval charity was reparative rather than
preventative, and that above all it was not so regulated and organized
as to help people on their feet again. Any such expression, however,
is due entirely to failure to comprehend the true inwardness of
medieval Christian charity. As early as St. Basil's time the
reconstruction of injured or maimed lives was duly considered,
employment agencies were set up and as far as possible men were helped
to positions that they could fill duly even though they had lost some
of the vigor of their earlier years or were crippled. There was much
of this during the Middle Ages under the management of the Guilds.
There were other forms of helpfulness that were very striking. Dick
Whittington, the Lord Mayor of London, left a sum of money which was
to be divided in definite amounts among young women who had "done
amiss" and whom he wanted to help to get on their feet again. A
special ward was established for them in one of the great London
hospitals and all the attendants in that ward were bound to secrecy
and the breathing of the slightest word {283} that might reveal the
identity of anyone who had been cared for there would lead to the
prompt dismissal of the hospital attendant. Whittington made special
provision for a dowry also for these young women if they should get
married a little later. This was finely reconstructive charity.

In our day President Hibben of Princeton suggested that it was the
business of educators to make men and then they would find their work.
That was the principle on which the Church's charity, or if we are to
use the modern term, social service, was conducted. Secure for men a
chance and they will do things. Cultivate their sense of beauty and
arouse their sense of duty and then if they have anything in them that
is really worth while it will come out. The modern strenuous life,
with its bitter struggle for existence and above all its failure to
provide proper leisure for thought, is the worst possible environment
for bringing out all the best that is in men. The best means to help
men to help themselves is to stimulate their imagination, arouse their
deepest feelings, put them in touch with beautiful things, and then
give them the opportunity to make such things under circumstances
where they will obtain a decent living wage and where the products of
hands and mind will be subjects for the admiration of the men of their
time, and if they represent enough of artistry, of the men of
succeeding generations also. This is the real charity that represents
the dearness of men to one another under the Fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man.


Chapter XV

The Life of the Spirit

Christ came to give men life and give it more abundantly--the life of
the spirit. He went around doing good for mankind and above all curing
the ills of the body, but his Evangel, His message of good tidings,
was for the spirit of man. The Church that He founded then must
represent and foster and carry on the life of the spirit, that life of
faith in an origin and a destiny above the natural which lifts men
above the sordid cares of everyday existence, and her greatest
representatives should be those men and women who are so spiritually
minded that all subsequent generations think of them quite apart from
what they have accomplished with their minds or their bodies.
Professor Osler in his lecture on Immortality, the Ingersoll lecture
of 1904, emphasized the fact that the leaders of men have been
"children of the light, children of the spirit whose ways often were
foolishness to the children of this world,--mystics, idealists, with
no strong reason for the faith that is in them, yet they compel
admiration and imitation by the character of the life they lead and
the beneficence of the influence they exert." "To them it is given to
_know_ the mysteries." ... "The heroic devotion of a St. Francis or a
St. Teresa [Note 35] ... do more to keep alive among men a belief in
immortality than all the preaching in the world." [Note 36] Osler
quoted Cardinal Newman's University sermon, {285} "Personal Influence,
the Means of Propagating the Truth," in which that profound thinker
had said, "The attraction exerted by conscious holiness is of an
urgent and irresistible nature; it persuades the weak, the timid, the
wavering and the inquiring; it draws forth the affection and loyalty
of all who are in a measure like-minded; and over the thoughtless or
perverse multitude it exercises a sovereign compulsory sway, bidding
them fear and keep silence on the ground of its own right divine to
rule them...."

Of men and women of this sort, capable of exerting the deepest kind of
influence for good on their fellow men, gifted with the spirit of
faith that lifted them far above the talents which they possessed or
the intelligence or education they might enjoy, the Church has had an
abundance all down the ages. They are called saints, that is,
sanctified or holy folk. The number of them can very well be
understood from a work like the Bollandists, in which the lives of the
saints are sketched according to the days of the year on which their
feasts are celebrated. The collected lives as written average more
than six volumes folio to the month, a thousand pages to the volume,
so that altogether there will probably be something over one hundred
thousand pages containing some two thousand words to the page. The
completed work will probably contain something like a quarter of a
billion of words. The Bollandists have been at it for something over
three hundred years now and will probably be finished sometime in the
next generation. It is a labor of love that has been carried on under
the most discouraging circumstances. The {286} account of it, "The
Work of the Bollandists" (translation from the French), was published
by the Princeton University Press (1922), and there is no doubt that
the selection of the story of it for publication at Princeton was a
well deserved tribute to the supremely scholarly and critical,
historical and biographical contributions which these hagiographers,
writers of saints' lives, have made to the history of civilization.

Necessarily we can only take here a mere handful of the most
characteristic men whose spiritual lives in the bosom of the Catholic
Church deeply influenced not only their own generation but all
succeeding generations. They are types of the greatest human beings
who have ever lived if we take the interest of men for all the after
time in them as evidence for that. They are men and women who saw
clearly the meaning of life in terms of the eternal, who had stripped
themselves of all self-seeking, who were deeply intent only on doing
as much good for others as they possibly could, and who accomplished
marvels in transforming men from self-seeking animals into
other-worldly seekers after the right. The trouble is to try and boil
down the lives of these men into such small compass as is necessitated
by the very limited space that can be given them here and at the same
time provide such details as will afford a proper impression of the
place they held in the world of their time and the influence they

The roll of them begins with that disciple "Whom Jesus loved" and who
had rested on the bosom of his Lord at the solemn moment when together
they broke {287} bread in that Last Supper and shared the Eucharist
that was to be the memorial of Him from the rising to the setting of
the sun forever thereafter. He was spared to be with the infant Church
for the better part of a century. His message on the Word that was
Made Flesh is one of the sublimest flights in mystical theology that
the world has ever known. For many years at the end of his long life
his message for the Christians around him is said to have been
"Children, love one another." He preached the doctrine of the love of
God and providentially stayed with the Church to be an inspiration to
Christians and then to be the channel of a series of visions that was
to occupy men very much in after years. The Seer of Patmos gave the
picture of the Heavenly Jerusalem, that home beyond this world, and
his work is a source of that heavenly homesickness which has lifted up
the hearts of the faithful and inspired the poets and musicians ever

After John came Paul, the tent-maker of Tarsus. He learned so to live
that he did not live himself but Christ within him and his words have
been an inspiration and a corroboration of human spiritual striving
ever since. He was rapt out of the flesh to see things higher than
mortals can find words for, and yet it was he who gave us that
wonderful description of charity, of love human and divine, which is
kind, and patient and long suffering and seeketh not itself and
possesses all the other qualities that show its intensely practical
character. His love for God made him almost higher than man, and yet
only served to make his love {288} for his fellowmen more intense and
his anxious charity for them more profound. His great epistles, which
are just letters to the Christians of his time, exhibit his kindly
humanity and have given us a precious treasure of thought for all
time. Paul is the type of men, who without having come under the
personal influence of Christ Himself received life more abundantly
through the Church that He had founded and so became men of the spirit
who were to deeply influence others for all that was best in them in
the after time.

During the early centuries there was very little chance for the
preservation of writings which might exhibit this spirit. In spite of
that unfavorable circumstance, however, there is evidence in abundance
of the life of the spirit. Ignatius of Antioch, who received episcopal
consecration at the hands of the Apostles, left a series of letters
which make it very clear that the life of the spirit of Christ was to
be carried on. The controversy over the authenticity of his seven
letters has now been settled and their quotation by Polycarp and by
Lucian of Samosata and Eusebius shows us that the great Christian
tradition of the spiritual life is making itself felt deeply in the
second century. Already the supernatural virtue of virginity is much
esteemed and made the subject of a vow and the place of personal
holiness and closeness to the living God and intimate union with the
Church is made very clear. There is no other inheritor of these
doctrines and traditions except the Catholic Church which has carried
on so thoroughly in all its details the work that was originally given
it by the Apostles and their immediate successors.


The intense spirituality of all the Fathers of the Church needs but a
mention. Basil and his brother Gregory and Chrysostom and Athanasius
and Gregory of Nazianzen, as well as Ambrose and Jerome and Augustine
are all great thinkers whose thoughts flowed with the spirit of Christ
and who made the bounds of Christianity such as they are. Augustine,
Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas must be considered as the three greatest
of thinkers. Yet it has been pointed out and emphasized very much in
our time that Augustine, besides being a philosopher and a theologian,
was also a mystic. No one has left us a more precious heritage of
thoughts with regard to the possible closeness of men to their
Creator, even in this world, than this great bishop of the African
Church. Men are prone to think of him as a hair-splitter of
distinctions with regard to Christian doctrines and especially such
difficult questions as grace and free will, or as a very human writer
of great literature in his Confessions, or of the philosophy of
history in his City of God, but he was above and beyond all that a
thoroughgoing believer in the idea that men in the flesh could come so
close to God as to experience absorption in the divinity quite beyond
words to describe. Three centuries after Paul he was as mystical as
Paul and was capable of laying down the principles of mysticism in
connection with theology. He was the founder of a religious order that
still exists and had as its glory in the fifteenth century the writer
of the most read book after the Bible, Thomas à Kempis, and very
curiously had as another of its glories at the end of the nineteenth
century Abbot Mendel, the man whose {290} thought with regard to
heredity has made his name the most familiar to our generation in
biological circles.

Each century since has had one or more of these great Christian
scholars so profoundly interested in the life of the spirit that we
ordinary mortals are scarcely able to follow them when they write
about some of the experiences that have come to them and picture the
possibilities of union between the spirit of God and man such as seem
almost incredible except in the light of that supreme mystery of
religion, the Incarnation. What Augustine had been in the fifth
century, Pope Gregory I (the Great) was to the sixth century. We know
him as a great practical minded pope who did ever so much to establish
the Church in the hearts of the faithful, who sent Augustine of
Canterbury to England, who was famous for his charities towards the
poor, and yet he holds a supreme place in the history of the mystical
life. He is undoubtedly one of the very great men of history, but he
is also a great mystic and a great saint in that very human yet divine
definition of a saint which has been suggested,--that he is a man who
thinks first of others and only second of himself. It is characters
like Gregory that serve to make it very clear that the spirit of the
beatitudes and of Paul in his mystical moments, the raptness of
feeling that dictated the description of the Holy Jerusalem to the
Seer of Patmos, is a continuing tradition in the Church that Christ
left and that each new example of it at its highest is strikingly
individual, yet marvelously Christ-like and makes for confirmation of
the principle that Christ came to give life and give it more


After Gregory comes his friend, indeed intimate, Benedict, the founder
of the Benedictines. This man has given us in his Rule one of the
great constitutions or basic laws for human conduct which have shown
men how to be happy. His rule is a supreme testimony to his marvelous
knowledge of human nature, and yet this intensely practical man with
his kindly loving spirit which has served to hold men together in
bonds ever so much closer than friendship ever since, had experiences
of the spirit that are almost incredible, only that one thinks of what
Christianity must be since we know what its Founder was. The spiritual
favors conferred on Benedict might easily seem to have been some sort
of empty imaginings on his part, but how could this practical minded
man be in any sense of the word visionary as that term is ordinarily
used? Visions he surely had, but they must have been no mere delusions
since there is nothing that is at all hysterical in his life and least
of all in his great constitution for his order. The story that is
vouched for by St. Gregory the Great with regard to Benedict on the
occasion of the death of his sister, when he saw her transported to
Heaven after her prayers, in spite of his resolve to the contrary, had
secured his presence at her bedside at her death, shows how the
mystical lives on in the Church. These two, Benedict and Scholastica,
were the founders of institutions which have continued not only to
exist but to flourish in marvelously productive fashion for fifteen
hundred disturbed years. They have made more happy people so far as
human beings can be happy, than any other institution that we have.
They are at the present {292} moment in the Benedictine monasteries
and nunneries providing homes of peaceful happiness as well as
opportunity for the development of the intellectual and the spiritual
life to many thousands of men and women.

Everywhere that Catholic Christianity penetrated there was a similar
development. The Jews and the Orientals, Augustine of Rome and Africa,
Gregory and Benedict of the old Italian families we have mentioned,
but out in the islands of the West in the next century there is
Venerable Bede whose career is a typical example of the life of the
spirit and its significance in the eighth century in the confines of
the then known world. A great scholar, an assiduous writer, a teacher
whose influence was widely felt, as he said himself "It has been ever
my delight to learn or teach or write." On the evening of the day when
he died, as he himself tells, the boy Wilbert who was writing at his
dictation, said to him, "'There is still one sentence, dear master,
which is not written down.' And when this had been supplied, and the
boy had told him it was finished, 'Thou hast spoken truth', Bede
answered, 'it is finished. Take my head in thy hands for it much
delights me to sit opposite any holy place where I used to pray, that
so sitting I may call upon God my Father.' And thus upon the floor of
his cell singing 'Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the
Holy Ghost' and the rest, he peacefully breathed his last breath."

In the tenth century came Anselm, who has more deeply influenced the
thinking of men as regards philosophy ever since than most scholars
appreciate. An Italian born who became a Norman ecclesiastic, he {293}
made a Great Archbishop of Canterbury. His reputation as a saint while
he was Prior of Bec, the great Benedictine abbey in Normandy, led to
his invitation to the deathbed of stern William the Conqueror, who
desired that Anselm might bring him consolation at the end. He felt so
closely the union of his mind with that of God that he formulated the
ontological argument for the existence of God which has attracted so
much attention ever since. When at last the argument came to him in
its full force and he saw it clearly he was filled with joy and made
haste to put it in writing. An innate idea of God enables us to
understand all other being. This has been a bone of contention among
the philosophers ever since. Rejected by St. Thomas it was revived in
another form by Descartes, assailed by Kant, it was defended by Hegel,
revived by Rosmini, it caught the attention of two such different
thinking minds in our day here in America as Orestes Brownson and
Thomas Davidson. Among Anselm's disciples in this were such great
geniuses of the schoolmen as Alexander of Hales and Duns Scotus. Lives
of Anselm have been written in our generation and always the mystical
quality of his life has been emphasized and he was a great living
exemplar in his day of the life of the spirit.

Greatest almost of all the mystics came St. Bernard of Clairvaux in
the twelfth century. A man of profound education and lofty
intelligence he came to have an influence in his century that was
beyond that of any other. He was a great thinker, a great philosopher,
a great theologian, a great controversialist. He was the {294}
confidential adviser of popes and of kings, the director of soul to
many of the great men of his time. No mortal has ever dominated his
period so completely as Bernard did the twelfth century. He was a
successful preacher of a great Crusade in what seemed a veritable
triumph, he was the friend of nearly all of the most important men of
his time. In spite of this he knew bitter experience and the failure
of life, and his undertakings from a human viewpoint must have made
him taste deeply of the waters of disappointment. His consolation came
from the mystical side of life. This great philosopher, one of the
greatest of the mystics, has written hymns like the _Jesus Dulcis
Memoria_, "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee," that have been the
consolation of Christian hearts ever since and the confirmation of
their fondest desires. He composed prayers that for depth of piety are
unequalled, and it is not the intellect of the man but his spirit and
its union with its God that has been the admiration of succeeding
generations. Even the English positivist, Cotter Morrison, bowed down
before the spirit of the man in his biography of him and has made us
realize how much Bernard's life had in it that was immortal in its

The thirteenth century saw the careers of those two great knights of
the spirit, Francis of Assisi and Dominic. Nicholas Murray Butler,
president of the largest university in the world at the present time
and by the chance of things in the interest awakened in education
since the war very probably the largest university in history, in his
latest report to the Board of Trustees, suggests that the outlook for
education in {295} our time is indeed almost hopeless unless we are to
have a Francis or a Dominic to transform the life of mankind.

Francis of Assisi is probably the most fascinating character in
history after Christ Himself. _Il paverello di Dio_ as he loved to
call himself, "the little poor man of God," who proclaimed his
marriage with the Lady Poverty and went about preaching to the birds
and the fishes when the men and women of his time would not listen to
him, would seem to be almost the last person in the world to attract
the attention of our generation which so loves to think of itself as
intensely practical and is supremely sordid and fears nothing so much
as poverty. Yet Francis has proved a veritable magnet of attraction in
our day and life after life of him has been written until quite
literally there are probably well above a score of biographies of full
book length in this twentieth century, to say nothing of magazine
articles almost without end. If ever the life of the spirit and its
place was exemplified it was in Francis of Assisi. How different was
St. Dominic, and yet how the spirit of God shines out in all that he
did and how his great foundation following the Rule of its founder has
lived on to accomplish wonderful results even down to our day. All
over the world there are many thousands of Dominican friars, besides
many more thousands of Dominican sisters, to whom Dominic of the
thirteenth century is the holy beloved father whose spirit they would
like to exemplify in their own lives.


One of Dominic's greatest daughters in the spirit was Catherine of
Sienna, the most influential personage, man or woman, of the
fourteenth century. Swinburne, the English poet, of all men would seem
to be almost the last to appreciate her peculiar genius and to
acknowledge her sweet precious sanctity, and yet it is he that has
best summed up the work of this great woman.

  Into her saintly virgin hands,
  She took the sorrows of the lands.

Hers was the life of the spirit, and yet she appeased the feuds of the
old families that were causing many deaths on the streets of Sienna,
she was the ambassadress of peace between warring cities first and
then nations, she brought back the pope from Avignon to Rome. In the
midst of all this active life she composed her mystical
dialogues--though she did not learn to write until she was
twenty-eight and she died at thirty-two--and they have lived to be the
loving study not only of her sisters in religion but also of chosen
souls who are trying to lead the life of the spirit in all the
countries and all the centuries ever since her time. [Note 37]

In the fifteenth century, just before the beginning of what is usually
called the Renaissance, an Augustinian monk of the monastery of St.
Agnes, Thomas à Kempis by name, wrote one of the greatest
contributions to the life of the spirit that has ever been written. He
was the son of a woman who had to eke out the family living by keeping
a dame's school. At the age of twelve he went away to the school of
the Brethren of Common {297} Life at Deventer. He stayed there until
he was nineteen and then entered the order of the Augustinians and
lived to be ninety-one years of age, probably never going out of his
monastery grounds for over seventy years. It would seem as though such
a man could have known so little about life that anything that he
wrote could have only the most limited appeal. His book, The Imitation
of Christ, is the most printed book after the Bible that we
have,--altogether some three thousand editions having been issued. It
has taken about seven editions a year since his death in 1471 when the
first printed edition was issued to satisfy the demand for it. All
sorts of men have praised it to the skies. One is not surprised to
find it the favorite of Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, Sir Thomas More,
or even John Wesley and Dr. Samuel Johnson. But to find that among its
devotees were Comte the positivist, Renan the rationalist, Matthew
Arnold the critic, George Eliot, Pobiedonosteff, the head of the Holy
Russian Synod, and that Stanley took it with him to Africa and Lord
Russell of Killowen always carried it in his pocket, is indeed a
demonstration of the breadth of appeal of the little book. Chinese
Gordon read it just before the end came at Khartoum in the eighties,
and so did Edith Cavell, the nurse martyr to her duties in Belgium in
the Great War. Both made notes on it. Harvard University paid a good
round sum for some sixteen hundred volumes with regard to à Kempis
which had been collected in England, and thought the investment a very
good one, though it was made four hundred and fifty years after the
little monk's death. {298} Harvard now has the best à Kempis library
in the world and is deservedly proud of it.

À Kempis is just a type of the German mystical writers of this period,
and there were many others, though none of them equal to him. The
founder of the Brothers of the Common Life, among whom à Kempis was
educated, was one of these, John Tauler, the father of modern German
mysticism, another, John of Dalberg, Charity Pirkheimer, and many
others might be mentioned to show how productive was the mystical and
spiritual life of the Church in Germany just before the Reformation. À
Kempis wrote a score of books besides the Imitation of Christ, though
most people know nothing of them. All of them have something of the
unction of the Imitation but none of them rival it in the genius for
psychological penetration which is displayed in "The Following of
Christ." Originally that book was only a series of conferences given
to novices during two years by à Kempis to whom that duty was
assigned. His other books represent fruits of the same official
position and à Kempis is rightly considered not only profoundly
mystical but also eminently practical. His little book contains not
only poetry of the loftiest kind but also some of the most poignant
humor that goes straight to the heart of humanity. It is the deeply
human psychology of the work that has given the book its universal
appeal to all classes and conditions of men.   [Note 38]

The sixteenth century saw some magnificent contributions to the
literature of the spiritual life. The Renaissance and the Reformation
had stirred men's {299} hearts and minds and souls deeply and the
fruit was to be seen in the mystic literature of that time. Ignatius
of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises is a man rather than a book. The
Exercises are not literature but they have probably more deeply
influenced thinking men ever since than any other book. St. Teresa's
contributions to mysticism at this period won for her the title
beneath her statue in Rome, where she is the only woman represented
among the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, _Mater Spiritualium_. No
wonder that the University of Salamanca on the 300th anniversary of
her canonization gave her the degree of Doctor of Divinity and that
the Spanish people greeted her enthusiastically as their Spanish
Doctor of the Church. Her great contemporary, John of the Cross, is
the greatest modern authority on mysticism, and on that spiritual
union with God even while still in the body that has been the subject
of so much supremely great literature down the ages as to make it
clear that it is not a delusion but a great reality. The writings of
St. Francis de Sales represent another phase of this great subject and
have caused him to be chosen as the patron saint of writers and
editors in the modern time. His friend and co-founder of the Order of
the Visitation, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, is another contributor by
writing and example to the spiritual life whose work has lived on for
three centuries and more now and is surely destined to live as long as
this stage of our civilization endures.

St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of the Sisters of Charity,
communities of which are to be found all {300} over the world and
which embrace well above one hundred thousand members at the present
time, is another example of the life of the spirit as exemplified in
the history of the Church. His work for the French people after the
awful wars at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the
seventeenth century when Europe was if possible plunged more deeply
into desolation than it has been since our Great War, shows how much
one man can do when his spirit is deeply stirred. He succored
literally hundreds of thousands of people. His greatest accomplishment
was in the care of children. It is no wonder that the modern society
of men who visit the poor in their homes and the hospitals and in
prison and accomplish so much good has been called after his name. He
did much for the galley slaves of France, whose condition before that
had been simply awful to contemplate. Nothing interested him so much
as the condition of the poor slaves in the Barbary States, who, more
than thirty thousand in number, had been carried off by Turkish
Corsairs and were kept in slavery in Tunis, Algiers and Bizerta. He is
said to have written over thirty thousand letters and his conferences
to men and women have been published over and over again and are

The modern spirit, though often supposed to be fatal to what is more
than a little contemptuously called mysticism by so many, did not put
an end to the development of mystics,--men and women whose lives
represented so close a union with God that they may {301} well deserve
a place even beside St. Paul or St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Teresa.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century a great thinker, the founder
of the congregation known as the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus Liguori,
rivalled the old writers in his contributions to the life of the
spirit as a result of his own experiences. Few men ever have been more
intensely practical or more intensely human in their sympathy with
mankind than Liguori. His treatise on moral theology lays down the
principles to guide men's consciences in the practical conduct of life
better almost than any other. And yet this man was a mystic in the
sublimest sense of the word.

There were men like St. Peter Claver, absolutely without a thought of
themselves in the midst of the most trying conditions. Well educated,
cultured, scholarly, with all the refinements of college life about
him he gave it all up to spend forty years of his life among the negro
slaves in Cartagena, South America, consoling them, taking care of
them in sickness, begging alms for them, undeterred by the stenches of
the holds of the vessels of the slave trade, burying the dead, risking
his life in epidemics. No wonder that he was accorded consolations of
the spirit that brought him in intimate relations with another world
than this. Two hundred years later Father Damien did the same thing
among the lepers in Molokai.

In our own day the little girl saint, Teresa of Lisieux, the Little
Flower, as she is familiarly called, has shown very clearly that the
mystic in the spirit still lives and has a place in this twentieth
century. The enthusiastic {302} cult that has arisen with regard to
her not alone among cloistered religious spirits but among the
practical men and women of the world, shows how living is the
religious spirit in our day. The wonders that have been proclaimed
among those who turn to her with confidence are but the demonstration
of the fact that the arm of the Lord is not shortened even in a time
when mankind's faith is so much eclipsed and the life of the spirit
seems to many but a delusion of weaker minds. Within the Catholic
Church it is still a great living reality, for Teresa of Lisieux is
but an outstanding one of many.

Unless there were to be manifestations of this kind it would be futile
to claim that Christ the Son of God and God the Son had come to found
a Church and give the pattern of it by what happened in His own time
and immediately afterwards. The mystical life, the life of the spirit
in its highest sense which He introduced and which meant so much in
early Christianity still lives and still is powerful to work wonders
in the mind and the body, but the only place that it is to be found is
within the bounds of the Catholic Church. There is practically no
claim from any other source for this continuance of the life of the
spirit which must exist if Christianity is really a living force.



Note 1:

  "For art sees as God sees."

Note 2:

  A. Kingsley Porter in his article on "The Devastated Art of France"
  (Scribner's 1919) says that the Academy of Rheims commissioned four
  of the best scholars of Champagne who devoted themselves for thirty
  years to compiling a list of the monuments of the Marne. Such was
  the number of these that at the outbreak of the war this work was
  less than one half finished.

  He says that "the artistic sensitiveness of the Middle Ages and the
  power of criticism--a power we moderns often fail to recognize, that
  this period possessed, is commonly witnessed by contemporary
  appreciation of the Rheims sculpture." Mr. Porter traces modern
  sculpture to Rheims through the Renaissance and asks "how often have
  the illustrious descendants of the sculptors of Rheims equalled
  their masters in poetic visions and artistic power!"

Note 3:

  It has been said that the ugliest books ever printed came from the
  press not long after the middle of the nineteenth century when cheap
  wood pulp paper, ugly type facings, poor composition, badly arranged
  spacing and margins, gave us the cheapest books that could be made.
  William Morris trying to make homes beautiful again found that he
  did not care to have such ugly books lying around the rooms of the
  houses that he was decorating so he resolved to print some books
  that would be worthy of their environment. He took as the model for
  his printing the books printed in the very first generation of
  printing and on handmade paper with the old fashioned type facing
  and spacing and the liberal margins of the old days made once more
  some beautiful books. He asked high prices for them but people were
  perfectly willing to pay once they came to appreciate what the
  beauty of them was. Now when a volume of the Kelmscott Press gets to
  the auction rooms it is not unusual to have a price of several
  hundred dollars bid for it justifying William Morris' selection of
  the old time models for his modern printing.

Note 4:

  Reverend Augustus Jessop who is an Anglican clergyman very much
  interested in English antiquities has written a book bearing the
  expressive title "Before The Great Pillage." That is his term for
  the Reformation in England. He has paid a very wonderful tribute to
  the beauty of the structures built by the Catholic Church before the
  Reformation and which have never been admired as they ought to have
  been because of the havoc that was worked on them at the time of the
  Reformation by the robber barons, by the Puritans in Cromwell's time
  and by neglect in the subsequent centuries. He said, _"And we get
  fairly bewildered by the astonishing wealth of skill and artistic
  taste and aesthetic feeling which there must have been in this
  England of ours, in times which till lately we had assumed to be
  barbaric times._ Bewildered, I say, because we cannot understand how
  it all came to a dead stop in a single generation, not knowing that
  the frightful spoliation of our {304} churches and other parish
  buildings, and the outrageous plunder of the parish guilds in the
  reign of Edward the Sixth by the horrible band of robbers that
  carried on their detestable work, effected such a hideous
  obliteration, such a clean sweep of the precious treasures that were
  dispersed in rich profusion over the whole land, that a dull despair
  of ever replacing what had been ruthlessly pillaged crushed the
  spirit of the whole nation, and _art died out in rural England, and
  King Whitewash and Queen Ugliness ruled supreme for centuries_."
  (Italics ours.)

Note 5:

  In his article already referred to on "'The Devastated Art of
  France" A. Kingsley Porter, special commissioner of the French
  government and member of the _Commission des Monuments Historiques_,
  said that the striking thing about the art around Soissons was its
  inexhaustibility, "inexhaustibility, I mean not only in the thought
  hidden beneath, thought artistic, mystic and poetic in every created
  thing, but in the sheer quantity of the master works that having
  defied the sacrilegious hands of blind iconoclasm and even blinder
  restoration still until yesterday preserved to us essentially
  unaltered the medieval vision in its serenity and its exaltation

Note 6:

  It is amusing to have a zoologist suggest that the best definition
  of man we have is that he is a tool-making and a tool-using animal.
  It is not so surprising perhaps since it is the business of the
  zoologist to be interested in the animal side of man and man is the
  only animal who uses tools. Almost needless to say mankind is
  scarcely at all interested in the men who made or used the tools
  that fashioned St. Peter's or the Parthenon or Santa Sophia. We are
  extremely interested in the men who designed and then directed the
  execution of these wonderfully beautiful works. Man of course is far
  more than a tool-making animal; he is an idea-making animal, and
  when his ideas are original and so deeply true that they touch the
  heart of humanity and he can express them adequately, they are
  poetry and art and we talk of their author as a creator, using the
  word to describe him which ordinarily we reserve for the Almighty.
  We use it equivocally because words fail us in our admiration.

Note 7:

  Most of the great Catholic poets in England since the Reformation
  are converts to Catholicity. It is extremely interesting to find
  that in our day the descendants of distinguished literary families
  gravitate back to the Church. All the blood of Scott now flows in
  Catholic veins, Dickens' and Thackeray's living relatives are in the
  Church. Strange as it may seem so are Kingsley's, and Gladstone's
  relatives are among the converts in this generation. One of them was
  the Deputy Military Governor in Palestine at the end of the war.
  This same thing is true in America. Hawthorne's daughter, Rose, and
  her husband George Parsons Lathrop both became Catholics and after
  his death she as Mother Alphonsa became the foundress of The
  Servants of Relief for the Care of Incurable Cancer, one of our
  sublimest charities in America. Franklin's direct descendants are
  Catholics, and so are some of the old Dwight family and some of the
  Danas. Among the old New England families who have given converts to
  the Church are the Welches, the Shaws, the Heckers, the Walworths,
  the Searleses, the Tillotsons, the Bodfishes, the Brownsons, the
  Crawfords, the Ripleys, the Averys, the Stoddards, the Merrills,
  {305} the Swifts, the Robinsons, the Warrens, and others that might
  be mentioned.

Note 8:

  The significance of this foundation by St. Benedict is very well
  stated by C. F. Andrews in his volume "Christ and Labour" (Madras,

    "The Western Church was saved from taking the wrong path by a new
    monastic movement, which sprang to life under S. Benedict, during
    those darkest ages of Europe--the centuries of the Barbarian
    invasions. In the lonely forests of England and Germany and the
    Tyrol, in the wild tracts of inhospitable lands, the monks of this
    Benedictine Order lived and laboured, spending their days equally in
    work and prayer. To them, in that noblest of monastic ideals, work
    itself was prayer, and prayer itself was work. Through centuries of
    plunder and rapine and bloodshed, far more terrible than anything
    that the patient earth had witnessed in Europe before, these
    monasteries were oases of peaceful labour and devotion in the
    midst of a howling wilderness. During these Dark Ages the fair
    light of humanity seemed almost to have left the earth, and--as
    one old chronicler vividly described it--the people said to one
    another, "God is dead." In these monasteries, which were scarcely
    touched by the wild tumult and destruction around, the light of
    learning and prayer and fruitful toil gleamed forth in
    unimaginable beauty. Thus, and thus alone, were kept fresh the
    higher ideals of mankind. The most savage forces of anarchy and
    passion were restrained by these living examples of quiet peaceful
    work and self discipline and prayer.

    "Painfully and slowly in the West this greatest of all industrial
    struggles was won. The dignity of labour, which the Roman Empire,
    with its chained gangs of slave labourers, had altogether lost,
    was recovered once more for mankind."

Note 9:

  Popular misunderstanding of the Catholic Church and its influence is
  due to a lamentable abuse of the word medieval. For many people the
  Middle Ages were the "Dark Ages" and whenever they want an adjective
  condemning any phase of social life to the lowest degree they employ
  the word medieval. We hear of medieval cruelty and torture, of
  medieval superstition and medieval ignorance, of medieval credulity
  and medieval obscurantism, of medieval lack of progressiveness and
  medieval worship of authority without trying to see things for

  Anyone who will seriously try to find justification in actual
  history for these expressions, especially when the medieval period
  is compared with modern centuries _and above all our own_, will
  discover that he has a very serious task on his hands. We hear of
  medieval cruelty but it was in England at the end of the first
  quarter of the nineteenth century that according to the laws on the
  statute books some two hundred crimes were punishable by death. When
  John Howard and Mrs. Frye reformed the prisons for men and women
  they were in an unspeakable condition; nothing like them can be
  found in the Middle Ages. As for medieval torture the Encyclopedia
  Britannica, (9th edition) emphasizes the fact that there are less
  than half a dozen cases of legal torture on record in England during
  the Middle Ages all of them Star Chamber cases for treason. On the
  other hand the rack and the screw were never idle in Elizabeth's
  time {306} 150 years after the end of the Middle Ages. The Virgin of
  Nuremburg, the iron boots into which wedges were driven along side
  of human legs, the iron gauntlets in which human hands were roasted,
  the Scavenger's daughter, all these belonged to the sixteenth and
  seventeenth centuries. The Spanish Inquisition supposing the legends
  of its torture to be true is entirely modern and not at all
  medieval. It was introduced into Spain under Queen Isabella after
  the discovery of America.

  There was an abundance of superstition in the Middle Ages but there
  is an even greater abundance of superstition in our time. We have
  over 100 healing religions whose devotees are the well-to-do and
  educated folk of such commonwealths as Massachusetts and California
  for these are the two states in which above all they flourish. We
  have an immense number of scientific superstitions. Any charlatan
  can come along and use a few scientific terms and "cure" people of
  all sorts of ills--on their own testimony. There was ignorance in
  the Middle Ages but there were more students in attendance at the
  universities of the various countries of Europe at the end of the
  thirteenth century in proportion to the population than there are in
  this twentieth century of ours. Those university generations gave us
  the Gothic cathedrals, undying literature in every country in
  Europe, an immense number of huge tomes that were written out
  laboriously by hand in such numbers that they have been preserved
  down to our time, charming music, the scholastic philosophy,
  wonderful arts and crafts which made everything useful also
  beautiful and a satisfying comprehension of the meaning of life such
  as has never been reached since. Frederic Harrison, the English
  positivist, said, "Of all the epochs of effort after a new life,
  that of the age of Aquinas, Roger Bacon, St. Francis, St. Louis,
  Giotto and Dante, is the most purely spiritual, the most really
  constructive, and indeed the most truly philosophic of human
  history." So far from Frederic Harrison being the only one who
  thinks thus of the later Middle Ages, it would be perfectly possible
  to collect a large sheaf of quotations of similar tenor. At the
  beginning of my volume on "The Thirteenth Greatest of Centuries"
  (VII edition) I present such quotations from Macaulay, Freeman, John
  Fiske, Henry Adams and Ralph Adams Cram.

  Medieval credulity is often supposed to be demonstrated by reference
  to the strange cures they had for diseases and the readiness to accept
  the idea of the philosopher's stone and the transmutation of base into
  precious metals. Surely we are the last generation in the world who
  should make fun of the Middle Ages for such reasons. I have recently
  published a book on "Cures" which makes it very clear that there never
  was a time when people, that is educated people, often the graduates
  of our colleges, proclaim themselves cured by more absurd remedies
  and modes of treatment than in our day. Every new phase of science
  becomes a cure-all in the hands of some charlatan. In New York City
  they have been curing people of pains and aches and deep seated
  organic disease by applications of the terminals of a "radio"
  apparatus until the police interfered. Many people proclaimed
  themselves cured and were quite willing to pay $100 for the cure.
  The "psychology" cures of one kind or another {307} are even more
  amusing. As for the transmutation of metals, the medieval people
  were right and we are now witnesses of the fulfilment of their
  dream. As for credulity in regard to "making money," the Secretary
  of the United States Treasury declared not long since that
  $500,000,000 go through the New York Post Office every year not a
  dollar of which will ever go back to the people who forward it to
  the so-called promoters or brokers to make money for them. The glass
  in our houses is entirely too thin for us to talk of the credulity
  of the Middle Ages.

  As to medieval lack of progressiveness Frederic Harrison went so far
  as to say of the thirteenth century "We find in it a harmony of power,
  a universality of endowment, a glow, an aspiring ambition and
  confidence, such as we never find in later centuries." As for
  medieval worship of authority, their two great authorities were
  Aristotle and Galen, and the more our generation has learned about
  these great Greek thinkers the more we have come to realize that the
  medieval people must indeed have been wise in their generation to
  have appreciated these marvelous scholars in the way they did.

  All that is needed to wipe out modern misconception with regard to
  the Catholic Church is to know the Middle Ages not at second hand
  but from authorities who have gone back to the documents and the
  monuments and who realize that so far from the Middle Ages being
  dark, they are the bright ages in the history of mankind. This is
  true not only of the later but also the earlier Middle Ages. John
  Fiske in the Preface to his work on "The Beginnings of New England
  or the Puritan Theocracy in its Relation to Civil and Religious
  Liberty" went so far as to say, "When we think of all the work, big
  with promise of the future, that went on in those centuries which
  modern writers in their ignorance used once to set apart and
  stigmatize as the 'Dark Ages'; when we consider how the seeds of
  what is noblest in modern life were then painfully sown upon the
  soil which Imperial Rome had prepared; when we think of the various
  work of a Gregory, a Benedict, a Boniface, an Alfred, a Charlemagne,
  (all before the tenth century) we feel that there is a sense in
  which the most brilliant achievements of pagan antiquity are dwarfed
  in comparison with these."

Note 10:

  Mr. Hamilton Mabie's tribute to these dear old scholars and teachers
  sums up succinctly and sympathetically their work and its
  significance. ("My Study Fire" p. 92).

    "I confess that I can never read quite unmoved the story of the
    Brethren of the Common Life, those humble-minded, patient teachers
    and thinkers whose devotion and fire of soul for a century and a half
    made the choice treasures of Italian palaces and convents and
    universities a common possession along the low-lying shores of the
    Netherlands. The asceticism of this noble brotherhood was no morbid
    and divisive fanaticism; it was a denial of themselves that they
    might have the more to give. The visions which touched at times
    the bare walls of their cells with supernal beauty only made them
    the more eager to share their heaven of privilege with the
    sorely-burdened world without. Surely Virgil and Horace and the
    other masters of classic form were never more honored than when
    those noble-minded lovers of learning and of their kind made their
    sounding lines familiar in peasant homes."


Note 11:

  This is so startling an expression from one of Mrs. Putnam's
  experience in the modern college that only her own words will show
  how emphatic was her opinion in this matter. It represents such a
  complete contradiction of commonly accepted notions that it should
  be in the notebook of everyone interested in feminine education in
  our day. "No institution of Europe has ever won for the lady the
  freedom and development that she enjoyed in the convent in early
  days. The modern college for women only feebly reproduces it, since
  the college for women has arisen at a time when colleges in general
  are under a cloud. The Lady Abbess on the other hand, was part of
  the two great social forces of her time, feudalism and the Church.
  Great spiritual rewards and great worldly prizes were alike within
  her grasp. She was treated as an equal by the men of her class, as
  is witnessed by the letters we still have from Popes and emperors to
  abbesses. She had the stimulus of competition with men in executive
  capacity, in scholarship, and in artistic production, since her work
  was freely set before the general public; but she was relieved by
  the circumstances of her environment from the ceaseless competition
  in common life of woman with woman for the favor of the individual
  man. In the cloister of the great days, as on a small scale in the
  college for women today, women were judged by each other as men are
  everywhere judged by each other, for sterling qualities of head and
  heart and character." (The Lady, New York, 1909).

Note 12:

  The growing cult of the saints among those outside of the Catholic
  Church in recent years has led to a much better understanding of the
  real significance of sainthood than used to be common. Reverend Dr.
  Joseph Fort Newton in his little book "What Have the Saints to Teach
  Us" has a passage that illustrates this newer, truer view very well.

    "Any one who has studied the Lives of the Saints knows that the
    deepest note of their song was not suffering, but a victorious,
    unfathomable joy. 'God is happiness,' said St. Augustine; 'not
    simply true, but Truth; not only beautiful, but Beauty--and in
    Him, from Him, and through Him all things are happy and true and
    lovely which are so at all.' The religion of the Saints of every
    period and every creed has all the ardences of youth--vigour,
    longing, grace, wonder: it has ever been the lyric note of
    holiness, Saints are, above all, those who enjoy; no mere
    renouncers; no ascetics, save for an end. No practice of goodness
    but is touched for them with a kind of glee, and whatever blows
    they suffer in the service of love are as nothing beside their
    inward joy. Those who think of the Saints as poor, sad mortals
    ought to know St. Bernardino, 'wittiest of saints ever caught up
    into the clouds', or listen to the rippling laughter of Catherine
    or Teresa. They went singing through the world, and surely those
    who lived so blithely, so abundantly, so radiantly, have something
    to teach us,"

Note 13:

  The last sentence of Darwin's "Origin of the Species" which no
  matter what may have been the vicissitudes of his own faith he left
  unchanged in all the succeeding editions of his great book, is not
  as well known as it should be. As the conclusion of a masterpiece in
  the field of observation it is a magnificent logical termination
  demonstrating trust in intellectual power. "There is grandeur in
  {309} this view of life with its several powers, having been
  originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and
  that, while this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed
  law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most
  beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

Note 14:

  Read Peter Parley's "History of the World" written by the Nathaniel
  Hawthornes to see the extent to which American misunderstanding of
  the Middle Ages went. This was a very popular source of supposed
  information here in the United States about the middle of the
  nineteenth century.

Note 15:

  There has always been a feeling of objection on the part of mankind
  to the use of the human body for dissecting purposes. This was
  strikingly manifested here in America where during the first two
  generations after the Revolution we had a series of riots directed
  against college dissection rooms. There was one in New Haven,
  another, in New York, a third in Baltimore, a fourth in
  Philadelphia, and a fifth in St. Louis, extending over a period of
  nearly fifty years. Mobs were aroused who thought and often with
  good reason that bodies were being stolen from graveyards for
  dissection purposes. As a result they set out to destroy college
  buildings or portions of them and sometimes lives were lost, and
  often very valuable property was ruined by the mob. Lord Macaulay
  made a well-known speech in the English Parliament for the legal
  regulation of dissection as late as 1833. Earlier there had been the
  "burking" horrors in Scotland in connection with the effort to
  secure dissection material surreptitiously. Everyone of the first
  six Presidents of the New York Academy of Medicine confessed later
  in life to having taken part in body snatching "resurrectionist"
  raids to obtain anatomical specimens. This same feeling of
  reluctance to allow bodies to be used for anatomical study existed
  in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance time but the Church made
  provision to allow the bodies of those who died without friends to
  be used for dissection purposes. That was why Italy was the home of
  dissection for centuries when there was very little elsewhere. It
  was the influence of the Church that overcame the natural abhorrence
  to the use of the human body in this way.

Note 16:

  Galileo's own letter to his intimate friend and disciple, the well
  known Father Renieri, in which he described just how he was treated
  at Rome and how he felt as the result of this treatment is the
  cardinal historical document of the trial. Nothing makes so clear as
  this the fact that the ordinary ideas accepted by a great many
  people with regard to the persecution of Galileo are utterly absurd.
  He himself was manifestly very little disturbed by what is so often
  declared to have been an extremely serious trial in which his life
  was at stake and as the result of which he was threatened with
  condign punishment. Galileo wrote, (History of Italian Literature
  tome iv, page 236, Venice 1824)--

    "On the publication of my _Dialogues_, I was cited to Rome by the
    Congregation of the Holy Office (The Inquisition).

    "I was received with the greatest clemency both by that tribunal
    and the Sovereign Pontiff, Urban VIII, who deemed me worthy his
    esteem. I was lodged in the delicious palace of _Trinita dei
    Monti_ with the Ambassador of Tuscany. On the following day the
    Father {310} Commissary, Lancio, visited me. At length, I was
    compelled like a good Catholic, to retract my opinions. As a
    punishment, the _Dialogues_ were prohibited--and I was detained
    about five months in Rome, in consequence of an epidemic which was
    ravaging Florence at that time. For my prison, I was assigned with
    pious generosity the palace of my dearest friend residing in
    Siena, Monsignor Archbishop Picolomini, in whose most gentle
    conversation I lived with such quiet and satisfaction to my mind,
    that I applied myself closely to study--discovered and
    demonstrated the resistance of solid bodies in opposition to the
    other opinion--at the end of five months, the pestilence having
    ceased in Florence, I was permitted to return about the beginning
    of December of the year 1633. And I now enjoy the sweet solitude
    of my native land in my country seat D'Arcitri."

Note 17:

  Italy saw the foundation of the first modern university and for
  eight centuries continued to be the home of graduate education. As I
  have said in my volume on "What Civilization Owes to Italy" whenever
  a man anywhere in Europe wanted to get a better education than he
  could secure at home, until the beginning of the nineteenth century,
  he went down to Italy. The leaders in European scholarship down the
  centuries did graduate work in the Italian peninsula. Guy de
  Chauliac from France, Linacre from England, Puerbach from Vienna,
  Copernicus from Poland, Vesalius from Belgium, Harvey from England,
  Steno from Denmark, Erasmus from Holland, are typical examples of
  this and the fact that they went down there for advanced scholarship
  and special scientific training and were ever afterwards deeply
  grateful to their Italian masters, shows how much they appreciated
  the opportunities afforded them. After the beginning of the
  nineteenth century France became the Mecca for graduate students and
  after 1870 Germany had the call in this matter. The Church was
  supreme in her influence over education in Italy. Salerno was
  founded under Benedictine influence directly under the patronage of
  the Pope. The Roman universities--there were two--and the
  Universities of Bologna and Perugia were in the papal states. There
  are more Italian names attached to structures in the human body
  which they were the first to discover and more scientific
  discoveries and inventions attributed to Italians than to any other
  nation. Many of the discoverers were churchmen or in some way
  associated with the Church. These simple facts in the history of
  science ought to make it very clear that the Church instead of
  opposing in any way must have been fostering both education and

Note 18:

  The story of the papal physicians is the absolute contradiction of
  the idea that the Church was in any way opposed to the progress of
  science. These men were summoned to be the regular medical
  attendants of the Popes, and were distinguished in their profession
  and nearly all of them were men of broad scientific interests, not a
  few of whom made distinguished contributions to the science of their
  times apart from medicine. The story of them has been told in two
  large quarto volumes _Degli archiatri pontifici_ (Roma, Pagliarini,
  1784). This work was originally written by Mandosio, at the end of
  the seventeenth century and annotated and enlarged by Marini at the
  end of the eighteenth. Even this large work is not complete as I
  have had occasion to point out. No one should say anything about the
  relations of the popes to science however unless he is well {311}
  acquainted with it. Besides the copy I have there is but one other
  in this country, that in the Library of Congress. There is none at
  Harvard or Columbia and none in the Surgeon General's Library nor in
  the New York Academy of Medicine. It is not among the references in
  Thorndike's work on "The History of Magic and Experimental Science
  Down to the Thirteenth Century" which is usually so complete in this

Note 19:

  Probably one of the most noteworthy incidents in our American
  history, though most people do not know it at all, is a trial which
  took place in New York some fifty years ago. A woman was punishing
  her adopted child so severely that she was really endangering the
  life of the little one. The neighbors complained but there was no
  law under which the woman could be brought to trial. An appeal was
  made, to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and it
  was through the good offices of the attorney of this society that a
  suit was brought against the mother for injuring her child inasmuch
  as it was an animal and she was sentenced to a year in the
  penitentiary for her crime. This led to the organization of the
  Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children on the lines of
  the other society. Nothing that I know illustrates better how easily
  human nature may be led to violate some of its best feelings and its
  highest duties than a case of this kind. The awful conditions of
  child labor in England and in this country represented even more
  cruelty than was practiced by any beatings of children and yet it
  has been impossible for us to secure legislation against it that
  would be effective.

Note 20:

  Touching this point the failure of those consecrated to the service
  of God to be everything which their Faith supposes, Siegfried Behn,
  the well known German writer, says very strikingly, "The
  supernatural power of the Church is visible to us, not in spite of
  the fact that she has imperfect and sinful servants, but because she
  has those servants. What good would a Church of angels be to us? I,
  for one, would be excluded. But if the Church is made of men, why
  should we be astonished at their faults? Discipline is the food upon
  which the soul grows tall and strong. In the armies of this world,
  one risks his life, though knowing very well that the commanders are
  likely to err and that every mistake may cost a thousand lives."

Note 21:

  The very low wages amounting to but a few cents in the day that were
  paid during the Middle Ages makes it impossible for many people to
  understand how a living wage can be talked of seriously at this
  time. I said in the Appendix of my volume on "The Thirteenth
  Greatest of Centuries" on this subject: "With regard to wages there
  is just one way to get at the subject and that is to present the
  legal table of wages enacted by Parliament, placing beside it the
  legal maximum of price of the necessities of life as also determined
  by Parliamentary enactment. An act of Edward III fixes the wages
  without food for the ordinary workman, a reaper, a mower, a
  thrasher, as four pence a day. The prices of food and clothing
  throughout the time when this law continued in force were, a pair of
  shoes, four pence, a fat goose, two pence ha' penny, russet
  broadcloth per yard one shilling, a fat sheep unshorn, one shilling
  eight pence, a fat sheep {312} shorn, a shilling two pence, a stall
  fed ox one pound four shillings, a fat hog two years old three
  shillings four pence, ale the gallon by proclamation, one penny."

  When a workman can buy a hand-made pair of shoes for his daily wage
  he is getting excellent wages at any time. When he can buy two
  medium size geese for his day's wages the family is not likely to
  suffer for lack of food. When a fat hog costs less than a dollar a
  man's wages at eight cents a day are not too low. It is not the
  wages that men get in specie but the buying power of their wages
  that must always be considered. We saw the dollar shrink during the
  war period to less than half its buying power before the war at a
  time when wages had not yet caught up with high living costs.

  An Act of Parliament of the fourteenth century, in fixing the price
  of meat, names the four sorts of meat--beef, pork, mutton and veal,
  and sets forth in its preamble the words, "these being, the food of
  the poorer sort." The poor in England do not eat these kinds of meat
  now, and the investigators of poverty of the country declare that
  most of the poor live almost exclusively on bread. The fact of the
  matter is, that large city populations are likely to harbor many
  very miserable people, while the rural population of England in the
  Middle Ages, containing the bulk of the people, were happy-hearted
  and merry. When we recall this in connection with what I have given
  in the text with regard to the trades-unions and their care for the
  people, the foolish notion, founded on a mere assumption and due to
  that Aristophanic joke, our complacent self-sufficiency, which makes
  us so ready to believe that our generation _must_ be better off than
  others were, vanishes completely.

Note 22:

  Our economic problems are usually supposed to be very different from
  those which they faced in the Middle Ages and which they had to
  solve if there was to be the opportunity for happiness for the
  masses of men. As a matter of fact the selfishness of mankind has
  always been about the same and that has been the root of our
  economic problems. There has always been a tendency for men to
  "boost prices" whenever they could, to take advantage of the
  necessities of their fellows, to monopolize necessaries of life, to
  corner foodstuffs, and for the middleman to fail in justice both to
  the producer and the consumer. Everyone of these problems they faced
  in the Middle Ages and solved very satisfactorily. The statutes in
  medieval England against engrossing, that is monopolizing;
  forestalling, that is putting up prices by buying up all of a
  commodity in sight at a particular time; and regrating, that is
  huckstering so as to sell at a higher than the market price, or
  selling at full prices goods that should for some reason be sold at
  less than the market price, are well known. Behind all this detailed
  legislation were the Church principles in the matter. As C. F.
  Andrews in "Christ and Labour" (Madras 1922) says--

    "Two important economic doctrines had been inherited by the Middle
    Ages from the Early Church. These were the doctrine of the 'just
    price' _(justum pretium)_ and the doctrine of the 'sin of usury.'
    The former regulated sales and bargains; the latter made the
    taking of interest on loans impossible for a Christian. These two
    doctrines were practiced with great tenacity throughout the Middle
    Ages. They have only broken down in modern times."


    "These two economic doctrines of the medieval church--the doctrine
    of the 'just price' and the doctrine of the 'sin of usury'' are not
    antiquated as people have often imagined but singularly modern in
    their application."

Note 23:

  When the Anglican bishop of Bristol was asked to write the Preface
  to Miss Rotha Mary Clay's work on "The Medieval Hospitals in
  England" he confessed that he feared that there would be very little
  to say on the subject and so he insisted that he must first see the
  sheets of the work in proof. All his doubts were removed by the
  results of Miss Clay's researches. He confesses that "the mass of
  the material collected is remarkable. Still more remarkable is the
  evidence of the very large part played by hospitals--in the widest
  sense of the word--in the social life of the people of this land in
  the earlier Middle Ages." Miss Clay did for Britain what Virchow had
  done for Germany. Other countries were in advance of these western
  lands in their provision of hospitals.

Note 24:

  Virchow said, "The beginning of the history of all of these German
  hospitals is connected with the name of that Pope who made the
  boldest and farthest-reaching attempt to gather the sum of human
  interests into the organization of the Catholic Church. The
  hospitals of the Holy Ghost were one of the many means by which
  Innocent III thought to hold humanity to the Holy See. And surely it
  was one of the most effective. Was it not calculated to create the
  most profound impression to see how the mighty Pope, who humbled
  emperors and deposed kings, who was the unrelenting adversary of the
  Albigenses, turned his eyes sympathetically upon the poor and sick,
  sought the helpless and the neglected upon the streets, and saved
  the illegitimate children from death in the waters! There is
  something at once conciliating and fascinating in the fact, that at
  the very time when the fourth crusade was inaugurated through his
  influence, the thought of founding a great organization of an
  essentially humane character, which was eventually to extend
  throughout all Christendom, was also taking form in his soul; and
  that in the same year (1204) in which the new Latin Empire was
  founded in Constantinople, the newly erected hospital of the Holy
  Spirit, by the old bridge on the other side of the Tiber, was
  blessed and dedicated as the future centre of this organization."

Note 25:

  It seems almost incredible that nursing and hospitals after having
  been in such well developed condition during the Middle Ages should
  have deteriorated in modern time. Miss Nutting and Miss Dock in
  their authoritative work "History of Nursing" begin the chapter
  which concludes the first volume on "The Dark Period of Nursing"
  with the paragraph:

    "It is commonly agreed that the darkest known period in the
    history of nursing was that from the latter part of the 17th up to
    the middle of the 19th century. During this time the condition of
    the nursing art, the well being of the patient and the status of
    the nurse all sank to an indescribable level of degradation."

Note 26:

  Jacobson in his "Essays on the History of Care for the Ailing"
  _(Beitraege zur Geachichte des Krankencomforts; Deutsche
  Krankenpflege Zeitung 1898)_ says of the hospitals of the early 19th
  century, contrasting them with the older institutions:--


    "The hospitals of cities were like prisons, with bare undecorated
    walls and little dark rooms, lighted only by small windows through
    which no sun could enter and dismal wards where fifty to one hundred
    patients were crowded together deprived not only of all comfort
    but even of necessaries. In the municipal and state institutions
    of this period the beautiful gardens and the roomy halls and
    springs of water of the old cloister hospital of the Middle Ages
    were not heard of. Still less the spacious comfort of their
    friendly interiors."

Note 27:

  The reason for this decadence in hospitals and nursing was the
  Reformation so-called and its suppression or serious hampering of
  the religious orders. Miss Nutting and Miss Dock in their "History
  of Nursing" said:--

    "In England where the religious orders had been suppressed and no
    substitute organization formed, it might almost be said that no
    nursing class remained at all during this period (from the middle
    of the 16th to the middle of the 19th century). . . . The drunken
    and untrustworthy Gamp was the only professional nurse. 'We always
    take them without a character' said an English physician not very many
    decades ago, 'because no respectable woman will take such work.'
    Even the Sisters of the religious orders though retaining their
    sweet charm of serenity and gentleness came to a complete
    standstill professionally as nurses on account of the persistent
    sequence of restrictions which had been hemming them in from the
    middle of the 16th century."

Note 28:

  _Bartholomaeus anglicus_, Bartholomew the Englishman, who became a
  Franciscan after having been professor of theology at the University
  of Paris (1225) wrote shortly before the middle of the thirteenth
  century an encyclopedia of all the science of that time under the
  title _De proprietatibus rerum_. It was meant to be a book of
  reference particularly for priests. The work was extremely popular,
  very often quoted and must have been frequently referred to. It was
  translated and thus made accessible to the laity. Its article on
  insanity is one of the best brief accounts of the whole subject of
  the insane that has ever been written. It discusses the causes, the
  symptoms, the remedies, and the after treatment, music and
  occupation of mind, all in the course of ten lines. The article on
  rabies or hydrophobia is quite as well done. Nothing shows better
  how clearly the men of this time could see and how well they could
  note down what they saw. This is the article on insanity.--"Madness
  cometh sometime of passions of the soul, as of business and of great
  thoughts, of sorrow and of too great study, and of dread: sometimes of
  the biting of a wood (mad) hound, or some other venomous beast;
  sometime of melancholy meats and sometimes of drink of strong wine.
  And as the causes be diverse, the tokens and signs be diverse. For
  some cry and leap and hurt and wound themselves and other men, and
  darken and hide themselves in privy and secret places. The medicine
  of them is that they be bound, that they hurt not themselves and
  other men. And namely, such shall be refreshed, and comforted, and
  withdrawn from cause and matter of dread and busy thoughts. And they
  must be gladded with instruments of music, and some deal be


Note 29:

  Miss Nutting and Miss Dock in "A History of Nursing," Putnams,
  New York, 1907, tell the story of this incident at Blockley, page
  333, Vol. II. It is so striking as to deserve more ample citation

    Only one short interregnum of peace broke the long and distressing
    reign of violence, neglect, and cruelty in Blockley. In 1832 there
    was a severe epidemic of cholera, and the attendants demanded more
    wages. To keep them to their duties the wages were increased, but
    were promptly spent for liquor. An orgy of intoxication ensued,
    and the helpers, crazed with drink, fought like furies over the
    beds of the sick, or lay in drunken stupor beside the bodies of
    the dead. So complete was the demoralization that the guardians
    applied to Bishop Kendrick for Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg.
    The call was responded to promptly; indeed, the Sisters started two
    hours after summons was received. They took in hand the whole
    desperate situation, at once restored order and disseminated about
    them an atmosphere of tranquility and quiet energy. The Sisters
    remained for some months, and their work was so deeply appreciated
    by the guardians that the Committee of the House, in a set of
    resolutions commending their great services, resolved also that
    they be requested to remain permanently. This, however, Father
    Hickey, their Superior, negatived, giving his reasons at length.
    He did not consider Blockley the department of charity in which
    the Sisters could be most usefully employed, so the guardians were
    obliged to let them go, with glowing tributes which may well have been

Note 30:

  President Lincoln who had himself witnessed the consolations derived
  from the ministrations of the Catholic sisters during the Civil War,
  recorded his recognition of their services to the soldiers in his
  usual terse and direct fashion. He said:--

    "Of all the forms of charity and benevolence seen in the crowded
    wards of the hospitals, those of some Catholic Sisters were among
    the most efficient. I never knew whence they came or what was the
    name of their Order. More lovely than anything I have ever seen in
    art, so long devoted to illustrations of love, mercy and charity,
    are the pictures that remain of those modest Sisters going on
    their errands of mercy among the suffering and the dying. Gentle
    and womanly, yet with the courage of soldiers, leading a forlorn
    hope, to sustain them in contact with such horrors. As they went
    from cot to cot, distributing the medicines prescribed, or
    administering the cooling, strengthening draughts as directed,
    they were veritable angels of mercy. Their words were suited to
    every sufferer. One they incited and encouraged, another they
    calmed and soothed. With every soldier they conversed about his
    home, his wife, his children, all the loved ones he was soon to
    see again if he was obedient and patient. How many times have I
    seen them exorcise pain by the force of their words! How often has
    the hot forehead of the soldier grown cool as one of the Sisters
    bathed it! How often has he been refreshed, encouraged and
    assisted along the road to convalescence, when he would otherwise
    have fallen by the way, by the home memories with which these
    unpaid nurses filled his heart!"


Note 31:

  Mr. Jacob Riis who probably had had as much experience that would
  help him to understand the way to help those who could not help
  themselves as anyone in this country, tells the story of his contact
  once in an hour of supreme desolation with a monastery in the modern
  time that will make it easier for most people to understand the
  place that these institutions occupied in the old medieval days
  better than any amount of writing with regard to them. The man whom
  he described as "an old monk in a cowl" was really a very modern
  Jesuit in cassock and biretta, perhaps wearing a long cape or cloak
  as they did in those days. Which one of these three appealed to Mr.
  Riis as a monk's "cowl" is a matter of indifference. What he found
  was the way the religious orders cared for those who were in need.
  Many another could tell the same story of St. John's College,
  Fordham, fifty years ago. In his book "The Making of an American,"
  Mr. Riis says: "I reached Fordham College, famished and footsore. I
  had eaten nothing since the previous day, and had vainly tried to
  make a bath in the Bronx River do for breakfast. Not yet could I
  cheat my stomach that way.

    "The college gates were open, and I strolled wearily in, without
    aim or purpose. On a lawn some young men were engaged in athletic
    exercises, and I stopped to look and admire the beautiful
    shade-trees and the imposing building. So at least it seems to me
    at this distance. An old monk in a cowl, whose noble face I
    sometimes recall in my dreams, came over and asked kindly if I was
    not hungry. I was in all conscience fearfully hungry, and I said
    so, though I did not mean to. I had never seen a real live monk
    before, and my Lutheran training had not exactly inclined me in
    their favor. I ate of the food set before me, not without qualms
    of conscience, and with a secret suspicion that I would next be
    asked to abjure my faith, or at least do homage to the Virgin
    Mary, which I was firmly resolved not to do. But when, the meal
    finished, I was sent on my way with enough to do me for supper,
    without the least allusion having been made to my soul, I felt
    heartily ashamed of myself. I am just as good a Protestant as I
    ever was; but I have no quarrel with the excellent charities of
    the Roman Church, or with the noble spirit that animates them. I
    learned that lesson at Fordham thirty years ago."

Note 32:

  It is often presumed that very little can be learned and still less
  be carried forward from the older times for the benefit of the
  modern time. C. F. Andrews in "Christ and Labour" (Madras 1922) said
  with regard to this: "The history of the Christian monasteries and
  guilds is the most fruitful of all studies in pointing out the true
  development of European industrial history in the coming age. . . .
  In Europe our best thinkers are going back to the monasteries and
  guilds in order to find the true sense and inspiration of the
  industrial life of 'Merrie England' (as medieval England is rightly

Note 33:

  This neglect of the beautiful and cult of the trivial, the
  "fascination of trifles which obscures all that is best," has been
  noted by many writers. Mr. Langdon Mitchell who is the son of S.
  Weir Mitchell and himself an acute observer, the author of such
  plays as "Becky Sharp" and "The New York Idea," in an article in the
  February Atlantic Monthly, 1924, on "The American Malady, a {317}
  Diagnosis of our National Temperament" suggests, after reviewing the
  characterizations that our own novelists for a generation now have
  given us of small and large town Americans East and West, that we
  are a "decivilized people." "We are, as a people, without the
  knowledge or practice of what clearly enough is civilization. And
  (what is worse) we are not aware of the fact. We look in the magic
  glass, and the glass is truly magic with the grace and truth of
  genius, and we see our American brother's face. It is a very sad
  face, but not sad with thought; not furrowed by dark experience; not
  weary with having lived. No, the face as it appears on this canvas,
  wears the mournful, baffled expression of a soul which does not know
  how to live, and has not lived.

  "It can only be said of these unhappy people that the existence they
  are called upon to endure is composed of that iteration of nothing
  to which the human soul cannot accustom itself this side of an
  insane asylum. If Mrs. Corra Harris and Miss Willa Cather report
  with only half truth the facts of our case, we must feel that we are
  in a bad way; that we really are a decivilized people, wanting in
  all the arts of civilization; and in consequence, undeveloped,
  starved of all that is best--discontented, and dull. To this state
  our false conception of what is good has brought us."

Note 34:

  The care of the Guilds for the proper regulation not only of child
  labor but also of woman labor is very well illustrated by a passage
  from "The Child in Human Progress" by George Henry Payne (New York,
  1911). This shows how intent they were on ordering abuses with
  regard to labor of all kinds not only as regards securing a living
  wage but also honest work for the daily wage and preventing cheap
  labor and night labor and cheaper products. They were trying to
  maintain standards of all kinds in industry and in connection with
  this were protecting women and children from the grasping spirit
  that so readily gets possession of men when they can make money
  through the labor of others.

    "Nearly all the trades and manufactures in the Middle Ages were
    under the control of the guilds, so that almost all of the
    children working, excepting those on farms or in domestic service,
    came under their supervision. The attitude of the guilds toward
    child labour is shown in the regulations of the apprenticeships,
    but this interest was mainly industrial, for in regulating the
    work of the children they protected their members from cheap
    labour and at the same time, by their supervision over the work of
    the rising generation, saw that the guild's reputation for the
    proper kind of labour was kept up and prices therefore held to a
    desirable level.

    "At the same time there was a religious side to the guilds, a
    strong religious side, and while everything they did, such as the
    prohibition of night work (not out of consideration for the health
    of the workers but because it might lead to bad work), had a
    purely industrial aspect, there is no doubt that this social and
    religious side developed in the guilds and their members an
    outlook on the broader and more humane aspects of their own place
    in society. The custom of not permitting a man to employ other
    than his own wedded wife and his own daughter was not humanitarian
    in its intention but its effect could not be other than


    "'No one of the said trade,' said, the ordinances of the Braelers
    (makers of braces) in 1355, 'shall be so daring as to work at his
    trade at night. . . also, that no one of the said trade shall be
    so daring as to set any woman to work in his trade, other than his
    wedded wife, or his daughter.'"

Note 35:

  A non-Catholic writer said; "They are to religion what Homer and
  Dante are to literature--lovers of the beauty of holiness, as the
  poets are lovers of the holiness of beauty. As such they are the
  most indubitable witnesses of the authenticity of our religion, and
  its most luminous exemplars; and they have been the saviours of the
  Church in every dark age of the long story, as they will be today if
  we hear them."

Note 36:

  Dr. Osier, in his Ingersoll lecture twenty years ago was but an
  initial influence in the movement for the better understanding of
  the saints and their ways in the twentieth century. Saint Teresa
  above all had been a stumbling stone in the path of those outside
  the Church and physicians had spilt much ink in writing about her
  mental condition. Dr. Osler's deeper understanding sets her up as
  the type of those whose own abiding faith makes belief in
  immortality not only possible but almost easy for the rest of us.
  Others have followed in his footsteps. Reverend Dr. Joseph Fort
  Newton in his little book already quoted in these Notes, "What Have
  the Saints to Teach Us" said, "However the Saints may have differed
  in temperament, training, and the details of experience, they walked
  the same path and found the same secret: withdrawal from dependence
  on things lower than the soul, the giving of themselves utterly to
  God, the dedication of their lives to the needs of others--and at
  bottom these three are one. Always the process is the same, known by
  us as the five steps of the Mystic Way--Awakening, Purgation,
  Illumination, the Dark Night of the Soul, Union. It is a hard way,
  harder for some than for others, so much so that it may almost be
  said that few attain to saintliness who do not pass through Hell to
  win it. At any rate, not Dante himself ever wrote more vivid pages
  than those of the Saints describing the path of flame they walked to
  the Mount of Vision. 'Tis in vain that we reason with our discomfort
  and try to prove that the lives of the Saints were unnatural; or
  explain the wonder by saying that they had the gift of genius. Say,
  rather, that we are loitering in, the low places, too fickle to be
  faithful, too feeble to be heroic."

Note 37:

  Catherine of Sienna is another of the saints of the older time who
  has met with appreciative understanding in our day. Vida Scudder has
  done much to help Americans and especially American women to a
  better appreciation of this sister doer of things in the Middle Ages
  who could write such marvelous letters nearly six centuries ago:
  "now pleading with friend or wrong-doer, now brooding as a
  mother-bird over some fledgling soul, now broken with sobs over the
  sins of Church and world, and again chanting high prophecy of
  restoration and renewal, or telling in awe-struck undertone sacred
  mysteries of the interior life."

Note 38:

  It is very interesting to set over against the immense number of
  deep thinkers and very practical geniuses who all down the ages have
  found à Kempis so inspiring, the little group of men who have read
  pessimism into the saintly old Augustinian monk. George Eliot {319}
  in "The Mill on the Floss" made "The Imitation of Christ" a clarion
  call to all that was best in her nature for Maggie Tulliver and yet
  ends on a distinct pessimistic note. Thackeray wrote rather bitterly
  with regard to The Imitation. So did our own American professor of
  philosophy at Harvard, Royce, who suggests that the reading of à
  Kempis "induces acts that are done in a dream-like somnambulistic
  ecstasy." One need only think of such men as St. Ignatius Loyola,
  St. Francis de Sales, Sir Thomas More, the only man who ever cleared
  the docket of the Court of Chancery, John Wesley and Dr. Samuel
  Johnson, Renan and Comte, Lord Russell of Killowen and Matthew
  Arnold, Stanley the explorer, Chinese Gordon, Field Marshall Lord
  Wolseley, all devoted readers of the Imitation, and all active
  energetic doers of duty as they saw it, to wonder what the word
  "somnambulistic" has to do in this galley.


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