March 13th, 1908.
(From a Roman Catholic Correspondent.)
Paris, 10th March.
THE expected blow has fallen, and the greatest living Catholic critic is outside the Roman Catholic Church. . . The decree of the Inquisition which pronounces against the Abbé Loisy the sentence of the greater excommunication . . . was published in the Osservatore Romano on Saturday . . . The excommunication has caused no surprise here, and has not, to any great extent, roused the French public from its general indifference to religious questions. Such of the anti-clerical papers as comment on it, regard it as a natural act on the part of the present Pope and another welcome sign that Catholicism is incompatible with scientific freedom. It was immediately preceded by a campaign of violent abuse of M. Loisy in the Catholic papers, no doubt due to a mot d’ordre from Rome. The principal feeling of the general public is one of amusement mingled with some indignation at the attempt of the Pope to inflict a boycott on M. Loisy. The “consequences” mentioned in the decree of the Inquisition would not be amusing if Rome had the power to enforce them. Nobody would be allowed to hold any communication of any sort with M. Loisy, to supply him with food, drink, firing, or shelter, or to perform any service for him. If the Pope’s writ ran in France, M. Loisy would starve by the wayside unless he submitted. . . There is no longer any doubt that it is not lack of the will, but merely lack of the power, to persecute, that restrains Pius X. from resorting to the remedies for heresy that flourished in the palmy days of the Inquisition.