hearths of our most noble families, there will be unexpected mourning this year, virginal existences will suddenly pass away. There will be surprise at these sudden and joyful deaths. They will be peaceful victims offered for you. Victims of the Church, and of Holy Unity!"1

Again, at the Congress of Jerusalem :

"In the whole Catholic universe the supplication has been uninterrupted, in many a place heroic acts have been accomplished, of which God alone has the secret, but some of them, nevertheless, are known. Thus the learned P. Tondini de Quarenghi declared in a full meeting of the Congress, that to his knowledge alone, six pious persons had offered to God the sacrifice of their life for the success of the Eucharistic Congress, and that already four of these sacrifices had been accepted by God." 2

It seems almost a parody or travesty of this to read: "Do you remember the story of the monk who offered his life for the conversion of (the wholly imaginary) Diana Vaughan, and whose sacrifice was accepted? I knew this monk, he was really a saintly man, of pure and good heart, of upright and candid soul. I have not heard the story of his last moments from any eye-witness. Nevertheless, it is possible that he was so touched by the story of this daughter of 'Lucifer,' that he may have offered his life for this lost sheep. What I do know well is, that the writer whom I mentioned above made the most of this touching anecdote,

1 Études Préparatoires au Pélerinage Eucharistique en Terre Sainte et à Jerusalem en Avril et Mai 1893, pp. 271-2. (Paris, La Bonne Presse, 1893.)

2 Echos de Nôtre Dame de France à Jerusalem, No. 6, September, 1893, p. 193, col. 1. (La Bonne Presse, Paris.)

and that it met with success in certain newspapers." 1

Noteworthy are instances of a like belief connected with the life of Pope Leo XIII. The first is taken from La Semaine de Bayonne, May 24, 1899. It may be also read in Spanish in La Ciudad de Dios. Like the former narratives, it seems to come originally from the Assumptionist Fathers.

"Under the title, 'Child died for the Pope,' La Croix publishes this curious narrative from a correspondent, to whom we leave the responsibility. Rome, May 13, 1899. "When the newspapers announced that the Pope was about to undergo a serious operation which placed his life in danger, a boy of thirteen years old, belonging to a well-to-do family at Genoa, wished to offer his life to God for the health of the Sovereign Pontiff. He opened his heart to his confessor, who, knowing the purity of his soul, after due reflection, told him that in making this promise it might really happen that God would take him at his word; and asked him if he were ready to make the sacrifice of his life. That is just what I wish,' replied the child, 'to give my life to preserve the life of the Pope.' On this assurance his confessor gave him the desired permission, and after thus having offered himself, the child returned to his parents. That evening he fell ill, and two days afterwards he died, with a smile upon his lips, having learnt from the newspapers that the operation had completely succeeded, and that all danger had disappeared.


"The fact was related to the Sovereign Pontiff, who caused enquiry to be made, and assured

[ocr errors]

1 L. Nemours-Godré, Diana Vaughan et ses répondants, p. 11, Oudin, Paris. See also, for this and the following instance, The Eucharistic Congress at Rheims, p. 292 above.

himself of the reality of the offering and of the acceptance of it by our Lord."

Again, in the Bulletin du Diocèse de Bayonne, January 7, 1900, we read:

"Touching Audience.-On the fourth of last December the Pope received a group of young girls from Aquila, who had obtained the favour of this audience under very pathetic circumstances. In the course of a retreat which had been lately preached to them, these young girls had entered into an agreement each one of them to offer in sacrifice a year of their life to God, in order to prolong by so much the life of Leo XIII., and thus to permit him, if God should accept the exchange, to attain a hundred years. The Pope saw in this a touching act of truly filial tenderness, and, in spite of the numerous occupations of these days (of Jubilee), he desired to receive them in special audience. One can imagine what a fatherly welcome he gave them, and how these young girls, by this favour, have been abundantly rewarded for the sacrifice, which they leave to the will of God."

Later, Mgr. Jauffret, Bishop of Bayonne, in a letter dated Rome, Juin 4, 1900, writes: "It is commonly reported that lives have been accepted by God in order to prolong the existence of a Pope so necessary to the Church."

I have no means of ascertaining whether these are facts or not-whether a child at Genoa or at Paris did really die thus, whether those who offered themselves for the success of the Eucharistic Congress at Jerusalem, or for the conversion of the imaginary Diana Vaughan, or the young girls who did the same for Leo XIII., really shortened their

lives, or whether these things exist only in the imagination of the narrators. But this belief is framed in the same spirit, with the same conviction, as that of many of the oldest folk-lore tales and hagiographical legends. has its origin in the never-ceasing perennial attraction of enthusiastic self-sacrifice carried to the uttermost, still unconsciously reproducing and re-creating itself in the nineteenth century. It is a force perhaps too much neglected, too little appealed to by the Church of England. Even the Salvation Army has its week of self-denial. At the same time we must remark that, with this passion of devotion and self-sacrifice, there co-exists a passion of hatred and bigotry, which compels men, pious and educated, to believe anything and everything that is said of their opponents without the slightest regard to evidence; and even such belief is counted meritorious.1 There is nothing more monstrous in folk-lore and legend than what was believed and asserted by the Assumptionist Fathers of Paris about the Freemasons, the English and American Oddfellows, and about Diana Vaughan Similar facts in so-called spiritism, theosophy, and the occult sciences seem to show that the true way to account for the origin of folk-lore and legend in the past is to study them in the present; that a legend is contemporaneous with the events which it describes is no sufficient guarantee of its truth.

1 I know only by reviews, M. Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu's Les Doctrines de Haine (Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1902), but apparently it fully bears out what I have said above from other sources.

[blocks in formation]

at Silos, 253
Benefices, value of, in Spain, 256
Bible, versions of, 333
Bishops, appointment or election of,
87, 167, 263 n.

Divine right and jurisdiction,
88, 110

assessors of, 335
at French Revolution, 199, 200
resignation of Sees, 201, 202
rights and duties, 89, 90
usurpation of, by Pope, 96
Breviary, changes in, 14, 85
not all of faith," 34


Brotherhood in Christ, 225, 229,
Brotherhoods and guilds, 123, 228
Bulls, papal, in Spain, 169
Burial service, 64, 75
Burnet, G., Bp., and Molinos, 149
Burriel, S.J., iv, 160, 173, 174 n.

Canon law, Pope above, 319
impossible to codify, 263 n.

Canonization by bishops, 89

in nineteenth century, 177,
178, 183, 198, 340
Catechizing and catechists, 102,
293, 302

Cathedral dignities in Spain, 257
Catholicism, modern Roman, 99,


Celebration with face to people, 322
Charles III., character of, 174 n.
Christianity and Individualism, 218
Church power to change rites, etc.,


- national, in Spain, 161, 165,
172, 175
Cid, a ballad of, 161
Cismontanism in Spain, 162, 163
Clergy at French Revolution, 199,

as citizens, 91
celibacy of, 92

concubinage among, 96
engaged in trade, 92

Cloistered Orders at French Revolu-
tion, 199

beginnings of, in Spain, 93
Communion,evening, in Maronites,

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »