Abbildungen der Seite


1. History of Piedmont. By ANTONIO GALLENGA. London: Chap.

man and Hall. 1855. 3 vols. 2. The Allocution of the Pope to the College of Cardinals, on the Eccle

siastical Relations of the Kingdom of Sardinia, delivered at Rome,

January 22, 1855. 3. Annuaire des Deux Mondes. Chapters La Sardaigne and États

Romains. 1855, 1856. 4. An Inquiry into the History and Theology of the Ancient Vallenses

and Albigenses. By GEORGE STANLEY FABER, B. D. London:

R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside. 1838. 8vo. pp. xl, 596. 5. Protestantism in Italy, Past and Present. With an Account of the

Waldenses. By ROBERT BAIRD. Boston: Benjamin Perkins & Co. 12mo. pp. viii, 418.

The ecclesiastical position of the new constitutional kingdom of Sardinia at the present moment is very remarkable. For the last ten years the government of that country has been acting more and more boldly in opposition to the Papal See. The steps of its alienation from Rome resemble so closely those of the beginning of the English Reformation, as to lead the Protestant student on too fast, to the conclusion, which the facts do not warrant, that a complete separation from the Roman Church must follow. The warm attachment of the people to that Church is such, that no such rupture as this ought to be at the present moment looked for. Yet in its present aspect the struggle is no trifle. Every member of the Sardinian government, from the king down to the lowest executive officer, is at this moment under the excommunication of the Pope, – and has been under excommunication since July 25, 1855. What is more remarkable, this interdict does not appear to rest very heavily on their consciences. Their steps toward a reconciliation are not particularly pressing. Indeed, Sardinia, at the present moment, seems much more interested in her diplomatic dissension with Austria, the political tyrant of Italy, than in her ecclesiastical quarrel with Rome, which claims the privilege of religious supremacy.

The present separation from Rome dates back to measures which were initiated ten years since, even before the revolutionary outbreaks of 1848. In hastily sketching those measures, we shall relieve ourselves in part from the danger of Protestant prejudice by taking our statement of the earlier movements from the “ Allocutio” in which Pope Pius IX. himself reviewed them, in an appeal to the Cardinals, in secret consistory, on the 22d of January, 1855. The Pope acknowledged in this address that he was moved by the calamities which had just struck dead two princesses of the family of the king of Sardinia.* In the hope that these judgments might favorably impress the statesmen of that kingdom, he proposed a last attempt to move the king to abandon a policy which had brought such ruin on his family.

The first offence alleged in the historical statement which makes a part of this address, is the refusal, in 1847, by the Sardinian government, of the right claimed by the bishops to examine foreign printed books. This affront was followed up on the 25th of April, 1848, when the Sardinian Parliament passed an act requiring the royal exequatur upon any directions of the Roman See, before they should be promulgated in the kingdom. On the 16th of June, the same year, without any satisfaction given on these points, the Sardinian government proposed the abolition of all the privileges of the clergy, civil and criminal alike. On the 4th of October a new law took away from the bishops the examination of the universities and of the public schools. On the 8th of December further restrictions were placed on the bishops, and the Society of Jesuits and that of Ladies of the Holy Heart were expelled the kingdom. Their property was “annexed” to the public domain. The complaints of the Roman See received no attention. The Marquis Pareto, a Sardinian plenipotentiary, went so far as to threaten that his government would refuse the e.cequatur, even for papal dispensations of the first degree. In October, 1849, this government demanded the trial of the Bishops of Turin and Asti. The Pope refused, because he had no canonical reasons for recalling them. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Cagliari, in the island of Sardinia, came in conflict with a government commission for the abolition of tithes. His revenues were seized, and he replied by an excommunication of the commissioners. On the 9th of April, 1850, what is known as “ Count Siccardi's law” passed the Sardinian Parliament, in the face of the protest of the papal envoys. It provided for the abolition of all remaining ecclesiastical immunities, and of certain fêtedays. On its passage, the papal nuncio left Turin, and the efforts for reconciliation on the Pope's part were suspended.

* A brother of the king died a few weeks after.

In May and June, the Archbishops of Turin and Sassari were charged by the government with violations of the laws of the press, in certain instructions which they addressed to their clergy, which were, according to the Pope, purely spiritual. He remonstrated. The government imprisoned the Archbishop of Turin, and expelled other clergymen who had refused the sacrament to one of the ministers, Santa Rosa. A new law deprived the Church of the right of acquiring real estate. The Roman ministers protested that this was a violation of all the Concordats. The Sardinians replied that they could not help that, and brought forward the excellent Protestant doctrine, that governments had the right to annul Concordats, whether the Pope assented or no, when changes of internal policy required.

Meanwhile the Piedmontese government constantly sent negotiators to Rome, with a view to a reconciliation ; but these ministers made such claims that the Roman government would not even recognize them. Signor Pinelli, the fifth of these negotiators, was in Rome, not recognized, however, by the Pope, but professing a desire to resume negotiations, when his government at home suddenly exiled the Archbishops of Cagliari and Turin. The Pope then published an address, protesting against the acts of the Sardinian government, and denied the assertion, constantly made in Piedmont, that his court and that of the king were on cordial terms.

About this time the cabinet of Turin declined to pay the tribute of “the cup of gold.” This refusal, which sounds more like a piece of a fairy tale than a scrap of the history of our own times, proved to be, in fact, no trifle, but one of the overt acts of rebellion, on different sides of which the two parties took public issue. It seems that this tribute began more than a hundred years ago. The Holy See at that time held in Piedmont certain property, which gave it feudal rights, embarrassing to the local government. Benedict XIV. consented to surrender these rights, on condition of the annual payment of a cup of gold, of the value of two thousand dollars. The cups were regularly sent to Rome till the year 1849. The reformed government was then anxious to abolish all.feudal rights, and proposed to pay the principal of which $ 2,000 should be the interest. The papal ministers saw no objection to this; but while the negotiation was in progress, the other charges and reclamations between the governments assumed so much importance, that the cabinet at Turin finally declined negotiating about the cup of gold at all, unless the Pope would negotiate about ecclesiastical privileges. Cutting off the negotiation, it cut off the supply of cups also. And this failure seemed so important at Rome, that in 1854, at the great festival of St. Peter, when, according to ancient custom, the Apostolic Chamber publicly protests, like a consecrated notary public, against the defaulters who have failed to pay their dues to the Pope, the king of Sardinia was included in the list. In the language of to-day, his ecclesiastical paper went to protest. The ordinary protests had been for many years only two, -one against the king of Naples, for failing to pay a certain tribute called the white hackney, and one against the Duke of Parma, for refusing to recognize the suzerainty of the Pope. To these two the king of Sardinia is now annually added, on the score of the cup of gold.

One and another effort at reconciliation had, in the mean while, effected little or nothing. The negotiations inevitably dragged. The Sardinian Parliament as inevitably marched

At length, on the 24th of November, a bill was introduced in that body by the government, for the abolition of convents and other religious houses, and the assumption by the state of their property. It was in the hope of checking this bill that the Pope addressed to his Cardinals the Allocution which we have, thus far, been following.

But the Allocution did not arrest the law. It was carefully


The state,

discussed in the Sardinian Parliament. The debates are such as to give us great confidence in the intelligence and moderation of the men who have in their hands the destinies of this one free state of Italy. In opposition to the measure it was argued, that it was bad as a financial movement; that it was rebellion against the Pope; that it was a violation of the constitutional law, which proclaims the Catholic religion the religion of the state ; that it was inhuman to the monks and nuns, dead to the world as they were, and only occupied with the salvation of their souls. In reply to these arguments, the friends of the measure showed from the doctors of canon law that priests and religious corporations can never hold ecclesiastical property as their own, but are simply trustees, as the Church can own nothing. In this case it was claimed that the government merely proposed to administer the property to greater advantage ; and, in fact, the bill provided for such large expenses for the support of the working clergy, that it had been complained of as a false financial measure. it was argued, was the real proprietor of the convent property; the clergy needed fuller support; the state had a right, then, to apply its convent property to their advantage. Count Cavour, the enlightened head of the ministry, addressed himself simply to the financial questions, relieving the measure from the assaults made upon it there.

“ As for the suppression of the communities,” he said, “if we meant to close the doors of the monasteries, and pay each of the monks and nuns separate pensions, M. de Revel would be right in saying that we should enlarge our expenses,

instead of reducing them. But we do not propose this. We propose to act with practical views, and with some thought of finance. We propose a system of gradation. We desire to preserve absolutely and permanently certain religious orders, recognized as useful to society,* and to reform others whose existence nothing justifies. We mean to act here with prudence and moderation, both in view of what we owe to the monks and nuns, and because by acting otherwise we should embarrass our finances, instead of relieving them.”

The Pope's protest, as we have said, failed to check the bill. It passed, 116, to 36, in the lower house; by a majority of eleven

* The exceptions are those bodies which had in view public education and the charge of the sick, the Sisters of Charity being chief of these.

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