Clemenceau, the Man and His Time

By H. M. Hyndman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY

IT it easy to be tolerant of the Catholic Church and Catholics in a Protestant country; though even in Great Britain, and of course only too sadly in the North of Ireland, there are times when the bitterness inherited from the past makes itself felt, on slight provocation, in the present. At such times of sectarian outburst we get some idea ourselves of what religious hatred really means, and can form a conception of the truly fraternal eagerness to immolate the erring brethren, nominally of the same Christian creed, which animated the true believers of different shades of faith, whether Orthodox or Arian, Catholic or Huguenot, in days gone by. Those who chance to remember what Catholicism was in Italy, the Papal States, or Naples two generations ago, the Church then claiming for itself rights of jurisdiction and sanctuary, outside the common law--those who understand what has gone on in Spain quite recently, can also appreciate the feeling of Frenchmen who, within the memory of their fellow-citizens still living, and even themselves in some degree under the Empire, had suffered from Clerical interference and repression, when the chance of getting rid of State ecclesiasticism was presented to them at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Church had entirely lost touch with the temper of the time. Though it may have been impossible for the Vatican to

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