IS THE POPE A PRISONER? – Mgr HH O’Bryen 1883

The Tablet Page 13, 10th February 1883

IS THE POPE A PRISONER?

Mgr O’Bryen has done well to publish what he has to say on the present position of the Pope. His pamphlet is divided into eight chapters—the Revolution— the Law of Guarantees—the Spiritual Power—the Temporal Power—Italian Freemasons—the Pope and the Catholic World —the Conclusion.

It is written in a Sharp and incisive style, and contains many terse and epigrammatic sayings, such as,”Coercion is the battle axe of tyranny,” “To defend the rights of the Holy See is treason to the House of Savoys” “Religious liberty does not mean freedom to think of God, to believe in God, to pray to God ; ‘it means a legal right to exercise religious duties in public without let or hindrance,” “Possessions, independence and power rise and fall together.” Mgr. O’Bryen sounds the right key throughout his pamphlet—he is a little martial and fiery and appeals to the God of armies. As to how the independence of the Pope shall be restored to him Mgr. O’Bryen very properly declines to predict. It may be by the repentance of Italy ; it may be, he says, that socialism will provoke a struggle.

It may be, as Leo XIII. foretold in the allocution of March 2nd, 1882, that “when the unbridled passions of the populace become a permanent danger to civil society, the very enemies of the Church will recognise the salutary influence of the Roman See, and invoke the power of the Pontiff in the cause of order and civilisation.” It may be that the Catholics of the world will awake from their apathy and heroically confront the evils which beset the Church. They may give ear to the Holy Father, and comprehend “that a question which involves the most vital interests of the Church, the dignity of the Apostolic See, the liberty of the Sovereign Pontiff, the peace and tranquillity, not of one nation only, but of the whole Catholic world, can never be solved by lapse of time, much less by silence.”

The pamphlet is thoughtful and outspoken, and will repay perusal.

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