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ventions, that, in the course of ages, have obtained currency, only to depreciate the value of the genuine histories which we possess. Needless to say, Father Delehaye's labors, far from meeting, at first, with universal approbation, were received with a good deal of suspicion and not a little indignation. His character of Jesuit was not quite equal to placing his orthodoxy beyond suspicion ; nor did the title of Bollandist protect his qualifications as a scholar from assault. In the Introduction to this volume, a part of which first appeared in the form of articles in the Revue des Questions Historiques, he mentions, in a general manner, the drift of the criticisms by which he was somewhat bitterly assailed by highly religious-minded people. These persons, he observes, considered his conclusions to have been inspired by “the revolutionary spirit that has penetrated into the Church"; and to be “highly derogatory to the honor of the Christian faith.” Father Delehaye, expressing his actual experience in hypothetical form, says:
If you suggest that the biographer of a saint has been unequal to his task, or that he has not professed to write as a historian, you are accused of attacking the saint himself, who, it appears, is too powerful to allow himself to be compromised by an indiscreet panegyrist. If, again, you venture to express doubt concerning certain miraculous incidents repeated by the author on insufficient evidence, although well calculated to enhance the glory of the saint, you are at once suspected of lack of faith. You are told you are introducing the spirit of rationalism into history, as though in questions of fact it were not above all things necessary to weigh the evidence.
Time, however, has brought around a juster appreciation of Père Delehaye's work. Reflection has taught his opponents that an endeavor to detect and eliminate counterfeit money from the genuine cannot fairly be held up to reprobation as an attack upon the national credit.
To give assistance in detecting materials of inferior workmanship is not to deny the excellence of what remains, and it is to the ultimate advantage of the harvest to point out the tares that have sometimes become mingled with the wheat to a most disconcerting extent.
The entire volume is not consecrated to the purgation of hagiology. A good third of it is devoted to combating, with the arms of critical scholarship, the misrepresentations of rationalistic writers in the historical field and in the comparative study of religions, who pretend that Catholicism has incorporated in its ritual and practice a considerable quantity of pagan observances and beliefs. Certain resemblances and coincidences exist which have been so misinterpreted as to give plausibility to this theory. Father Delehaye sets the facts in the proper light. With the editors of the Westminster Library, to which series the present translation belongs, we may say that Father Delehaye's work will prove of great service to "those who, whether as a matter of duty or of devotion, are accustomed to recite the Divine Office with its historical lessons; to those again who, as the Church's local representatives, are often asked to explain difficulties regarding the cultus of the saints; to all, in fine, who take an interest in the discussions upon pagan survivals provoked by so many of our modern folk-lorists.” Historical students will find the work to be a fine example of sound, conservative, scientific method.
The professor of Liturgy in OverLITURGY.
brook Seminary has made the
American clergy his debtor by publishing two manuals of liturgical practice,* for which-to use a sadly abused phrase which, however, is strictly applicable in the present instance—there has long been a grievous want. Every instruction necessary for the various rites of consecration and blessings incidental to the parochial service is, of course, contained in the Ritual and Pontifical; and copious volumes of text and commentary exist in abundance. But when a priest is to discharge, or assist, in some unusual liturgical benediction or consecration, he is often perplexed by the complication of directions, explanations, references to other parts of the book, that are to be found in the official texts, as well as in the works of commentary and explanation. How many a priest, who during the course of some episcopal ceremony, such as the consecration of a church, on finding himself put out by some abbreviated reference, or by his failure to find with sufficient alacrity the place to which he is referred, has said: “Why doesn't some person publish a good, large-sized book, in which everything that belongs to this function, and others of the same kind, would be found in its own place, with the Latin prayers in conspicuous type, and the instructions, clear and full, in their proper place in English ? "
* Consecranda. Rites and Ceremonies observed at the Consecration of Churches, Altars, Altar-Stones, Chalices, and Patens. Benedicenda. Rites and Ceremonies to be observed in some of the Principal Functions of the Roman Pontifical and the Roman Ritual. By Rev. A. J. Schulte, Professor of Liturgy at Overbrook Seminary. New York: Benziger Brothers.
These two volumes are just the thing to make the priest's way, through all the functions in which he is ordinarily called upon to take part, very plain sailing. Clear and detailed in. structions on each function are given in an introductory section; the articles required and their proper disposition specified. The prayers, psalms, antiphons, etc., are printed in conspicuous, heavy type; signs of the cross and other ceremonies are marked clearly in their proper places; even the verbal variations required, such as the plural for singular forms of words, are given, so that no distraction of effort to recall one's Latin grammar is imposed on the reader. The first volume contains the following subjects: Consecration of a Church ; Consecration of an Altar; Consecration of an Altar. Stone, the Sepulchre of which is beneath the Table; Consecration of a Chalice and Paten. The other volume: Laying of the Corner-Stone of a Church; Laying of the Corner-Stone of any Other Building than a Church; Blessing and Reconciliation of a Cemetery; Blessing of Bells, of a Church, a School. House, Crosses, Images; The Episcopal Visitation of a Parish; The Administration of Confirmation. Even that function of growing frequency and importance—the investiture of Domestic Prelates and Protonotaries Apostolic-is not forgotten.
Not alone the wants of the clergy in active ministry have been met by Father Schulte. He has provided for the seminarian a work which will be a good text-book in those seminaries where the course of Liturgy is short, and one which will prove a useful guidebook to the great standard authors when the length of the course permits a study of them.
We are pleased to note the appearance of new editions of some books of various characters, but all distinctively Catholic, and of merit enough to make this evidence of their popularity a cause of satisfaction to the friends of Catholic literature. Among them are: Treacy's Conquests of our Holy Faith and Tributes of Protestant Writers ; f M. F. Egan's The Life Around Us ; R. O'Brien's Ailey Moore ; § and McKeraan's Forty-Five Sermons. ||
A volume on North America | by Father De Vincentiis-a résumé of information of all kinds concerning the United States -is intended for the use of Italians anxious to become familiar with the country of their adoption, and for the enlightenment of those living at home in Italy, who are interested in the land where so many of their friends and fellow-countrymen dwell. The author writes about climate, geography, history, industries, national customs, religious systems, laws, and in fact pretty much everything that could be included in a book of general description. His style is interesting, the information he conveys fairly accurate, and, for the purpose in view, the book is useful. It will hardly serve to replace a careful study of statistics, but, on the other hand, it will convey as much information as persons with a superficial interest in the topics it discusses ordinarily care to have. The enthusiasm of the writer for America and Americans is written large on every page, and the fervor of his Catholicism is certainly beyond question.
* Conquests of our Holy Faith. By James J. Treacy. 3d Edition. New York: Fr. Pustet & Co.
+ Tributes of Protestant Writers to the Truth and Beauty of Catholicity. By James J. Treacy. 4th Edition. New York: Fr. Pustet & Co.
* The Life Around Us. A Collection of Stories by Maurice F. Egan. 5th Edition. New York: Fr. Pustet & Co.
V Ailey Moore: A Tale of the Times. By Richard B. O'Brien. 4th Edition. New York: Fr. Pustet & Co.
|| Forty-Five Sermons Written to meet the Objections of the Day. By Rev. J. McKernan. New York: Fr. Pustet & Co.
L'America del Nord. Per Reverendo Prof. Gideone de Vincentiis. Napoli: Luigi Pierro.
The Tablet (7 Sept.): In an exposition of the changes in the
Catholic Marriage Law, which, according to the Pope's recent Decree, will go into effect after next Easter, it is pointed out, that the Church will condemn, as null and void, marriages between Catholics, performed either in a Protestant church or in a registry office. The absolute requirements, therefore, for the validity of a marriage, will be the presence of a duly qualified priest and two witnesses; except: (a) In case of danger of death, for the relief of conscience and the legitimation of offspring, when any priest may assist validly; and (b) When the contracting parties have, during the space of a whole month, been unable to secure the presence of a properly qualified priest or the Ordinary of the place, . the marriage is valid if the parties express their consent in the presence of two witnesses. —The German Emperor, in a remarkable address at Munster, exhorts his people to return to Christian ideals as a sure basis for healthy national life.
-Mr. John Redmond claims, for the Irish party, credit for the defeat of the obnoxious McKenna Education Bill. (14 Sept.): The address of the Archbishop of Westminster, at the Catholic Congress at Preston, on the English School crisis, was a strong and vigorous one.
He condemned the plan of having the various creeds explained and taught in rotation, and insisted that the only possible way out of the difficulty was to have the children grouped according to their beliefs. Catholics, he said, cannot accept the municipal religion, for the sufficient reason that it is not Catholic. His Grace branded the suggestion as an attempt to bring back the old penal code and to enact new disabilities for those who are faithful to Catholicism: “Weaken the power of religion and you relax the bonds which knit a civilized people together. Destroy and uproot religion and you will have to encounter the wildest forces of human passion.”-A Catholic Women's League has been formed in London, with Father Bernard Vaughan,