Vatican Diplomacy


THE impression of power and mystery which provides Roman Catholicism with its gift of fascinating or repelling, as the case may be, arises from those relations with dominant interests which are particularly the work of the Cardinal Secretary of State. At the head of Vatican diplomacy is of course the Pope, in absolute authority, but his Secretary of State advises him about his politics. The Secretary of State collects information on the relation of each particular Power to anything which touches Catholic interests; he sends out Nuncios and Apostolic Delegates; and he receives the representatives of foreign Powers as well as any private person who represents a powerful interest or can provide important information. Cardinal Gasparri is in this position. A genial and astute Italian of well over seventy, with the excellent memory, the quick mind, and the strong character of a ruler of men, he has held the office for the last ten years and, while keeping his Church free from all the imbroglios of the war intrigues, has strengthened and enlarged his powers at the same time that fate has shown him the collapse of his most powerful adversaries, the Czar, the Kaiser, and the Khalif. Beneath him are three separate departments: of extraordinary affairs, ordinary affairs, and the dispatch of apostolic briefs. Monsignors Pizzardi and Centoz are his chief secretaries, but all work requiring authority or tact is reserved for the Cardinal.

And what are they doing — these clerical diplomats? It was a question everyone asked when M. Herriot announced in the French Chamber that he intended to withdraw France’s Embassy to the Vatican. For even when the French Embassy is withdrawn there still remain thirty-three Powers with representatives at what those Powers call the ‘Holy See.’ The majority of course come from Catholic States: the States of South and Central America, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland; but there are representatives also of Great Britain, Germany, and Russia, as well as of Holland, Switzerland, Greece, and Rumania. As we shall see, there is also some more or less formal intercourse with Japan and other great non-Christian nations. And though the United States and Italy are without a representative at the Vatican, they are by no means outside the orbit of the complex influence of Papal diplomacy.

When M. Herriot announced the intended withdrawal he said it was not an act of hostility to the Catholic Church, but rather a sign that, all religions being free, he would not favor one rather than another. Considering the representation of the non-Catholic countries, such a view will not bear examination. The British Empire has a population of over four hundred millions; of these rather less than twenty millions are Catholics. It could hardly be said that these were being favored at the expense of the ninety-five per cent of other religions. The majority of British subjects are Hindus; the next in number are Mohammedans; but Britain’s mission to the Vatican has no relation to this fact, and her representative there is now a Protestant.

Nor, in fact, was there ever any suggestion that in France or any other country diplomatic relations with the Holy See were a compliment to the Catholics of the country. The objects of international diplomacy are something other than compliments to the subjects of the country represented. It is not because some Americans have sympathies with Great Britain, with Germany, with Italy, or with France, as the case may be, that Washington has established embassies in the capitals of those countries.


Diplomacy is the official means by which one Power adjusts its own interests with those of another. Just as commerce is the normal relationship of mutual advantage between nations as between individuals; just as friendly intercourse is the social counterpart of commerce, being a commerce of ideas and sympathies; just as the press is the general agency of general information, diplomacy is the means by which countries come in direct contact with one another through their Governments. It embraces the whole system of interests which arise from the intercourse existing between nations; it is especially occupied with the assurance of public safety and order and with the consistent and friendly assertion of the relative dignity of nations; and its object is to maintain a just balance between different political societies. This explains why nations are prepared to pay for diplomatic representation.

As we look back into the past, when potentates assumed an absolute sway over their states, we see that an embassy was, in general, a compliment, accompanied by well-chosen gifts, from one ruler to another. The ancient Hindu monarch, Chandragupta, we remember, writing to Alexander the Great, asked for a box of figs, some raisins, and a sophist. The Great Mogul, receiving Sir Thomas Roe as ambassador from James I of England, offered an elephant and asked for a horse. But diplomacy of that time was far more than an exchange of compliments or presents. ‘Mutualle and friend lie traffique,’ wrote Elizabeth to Akbar, ‘from whence great profit and advantage on both sides do come, ‘ was the cause that certain of her subjects ‘ with a courteous and honest boldnesse ‘ repaired to the borders of his empire. The object of diplomacy was already what is known in Italy as sacred selfishness: sacro egoismo.

And this is true in a special sense of the intercourse of Christian sovereigns with the Holy See. When the Popes established themselves in the city of the Cæsars, the glory of Rome’s ancient empire gave its own power to their counsels. And as they built their throne upon the ruins of the secular empire’s decline and fall, they inherited the honor which Europe had given perforce to the temporal dominion of the happy city. Roman law and the Latin language and Latin civilization altogether were something on which Christendom was dependent, and the empire’s ancient capital was beyond all argument the most convenient centre for undivided Christian society. And as Christianity gradually became the religion of Europe, the hold over human nature, which has always been remarked as a great asset of the Catholic religion, united with its intellectual efficiency to attract the respect and the reverence of monarchs and their counselors. The bishops and even the priests were the governors of society: their influence swayed the life of the peoples and had much to say about the happiness of kings and princes.

As individual Christians, as the dispensers of civil authority, and as the heads of society, sovereigns and their monitors were compelled to give to the Pope almost as much attention as they would have given to Cæsar. A Pope who could place their people under an interdict and so leave babies unbaptized, deprive weddings of Christian blessing and the dead of Christian burial, was a power they could not afford to disregard. No office was more important in their realms than that of the Papal Legate. On the appointment to bishoprics and benefices, moreover, they must obviously arrive at an accommodation; the king would justly expect homage from his subjects for their temporalities, even though their spiritual authority came from him whom they reverenced as successor to Saint Peter.

But it was by no means unusual to feel a grudge about this tribute, or to question the unity which depended on the centralized authority. On a doctrinal point, Eastern Europe separated from Rome in 1054. In the sixteenth century there was a hardly less important separation. Through these two great divisions Christendom has, for the most part, ceased to be a unity. The ideal of a universal society has become obscured. Though Protestantism arose in many countries it was never international. Sometimes national and sometimes unofficial, it of course rejected intercourse of any kind with the Papacy. Not unnaturally, therefore, the idea became current that to send an ambassador to the Pope of Rome was simply the courtesy to Catholicism that M. Herriot suggested.

During the nineteenth century there was a change, however. The unification of Germany reminded the King of Prussia of the power of the Papacy, as Irish politics give the same reminder to English politicians. While Prussia, as well as Bavaria, sent an envoy to the Vatican, England sent only temporary messages and missions. It was the war of 1914 that showed her Foreign Office how essential it was in her own interests to return to the custom of the Middle Ages. In the time of stress, they realized the vast power of the Catholic Church. They saw her power of obtaining information and of influencing opinion. They were compelled to remember that her adherents were almost ten times the population of Italy, France, or England; that they were all united in their allegiance to the Pope; that, at the most solemn moments, they all looked to the ministrations of his priests; that all who were most stable morally among them had a reverence for, and probably a passionate devotion toward, the counsels of him they called their Holy Father; and that while Germany and Austria were in close diplomatic touch with him, neither France, Italy, nor Great Britain had any representative at all.

In 1916 England attempted to remedy the difficulty by sending a special mission under a distinguished Catholic diplomat, Sir Henry Howard, who was succeeded on his death by an Irishman, Count de Sal is.

At the end of the war, France, partly as a tribute to the patriotism of her clergy and her Catholic people, and partly as an acknowledgment of the temper of her regained provinces, resumed relations interrupted eighteen years before.

What of Italy?

Italy is still a new nation. When the present Pope was born, he was born near Milan as an Austrian subject. Venice and Lombardy were Austrian provinces; Umbria, Latium, and the Marches were States of the Church. The kingdom of the Two Sicilies was under a Spanish dynasty; an Austrian Grand Duke had lately been removed from Florence, and Turin was still the capital of Italy. But the movement to make the geographical expression of Italy, united to some extent by one culture and for the most part an understanding of one language, into one nation was so strong that it overcame the rights of the Popes to maintain possession of the territories which they had ruled for far more than a thousand years. In maintaining her lawful possession of the Papal States, the Church was supported on the one side by Austria and on the other by France. But France, in return for all that part of Savoy which was west of the Alps, helped the dynasty of Savoy to fight the Austrians out of Lombardy and Venice; the Italians took possession of Florence, which in 1865 they made into their capital; and in 1870, when France was compelled by the German invasion to withdraw her troops from Rome, the Papal city was stormed by Italian invaders, who entered and made it for the first time Italian territory.

That which completed the national unification of Italy made her the open enemy of the head of her established religion. For not only were the Papal States the unarguable possession of the Church, not only were they the source of her revenue, not only was their independence the means of her neutrality as a spiritual power, but any attack upon her power or her right to administrate her territories was anathema to Catholic principles. The Vatican, therefore, protested with uncompromising vigor against the Italian occupation of Rome; and the Government of the King, who had established himself in a Papal palace, the Quirinal, retaliated by protesting against any recognition of the Pope as a sovereign power, except by diplomatic representation at the Holy See. The Italian Government protested therefore, and protested successfully, against the Pope being represented at the Hague Conferences, at Versailles, or in the League of Nations. Although they had established Catholicism as the State religion, they could not themselves have any official relations with the Vatican.

This curious position had more important consequences. Although the passage of decades showed that the Catholic Church had not suffered any detriment to her spiritual power by the loss of her territories, that in fact her political influence increased, she was compelled to resent the weakness of her official status as a diplomatic entity. The laws of Italy accord to the Pope sovereign honors. If Italy admitted the Pope to have the same sovereign independence in his territory as the little republic of San Marino, M. Herriot could not at the present moment claim that it was favoring one religion if France continued diplomatic relations with him. Furthermore, the Pope could not be refused that representation at Geneva, and at all conferences of nations, which since the occupation of Rome was first accorded to him at the Conference of Genoa in 1922. And, furthermore, the very protest of the Vatican against Italy’s occupation of Rome led in 1902 to a rupture with France. One of the points of that protest was to forbid the heads of Catholic States to visit Rome, but when, at the accession of Edward VII, the Entente began to influence Italy against her alliance with Austria and Germany, and President Loubet decided to visit Rome, he ignored the injunctions of the Holy See, and diplomatic intercourse between France and the Vatican was interrupted from 1902 to 1921. Edward VII, however, being a Protestant , when he visited Rome insisted on asking for an audience with the Pope, and he took an important step toward reëstablishing relations between his Empire and the Holy See.

It is the anomalous relation bet ween the Vatican and Italy which prevents the United States from giving an official recognition to the Pope. Washington does not dispute the contention of the Italian Government that the Pontiff is not an independent Sovereign.


If diplomacy is the official means by which one Power adjusts its interests with those of another, the object of the Powers represented at the Vatican will be to adjust their national interests with those of the priestly authorities of the Catholic Church. This involves the larger questions of national policy of which we heard so much during the war, and the details of particular convenience, such as the appointment of a bishop. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, the largest and best organized society in the world, has the general object of Christian influence over society, and the more particular object of ensuring that interest by freedom to appoint her own authorities, freedom to impart her own education, and the immunity of her priests from such unsuitable obligations as military service. Sometimes it is the question of the entrance of nuns into a European colony; sometimes it is the question of a sermon on a political subject; sometimes it is an arrangement for the personnel of missions so that Christ ian teachers may be patriotic teachers; sometimes it is the question of what religion is taught in a State school, or the fact that no arrangement at all is made for religious teaching; sometimes it is the boundary of a diocese, or the rights of a religious order, or the freedom of a seminary or of a school to manage its own special business, which will need to be adjusted between the Catholic Church and a particular Government.

In all these matters the Church has always been on the happiest terms with the United States and Great Britain and Spain; her difficulties have been with Russia, Germany, and France. She will aim at the utmost freedom possible in her own appointments and her teaching, and also in obtaining State aid in the secular teaching of her elementary schools, wherever secular teaching is aided, or given free. In tussles of this kind Leo XIII defeated Bismarck, but Pius X and Cardinal Merry del Val three times came to an impasse with the Kaiser. It is interesting to notice that as a result of the concordat of 1801 with France the appointment of dignitaries had to be referred to the Government, but that now, as in the United States, where the Catholic Church has no diplomatic status, being represented, as in Japan, by an Apostolic Delegate, the method of appointment, according to the revised canon law, is simply for the Catholic authorities to refer a choice of names to the Holy See.

The war gave more dramatic instances of adjustment. In one case a German prisoner in England was forbidden by his commandant to see a priest; a Catholic layman was informed and sent from London to investigate; the facts as related in the complaint were found to be true. The Vatican was informed. In ten days the priest was giving the prisoner the sacraments. In another case Cardinal Mercier went to Rome to make arrangements about the work of the priests during the German occupation; on his return to Belgium the Germans refused to allow him to enter. He wired to the Vatican, and the authorities told the German Government that if he was not allowed to return to his work in two days the contents of certain documents would be published. The Cardinal was allowed to return to his work immediately. In a third case, German Catholics asked that no Allied airplanes should attack the towns where they were celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi with the usual procession of the Host. The Allied Governments at once agreed. No one, however, thought of demanding the same concession from the Central Governments, who did not grant the favor they requested. A protest from the Allied Governments was immediately sent to the Holy See, which made the necessary representations to the Central Powers. But the temporary advantage gained by the Central Powers is an almost unique instance of the Vatican being hoodwinked. Generally when foreign diplomats go to Rome they say that those of the Pope are quite the ablest, or the most cunning, as the case may be, with whom they have ever had to deal. The Vatican’s record in the war bears out that contention. As Colonel Repington said of Papal diplomacy, it is independent of elections and can afford to wait.

Professional diplomats are for the most part occupied with adjustments of detail. The time when their personal decisions were supported by all the authority of their countries has gone by. Telegrams control them, and the newspaper correspondent is a more important person than the writer of official dispatches. Diplomacy has tended to become, therefore, a rather second-rate affair; in Europe it tends to attract a type who, by their knowledge of languages, and their easy manners, can carry on a smooth intercourse with the officials of foreign countries. The trend is toward a finikin type. But diplomacy still transcends the diplomat, and the war gave striking evidence of the political influence of the Pope and his secretaries. His peace proposals attracted the attention of Governments, and indeed of the whole world.

They were addressed not alone to those States which had diplomatic representatives at the Vatican. Indeed, they most depended on the answer given them by President Wilson and his Government. President Wilson, when in Rome in 1918, did not omit to visit Benedict XV, who delivered an impassioned eulogy of his work for peace. Since Wilson, the kings of Belgium, Britain, and Spain have been received by the Pope. It is interesting to compare the addresses delivered on these occasions by the Heads of these States and the Head of the Church.

England’s King and Queen, who came in May 1923, were received by the Holy Father at the entrance of his private apartments. He shook hands with them, afterward spending some time in private conversation with them, as Cardinal Gasparri also did later. But nothing was done which could in any way compromise the sincerity of their own religion. At the next consistory the Pope, doubtless at the instance of the King, referred to his hopes of peace in Ireland and, on the day of the King’s visit, the Osservatore Romano, the Catholic paper in Rome, published inspired articles referring to the work of former British sovereigns, and to the cordial, effective, and respectful relations that had for long existed between the two Powers. The British Empire, said the Osservatore, worked in its civil and political development and its greatness on the seas to ensure that reign of law by which alone could be obtained just liberty of faith and conscience, and in its world-wide range was constantly in contact with the world-wide religion of Rome and with the moral and humanitarian interests which found in the Pope, as the head of the Church, their highest and most august representative; that, as the Pope existed to assert peace and charity between nations and between individuals and to win them to brotherhood in Christ, so the visit of the King and Queen of England was a pledge that in this work he was assisted by, and was himself assisting, the function of a country which, in the prudence of her sovereigns and the wisdom of her government and the industry of her people, was working to conquer the world for the same ends.

The visit of the King and Queen will remind Americans of the cordiality with which Benedict XV greeted President Wilson as the representative of America’s ideals of justice and charity.

The King and Queen of the Belgians had been the first to visit the present Pope. They were received with much the same ceremonies and, in giving the Pope an ivory crucifix, identified their country with the sacrifices already so ably represented by Cardinal Mercier.

When the King of Spain came to visit the Pope, in November 1923, his speech was one of passionate devotion. He came, he said, as the representative of a race that had spread the Faith wherever they had traveled, till now the Spanish world embraced a third of the Catholic religion; he said that they were still lambs when the church bell summoned them to prayer, and lions as the trumpet sounded to battle; that they fought and were always ready to fight to spread justice, culture, civilization in the world; that they would never desert the post of honor assigned to them by their glorious traditions, but were ever ready to do combat ‘ for the triumph and glory of the Cross, which is not only the banner of the Faith, but the banner of peace and justice, of civilization, and of progress.’

After these words the King knelt at the feet of the Pope, who embraced and kissed him and answered his ringing tones in a voice gentle and benign, He welcomed the King and Queen and was proud to count, in the immense family which the Blessed God, in the hidden counsels of His mercy, had confided to his heart and care, so noble a knight of God and of the Church, and a people so constant and heroic in the Faith. Since the King had asked that Spain should have a larger representation in the College of Cardinals, the Pope longed to grant his desires; as for the King and his people, — for did not the Pope feel that the people of Spain were one with the kingly heart he had embraced? — he wished them all peace and unity, prosperity and glory, blessings which would surely be given and could be obtained only if the Christian religion reigned in the laws and in the schools and gave, both to society and to the family, both to public and private life, its salutary influences of holiness and civilization, of science and art, and of true harmony.

We see here examples of the way the Vatican adjusts its interest with Catholic and with non-Catholic countries. The visits made to the present Pope by the Hereditary Prince of Japan, and Ras Tafari, the Heir and Regent of Ethiopia, with their picturesque ceremonial and their cordial conversations, are dramatic instances of Vatican diplomacy at work in countries which do not claim to be a part of Christendom.


To sum up the Vatican’s own account of its work, no words are more important than those of the present Pope in his first encyclical. He had spoken of his confident hope for the reunion of Christendom; and, as a pledge and augury of it, that marvelous circumstance, a surprise to all, and to some perhaps an unpleasing circumstance, but most welcome to him and to his cardinals, ‘that in these last times the representatives and rulers of almost all the nations of the world, as though obedient to a common instinct and desire of union and peace, are returned to this Apostolic See to confirm or renew harmony and friendship with it. In which we rejoice, not alone for the increased prestige of Holy Church, but because it is always more clearly apparent, and becomes the experience of all, how manifold and how great are the beneficial powers that she possesses for the prosperity of human society, even in a civil and earthly way. For if the Church, by the will of God, directly provides the good things of the Spirit and of eternity, yet, by a certain connection of things, she assists the earthly prosperity of individuals and of society even more completely than if these were her direct duty and service.’

How could we explain the exact significance of those words? That in the Holy See there is in the world not only the centralized authority of a unique society, which can enter into relation with Governments to adjust its interest with theirs; there is a central office which exists for the benefit of human society as a whole, providing a means of intercourse for those who cannot or will not carry on direct intercourse with one another. The Vatican is thus a support for diplomacy as a whole. It has had in existence for some centuries just the organization which the ideals of peaceful men founded and aimed at maintaining at Geneva. But while the League of Nations still lacks the support of America, and rejects that of Germany and Russia; while it has become an outpost of French political influence, so that it must carry out the commands of France with regard to determining the division of Upper Silesia, and so that its officials were simply the agents of France in the Saar, and it could make no comment on the advance of the French army into the Ruhr, and must perforce give way to the Council of Ambassadors when Italy occupied Corfu; when its most eager supporters openly admit that it cannot enforce its decisions in war, nor even exert economic pressure; when, in fact, it is only a means of registering the public opinion of certain countries among which France has so far dominated, the Holy See, wise with the experience of many centuries, firmly fixed on principles of order and justice, bound essentially to the Christian ideals of charity and peace, confident of the inspiration of a divine authority, provides a centre which not only is neutral and universal, but which applies to every question at issue the immemorial principles of justice and the moderation of Christian influence. The Pope did not refuse the suggestions of Britain’s representative that he should denounce the occupation of the Ruhr.

But on the other hand, is it not true that the Vatican subjects all questions to clerical intrigue, that it must always regard its own interests, that it has not been neutral in the past? Such contentions dissolve before close acquaintance with the facts. Germans and English each accused Benedict XV of being partial to the other. Both accusations cannot be true: more probably both are false. For neither can point to a single instance, as Germany can point to such obvious ones in the case of the League of Nations. And when we come to the question of Machiavellian cunning in the Papal Curia, what instance of foresight is more dramatic than that of Benedict XV refusing the offer of the Central Powers to install him, if they were victorious, in his temporal dominion? It is now nearly three hundred years since Sir Henry Wotton said that an Ambassador was sent abroad to lie for his country; what if even Papal diplomats use speech to conceal their thoughts? An extraordinary reserve they certainly do employ; but the Governments of the world come to them now for help in delicate matters because they know they can rely on their neutral enthusiasm for justice. If Catholicism as an international religion is identified with the prosperity of the world as a whole, each country can apply to it as a partner in the interests of true patriotism. And if this is so in each particular country, it must be so also with regard to that venerable figure who more than any other claims the attention of the world and the reverence of all good men, as being the Head of the largest of all Christian societies, and the one person who consistently and sincerely seeks to apply to the world as a whole the traditional meaning of the Christian religion. His advisers certainly are human; but if they do excel in merely human sagacity can it influence them in any way but to recommend themselves, not only to those nations where their religion is serenely established, but even more to those they still hope to win? If from the human point of view the Vatican has a bias, that bias will be in favor, not of Catholics, but of countries in which Catholicism is not dominant. It is not Catholic countries therefore who have most reason to desire official representation at the Holy See.

But at the present moment, with regard to those three great countries who have no representative there, may not their interests suffer, as the Allies feared their interest would suffer during the war? The lack of representation is more apparent than real. The intercourse between the Italian Government and the Vatican is now very close; every Papal diplomat is actually an Italian; Italy makes a great deal of money out of the Papacy and the Church, as she especially will by the huge earnings from the pilgrimages of the Holy Year; and though the Pope will never be satisfied till Italy admits his full status as a sovereign power, the anticlericalism of the invaders of Rome is far from being the temper of the present Government in Italy. France, it is true, has spoken of withdrawing her representative; but even if he were withdrawn the French Government would send a Catholic as Ambassador to the Quirinal and even now begins to arrange for what the Pope most wished of a French Government, that it should agree to the report of Mr. Dawes. M. Herriot, in fact, in suggesting the withdrawal of M. Doucet was practising a little diplomacy on his own part. M. Doucet was a sop, and the Cerberus was the extremists. As for America, the relations of the Holy See with America are ideal: the American President visited the Pope the only time that an American President ever could; the questions to adjust are extraordinarily few; and in the Ambassador to the Quirinal and Monsignor O’Hern, the brilliant head of the American College, America has representatives in Rome who are in very close touch with the Vatican. Finally, American money is now the Vatican’s chief resource.

While, therefore, the uses of the League of Nations are doubtless, in spite of its deficiencies, well worth the money spent on it; while the ideal of a World Court still remains to be realized, Papal diplomacy retains, and will always retain, its unique value both to the shrewd politician and to the Christian idealist.


It is now about to assume political office of greater weight and authority than anything the world has ever more than dreamed. Far back in the Middle Ages, Dante, who combined the mind of a philosopher and a Christian with keen interest in political affairs, thought out a scheme to ensure a universal peace founded upon law. His idea was that there should be one civil authority, just as there was then in the Pope one spiritual authority. Two centuries later his native town produced a political philosopher of another order, whose counsels were more acceptable to succeeding centuries than those of him who wrote the Divine Comedy. But once again Machiavelli gives way to Dante. Once again the world sees in the principles of universal justice something more promising than those of the temporary profit of individual States. The sweeping convulsions which have been weakening the constitution of Europe since 1914, and which still menace her existence, make most people distinctly uncomfortable about orgies of nationalism; lewisite and airplanes and the ever new inventions of the chemists do not reassure them. The next war, they hear, is to be a remorseless attack on populations as a whole. Diseases and poisonous gases will destroy whole cities in a day or two.

The prospects, it is true, are not inviting. May it not be better, after all, to bring religion and morals and law up to the standard of science ? May it not be better to conserve human society than to destroy it?

The Vatican is now preparing her due answer to those questions. To her they are not new. Sixty years ago she saw developing in Europe a condition that threatened not only the prosperity but the existence of society. Disraeli, after having been Prime Minister of England, suggested through the lips of the Cardinal in Lothair that the Vatican Council which met in 1869 would exhibit to the Powers of Europe the inevitable future they were then preparing for themselves. The FrancoPrussian War broadcast the warning. A later war has given it more awful significance; the results of that war still press in misery upon vast hordes of people. And it is in these circumstances that the Pope announces that the Vatican Council is to reassemble and complete its work.

It was to meet in 1925, but political events in Italy and tension in Europe have moved the Pope to wait till a later year. But whenever the Council reassembles its work will show the deep significance of Vatican diplomacy. It is, says the Pope, to find an appropriate remedy for the ills which have followed the upheaval of civil society. It will seek to apply to the political and economic situation of our times the words in which the Pope announced the object of his pontificate: The Peace of Christ in the Reign of Christ. It will seek to lay down the laws of justice which would guide a world court, and with authority over four hundred million people will lay down injunctions to prevent civilization from cutting its own throat.

And in doing so it offers safety to the whole world. For neither in Asia nor in Africa is there the same danger of mutual destruction as there is on the surging battlefield of Europe among those who profess and call themselves Christians. If the Pope can find a means to keep Catholic countries peaceful the obvious peril is removed. And there can be little doubt that if he could give a clear lead all Christian nations would follow him. It will be seen whether there is any nation so unknightly as to take advantage of another’s consistent devotion to a Christian standard.

In the great task it has now essayed, the central authority of the Catholic Church gives ranges of unexplored promise to the ancient scope of her diplomacy. The Vatican will need all the resources of an inspired sagacity to vindicate the reputation she claims of beneficence, sanity, equity, and power.