Permanent link to this item
CARDINAL MERCIER, Issue 15698, 12 January 1915
"IMPOSING AND ATTRACTIVE.'' AN APPRECIATION.
Baood" X;trsv. in 'Everyman.' gives the.i following appreciation of Cardinal Aiercter,j the Archbishop of Malices. Belgium, whose j reported arrest bv the Gorman* because ot j * Pastoral Let to- issued by him to his f clergy and theio flock caused widespread] indignation: The- first time I saw Cardinal Mcrcier | hbs 15 years ago in the Garo du "N'ord at ■ Brussels. I was coming buck from _Lou-j vain, where, under the guidance of Ld-j riiond Bruiju, 1 bad seen, much too quickly j for my taste, the celebrated little town. It] was. the end of September. We arrived in | late in the afternoon, and the hc.nr for our return train wr.s drawing j near. Bv the time I had admired the j sumptuous magnificence of the 'town Hall. I the strong, vet elegant, boldness of the Collegiate, the marvels of Stunt Gertrude and Saint- Jacques, we had. not much time; le?t "Tt is during the university session! that you should »v Lorn-aim" da Bnuui! • aid to me as we went- through the sibmt. j University. I went back tc- Brussels fatimrl disappointed, above all because .1 tt.nl , missed seeing the famous library, winch; n;s closed during the vacation, when on; getting out- or" my train my companion j pointed out Monsigimr Merrier, i I would fain have been introduced iol his old master, who was :■■', ihat Lime enlv "recteur magni'iqf.e," but whose pio-. found works, had already won him renown. Mr idea was to ask tb<> Prelate, as libra- [ riari of the Cuum-he Institute in Pans, | which post I ihen held, permission to see! over the university bbr-.ry. But Brinju | did not ofh-r to present u.e. and 1 di<i not ; insist, for I imagined there might W_ an- | .-■'. her motive t ; vm mere reserve. Nmie ! - ; mo before, while he was Mill a law sun i dent at Lct.vam. :e Bruiju. who was en- i thusiastic about art. literature, and re!:-i -ioiu (vsthetiei~m. nmre so. perhaps, thauj nhmit legal studies, had founded ;i paper \ ■"■■h:rrt v,si '.>•, gi;m.i"g to make a stir in Belgium, and even" fuvther atield--t-he •Catholic Soeeiator.' do smg tiie praises, of this lviocr. many •»" whose contributors •i. •••re riot so u.-efa; as i'.> editor, is not my I ■■••,.-■: m?ss. but "! mav be allowed perhaps to j ; . :t ..ov interest it aroused by mention- ! , ■••■ - tnat 1" had among- its contributors such j ;c.mcs"as Rctiiv de Gounnont. Andre Gide. j H--o-i Mate!. Francis .(amines. Mux Fls-: ;' .-.in. Victor Kmon. Georges le Cardoue . 'Charles Gm-nm Louis Oenise. Ab'nc; ''■'■•.-" Cbarb's Morl-r. Fernand S<-veiin,; ,"..'' He Biuiju had i-een warmly encour-i ~_.,! at Louvain, Mgr. de llaiiez. the ta-i ;.e- u s Orientalist, having allowed hie iiann?] to figure among tb.e memoirs of th? com- i irnttoe. But although .1 had no grounds j oi'- so'thinking. I had an idea, thai- Mgr. j Merrier had nee looked too favorably mi j -ri en'e'-pri-e that might tend to make his! best ; sna-mms foMke the dry university'
programme of study. I had therefore to content myself with going a, little nearer the Rector of Louvain and studying him unseen, while ho paced the platform awaiting his train. AN ORIGINAL FACE. T was struck more than I can say Ivy the both imposing and attractive aspect of this original face. Row distinguished seemed his tall, lean figure'; What authority showed in this austere, thoughttul taee this calm, high forehead that seemed mil of deep, earnest thought, what intelligence shining in the eLareye. and what kimim'ss in the mobile, expressive fcatiuvs ami friendly, almost childlike, .smile! So appeared to me the man who soon after ivss to become Archbishop ofMalines and Primate- of Belgium. 1 only knew him as aphilosopher.'greatly esteemed by hi* compeers as one of the pioneers of the new school of theologv: as a master who had left an indelible stamp on Catholic philosophy, and made Louvain one of the centres of learning. But 1 not at till sirprised to learn some years later that tint a.uthor of the ' Phyehologie' and, of the ' Criteriologie Guierale' was at tiie same time a <'reat- bishop, as attentive to the u aterial needs of his flock as to their re't gious htter, quite recently, indeed, that I had the honor of finding my*elf in the presence of this gentle prelate, and of be in? received bv him. The circumstances were memorable. I he Prince of the Church was re-min" back from Rome, where he had hie:: ceiled to lb- election of the successor of I'iits X.. and as he was going _ 'rotu Paris, eager to rejoin his tonntry, .levastated bv "Teutonic barbarism, be kindly oianted" me an interview hi tins peacentl horse of the l.azaiisks in the Hue no where he stopped fo- a few hours. A LOOK OK I'KOl'n SOP.BOW. When I *a-w him all my former iinpressioiifc. came back to me. It wa- tin- same ascetic face, the same thoughtful, kindly expression, the same gentle smile. Age seemed hardly to have touched the Cardinal. A few lines, were marked more deei.lv on his noble forehead, but that seemed ail. Yet a look o; proud sorroiv had ehane;ed the expression of bis face. How warmly he- answered nm -vvb.cn I spoke of the" heroic, traditions of the Belgian people and the bravery of the defenders of Liege and of King Albert's array. " Yes. th"v did not believe us capable of that, did "they?" In what heart-rending words he pictured to me tie- many disasters and atrocious, suh'erhi.gs that- were falling on Iris diocesans. The work of centuries annihilated at L-vavain. the metropolitait town of Maliuos, a menace or de-struction—-in short, his country given over to the fury of ravage soldiery "ho sowed methodieaflv on their way alio,, it ies and death. OX A LONG CALVARY. But not- one word of anger came from the lips of this true |oi,tilT of Christ. Speaking of so much ruin and desolation.
he expressed only the deepest anguish and pity, eager to share and relieve the jmfterings of his people. Neither the fatiyn.<i, of a long journey nor the uncertainty of returning to Belgium troubled the farcin mil's mind. He. was doing "'hat he considered a bishop's duty, and would ha» left Paris the evening of his arrival had the interrupted eommunication not rendered it. impwi-ible. He Flayed there, lust the time necessary to make arrangements to return to Belgium: Alas', at that time Cardinal Mcrcier was only petling out on his long Calvary; he had bvjt sipped the cup of bitterness that he was t'| drain to tlm dregs. 11 is sorrow at the trials inflicted on a just dime, far from weakening his confidence, conlirmed his trust in the h'tia! triumph of justice over fe.lonv and of right over might. 1 received from his own lips the touching expression of his belief and hope in thffuture. "But how many delays since then'.' What ruin and bloodshed and mourning* Yet Belgium's courage has disputed incfj by inch it,s country to the invader, and hai made him pay dearly for every step 1 gained. And T am glad to call forth at this sad hour the image of the pa.trkit primate, istrnng in unconquerable hnpi and blessing with bis sacred hands glorious standards of heroic Belgium. ;
CARDINAL MERCIER, Issue 15698, 12 January 1915
Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.
Print, save, zoom in and more.