Page images
PDF
EPUB

harbour or a shoal, where this night and every night, week in and week out, year after year, there are not stout and stalwart men waking when others sleep, toiling when others rest, to keep burning bright and clear the great lamps which warn the mariner of invisible danger, or mark with streams of silver or crimson light the channel to the port.

And if we feel this about these hired men of the Trinity House, how much more must we be thrilled by the spectacle of an ancient Catholic bishopric, that spiritual lighthouse reared by the Pontiff of another Trinity House for the guidance of humanity in its stormy voyage across the sea of life? The whole planet is studded with these light points. There is no land, no speech, no isle of the sea where their light does not stream forth upon the hearths and the homes of the children of men. From of old time it has been so. It is so to-day. Wars, persecutions, martyrdom, the bitter pangs of penury, the more dangerous temptations of power and of wealth all these have come and gone, and come and go, and still the light streams on. Cobwebs sometimes cloud the windows, and here and there, sometimes for a generation or a century, the custodian of the lamp nay wax slothful. Then the light is dimmed for a time, and the narrow seas become unsafe. But after a time the Elder Brethren of the spiritual Trinity House that stands on the Seven Hills take note of the circumstance, the negligent keeper is removed, once more the light streams forth in its pristine splendour, and the heart of the observer on the solitary deck rejoices and is glad.

Of course, we may wish to follow the metaphor—that the Elder Brethren would introduce modern improvements - would, for instance, substitute electricity for oil, and replace the somewhat cloudy and thick pane of mediæval glass by the more transparent product of modern glass

makers. But these are details. We have to take things as they are, to judge mortal men, and the institutions which they have evolved, as they exist, resultants as they are of millenniums of storm and stress, of experiment and of evolution. And that being so, it would seem to be ungracious and ungrateful not to recognise the inestiinable services which the Holy Father and his lighthouse men have rendered and are rendering to the human race. Some of us may think we could do the work better if we had the chance. Most of us, no doubt, believe we could suggest improvements in detail or in doctrine. Not to us, but to him, Providence or Evolution has intrusted the custody and supervision of the spiritual lighthouses of the Catholic world; and although we may think his lamps antiquated and their candle-power below the mark, he has at least always kept them burning.

I was on my way to Thurles, where Archbishop Croke's Jubilee was to be celebrated on July 18th, and the occasion naturally suggested many of the foregoing reflections. Is it not for the benefit of every one that, in the heart of Catholic Tipperary, there should have been established from of old on the rock of Cashel this lighthouse of the Lord ? From the days of St. Patrick down to the Reformation at least, what better was there in the world for the guidance and inspiration of sinful men ? And since the Reformation, when the purer Gospel was defiled by alliance with massacre, and corruption worse than bloodshed, it would be hard to say that the native denizens of the diocese would have profited by any procurable substitute for the prelates who preceded Dr. Croke. Certainly if this light which has been kept burning from generation to generation had been extinguished in thick darkness, the Irish race would not, as now, bear the palm for chastity throughout the world, nor would Ireland to-day be a crimeless land. And that

these things are so, it
seems to me we do well
to give God thanks with
a whole heart.

All this, of course, will grieve many devout souls who regard the Pope of Rome as the Vicegerent of the Devil, and who will mourn and wonder at the strange perversity which makes one who is outside the Church ignore the many crimes and infamies which have defiled the Catholic Church, its Borgias and its Alvas, its Inquisition and its intolerance, Smithfield fires and confessional abuses. But I do not ignore the clouds because I rejoice in the light of the sun.

I was much interested during my midnight vigil on shipboard in watching a solitary seagull that followed the steamer. Contrary to the habits of any other seagull I have ever seen, this nightbird persisted

[graphic]

THE ROCK OF CASHEL.

in iying in the thickest of the smoke that streamed fuligi- placency as the memory of that little affair with the nous from the funnels of our boat. How he kept his conductor of the diligence. plumage white I cannot imagine; nor unless it was for It was, indeed, an instance typical of the man, containthe sake of the warmth can I conceive his reason for hover. ing within itself, as in a microcosm, the germs of all his ing in the fiery sootflakes and volumes of smoke. But so future career. For on that occasion Dr. Croke stood it was. And as I marvelled, I thought that seagull was alone, defending those who were unable to defend theinmerely imitating a multitude of very excellent people selves, and dealing out with clenched fist telling blows who, with a whole universe of radiant beauty and limpid against the foreigner who had dared to swindle Jiis purity to revel in, perversely persist in spending their weaker fellow-couutrymen. That is what Dr. Croke has lives in a world darkened by perpetual contemplation of been doing all his life. And if it he-and I would not the vices and weakness, the shortcomings and crimes, of venture to deny—that something of the fierce joy of the the Catholic Church. It would be better, no doubt, if strife throus in his veins, that may be regarded as one of there were no smoke, either in Churches or on steamers; benevolent compensation which Nature affords as a reward but to mistake the smoke for the steamer is not for those who greatly dare and greatly do. wise.

It must be five or six years since Cardinal Manning

urged me to lose no opportunity of making the acquaintI.—THE TRAINING OF THE PRELATE.

ance of Dr. Croke. "The Archbishop of Cashel," said A little more than fifty years ago a slight fracas the Cardinal, in accents full of loving admiration, "is arose cutside the barrier of a French provincial a saint ;” and he added many expressions of affection town. Two young Irish students who had paid which showed that he loved him as his own brother. for seats in a diligence, by which they were making The very day before he died, as he lay on his death-bed. their way to Rome, found themselves victimised by a he said to Canon Ryan, rector of St. Patrick's College, rascally conductor. During their temporary absence Thurles, "Give my love to Dr. Croke, and tell him we from the vehicle, while the horses were being changed have always been two honest Radicals." On another and the passengers were refreshing the inner man, the occasion, when the Archbishop was being somes: hat conductor had sold one of their seats to a countryman of severely called to task at the Vatican for something his own, and when the two students came to take their which displeased some of the Tory wirepullers who places they were informed that one would have to sit infest the precincts of St. Peter's chair, the Cardinal upon the knees of the other for the next stage, which wrote a letter, the gist of which was briefly' this: the lying rascal added would be very short. The students, “If you are interested to know, my sentiments are although unfamiliar with the language, resented this just those of Archbishop Croke.” This constant assuarrangement, and appealed to a fellow countryman, ciation of Dr. Croke and Cardinal Manning had led a young theological student like themselves, who was me, not unnaturally, to picture to myself an Archresident at the time in the town. He being proficient bishop of Cashel who somewhat resembled the sainted in the language, and in no way loath to prevent cheating, ascetic, the frail, emaciated form, within whose form insisted upon the ejection of the intruder from his there was more spirit than either flesh or blood, who for friend's seat. The conductor, gathering together some so many years was virtually Archbishop of all England. stablemen, blustered and swore, and tinally began to Imagine, then, my amazement when on entering the hustle the young Irisliman. Thereupon the Irishman Palace at Thurles, to find myself confronted by a stout, in question struck out from the shoulder, and the stalwart man, about six foot in height, who might not blustering conductor fell all of a heap. Smarting with have been more than sixty years of age, and who Tas pain, and furious at his discomfiture, he scrambled to still in the possession of an unimpaired physique, and his feet clamouring for vengeance. No sooner, however, rejoicing in thews and sinews which might safely be had he gained his feet than down he went like a ninepin backed to down any member of the Irish Parliamentary from another of the sledge-hammer blows of the young party, Parnellite or McCarthyite, who ventured to try athlete. Again he rushed, and rushed at his foe only to conclusions with him at a bout of fisticuffs. Here indeed drop in his tracks; and this time he fell to rise no more. was no pale ascetic, no emaciated enthusiast. The The gendarmez hurried up, and the further discussion of Cardinal's saint was an Irish saint of the true breed of the question was adjourned till next morning, when the St. Patrick, full of physical vitality, keenly interested in Court sat and dismissed the case. The young Irishman the world and all its affairs. An ecclesiastic, indeed, to who had thus felled the rascally conductor three times his finger-tips; but an intensely human man, with a running, none of his allies daring to interfere, turned genial sympathy with the sports and pastimes of manout to be one Croke, a young collegian from County kind. Measured by the almanac, Dr. Croke has passed his Cork, famous in those days for his indomitable courage three score years and ten, but in his heart he is still as and his prowess as an athlete. He was always fighting, much a boy as ever, full of interest in sports and athletics, and as 'invariably came off the conqueror. The hero delighting to recall the memory of the earlier days when of a hundred battles in his native county, he made short he was the champion athlete of the Irish race, swift of work of the pugnacious and irascible Frenchmen and foot and stout of heart, with the proud exultation of one Belgians who rashly challenged him to combat.

vho, whether at l:ockey or football, in leaping and jumpThat student who was so ready with his fists, and so ing, or in combats which were waged with fists or blackcapable of holding his own against all comer's half a thorn, never came off second best. century agone, is now Archbishop of Cashel, the foremost We talked of many things in the long and pleasant configure in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland. versations which we had at Thurles, but first and before His jubilee—that is to say, the twenty-fifth anniversary anything else we talked of sport. Of Cardinal Manning, of his appointment as bishop-was celebrated in July; of course, there was much to be said ; but one of his first but it is probable, among all the crowding memories that expressions of enthusiastic approval referred, not to such an occasion brings l'ack to the mind after three Manning, but to his successor. The Archbishop liad score years and ten of busy life, there are few episodes noted the letter which Cardinal Vaughan had written, upon which the Archbishop reflects with such com- sending his subscription to the Grace Testimonial, and

rejoiced exceedingly that the Cardinal Archbishop had shown so true and keen an appreciation of the cricket king. From this it was an easy transition to a talk about the days when Dr. Croke was à boy. He did not speak to me on the subject, but rumour says that His Grace does not conceal his sympathy with the noble art of self-defence, and it is probable that there are few in the Old Country who follow with more appreciative interest the reports which from time to time come from America of the stand-up combats which a humanitarian legislation has banished from the Old World.

One of the conspicuous ornaments on the walls of the Spacious and airy library in St. Patrick's College is an

song after dinner, when that is the mood of the moment, and his guests are mellow with music and good fellowship. Archbishop Riordan, of San Francisco, one of more than a dozen Irish prelates to whom the ecclesiastical control of the great cities of America has been given, had been staying at Thurles just before my visit.

Archbishop Croke is said to be the best player of Forty-five in Ireland, while the Archbishop of San Francisco is the champion in America. It was therefore a battle of giants when Croke and Riordan met at Forty-five. They were well matched, and so evenly balanced was the fray, that after four nights of play they reckoned up the amount of money won and lost, 10

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

illuminated address recording the meeting of the League of the Cross at Thurles. The Archbishop, as becomes an athlete, is a strong and sturdy advocate of temperance. He confirms no child in the Diocese of Cashel who does not take a solemn pledge not to touch, taste, or handle the accursed thing in the shape of alcohol. But although in this respect His Grace is a temperance man after Cardinal Manning's own heart, he is too much of an Irishman of the old school to frown at the mixing of a glass of hot punch after dinner, or to enforce the strict teetotalism which Cardinal Manning regarded as one of the first of the Christian virtues. A genial man he is, charming in society, a delightful host, a teller of good stories, and one who, on occasion, does not shrink from singing a

discover that the balance either way was only ls. 6d., an average of 4.}d. a night.

Canon Liddon used sometimes to lament that he had been born too late in the century to have an opportunity of learning to ride the bicycle. Dr. Croke, in spite of his three score years and ten, is quite capable of taking to cycling with the real and rest of a young man. At present, however, his only cycling experience dates back nearly thirty or forty years. In the very early days of the wheel he enjoyed a run on a tricycle in the Bois de Boulogne. He is more at home, however, in the saddle than on the wheel. He is not given to hunting, although, like every Irishman, he has ridden to hounds, but most of his rilling has been done in the discharge of his episcopal duties. When appointed Bishop of New

Zealand he almost lived on horseback, and to this day he Nowadays, owing to the perfect liberty which was praises with delight the easy-going lope of his New Zealand conceded them ever since Catholic emancipation, and steeds. On one occasion he rode seventy-seven miles in the opportunities afforded by scholarships and the like ten hours on one horse, without stopping to bait his for capable students to secure an almost costless educahorse on the way.

tion at Maynooth, An occasional

there is very little drink of water and

inducement to the a snack of grass

Irish youth to seek was all the crea

education in Belture had between

gium or in Italy. start and finish.

Every student in When he reached

the Irish College at his journey's end,

Rome must pay the stable man

£45 a year for his simply removed

education, and the saddle and

subsidiary ex. bridle, and giving

penses of travelthe horse a kick in

ling and the like, the ribs, sent it

double this sum. out to fend for

The climate of ST. PATRICK'S COLLEGE, THURLES. itself in an adja

Rome also is precent pasture.

judicial to the II.—THE IRISHMAN ABROAD.

health of many of the Irish, and only recently one of

the most promising students fell a prey to one of the It is a notable fact that Archbishop Croke, the most maladies of that southern climate. At St. Patrick's typical of all Irishmen, has spent no small fraction of his College, Thurles, the life is freer and more healthy than time abroad. The son of a Protestant mother, he was in the foreign colleges, and the curriculum is quite as early in life taken in hand by a Catholic uncle, and liberal and the educational tests quite as searching. brought up in the faith of the Catholic Church in Archbishop Croke gave me some particulars as to the Charleville, in Cork. But before he was out of his ordinary course of a priest's education. Before he can be teens he was sent abroad to France to be educated for ordained a Catholic aspirant to the priesthood, he must the priesthood, and for several years he first studied and first of all be sufficiently proficient in Latin and Greek then taught in the various colleges with which Irish to pass his entrance examination. At St. Patrick's piety has studded the Continent. It may be true, what College, Thurles, where the whole of this preliminary Dr. Croke lamented to me in talking over the educational education is undertaken, it is found by experience that resources at the command of the Irish Catholics, that no one can be prepared for his entrance examination in these colleges of Donay and Paris and Louvain and less than two years at the shortest, and this period is Rome come very far from realising the ideal with which sometimes in the case of slower pupils extended to four. they were founded ; nevertheless they do give the Irish After the entrance examination is past, the student has priesthood a tincture of cosmopolitanism which is in- to spend two years in studying philosophy and four in possible to those reared in the hothouse of Maynooth. theology. If his preliminary period of education is The centenary of Maynooth was celebrated in July averaged at three years, the ordinary course of an Irish amid a great assemblage of the Catholic hierarchy from priest's education lasts nine years, during the last six of all parts of the world whither the Irish race has wandered. which he is educated with a single eye to a proficient But it is overgrown and bloated, for the six hundred and discharge of the duties of the priesthood. The total cost fifty students now receiving education within its walls of this education can hardly be estimated at less than form far too large a number to be trained with that £500 per head. This sum is borne for the most part by personal and individual care which is regarded as the the parents of the lads. It is an object of family pride in distinctive glory of Catholic seminaries. But if May- Scotland, no less than in Ireland, to have a son in holy nooth is far too big, the foreign colleges are too small, orders. The students for the most part come from the and too little is done to develop their latent possibilities families of solid men, well-to-do farmers and tradesmen for good. The Irish College in Paris is said to be who can afford to pay the fees, and who desire to bave a dominated by a dread that the gay capital of France son in the Church. Discipline is administered with an may contaminate the virginal purity of the young iron hand in the colleges, and any student who is collegiates, who are accordingly mewed up in the college discovered by his teachers not to have a vocation is liable as in a bandbox, and who leave France at the end of to be cashiered summarily without cause or sign other their curriculum almost as ignorant of France and the than the belief of his spiritual superiors that he has not Fiench as if they had never entered the country. In a vocation. In these theological seminaries and in Rome also, where Dr. Kelly has succeeded Monseigneur Maynooth the real teachers of the Irish people are Kirby in the rectorship of the Irish College, the students trained. Their morality is high, much higher than that are kept far too much by themselves, and have few which prevails in Eton and Harrow and other public opportunities of wandering at will through the streets of schools in our country, which are regarded by the the Eternal City, whose atmosphere contains history in Catholics familiar with the more austere rules of their solution, and whose streets are as the storied pages own seminaries as little better than modern variants upon of the annals of the Church. Everything tends to the cities of the plain. provincialise the Irish. The old days of persecution, Dr. Croke was educated first in France, from whence when the Irish had to educate their priests abroad, he was brought back to Ireland by the death of his tended continually to immerse their clergy in the wider brother, an event which is fixed in the Archbishop's and more cosmopolitan influence of the Continent. memory by the recollection of meeting the wraith or phantom of his deceased brother the first night in which Croke, “from one end of the island to the other, he slept in the chamber in which the body had laid. and never had to pay an hotel bill or my railway fare.

[graphic]

After this we again find him outside Ireland, as a Free passes everywhere on the lines, free board and lodgProfessor of Rhetoric at the Carlow College, from whence ing wherever you go-that is something like hospitality, he was shortly afterwards promoted to the Irish College and that is the hospitality which is practised in New at Rome. Notwithstanding the fulfilment of these impor- Zealand. Only on one occasion was I sharply reminded tant functions abroad, he passed through every grade of of the sectarian intolerance which does so much harm at ecclesiastical hierarchy. There is no post in the home. A Presbyterian minister who had been preaching Catholic Church, from a curate to an archbishop, that he against the Church of Rome found himself with me when has not filled. He has been curate, parish priest, ad- I was making a journey some miles up country. When ministrator, dean, bishop and archbishop, discharging in I got out at the railway station I found that my friends the meantime many duties more educational than eccle- had sent a carriage for me to convey me to the town, siastical. His most important office before his selection which was situated about a mile away. The Presbyas Archbishop of Cashel, was the Bishopric of New terian minister had also alighted at the same station. Zealand. Cardinal Cullen selected him, and sent him The rain was coming down in a perfect deluge. I went out, having well justified confidence in the energy and up to my Presbyterian friend and told him that there administrative capacity of the stalwart Irishman. His was plenty of room in the carriage, and hoped that he headquarters were at Auck

would accept a seat. It land, and his commission

would not do, however ; was to clear the debt off

he would have 'no truck' the cathedral, and estab

with the representative of lish the Catholic organisa

the Pope of Rome, and, tion in that colony on a

declining my invitation, business-like basis.

he walked off sturdily in Dr. Croke is enthusiastic

the pouring rain, which about New Zealand. He

must have drenched him thinks it is the finest

to the skin. That was country on the face of the

almost the only instance globe; the best to live in,

of intolerance which I the best to work in, and

noted in the colony." the best to enjoy life in.

“How about the educaThe climate seems to him

tion question ?" I asked to be perfection, the gene

Dr. Croke. " That is the ral education and intelli

great touchstone which gence which prevail among

tests the liberality of men's the colonists higher than

opinions as to conflicting that in any other colony.

creeds.” Nothing could be more

“I think," replied Dr. enthusiastic than the

Croke, “ that the New Zeadescription given by Dr.

land system is fairly satisCroke of his old diocese.

factory. The State proHe attributes the superio

vides an education solely rity of the colony largely

secular, and ministers of to the fact that the Maori

all denomination 3 are wars necessitated a con

authorized to impart siderable influx of British

religious instruction to officers, who, when they

their pupils one day in the had done their fighting, THE ARCHBISHOP AND HIS DOG.

week. The Catholic priests elected to settle down on

(Prom a snapshot photograph.)

in New Zealand attend land grants. Whatever the

regularly for some hours cause, he believed that New Zealand would soon be in the week to catechise the Catholic scholars in the recognised as the brightest jewel in our Imperial public schools. The system seems to work admirably. diadem, and he noted with keen delight the success which had attended the bold initiative taken by New

III.-BISHOP AND ARCHBISHOP. Zealand in the enfranchisement of women. Through Dr. Croke was ordained bishop twenty-five years ago out the Australian colonies, including New Zealand, on July 24th. He became Bishop of New Zealand in the Catholics are everywhere the second denomina the summer of 1870, abont the time that the long tion. Numerically they are one in four in New threatened war between France and Germany was South Wales, where they are the strongest, to one in breaking out in Western Europe. He remained in New seven in Western Australia and Queensland, where they Zealand four years. Having cleared the debt off the are the weakest. The most respectable colonists every cathedral and established the Catholic organisation in the where in Australia, regarded from the conventional view colony, he returned to Ireland. Just twenty years had of respectability, are the Anglicans. For the most part the elapsed since he despaired of the Irish national cause. colonists are extremely tolerant, and the relations between In his hot youth Archbishop Croke had imbibed the various churches leave nothing to be desired. Here that passionate enthusiasm for Irish nationality which and there no doubt you may find an extreme is characteristic of his race. When the revolutionary sectarian, but for the most part nothing can exceed movement of 1848 seemed to give hopes of a successful the generosity and liberality of the colonists in dealing rising against the power of England, there were few who with ministers of religion. “I travelled,” said Dr. rejoiced more at the prospect than Dr. Croke. But he

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »