Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/166

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Nor can Protestantism rightly taunt Catholicism for excluding knowledge of astronomical truths from European Catholic universities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while real knowledge of geological and biological and anthropological truth is denied or pitifully diluted in so many American Protestant colleges and universities in the nineteenth century.

Nor has Protestantism the right to point with scorn to the Catholic "Index," and call attention to the fact that nearly every really important book in the last three centuries has been forbidden by it, so long as young men in so many American Protestant universities and colleges, and university extension schemes, and approved courses of reading," are filled with "ecclesiastical pap" rather than with real thought, and directed to the works of "solemnly constituted impostors," while they are studiously kept away from such leaders in modern thought as Darwin, Spencer, Huxley, Draper, and Lecky.

It may indeed be justly claimed by Protestantism that some of the former strongholds of her bigotry have become liberalized; but, on the other hand, Catholicism can point to the fact that Pope Leo XIII, now happily reigning, has made a noble change as regards open dealing with documents. The days of Monsignor Marini, it may be hoped, are gone. The Vatican Library, with its masses of historical material, has been thrown open to Protestant and Catholic scholars alike, and this privilege has been freely used by men representing all shades of religious thought.

As to the older errors, the whole civilized world was at fault—Protestant as well as Catholic. It was not the fault of religion; it was the fault—of that short-sighted linking of theological dogmas to scriptural texts which, in utter defiance of the words and works of the Blessed Founder of Christianity, narrow-minded, loud-voiced men are ever prone to substitute for religion. Justly is it said by one of the most eminent among contemporary Anglican divines that "it is because they have mistaken the dawn for a conflagration that theologians have so often been foes of light."[1]

  1. For an exceedingly striking statement, by a Roman Catholic historian of genius, as to the popular demand for persecution and the pressure of the lower strata in ecclesiastical organizations for cruel measures, see Balmès's Le Protestantisme comparé au Catholicisme, etc., fourth edition, Paris, 1855, vol. ii. Archbishop Spaulding has something of the same sort in his Miscellanies. L'Epinois, Galilée, pp. 22 et seq., stretches this as far as possible to save the reputation of the Church in the Galileo matter. As to the various branches of the Protestant Church in England and the United States, it is a matter of notoriety that the smug, well-to-do laymen, whether elders, deacons, or vestrymen, are, as a rule, far more prone to heresy-hunting than are their better-educated pastors. As to the cases of Messrs. Winchell, Woodrow, Toy, and the professors at Beyrout, with details, see the chapter in this series on The Fall of Man and Anthropology. Among Protestant historians who have been recently allowed full and free examination of the treasures in the Vatican Library, and even those involving questions between Catholicism and Protestantism, are Von Sybel, of Berlin, and Philip Schaff, of New York. And it should be added that the latter went with commendatory letters from eminent prelates of the Catholic Church in Europe and America. For the closing citation, see Canon Farrar, History of Interpretation, p. 432.