On the Catholic Priesthood
I implore you, in God’s name, and all the more because of the events. full of sorrow and of shame to Christian men, which have crowded so thick upon us of late that, with all your heart and will, and all the weight of your soul, you cast yourselves on God. He alone can save. Use all your influence with those around you, in your homes, your households, your friendships; and if you have public influence, public trust, public authority, strive that all who bear responsibility shall cast themselves on God, as the only hope for society and for the people.
Do you want to see what man without God can do?
Read the history of the last eighty years in Paris.
You have there one simple phenomenon—generation rising after generation without God in the world.
And why? Because without Christian education. First, an atheistical revolution; next, an empire penetrated through and through with a mocking philosophy and a reckless indifferentism; afterward came Governments, changed in name and in form, but not in practice nor in spirit. The Church, trammeled by protection, its spiritual action faint and paralyzed, could not penetrate the masses of the people, nor form the rising youth. It labored fervently; its sons fought nobly for Christian freedom; thousands were saved; but for eighty years the mass of men has grown up without God and without Christ in the world. My whole soul pities them. These out bursts of horror, strife, outrage, sacrilege, bloodshed, are the harvest reaped from the rank soil in which such seed was cast. All this is true.
But how did souls created to the image of God grow up in such a state? They were robbed : robbed before they were born, robbed of their inheritance, and reared up in an education without Christianity.
Let this be a warning to ourselves. We are on the turn of the tide. A few active, busy, confident, and eloquent men were a year ago carrying us away with theories of State education without religion. We were told that a child might be taught to read and to write and to spell and to sum without Christianity. Who denies it? But what does this make of them? To what would they grow up? The formation of the will and heart and character, the formation of a man, is education, and not the reading and the writing and the spelling and the summing. For fifteen hundred years, Christians served God and loved man, before as yet they received this cultivation; and we, because we have it profusely; we are forgetting the deeper and diviner lessons. (...)
In God’s name, stand fast, and save it. I can add no more. Do not be afraid, if you find yourselves in the minority. “ Woe to you when men shall bless you " You must be censured if you are the disciples of Jesus Christ. The world that hated Him will not love you. “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master. and the servant as his lord ." “ If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household ? " And therefore, if you have the mark of the world's hatred upon you, accept it; press it to your bosom. It is the token that you are the disciples of the true and only Master. If you have the world’s favor and sunshine, look to yourselves. There is a dark future before the world. What it may be, God alone knows.
The Church will have to suffer; but there is a light upon it, and that light can never fade. We are in evil times, marked deeply by the four great evils of which I have spoken. Around us are “evil men and seducers, who grow worse and worse, erring, and driving into error.” “ Many shall come in my name," our Lord has said, “and seduce many "; and because of their iniquity the love and the charity of the many shall wax cold. Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be wars and pestilences in many places. But the end is not yet. This is only the beginning of troubles. Keep close to the footsteps of the Master who spoke those words; and, when these signs are in the sky and upon the earth, remember that He also said, “ When these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption is at hand."
Source: Cardinal Manning ( Our Faith and Belief: A
Carefully Selected Compilation from Great Writers, Essayists and
Lecturers Among the Prelates, Priests and Laymen of the Catholic Church,
on All Important Subjects of Our Holy Faith and Catholic Belief. 1917)