Quarterly Review for January 1873
FROM: ORESTES BROWNSON, “QUARTERLY REVIEW FOR JANUARY 1873”
The Works of Orestes A. Brownson, Vol. XX
Collected and arranged by Henry F. Brownson
Detroit: H. F. Brownson, 1887
I am not willing that my name should go down to posterity with the slightest suspicion resting on it of disloyalty to the Church; not, indeed, that I care much for it on my own personal account, but for the sake of the Catholic cause, which I hold dearer than life, and which I would not have suffer the least detriment through me or my ill reputation; and also for the sake of my surviving children, to whom I can leave no inheritance but that of an untarnished name. It was almost the last wish expressed to me by my late wife, whose judgment I never found at fault, that I should revive my Review, if only for a single year, and prove to the world that my faith has never wavered; that I am still an humble but devoted son of the Church, and that I am, as I always professed to be, an uncompromising Catholic and a thorough-going Papist I have no palinode to sing; I enter on no explanations of the causes of the opposition I encountered from some of my own brethren. Such explanations would be mistimed and misplaced, and could edify nobody. I willingly admit that I made many mistakes; but I regard as the greatest of all the mistakes into which I fell through the last three or four years that I published my Review, that of holding back the stronger points of the Catholic Faith, on which I had previously insisted; of labouring to present Catholicity in a form as little repulsive to my non-Catholic countrymen as possible; and of insisting on only the minimum of Catholicity, or what had been expressly defined by the Holy See, or a general council. I am not likely to fall into the same mistake again. My experiment was not very successful; and besides, the Syllabus and the decrees of the council of the Vatican, published since, would protect me from it, if nothing else would. I have no ambition to be regarded as a liberal Catholic. A liberal Catholic I am not, never was, save in appearance for a brief moment, and never can be. I have no element of liberal Catholicity in my nature or in my convictions, and the times, if I read them aright, demand Catholicity in its strength, not in its weakness; in its supernatural authority and power, not as reduced to pure rationalism or mere human sentimentality. What is most needed in these times—perhaps in all times—is the truth that condemns, point-blank, the spirit of the age, and gives no quarter to its dominant errors; and nothing can be more fatal than to seek to effect a compromise with them, or to form an alliance with what is called liberalism—a polite name for sedition, rebellion, and revolutionism.