Ozanam in his correspondence (Monsignor Baunard) 05

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoFrédéric OzanamLeave a Comment

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Author: Monsignor Baunard · Translator: A member of the Council of Ireland of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. · Year of first publication: 1911 (French) – 1925 (English).
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Chapter IV: Association for the propagation of Truth

Protests at the Sorbonne – Petition to the Archbishop, interviews – Conferences in Noter Dame – Subscription to the Catholic University in Louvain.
1832-34.

We are still in the year 1832, Ozanam’s first year in Paris. The groups of Catholic young men, which have been noticed around certain centres, such as M. Bailly’s flat, or the literary and political salon of M. de Montalembert, or the conferences in the Law School, commence at this point to single out from among their own ranks, one distingusihed by a great charm of heart, even more than by ability or oratory. It is found, without either himself or anyone else adverting to it or desiring it, that he is the comrade who is listened to, the model who is imitated, the guide who is followed.

Ozanam was neither remarkable for personal beauty nor for winning manners. It was his natural charm and simplicity which first awakened sympathy. Subsequently, the lofty quality of his mind and heart bound others to him for ever. He invariably presented-the dreamy appearance that comes from frequent meditation. But it was not at all moodiness; his disposition was sweet; he delighted in cheerful company and he was more than once heard to say that “his worst company was himself.” Truly humble, he never pushed himself forward. He had but to unconsciously appear himself as he really was, to inspire good men with a desire to know him, and with a longing to approach him. It was in that way that his first friends in Paris were attracted.

The membership of the group was naturally formed of young students from Lyons, whom civic patriotism and similar religious sentiments brought together. Ozanam often mentions Henri Pesson­neaux, his affectionate cousin who, not being able to do without him, crossed Paris on foot each evening from the Rue de Courcelles to the Montagne St. Genevieve, to satisfy himself that Frederic was well. He then discreetly took his departure without delay, so as not to interrupt this student. The painter Janmot was also from Lyons, a friend of Ozanam from childhood, and his companion at first Holy Communion. He had forgotten nothing of this. A distinguished pupil of M. Ingres, a charming character, a man of cultivated manner, he was an artist who was also a Christian, and was enamoured of the Divine Beauty which he adored. M. Velay was also from Lyons, and was then at the Polytechnic. Ozanam witnessed with regret his departure to take up his residence in the School of Engineering in Metz, where he wrote him: “We shall not hear again your military step on the staircase of the Hotel des Ecoles, nor the rattle of your splendid sword on the floor of my room! But you are missed, you are spoken of, you are remembered, and when a letter from you arrives, it is passed round the circle.” Dutieux was also from Lyons, a great and a brave heart, who, sorely tried in later years by cruel experiences, knew no better nor more sympathetic friend than him who wrote: “I love you in Him Who loves us both. Offer to Him on my behalf some of those holy things which make you so dear to Him and to me.”

I should have mentioned earlier, Edmond Le Jouteux; Chaurand too, who will be found with Ozanam at the foundation of the conferences of St. Vincent De Paul in Lyons; Paul Brac de la Perriere! Frederic is astonished, nay, vexed with himself, that he had not known him, a Lyons man, in Lyons before his student days in Paris: “But God, who draws the clouds together to scatter the lightning, also draws souls together, when He is pleased, to radiate love.”

One day, when he was present at the course of Oriental Archaeology at the College of France, Professor Letronne, Geographer, Egyptologist, Chronologist, the highest scientific authority of the time in that branch of science, was at some pains to demolish what he contemptuously called “the legend of Genesis.” Ozanam, silent but restless, shook his head significantly in dissent. He was noticed by another student who was also of his way of thinking. After the lecture, he looked for him to compare notes. Ozanam had gone, but not for good. They found one another again.

Lallier—for it was he—gave the following account to a friend, who has given us the account word for word, of their coming together: “As I left the Law School, generally alone, I noticed that a small group of students, always composed of the same members, were stand­ing on the footpath near the Rue Soufflot. In the middle of the group was one who spoke warmly, and who was listened to. Who is, I asked myself, this young chanticleer (sic) to whom those fellows pay so much attention?—I recognised Ozanam. Moved by curiosity, as well as by sympathy, I drew near the group and joined in the conversation. Ozanam replied to my remarks. When the others had dispersed, after a little while, we two resumed the conversation, exchanging views, getting to understand one another better. Thus occupied, we accompanied each other home from lodgings to lodgings interminably.” In Lallier, Ozanam found a brother-in-arms.

On another occasion it was on the steps of the Law School that Ozanam was noticed by a comrade. The latter wonders, who is this silent, observant young man, quite up-to-date in appearance and manners. On leaving the Church of St. Etienne-du-Mont, he happened to find himself face to face with him, and, recognising him, stretches out his hand: “What! you are then a Catholic? Please excuse me, as I thought you were anything but that. Let us become friends.” This young man was M. de Goy. Determined above all things to avoid evil companions, he had spent six months in Paris without a friend.

Other affinities constituted the bond of friendship: birth, education, profession, and, above all, conviction. The father of a second year’s law student, Paul Lamache, from St. Pierre-Eglise in La Manche, was a doctor, his brother a priest just like Ozanam’s, he had two sisters, wholly given up to God and the poor, even as Ozanam’s young sister had been. He had played the same part at the College of Rouen, that Frederic had played at that of Lyons, a defender and apostle of faith. He had found a friend and a guide in his Master, Pere Faucon, just as Ozanam had found in his Professor, Pere Noirot. “Moreover,” says his biographer, “both the sturdy Norman and the frail and delicate Lyons youth had dreams in common, which are to be found in their correspondence; so many marks of intellectual and moral relationship.” From the day they met at the feet of the same masters they recognised one another for brothers. The three names of Ozanam, Lallier, and Lamache will not be again found separated in the early part of this history.

Others joined up in the same way. They must aim at the same goal. Ozanam wrote, that it was time to rally them around one flag; the flag of the defence of religion against impudent and insolent irreligion.

Everything hastened the necessity for that defence. The attack was violent. Anti-Christianity raged in the Press, the schools, the hustings. There was every support for doctrines which were called liberal, and which under the July regime gave full play to every form of free thought and party passion. The University especially was taking full revenge for the discipline under which it had groaned during the Restoration. The Sorbonne, the College of France, were parti­cularly aggressive. Our young Catholics who were not obscurantists returned from those schools in pain, in anger, and in revolt.

But they were in a decided minority. Discouragement was general even in the counsels of the Church in France. With timid silence on the one hand, and brazen falsehood on the other, what could they do, that handful of boys, against the voice of the recognised masters of science and eloquence, borne on the wings of power and popular favour? To listen in silence, to register no protest! That they did not wish to do. To write to the Press? They would not be read. They de­cided to oppose speech to the spoken word, face to face, on the same ground, at the same moment, to the same audience, whose pardon and good-will they hoped to win, in the names of truth and liberty.

In a letter, dated loth February, 1832, that is to say, only four months after his arrival in Paris, Ozanam gave the following account of the plan of campaign against the anti-Christian teaching at the Sorbonne: “We have in our growing ranks young men of noble dis­position who have given themselves up to this great work. Every time that a Professor raises his voice against Revelation, Catholic voices are raised in protest! Many of us have agreed to do that. On two different occasions I have taken my share in this noble work, by sending in my objections in writing to those gentlemen. Our replies, which are read out, have had the best possible effect both on the Pro­fessor, who all but retracted, and on the class, who applauded. The most striking result is, that it shows the young student, that it is possible to be a Catholic and have common sense, to love religion and liberty at the same time. It serves to withdraw young men from religious indifference, and to accustom them to the discussion of serious matters.”

A letter written to Ernest Falconnet adds: “Our cause is the cause of the Gospel. I shall let you know all that will be done by us for the honour and the victory of this holy cause.”

As a matter of fact, less than two months later, on the 25th March, he writes that the first affairs “were but skirmishes,” adding: “To­day, I am glad to be able to tell you that we are engaged in a more serious encounter. The scene of the Battle is the Chair of Philosophy, M. Jouffroy’s lectures.

Attached to the Sorbonne, President of Conferences at the Ecole Normale, in charge of a course of lectures in the College of France, Deputy for his constituency of Pontarlier since 1831, Theodore Jouffroy, at the age of 36, was, by the elevation of his mind and the authority of his speech, one of the leaders of free thought. He was the man of evil omen who, in his famous Globe article, Whither Dogma Leads, was sounding by degrees the knell of Christianity. He was the unquiet, and troubled pschycologist who presented in a splendid way The Problem of Human Destiny, the solution of which was only to be found, according to him, in a helpless and plaintive scepticism. Under those flowers of speech Ozanam declared that he saw nothing but ruins, ruins both of faith and reason, on which the philosopher, with un­certain hand, was ready to rear the temple of future religion. He exclaimed: “Such is M. Jouffroy’s preaching in the Sorbonne, the ancient Sorbonne, which Christianity founded, and the dome of which is still crowned with the the sign of the Cross.”

Ozanam described his protest as follows, without, however, men­tioning his own name: “M. Jouffroy, having gratuitously attacked Revelation, and even the possibility of Revelation, a young Catholic layman sent him a reply thereto in writing. The philosopher promised to answer it; he deferred his answer a fortnight, to get his weapons ready. At the end of this period he did not read out the letter of protest, but summarised it from his own point of view, and endeavoured to reply to that. The young Catholic, finding him­self misrepresented, sent in a second letter to the Professor. The latter took no notice of it, made no reference to it, but continued his attacks, claiming that Catholicity was inconsistent with Science and liberty.

“Thereupon we came together; we drew up a joint protest proclaiming our sentiments; it had fifteen signatures hurriedly attached to it and was forwarded to M. Jouffroy. This time there was no course left open to him but to read it -aloud. The large audience, over two hundred in number, listened to our profession of faith with respect. The philosopher laboured in vain to reply. He fashioned excuses, assuring all that he had no desire to single out Christianity for attack; that he had the greatest possible respect for it, and that in the future he would see that no form of religious belief was offended. But more important still, he stated a very remarkable fact, and one which gave great encouragement at that particular time: “Gentle­men,” he said, “for the last five years the only objections I received came from materialists; it was spiritual doctrine that found the greatest possible opposition; to-day all is changed, the objections are all from Catholics.”

What Ozanam had put forward was simply an expression of the inability of science to satisfy the intellectual needs of man, the poverty of natural knowledge to fill the human mind, hungry for supernatural enlightenment, the actual instability of reason as a foundation for moral conduct. But, then, what follows immediately and directly from these three facts, if not the necessity for Revelation?

Such was his letter, with a pious and fraternal conclusion for the benefit of the young student of Lyons, whom he expects at Paris: “As for you, my dear friend, prepare for the struggle by the practice of the Gospel which you will be called upon to defend. Pray for us who are entering on our career and who stretch out our hands to you with a great and fraternal friendship, while awaiting the day when you will take your place in our ranks.”

Thus was our young Daniel prophesying, in the name of the true God, before princes and sages. Thus did the Professors of the Sor­bonne learn to know him who, ten years later, was to sit in their midst, and to become their colleague. Meantime they became more moderate in their language. Perhaps he who profited most was the same Theodore Jouffroy, who said later, when dying: “All these systems lead nowhere. A single act of Christian faith is worth many thousand such.”

In very truth the grace and light of God were at that time resting on the young man scarce 20 years of age, whose lips and whose heart the Divine Hand had touched and sanctified. It is still in the very early days of his sojourn in Paris, it is on the morrow of his passionate and lofty protest at the Sorbonne, that the letter dated the loth February adds: “The most attractive and most edifying meetings for Christian young men are the Conferences which the Abbé Gerbet has inaugurated at our request.”

Ozanam and his friends had sought at his place of residence in the Sorbonne the priest, then 34 years of age, whom Cousin described as “A mystical angel.” Lecturer on Holy Scripture in the Faculty of Theology in Paris, founder of the monthly magazine Le Memorial Catholique,” an erudite philosopher, a profound theologian, a refined writer, the Abbé Gerbet had published in 1829 his Considerations, both dogmatic and mystical, on what he called the “Motive Dogma of Catholic Piety,” that is the Blessed Eucharist. He sought traces of primitive Revelation in universal tradition and in the historical evidence of mankind. In this he was akin to Ozanam who also was tending in this direction and who wrote as follows of him: “One can now say that light is piercing the darkness. Every fortnight the Abbé Gerbet gives us a lecture on the Philosophy of History. We have never heard such analytic reasoning nor more profound doctrine. So far he has given only three lectures, yet the Hall is crowded with celebrities, and with young men thirsting for knowledge. I saw de Potter, Sainte-Beuve, Ampère junior, drinking in the teaching of the young priest.”

Ozanam noticed that “Lammenais’ system, as unfolded by the Abbé Gerbet, was no longer the same as that of Lammenais’ pro­vincial followers.” It was not even the same as what its master claimed to be the foundation of evangelical proof, but merely a pre­liminary series of inductive proofs leading to the truth of Revelation. “It is,” continues Ozanam, “the representation of the everlasting alliance of faith and science, of charity and labour, of power and liberty. Applied to history it enlightens it, it unravels the destiny of the future. There were not any tricks of the charlatan; his voice was weak, his gestures awkward, his delivery easy and quiet. But towards the end of the lecture he becomes animated, his face glows, the light of Heaven is on his brow and prophecy on his lips.” Have we not in this picture of the Abbé Gerbet an advance portrait of Ozanam himself as he is remembered by his audience in the Sorbonne?

But those conferences, if I may say so, with closed doors, held in a Hall—that of the Place de 1′ Estrapade—capable of seating not more than Soo people, were, in very truth, the light hidden under the bushel. Ozanam asked himself if the advantage could not in some way be extended to the young men of all the schools? Why should not Paris have, somewhere, its chair in defence of truth, answering in a modern way every question and every need of the present time? Such was the burden of the conversation of these young men of good will. But who would draw up the petition and present it in high place?

The time was propitious. Owing to deplorable differences St. Hyacinthe’s Academy in the Madeleine—in which the Abbé Dupanloup had given a brilliant series of lectures on Apologetics to the young men —had been closed. Its closing saddened Ozanam who had visited it occasionally out of curious interest. He showed his sympathy by attending the closing meeting not without emotion. He reflected on leaving, “Will there not then be in Paris one Chair of doctrine at the feet of which we can sit for enlightenment?” “Do you re­member,” he wrote later to Lallier, “do you remember that famous evening, when we had been present at the final meeting of St. Hyacinthe’s Academy. We came straight back and without parting, drew up the petition to His Grace Monsignor de Quelen.”

This was in the early days of June, 1833. The petition, drawn up by Ozanam, received the signatures of ioo Catholics. An audience was requested of His Grace the Archbishop, who at once accorded it. The deputation consisted of three members, Ozanam, Le Jouteux, and de Montazet, grand-nephew of the Archbishop of the same name. They knew that the Archbishop himself was very much upset by the closing of Saint Hyacinthe’s Academy, and that the cause of the young men was going to be prejudiced by that fact. It was no skeleton of an Academy housed in a chapel, frequented by the initiated, that they had come to ask for. It was no less than the institution in Notre Dame itself, of a Chair of preaching which would be a sword and a torch for the young men of the schools.

The Archbishop, who since the destruction of his residence had been dwelling in the Convent of the Dames de Saint-Michel Rue Saint Jacques, received the young men graciously. Encouraged by the reception, they represented to him the state of mental unrest and “the need for a chair of preaching, which in a modern form, and on the very scene of daily controversy, should engage in hand to hand conflict with the adversaries of Christianity. It would furnish a reply to the objections and difficulties which were raised daily in public courses of lectures, and which were reproduced and popularised in books and newspapers.”

The Archbishop replied that he was of the same opinion; then, appearing, as it seemed, to be caught up by their infectious enthusiasm: “Yes,” said he, “I, too, have a presentiment that some great event is in course of preparation. God is preparing a great victory in our time.” He then assured them that he would consider their petition carefully. Thereupon, having blessed them and taken them affec­tionately in his arms, he pressed their heads against his breast, saying with great emotion, “I salute in you all Catholic young men.”

Nothing was done on that occasion. But the recollection of their reception had left Ozanain and the growing number of his friends an undefined hope that their petition had not been in vain. Therefore, towards the beginning of the following Lent, 1834, Ozanam again ventured to approach the Archbishop. The new petition received Zoo signatures. It was in their name that on the 15th February, Ozanam, Lallier and Lamache were admitted into the kindly and fatherly presence. The petition was couched in beautiful terms. It first recalled “the gracious reception and the hopeful words which they had had the preceding year. Then, moved by the urgency of the need, yet grown wiser by the time spent in waiting, they came to pray for such instruction as should sanctify science in their eyes, and demonstrate it and faith marching hand in hand. They were learning to recognise how dry and barren study is, which is not animated by the spirit of religion.”

They spoke of their own age, in which man felt the need of well-grounded doctrine to co-ordinate knowledge, on the one hand by attaching it to a higher order of ideas, and, on the other by laying a foundation of duty, and by tracing the path of future life. Religion alone can do that; but it must be known: “Therefore, your Grace, we had desired those conferences which, without losing time in refuting objections which are to-day outworn, would display Christianity in all its grandeur, and in harmony with the aspirations and necessities of man and society.”

To that end they asked for “an exposition of the philosophy of science and art which would discover in Catholicity the source of all truth and beauty; of the philosophy of life, which would show its principle, its progress, and its destiny. They desired that that instruction should come from the pulpit, because the grace which fortifies, the enlightenment which converts, flow from the lips of the priest. They desired that at the feet of that pulpit and in the same building there should be room for all, believers or unbelievers, all receiving in silence the seeds of conviction which would germinate in time. Already we have seen many of our fellow students return to the light. They had strayed from it because they did not recognise it. Oh 1 if we could only see that example followed by all the young men of the schools! If they only knew the beauty of Christianity how they would love it.”

The petition gave a glimpse of the Society of Charity which was being established among these young men, united by brotherly affec­tion, and by a common faith. It thus concluded, “Then a chorus of praise to God will ascend from all these souls grounded in faith or consoled by charity, a chorus of filial gratitude to the Church, and benediction of Him who will have been the Author of all this good!” At the conclusion of this document these young Christians could truly style themselves “The most humble and obedient servants of His Grace, and his devoted children in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop was much moved. He encouraged Ozanam, their spokesman, to speak with confidence, so struck was he by the extra­ordinarily clear views of a youth of 20 years of age. The latter made bold to mention the names of two priests who would make a success of the undertaking. There could not be any question of the Abbé Gerbet, whose weak voice would not be able to reach such a vast audience. One of the two whom they mentioned was the Abbé Bautain. He had been a talented student of M. Cousin at the Ecole Normale and had just come over with note from the philosophy of Rationalism to the true faith. The other probable candidate, and obviously the better, was the Abbé Lacordaire, whose defence before the House of Peers, with NIontalembert in his Proces de l’Ecole libre, and whose able collaboration in the periodical L’Avenir, had made him dear to the young men.

But what marked him out now for their choice was the brilliant success of his Conferences at Stanislaus College. From the igth January, when they had been inaugurated, academic and political celebrities had surged with admiration to the foot of the modest but now celebrated pulpit in the all too narrow chapel. There the first sacred orator of Paris showed himself to the young men of the schools as the apologist whom they wanted.

But those very qualities which recommended Lacordaire to the young men, originality of mind and speech adapted to the modern trend of thought, were exactly those which tended to make him suspect to the ancients in the sanctuary. The latter were interested defenders of classical traditions and of ancient ecclesiastical formulas. His collaboration in the editing of the Avenir was moreover, at the time of the early defection of Lamennais, not a recommendation. Prejudiced minds did not distinguish between those who remained rooted in error, and those who loyally broke with it at any and every sacrifice. Had Ozanam’s frank spirit any conception of the mountain of prejudice which he would have to remove in order to carry at the first assault Lacordaire into the pulpit of Notre Dame. Without expressing any opinion on the suggested names, Monsignor de Quelen, naturally hesitating and halting, informed the three delegates that he proposed to make such a beginning as would, in his opinion, satisfy them. This consisted in granting them not one preacher, but seven, selected from the elite of his clergy, who were each to take a Sunday in Lent and preach in turn from the pulpit of Notre Dame on the lines suggested. It was the reply of a man of 1804 to the young men of 1834. He was asked for the bread of Lacordaire, he offered the stone of Monsignor Frayssinous.

“While the conversation on this delicate subject was going forward, the delegates presenting their objections with all deference, the prelate insisting on his solution, the door of the salon opened and M. de Lamennais appeared. Monsignor ran to meet him, shook him warmly by the hand and turning to the young men said, “Here is, gentlemen, the man that would suit you. If his voice could be heard in Notre Dame, the great portals of the metropolitan would be too small to admit the crowds whom his name would attract.” Whereupon—it is Lamache who is relating the incident—whereupon, I still seem to see Lamennais, raising his large eyes filled with inexpressible sadness saying: “As for me, Monsignor, as far as I am concerned, my career is ended.”

It was indeed at an end; for (a fact which they did not then know), the Paroles d’un Croyant were printed and about to be published. The three young men arose and took their departure.

The following day an account of the interview appeared in the Universe, the result of an indiscretion. Ozanam and Lallier, who strongly disapproved of it, felt bound to see the Archbishop and apologise for it. Monsignor de Quelen received them as he had done the day before. To show them how anxious he was to meet their wishes, he told them that he had at once sent for the preachers whom he had named and that they were actually meeting in the next room. He put the delegates into touch with them. They were left with these seven priests, among whom the best known were the Abbé Dupanloup, the Abbé Petetot. The others were Peres Fraysse, Dassance, Thibaut, James, Annat. A discussion ensued which was at first somewhat reserved, but which became more animated. It was carried on with the best possible desire to understand one another and under the delusion that they would succeed.

As a matter of fact there was no chance whatever of their coming together. Ozanam’s conviction pushed the assault to the extremest limits without as much as piercing the first line of their defence. They separated without understanding each other. Ozanam, on his return to his rooms, drew up a short memorandum for the Archbishop, re­inforcing what he had already said; it was his last cartridge, and it was so much waste powder. The series of the seven sermons was opened in Notre Dame on the 16th February 1834. It met with but a paltry success. The young men still crowded to the chapel in Stanislaus College around the Abbé Lacordaire.

Lacordaire about this time received his first visit from Ozanam, which he thus described in 1854: “I must go back over many years for my first meeting with Ozanam. I had not yet commenced the course of instruction, which gained me disciples and friends, and I was unsettled in mind. Just at that moment came Ozanam, the advance guard of the army of young men that was to raise me out of my dejection by crowding around my pulpit. . . . It was in the winter of 1833-34. He appeared to be about 20 years of age, without the fresh beauty of youth. Pale, like the men of Lyons, of middle height, without grace, his eyes shot piercing glances while his face presented an appearance of gentleness. His brow which was not without a certain nobility, was adorned with a fringe of thick long black hair which gave him a certain air of wildness designated by the Latin word incomptus… What did he want of me at that time? Ozanam came to me because he was a Christian and I was a priest. But he also came, urged on by concern for all that he held dearest in the world, faith, country, charity, the future of Christianity and Truth. The young man had arrived in Paris to find the ruins caused by impiety which called itself liberty. The fragile edifice (La Congregation) which had afforded a place of refuge to those few who had perchance survived, no longer existed; the Revolution of 1830 had trampled it under foot; and Ozanam arrived pure, sincere and zealous, to find himself in a silent void.

“It never occurred to him that God had sent him to fill that void. Yet, on the morrow of defeat, he was to be one of the first to acquire, in the name of Jesus Christ, the holy power of a popularity without reproach. As for us, who belonged to both periods, who had ex­perienced both contempt and honour, our eyes grew moist with tears that would not be kept back at the prospect, and we fell down in thanksgiving to Him “Who cannot err in His gifts.”

How best to state that the conferences in Stanislaus College were suspended? That, when Lacordaire asked to be allowed to resume them, conditions were imposed, which neither his sense of dignity nor his sense of liberty could accept? He had been denounced to the Government “as a fanatical Republican, who was quite capable of turning the mind of the young men.” He was denounced to the Archbishop as a preacher of novel and dangerous doctrine. Lacordaire withdrew and remained silent.

No one was more affected by this counter-attack than the young Christian, who had based great hopes on those addresses. Nevertheless no one knew better than he how to maintain his hope and his faith in the face of the trial. The only complaint which escaped his lips was an admirable act of charity for his brothers in misfortune, and of noble submission to the hand of God, which would ever be his sole, his all-powerful support. He wrote as follows to M. Velay:-

“We are not to hear Lacordaire again. It is a great grief to us who needed the bread of the Word, and who had grown accustomed to such excellent nourishment, to be deprived of it suddenly without any substitute. It is still a greater sorrow for us to see our brothers who were on the road to truth, return to their wandering ways, shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders.”

“It may be that Heaven demanded that silence, that abstention on the part of Catholics, as yet another sacrifice. It may be that we had dared to look up too soon. We put our hope in the speech of one man; and God placed His hand on that mouth, to teach us to be Christians without him, to teach us to do without everything save only faith and virtue.” That half page is pure gold.

Ozanam knew how to wait without allowing his weapons for religious defence to rust. Exactly two months later, the same Catholic young men, who protested against the philosophic teaching in the Sorbonne, the same signatories to the petition for the institution of sermons in Notre Dame, were again standing shoulder to shoulder defending liberty and truth against those who were attacking the growing Catholic University of Louvain.

Ozanam wrote as follows to a friend: “You must lend your name and hand over the sum of one spilling under the following circumstances. You doubtless are aware that the Belgian Bishops have founded a University. As such an institution was certain to be a brilliant success in such a Catholic country as Belgium, irreligion has become alarmed; groups of students from the State University of Louvain have shouted insults under the windows of two of the Bishops; scurrilous attacks have also appeared in the Press. We have thought it our duty to send a reply, in the name of the Catholic youth of the University of France, and we have drawn up a protest which has been inserted in the French Gazette, in the Catholic Universe and in three Belgian papers. All our mutual friends have signed and subscribed.” . . . .

Ozanam wrote the protest on the 15th April 1834. It stated: “The Belgian episcopate have founded a University, both Catholic and free.—A Catholic University: It should be a cause of rejoicing to the Church, to see raised within her yet another monument to the immortal alliance of Science and Faith, yet another contradiction for those who announce the early decease of Christianity—A free University: this should be a source of pride for all friends of Belgian nationality, proud of the foundation, in a land too long enslaved, of an institution free from all foreign protection, free from all state intervention, worthy of a people who are the true friends of enlighten­ment and liberty.”

Ozanam then went on to deal with the vulgar abuse, the insults worthy of a fishwife, hurled by students, alike unworthy of their time and of their country, sad remnants of the impious 18th century. The student youth of Paris, standing shoulder to shoulder with their Belgian confreres, speaking the same tongue, engaged in the same studies, could not but be interested in their achievements. “We even protest,” he continued, “in the name of those, who, while not pro­fessing our belief, desire freedom for the development of all great conceptions, of all noble thoughts, of all useful undertakings.”

Ozanam does not indeed forget that he and his friends are the students of a State University. “But,” he said, “we are first and above all sons of the Church; without ingratitude to our own alma mater, we to-day envy our Belgian brothers the happiness of receiving from one and the same hand, the bread of scientific knowledge and the bread of the Sacred Word; they have not to divide their instruction into two parts, one of error and one of truth.” That is his Act of Faith.

In conclusion, he hopes “that one day France also will enjoy a like benefit.” Meanwhile, as a token of fraternal affection, he and his friends subscribe for some shares in the undertaking. “The word ‘ share’ is a grand word. But it need not frighten even a student’s purse, for, as each ` share ‘ is only one shilling, there is not a single student who cannot become a shareholder, without encroaching too heavily on his capital.”

To-day, 76 years later, the Catholic University of Louvain numbers 2,000 students; France can point to five Catholic Universities. Ozanam’s desire has been granted.

The next year 1835, on the 8th of March, Lacordaire took possession of the pulpit in Notre Dame, for the greater honour and glory of God. What aid did Ozanam, first as a student and then as a professor, bring to the master’s address? We shall answer that question in its proper place.

It was full time that Truth should find expression through a worthy channel. About that time a letter of Ozanam’s stated that Lamennais had just sent on its stormy passage the Paroles d’un Croyant. “One hears nothing but discussion of this publication,” he wrote sadly. “Pere Lacordaire criticises it very severely, and looks forward to its complete repudiation at an early date. The intimate friends of the great author, Gerbet, de Coux, Montalembert, have broken definitely with him, so that he appears to be absolutely alone. May God have mercy on him!”

“Farewell, my dear friend, let us love one another. The great feasts of the Church are approaching. Let us be found together in the presence of God, since we cannot come together in the sight of men. Unable to exchange conversation, let us pray for one another; that will be still better!”

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