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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:02:11
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What think you of this, fathers? Does this preference of the blushes of Delphina to the ardour of those spirits, which is neither more nor less than the ardour of divine love, and this simile of the fan applied to their mysterious wings, strike you as being very Christian-like in the lips which consecrate the adorable body of Jesus Christ? I am quite aware that he speaks only in the character of a gallant and to raise a smile; but this is precisely what is called laughing at things holy. And is it not certain, that, were he to get full justice, he could not save himself from incurring a censure? although, to shield himself from this, he pleads an excuse which is hardly less censurable than the offence, that the Sorbonne has no jurisdiction over Parnassus, and that the errors of that land are subject neither to censure nor the Inquisition”; as if one could act the blasphemer and profane fellow only in prose! There is another passage, however, in the preface, where even this excuse fails him, when he says, that the water of the river, on whose banks he composes his verses, is so apt to make poets, that, though it were converted into holy water, it would not chase away the demon of poesy.” To match this, I may add the following flight of your Father Garasse, in his Summary of the Capital Truths in Religion, where, speaking of the sacred mystery of the incarnation, he mixes up blasphemy and heresy in this fashion: The human personality was grafted, as it were, or set on horseback, upon the personality of the Word!” And omitting many others, I might mention another passage from the same author, who, speaking on the subject of the name of Jesus, ordinarily written thus,

The Mohatra, father!”

That, father, is a charge from which I could very easily vindicate myself; for certain I am that whoever will be at the trouble to examine the true meaning of my words will find my object to be precisely the reverse; and perhaps, sir, before our conversations are ended, I may find an opportunity of making this very amply apparent.”

This is somewhat startling, father,” said I. There are very few people in this world who do not consider their cases of necessity to be grave ones, and to whom, accordingly, you would not give the right of stealing with a good conscience. And, though you should restrict the permission to those only who are really and truly in that condition, you open the door to an infinite number of petty larcenies which the magistrates would punish in spite of your grave necessity, and which you ought to repress on a higher principle — you who are bound by your office to be the conservators, not of justice only, but of charity between man and man, a grace which this permission would destroy. For after all, now, is it not a violation of the law of charity, and of our duty to our neighbour, to deprive a man of his property in order to turn it to our own advantage? Such, at least, is the way I have been taught to think hitherto.”

ADDRESSED TO FATHER ANNAT

Yes,” added the monk, and rather more ingenious than the reply made by Father Bauny, when his books were censured at Rome; for, when pushed very hard on this point by M. Hallier, he made bold to write: ‘What has the censure of Rome to do with that of France?’ You now see how, either by the interpretation of terms, by the observation of favourable circumstances, or by the aid of the double probability of pro and con, we always contrive to reconcile those seeming contradictions which occasioned you so much surprise, without ever touching on the decisions of Scripture, councils, or popes.”


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