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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
SOCIALISM SPREADING IN THE WEST
REV. CHARLES STELZEL recently appointed by the Home Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, was a machinist until recently, and is now appointed to look out for the welfare of wage earners and devise means for interesting them in Presbyterian Christianity on the basis of its new Statement of Faith, which quite covers and hides the doctrine of foreordained damnation of all except the “very elect,” stated in the Westminster Confession still retained—sub rosa.
Rev. Stelzel visited the region of the Colorado miners’ strike recently, and his report of what he found is set forth in the Boston Transcript as follows:
“In an interview Mr. Stelzel, after his return from Colorado, where he had been studying the labor situation, said that Socialism is increasing among the workingmen of the West faster than Easterners realize. In Colorado, for instance, the issue, as he discovers it, is not unionism but Socialism; and the strike has entered many churches, officials differing fundamentally on the issues involved. For thousands of workingmen Socialism has become a substitute for the Church, the idealism of the earthly propaganda taking the place of the visions and ideals of the religious faith. This Mr. Stelzel has tested not only by word-of-mouth conversations and by hearing the speeches of orators, but by a careful poll—through correspondence of the leaders among the Western labor leaders. He finds that they are sending about the country as organizers and agitators, men who were formerly ministers in Protestant churches or who were Roman Catholic priests, who will use the religious terminology and appeal to the religious motives, but to the end that an earthly Utopia may be set up, and without any reference to the life beyond the grave. He believes that the Church must begin a propaganda which must be carried on out of doors wherever wage-earners congregate; that literature, inexpensive and attractive, written in the language of the people among whom it must circulate and written to their level, must be printed and circulated lavishly.”
This is significant, and points exactly in the direction and to the events portrayed in God’s Word,—in its pictures of the “day of wrath” coming on Christendom.
THE GERMAN “DOME,” OR CATHEDRAL
The completion and dedication of a great Cathedral at Berlin, Germany, is an event of world-wide note. It is to be to central Europe what St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, is to Great Britain and what St. Peter’s is to Rome. Newspaperdom concludes that it marks the closest possible approach of the German Emperor to the position of Pontifex Maximus to Germans. The N.Y. Times considers that “under the direct and personal care of the Emperor” it as closely marks “the establishment of a State Church as the exertions of the monarch could bring it.” It adds:—
“That would be the conclusion to be drawn from the establishment of the cathedral, even without more explicit explanation. But the pains that have been
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taken to secure at the opening the attendance of conspicuous representatives of other Protestantism than that of Germany shows that the intention goes much further than the establishment of a Prussian state church, in the sense, at least, of a Prussian Court church. It is almost avowedly to make Berlin the Rome of the Protestant world, in so far as the idea of an ecclesiastical center may consist with the right of private judgment as opposed to ecclesiastical control, which is at the very basis of Protestantism. And the establishment of a Protestant cathedral which aims to transcend the limits of any one communion or of any one country seems to involve the establishment, in a manner of speaking, of a Protestant Pope. Dr. Dryander, the Prussian court preacher who preached the opening discourse, did not shrink from this conclusion. On the contrary, he dotted his i’s with great explicitness in setting forth ‘the Emperor’s desire that this building should be the center of Protestantism, and that the German Emperor should in a general sense be the protector of the faith.’
“Without doubt, if there is to be a Protestant Pope, or in so far as there is to be one, the Kaiser fills the bill
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more nearly than any other earthly potentate. He has more Protestant subjects than any other, excepting the King of England. And the Anglican variety of Protestantism has always been recognized, both by its admirers and its detractors, as a variety suited only for home consumption, or at least for consumption by English-speaking persons imbued with British traditions, and not for exportation. King Edward would hardly be moved to compete with his royal nephew for the headship of the Reformed churches throughout the world. The headship of Continental European Protestantism, at least, naturally devolves upon the German Kaiser, in so far as it devolves upon anybody. We may now see that the necessity under which the Kaiser has felt himself to be, of forming and expressing opinions upon such subjects, for example, as biblical criticism, had a special root, in addition to his general necessity of forming and expressing opinions upon all matters of human concern or interest. …
“It is very impressive to find such a demonstration of the essential Christian unity of Protestantism as was afforded by the ceremonies of the consecration. It is not fantastic to expect that such a demonstration may have its effect upon the religious evolution of the world.”
A Catholic daily comments on the “Dome,” etc., as follows:—
“The German Kaiser is a good man and certainly he has so far treated his Catholic subjects with fairness, the Catholic Poles of Posen excepted, but really can not a melancholy note be caught in the midst of this Berlin hallelujah? The Kaiser’s own statisticians prove that Protestantism is perishing in Germany. The professors in his great universities so assert and even some of his own preachers so admit. Between the advance of materialism on one side and Catholicism on the other, Lutheranism is being ground to powder. If it were not for the support of the German Catholic party it is questionable if the crown would be on his head to-day. Socialism would be singularly dominant.
“Without a supporting Catholicism what would be the fate of the Kaiser’s Protestant St. Peter’s? It could not remain. It is environed by a perishing Protestantism, and when the latter dies the great structure must pass to other hands. Whose? It may be those of Socialists temporarily, but eventually the Catholic Church will come into possession. As a far-sighted statesman the Kaiser must foresee this. As to the English and American clergymen who lauded his purpose, why, compliments are easy to give. They knew better while they spoke.”
“BOTH GOOD AND RIGHT”
The German Emperor supplements his views regarding the purpose of the great Protestant Cathedral to be built in Berlin:
BERLIN, March 8th.—Upon the Emperor’s recent remark that his “Dome” should be a new place of pilgrimage, a new St. Peter’s Church, a cry of indignation sounded throughout the entire [Roman] catholic world. At an after-celebration to the dedication of the Cathedral the Emperor declared:
“The theological controversies between the two churches have nothing whatever to do with its [the Cathedral’s] value. The Roman Catholic Church has ever been the strongest organization and is so to this day. How the conflict will yet end rests with God. If Catholicism is the true religion, then no one can destroy it. It will become a greater power in the world than it already is. My conviction is, that both religions are good and right, and only misunderstandings do separate them.
“If in the course of developments Catholicism shall finally come off victorious, well and good. But until one or the other side has reached a clearer light, and until the overhanging cloud has been dispelled, a space of 500 years will probably have passed, and until then let us live in peace.”—Translated from the German.
WILL CHURCH AND STATE BE RECONCILED IN ITALY?
Pope Pius X, and his Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val, have determined to introduce a radical change in the policy of the Vatican toward the civil power in Italy. If this assurance be well founded, and many recent incidents confirm it, the upholders of the established social order in the peninsula will be immensely strengthened, and we may be sure that the royal Government will do everything in its power to satisfy the just claims of the Papacy.
On the occupation of the Holy City by Italian troops in the winter of 1870-1, the Government of Victor Emanuel strove to conciliate the head of the Church by offering to give him every assurance of independence, except the recognition of his temporal authority over any considerable section of Italian territory. It promised that he should be treated as a sovereign within the precincts of the Vatican, and to compensate him for the loss of revenues previously enjoyed the Italian Parliament voted him an annual grant of more than $600,000.
REFUSED GOVERNMENT ALLOWANCES
The Papacy has hitherto refused to touch a penny of the money, but that statute has never been repealed, and in the eyes of many Italian jurists it is a nice question of law whether the Pope might not at any moment demand the arrears of the subsidy, which now would amount to a vast sum, that, however, could easily be raised by a loan.
Simultaneously with his stern refusal of what he termed a bribe for connivance in the spoliation of Peter’s patrimony, Pius IX. issued to faithful Catholics the famous injunction non expedit, to the effect that it was not expedient for them to seem to condone the wrong done to the Church by taking part in any parliamentary election held under the regime of the usurper.
RADICALS AND SOCIALISTS THE POWER TO CHANGE
That injunction was solemnly reaffirmed by Pope Leo XIII. For more than thirty years it has been obeyed, with the result that the friends of the existing social system have been deplorably weakened by the refusal of nearly one-half of the registered electors to exercise the franchise. The control of the Italian Parliament had, up to the recent general election, passed virtually into the hands of advanced Radicals and Socialists. Nowhere else in Europe have the doctrines of Karl Marx exerted so much influence on legislation, or constituted so grave a menace to existing social and political
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institutions, as they lately have in the kingdom of Italy.
We pointed out not long before the late general election in Italy that it had become a question of vital moment to the Papacy to decide whether a continued enforcement of the injunction non expedit would be consistent with a due regard for its own safety. Little cause as has the Vatican to regard the Quirinal with sympathy, it must recognize that the ominous drift of events has exposed them both to a common danger, for it has been taught that there is something worse even than a usurping monarchy by the deadly assaults to which the Catholic religion has been and is being subjected in France at the hands of the Radical-Socialist party now dominant in that country.
PAPACY LEARNING A LESSON
Pope Pius X would have shown himself but an incompetent pilot had he shut his eyes to the warning given by the resolve of Premier Combes to abolish the Concordat between the French Republic and the Papacy, the warning, namely, that the aloofness which formerly seemed expedient had become so no longer, and that the law of self-preservation required the Church and the monarchy to co-operate for defence in Italy, lest both go down in a common shipwreck.
That the warning had been heeded to a considerable extent was evident from the outcome of the recent general election, at which the party of order was rescued from possible defeat and materially strengthened by the support of many faithful Catholics at the ballot box. The full significance, however, of the part then played by a considerable section of the registered Catholic electors is brought out for the first time by our correspondent in Rome. He tells us that the injunction non expedit, though not formally lifted, will henceforth be suffered to become a dead letter.
CATHOLICS MAY NOW PARTICIPATE IN ITALIAN ELECTIONS
The proof offered for this assertion is that at the Parliamentary as well as the municipal elections that have taken place during the last year the instruction or permission given to Catholics to participate in the voting emanated directly from Cardinal Merry del Val, the Papal Secretary of State. We are further informed
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that in order to facilitate co-operation with the civil power in behalf of the established order of society, and with a view of minimizing the chances of jealousy and discord, the Vatican has decided to discourage the creation of a specifically clerical party in Parliament, and consequently will recommend Catholic electors to vote either for Government nominees or for non-militant clericals.
By this judicious course it should be possible to avoid raising in the Chamber of Deputies the inflammatory question of a partial restoration of the Papacy’s temporal power, a question which plainly can best be dealt with in friendly negotiations between the Vatican and the Quirinal.—Literary Digest.
— May 1, 1905 —