It is currently Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:06 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
 Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin 
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4334
New post Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin
CARDINAL FRANZELIN, S.J



JOHN BAPTIST FRANZELIN, S.J.
CARDINAL PRIEST OF THE TITLE
SS. BONIFACE AND ALEXIUS. A
SKETCH AND A STUDY. BY THE
REVEREND NICHOLAS WALSH, S.J.



" Ego sum Via, et Veritas, et VHa; nemo venit ad Patron nisi per me" JOAN. xiv. 6


PUBLISHED BY M. H. GILL AND SON
DUBLIN. 1895


CARDINAL FRANZELIN, S.J.



DEDICATION


A. M. D. G.



To the English-speaking Novices and Scholastics
of the Society of Jesus, and to the English-speaking
Scholars of Cardinal Franzelin, at home and
abroad, this Sketch and Study of his Life is
affectionately and respectfully Dedicated.



PREFACE



A BRIEF sketch of the late Cardinal Franzelin,
written in Latin and prefixed to his posthumous
work on the Church, and a more detailed one
written in Italian by Father Bonavenia, S.J.,
suggested the thought and desire to write this
little book. These were no doubt strengthened
by great admiration of the man, personally
known to me ; an admiration against which,
however, I have honestly tried to protect
myself. Nor have I willingly allowed it to
influence me unduly. Besides, I felt convinced
that, whilst Cardinal Franzelin would live for
all time, in his works, as a great theologian,
his memory as a singularly holy man would
die out with those who knew him. The sketch
suggested the study which is interwoven with it.
The life of Cardinal Franzelin may- be truly
called an ordinary life. First, because it was a
life such as every man is bound to lead. He
sought early the will of God in his regard, and
did it to the end with earnestness and exact
ness, in patience, and not without suffering.
Secondly, because it was neither relieved nor
glorified by those extraordinary gifts or
charismata which mark the lives of many who
have not perhaps a saintlier record. It
illustrates fully the well-known axiom, that
perfection consists not in doing extraordinary
things, but in doing ordinary things extra
ordinarily well." His life is, in all its main
points, imitable and worthy of imitation.

The short notices of the Roman and German
Colleges are introduced as a very poor and
humble tribute to the memory of St. Ignatius ;
these two works being, after the foundation of
his order, the greatest, the most enduring, and
the most fruitful of his life ; a fact of which
many are ignorant. Moreover, within their
walls Cardinal Franzelin was trained and
formed as student and Professor of Theology,
his name will always be associated with them,
his fame is theirs, and both were largely bene
fited and greatly honoured by his labour, his
learning, and his holiness.

I am conscious that "the study" may give
occasion to some severe, perhaps justly severe
criticism, should any one think it deserving of



notice. It may be fairly said that I have
introduced nothing into the study but the most
trite and commonplace truths, with which nearly
every one is familiar. But I may be permitted
to say in excuse, that these truths are the truths
of God, reflected from Him to us in Holy
Scripture, in the teaching of His Church, and
in the writings of the most eminent masters of
the spiritual life ; truths tested and in great
part proved true by the study and experience
of man s life. They are of those things " which
the householder brings forth of his treasure
new and old" old, because they are of God,
"the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever";
new, because they are always powerful for doing
God s work in all men who reduce them to
practice in their souls and lives. He would be
a very original character, dangerously so, who
would endeavour to invent or find sounder
truths, more helpful principles, or better means
to an end, than those of God. Familiar they
are, but are they always made practical even
by those who know and believe in them ? It is
to be feared not ; for if they were, we would
not have so many failures in every walk of life.
Are there not sinners who have the catechism
by heart, and who are conversant with holiness
in theory ? Men of great authority tell us that
there is not a small danger in being familiar
with the truths of God, if we do not bring them
home, and prove and keep them true, first of
all, in ourselves. It cannot, therefore, be a
perfectly useless labour to call attention again
and again to those important truths, and, above
all, to what I may call their practical aspects,
or to give a book suited to spiritual reading,
lightened and made somewhat interesting,
perhaps, under the guise of a biographical
sketch, to the young ecclesiastic and religious.
Nor would the study have been added on to
the sketch but for a great sympathy with and
a oreat interest in such students.


I publish it with much fear and many mis
givings, believing that serious defects must mar
the first venture of a very inexperienced hand.
I know that my readers will be kind and con
siderate, and I hope I shall be able to bear
criticism, should it be deemed deserving of
such, consoling myself with the hope that as
a " sketch " it may interest a few, and as a
" study " may do harm to none.

N. W.

MILLTOWN PARK,
Feast of St. Francis Xavier, 1 894.



CONTENTS



CHAP. PAGE

I. BIRTH AND BOYHOOD . . 13

II. VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OF JESUS . . 25

III. THE NOVITIATE . . . . 37

IV. THE SCHOLASTICATE . . .64
V. SCHOLASTICATE IN ROMAN COLLEGE . . 84

VI. PROFESSOR ...... 95

VII. PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY . . . .10$

VIII. CREATED CARDINAL . . . .147

IX. CARDINAL . . . . . .178

X. LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH . . -193





CHAPTER I

BIRTH AND BOYHOOD

THERE is no country in Europe, perhaps in the
world, which leaves such delightful memories
in the mind of the tourist as the Italian Tyrol.
The railway traveller, as he runs by the
Brenner Pass, from Munich to Verona, gets
a bird s - eye view of it, and catches many
glimpses of its surpassing beauty ; whilst few
things could be more enjoyable than to rest
for some clays in its cities, and make excursions
amongst its mountains. It is a land of varied
and widely contrasting loveliness and grandeur :
valleys of emerald verdure, rich and fruitful ;
hills clothed with the vine and chestnut ; leafy
wood and lordly forest ; and towering above


all, the stern, rugged mountain peak, covered
with eternal snow, often of weird form, and not
without its legend. Along the level railway
line you have cities such as Brixen, Botzen,
Innspriick, the capital, and Trent, all pictur
esquely placed, interesting to visit, and pleasant
to linger in. If you ascend from the plain to
wander through the mountains, you pass many
a crucifix and shrine with picture or statue of
the Blessed Virgin ; you receive a word of polite
and pious salutation from everyone you meet,
and come across villages securely nestling in
the hollows, each with its devotional church,
and pious people. This land is owned by a
race eminent for its simplicity, industry, bravery,
and patriotism. Though of free and independ
ent spirit, their whole-hearted loyalty to the
House of Hapsburg is historic, and reads like
a romance. This fidelity has often brought
upon them great suffering, borne, however,
with heroic patience, and relieved by great
glory. They have upheld and preserved it in
desperate struggles, which rival in self-devotion
and courage those of the Swiss against the
same dynasty, or of the Greeks against
the Persians. The Tyrolese, in those moun
tain villages, suggest Arcadia, or Paradise

before the fall. They lead lives of simple faith
and childlike innocence, difficult of belief to
those who have not lived amongst them, and
who are in constant contact with the world
outside.

In one of these villages, called Aldein or
Altino, near Trent, John Baptist Franzelin was
born, on the 15th of April 1816. He was
the fifth of six children born to Pellegrino
Franzelin and his wife, whose maiden name
was Anna Wieser. His parents were neither
noble nor rich. They lived on a small farm,
which they cultivated with their own hands ;
and were true Tyrolese in their frugal habits
and religious lives. When John Baptist was
a mere child, God's loving providence and his
angel guardian saved him from an untimely
and violent death. A savage bull caught him
on its horns and cast him into the air. He
escaped uninjured, except that ever afterwards
his head remained slightly inclined towards
the right shoulder ; this, however, was scarcely
perceptible, and in no way disfigured him.

When old enough, he was sent to Bolzano,
a small town near to his native village, where
the Franciscan Fathers had a convent and
school. Here, under their care, he studied


grammar, humanity, and rhetoric. As a mere
boy, at the very start of his student life, he
manifested a strong desire and fixed determina
tion to become very holy and very learned.
He was admittedly the cleverest and best boy
in the school, and showed great talent for the
classics and languages ancient and modern
Livy's "pictured page" and Tacitus being
his favourite reading. Although gentle and
amiable, he had little of the boy about him,
and took no part in the games and recreations
of his fellow-scholars. A short walk, generally
alone, was always enough for him. He also
cultivated a decided inclination towards solitude
and silence. This, however, was not carried
too far, and never tinged him with sourness,
moroseness, or indifference to others.

Such a manner of life, adopted so early, by
a boy of fourteen, was, we may suppose, in
accordance with that natural disposition which,
though special to the individual, is yet so
varied and different in our common nature.
It may also have been, in part at least, the
result of his surroundings. One so thoughtful
as he could not but be impressed by the
stillness of the silent valleys, and the solemn
grandeur of "the eternal hills," beneath the


shadows of which he was born and grew up.
But perhaps we may find the real reason in the
fact that John Baptist, being intensely earnest
and practical, rightly concluded that such a
manner of life was the best for one whose heart
was set on acquiring great holiness and great
knowledge. A certain grave and determined
expression of countenance caused the good
Franciscan Fathers to call him John the Lion-
faced.

He used to hear two masses every morning,
the first at five o clock, the second that cele
brated for the scholars. He was to be seen
every Sunday morning as early as four o clock
at the confessional, on which days he received
Holy Communion, as well as on the festivals
of the Church. Every Holy Week he threw
aside his books, and gave himself to a retreat
of three days. Through the rest of the year,
his spiritual duties and short walk being
secured, he gave the remainder of the day and
part of the night to severe and laborious
study.

Father Patiss, his boy-friend, tells us that " he
was innocent as an angel, that he never saw in
him anything that was faulty; once only, and
with himself, he showed some signs of im-

patience." He was very gentle and kindly
of manner, winning, by the sterling perfection
of his character, the esteem and respect of
masters and scholars. He had, as was men
tioned before, a great natural talent for
languages, and could read the sacred Books
with ease in Greek and Hebrew, when he was
eighteen. He had a passion for the study of
Holy Scripture, and the fruit of this was mani
fested in his own life and in his teaching. He
certainly seems to have taken to heart some
divine truths preached to us all, but which had for
him special meaning and import, because they
touched the two strong purposes of his life. First,
that "it is good for a man to remember God,
and bear His yoke from the days of his youth."
Secondly, that "it is God who giveth to the
young understanding and knowledge," that
"from God cometh wisdom, and that wisdom
will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell
in a body subject to sin." Thirdly, that " what
ever man is able to clo, he ought to do it
earnestly"; that "man should not hate laborious
work ordained by the Most High," for "man
is born to labour." On these divine lines he
laid the foundations of his life, and according
to these divine principles he built it up. His


whole career from start to finish was fore
shadowed in the following inspired words :
" When he was yet young, before he wandered
about, he sought for wisdom openly in his
prayer. He prayed for her before the temple,
and unto the very end he sought her. He
stretched forth his hand on high, he bewailed
his ignorance of her, his soul wrestled for her,
and in knowledge he found her. She flourished
as a grape soon ripe, and his heart delighted
in her ; and the Lord gave him a tongue for his
reward." And "the unlearned drew near, and
gathered round him in the house of discipline,
and he opened his mouth, and praised and
glorified God, who gave wisdom to him."

The life led by young Franzelin would not
only be intolerably hard, but impossible, to a
boy influenced by and acting according to mere
natural principles, no matter how great his
intellect and strong his will. But it was not so
to the supernatural boy, full of faith, and "living
by it," as John Baptist did. Still, even to him,
as to all who live such a grand and noble life,
it is a yoke, a burden, and a labour. Our Lord
tells us so. Into such a life suffering must
enter, and man to live it needs the courage
of patience. If it were without its trials, its

struggles, and its battles, where would be the
grandeur, the glory, and the merit of it ? But
the boy Franzelin knew to whom and where to
go, in order to make it the happiest and the
most successful of lives. He went to God,
" whose staff and whose rod comfort" to God,
whose grace is oil to soothe, wine to cheer, and
balm to heal; who makes such a life "in its
bitterness most sweet." He went to the Altar
of Sacrifice and the Tabernacle of Love, to
Him who says, " Take up My yoke upon you,
for My yoke is sweet, and My burden light.
Come to me, all ye that labour and are
burdened, and I will refresh you. Learn of
Me, because I am meek and humble of heart,
and you shall find rest to your souls." He
went to the Great Mother of God and "Seat
of Wisdom," to whom (as we learn from a
paper found after his death) he, when a boy,
formally dedicated himself, and to whom, under
the title of Her Immaculate Conception, he
was from childhood singularly devout.

This boy-life of John Baptist is a good one
to study, and, in its main points, to imitate.
For it is sad to think of the many who prac
tically forget, ignore, or reject those divine
truths and principles which he so honoured in



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD 21

his life. There are some highly gifted, born
into the bosom of Mother Church, carefully, re
ligiously, and expensively reared and educated
who never stoop to the burden of labour,
and soon throw off the yoke of innocence, to
become the cowardly slaves of idleness and sin.
For we scarcely need God to tell us that
idleness worketh much evil." Such a be
ginning only too often leads on to a life in
keeping with it. "The boy is father to the
man." His vices grow strong with his years ;
"they fill his bones, and sleep with him in the
dust." Such a beginning too frequently passes
into a life devoid of the dignity of labour and
the beauty of love ; not the life of a man, for
there is nothing manly in it. Aimless, useless,
disappointing, a failure, with its own Nemesis
even in this world, to end in the sadness of
regret and remorse. There are others who
never put on, or soon cast off, the yoke of
holiness, but become the slaves of labour ; yet
not of a labour " ordained by the Most High,"
or blessed by Him. They place God outside
their reckoning; they throw Him over, and
become of the earth earthly, and of the world
worldly, in all their desires, motives, and am
bitions. If disappointment or failure come, as



22 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

it sometimes does, they may be classed with
those of whom St. Paul speaks as the most
miserable of all men ; their god has failed
them, and they know no other to fall back on.
But, granted success, is it without its penalties ?
Success often creates a disturbing longing for
something higher which cannot be reached ;
or it was much more enjoyable in the castle-
building prospective than in the responsible
possession ; or it brings duties which are hard,
and associations which are unpleasant ; or it
subjects a man to severe and, as he thinks,
unjust criticism, which pains and irritates. One;
father of the Church, speaking of earthly
things so desired, says they are a torturing
anxiety when we are seeking them, a torturing
burden when we possess them, and a torturing
regret when we are about to lose them.
Another says that to men who seek their own
will, independent of or opposed to His, God
often gives what they wish, but sends with it
its own punishment ; whilst the Divine Teacher
Himself asks that most pertinent question,
" What will it profit a man to gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul?" Boundless
power, immense wealth, imperial position, cannot
stay one second the unsparing, inevitable foot-



BIRTH AND BOYHOOD 23

fall of pale death, even at the palace. And
" when man is dead, and stripped and con
sumed," what of earthly things does he take
with him ? Nothing but his deeds done in the
flesh. " Where is he ? "-his body to the dust,
and his soul to God who gave it ; face to face
with the Great Judge, " who will judge even
justice." There are others who idle in their
early schooldays, when the very rudiments are
to be learned, and the foundations of knowledge
are to be laid, who after a time get more sense,
and with it the desire and resolve to really
study ; but it is too late, the golden hours have
flown, a harm is done which they can hardly
undo ; and they must often, in the race of life,
suffer the consequences of a bad start. There
are others who study to get through the day
escaping censure and punishment, or to pass an
examination, to get a degree, or to win a money
prize. These also too often have a penalty
to pay they fail, or their knowledge passes
away with the examination ; and they learn
at last that cramming is not education. The
schoolboy life of John Baptist was a protest
against all these, as well as an example and
model to the young student He set great
value on time, which is one of God s most



2 4 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

precious creatures and gifts, too often lost or
abused without any scruple of conscience. He
studied with intense earnestness and persever
ancenot for the day, to merely gain the
approval or escape the censure of his master,
or to win distinction, honour, or reward ; but to
store up all knowledge, that he might the better
do whatever work God would give him in the
future. Still more, he did his work for God
alone, whom he loved ; and therefore did it
well, as it ought to be done by all, for such a
Master.



CHAPTER II

VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

THERE was a custom worthy of all praise with
the good Franciscan Fathers : they insisted that
their scholars, towards the close of the rhetoric
year, should consider, in a very formal and
careful way, God s holy will with reference to
their future, and use the ordinary means to
ascertain it. Young Franzelin during his
schooldays had for confessor and director the
Franciscan Father Gabriel Sprenger; a man,
as we know from the records of his monastery,
eminent for piety and learning, and much sought
as a spiritual guide by priests and people. With
him for his director, John Baptist, now coming
up to his eighteenth year, faced this important
question, and gave himself to the study of it
with that inborn earnestness and thoroughness
which were his.

But at the very beginning Father Sprenger
and he found themselves confronted by a serious



26 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

difficulty. Although young Franzelin s parents
had neither position nor wealth, he had an
uncle, brother of his mother, who had come to
a high and honoured position in the State. He
held a seat in the diets of Styria and the Tyrol,
was one of the Emperor s Privy Council, and
president of the Court of Appeal for the
Vorarlberg. The Emperor had rewarded his
great merits with a title of nobility, made
hereditary in his descendants. He was Baron
Andrea Luigi Dipauli de Trenheim. The Baron,
hearing that his nephew was a young fellow of
great promise, pressed him to come to Innsprtick
in order to study philosophy and jurisprudence,
promising to take charge of and provide for
him. This was a very tempting and attractive
offer to one who, in all his humility, could
scarcely be unconscious of his own capabilities,
and who in his thirst for knowledge would
naturally desire all the advantages of a
university education. It also opened a delight
ful vista in the future to an earnest youth of
striking talents, whose heart was set on becom
ing great. This offer appealed to him also on
other grounds, likely perhaps to influence him
more than ambition. His parents means were
slender, he could not well tax them, and was



VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OF JESUS 27

obliged to support himself when at school by
the generosity of some kind friends and by
acting as tutor to the children of rich families.
He had heard his friend Patiss speak of the
Society of Jesus, then little known in the Tyrol,
and the thought had come, now and then, in
a very passing way, of offering himself to it.
Being so placed, he had great difficulty in
coming to any conclusion, and Father Sprenger
shrank from doin^ so. This and what follows

o

show the importance the good Franciscan
Father attached to this question, and also the
great interest he took in his penitent. The
difficulty was solved, and solved rightly, in a
very strange and exceptional manner.

There lived at this time, in a small village
called Kaltern, not far from Bolzano, a girl
named Maria Mori. She was looked on by all
as a person of great virtue and holiness, whilst
some sensible and prudent men believed that
she was favoured by God with ecstasies,
visions, and the sacred stigmata. The time she
lived would suggest that she may have been
one of the two Tyrolese ecstaticas about whom
Frederick Lucas of the Tablet had a passage of
arms with the then Earl of Shrewsbury, to
which O Connell indirectly alluded in his once



28 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

celebrated letter to the same Earl. Maria
Mori had for confessor Father John Capestrano,
a Franciscan and intimate friend of Father
Gabriel Sprenger. Both, after much considera
tion, determined to consult her with reference
to John Baptist s vocation, and her confessor
commanded her, under obedience, to ask of
God some manifestation of His holy will in
this matter. She did so, and after some days
gave as God s answer to her prayers, that
young Franzelin ought to enter the Society of
Jesus ; but that his doing so would not be
without some difficulty. John Baptist received
this word as the word of God, and resolved to
offer himself after he had finished his rhetoric.
He did so when the time came, and was re
ceived by the Father Provincial of the Austrian
and Galician provinces then united. We see
here that God, in an extraordinary manner, it
is true, settled the all-important question of
John Baptist s future, because the youth had
used with goodwill and trust the right means
of securing it. St. Gregory Nazianzen has said :
" The choice of a state of life is so important as
to decide for the rest of our existence the good
ness or badness of our behaviour." A mistake
in this matter is a lifelong mistake ; a mistake



VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OF JESUS 29

which places a man outside the groove of God s
ordinary providence, and makes salvation a
far greater difficulty than it otherwise would
be.

It may sound strange, a man placing himself
outside God s providence; God Himself telling
us that "no man can resist His will," and
that " He can do whatever He wills in heaven
and on earth." So God can, and by means,
too, which harmonise perfectly with man s
freewill. But God never acts violently,
never destroys man s freedom ; and man has
the awful power of fighting with Gocl and
choosing for himself what is evil, and deadly
evil, against His will. Anyone who admits
the sanction of the moral law as God s law,
and man s responsibility to it, must also admit
that man can and often does resist God s
will and act in direct opposition to it. This
is not without mystery ; in fact, it is part of
that greatest mystery, the permission of evil,
which no man can solve, and before which we
must, with finger on lip and in humble sub
mission to God, bow and be silent. St. Austin
tells us all, perhaps, which can or may be said
about it when he wrote : " Gocl judged it better
to work crood out of evil, than that there should



3 o CARDINAL FRANZELIN

be no evil at all. Do not think that the bad
are for no purpose in this world, and that God
does no good by means of them : the bad live
either that they may be converted, or that the
good may be exercised by them. . . . Man can
place himself outside the love, but he cannot
place himself outside the power of God, for the
sinner must, in v the end, become either the
object of His mercy or of His justice."

A mistake in the matter of one s state of life
is perhaps the greatest a person can make.
There may or may not be much wilfulness in
making it. Some never seriously consider the
subject at all, or they look on it as a purely
human worldly matter. They leave God out,
and take that settlement which others propose,
opportunities offer, or natural inclination may
suggest; or it may be that some ignore God
because they fear that His decision would be
opposed to what they humanly desire, or that,
even knowing His will, they would not have the
courage to accept it. Still, no matter how you
view it, or the reason for it, such a mistake is
putting oneself wrong with God, placing one
self in a position for which one is not fitted and
in which one will not have the graces and helps
special to it. " There is no prudence, there is



VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OF JESUS 31

no wisdom, there is no counsel against God,"
and "no one ever fought with Him and had
peace." In God s hands alone can man be
safe, happy, and successful. Hence in love He
commands man to commit his ways to Him"
who is "alight to his feet," and to "cast his
cares upon Him " who is " his staff and his
strength."

If a man throw God over, and take into his
own hands the settling of his ways with their
responsibilities and cares, he will act humanly
and naturally, and therefore, as a rule, wrongly,
because he will act according to the darkness,
the weakness, and the corruption of his nature.
He will be, before God at least, a failure.

The practice of the Franciscan Fathers who
had care of young Franzelin is worthy of all
praise, because it fulfilled a strict duty touching
the most important event in a young life. All,
therefore, who have that most anxious and
most responsible office, the education of the
young in school or their direction in the con
fessional, ought to study and be familiar with
those means settled by God and formulated by
eminent spiritualists for testing and settling this
question. They should carefully and prudently
instruct their charges in those means, and how



32 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

to use them means which, being God s means,
fixed by Him for a certain end, must, if rightly
used, make this lifelong mistake impossible.
They should bear in mind, and impress on their
charges, that God and God s holy will are the
first, if not the only things to be considered ;
and that if other persons, such as parents, their
will and wants, are to be taken into account
(which sometimes is the case), it is because God
wills that in certain circumstances they ought.

They should also remember that in nothing
do God and His Holy Church so guard the
liberty of the subject as in the matter of the
priestly and religious state; and rightly so,
because a mistake here is the most miserable of
all. They should instruct and help them to
find out God s will ; but they or their parents
should not suppose for a moment that their
own will must be also the will of God, or dare
to put any undue pressure on their subjects or
children, above all with reference to either of
the states just mentioned. It is to be feared
that some religious, with more zeal than sense,
imagine that they are doing a holy work,
creating and fostering vocations, by running
down the world and the secular state in a most
exaggerated and partisan style. The world no



VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OF JESUS 33

doubt is a very dangerous, and in many ways a
very bad place, but not nearly as dangerous or
as wretched as is the sanctuary or cloister for
those who enter them not called by God. The
priestly and religious states are in themselves
of a different and higher order than the secular,
and one of God s greatest compliments and
graces is the call to either. At the same time,
belief in this truth, which no catholic may deny,
the conviction that the world is a very bad
place, and the thought that it is better for a
person to be called to either of those states,
do not constitute a vocation. A vocation is a
personal thing. I must be convinced not only
that the priestly or religious state is the highest
and safest in itself, but also I should have good
reasons for believing that God has settled it as
the best for me.

A vocation to the religious state is, after all,
a very simple matter, and easily discoverable, if
we take our Lord s view of it and use the means
settled by Him. He gives us His view in
that sad and touching interview He had with
" the young man of large possessions." As we
have it recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew,
our Lord first told him that if he wished to
enter into life, he should keep the command-
5



34 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

ments. The youth having at once answered
that he had done so from his earliest years, and
then asked what was yet wanting to him, our
Lord replied, If you wish to be perfect, go
sell all you have, give to the poor, and come,
follow Me." Our Lord places a vocation in
two things first, the wish, inclination, desire to
be a religious, begotten sometimes of a convic
tion that I ought to embrace this state ; and
secondly, that I have it in me with God s grace
to make the necessary sacrifice and to be true
to its obligations. A man of great experience
and authority Father E. O Reilly, S.J. used
to say that a vocation consisted in two things
a wish for the state, and physical and mental
capabilities equal to it. We can and shall become
fairly certain on these points, if, having no wish
but the will of God, we pray for light to know
and strength to do, study ourselves under God s
guidance, seeking help from those gifted and
graced by Him to give it. At the same time,
we should bear in mind that God, the great
Father of all, calls thousands to live in the
world, and may take as great an interest in
these His children, if they rightly seek His face,
as He does in those called to religion. Marriages
as well as vocations are made in heaven by God



VOCATION TO THE SOCIETY OP JESUS 35

for those who desire only His holy will and use
the means to know and follow it.

It may not be out of place to give the
mind and teaching of St. Ignatius on this sub
ject, as he made it a special study, laid down
" rules of election" which, when rightly observed,
can scarcely fail in their purpose, and intended
that the spiritual exercises should be given
with a view to the settling of this question.
The 4th of his " rules for thinking with the
Church " is, " to praise greatly religious orders
and a life of virginity and continence, and not
to praise the married state as much as these."
It would be too much to give the whole of his
note headed " Prelude for making the election,"
but the following is its substance : In every
good election, as far as regards ourselves, the
eye of our intention ought to be single, looking
only to the end for which I was created, which
is for the praise of God our Lord and for the
salvation of my soul. And thus, whatever I
choose ought to be for this, that it should help
me to the end for which I was created, not
ordering or drawing the end to the means, but
the means to the end. I should not therefore
first determine to become a priest or a religious,
or to marry, and as such to save my soul, but



36 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

first to resolve to save my soul, and then find
out in which of those states I am most likely
and best fitted to do so." The isth of the
" Annotations for the help of him who is to give
and of him who is to receive the Spiritual
Exercises" is as follows: " He who gives the
exercises must not incline him who receives
them more to poverty or a vow than to their
contraries, nor to one state or manner of life
than to another; for although outside the
exercises we may lawfully and meritoriously
induce all who may in all probability be disposed
to it to choose a life of continency, virginity, a
life in religion, or any kind of evangelical per
fection, nevertheless, during the time of the
Spiritual Exercises, when the soul is seeking the
divine will, it is better and more fitting that its
Creator and Lord Himself communicate with the
devout soul, disposing it for that way of life
which will best suit it for the future." This
simple and straight direction of St. Ignatius
should destroy an idea which some seem to have,
that the Spiritual Exercises were intended to
catch all for the religious state, and, if possible,
for his own order.



CHAPTER III

THE NOVITIATE

YOUNG Franzelin having found out God s holy
will in his regard corresponded with it, and
entered the novitiate of Gratz in Styria on the
27th of July 1834, being then in his eighteenth
year. His life here stands on record in the
following words : "In tyrocinio omnibus raro
prseluxit exemplo." " In the novitiate he out
shone all by his rare example." True to
himself and to his principles, he was the first
and the best in the study of spiritual things
the only study allowed in the novitiate as
he had been in the study of letters.

The novitiate is a monotonous, uneventful
sort of place. Still we are not without some
interesting and edifying details of his novice
life. According to the letter and spirit of one
of his rules, "he constantly and patiently
laboured, that no point of perfection which by
God s grace he could attain by the perfect



38 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

observance of all the constitutions and in the
fulfilment of the particular spirit of the Institute
should be lost to him." He was scrupulously
careful to observe all, even the smallest rule or
custom, singularly clever and good-humoured in
protecting himself against any temptation to
violate what he loved so much, silence.

In one matter, however, he was sinlessly in
discreet and imprudent, justifying himself, no
doubt, by his strong desire to become holy,
and a certain thoughtlessness and indifference
about bodily comfort, health, even life. Morti
fication is the most important, if not the most
necessary, factor of holiness, and this perhaps
because it is the hardest and most distasteful
to our nature. But it can be carried too far
a rare fault, it is true, but into it our good
novice fell. He was never known to touch
wine, the common drink of the country, and
for a long time so we read he never drank
water. He also practised other most severe
corporal austerities. The reader will probably
ask, Where was his master of novices, or was
he minding his business ? Well, this question
may be answered by saying that a novice-
master must necessarily believe the statements
of his subjects about themselves, and it is very


Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:20 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4334
New post Re: Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin
likely that John Baptist, in thorough good faith,
made out a strong case in favour of his own
action. After some short time, however,
superiors realised the state of affairs and the
danger of allowing it to continue, so they placed
him under prohibitions and restrictions, to all
of which he gave the most simple and perfect
obedience. But it was somewhat too late.
Injury to health, at first very alarming, was the
result of his imprudent zeal. His chest and
lungs became seriously affected, accompanied
by obstinate blood-spitting. Now the word of
Maria Mori seemed to be fulfilled ; for things
looked so badly that superiors were on the
point of dismissing him as unequal, through
delicacy, to the life and work of the Society.
But God in His loving providence intervened;
and one does not like to think what the Church,
the theological world, and the Society of Jesus
would have lost in losing him. He recovered
slowly, if it could be called a recovery, for he
remained so delicate to the end, that many who
knew him well often expressed their surprise
that he was able for so many years to bear the
fatigue and labour of teaching, above all, of teach
ing as he taught. For they who had the grace
and privilege of sitting at his feet must re-

member how clearly and strongly he rang out
every word, so as to be perfectly audible in the
remotest corner of the large lecture-hall of the
Roman College. He himself, when he had
touched seventy, said to more than one, "It is
a wonder to me how I have lived to such an
age." The truth is, he had an iron will, and in
its power, strengthened by grace, he went on
to the end, determined to work, heedless of self.
A friend said of him, "There is the delicate
man who existed, and whom John Baptist
ignored, and the strong man who did not exist,
and in whom he alone believed."

Cardinal Franzelin, a few months before he
died, set himself to burn a mass of MSS., letters,
etc., and inspected the work himself for hours.
A few of these, very few indeed, were by some
means or other saved. Amongst them were
some notes which he had taken during that
long retreat which all novices are obliged to
make, his particular examen book, which he
always carried in the breast-fold of his habit,
marked up to the day before he died, and with
in this some slips of paper on which were written
pious sentiments, religious principles or maxims,
resolutions, aspirations, and .a long list of the
saints he was in the habit of invoking. These

were all written during the novitiate or the
early days of his scholastic life, and in Latin.
There was also found amongst them a form
written in German, according to which, when
a mere schoolboy, he had dedicated himself to
the Mother of God.

He placed himself and the important work
of the long retreat under the special protection
of the Ever-Blessed Virgin, St. Ignatius, and
his gtiardian angel. He also selected a patron
saint for each day, beginning with St. John
Baptist. On the first meditation, " The End
of Man," called by St. Ignatius " First Principle
and Foundation," his note shows how he at once
grasped and applied to himself the great corner
stone truth which it so impressively teaches.

" God gave to me, in love, every thing I
have, when He, not needing me, created me.
He is therefore my Lord and Master, who
created me for His own glory ; therefore I am
bound, in every way and every thing, to pro
mote His glory. I cannot find rest in anyone
but God. If a man were seeking to find a
precious pearl, and another said to him, It lies
buried under earth here, dig for it ; would
he not do so ? I know I can find calm and
rest only in God ; why therefore not seek it

there ? The labourer works hard every day,
even to the tiring of himself, for a few pence,
and I give myself no trouble to gain eternal
life. The things offered to me are, on one side
a moment of time, a fleeting pleasure, and
hell ; on the other labour for the moment,
supreme happiness in God, and eternal life.
Now make your choice. Shall I not choose
the second ? I have done so. Elegi, Elegi"

In this election he persevered, faithful, as we
shall see, in every moment of his life, to the
last.

On a meditation of the second week he
writes : " Through the whole hour I was tried

by temptations, but these were not in vain nor
without some good results. I propose firmly
not to think or speak of any but holy and
sacred things in the future. May God give
me grace to do so." In his meditation on
" The Three Classes," he writes : " There are
some who desire to rid themselves of a bad
habit or vice, but never use any means to do so.
These are like to a man who cries out that he
wishes to go to Rome as soon as possible, but
does not wish to walk or to be carried there.
There are others who do make use of some
means, but not the right ones ; I have been

amongst these up to the present, because I
resolved before to avoid certain things, and
to think only of spiritual things, and yet I am
as of old. If I saw another man in the state
in which I am, should I not say to him, It is
all over with you, all hope is lost ; you are as
one despaired of by the physician ; and still you
are not afraid. Settle the question at once.
Do you wish to be lost or saved ? Think seri
ously. I wish to be saved, but this is not possible
for me unless in the Society of Jesus, because
I have been called to it, and not possible in it,
unless I become a true Jesuit verus Jesuita.
Therefore I renounce, this moment and for ever,
the world, the flesh, the devil, myself. Re-
mmtio, Renuntio. I will have nothing more to
do with such things. If others were able to do
this, why not I ? I will never again think of
dangerous things. I will ground myself in true
humility. When I read in the refectory, I will
mispronounce ; if I have to preach, I will com
pose in the simplest way. If it please God, I
will be a lay brother, and I will ask superiors to
receive me as such. I will be in all things a
true follower of my Captain, Jesus Christ, a true
Jesuit. I make this resolve in the presence of
my God, One and Three, by whom I was

created, in the presence of the Blessed Virgin,
my angel guardian, St. Ignatius, and all my
patron saints and protectors. I place all my
resolutions in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and I
confide them to the care of the Mother of God.
With the grace of God it is fixed and settled."
In another small memorandum book, written
after he had finished the long retreat, but whilst
still a novice, he formulated, in a very precise
way, the means he would use when preparing
himself for confession : i. Vigilant guardian
ship of the heart, deep study and examination
of self; labour to acquire such delicacy of con
science that it will feel hurt by the least fault
committed till repented of. 2. To acquire the
habit of making acts of contrition, now in a
studied manner w r ith many words, now in a
very simple way by short aspirations, particu
larly in time of prayer, meditation, examen,
when tempted, before any important work,
before falling asleep ; and when making these
aspirations, to think of God s great love and to
grieve because of the sins he had committed
against Him. 3. To be most observant of the
daily examens of conscience, and to make them
as if about to confess, observing accurately
the five points prescribed by St. Ignatius in

his book of the Spiritual Exercises. Being a
believer in the saying of St. Chrysostom,
" that we should be more afraid of little than
of great sins," he made nine resolutions, and
noted them under the heading, " Peccata
venialia maxime cavenda."- " Venial sins most
of all to be avoided." The second was, " To
be on his guard against anger and impatience."
The third, " Never to speak of the defects of
his neighbour." The fourth, " Never to omit
his spiritual duties, or to perform them with
deliberate distractions or negligence." The
eighth, " In his trials and sufferings, no matter
whence they come, to never murmur or grumble,
but to receive and bear them with an even mind
and grateful heart as sent by God" adding,
" The greatest sufferings which could befall me
in this life are as nothing to hell, which I have
so often merited." The ninth, " Never to hide
his defects from those who ought to know them,
and never to show himself other than he is."
He also noted down some pious affections and
resolutions, which prove still more how the
Spiritual Exercises had produced in his soul
the two purposes for which we are told to work
when making them, namely, a thorough hatred
of sin and all spiritual disorder, and a true love

of Jesus Christ, that we may, from the highest
motive, labour to conform our lives to His.
" Nothing can be done," he writes, "without
labour. I will fight for the Infinite Good, for
Jesus dixi, mine ccepi" "God is always the
same, Infinite Perfection and Love, therefore
thou oughtest never to offend Him." "Thou,
Thou, my Jesus, didst hold me to Thy Heart,
on the Cross. Oh, no, no, no sin nulhim,
nullum, nu Hum peccatum" " O Jesus, I
promise to love Thee for ever, and never
wilfully to sin against Thee. I resolve to be
humble, holy, obedient, after Thy example,
even though all things around me should
change. In Thee I trust; my present fervour
may cool, my resolve, never. If I again fall,
I am determined to arise with redoubled
humility and confidence. Jesus, Mary, Joseph,
O Cross, O Jesus, strengthen me."

In this same book he mentions a saying
of the imperfect suggested by himself or heard
from others, and answers it : "In the Society
they are of greater importance, and made more
of, who are learned, who are distinguished as
professors, preachers, etc., than they who are
holy, but without these gifts. Personal holiness
is only good for the man himself; learning is good

for others, and the learned are in the mouths of
all." "The falseness," he answers, "of this
proposition is proved by the iith and i6th
rules of the Summary, in which our Holy
Father Ignatius and the Society declare the
contrary. Virtue is the soul of learning ; learn
ing without virtue is only a dead body. Talents
are good, learning is good, but virtue is better
than both. The perfect praise of a Jesuit is, to
be not only solidly learned, but solidly holy.
Knowledge without love of God puffs up. Love
of God without knowledge availeth the person
himself only, but not others." He also noted
down certain principles called by him "funda
mentals," which he determined to hold well in
mind, heart, and hand, after he had passed from
the novitiate to the active life. They are four :
i. A delicate conscience. 2. Strong love of
his vocation. 3. Strict adherence to the letter
and spirit of religious life. 4. A resolution
to act always against human views and human
judgments. These, "that he may remain
faithful to the good novitiate training and its
principles."

" The perfect praise of a Jesuit is not only to
be solidly learned, but to be solidly holy." On
this John Baptist set his heart from the very

start of his religious life, and this he went on
perfecting day after day to the last. Rejoicing
as a giant he ran the way, and would not
be much out of place, in heaven or on earth,
side by side with the canonised Thomas and
Bonaventure or the uncanonised Suarez and
Bellarmine.

We have just noticed how he, with foreseeing
and provident mind, prepared and forearmed
himself in his novitiate for the much harder,
more trying, and more dangerous life which was
to follow. This is not without its instructive
moral. Many destined for the priestly or
religious state, who have spent their time well
in seminary or novitiate ; many destined for
the secular state, who have spent (and spent
well) their years in college, as John Baptist,
scholar and novice, did ; rest on their oars with
too much confidence in what they have done,
and are too thoughtless of what they have yet
to do. This arises perhaps from a certain
feeling of strength in an innocence and virtue
which, however, have not yet been tested ;
or from their ignorance or mere superficial
knowledge of the world in which they must
now take their stand and fight their battle.
They think they are now well provisioned for
the journey and well armed for the enemies,
open and hidden, who may meet them on the
way. But they forget that provisions can fail,
that they may find themselves in famine
districts, devoid of many spiritual helps, that
their arms may become dull and edgeless, or
that new and different ones, as well as other
tactics, may be needed ; or, again, they castle-
build and day-dream a future which is either not
real, or if it were, would be full of danger ;
namely, the life, as it were, of one moving in
a gay-looking but frail boat on a gentle current,
all calm below and sunshine above, no quick
sands, or rocks, or contrary winds, or storms.
This is one of youth s most dangerous mis
takes or delusions, be he seminarist, novice, or
secular scholar. The college, the seminary, the
novitiate are, as a rule, well cared preserves, into
which many enemies cannot enter, and in which
the inmates are well guarded and protected
against the few that can. Here also the regular
fixed routine of religious duties and practices is
such that they cannot well get out of it. But
when they pass from these they will find them
selves face to face with another world, and with
temptations, dangers, and enemies new and
unexpected, all which will really test the

foundations they have laid, whether on rock or
sand. The young religious, especially of the
Society, will have to pass to the study of
classics, mathematics, philosophy, etc., and then
to a far more laborious and anxious work, the
moral and intellectual training and education of
the young a work not only of the greatest
importance and most far-reaching effects, but
of the gravest and most awful responsibilities.
They who undertake it assume all the duties of
parent and pastor, stand in the place of both
towards their scholars, and are bound to look
well to the health and welfare of body and soul.
A work which demands unceasing labour,
constant but prudent vigilance, and much
patience because of the anxieties inseparable
from it. A work in which strictness and
severity must be tempered with gentleness,
consideration, and mercy, into which prejudice,
one-sidedness, undue favouritism, or temper
should never enter, and to be done with studied
impartial justice when there is question of
correction or punishment. " Do thy work
earnestly," says God/ but in meekness, and thou
shalt be loved before thou enquirest, blame no
man, and when thou hast enquired, reprove
justly." The greatest of English novelists and

moralists, Thackeray, speaks somewhere of a
blow given unjustly to a boy at school by his
master tingling and smarting on his cheek when
a man. Or, after a time, he as well as the
secular priest must give himself to the missionary
life, sometimes even to strictly parochial duties,
and must, for the great purpose of saving souls,
come into close contact with the world, with
all that is corrupt and bad, with all that is
dangerously attractive and dangerously repel
ling in it. In the striking words of St.
Chrysostom : " Priests must live not for them
selves but for others, for others differing
in disposition, character, state, as well as in
most difficult spiritual miseries, diseases, and
wants. They cannot be without anxieties
about the good of every individual committed
to them, and each demands a different kind of
labour, and a caution and a prudence greater
than the labour. They are surrounded by the
black array of the devil and his mad conflict,
surrounded not only by declared enemies, but
by many also who, whilst pretending friendship,
are ready to combine with others to destroy
them. They need, therefore, a hundred eyes,
more than human virtue, a strong mind that
will not despair, and much grace. Their souls

should be made by grace like to the bodies of
those youths who stood in the furnace of
Babylon, for it is no common fire to which
they are exposed, but to an all-devouring flame
blown up from every quarter, and searching- out
their souls more severely than the furnace fire
did the bodies of those children." And yet,
being so placed in the world, and with such
surroundings, they must not allow anything to
interfere with that solid virtue and holiness
which in the words of John Baptist are
better than talents or learning, and without
which both are only as a dead body ; or with
those means which must be patiently and
perseveringly used to keep them intact. The
priest and the religious, who whether in
college, parish, or mission must work for
others and be constantly in contact with them,
are not angels, but men, men with man s
corrupt nature, not only subject to those
temptations common to all men, but to some
also which are special to themselves and their
works. " They " (writes St. Chrysostom)
" cannot hide themselves, they must be always
under the eyes of others, and men will measure
and weigh their faults not according to the fault
in itself, but according to the dignity of him

who commits it." The greatest compliment
paid by seculars to priest and religious is, that
they expect great virtue and holiness from
them ; and their first duty, as the light, the salt
of the world, and the saviours of men, is to
edify and teach others by the perfection of their
own example. " By living well and preaching
well, they teach their people to live well."
" Men believe more in what they see than in
what they hear." Words are either a reproach
recoiling on him who uses them, or mere
" sounding brass and tinkling cymbal," if they
be not the outcome of a soul and a life filled
with the love of God and reflecting it ; an
outcome as natural and necessary as light and
warmth from the sun, or sweet sound from
a perfectly tuned and toned musical instru
ment.

The first and most important duty of those
who are consecrated to save others, is to look
well to their own personal virtue and holiness ;
"to take heed to themselves," that they may
be the "pattern of the flock from the heart."
"Sound of life for the salvation of their
people," " adorned with all virtues, and mirrors
of holiness," that their words may have a power
in and from their lives which nothing else can

give. " Take heed to thyself , a short motto,"
writes St. Basil, "full of meaning for all, what
ever be their rank and position in the Church."
He compares priests to architects, builders,
travellers, shepherds, husbandmen, hunters,
soldiers ; he proves that all success depends on
looking well to self, and concludes his homily
with the following words: "The day would
fail me, were I to go on recounting the wonder
ful efficacy and effects of this golden rule
Take ht 7 ed to thyself."

True charity begins at home. A Kempis
counsels that no matter what a man does for
others, he should not neglect himself; and God
Himself tells us that it will profit a man nothing
to gain the whole world, if he lose his own soul.
Such are the commands of God as we have
them in His Inspired Word, in the councils of
His Church, and in the earnest preaching of
its fathers and doctors. Besides, there are
eminent spiritualists who say that there are few
in greater danger than they who pour them
selves out even on holy works and neglect their
own personal sanctification. Neglect of this
most important duty is an inexcusable sin, for
who knows better than priest or religious, that
God, the " Faithful and True," is never wanting



THE NOVITIATE 55

to us, that He is more anxious to give grace
than the holiest is to receive it, that He does
give it, and that we have means always at hand
by the right use of which we may increase it to
any amount grace, by which the priest and
religious, notwithstanding their corrupt nature
and dangerous surroundings, can be fully up to
the high standard of virtue and holiness rightly
required of them ; can live in the world, and
yet not be of it ; can come into contact with its
corruption, not only not bearing away the
slightest taint, but purifying it by their sacred
ministrations. It is therefore evident that those
spiritual duties of rule in seminary and novitiate
meditation, prayer, daily mass, confession,
examen of conscience, spiritual reading, and
certain devotions in which we were instructed,
trained, and disciplined, and which even there
did not make us better than we ought to have
been are far more needed when we have
passed into the battlefield of the world. They
should be held on to in a strong, determined,
and mortified spirit because certain helps to
wards their observance are removed, whilst
temptations to neglect them and difficulties in
their way are increased. In seminary and
novitiate, we were as hothouse plants under



56 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

glass, carefully looked to and tended by others.
But afterwards, when our own masters in lonely
country or busy town or city, we are as such
planted out in poor or bad soil, exposed to the
action of burning sun, chilling wind, drought,
deluge, and storm ; protection, culture, growth,
and fruit depending on ourselves alone. If in
these circumstances the spiritual duties of
seminary or novitiate be neglected, what must
happen ? The graces necessary to make and
keep us what we ought to be, will not, through
our own fault, be secured, and the seminary or
novitiate holiness, such as it was^will soon give
way, collapse, disappear. What will happen ?
What must happen to a soldier who struts
about in armour in time of peace, and goes
into the thick of the fight without any armour
at all. He will become the prey of his enemies,
and deserves no better fate.

To the young passing from college to take
their stand as laymen in the world, formidable
enemies at once present themselves : the feeling,
naturally delightful, of new-found liberty and the
temptation to abuse it ; no actual work, or object
in life to labour for, no wholesome occupation
given to them at once. A fatal mistake this,
too frequently made by wealthy parents, and



THE NOVITIATE 57

for which they often pay a sad penalty. Hence
"idleness, which worketh much evil," worldli-
ness, mere pleasure and play, an unhealthy tone
of mind ; all tending in the worst direction and
towards the most degrading forms of vice. In
a word, wasted lives and untimely deaths. Or
it may be a devoting of oneself to what is
called the business of life, so human, so one
sided, so absorbing, that, even if it secures
success in this life, fearfully endangers it in the
next. Now what chance is there of a young
man holding his own against these and other
uglier and more dangerous enemies, if the
morning and night prayer, the daily mass
when convenient, or the visit to the Most Blessed
Sacrament, the aspiration when tempted, the
Rosary, the Sunday instruction, the weekly or
monthly confession, etc., are entirely or in great
part given up? Those pious, grace-giving
duties and practices did little more than keep
him a good boy when within the well-guarded
preserves of college life. What must become
of him if he neglect them when he is in the
midst of the world s dangers ? What must
become of a youth who can scarcely keep his
head above water in the swimming-bath, if
thrown into a tempestuous and stormy sea ? He



58 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

must sink and be lost, because he has ceased
to use the only means which could sustain
him.

But some one may ask, "Am I, a man living
in the world, to be as good as I was when a
boy in school ? In my present position, it is
very difficult to keep up the religious duties
and devotions of college." Well, such a ques
tioner may be answered by saying, that he is
as much bound to be a good man as he was
to be a good boy, nay, a better man than
boy, if his responsibilities towards others have
increased in number and importance. Hard
and difficult those religious duties in some
sense certainly are, but will giving them up
make a man s life easier and happier? Surely
throwing the great God over, and sin, are not
factors of peace and contentment even in this
world. Hard these duties are, but so much the
better for him who holds faithful to them. The
very overcoming of self in order to be so,
smooths and sweetens life, and is richly re
warded by peace of mind and heart and con
science. A man who comes to confession on
principle, because God commands it, because it is
necessary, and he cannot live well without it, and
who comes in the teeth of a strong natural



THE NOVITIATE 59

repugnance, brings to the sacrament perhaps
the very best disposition, better than tears of
sorrow without this repugnance. Free will is
one of God s noblest gifts to man, and God
never violently overrules or overrides man s
will, so as to make him do good and avoid
evil, if he determine not to do so. For God
says, " Good and evil, life and death, are before
you, and whichever you choose will be yours."
And many there are who so abuse or misuse
their free will, that they make the good things
of God evil, and the life-giving things of God
death-bearing to themselves. By not over
coming themselves, by not using a certain
amount of mortification and self-denial, by
yielding to the promptings of passion and
inclination in the wrong direction, they abuse
the senses of the body, the faculties of the
soul, health, wealth, position, the food that
strengthens and the wine that cheers, and
many other good things of God, ancl make
them the cause or occasion of evil and of
death. Give to your flesh its concupiscence,
and it will make you a laughing-stock to your
enemies. How many are there this moment
lost in hell, or degraded and miserable on
earth, who when leaving college would have



60 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

shuddered at such a possibility, and resented
as an insult the hint of it from another. And
yet they came to it. How? By the easy
descent of that concupiscence, which was theirs,
and which is commonly called the predominant
passion. They did not keep eye on and hand
against it as their special enemy, because this
would entail a conquering- of self. On the
contrary, they made little of it, gave it its way
at first, saying, It is not a sin, or at least not a
great sin, and when it begins to be such, I will
look to it, forgetting the old pagan maxim,
" Principiis obsta " ; forgetting that by acting
in this way they were weakening themselves
and strengthening their enemies ; a line of
action which must end in defeat. Spiritual
writers compare this predominant passion to
a lion s cub, that is nice-looking, gentle, and
playful, which a child could kill with a stroke,
but if you feed it, pet it, give it what it likes,
day after day, you make it a fierce wild beast
to lacerate and destroy you ; to a horse,
which, if left unbroken and untrained, will
carry you wildly along as it wills ; to a gentle
current, running in the direction of dangerous
rocks, pleasant to drift on, but if you do, it
becomes stronger and quicker, and you are



THE NOVITIATE 61

wrecked almost before you take in your danger.
The great poet wrote no truer words than
these : " The gods are just, and of our pleasant
vices make instruments to scourge us." And
greater far than he has said, "In that in which
man sinneth, in the same shall he be punished."
We see this Nemesis in the daily records of
human crime in suicide, in gaol, in gibbet, in
families made miserable or disgraced, in social
ostracism and mercantile bankruptcy. But
we do not see that Nemesis which is in
every sinful soul ; for the offspring of sin are
a brood of vipers that torture the soul which
gave birth to it, even in this world. In the
history of the world as written by men, the
great heroes are the great conquerors of men
and of nations. In history as written by God,
this is not the case ; His heroes are they who
conquer themselves, for He says, " The patient
man is better than the valiant, and he that
ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh cities."
The poorest beggar in the street who bears
patiently the trials of life, and rules his evil
inclinations according to the principles of right
reason and faith, is in God s mind a better
and nobler man than the Alexanders, Caesars,
and Bonapartes, who, whilst conquering men



62 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

and taking cities by storm, were too often the
vile slaves of the most shameful vices. David,
according to St. Chrysostom, was a greater
man when, having Saul, his enemy seeking his
life, helpless in his hands, he resisted the
temptation to kill him, than when he struck
down Goliath, and was hailed the saviour of
his nation. Theodosius was greater when he
bowed to the just but humiliating penance of
St. Ambrose, than when as emperor he ruled
the world. Every man should ambition to
be great and noble, but according to God s
view.

Well, therefore, it is with the youth who,
leaving college, imitates John Baptist, by fixing
deep in mind and heart certain truths, and
determines, at all cost and labour, to live up to
them, as he did. First, that the more Christian,
virtuous, and religious he is, the happier he
shall be, even in this world. Second, that what
is best for eternity is best for the hour, accord
ing to the pertinent question which a saint
bids us to ask ourselves often, "Quid hoc ad
seternitatem ? " Third, that grace, merit, and
glory will come to him in proportion to the
overcoming of and doino; violence to himself;

o o

that the hardest thing, when borne or done for



THE NOVITIATE 63

God, is the best. "The truest honour is the
manly confession of wrong, and the truest
courage the courage to avoid temptation."
Fourth, to use, fearful of himself and trustful
of God, the means by which alone he can keep
himself holy and happy ; namely, prayer, con
fession, and communion, and some devotions,
according to his spiritual taste. Fifth, in the
light and strength of the graces which these
will certainly bring to watch the enemy, his
dominant passion, and give it no quarter. For,
in the words of our Lord, "When a strong
man armed keepeth his court, those things
are in peace which he possesseth ; but if a
stronger than he cometh upon him, and over
come him, he will take away all his armour,
wherein he trusted, and will distribute his
spoils."



CHAPTER IV

THE SCIIOLASTICATE

JOHN BAPTIST passed, in the year 1836, from
the Novitiate in Gratz to Tarnapol, a city in
Galicia where the Society had a college, in
which its own scholastics and secular youths
were educated. Here he made what is called
second rhetoric repeating, for a short time his
classical studies ; and then began his course
of philosophy, logic, metaphysics, and ethics,
which lasted two years. He had, as was men
tioned before, such an extraordinary talent for
languages, and had cultivated it so earnestly,
that, when eighteen, he was able to read the
Holy Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew. On
this account, his superiors appointed him, even
when making his own studies, to teach these
tongues. He also learned so quickly Polish,
that he was soon able to teach the children of
Tarnapol the catechisms. Here John Baptist
met, for the first time, the Very Rev. Father



THE SCHOLASTICATE 65

Beckx, who afterwards, as General, governed the
Society with great prudence and gentleness for
more than thirty years. They were thrown
much together for a few days, owing to the fact
that John Baptist was one of the very few in
the college who spoke German, and they formed
a high estimate, one of the other. Having
finished his philosophy, he was named to teach,
first, humanity, and then rhetoric. But as he
was still extremely delicate, these schools were
found too much for him ; hence, the year follow
ing, he was appointed to teach Greek and
Hebrew. He considered this work too little,
as he always had a horror of being unoccupied.
He was therefore named Superior of the
Scholastic Philosophers, Sub-librarian, and In
structor, in spiritual things, of the Scholastic
Rhetoricians. In the year 1843 he was sent
from Tarnapol to Lemberg, the capital of
Galicia and an archiepiscopal city, in which
the Society had a College of Nobles. This
college had for friend and patron the Archduke
Ferdinand d Este, who obtained permission
that its pupils might receive all teaching within
the college, provided they were presented twice
a year for examination at the State University.
Hence some of the ablest men at the disposal

9



66 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

of the Provincial were sent there. During his
stay of three years, John Baptist taught for
one year the third class of grammar, and for
the other two, Greek and German. We have
evidence that, during all his time in Tarnapol
and Lemberg, he was true to the great resolve,
" Holiness and learning," and faithful in using
the means~[of acquiring both. His path was
" as a shining light, going forward and increas
ing even to perfect day."

Having spent six years as master in the
colleges, his superiors determined that he
should begin the study of theology ; and it is
no wonder that they sent one of such rare talents
and high hopes to the Gregorian University,
or, as it was more commonly called, the Roman
College. As this house will be for many years
the home of John Baptist, and his name and
fame will ever be amongst its greatest glories,
it may not be deemed out of place, or without
interest, particularly for those who studied
within its walls, to give a brief history of this
the first and most celebrated scholasticate of
the Society, and the greatest centre of theo
logical learning perhaps in the world.

The most important work of St. Ignatius,
after the founding of his order, was the



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 67

establishment of this college. Its birthday was
the 1 6th of February 1550, when thirteen
scholastics young Jesuits who had made their
simple vows with Father Pelletier as their
first Superior, left the professed house and
took up their abode in a small dwelling at the
foot of the Capitol which Ignatius had rented.
The benefactor who gave him the money to do
so was his fellow-countryman, Francis Borgia,
Duke of Gandia, w r ho afterwards entered the
Society, became in time its third General, and
is now a canonised Saint. According to the
intention of Ignatius, this college was not to be
a house of studies for young Jesuits only ; its
doors were to be open to all who might wish to
come. Those of his own order lived within
it, others attended as day scholars, and the
teaching was perfectly gratuitous ; in the words
of St. Ignatius, "every one, whether rich or
poor, is admitted out of pure charity without
any remuneration being accepted." After a
short time, such numbers flocked to it,, that
Ignatius was obliged to rent a larger building,
the property of the historic family of Frangipani,
near to the Minerva, the Duke of Gandia being
again his generous friend. But soon trials
came, as they always do, to test a good work



68 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

which is destined to last. All the professors
were Jesuits, and no pension was asked or
received. This was naturally distasteful and
injurious to other teaching establishments in
Rome, between the members of which and
the Society things soon became more than
unpleasant. Hard, bitter, and untrue things
were said and published of the Jesuits. Their
manner of life, their doctrines, their faith, were
unfairly questioned or ridiculed, and " ignorant "
or incapable" was perhaps the least offensive
epithet applied to them. In answer to this
last charge, Ignatius used to say, " We do not
pretend to be savants, but the little we have
ourselves learned we wish to give freely to all
for the love of God."

We take the following extract from a letter
of St. Ignatius written at this time to the
rectors of the colleges of the Society : " The
devil commonly takes pains to impede those
things that work most against him for the
benefit of souls, as we find by experience here
in Rome in the new college, as also in those of
Italy and Sicily. Here a great zeal has seized
many of the schoolmasters, so much so, that
one day lately some of them came to the college
and joined the audience of Master Joaquin, and



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 69

found fault with him publicly, though they were
in the wrong, and gave great scandal. This
very week, two boys being missed from home,
their mothers came to our chapel during mass,
cried out and made an extraordinary disturb
ance there, and also in the college and at the
houses of some cardinals, saying we had estab
lished the college on purpose to steal away
people s sons, though in fact neither of these
boys had entered either our college or our
home." He then ordered that " if any of these
schoolmasters come and say that the masters
of the college are ignorant, let them confess
with humility that they are more ignorant than
they would wish to be, though they try to serve
God and their neighbours with the small talent
which the great Father has bestowed upon
them ; finally, let them modestly excuse their
presumption." He also forbade the rectors to
receive any boys against the will or without
the permission of their parents or guardians.

About this time, also, an insidious attempt
was made to injure the college. Melanchthon
sent one of his followers, a clever man, who
had some knowledge of Scripture and talked
well, that he might secretly propagate heresy
within its walls. But he was soon found out,



70 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

and handed over to the Holy Office. In the
year 1553, scholastic and moral theology and
Sacred Scripture were first taught, Fathers
Olave, Charlat, and Frusis being the professors.
Ignatius always held in great esteem the
manner of teaching, as he himself had seen it,
in the University of Paris ; hence he took all
possible care that the prominent men in his
new college should be men who had studied
in that famous university, and that they should
adhere strictly to its system. The college soon
got a good name, and the scholars so increased,
that the second house was now found too small.
But the expense of supporting the enlarged
staff of professors and of scholastics became
too great for the resources Ignatius had at
his disposal ; and strong representations were
made to him on this point. To these he
always gave one answer: " Go on, go on. God
will take care of us, and provide for all our
wants." And so He did, by raising up generous
benefactors. The Sovereign Pontiff, Julius III.,
living witness as he was of the good done in
a few years by this college, promised to grant
two thousand gold crowns annually towards
its support. He died, however, before giving
legal effect to this intention ; but his successor,



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 71

Paul IV., cognisant of his predecessor s will,
declared that he was disposed to give even
more.

In the year 1555, one hundred had passed
from its schools educated for their work in the
world, and the same year two hundred new
scholars replaced them. In 1556, the year in
which Ignatius went to his reward, Pope Paul
gave it all the rights and privileges of a
university. In the year 1557 it was trans
ferred to the Salviati Palace, which then stood
on the site where, some time after, the larger
and grander college was built. During this
year it gave its first literary exhibition, into the
programme of which entered a play performed
by the scholars. Father Natalis was rector ;
amongst the professors were Emmanuel Sa,
Polanco, and Ledesma ; and amongst the
students were scholastics of the Society from
nearly every country in Europe.

Still the college, though a great success, was
not yet really founded. It subsisted on chance
alms ; an existence too precarious to last long.
The Sovereign Pontiffs were aware of this, and
now resolved to remedy it. Pius IV., in the
year 1560, commissioned Cardinals Maroni,
Savelli, Hippolito D Este, and Alexander



72 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Farnese to provide for the needs of the college
and to place it on a more solid basis. These
cardinals removed it again to a large deserted
monastery given to them by the Marchioness
of Tolga. Here it remained seven years,
during which time some of the professors
acquired such fame, that cardinals, bishops,
doctors of divinity, and eminent university
men came often to hear them lecture.

But we are not to suppose that the Fathers of
the Society were not more zealous in their
labours for the spiritual than for the literary
education of their students. We have the
following in the words of Ignatius himself:
" The scholars are to be trained to offer up
themselves and their works to God, to attend
mass and be taught the catechism every day,
to hear a sermon on every Sunday and
festival, and to go to confession every month."
Father John Leon began early to establish
sodalities amongst the secular boys, and great
care was taken to ground them in the Christian
virtues, as well as to give them opportunities of
frequenting the Sacraments and to encourage
them to do so. All those sodalities of men and
women, called " The Children of Mary," and
now found in every part of the world, are but



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 73

affiliations of the great sodality named the
" Prima Primaria," first founded in the Roman
College. And this is the reason why the
Father General of the Society of Jesus is the
only person authorised and empowered to give
diplomas of association.

The well - known devotional missionary
church called "Caravita" formed a portion of
the Roman College, and was worked by
fathers residing in it. The scholastics gave
a good deal of their free time to pious works
in the city. They visited the hospitals and
prisons ; they preached short " fervorino "
sermons in the piazzas, and this often with the
purpose of collecting a crowd and bringing it
to a neighbouring church where a mission was
being given, or where that organised catechism
called " il Dotto e 1 Ignorante" was instructing
the faithful in the most attractive and interest
ing manner. During vacation time, they went
on pilgrimages through the country districts
around Rome, catechising the children and
preaching to the people. When, as in the year
1590-91, famine and pestilence devastated
Italy, and Rome suffered most of all, the
Jesuits not only served in all the hospitals, but
established one at their own expense, in which



10



74 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Father Aquaviva, the General of the Society,
tended the sick. The scholastics were not
behind their superiors in zeal : St. Aloysius
with others died of the pestilence, martyrs to
charity.

In the year 1560 the Emperor Ferdinand
sent generous help to Pope Pius IV. for this
college, and in doing so wrote as follows :
"In the preceding years, a large number of
men distinguished for virtue and knowledge
have been sent from its halls not only into my
dominions, but to all parts of the Christian
world, and even to India men who preach
and propagate truth, defend religion, and stir
up the old faith." In the following year, 1561,
Philip II. of Spain forbade money destined
for the Roman College to be sent out of the
country. This was the occasion of at least
one good a letter from Pope Pius IV. to that
monarch, in which His Holiness commends in
words of high praise the Society and its
college : " Amongst all the religious orders,
the Society of Jesus merits the special pro
tection of the Holy See. Though the last of
all to come, and at the ninth hour, to cultivate
the vineyard of the Lord, those laborious
workers have not only plucked out the briars



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 75

and the thorns, but have also enlarged its
borders by propagating" the true faith in new
countries. We have here in this city the first
college of the order, the nursery of all those
others which have been established in Italy,
Germany, and France. From this fruitful
seminary the Apostolic See takes select and
capable ministers, as so many plants full of life
and vigour, to plant them where they are most
needed. They never refuse any labour which
is for the honour and glory of Gocl and the
service of His Church. They go without fear,
wherever they are sent, to countries the most
heretical and infidel, even to the extremities of
India. We owe much to this college, which
has merited well of the Church, continues to
do so, and is so devoted to the service of Our
Lord Jesus Christ and to the Chair of Peter.
But in order that, placed in this city, the citadel
of the Christian religion, it may be useful to
all the faithful, it is not only right that we
should support it, but that all good Christians
likewise should do so. It has need, above all,
of your Majesty s help and protection. We
have therefore wished to make known to you
the very great and opportune fruit which the
whole Church derives from this college."



76 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

This same Pontiff, when recommending the
Fathers of the Society to the King of France,
instances the Roman College as a proof of
what they can do for education. One of its
glories is that it numbered amongst its warmest
friends and most generous benefactors Cardinal
Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, and
nephew of Pope Pius IV. An eminent classical
scholar named Maurice, then well known for
his edition of Sallust, has left on record the
following tribute of praise: "Called last year,
1561, to Rome, I went with great eagerness.
I longed to see with my own eyes, what had
often been the object of my earnest studies,
I was about to tread the very soil upon which
so many illustrious men had dwelt. With great
pleasure, therefore, did I contemplate those
venerable monuments which recall to us the
genius of the artist and the memories and
glories of ancient times. But neither statues
of marble or bronze, nor the prospect of the
Seven Hills, nor the august splendours of the
Capitol, charmed and ravished my soul as did
the grandeur and order of the Roman College.
There, nothing suggests vain delights or fleet
ing interests. There, all is directed towards a
solid and glorious end, the eternal salvation of



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 77

souls. To those undertaking, within its walls,
the pursuit of noble works, neither interest, nor
honours, nor motives of worldly emulation, but
a heavenly recompense is offered ; and this new
ambition, kindled a few years ago by the great
Ignatius of Loyola, will never be extinguished.
It will produce the happiest effects, not only
in the city, but throughout the whole world.
What city, what nation, sincerely attached to
the laws of Jesus Christ, will not appreciate
such an institute, receive it into its bosom, and
use it to instruct youth, to preserve morals, and
to extend the empire of religion ? "

Father Lainez, second General of the
Society, introduced in the year 1564 a public
distribution of prizes as awarded to the more
successful students ; His Eminence Cardinal
Farnese kindly giving him the means of
purchasing the premiums. The grandeur of
the ceremony, and the good effect it had in
exciting emulation and stimulating the spirit of
study, made it so popular, that it soon formed
part of the programme in all the colleges of the
Society. Anyone who ever saw this solemn
yet animated spectacle could not easily forget
it. The splendid Church of St. Ignatius,
filled to overflowing and joyous with the bright



78 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

faces of successful scholars and their happy
parents and friends, the prizes announced and
presented with marvellous quickness and order.
The Roman College, from the beginning-,
and for some thirty years, depended for support,
as we have said, in a very precarious way on
the generosity of benefactors ; eminent amongst
whom were the Sovereign Pontiffs, and
cardinals like St Charles Borromeo, Farnese,
and De Lorraine. This manner of existence,
however, was not satisfactory, nor without its
difficulties and dangers. Hence the fourth
General Congregation of the Society of Jesus,
held in the year 1581, petitioned the reigning
Pontiff, Gregory XIII., to place the college on a
more durable foundation. The Pope at once
consulted Cardinal Matteo Contarelli, who gave
him his mind in the following words: "Holy
Father, you and your predecessors have made
a statue like to that of Nebuchodonosor : the
German College is the head of gold, the
English College the breast of silver, but the
Roman College, the support of the statue and
of these, is the feet of clay. Strengthen this,
therefore, that so much money already usefully
spent may not in the end be practically lost."
His Holiness took the hint. He not only



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 79

ordered the magnificent college, as it is to-day,
to be built at his own cost, but he secured
for it a permanent and sufficient endowment.
Rightly, therefore, Gregory XIII. is held, in
memory and by annual suffrages, as the
founder of the college ; a fine marble statue
of this great and good Pope was placed in the
large entrance hall, and though commonly called
the Roman College, its legal title always was,
and is to this day, " Universitas Gregoriana."

It began, as we have seen, with thirteen
students in the year 1550. In the year 1566
it had one thousand, and the average attendance
between 1581 and 1591 was two thousand.
The German, Irish, English, Scotch, Greek,
Maronite, and Noble Colleges, as well as those
called after their founders, Capranica, Fuccioli,
Mattel, Pamphili, Salviati, and Ghislieri, sent at
one time their pupils to attend the lectures.
Amongst its professors we find the names
of Bellarmine, Suarez, De Lugo, Toletus,
Sacchini, Maffei, Clavius, Mariana, Maldonatus,
Vasquez, A. Lapide, Pallavacini, Kircher,
Pianciani, Manera, Di Pietro, Schrader, Gury,
Liberatore, Kleutgen, and a host of others.
St. Camillus de Lellis, St. Leonard of Port
Maurice, and hundreds of holy and apostolic



So CARDINAL FRANZELIN

men, some of them martyrs, were educated
within its walls, and eight of its students sat in
the Chair of St. Peter. The present illustrious
Pontiff, Leo XIII., was one of its most dis
tinguished scholars " the best in his day,"
according to the words of his fellow-student,
the late Father Edmund O Reilly, S.J. ; and
Father Manera, then rector, has left it on
record that illness alone prevented him from
making a public defence in philosophy, and that
his previous success made it certain that his
defence would have been a brilliant one.

SS. Aloysius and Berchmans died when they
were scholastics, studying in this college. The
rooms in which they lived are now chapels, but
their relics are enshrined under the transept
altars raised to their honour in the Church of
St. Ignatius. The feast of St. Aloysius was
the special feast of college and church, and
was always celebrated with great devotion
and splendour. The most rare and beautiful
flowers were profusely used to decorate his
altar, petitions from every part of the world
were laid upon it, and thousands of the Roman
youths thronged around its rails to receive
Holy Communion. The spacious church was
full at first vespers and at the High Mass ;



THE ROMAN COLLEGE Si

inconveniently so at second vespers, when others
besides devout worshippers crowded in to hear
the " Laudate Pueri" sung by three choirs;
a oreat musical treat and heard on this

o

occasion only. The late Sovereign Pontiff of
holy memory, Pius IX., had a marked devotion
to St. Aloysius, and scarcely ever allowed his
day to pass without showing this in some
remarkable way. On one feast he sent to the
Roman College a most beautiful and valuable
missal ; on another, a golden lily ; on another,
a manuscript written by St. Aloysius when
studying under Vasquez. Another time he
himself came, passed up the church during
second vespers, and spent a quarter of an hour
kneeling before the Saint s altar.

An eye-witness who knew a good deal about
this college in the years 1858-60, writes:
"It was a delightful sight to see, morning
after morning, some twelve hundred students
crowd through its large open doors into the
spacious court. Those of the ecclesiastical
colleges, in their varied and somewhat pictur
esque habits. Priests who had come to Rome
to perfect themselves in the higher studies ;
Church dignitaries and learned men from distant
colleges, who came to hear the more distin-



82 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

guished professors lecture ; boys big and little-
some marched in file from the secular colleges,
some left at the gate by their parents or tutors,
some trooping in groups all bright and happy-
looking, and welcomed by the kindly and
good - humoured Prefect, Father di Pietro.
Everyone was free to come, the poor and lowly
as well as the rich and exalted ; and often the
sons of a noble s servant, retainer, or dependent,
sat on the same bench with those of his master.
Each school and chair had the man best suited
to it ; and many of these were men of world
wide fame in their branch of science, such as
Passaglia, Franzelin, Perrone, Patrizi, Ballerini,
Secchi, Solomani, Tongiorgi Tarquini, and
Armellini."

The Roman College has of course followed
the fate of the Society. After the suppression,
it was restored by Pope Leo XII. It was
closed for a short time in 1848-49, and trans
ferred to the Via del Seminario where it now
is in 1873, when the building erected by the
munificence of Gregory XIII. was seized by
the Italian Government, and utilised since for
the municipal school, no compensation of any
kind having been even offered. At present
the Gregorian University, as it is now called,



THE ROMAN COLLEGE 83

is for the education of priests and religious
only. The English, German, Scotch, French,
Belgian, South American, Lombard, Spanish,
Polish, and Capranica Colleges go to it for
lectures, as well as a number of students
belonging to some small religious congrega
tions. The average attendance is between

o

eight and nine hundred.



CHAPTER V

SCHOLASTICATE IX ROMAN COLLEGE

JOHN BAPTIST arrived in Rome some time
in September 1845, and began at once his
theological studies in the Roman College.
He had for professors Father John Perrone
and Father Charles Passaglia. In his first
year he was appointed to preside over an
academy of the Hebrew language, composed
of students who met once or twice a week
outside lecture-time, to perfect themselves in
this tongue. He also took the place of Father
Patrizi, the professor of Hebrew, when the
latter was incapacitated through illness. He
wrote an analysis of nearly all the words in the
Hebrew version of Scripture, and read that
version freely without the help of points or
signs. The following fact shows the fascination
this language had for him. When recovering
from a very serious illness, the doctor forbade
him all study, and advised him to read some



SCHOLASTICATE AV ROMAN COLLEGE 85

light literature. Found soon after with the
Hebrew Bible open before him. and being
reminded of the doctor s injunction, he good-
humouredly answered, "The doctor has advised
me to read some pleasant book, and I could
find no book more delightful than this."

So quickly did he learn Italian, that he was
sent in his first scholastic year to instruct the
prisoners in one of the jails in Rome. Father
Valerian Cardella, an Italian and fellow- student
who knew him well, tells us : " For a month


Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:29 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4334
New post Re: Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin
or two after his arrival in Rome he used to
be silent in recreation, and listen with great
attention ; but when he began to speak no
one could detect a mistake. I remember the
first words I heard him say in Italian, because
of a certain grace and readiness of reply in
them. Talking about spiritual books, I said.,
* Brother Franzelin. have you in your room
Rodriguez on Religious Perfection ? : : .
answered at once, * Rodriguez, yes but
religious perfection, no !

Father Passaglia used no text or class book,
nor did he dictate. He laid down the thesis
or proposition, and then explained, developed,
and proved it. Hence it was necessary for his
students to take in writing his lectures as best



86 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

they could. John Baptist was so quick of hand
that he was able to do this perfectly, and
his fellow-students generally made use of his
manuscript to supply the hiatus in their own.
He was not only most industrious in lecture
and study time, but also managed to turn
recreation to good account. He often started
some controverted question, generally in history,
which led on to an animated, interesting, and
instructive debate. His opponent was often
Father Paul Bottalla. Wonderful things are
told of his knowledge of history ; not merely
of great events, but of the most minute details
of persons, places, dates, etc. When a young
scholastic, in the College of Lemberg, he took
up the cause of one of the scholars, who was
rather roughly handled by an inspector of
schools for a slip in history, and proved the
boy to be right, and the inspector wrong.

As a large number of extern scholars attended
the Roman College, gatherings, called "circles,"
were established for their advantage. They
met at stated times, to exercise themselves in
the scholastic style of disputation, and to debate
the propositions upon which the professors were
lecturing. Some were named to defend, and
others to object ; and a scholastic of the Society



SCHOLASTICATE IN ROMAN COLLEGE 87

was appointed to preside over these circles.
So great was Franzelin s name, from the very
beginning, that all, particularly the clever
students, tried to belong to that of which he
was president.

He was about to finish his third year of
theology in 1848, the year of revolutions, and a
very disastrous one for Rome. The Sovereign
Pontiff, Pius IX., had given the word early to
the Very Rev. Father Roothaan, General of
the Society, that it would not be safe for his
subjects to remain, at least in their recognised
normal state. This meant, of course, the
breaking-up of the Roman College. The last
lecture was given on the 2Qth of March, and
the following entry is found in John Baptist s
particular examen book : "March 30, Dispersio."
According to the rule and custom of the Society,
its subjects are ordained priests at the end of
their third year s theology. But in those trying
and sad circumstances the Father General dis
pensed with the rule, and gave permission for
all even those of the first year to be ordained.
John Baptist did not wish to avail himself of
this privilege probably for the reasons which
made him intensely dislike, and strongly oppose,
his being afterwards named cardinal namely,



88 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

his great humility, his great love of study, and
his great scrupulosity ; for we may mention
here that he was through his whole life
scrupulous, in the fullest meaning of the word.
It was his great cross. Hence, perhaps, he
did not care to take the dignity and responsi
bility of the priesthood till he could no longer
refuse it.

The 3Oth of March was a day of trial and
affliction to the Roman College, fierce tumult
and cries of " Death to the Jesuits!" outside,
hurry and haste within, anxiety, fear, and
sorrow in every Jesuit heart. They were as
exiles driven away from the country, city, and
college to which they were so attached ; as
children weeping over the sufferings of the
mother they so fondly loved. This, how r ever,
was relieved by some amusing incidents. All
fathers and students were advised to disguise
themselves as best they could in some secular
garb. One old father, remarkable for his
learning and simplicity, got himself up in full
military costume. He had scarcely, however,
put foot on the piazza of the Roman College,
when a gentleman gently whispered in his ear,
" Father, the sword is on the wrong side."
But another incident dissipated for a moment



SCHOLASTICATE IN ROMAN COLLEGE 89

the gloom, and caused many a smile and
pleasant word. A strange figure appeared
enveloped in a large rough cloak with no end
of pockets, and all these stuffed full with books.
This was Franzelin, a small improvised library.
He had a passion for books not to put them
on shelves and look at, but to devour them. If
left to himself, he would dispense with the
ordinary evening walk and read in the library
as long as he had daylight, longer too, only it
was strictly forbidden to bring lamp or candle
into it. He could not keep away from books,
even for the four or five days rest which he
was sometimes obliged to take during the
vacation in the country. He generally brought
with him a large case filled with books,
and bore good-humouredly all the chaffing he
received on this head. Once the question
proposed amongst the scholastics at their villa
was, " How would you define Father Franzelin s
villa?" Someone answered, "Studium in quovis
loco a bibliotheca moraliter di verso." To the
end the library was his favourite resort.

John Baptist s destination was England, and
his travelling companions were Father Patrizi
and Father Pianciani. Father Patrizi had
been professor of Scripture and Hebrew, and



12



QO CARDINAL FRANZELIN

was in some ways very like his young com
panion. He was a scrupulously holy man ;
such a good judge of books and so fond of
them that he was for years librarian of the
Roman College. He read in his room as long
as he had light, and then under one of the large
windows of the corridor. It was said that for
years he never went outside the walls of the
college except to attend a book auction, to visit
his brother, the Cardinal Vicar, and his mother
once a year. His commentaries on portions of
the Sacred Scripture are well known and highly
prized. Father Pianciani was a distinguished
professor in natural science. He was a man
of great simplicity and of a singularly sweet
expression of face, the outcome of his disposi
tion. His scrupulosity in saying mass was
shown in an amusing but edifying way. In
his old age he was sometimes asked to give
the domestic exhortations to the community
in the Roman College. His presence in the
pulpit was his sermon. On one occasion at
least the ruling passion broke out strongly, and
he caused a smile by his ingenious way of
illustrating spiritual truths by the principles
and experiments of natural science.

John Baptist had scarcely got outside the



ENGLAND 91

gates of Rome when two troubles came upon
him. He was kept as a prisoner under guard
for a day, owing to some mistake in his pass
port. This cost him nothing. Secondly, the
case containing all his manuscripts, which were
very voluminous, went astray. About this he
was inconsolable, until, after an anxious and
laborious search of some days, he at last found
it. He, with other scholastics, arrived in
England towards the end of May, and took up
their abode at Ugbrook in Devonshire. This
mansion was given for the time by its owner,
Lord Clifford, who in this and in other ways
proved himself a kind friend and benefactor
to the Society. Here he and others finished
the scholastic year under the direction and
teaching of Father Patrizi and Father Passaglia.
Father Franzelin used to tell a little incident of
his stay here. Father Passaglia was a large
portly man of strong voice, and somewhat
declamatory in his manner of lecturing. An
old gardener, who had care of the flower-beds
under the windows of the class-room, said one
day to a passer-by, "These young men appear
to be quiet, well-conducted fellows, and I cannot
make out why the big schoolmaster is always
scolding them." He remained about six



92 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

months in England. At the end of this time
Father Passaglia got permission from the Very
Reverend Father General to go to Louvain and
take withhim his two cleverest favourite students,
Franzelin and Schrader. The latter became
a well-known and distinguished professor of
theology in Rome and Vienna, worked with
Father Passaglia in bringing out a new edition
of Petavius a labour begun but never com
pleted was one of the papal theologians of
the Vatican Council, and has left us a few
theological treatises of eminent merit. It was
intended that both these young men should
prepare for what is commonly called a "grand
act," which is a defence against all comers of
propositions taken from the whole course of
theology. This, however, Father Franzelin
was unable to undertake, on account of the
delicate state of his health.

His stay in Louvain was short, for we find
him in Vals early in 1849, teaching Scripture
and Hebrew in the Scholasticate of the Society.
Towards the end of this year he was ordained
priest in Le Puy by the Most Reverend
Augustine cle Morthon, Bishop of the diocese,
having completed his thirty-third year.

The name of Father Passaelia has been



FATHER PAS SAG LI A 93

mentioned more than once. He was the
professor who had most to do with the theo
logical formation of Father Franzelin, and held
him in great esteem, as the cleverest and most
industrious of his students. It was said he
used to call him "his eagle." One cannot
think or speak of Father Passaglia without a
feeling of great regret, tenderness, and charity.
He entered the Society when little more than
a child, and a child in some sense he remained
to the end. He became, if not one of the
greatest, certainly one of the most brilliant
lecturers in theology the Society ever had.
The learned flocked to hear him, and men like
Newman took counsel with him. He had
much, if not most, to do in the laborious work
connected with the definition of the Immacu
late Conception ; and the lessons of the second
nocturn, read through the octave of the Feast,
are taken from the bull composed by him. He
afterwards left the Society, having obtained
the necessary papal dispensation ; lectured for
a few years, first in the Roman University
and then in the Royal University of Turin,
and then disappeared from the thoughts and
ways of men ; so much so, that he, who was
for years the best known and most sought



94 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

man in Rome, was found only after days of
inquiry and search in Turin, by an eminent
and distinguished prelate, who formerly sat at
his feet. It is comforting to write that he was
perfectly reconciled to God and His Church
before he died. During his last illness he was
attended by the parish priest of the district
in which he lived, received the Holy Viaticum
with the greatest fervour, shedding tears, and
praying to God in a most edifying manner, and
Cardinal Alimonda, then Archbishop of Turin,
visited and gave him his blessing more than
once. May we not think that this great grace
was granted to him through the omnipotent
prayer of the great Mother of God, whom in
his lectures and writings he had glorified, and
that in him was fulfilled that inspired word
which the Church in office and mass applies
to Her : " They who explain me shall have life
everlasting " ?



CHAPTER VI

PROFESSOR

IN the year 1850, even before Pius IX. had
returned to Rome from Gaeta, the Roman
College was again opened, and Father Franzelin
was placed on its staff. He was given as
assistant to Father Perrone, presided in his
place at the circles of the scholastics and also
at the Theological Academy of the extern
students. He also lectured on the Arabic,
Chaldean, and Syriac languages, and was
named to take the place of any professor who
might be unable to teach from sickness, or some
other cause. The giving of such position and
work to a man so young, was evidence that his
superiors believed he had succeeded, up to the
present, in the two purposes of his life, holiness
founded in true humility,and learning acquired
by great industry.

In the year after, 1851, he made what is
called " Third Probation," a year of second

95



9 6 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

novitiate, during which the Institute of the
Society is studied, and preparation made for
the taking of the last vows. On the 2nd of
February 1853, Father Franzelin made his
solemn profession in the Church of the Gesu, at
the altar of St. Ignatius, in the presence of the
Very Rev. Father Roothaan, General of the
Society. Immediately after, he was placed in
the German College, where he remained till the
year 1857.

The German College, called by Cardinal
Matteo Contarelli " the golden head of the
statue," was founded by St. Ignatius. He saw
that Germany was in imminent danger of losing
the Faith, and of being separated from the
Chair of Peter. Hence he sent early into
that country his best men. Fathers Faber,
Bobadilla, and Le Jay did good service there,
and the Blessed Canisius w r on, by his zealous
labours, the title of "Apostle. of Germany."
But Ignatius had his heart set on a greater
work than could be done by a few apostolic
men who should soon pass away ; he desired
to establish a College of Apostles, which as a
moral body would not die ; in which young
men, themselves Germans, would first be care
fully educated in holiness and knowledge, and



GERMAN COLLEGE 97

then return to their own country, to combat
error, and to sanctify and save its people, by
the example of their lives, the soundness of
their teaching, and the zealous discharge of
their sacred duties. He had, it is true,- no
human means to give effect to his desire ; yet
he not only did not despair on this account, but
trusted the more in God. And God gave him
a good friend in Cardinal Moroni, who himself,
as Apostolic Delegate, had seen the sad state of
the country beyond the Rhine. His Eminence
heartily approved of Ignatius s design, as did
also Cardinal Marcellus Cervini. Both brought
the matter before Pope Julius III., and begged
of His Holiness to favour so useful and
meritorious a project. " But," answered the
Pontiff, "where are the means ? The work is
a heavy one ; the exchequer is empty ; we are
in debt : what I could give would not lay the
foundations." " Be it so," boldly answered
Cardinal Moroni. "The cardinals will do the
rest. Let your Holiness set the example, we
shall not lag behind. Make some sacrifice to
save Germany, and we princes of the Church,
as in duty bound, will walk in the footsteps of
our Chief." Cervini seconded the words of
Moroni, and the Pope bade them consult their
13



98 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

brother cardinals, who all, when spoken to,
declared in favour of Ignatius s design. A
Consistory was soon held, and Julius III., who
presided, drew attention to the critical state of
Germany, and invited them all to speak their
minds freely as to the best thing to be done in
the circumstances. The first cardinal who spoke,
fired with a spirit of chivalry, advocated a new
crusade, and appealed to the memories of
the kings and princes who had taken part in
those of old. " It is no longer," he said, "the
sepulchre of Christ which is profaned, but His
kingdom ; and that which Catholic Europe did
for the rescue of that Holy Place, will it not
now do for the triumph of its Faith ? "

But the ages of faith had passed away, and
with them chivalry, so this proposal was not
judged practicable. Cardinal Moroni then ex
plained the plan as arranged by himself and
Ignatius. Cardinal Cervini gave to it his
powerful support, and the thirty-three cardinals
who composed the Consistory declared with
one voice that a college, according to the
mind of Ignatius, was the only thing practicable
and likely to be useful. Julius III. then de
scended from his throne and wrote : " For a
work so holy, pious, and praiseworthy, w r e will



GERMAN COLLEGE 99

give five hundred golden crowns a year." The
cardinals at once followed, each putting down
his name for a certain sum. Cardinal de
Lorraine gave the highest, two hundred and
fifty, Cardinal Pole one hundred. The total
sum would at that time be equal to about
twelve thousand pounds of our money. Julius
III. published a bull, " Dum sollicita considera-
tionis indagine perscrutamur," by which he
founded the college and gave it many privileges.

Ignatius lost no time in finding scholars.
He wrote at once to persons of influence
in Vienna and Cologne in whom he had con
fidence, asking them to select fit subjects and
send them to him. In October 1552 he had
eighteen, and in the following year fifty-four.
There is a letter of St. Ignatius to Cardinal
Pole extant, in which he offers to receive " at
Rome or in the German College " young men
from England and Ireland; adding, "We shall
take care to have them well educated, that
when they return home they may be able by
word and example to save others."

The work prospered. The Duke of Bavaria
sent his own secretary to Rome to found another
such college for his subjects, and the Emperor
Ferdinand had young men of promise selected



ioo CARDINAL FRANZELIN

out of the students attending the Universities
of Prague and Ingolstadt, and sent them at
his own expense. to the German College. The
heretics became furious, and Kemnitz expressed
their rage when he said : " Nothing more
can be done by Ignatius. Not content with
assailing us through strangers, he now sends
against us our own countrymen."

But trials of a severe kind soon came. On
the death of Julius III., three years after he
had founded this college, Rome suffered so
much from war and famine, that its resources
failed, and its friends were unable to give help.
Temporal difficulties became so great, that
Ignatius had to place the students in the houses
of the Society, and his great friend, Otho
Truschez, Cardinal of Augsburg, and others,
advised him to close the college. But worse,
the heretics in the Rhenish Provinces took
occasion, from this state of affairs, to spread
false and scandalous reports, namely, that the
students were dying of hunger, and were treated
with great severity. But St. Ignatius was
equal to the occasion ; he was full of hope and
courage when even his friends were without
either. He commanded Father Canisius to
deny and disprove the charges of the heretics,



GERMAN COLLEGE 101

and to his friends he used to say : " If this work
be despaired of by others, I myself alone
will take care of it, and if I cannot succeed by
ordinary means, I will sell myself rather than
send my Germans away." More than once
he said: U A Sovereign Pontiff will yet found
this college with a munificence worthy of the
Head of the Church, and make it secure for
ever."

St. Ignatius died when the college was in
these difficulties. But Father Lainez, who
succeeded him as General of the Society,
inherited his father s views with reference to it,
and under his fostering care things began by
degrees to brighten. Pius IV. befriended it ;
he gave a home, for some time, to its scattered
students in the Roman Seminary which he
had established, and also generous aid in other
substantial ways. But the Pontiff who fulfilled
the prophecy of Ignatius was Gregory XIII.,
founder of the Roman College, who was
elected Pope in 1572. He sent legates to the
Emperor and all the Catholic kings and
princes, in order to interest them in a college
to which all the German States were so much
indebted. By two bulls, one published in 1573,
the other in 1574, he endowed it with property



102 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

and an annual income of thirteen hundred golden
crowns. He made it free of all taxes, gave it
a Cardinal Protector, and purchased a villa
where the students might spend their vacation ;
a munificence truly worthy of a Sovereign
Pontiff and the Head of the Church. In
1580 he incorporated with it the Hungarian
College, which he had founded three years
before ; and from that time to the present, its
title is " Collegio Germanico Hungarico." The
rules and constitutions of this college had been
written by Ignatius, and were afterwards
approved by Gregory XIII. And it was so
perfectly organised and administered in the
first years of its existence, that the Council of
Trent, at the suggestion of Cardinal Moroni,
Papal Legate, kept many of its rules in mind
when drawing up the Decree on Diocesan
Seminaries.

The college was a success from the begin
ning. Within twenty years from its foundation
by Ignatius, years of trial and suffering it
sent forth one hundred and sixty priests.
These, and the hundreds who followed them,
made their mark for good everywhere in
Germany, by their apostolic lives, their learning,
their sacred ministrations, their reverent care



GERMAN COLLEGE 103

of rubric, and their self-sacrificing zeal. At
the close of the eighteenth century, it had given
to the Church one Pope, twenty-four cardinals,
twenty-one archbishops, two hundred and
twenty-one bishops, ten martyrs for the Faith,
and eleven martyrs of Charity.

This college is doinof its work to-day as then.

o o J

Although the sole purpose of the college is to
educate secular priests for the German dioceses,
it has always been under the care of the
Society, and its students come for lectures to
the Gregorian University. They are well
known in Rome, being remarkable because of
their bright red dress, given to them by
Ignatius and Pope Gregory, as a constant
reminder, it is said, that they should be ready
to shed their blood for the Faith, and that
some of them would be probably called on to
do so.

In this college Father Franzelin lived for
nearly five years. He was Prefect of Studies
and " Repetitore " in theology. This last meant
presiding at the circles or disputations, listening
to and answering any difficulties or objections
the students might bring to him not an easy
position for one who had to deal with scholars
remarkable for their talents and spirit of study.



104 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

He continued, however, to lecture in the Roman
College on the Eastern languages, and for a
short time on Holy Scripture. He was also
one of the university examiners, and for three
years confessor of the students.

This last circumstance sets aside a statement
which has been made, that he never heard a
confession in his life, and was not suited to such
work because of his great scrupulosity, which,
however, he never showed when lecturing. It
was his cross, permitted by God in His pro
vidence which is often wisest when strangest
in order perhaps to keep him humble and
to give him great merit through great suffer
ing. It has been said by some that the five
years in the German College were the most
fruitful in after results of Father Franzelin s
life. He had to keep himself perfectly ac
quainted with the matter upon which Fathers
Perrone and Passaglia were lecturing, that he
might preside with authority and power at the
circles or disputations of the students, and be
able to rightly answer all their questions and
difficulties. It was during those years also
that he acquired in great part that full and
accurate knowledge of the Fathers and Doctors
of the Church in which few, if any, excelled him.



CHAPTER VII

PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY

IN the year 1857-58 he was named to succeed
Father Perrone in the Chair of Dogmatic
Theology in the Roman Colleges, a position
which he held for nineteen years. He lectured
for an hour to the second each school day,
and never put a question to one of his students
or was asked one by them. Father Canestrelli,
who succeeded him as professor, tells us that
Father Franzelin " had all the scholastic
theologians at his finger ends." He also
treated the purely scholastic questions with
care and with great reverence for St. Thomas.
But as a lecturer he was eminently scriptural
and patristic. His great dominant object-
never for a moment lost sight of was to give
his scholars the fullest, clearest, and most
accurate knowledge of the dogmas of the
Church, and to prove them from Scripture and
the unbroken divine tradition manifested in the
14



To6 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

decrees of her Councils and in writings of the
Doctors and Fathers in union with her. His
manner of teaching in his first years as pro
fessor is described as follows by one who sat
at his feet and heard him lecture on Scripture,
Tradition, and the Incarnation. He had no
text, class-book, or lithographed matter. He
dictated slowly and distinctly for the first
quarter, and lectured for the rest of the hour.
In his dictate he laid clown the proposition or
thesis, gave the heads of proofs, and mere
references to authorities. This might be called
a skeleton proof, or be likened to the outline of
an edifice. He then lectured till he made it
a beautiful and perfect form, in which you could
detect neither want nor flaw. He scarcely
ever proposed, formally at least, an objection ;
this was not necessary, as any of his students,
having the proof thoroughly grasped, could
answer every objection which could be brought
against it.

The present illustrious Pontiff, Leo XIII.,
in his Encyclical on Holy Scripture writes :
" Most desirable is it and most essential that
the whole teaching of theology should be
pervaded and animated by the use of the
Divine Word of God. This is what the Fathers



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 107

and the greatest theologians of all ages have
desired and reduced to practice." Such was
the mind also of Father Franzelin. His treat
ment of Scripture proofs was learned and
exhaustive, as well as attractive. He explained
clearly the harmony, the continuity of the
sacred books, the types, figures, and prophecies
of the old law, realised and fulfilled in the new,
whilst he most carefully prepared his scholars
to meet difficulties arising from different read
ings, different interpretations by the Fathers,
and the perversion of sense by heretics.

But his manner of equipping them to grapple
with difficulties taken from the early Fathers
was simply perfection in its way. He explained
the system or school of philosophy to which
they were addicted a few of them before they
became Christians, any terminology arising out
of this and special to them, the heresies and
phases of heresy which they combated, etc.
He showed by numerous examples, and with
great impressiveness, that the key to most of
the difficulties was to be found either in a
misunderstanding or a misrepresentation of
some terms of theirs which were capable of
another meaning different from that in which
they used them ; or in the fact that when



loS CARDINAL FRANZELIN

earnestly, perhaps too earnestly, upholding one
dogma, they had no thought of denying or
questioning another of which they were not
even thinking, and which they had no suspicion
would ever be assailed, and if they had, they
would have spoken and written with greater
caution. Hence, in lecturing on divine
tradition and the manner of interpreting the
Fathers, he threw great light on the most
difficult objections brought from their writings
against the Trinity, the Divinity of our Lord,
and the Nature of Christ. Father Joseph
Kleutgen, S.J., no mean authority, has left it
on record that he never proposed a difficulty
in philosophy, theology, or Scripture to
Father Franzelin without getting a perfectly
satisfactory answer.

His lectures were most carefully prepared,
and delivered without any use, or apparent use,
of notes. They were models of clearness, order,
and logical sequence, and easily understood by
all who gave them full and studied attention.
His Latin was said by those capable of judging
to be the best scholastic Latin. He never
spoke a useless nor left out a useful word.
Hence, to lose a word was to lose something-
more. But if a word were lost, it was not his



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 109

fault, for he spoke with great distinctness, in
a clear, strong, well - sustained tone of voice,
always bringing out the last syllable of the
word and the last words of the sentence with
marked emphasis ; so much so, that he could
be easily and well heard by those sitting in the
remotest corner of the large hall. He had only
one gesture. When he became, not impassioned,
but very near it, he would grasp the outer edge
of the pulpit with the left hand, and, leaning
forward, stretch out to full length the right hand
and arm.

We cannot omit noticing certain effects of
his lectures, the result not so much of his great
learning as of his great holiness. At times,
when lecturing on the Blessed Sacrament, its
effects in the souls of men, the teaching of the
Church on devotion to the Sacred Heart, the
Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity
of the Mother of God, the tender piety of his
soul flashed out despite himself, and touched
others. I say despite himself, for in the chair
he was the theologian and nothing else, nor
did he ever go out of his way to introduce mere
spiritual or pious allusions. It was again and
again remarked by his scholars, that he not only
satisfied their intellects, but often moved their



i io CARDINAL FRANZELIN

hearts. They came away from his lectures on
the Incarnation not merely with an indescrib
able admiration of our Lord, but with a new
and strange feeling of affection and love for
Him, which they never experienced from
hearing the best preachers or reading the best
spiritual writers on this subject. This was
perhaps something more than the outcome of
great learning and great holiness ; it may have
been the effect of a special grace or unction
given by God to one who from his earliest days
laboured with constant devotion to prepare
himself for whatever work God would give him
to do, who loved God s work with all his heart,
and did it with all his might.

In this he preaches by example to all a great
and important truth. We should never forget
that we are servants of God, in the strictest
meaning of the word, and nothing more ;
servants sent by Him into this world to do His
will and His work, at all times and in all things,
as settled by Him ; and that real success de
pends upon always keeping ourselves in this
relation with God and winning from Him the
great reward promised to the "good and faith
ful servant" This is the teaching of our Lord
the teaching of St. Ignatius in the First



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY in

Meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, and well
put by Cardinal Newman in his sermon entitled
" The Will of God the End of Life." " Why am
I here ? How came I here ? What am I to do
here ? Everyone who breathes, high and low,
educated and ignorant, young and old, man and
woman, has a mission, has a work. We are
not sent into this world for nothing ; we are
not born at random ; we are not here that we
may go to bed at night and get up in the morn
ing, toil for our bread, eat and drink and
laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind and
reform when we are tired of sinning, and die.
God sees every one of us, He creates every
soul, He lodges it in the body one by one for
a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need every
one of us, He has an end for each of us, we are
all equal in His sight, and we are all placed in
our different rank and stations, not to get what
we can out of them for ourselves, but to labour
in them for Him. As Christ had His work,
we too have ours ; as He rejoiced in His work,
we must rejoice in ours." The servant who
has no wish but the will of the Great Master,
who prays constantly for grace to do it, and then
uses the ordinary means given him, must be a
success. God could not allow such a man to



112 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

make a real mistake, hurtful to his own soul or
the souls of others.

Father Franzelin was not a professor of
rhetoric or of sacred eloquence, and yet it is
not too much to say that, without intending, he
did much towards forming efficient and effective
preachers. He inspired his scholars with
admiration and love of Holy Scripture, of the
Church, the " Divinum Organum," as he liked
to call her, and of the Fathers ; and by his
perfect way of treating these subjects, he taught
them also how to do so. As proof of this, we
may mention that he received countless letters
from priests working in every part of the world
letters which tried his humility, for they were
full of gratitude to him for all he had done for
them. They told him that as preachers they
utilised most his lectures and published works,
that in countries where heresy was rife they
found nothing better than a thesis as explained
by him popularised and accommodated to their
audience. One of the most distinguished
Italian preachers of his day, Father Vincent
Stocchi, having studied his treatise on the In
carnation, wrote to thank him, saying, " You
have taught me how to speak of our Lord."

Is there anything a preacher may wish to



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 113

say to his flock which he will not find better
said and with greater power by God, by the
Church, or by the Fathers, than he could
possibly say it ? It would be well for all who
are charged with the important duty and grave
responsibility of preaching to others, or who are
being educated for this work, to study and take
to heart the most wise advice given by the
highest authority on earth, Pope Leo XIII.
in his Encyclical Letter on Holy Scripture. His
Holiness writes: " All Scripture inspired of
God is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct,
to instruct in justice, that the man of God may
be perfect, furnished to every good work.
That such was the purpose of God in giving
the Scripture to men, is shown by the example
of Christ our Lord and His apostles. For He
Himself who obtained authority from miracles,
merited belief by authority, and by belief drew
the multitude to Himself, was accustomed in
the exercise of His mission to appeal to the
Scriptures. At the close of His life His
utterances are from Holy Scripture, and it is
the Scripture He expounds to His disciples
after His resurrection until He ascends to the
glory of His Father. Faithful to His precepts,
the apostles, although He Himself granted



ii4 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

signs and wonders to be done by their hands,
nevertheless used with the greatest effect the
sacred writings. This is plainly seen in their
discourses, especially those of St. Peter, which
were often little more than a series of cita
tions from the Old Testament making in the
strongest manner for the new dispensation.

" Let all, therefore, especially those under
training for the ecclesiastical army, under
stand how deeply the sacred books should be
esteemed, and with what eagerness and rever
ence they should approach this great arsenal
of heavenly arms. They whose duty it is to
handle Catholic doctrine before the learned or
the unlearned, will nowhere find more ample
matter or more abundant exhortation about
God or the works which display His glory and
His love. Nowhere is there anything more
full or more express on the subject of the
Saviour of the world than is to be found in
the whole range of the Bible. As St. Jerome
says, To be ignorant of the Scripture is not
to know Christ. And as to the Church, her
nature, her office, her gifts, we find in Holy
Scripture so many references, and so many
ready and convincing arguments, that, as St.
Jerome again most truly says, A man who



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 115

is well grounded in the testimonies of the
Scripture is the bulwark of the Church. It
is the peculiar and singular power of Holy
Scripture, arising from the inspiration of the
Holy Ghost, which gives authority to the
sacred orator, fills him with apostolic liberty of
speech, and communicates force and power to
his eloquence. For those who infuse into their
efforts the spirit and strength of the Word of
God, speak not in word only, but in power also,
and in the Holy Ghost and in much fulness.
Hence those preachers are foolish and im
provident, who, in speaking of religion and
proclaiming the things of God, use no words
but those of human science and human prudence,
trusting to their own reasonings rather than
to those of God. Their discourses may be
brilliant, but they must be feeble, they must
be cold, for they are without the fire of the
utterances of God, and they must fall far short
of that mighty power which the speech of God
possesses ; for the word of God is living and
effectual and more piercing than any two-edged
sword, and reaching unto the division of the
soul and the spirit. All those who have a
right to speak are agreed that there is in the
Holy Scriptures an eloquence that is wonder-



ii6 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

fully varied and rich and worthy of great
themes. This St. Augustine thoroughly under
stood and has abundantly set forth. This is con
firmed also by the best preachers of all ages, who
have gratefully acknowledged that they owed
their repute chiefly to the assiduous use of the
Bible and to devout meditation on its pages.
The holy Fathers well knew all this by practical
experience, and they never cease to extol the
Sacred Scripture and its fruits. They apply to
it such phrases as an inexhaustible treasury
of heavenly doctrine, ( an overflowing fountain
of salvation, or, putting it before us as fertile
pastures and beautiful gardens, in which the
flock of the Lord is marvellously refreshed and
delighted. Often read the Divine Scriptures,
writes St. Jerome to Nepotian ; yea, let
holy reading be always in thy hand ; study
that which thou thyself must preach. Let
the speech of the priest be ever seasoned
with scriptural reading/ Those, writes St.
Gregory the Great, * who are zealous in the
work of preaching must never cease the study
of the written Word of God. St. Augustine,
however, warns us that vainly does the
preacher utter it exteriorly unless he listens to
it interiorly ; and St. Gregory instructs sacred



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 117

orators first to find in Holy Scripture the
knowledge of themselves, and then to carry it
to others, lest in reproving others they forget
themselves ; and St. Chrysostom, speaking of
the duties of priests, says, We must use our
every endeavour that the Word of God may
dwell in us abundantly. Admonitions such
as these had indeed been uttered long before
by the apostolic voice which had learned its
lesson from Christ Himself, who began to do
and to teach. It was not to Timothy alone,
but to the whole order of the clergy, that the
command was addressed, Take heed to thyself
and to doctrine, be earnest in them, for in doing
this thou shalt both save thyself and them that
hear thee. For the saving and for the perfec
tion of ourselves and others there is at hand the
very best help in the Holy Scriptures."

These are words full of wisdom spoken to us
all by the Supreme Pastor ; words not to be
cursorily read, but to be studied reverently and
made practical by all who have taken upon
themselves the most sacred and responsible duty
of feeding the flock of Christ with the Word
of life, that they may honour and respect it first
in their own lives, and then in their manner
of preparing and administering it to others.



uS CARDINAL FRANZ ELI N

It is not easy, without seeming exaggeration,
to write of the admiration Father Franzelin s
scholars had for him even as early as 1860; an
admiration which went on increasing to the
end. His well-known reputation for great
holiness, learning, industry, and devotion to his
work, alone commanded it. For he was by
nature and habit a retiring, silent, solitary sort
of man ; he never paid compliments, nor gave
words of praise, nor had he any of that easy
familiarity, brightness of manner, or humour,
which go far to make a man popular. More
over, a certain nervousness, aggravated by
constitutional delicacy and great scrupulosity,
caused him to suffer much from temptations
to impatience and irritability which sometimes
broke out in severity of word and manner.
Being also a man of transparent truthfulness,
and devoid of human respect, he sometimes
spoke out what he thought and believed on the
moment ; and this fault, if fault it be, brought
upon him, to his humiliation, on one or two
occasions, as we shall see hereafter, a gentle
reprimand from the Pope himself.

These faults showed themselves seldom, and
mostly when presiding at the circles or disputa
tions of the scholastics of the Society. To



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 119

find the cause of this we have not to go far.
Theology was his passion, and he had a great
horror of vagueness or inaccuracy in this science.
Besides, he explained every point so fully and
so clearly, that he expected perhaps too much
from his scholars, and could not patiently bear
the slips and mistakes made by them. He
was also so keenly, so scrupulously alive to his
responsibility as professor, that he believed that
neither he himself nor any one else ought to be
spared in order to prevent any of them becoming
bad theologians. His impatience was, in part at
least, the overflow of zeal. It must, however, be
said that his exertions to conquer and crush
this temptation were constant, and often visible
in certain painful-looking motions of head and
lips.

A little scene described by an eye-witness
will illustrate what has just been said. " Once,
in a circle or disputation, Father Franzelin
presiding, the scholastic appointed to object
gave an objection in form. The scholastic named
to defend asked to have it repeated. This being
done, he, in place of taking it up and answering
it, rather pertly corrected a false quantity which
the objector had made. There was an awful
stillness, for all became conscious that a storm



120 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

was brewing, from the efforts which we saw
Father Franzelin making to restrain himself,
to keep patient. But it was too much, and he
gave way ; saying in the most incisive and
severest manner, "A good objection and
most clearly proposed, but you do not know
how to answer it, and let me tell you that you
are here to learn theology, and not to air your
classics." It was an outburst not only of
impatience, but of zeal and charity as well, by
which he wished to correct the pertness of the
one and to cover the confusion of the other.

For all this, his scholars did not love him the
less. His learned lectures won their admira
tion, his whole-hearted devotion to his work
and to themselves won their affection ; whilst
they were not only most considerate but
sympathetic with him because of that nervous
ness and scrupulosity which were the cross of
his life, and, in great measure, the cause of his
only fault.

Cardinal Newman, in his historical sketches
of the Saints and Fathers of the first ages of the
Church, does not conceal or gloss over their
faults. And by thus giving prominence to the
human element kept under, subdued, or atoned
for by the supernatural, he makes them the



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 121

more to be admired, loved, imitated. St.
Gregory Nazianzen " was deficient in self-
control, and was harassed even in his old age
by irritability." St. Cyril and the blessed
Theodoret " could be violent and allow them
selves to be carried away by private, party, or
national feeling, etc." And yet, reasons the
great Cardinal, "such faults were not incon
sistent with great and heroic virtues which
they had, and these virtues, together with
contrition for their failings, were efficacious in
blotting out their guilt and remitting them from
their penal consequences. Such temptations
and infirmities in no way interfered with their
being Saints, and since they do not, it is con
solatory to our weak hearts and feeble wills
to find that, being what we are, we nevertheless
may be in God s favour. We find in the lives
of the Saints that, though they have already
turned to God and begun that course of
obedience and sacrifice in which they persevere,
still for a time, nay, for a considerable time,
they have many serious defects and faults.
Their lingering imperfections surely make us
love them the more, without leading us to rever
ence them the less, and act as a relief to the
discouragement and despondency which may

16



122 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

come over those who in the midst of much error
and sin are striving to imitate them."

It is very consoling to think that men may
have faults and yet be the friends of God and
on the road to saintship. Still more consoling
to think that many became Saints by patiently
and constantly watching, fighting, and over
coming themselves in those things in which they
were faulty, and this, not without many a
humiliating slip or fall. " The life of man is a
continual warfare," is the word of God, and St.
Austin emphasises this word when he says,
" The life of a just man is not a triumph, but
a combat." We cannot free ourselves of this
strife ; for the source and cause of it is within
us, in our very nature, with its strong repugnance
to good and its strong inclination to evil. We
must have temptations, but never above our
strength, and God is always with us, if we allow
Him, in order to give us victory. St. Jerome
tells us that we are not to watch and pray that
we may not have temptations, for this would be
to ask an impossibility, but that we may not
enter into, that is, allow ourselves to be over
come by them. There is not a venial sin in a
million of mere temptations, and if we only treat
them as we know how and ought, to the end,



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 123

we must increase in holiness and win eternal
life by means of them.

A poor wayfarer in this vale of tears often
gives as a reason for not doing the right thing,
" I am not a Saint." No more were the Saints
Saints, when they were similarly placed. They
were watching and praying and fighting to
become Saints, as we all are bound to do. The
difference between the good and the bad is,
that the former, in great fear of themselves,
and with great trust in God, use the means to
conquer all enemies within and without, never
yielding, never giving quarter ; or if they fall,
up in arms again, more fearful of themselves
and more trustful in God, and so on to the end ;
sure to win the conqueror s crown. The latter
either deliver themselves into the hands of their
enemies, or fight them in a weak, cowardly, off
and on way ; the natural result of which is that
they become the slaves of sin and of him " who
hath the power of death, the devil," with the
awful eternal consequences of such slavery.
The teaching of God on temptations, if care
fully studied, is well calculated to give us
patience, courage, and comfort in the warfare of
life ; a teaching which is embodied in what St.
Paul tells us of himself. He was harassed by a



124 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

temptation, about the nature of which there
can scarcely be a doubt, and this, when he
was overflowing with love of Jesus Christ,
and labouring and suffering more than all the
other apostles for His honour and glory so
harassed, that he prayed to God with his
whole heart to take it away from him. But
God refused to do so, saying that His grace
w r as sufficient for him, and by using it against
the temptation, the power of Christ would be
manifested in the victories he would gain and
in the holiness he would acquire. God would
not have said to each of us, " Count it all joy
when you shall fall into clivers temptations,"
if great good could not be gained by means of
them. He also tells us the good when He says :
"Blessed is the man that suffers temptations,
for when he shall be proved, he shall receive
the crown of life." "To him that overcometh
I will give to eat of the tree of life which is in
the paradise of My God." Father Franzelin
was subject to strong temptations of impatience
and irritability, but this " made his scholars
love him the more without leading them to
reverence him the less " ; they knew the cause
of them, they saw the constant and generally
successful efforts he made to conquer them, and



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 125

believed in his great holiness tested and

o

increased by occasion of them.

After a few years, Father Franzelin began
to lithograph his lectures, refining and perfect
ing them year after year. In 1868 he published
his first book, that on " Divine Tradition and
Scripture," the last, published after his death,
being an unfinished treatise on the Church.
For his first five years in the Roman College
he was left undisturbed to his work of profess
ing theology, but after this he was named
Consultor to three congregations, and also one
of the Papal Theologians and member of a com
mission formed with a view to the approaching
General Council. These and numerous other
matters, upon which his advice was privately
asked, made his nineteen years in the Roman
College years of great labour. We know
from those memoranda written by Father
Franzelin during his novitiate notes which,
he believed, would never see the light or be
read by others the high standard of religious
life he set before himself and determined to
make his own. " To become a true Jesuit,"
first, by the exact observance of rule and
discipline ; and secondly, by grounding himself
deeply and solidly in those virtues in which



126 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

every religious should strive to be eminent.
Amongst these he places before all others
"vera humilitas " and " caeca obedientia,"
"true humility" and "blind obedience,"
adding, "Judicium proprium est daemonium
voluntarium, errorum seminarium et haeresum
scaturigo." " Selfwill is a wilful demon, the
hot-bed of errors and heresies." " Never to hide
my defects from those who ought to know them ;
never to appear otherwise than I really am ; if
anything should happen to my shame or dis
grace, to conquer myself, and not to show signs
of depression ; this would be a thing clearly
childish, and I was not created or called to the
Society for this, but to give glory to God,
which is given more by humility than by
knowledge and personal distinction ; it appears
to me more desirable to be humbled with Christ
than to gain all honours." "God certainly
wishes that nothing should be wanting on my
part in using the means necessary for ground
ing myself in these virtues." He then mentions
those means and resolves to be faithful to them :
"Continued recollection, constant prayer and
mortification, unremitting custody of himself,
never to receive the sacraments tepidly or
without due and careful preparation, in tempta-



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 127

tion to have recourse at once to Jesus, Mary,
and Joseph, diffidence in himself and trust in
God."

We have testimony given by all his superiors
as to the unwavering and unflagging zeal with
which he kept himself true to his early resolu
tions ; but the best way perhaps to learn this is
to consider what sort of a man he w r as, thirty
years after he had made them, towards the
close of his life in the Roman College.


Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:33 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4334
New post Re: Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin
A religious like Father Franzelin, so con
firmed in virtue and so weighted with work,
might, one would think, be fairly and safely left
a good deal to himself. But he would not
allow this, nor seek excuse nor reason for any
dispensation. His superiors, and those who
lived with him for years in the Roman College,
testify that he was never seen to violate a rule,
was never absent from or late for a community
duty or custom.

His favourite amusement, before real study
began, was to read the Holy Scriptures in
Hebrew. He admired most the book of
Isaias, " so beautiful and sublime," as he
said, "from even a literary point of view."
He also read Tacitus with peculiar delight.
As he was always constitutionally delicate, his



128 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

rector appointed a father to steal him away
from the library, or from study, for a short
evening walk. The father generally found
him buried in his books, but on the moment he
left them and went with him. This may seem
to some a very small thing, of little moment
and of less merit. Not so, if we bear in mind
that Father Franzelin loved books and study
much more than the evening walk ; that he-
often could have given reasons which appeared,
to himself at least, good, for not doing what he
disliked, and that he was naturally impatient.
Great must have been the merit of those every
day acts of prompt obedience, since in this
important factor of holiness, mortification, God
rewards such acts not because of what they are
in themselves, but because of what it costs us to
overcome ourselves in doing them for love of
Him. To keep back a word, to conquer a
temptation to impatience, to give up some
innocent enjoyment which we like, or to do
some little act for another which we dislike,
may have greater merit than a fast, a
discipline, or an hour s prayer, simply because
they cost us more.

In the matter of exterior or corporal morti
fication, he would, if not restrained, have been



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 129

guilty of excess. In Lent, and on fast days,
his collation, when left to himself, was a mouth
ful of bread and half a glass of wine. His love
of poverty, according to his vow, was most
edifying throughout all his religious life, even,
as we shall see afterwards, when he was
Cardinal. He showed this, and also his per
fect obedience, by his most careful and strict
observance of common life which St. John
Berchmans called his greatest cross and by
his marked dislike to dispensation in anything
enjoined by it. From his first novitiate days
to his death, he made the most of scraps of
paper, always wrote in small letters, closely
packed, and never left margin. A fact is told
of him which some would smile at and call
silly ; but nothing is silly, in the individual at
least, if it be the honest outcome of his own
conscience, even though this be a scrupulous
one. When the Roman College was seized by
the Italian usurpers, and he was about to leave,
a Government official entered his room, and,
pointing to the simple furniture and a few
books, asked, "Are these things yours?"
Father Franzelin, even when the question
was repeated more than once, would give
no answer but the following : " I have the
17



130 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

use of them they are given to me for my



use."



He was a truly humble man, and this he
proved in a striking manner on two occasions.
The first was when he publicly retracted the
interpretation of a text of Scripture which he
once held and even published in lithograph.
Not an easy thing to do, if we consider how
indissolubly men, particularly professors, are
wedded to their own special opinions and
views, how sensitive they are about them, and
that opposition too often makes them more
fixed, if not obstinate, in upholding them.
Nearly all the miseries of the Church, with
ruin to millions of souls, have been caused
through the want of that humility which
Father Franzelin practised. The second
occasion was when he bore, with great patience
and in sweet silence, the failure of one of his
scholars in a public defence or act. Moreover,
when far and away and beyond all question
the best known and most distinguished professor
in Rome " the first of all living Catholic theo
logians," as a great authority called him he
was in every way one of the simplest and most
retiring of men. So well known was his " true
humility," that every one felt, to give him praise



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 131

or to show signs of admiration would not only
be most distasteful, but annoying and irritating
to him.

He used to console himself in his scruples
by the saying of St. Francis de Sales : " I must
be content with serving God as well as I can,
and a little less." He cultivated the closest
union with God, and always looked like one
who walked in His presence. Although silence
was never dispensed with in the refectory of
the Roman College, even on the highest feasts,
still, on these clays, dinner was prolonged a
little. This time Father Franzelin always gave
to a quiet prayer ; and when, in the German
College, talk was allowed now and then, he
cleverly managed to clo the same, without,
however, inconvenience to others, or any
ostentation.

The number of aspirations he made could
be counted, as some one said, by God only,
and no one could come in much contact with
him and not notice this habit of his. He
celebrated mass every day with notable devo
tion and fervour. His superiors bear witness
to the care and rigid punctuality with which
he performed his private spiritual duties, the
morning meditation and the two examens of



132 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

conscience. We learn the importance he
attached to the particular examen, from the
fact that he carried within the fold of his habit
the little book in which, according- to the
direction of St. Ignatius and the custom of
the Society, the daily faults should be noted ;
and after his death this book was found marked
up to the day before he went to God.

We see from all this how true Father
Franzelin was to those truths which at the very
start of religious life he formulated, when he
wrote : " The perfect praise of a Jesuit is to be
not only solidly learned, but also solidly holy.
Learning without virtue is only a dead body."
Also how faithful he was in using the means
necessary in order to make these truths a
reality in his life. In this his most edifying
fidelity, through a long, laborious, and anxious
life, to the great means and helps to holiness
and perfection, he is deserving of our admira
tion and imitation.

It is an admitted truth it might be called a
divine truth, so involved is it in God s provid
ence that when God has settled certain means
with a view to a certain end, if we use rightly
the means, the end must be gained, but if we
neglect them, it will not ; and that God, as a



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 133

rule, never steps in to help by extraordinary
means, when the ordinary are at hand and
available. Now, amongst the ordinary means
settled by God, and therefore necessary for us,
if we really wish to lead lives worthy of our
state, be it the priestly, the religious, or the
Christian, prayer, mental and vocal, and examen
of conscience, are the most important. And
yet, being such, they are in greater danger
of being made little of or neglected, than other
works of less importance, at least to the man
himself, which have certain exterior aspects.
A man whose duty it is to preach, profess,
lecture, write, minister on the altar, in the
confessional, etc., to do works w r hich are for
others, which necessarily bring him in contact
with men, place him under men s eyes, and
subject him to men s judgment and criticism,
is generally beset by an insidious temptation
the temptation to be unduly influenced by
human motives, and to attach undue importance
to mere human means.

The wish to be a success before men is of
our nature, not in itself bad, but full of evil if
we do not keep it within bounds, and super-
naturalise it by purity of intention. The eye,
the opinion, the judgment of men often have,



134 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

practically at least, a greater power over man
than those of God, and he fears "him who can
only kill the body, more than Him who, when
He hath killed, can cast into hell." Hence the
temptation to neglect or make less of those
spiritual means in which there are no Jmman
helps or motives, in the discharge of which I
am my own master, alone, under no human eye,
subject to no human judgment, and which are,
moreover, either not pleasing, or positively
distasteful to my nature, as prayer and self-
examination generally are ; and to try to
justify this neglect, under the plea or delusion
that the external works are of greater import
ance, and that the interior ought to be more
or less sacrificed to them ; the real reason, if
honestly admitted, being, that the exterior
works are far more pleasing to our nature than
the interior, and that we are influenced much
more by what man will say, than by what God
will think. To yield to this temptation is to
practically ignore what we may call an axiom
in the spiritual life, namely, that the man who
is best for himself is best for others, that the
good we do for others will be the outcome of
the good that is within ourselves.

St. Ignatius expresses this truth, when he



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 135

says : " We should give ourselves to the study of
solid and perfect virtues and of spiritual things,
and account them of greater moment than
learning or natural or human gifts, for they are
the interior things from which force must How
to the exterior." God Himself preaches this
truth to us when He says: "Every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit." "A good man out
of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth
that which is good." But more to the point,
He tells us how alone the branch can bring
forth good fruit, and how the good treasure is
to be kept in the heart ; namely, by abiding
in, and keeping ourselves closely united with
Himself. This is the teaching of that beautiful
allegory spoken at the Last Supper, " I am the
Vine, and you are the branches." How is this
union effected and maintained ? By grace,
which alone can do it ; by grace, which purifies,
sanctifies, and unites the soul in love with God ;
by grace, which keeps eye and hand on and
against that temptation, that enemy, from which
the greatest danger to this union is to be feared.
And what are the means settled by God with
a view to my securing this grace ? Is it
preaching, teaching, professing, writing, work
in the confessional, etc. ? No. Prayer and the



36 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Sacraments, not administered, but worthily
received. By these divinely-appointed channels
we get grace grace which should not be
allowed to lie idle in our souls, like gold in a
miser s coffer ; we should use it in order to
preserve and perfect our union with God, and
to guard well against our worst enemy, our
selves, and all other enemies who could in
any way endanger, weaken, or destroy this
union.

Besides, the works of a priest, though in
themselves holy and sacred, are full of danger
and the occasion of spiritual ruin to him who
does not use the means for keeping his soul
united with Gocl, and disposed, as it should be,
for such divine works.

When reading the lives of great missionary
saints like our great Apostle St. Patrick, St.
Francis Xavier, St. Alphonsus, and many others,
we are amazed how they could have done such
great work outside themselves, because of the
hours every day they gave to prayer and com
muning with God. But our wonder will cease,
if we bear in mind that they did the great work
outside in others, because they had done, and
never ceased to do, a greater work within
themselves ; they were themselves inflamed with



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 137

the love of God, and so they kindled and cast
it around for the inflaming of others. They
were themselves fountains, overflowing fountains
of living water, and therefore made all around
them blossom like the lily. A lump of coal
has capability, but no power. A dry fountain
is worthless.

The works given us by God to do never
clash or displace one the other in the rightly
regulated conscience of a really supernatural
man. He gives each its proper place and
keeps it there, wisely, according to its value
and importance. At the head of the book
of his life he writes : " Take heed to thyself."
"Be thyself a sanctified vessel, and then
thou wilt be prepared for every good work,"
and " wilt save thy own soul and the souls
of those who hear thee." If anything must
give way, it should not be those spiritual
duties which are of the greatest importance
to myself and others. There are few more
dangerous temptations than one against which
the best should be on their guard, namely, that
of putting off, neglecting, or doing in a hurried,
careless manner, works of great importance,
even grave duties, by giving too much of
mind and heart and hand to other things which

18



138 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

are naturally more pleasing, more attractive,
which, though in themselves innocent and
lawful when taken "in weight and time and
measure," are very wrong when they are
allowed to interfere with things of greater
moment. Nothing needs more the salt of
mortification than recreation.

All Father Franzelin s superiors, as well
as all who lived with him in the German and
Roman Colleges, speak, as we have said before,
in admiration of his edifying devotion to his
private spiritual duties, and the studied care
with which he made his daily meditation and
examens of conscience ; and this without a
break through all his laborious life, when, we
may be sure, he, in his desire to have his
lectures as perfect as he could make them,
often had the temptation to more study and
less prayer. But he was truly wise, and kept
everything in place according to its value.

All masters of the spiritual life, St. Ignatius
in a very special way, insist on meditation and
examen of conscience as the most necessary
means for all who really wish to lead lives
worthy of their high and sacred calling ; and
they give many convincing proofs of this truth
from Scripture, the teaching of the Church and



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 139

of the Fathers. It may not be quite useless to
develop one of these, the strongest, perhaps,
because it conies home to us in the experience
we have of ourselves and of others. No one,
be he priest, religious, or layman, should or could
safely make little of the influence which mere
natural motives can acquire in us to the
elimination of the supernatural ; or the power
for evil which material earthly human things,
working through the senses on the sensual
element in the soul, can get over the heart of
man. The history of sin is the history of this
terrible power. " The corruptible body is a
load on the soul, and the earthly habitation
presseth down the mind." " Man, when he was
in honour, did not understand ; he is compared
to senseless beasts, and made like to them."
We can have some idea of the state to which
any man can come, by considering the state to
which thousands have come. For the best are men
as well as the worst, and are not exempt from
those fatal influences which have degraded and
ruined thousands. Study the world as it was
at all times and is to-day, and what do we see ?
We see men, " made little less than the angels,"
lords of creation, under whose feet all minor
creatures are subjected ; men gifted and graced



140 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

and in honour, who, understanding their dignity
as men, should and could be masters of their
souls, and keep as slaves under whip and sword
all low and sensual inclinations, strengthening
their own life by giving them death ; men who,
even in their fallen nature, are still the grandest
and noblest of all visible created things, and
capable of winning the beatific vision and the
possession of God. And yet, being such, to
what do they often come ? To the level of the
animal, and below it ; and how ? By allowing
something material, earthly, of a lower order
than themselves, working through the senses, to
get such a mastery over them that it enslaves,
degrades, disgraces, and makes them miserable
even in this world. Let the best imagine how
it would have been with him if, in place of
mortifying that concupiscence or inclination in
a sensual direction which was dominant within
him, he had made little of it, fed, strengthened
it, given it its way ; and then ask what he
should now be. He must answer, humiliating
though it be to clo so, the slave of some vile
passion on earth, or paying the just penalty in hell
of such wretched, though freely chosen slavery.
God tells him, "a joy to his enemies." The
pagans believed that when a man allowed the



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 141

animal part of his nature to lord it over him,
he ceased to be a man.

All this is confirmed by what has happened
day after day, since the world began, that even
men who believed in the divine truths of the
old and new dispensations, men, priests, or
religious, or both, have been yet so overpowered
by the concupiscence of the eyes, or of the
flesh, or the pride of life, that they have acted
and lived as if they did not believe. The
devils believe and tremble, man believes and
sins. It is clear, therefore, that we need some
influence, some power for good within us which
will be stronger than the powers for evil within
and without us, even when leagued together,
and will enable us to hold our own against them.
But we can create and maintain this power only
by making the divine spiritual truths, the awful,
the loving things of God, our relations to Him,
etc., great realities in our souls. And this we
can do only by studying, reflecting, meditating
on, bringing them home to ourselves in a spirit
of simple, lively faith. By meditation well made,
we make God and the unseen things of God

o

His eye, His judgments, His rewards, His
punishments, His many-sided love, manifested
most in His sufferings and in His abiding



142 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

presence in the Blessed Sacrament greater
realities than those material things which work
for evil through the senses ; and a greater
power which will enable us to be always master
of the position and hold our own against all our
enemies.

We do % not meditate to become more learned,
but to become better. "Action," says St.
Ambrose, "is the end of meditation." Medita
tion, it is true, does make and keep us more
learned, in fuller knowledge of God, of ourselves,
the difficulties and clangers which beset us ; but
we are not to rest here, we must reduce this
learning and knowledge to practice by resolving
to act, and by acting according to its teaching,
no matter what it may cost us to do so. Medi
tation is nothing if it be not practical, if it be
not brought home to self for the bettering of
self. The great power of the daily examen of
conscience is in the particular examen, which
may be called the complement of the meditation.
By means of the particular examen we bring
the light and knowledge of self, which medita
tion gives us, to bear where it is most needed ;
we keep eye and hand unsparingly on that
which is at once our special danger or occasion
of danger in the direction of sin, and our special



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 143

obstacle in the direction of perfection, on that
dominant fault or weakness which is the leader
of the rebels, which, if given its way, will
always have a demon rabble after it, but if
kept under strict watch, subdued and conquered,
is the occasion of ever-increasing virtue and
holiness.

If a man keeps guard on the weak point of
the citadel, and takes precautions against the
enemy who always secretly or openly masses
his strength there, he will always be the
stronger man and hold it to the end. But

o

if he neglect this, the enemy as a matter of
course will get possession. Now, the very
office of the particular examen is to keep eye
and hand always where they are most needed
and against the enemy most to be dreaded.
The particular examen, constantly and well
made, prevents a man becoming a traitor to
himself and his best interests, by forgetting or
neglecting his duty as ruler and defender of
"the kingdom of God which is within him,"
his own soul.

It is worthy of note, the way in which
masters of the spiritual life speak of meditation,
self-examination, and vocal prayer, as acting and
reacting and helping one the other. St. Bernard,



144 CARDINAL FRANZ RUN

writing on the means of attaining perfection,
says : " No one becomes perfect in a moment ; it
is by mounting and not by flying that we come
to the top of the ladder. Let us therefore
ascend, and let meditation and prayer be the
two feet we make use of to do so. For medi
tation makes us see our wants, and prayer
obtains for us relief from God : the one shows
us the way, and the other leads us to Him;
meditation makes us clearly discern the dangers
that surround us, and prayer makes us happily
avoid and escape them." " Prayer," says St.
Austin, " is tepid without meditation," for " medi
tation is the beginning and ground of all good."
Rodriguez, commenting on those words of St.
Austin, writes : " The proof of this proposition is
easy, for if we do not exert ourselves to know
and examine our weakness and misery, we shall
be deceived and misinformed of our wants, and
hence it will come to pass that in prayer we
shall not know what to ask, nor shall w r e ask
it with the requisite earnestness and fervour.
There are many who, from not reflecting on
themselves and from being ignorant of their
own defects, presume too much upon them
selves, which they would not do if they had
right self-knowledge. If you wish, therefore, to



PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY 145

learn to pray and to beg of God what you most
stand in need of, employ yourself in considering
exactly your defects and weaknesses. Having
obtained perfect knowledge of these, you will
then know what you ought to ask of God,
and as a man who feels himself pressed with
necessity or misery, you will beg with all
earnestness and fervour what is best for you."
It is evident that these eminent spiritualists
suppose that meditation rightly made includes
strict and rigid self-study, which study is per
fected by means of the particular examen.

Meditation and self-examination are often,
if not always, hard, dry, and distasteful works.
St. Teresa tells us that the greatest temptation
of her life was to give up meditation because of
the desolation she suffered in it. But she adds,
" Be true to meditation through all desolation,
and you will gain heaven." It is by no means
a pleasant occupation to study the ugly spots in
my soul and life, a study which, when honestly
made, necessitates the more unpleasant work
of mortification, in order to remove them.
Still, both are ordinary means settled by God
for our sanctification, and therefore we have
always the grace to make them well, with the
certainty that the effects intended by God will
19



i 4 6 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

be gained. We shall find strength and con
solation also in the thought that the harder
these works are, and the more they cost us, the
more meritorious and effective they will be
in keeping us solidly virtuous and holy.

In these important duties Father Franzelin
is a pattern worthy of admiration and imitation.
He was first of all and before all an eminently
spiritual supernatural man, and used the best
means for making and keeping himself such.
He was a man of prayer. In this was his
strength. Hence, through his long years of
weak health, hard work, and painful scruples,
he never sank ; nay, the patient, brave way in
which he faced and bore all the weight of life,
and did his work perfectly in even the least
detail, might perhaps be deemed heroic.



CHAPTER VIII

CREATED CARDINAL

WE come now to the greatest trial of Father
Franzelin s life his elevation to the Cardinal-
ate. Pius IX., of holy memory, manifested in
many ways not only great love of the Society,
but also great sympathy with her, so severely
and unjustly treated in Italy, Germany, and
France. Hence, in December 1873, he called
to the College of Cardinals Father Camillus
Tarquini, Professor of Canon Law in the Roman
College, and well known for his knowledge
of Etruscan remains and antiquities. But he
survived his elevation only three months,
dying in the February following. Soon after,
the Pope, when speaking to Father Cardella,
then rector of the community charged with
the conduct of the Civiltd Cattolica, hinted that
he was thinking of another Jesuit for this high
office; and on one occasion said, "I have in
mind a certain father who has done much good



148 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

work iii the congregations, and is so humble
I offered him one day a little medal, but he
began at once to get away from me, making a
sign with his hand and saying, No, no, Holy
Father. This was Franzelin to the life.
After these remarks the Pope remained so long
without again alluding to the subject, that it
looked as if he had given up the idea. But
not so, for in the year 1876 he informed the
Very Rev. Father Beckx, General of the Society,
that he had determined to raise Father Franzelin
to the dignity of Cardinal, binding him at the
same time not to mention the matter even to
his curia, and saying that opposition would be
useless. According to the constitutions of the
order, as framed by St. Ignatius, Jesuits make
a vow on the day of their profession, not to
accept any prelacy or dignity unless commanded
to do so, under pain of mortal sin, by the
Sovereign Pontiff. Hence Father General
went at once to the Holy Father, and, prostrate
at his feet, did his best, as far as it was right
and becoming, to change his intention. The
Pope praised Father General for his zeal in
upholding the Institute in its integrity; he
would not, however, yield, and commanded
obedience to his will.



CREATED CARDINAL 149

The Father General now made an attempt
to delay the action of the Pope, by begging His
Holiness to leave Father Franzelin as he was
until he had finished a treatise on " The Church,"
just begun. But the Pope refused this request
as well; so there was nothing for it but that
obedience which Father General gave all the
more readily because of the consciousness that
he had done his duty to the Society and to his
only earthly superior, the successor of St.
Peter.

But now came a more difficult phase of the
matter, one which all who knew Father
Franzelin dreaded the breaking of the news to
himself. For this delicate mission Pius IX.
selected His Eminence Cardinal Bilio, who,
himself a very distinguished theologian, was
an ardent admirer and warm friend of Father
Franzelin. Cardinal Bilio found him in the
German College, where he continued to lecture
after the usurpers had seized the Roman. The
Cardinal gently told him that he had come
bearing an express command from the Sovereign
Pontiff, that he should pass from the German
College of the Society to the College of
Cardinals. "Poor Franzelin" to use the
words of His Eminence to the then Provincial,



ISO CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Father Carclella "was so stunned by this
message that I feared he would get a stroke of
some kind. He said at once to me, No, no ;
this is impossible, this will never be ; and then
began to walk about the room in a most
disturbed and agitated manner. Seeing that
some words of reasoning did not calm him, I
held him for a moment by his habit, and said,
* Father, this way of yours does not edify me.
I expected of you an act of obedience. It is
the Holy Father who commands. This word
quieted him somewhat, and he found perhaps
some relief in an agony of tears."

It is of man s nature to be pleased when
elevated to a dignity or office of trust and
power, because it is the tribute of men to his
worth, and gives him an honoured position
which he naturally likes. He is for the mo
ment attracted more by the external grandeur
or glory which surrounds the dignity, than by
the duties and responsibilities which it entails.
Even the humblest and those most afraid of
new obligations can scarcely help an involuntary
feeling of pleasure in being so honoured. Yet
all who knew Father Franzelin might and
did say that his elevation to the highest Church
dignity was a suffering, pure and simple, un-



CREATED CARDINAL 151

relieved except by the obedience, patience, and
resignation with which he accepted and bore it
to the end. A Father of the Society who knew
Father Franzelin, on hearing of his elevation
but not of his repugnance, said at once, " No
one deserves the dignity better or hates it more
cordially." There were reasons for all this,
i. His great humility. 2. As Cardinal he
should give up the love of his life, professing
theology. 3. His great scrupulosity, which
made him dread increased responsibility ; and
he rightly considered the position of Cardinal
as one charged with the heaviest.

Cardinal Bilio, having delivered the hard
message, went away, saying that he would
return after an hour or two, in order to bring
him to the Holy Father, who wished to see him
as soon as possible. On their arrival at the
Vatican, Father Franzelin prostrated himself on
the ground at the feet of His Holiness, and
with tears begged to be released, saying, I
could not be a Cardinal, I have no ability for
such an office." The Pope, in his ow r n good-
humoured way, said, " And what ability had
Saint Peter? He knew only how to handle
an oar." Father Franzelin made an attempt
to press his petition, but the Holy Father



152 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

sternly beckoned silence, and he again
broke down and gave way to a burst of grief.
On his return to the German College, he went
to Father Schroecler, who was ignorant of
what had happened. His depressed and
troubled look surprised the father, but still more
his words, when, sobbing, he again and again
said, " I am weary of life, I do not care to live."
The father, amazed at his words and his manner,
answered, " What is the meaning of this ? You
ought to be ashamed to speak so. Do your
work, and when you have finished it, then talk
about dying." And we read that for weeks,
though he never spoke on the subject except
when obliged to do so, he could not conceal his
troubled and sad state of mind ; he was at times
seen in tears. To his Provincial he spoke so
strongly of the affair as a castigo di Dio, u a
chastisement of God," that he checked him,
saying, " Your manner of speaking scandalises
me." At the same time, his superiors were
kind and full of pity for him, because they knew
the cause of all this, namely, his great humility,
which made him thoroughly believe that he was
utterly unfit for such an office ; and his great
scrupulosity, which made him dread and shrink
from new and weightier responsibilities. To his



CREATED CARDINAL 153

Provincial he said, more than once, " Others have
varied talents and can be safely sent to do
various works, I can do only one thing teach,
if not very well, perhaps not very badly."

In all this Father Franzelin was intensely
sincere, without a shadow of affectation or put-on
humility. The holier a man is, the greater his
knowledge and insight with reference to God
and himself, and therefore the greater his
consciousness of his own worthlessness. The
greatest saints are the most remarkable for
the seemingly exaggerated way in which they
depreciate, if not vilify themselves. And this
arises not from studying themselves side by
side with their fellow - men also sinners, but
from their clearer perception of the sanctity,
the majesty, the greatness of God.

Beside the reasons already given, there were
others which made him heartily dislike the
position of Cardinal. His simple, retiring,
studious ways caused him to hold in horror the
grand dress and surroundings of such a dignity
and the distractions inseparable from it. It
was also no light cross to be taken away from
work which was according to his taste and with
which he had become familiar; and to be
obliged to begin a new work for which he had



154 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

no taste, and, as he himself believed, no
capability. For it is of our nature to feel and
to resent the taking from us what we love and
the giving to us what we hate.

But some one may ask, Was Father Fran-
zelin s " blind obedience " what it ought to have
been through all this, to him, so painful an
affair? Well, we may fairly hold that it was.
He had a perfect right, perhaps a duty, to
manifest to superiors, even to the Pope himself,
the conviction of his unfitness for and his
strong repugnance to the office. He may
have done this to them in too strong and blunt
a way, and may have shown by look and
manner his feeling too much to others to whom
he never spoke on the subject. But when the
will of God was made clear to him by the
decided action of the Holy Father, he bowed
his head in agony, and said with all his heart,
" Father, not my will, but Thine, be done." His
obedience might be called exceptional, if we
take into account the trying circumstances in
which it was given. We must call it generous,
because, for nearly eleven years, he took not
only more than his own share of work, but more
than a man having prudent thought of self
ought to have taken ; and he discharged the



CREATED CARDINAL 155

duties of his office with a care, an exactness,
and a labour so great and so remarkable, that
the Sovereign Pontiff and his brother cardinals
lamented him when dead as the greatest
loss to themselves and a great loss to the
Church. He put under his feet all per
sonal convictions, feelings, and repugnances,
and on them he raised himself up to the grand
height of self-sacrificing devotion to a work
which obedience had given him, and did it all
the better because of the natural dislike he had
to it. He was in truth what years before in
his novitiate retreat he resolved to be when he
wrote : " I will be a true Jesuit ; I will be in all
things an imitator of my Captain, Jesus."

The Consistory in which Father Franzelin
would be proclaimed Cardinal was fixed for
Monday, April 3. On the previous Saturday
he kissed the feet of the fathers, brothers,
and students in the refectory. All were
touched and edified by this act, for they
knew of his nomination, although he himself
had not spoken of it. The same evening he
gave his lecture as usual, but for the last time.
When he entered the hall, the students stood
up and applauded with heart and hand. He,
as one unconscious of the scene, entered the



156 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

pulpit and calmly delivered his lecture sad,
no doubt, that the loved labour of his life was
over for ever.

Although Father Franzelin, when leaving,
did not make any studied address to his
scholars, he made no secret of the regret with
which he parted from them and the work of
teaching. Still greater perhaps was the regret
of his scholars, to whom he had spoken for the
last time, and of many others who had hoped
to have the privilege of sitting at his feet for
many years. From the very beginning, as
early as 1859, the number attending his lectures
was about four hundred, of whom only thirty-
five or forty were of his own order. These
were enthusiastic about his teaching and
himself, and took good-humouredly, almost as
a compliment, any sharp words which he
deemed it his duty to say to them from time to
time in the circles. Three or four did not
fancy him, as he was very quick in finding out
those who thought too much of themselves and
in sternly placing and keeping them on their
proper level. As the Jesuit students had no
intercourse, never spoke with the externs who
attended the theological schools of the Roman
College, they could not easily find out what the



CREATED CARDINAL 157

latter thought of him. One of them, however,
having met some on their way home for
vacation in the summer of 1860, delicately led
up to the subject, and was delighted, though not
surprised, by the extraordinary admiration they
had of him, and the strong, earnest way in which
they expressed it. This admiration and esteem
never waned it went on increasing to the
end ; and one of his scholars, afterwards a
professor of theology and assistant to the Very
Reverend Father General, did not fear to say,
"In my opinion the Society has had no greater
theologian except Suarez."

We may learn, in great part, the secret of his
success as professor, from two resolutions which
he made early and kept with scrupulous exact
ness and fidelity. These were found formally
noted in the memoranda of his novitiate and
scholastic days. The first was, "To study solely
(unice) for the greater glory of God, to always
form this intention before beginning work, and
to often make a very strict examination of
conscience on this subject." Adding, " By the
intention you can, in your labours, give glory
to God, or to yourself." The second was,
" Never to lose a particle of time." Well is it
with the man who imitates Father Franzelin



158 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

in these two important duties. To do so
means the using of talents and other gifts,
natural and supernatural, with industry and
labour, for the very highest purposes.

The obligation of purity of intention, that is,
of doing all things for the glory of God, is the
necessary and logical consequence of the great
principle and fundamental truth taught us in
the first study or meditation of the Spiritual
Exercises: "the end of man and the end of
creatures." God again and again, in very
clear and emphatic words, declares His absolute
and supreme ownership of all things, and this
because He created all things. " He spoke, and
they were made. He commanded, and they
were created. He made us, not we ourselves ;
and His hands formed us. He is the Father
who made and created and possesses us. The
earth is His and the fulness thereof, the world
and all they that dwell therein." He also tells
us the end and purpose for which He created
us and all things, namely, "for Himself" and
"for His own glory." "Thou art worthy, O
Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and
power, because Thou hast created all things,
and for Thy will they were and have been
created." He also tells us that He has another



CREATED CARDINAL 159

title to this ownership, because He bought us at
a great price, not with corruptible things, as
gold and silver, but with His own precious
blood. He is the great, absolute Owner, Lord
and Master of all things; "jealous," too, "who
will not give His glory to another." Hence
we have no rights in ourselves or in anything
else independent of God, but we have the duty
and are under a strict obligation to use all for
His honour and glory ; so much so, that we
cannot without sin of some kind deliberately
use once a faculty of the soul, a sense of the body,
money, time, or anything else, according to our
own will against His, simply because they are
not our own to do with them as we like, but
His to be used according to His will and law.
It is unjust to use the property of another
against the reasonable will of the owner.
Hence St. Austin calls him a robber who so
treats God.

So much is gained by purity of intention, so
much lost by the absence of it, and it is so easy,
that it is worse than folly not to look carefully
to it. A person in the state of grace, who
offers up all his actions to God and does them for
Him, merits de condigno an increase of grace and
glory by each, even by acts which are by their



160 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

nature indifferent or of a low animal order.
" Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else
you do, do all to the glory of God." And we read
that St. Charles Borromeo and St. Aloysius
would have held on to their game of chess
even though death were to come to them when
at it. Recreation entered into the programme
of their supernatural lives, as did their daily
meditation and mass, and, done for God, had its
reward as these had. Besides, a person who
does all things for God, and keeps this thought
habitually in mind, will find in it a great
stimulus and help to do his work well. In a
word, the man of clean heart and pure intention
secures beyond all question the only rewards
worthy of consideration and desire, grace here
and eternal glory hereafter.

On the other hand, if a man be wanting in
purity of intention, if he seek himself, not God,
if he be solely or principally influenced by vain,
selfish, or merely human motives, all his actions
so done are vitiated, and the great supernatural
reward is lost. This is true even of actions in
their nature good and holy, such as prayer,
almsdeeds, preaching, etc., which if done for
God would have gained great merit, but not
done for Him lose all. Such works sometimes,



CREATED CARDINAL 161

it is true, gain a human reward in the praise,
applause, or money of men. But what is this?
A disgrace to him who puts God aside in the
winning of it. What is it worth ? Nothing,
for it lasts but the moment, dying as men die.
" He," writes St. Gregory, " who by his virtuous
actions would gain the applause of the world,
sells at a low price a thing of great value ; and,
when he might thereby have purchased heaven,
he seeks to gain nothing but the passing reward
of human praise, which ends with his life." St.
Austin says : " Lord, whoever would be praised
for Thy gifts, and seeks not Thy glory but his
own in the good he does, is a robber, and is like
the devil himself, who attempts to rob Thee of
Thy glory." Such a man not only deprives
God of the glory which he himself should give,
but diverts dishonestly to himself the glory
which others should give. If a tradesman
billed a person for a work he never did for him,
or had done for another, he would rightly
repudiate it ; so will God repudiate anything
not done for Him The Divine Teacher tells
us this in the Sermon on the Mount, when He
declares that they who clo their deeds to be seen
of men will receive no recognition or reward
from God. In the words of Father Franzelin,

21



1 62 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

"we can by the intention give glory to our
selves," and lose all worth having; or " to
God," and gain the great eternal reward which
He promises to the good and faithful servants.
To have this purity of intention is one of the
easiest things in the spiritual life. We have
merely to offer all our actions to God every
morning, or at certain times, and to keep true
to this oblation ; not doing the foolish and
wicked thing of giving God the second place,
or no place at all, by putting Him aside for
something far lower. What an amount of
labour, industry, energy, and earnestness are
often expended on works which are simply as
if they were not, as far as eternal life is con
cerned, and which would have won a high
place in heaven if done under one of the easiest
of conditions, done for God. Our divine
model, Christ, gives us a perfect example in this
matter. "He never sought His own glory."
When persons attempted to glorify Him, He
at once turned their thoughts from Himself
to God ; nor is it too much to say, that He
was most sensitive in His dread that any
glory would be given to Himself and not all
to the Father. Hence St. Ignatius, the end
and purpose of whose rules, constitutions, and



CREATED CARDINAL 163

spiritual exercises is to make his children other
Christs, insists frequently and in grave words
on their endeavouring to have a pure intention
in all their acts, in never seeking anything but
the will of God and His honour and glory, in
being faithful to the motto of the Society,
" To the greater glory of God."

All should be well on their guard, ever
watchful and full of fear of themselves with
reference to temptations which attack this
virtue, if I may call it so temptations which
come to not only the imperfect, but to those
also who are well advanced on the road of
perfection, and engaged in the holiest of all
works, the salvation of souls. When our Lord
said to His apostles, "You are the light of the
world : so let your light shine before men that
they may see your good works and glorify your
Father who is in heaven," did He not insinu
ate that works, even the holiest, done for men
and seen by them, are generally accompanied
by the temptation to glorify ourselves ? These
temptations are of a very cunning and insidi
ous kind. They act as if they had carte blanche,
and were welcome to enter our house and
be quite at home with us. And this, because
they are of our very nature, which seeks self in



1 64 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

all things, and which easily forgets God, His
rights, and His will, in the strong desire which
it has and the great pleasure which it enjoys
in things which come to it through the senses,
such as the praise, applause, and other rewards
of man. These temptations do not break
through, but steal through, to thieve, destroying
or carrying off those treasures which, by purity
of intention, we could easily have laid up
where thieves cannot enter.

It is much under this aspect that eminent
spiritualists speak of and warn us against these
temptations. " Vain glory," writes St. Gregory,
"is like a robber, who first craftily insinuates
himself into the company of a traveller, pre
tending to go the same way he does, and
afterwards kills and robs him when he is least
upon his guard, and thinks himself in greatest
security." St. Basil liken vain glory to " a
pirate, that attacks not a vessel sailing out of
port to purchase goods, but waits till it is
returning home richly freighted, and then fails
not to set upon it." "A charming thief,"
writes the same doctor, " who robs us of all our
good and spiritual actions, a mild and peaceful
enemy of our souls ; and it is by its sweet and
insinuating flattery that it attacks and deceives



CREATED CARDINAL 165

such a multitude of people : for human praise
and glory is a thing very delightful and pleasant
to such persons as know not what it is."

The means for securing and preserving
purity of intention are simple and easy of use.
First, be true to that morning offering or
oblation of self to God which every good
Catholic mother teaches her child. Second,
when the cunning and insidious thieving
enemies show or begin to make themselves
felt, to at once strike them down by an aspira
tion renewing my intention, keeping it first
and well in the front ; also taking courage
from the thought that the aspiration is all the
better and more powerful for its purpose when
it costs one much to make it, because made in
the teeth of and against strong natural motives
and feelings. In a word, make the morning
oblation, and be true to it, not casting God
aside for anything, even the most precious, or
anyone, even the greatest, in this world.

The second resolution which had much to clo
with Father Franzelin s success in the pursuit
of holiness and knowledge was " Nullius
temporis particular jactura"- never to lose a
moment of time. We know that St. Alphonsus
made this the matter of a vow.



1 66 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Since God tells us that " the heart of the
wise man understandeth time, and that the
fool regardeth no time," and as a too common
experience bears out the word of St. Bernardine
of Sienna, that there is nothing men value
less than time, nothing less scrupled than
the loss or abuse of it, it would be well
for all, particularly the young, to study and
meditate often on what God teaches us
about time, that we may be wise in under
standing and in using it. Time is one of
God s most precious gifts to man, a sacred
thing, therefore to be sacredly treated, for
"God giveth to man the number of his days
and time"; He also holds dominion over
time, nor can man interfere with His will in
reference to it, for " the number of man s days
is with God, and He has appointed his bounds,
which cannot be passed." " Boast not for
to-morrow, for thou knowest not what the day
to come may bring forth, nor what shall be on
to-morrow." Our Lord speaks of a rich man
who had laid up much goods for many years,
saying to himself, Take thy rest, eat, drink,
make good cheer ; to whom God said, " Fool,
this night thy soul will be required of thee."
He has also decreed that death, the most



CREATED CARDINAL 167

certain and the most terrible of all things,
because the moment upon which depends
eternity, should be as to time the most un
certain of all things.

God, moreover, very often calls our attention
to the shortness and fleetness of time and of
man s life, as well as to the truth that there is
no going back to use well a second time what
of either was lost or abused the first. " Man
living a short time fleeth like a shadow, passeth
away as the trace of a cloud, and there is no
going back, for it is fast sealed, and no man
returneth." As time is given to us for the
highest purpose, the one thing necessary, the
sanctification and salvation of our souls given


Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:33 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4334
New post Re: Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin
that we may "work our work," and "do good
to all men whilst we have time," God com
mands us to understand, value, regard, redeem
time, not to let a particle of this good gift
escape us, to make the most of it when we
have it. He also gives as reasons for our
doing so, its fleetness and its not returning,
that "there is no going back," and that a time
will come to each of us when He will say,
"Time shall be no more." For, what other
meaning have God s words bidding us "to
walk whilst we have light, to work whilst it is



1 68 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

day, for there is no working when darkness
and night come " ; to do with all our heart and
might, earnestly, the work given us, " because
there is no working after death in hell-
whither thou art hastening " ; commanding us
to lead holy, supernatural, unworldly lives,
because " the time is short, and the fashion of
this world passes away"; to find, when tried,
comfort in the thought that " the sufferings of
this time are not worthy to be compared with
the glory to come " ?

Strange, but true, that those who most fully
and most painfully realise the value of time are
they who have lost it for ever. A Kempis
puts this truth well when he says, in the chapter
" Of the Thoughts of Death " : " The present
time is very precious, now is an acceptable
time, now is the day of salvation. But it is
greatly to be lamented that thou dost not spend
this time more profitably wherein thou mayest
acquire a stock on which thou mayest live for
ever. The time will come when thou wilt
wish for one day or hour to amend, and I
know not whether thou wilt obtain it"- would
give, one may add, worlds for that day or hour
and shall not get it, for "there is no going
back, and no man returneth." But God puts it



CREATED CARDINAL 169

better when He describes the damned lament
ing in anguish of spirit their badly-spent lives.
"What," they cry out, " hath pride profited us ?
or what advantage hath the boasting of riches
brought us? all these things are passed away,
like a shadow, like a ship passing through the
waves, and leaving no trace ; like a bird or an
arrow flying through the air, and leaving no
mark ; and we are consumed in our wickedness.
Such things as these the sinners said in hell."

The saints but echo the words of God.
" There is nothing," writes St. Alphonsus,
" shorter than time, nothing more precious,
because the past is no more, the future is
uncertain, and the present is but a moment.
Oh, time, despised of men during life, how
much shalt thou be desired at the hour of
death and in the other world ! " St. Bernardine
of Sienna teaches that "time is of as much
value as God, because in every moment of time
well spent the possession of God is merited,
in every instant of this life a man can obtain
pardon of his sins, the grace of God, and the
glory of paradise." This same opinion is at
tributed to St. Thomas. Hence St. Bonaven-
ture says, "No loss is of greater moment than
the loss of time " ; and " all not spent for God is

22



170 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

lost," adds St. Bernard. Each moment of time
carries its weight of good or evil to the great
Judge, and will stand for or against us in some
form or other through eternity. Father Faber
in his Spiritual Conferences makes some very
striking remarks on this subject of- time.
Speaking not of those who "lead lives of open
sin in rebellion against God, or in worldly
indifference to Him," but of the lukewarm or
tepid, " who range from nearly hot to nearly
cold, and have even their seasons of fervour,"
he says : " These persons are much given to
wasting time. Wasting time is the fault of
almost numberless varieties of men. Nearly
every man has his own way of wasting time.
Idling, dawdling, frittering, gossiping, dream
ing, procrastinating, sleeping, recreating, playing
with our work, trivial activity these are only
some of the commoner forms of wasting time.
Yet wasted time is a vengeful thing, and stings
terribly at the last. It diminishes the chances
of a successful end." Again, in the same book,
when treating of the advantages of reading,
considered as a help in the spiritual life, he
remarks : " Reading is of no inconsiderable
service simply as an occupation of time. The
use of time is one of the chief difficulties of the



CREATED CARDINAL 171

spiritual life. If we may distinguish the one
from the other, we should be less frightened of
St. Teresa s vow, always to do what was most
perfect, than of St. Alphonsus , never to waste
a moment of time. When the effort to do this
last would be too much for us, there are, in
most of our days, gaps of time which would be
filled up by inutilities. Then reading, not our
regular spiritual reading, which is a more
serious and direct intercourse with God, but
conscientiously chosen reading, comes in, and
not only saves us from evil by being harmless,
but does us a positive good in itself. It takes
possession of the mind of which the Evil One
is always on the watch to take possession. It
occupies it, it garrisons it, it peoples it with
thoughts which are directly or indirectly of
God. Towards afternoon a person who has
nothing to do drifts rapidly away from God.
To sit down in a chair without an object is to
jump into a thicket of temptations. A vacant
hour is always the devil s hour. When time
hangs heavy, the wings of the spirit flap pain
fully and slow. Then it is that a book is a
strong tower, nay, a very church with angels
lurking among the leaves, as if they were so
many niches."



172 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Since time is the gift of God, very precious
and valuable because given by Him to man to
work out the only work of life, the salvation of
his soul, it is clear we have no rights, independ
ent of God, with reference to it, but the duty
to use it as best we can for the end and purpose
for which it is given. We have no right to
use it as we like, as if it were ours, but the
duty to use it as He wills because it is His,
certain also that He shall on Judgment Day
"call against us the time," and make us render
an account of every idle moment, as of every
idle word. Moreover, so great is the tempta
tion to lose or abuse time, and so many yield
to it, that great authorities fear not to say,
what after all a thoughtful study of the ways
of men proves to be true, that there is nothing
so despised by men, of so little value with
them, so little scrupled, as time, and that wasting
it is " the fault of almost numberless varieties
of men." For these reasons, all, even the best,
should often examine themselves honestly and
according to God s mind, fearing that they may
have ranked themselves, or are tending to do
so, amongst those fools for God so calls them
-"who regard no time." All, particularly the
young, should, like Franzelin, boy and man, be



CREATED CARDINAL 173

deadly foes to that abuse of time which God
tells us brings spiritual and temporal poverty
with the swiftness of a runner and the power
of an armed man deadly foes to that most
attractive and dangerous form of wasting of
time, allowing the pleasantly enjoyable things
of life to interfere with the more important
duties of life deadly foes to a too common
delusion, by which the young student tries
to justify himself in wasting time in college,
seminary, or scholasticate, saying that he will
make up for it afterwards. If a student neglect
holiness and learning when preparing himself
for his active professional life, he will not
cultivate one or the other when in the busy
fling of it, either through want of time, or
disinclination arising from early contracted
idle habits, or through both. It may be well,
therefore, in my confessions and daily examen
of conscience, to give more prominence and
thought to this important matter to ask
myself, What about time ? Do I lose it ? Do
I abuse it ? Do I waste it ?

Father Franzelin delivered, as has been
said, his last lecture on Saturday, April 3, 1876.
On the following Monday he left the German
College, accompanied to the door by the Father



i?4 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

Rector, fathers, and students, in the habit of
a Roman Jesuit, and drove to the Belgian
College, which was kindly placed at his disposal,
as there was no room large enough in the
German for the receptions he should hold.
Here he awaited the message from the Holy
Father, and observed exactly all the formalities
obligatory and usual on such occasions.

After a few days, on Holy Saturday, April
15, his sixtieth birthday, he took up his per
manent residence in the house of the Society
called St. Andrew s on Monte Cavallo, opposite
the Ouirinal Palace, on the high road to the
Porta Pia.

In the time of Saint Ignatius and of Father
Lainez, his successor in the Generalate of the
order, there was no novitiate in Rome. The
novices were placed, some in the Roman
College, and others in the Professed House.
This, though necessary at the time, was found
to be very inconvenient, particularly so when
year after year the number of postulants in
creased. Hence the first and second General
Congregations gave expression to the wish that
a regular novitiate should be established, and
St. Francis Borgia, third General of the Society,
carried it into effect. The Bishop of Tivoli



SAINT ANDREW S 175

gave him the small parochial church of St,
Andrew. The Duchess Jane of A rragon, mother
of Mark Antony Colonna, a distant connection
of Francis, asked to be the foundress, and
would have endowed it far more munificently
than she did, had he not set his face against
her doing so. It was his desire "that worldly
goods should be wanting to St. Andrew s, and
that spiritual blessings and the riches of the
grace of Jesus Christ should abound in their
stead." St. Pius V. by brief ratified all that
they had done. Francis replaced the old
church by a new one of larger dimensions,
which was consecrated on the Feast of St.
Andrew, November 30, 1568, when he formally
took possession and opened the novitiate.

Amongst the first trained within its walls

o

were St. Stanislaus, Claudius Aquaviva, fourth
General of the Society, and his nephew Rodolf,
one of the five martyrs lately beatified. Here
also is buried Charles Emmanuel IV., King of
Piedmont and Sardinia, who resigned his throne
in 1802, entered the novitiate, made his vows
as a lay-brother, and closed a holy and edifying
life by a happy death in 1818. The sacred
relics of St. Stanislaus rest in a costly shrine
under the altar of the public church, on the



1 76 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Gospel side, and nearest to the high altar. The
room in which he died was transformed into
an exquisite oratory, in which was a reclining
figure of the saint, the face, hands, and feet of
white, and the habit of black marble. This
statue was formerly studded with jewels, the
holes in which they were set being still visible,
and surrounded by a beautifully designed
balustrade of solid silver. The jewels and the
silver were carried away by the French when
they invaded Rome towards the close of the
last century, for, as the Romans wittily said,
relics. The chapel itself was rich in sacred
and interesting objects connected with Stanis
laus, and amongst these a letter which linked
together three saints, that which St. Stanislaus
brought from the Blessed Canisius, then Pro
vincial of Poland, to St. Francis Borgia, who
received him into the Society. This chapel
was and still is one of the many attractions
of Rome.

St. Andrew s ceased to be a novitiate about
the year 1870, when the novices were sent
elsewhere, and it was utilised as the South
American College (which, though founded for
the education of secular priests, has been
always under the care of the Society) up to



SAINT ANDREWS 177

1887, when the students were transferred to a
new house built in the Prati di Castello. The
usurping Italian Government took the old
novitiate piece by piece, built on its site a
residence for the king s household, and finally
destroyed the oratory of St. Stanislaus. The
statue, sacred objects, and marble flooring
were, however, providentially saved, and placed
in a small chapel built nearer to the public
church.



CHAPTER IX

CARDINAL

IN this house, St. Andrew s, rich in the tradition
of countless saints and scholars, who made
their novitiate within its hallowed walls, and
where the Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine came
to end his days and die, Cardinal Franzelin
lived for nearly eleven years. He was much
attached to this house, and preferred its poor
and straitened accommodation to much better
which was offered to him elsewhere. When
it was told him, three years before he died,
that, as the house and site were being taken
by the Government, rooms would be prepared
for him in the New South American College,
he said more than once, " I will never go
there; I shall die in San Andrea"; and so he
did, a few months before he should have left.

His first act after arriving was to put on
the simple dress of the Roman Jesuit. A new
one had been prepared for him, but in one

178



CARDINAL 179

small point touching the collar different from
the ordinary ; this he would not use, and wore a
cast-off garment until the one intended for him
was exactly according to the old form. A
person who visited him in the year 1883, tells
us that the only signs of his dignity he could
see were the red berrettino or skull-cap, which
is de rigiteur, and a very poor-looking ring.
In all else, he was like to a Jesuit who had
managed to get the poorest and shabbiest habit
in the common wardrobe.

We read in the lives of holy apostolic men,
some of them canonised Saints, that when
placed in positions of high dignity they kept
strictly to or improved on the humble ways of
their earlier life. This is true, in the fullest
sense, of Cardinal Franzelin. As Cardinal he
was not subject to any superior on earth but
the Sovereign Pontiff, and might have taken, had
he wished, a residence of his own. But when he
elected to live in a house of the Society, this
good Mother desired to treat him, her most dis
tinguished son, in a manner befitting his dignity.
But this he would not have. He had two
rather small rooms in one of which he studied,
took his meals, and slept and into the other
he went only to receive visitors. He got rid



i So CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

of carpets which had been laid down, but
allowed them to be replaced by some cheap,
rough matting-. He never permitted special
or exceptional things to be prepared for him,
even when he returned late from a congregation
or from the Vatican, and was quick to detect
any attempt to do so, showing his displeasure
at it, and always insisting on being served
with what was given to the community in the
refectory. He disliked anything new being
bought, or given to him he would use only
the ordinary things of the community ward
robe, and was ingenious in trying to get the
worst, and to make them, by mending, last the
longest. A servant, extolling the great virtue
of the Cardinal, used to say with emphasis,
" His cotton pocket-handkerchiefs are not good
enough to clean the lamps." A word from his
confessor, and the great respect he had for the
Sacred College, obliged him to renew now and
then his outer cardinalitial robes. This, how
ever, had always to be cleverly managed by a
lay brother, who reverently and lovingly looked
to his wants. Still, when the Cardinal saw the
bill and the expense gone to in his regard, he
used to complain of this having been done
without his knowledge or consent. The



CARDINAL 181

brother s ready answer was, " Had I spoken
to your Eminence beforehand, nothing would
have been done." His breviary was an old,
well-worn, small totuin, which he had as a
simple Jesuit, nor would he ever accept or use
a better one sent or offered to him. He also
kept up his novitiate practice of making the
most of slips and shreds of paper, and writing
as much on them as they could possibly hold.

In proportion, however, to his hard ways with
reference to himself were his kindness, gener
osity, and charity to others, believing, according
to the word of our Lord and the mind of the
greatest Fathers of the Church, that the easiest
and sweetest way to secure a favourable
sentence on Judgment Day is to now make the
Great Judge our debtor by being kind of
word and generous of heart and hand to the
poor, His special representatives. Nearly all
the money given to him as Cardinal by the
Pope went to religious and charitable pur
poses. He had a special devotion to the
foreign missions, and gave largely to them.
He was generous in his subscriptions on the
occasion of any public calamity, also to convents
reduced to want by the persecution and
injustice of the Government, as well as to



i82 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

distressed private families who applied to him,
or in some way were brought under his notice.
These he relieved, generally through their
parish priests. He helped bazaars and lotteries
got up for charitable purposes, but never took
the tickets. One memorandum found after his
death is evidence that on one occasion he gave
in charity within a few months nearly ^2000.
He did all this, as far as he could, without
allowing his name to appear.

Through the whole year, winter and summer,
he rose at 4 o clock ; at 5.30, immediately after
his meditation, he often went to his confessor,
and for the last two years of his life he did
so every morning ; nor would he ever allow-
though pressed to do so his confessor to come
to him, nor go in to confession before others,
even the youngest student, if he found him on
the corridor awaiting his turn. He celebrated
mass every morning at six, and always, kneeling,
heard another after his own. Though not

o

bound, he was always present at the religious
community duties or customs, such as the
domestic exhortations, the Litanies, and Bene
diction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. He
had also fixed times for his two examens,
spiritual reading, the Rosary, and other private



CARDINAL 183

devotions. Although he dined alone, he always
had his lay brother to read for him, and
insisted on the rules of the Society being read
as is the custom at the beginning of each
month. He took very little of what was laid
before him, and, when urged to take more, used
to say, " The student studies better with an
empty than a full stomach. He who has
the body full, has no wish to labour." He
fasted every Saturday through devotion to the
Ever-Blessed Virgin, his collation being a cup
of black coffee without bread ; for the last two
years of his life he did the same on every
Friday. He used the discipline and other
severe forms of corporal mortification, but in all
these things he submitted himself with great
humility to the guidance of his confessor.

The fact of a man constitutionally delicate,
and always a laborious worker, leading such a
life, and living to pass his seventieth year, is
rather disturbing to all who, in these easy
going days, seek or take, under the plea of
health, many dispensations.

Such was Cardinal Franzelin s private life ;
a true and perfect religious even when he was
not under obedience to any superior of the
Society.



1 84 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

A word now about the way in which he
discharged the public duties of his high office,
and this will show us that the hardest, most
laborious and anxious years of his life were
those of the Cardinalate. During the eleven
years he took only one recreation day, when he
drove out to the College of Mandragone to
preside at the distribution of prizes on two
other occasions he took a short drive outside
the Porta Pia. He gave himself" no real re
creation after dinner or supper except on three
or four great festival days, when he joined the
community for an hour. He never left the
house except to attend a congregation, to
assist at the Lenten and Advent sermons
preached before the Pope and his court in the
Vatican, or to discharge some duty of his
office ; and from one of these he never
absented himself, even after his health began
to seriously give way unless on one occasion,
in obedience to the Holy Father. Outside of
this his manner of life was given in two words
by one of his friends " Prayer and study,
study and prayer."

He never, however, allowed this solitary
recluse sort of life to interfere with what was
becoming. He received all who wished to



CARDINAL 185

visit him, but he quietly retired when the
requirements of business and politeness were
satisfied ; and all went away not only full of ad
miration for his wonderful gifts of mind and vast
knowledge, but edified also by his humility,
kindness, and charity. When driving to the
congregation or to the Vatican, he always said
at first a few prayers aloud together with his
faithful lay brother, and then gave all the rest
of the time, going and returning, to secret
prayer. He had also the habit of reciting
the " Psalmi Graduales " when going up the
steps to the house and to his room. Passing
through the city, he always wished to have the
blinds of the carriage windows down, like one
who was ashamed, as he really was, to be
seen in the dress of a Cardinal.

He was Consultor of various congregations,
and was named, much against his own will,
president of that of Indulgences. And perhaps
no cardinal was ever more efficient or helpful
than he, because of his great learning, prudence,
and industry. Countless were the questions,
difficulties, and "causes" given to him to
examine and report on. He himself read
and wrote his opinion on every one of them,
never using a secretary as all cardinals do, and
24



1 86 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

this, not only because it was his wish, but
also through the scrupulous fear he had of
violating in any way secrecy. Another very
delicate and laborious work, generally given
to him, and done with extreme care, was the
examination of the rules of many new religious
congregations which sought the approbation of
the Holy See. Labour with him was always
anxiety and suffering as well, on account of
his scrupulosity ; but when inclined to be
depressed, he found consolation in a word his
friend Cardinal Bilio once said to him : " Now
that you are a Cardinal, you should work
harder than ever you did before for the
Church." To labour for the Church, and to
suffer in doing so, was his comforting thought.
He found comfort also in having recourse to
God constantly by short ejaculatory prayers or
aspirations. This salutary habit he set himself
to acquire early. Within his particular examen
book was found a paper on which were written,
as early as 1835, a number of aspirations which
he was fond of using.

There is perhaps no habit which all of active
lives, whether of the sanctuary or of the world,
should labour to acquire more than this
favourite one of Cardinal Franzelin, nor one



CARDINAL 187

which will repay better the trouble and labour
of acquiring it. Without it, persons busy and
occupied with the cares, the worries, and work
of life, will scarcely be able to pray enough.
The person easiest to speak to in this world is
God. He is always with us, our lips as it were
at His ears, " in Him we live, and move, and
have our being"." It is easier to speak to Him
than to a person in the same room with us, as
He needs no articulate words ; a thought of
the mind, a desire of the heart, the lowest
whisper, is as known to Him as the loudest or
strongest cry. Besides, a person of a naturally
distracted temperament, who cannot say long
prayers with a recollected mind, can gather up
mind and heart for a moment now and then,
and send them straight to God in a few strong
words, without any danger of distraction. A
word so spoken is a real prayer, for the essence
of prayer is to think of God and speak to Him ;
as real, even if spoken in railway carriage,
crowded thoroughfare, busy mart, on restless
couch, or in ballroom, as if said on the knees
before the Blessed Sacrament ; a form of
prayer which has a clear sanction in Holy
Scripture, for we know how the " Lord, save
me," of Peter, the " Lord, save us, we perish,"



1 88 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

of the frightened disciples, " Lord, be merciful
to me a sinner," of the publican, and the
k< Lord, remember me when Thou comest into
Thy kingdom," of the robber, were answered.
God is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,
and we are as much in His mind and as dear
to Him as they were. The most occupied of
men could, if he have the good will, say any
number of such real prayers in his own simple
words every day without interfering with his
business or his recreation. Some one has said,
" If you wish to love God, talk to Him." And
the free pouring out of mind and heart, in all
one s moods, to any one, is evidence of great
friendship, of full trust in, and of love for that
person. Man should make God his friend
above all friends, and his lover above all lovers,
and this he will do if he acquire the habit of
going often to God, pouring out his mind and
heart ; his doubts, his anxieties, his sorrows,
his sufferings, his gratitude, his trust, his resigna
tion, his love, etc., to Him who alone is light
and strength and comfort, the only safe adviser
and the only true consoler.

The habit of making aspirations helps much
to keep a man united with God, to make him
walk and work as in His presence and under



CARDINAL 189

His influence ; whilst in the moment of
temptation an aspiration shot forth from the
heart is defeat to the tempter, and victory to
the tempted.

Although Cardinal Franzelin s work in con
nection with those congregations, and with
numerous and various questions of importance
referred to him day after clay, gave him full
occupation, he was still careful to keep him
self well informed on all current events which
touched Catholic countries or the Church. His
Italian biographer tells us that he surprised
some Irish bishops, who called to pay their
respects, by the full and accurate knowledge he
had of the state of their country. Speaking of
Ireland suggests a little incident and a word
spoken by Cardinal Franzelin which shows
the high estimate he had formed of the Irish
theological student. When acknowledging a
copy of an old Irish eighth-century litany
extracted from the Leabhar Breac, he writes :
" I have read with consolation of soul, and, I
may almost say, with admiration, the most
devout prayers of ancient Ireland to the Blessed
Virgin, translated into English and Latin,
which you so kindly sent me." Although he
spoke fluently four modern languages, English



190 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

was not one of them ; but we have his own word
that he sufficiently understood it to read the
works of Cardinal Newman and to enjoy them.
Before the year 1848, the students of
the Irish College went for lectures to the
Roman, where Father Franzelin knew many
of them as his fellow-scholars, and spoke of
them by name years after. In 1848 the Roman
College was closed for two years, the Irish
students went to the Propaganda, and never
after returned. This was a cause of real regret
to Father General Beckx, and of sorrow as well
to Father Franzelin, who, as professor, wished
to have them in his school. Once, when
speaking to a friend, from whom we have the
incident, of how much he felt their absence, he
added : " I am a German myself, and I hold in
high esteem the German students, particularly,
for their spirit of hard study, but in all my
experience I have never met with any head for
theology equal to the Irish." The compliment
will be considered all the greater if we bear in
mind that Cardinal Franzelin was not given to
speaking words of praise or to paying compli
ments ; his words, when he did speak, were
always the simple expression of his mind and
its convictions. He had no human respect, at



CARDINAL 191

least in its bad sense, nay, at times he was too
bold and outspoken. We have seen something
of this in the way in which he spoke to his
superiors, to Cardinal Bilio and even to Pius
IX. We have another instance in a little
episode which happened not long before his
death. Pope Leo XIII. said to him, in the
presence of some members of the Sacred
College, and in a most gracious manner, that
he was about to elevate another Jesuit, Father
Mazzella, to the Cardinalate. Cardinal Franzelin
was in the moment on the defensive, saying,
"It is against the constitutions of St. Ignatius
and against the spirit of the Society " ; but
when the Holy Father rejoined, " Is not obedi
ence to the Pope part of those constitutions ? "
he became at once silent and humiliated. Not,
however, without edification to those who wit
nessed the little scene.

His life as Cardinal was the same, day after
day, for the eleven years prayer, study, and
work.

In the Lent of 1886 his health, never robust,
began seriously to give way ; so much so, that
the Pope commanded him not to attend in
person, but to send his vote, opinion, or report
in writing. After a fortnight s rest, he thought



192 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

he was strong enough to resume work, and was
no longer bound by the command of the Pope.
In this mind he asked an audience, and pressed
the Holy Father, in a rather free and frank
manner, to release him. This came of his
scrupulosity, his dread of being- wanting to
duty or of being made too much of by others.
In the month of October, a month before his
death-sickness set in, he fulfilled with extreme
care and tender devotion all the conditions for
gaining the jubilee. He had his faithful lay
brother and servant with him when making the
visits to the churches, and he himself instructed
the latter how to gain this great indulgence.



CHAPTER X

LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH

WE come now to the closing scenes of his life.
Monday, December 6, 1886, was one of the
days on which the congregation of the Pro
paganda met. The Cardinal, however, seemed
so unwell and weak, that the Brother Infirmarian
expressed a wish that His Eminence would not
go, but he answered, " Brother, if you take from
me the congregations, you will take from me
my life"; and when his servant most respectfully
put in a word, he said, after a few moments of
reflection, " Let us go, it is better that we
should " ; and he did go. He returned so ex
hausted, that he had to be carried to his room,
where, however, he went through the day s
work as usual.

The next day, the vigil of the Immaculate Con
ception, he went to the Vatican, to be present
at the sermon. On the feast day he was
induced by his confessor to receive a visit from
25



194 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

the physician, whom he begged to tell the whole
truth. The latter did so, saying- that he could
not cure him, but that with care his life might
be prolonged for some time. This word had
for effect a resolve on the part of the Cardinal
to give the remainder of his life more gener
ously than ever to the service of God and
His Church. The same evening he wished to
give Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacra
ment in the domestic chapel, and did so, but
with difficulty because of his great weakness.
Superiors did not wish to interfere with his
pious desire, knowing that it would pain him, as
he had a very special devotion to the Blessed
Virgin under this title. Years before, when
Professor of Scripture and Hebrew in Vals, he
lithographed a very learned dissertation on the
Scripture proof of this dogma, and he always
said the votive mass of the Immaculate Con
ception on Saturday, and on nearly all other
days when the rubric allowed it. On the gth
of December, he attended the congregation of
the Holy Office, but returned from it in a very
weak and exhausted state. Still he would not
give in, or rather, he could not realise the serious
ness of his condition, for the same evening about
seven o clock he was seen at the door of his



LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH 195

confessor s room, waiting, as a student was within,
according to a custom from which the kindness
or politeness of others could never induce him
to depart. Two hours afterwards he returned
to his confessor, but so weak that the latter did
not wish him to kneel, and could secure this
only by expressing a fear that if he did not
spare himself, he would not be able to say mass
next day. Nor was he.

He attempted to get up at his usual hour,
four, on the morning of the loth, but was
unable to do so. When his confessor, having
heard of his state, came to him, the Cardinal
said, " I did my best to arise, but, had I not at
once lain down, I should have fallen on the
floor" ; adding with great simplicity, " I do not
know how it is that all in a moment I have
lost my strength." The doctor, who was at
hand, came immediately to see him, reported
that he was suffering from bronchial paralysis,
and recommended that he should receive the
Last Sacraments. When thequestion of nourish
ment was touched on, he insisted on fasting
fare, as it was Friday in Advent, and the doctor
thought it best to yield somewhat to him. He
did not wish to accept a dispensation from the
Divine Office, but begged to have it commuted



196 CARDINAL FRANZ ELI N

into certain aspirations which he and his con
fessor said together. He also substituted these
for the Rosary and other prayers he was in
the habit of saying every day.

He was now well repaid for the care and
labour with which he had trained himself to the
habit of ejaculatory prayer, for, were it not for
this, he would have found himself without the
most powerful of helps in the most trying hours
of his life, as no other manner of prayer was
possible. It is well, therefore, to use patiently
the means of acquiring this habit, that we may
not be without prayer when we shall need it
most.

In the course of the day he asked for writing
materials, and with difficulty wrote the address
of a poor person who was in want, ordering an
alms to be sent; these were his last written
words. Owing to a scruple he had of receiving
the Holy Viaticum not fasting, he asked to
have it deferred till the next morning. But at
a word from his confessor he acquiesced, and
at once set himself to prepare for it. On the
Father Rector informing the community of the
Cardinal s alarming state, all assembled in the
domestic chapel to pray for him, and to accom
pany the Rector when bearing the Blessed



LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH 197

Sacrament to his room. Just as the latter was
about to enter, the Cardinal, making a painful
effort, raised himself up, stretched forth his
arms as one wishing to fly to the embrace of
his Divine Guest, saying again and again with
loud voice and the most tender devotion, "O
good Jesus, O good Jesus, I believe in Thee,
I hope in Thee, I love Thee I love Thee
above all, above all." He then said the Con-
fiteor and the Domine non sum dignus distinctly
and earnestly, but not without difficulty, owing
to his exhausted state. Having most rever
ently received our Lord, he again broke out
into the aspirations, "O good Jesus," etc.,
ending with the psalm Miserere.

When one thinks of those golden treatises
which he wrote on The Incarnation, The
Eucharist, and The Sacrifice of the Mass,
may we not fairly suppose that in the Sacred
Heart of our Lord was the thought, and on
His living lips the words once spoken to
the angelic doctor, "John Baptist, thou hast
written well of me," and that He came to him,
with more than ordinary love and joy, to be
his "reward exceeding great" for ever.

Leo XIII., on hearing of the Cardinal s
critical condition, not only sent him words of



198 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

affection and comfort by telephone, but also
sent one of his Monsignori to visit him, to
impart the apostolic benediction, and to report
to himself of his state. When the Monsignore
gave the Papal message, the Cardinal said
with great feeling, " 1 cast myself at the feet
of His Holiness to thank him for this act of
condescension in sending your reverence to
inquire for me and to give me his blessing."
He then added, "The Holy Father knows
that I am Prefect of the Congregation of
Indulgences, but as I ^m unable to discharge
its duties, may I ask you to beg of His Holiness
to appoint another in my place. I am also
Consultor of different congregations, and I have
private papers belonging to them ; I would not
like to make a suggestion, but if the Holy
Father wish, he could send a confidential person
to take and bring them, each to the dignitary
authorised to receive such documents." He
also asked him to do the kindness of calling on
the Cardinal Secretary of State, and informing
him that he could not attend the congregation
to be held in the Vatican on the following day.
The Monsignore, seeing him so weak, and yet
so anxious to impress on him and even to
repeat the requests just made, kindly said,



LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH 199

"Eminence, you may command me not only as
Cardinal, but also as my old professor ; but I
remember all your Eminence has said to me,
and now watch me whilst I repeat them." He
did so one by one, and promised to most care
fully execute his commissions. The Cardinal
was then satisfied, thanked the Monsignore in
the most gracious manner for his kindness, and
ended by saying, " I cast myself at the feet of
the Holy Father."

He passed a sleepless night, suffering much
from fits of violent coughing, but pouring forth
his soul in frequent aspirations, repeating
oftenest " Jesu miserere." At midnight he
asked for his beads and struggled through the
saying of them. At 5 A.M. the Brother Infirm-
arian brought him a soothing draught, which he
took, and then begged that the lamp be taken
away and that he be left alone. The Brother
obeyed, but when a few steps from the room,
startled by noise, he returned at once and
knocked. The Cardinal answered, "Do not
come in, do not come in " ; but the Brother,
having partly opened the door, saw him kneeling
on the floor absorbed in prayer. Not to sadden
him, he left him so, but, returning after a short
time, he found that he had of himself returned



200 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

to his bed. Soon after he expressed a wish to
receive Holy Communion, but moved not so
much a difficulty as a scruple about doing so
not fasting ; but the moment his confessor
settled the question, his obedience was, as
usual, prompt and perfect. He then received
Our Lord from the hands of the Father Rector
with all the devotion and fervour of the pre
ceding evening.

In the course of the day, the Very Rev.
Father Beckx, General of the Society, came
to visit him. This venerable and venerated
father, now well past his ninetieth year, had
resigned, a short time before, the government
of the Society into the hands of the late Very
Rev. Father Anderledy, who was appointed in
1883 Vicar, with right of succession. Father
Beckx, on leaving Fiesole, selected as did
Cardinal Franzelin St. Andrew s as his home,
but when obliged, because of the Government
occupation, to leave the house, he retired to the
German College. On entering, he wished to
kiss the hand of his dying son, but the latter
would not allow this, and said at once, " Father
General, I ask pardon for all the sins of my life,
pardon for all the scandal I have given in my
religious life," and then repeated thrice, " God be



LAST SICKNESS AND DEATH 201

merciful to me a sinner." His Paternity
gently answered, saying, " I am certain that all
will be well with you; God will be merciful to
you and loving." These words comforted him,
and turned his thoughts from acts of contrition
to acts of love, for he repeated six times the
ejaculation, "Good Jesus, I love Thee above
all." On the Father General leaving the room,
his brother of the Society and of the Sacred
College, Cardinal Mazzella, visited him. He re
cognised him at once, and said, "Eminenza, come
sta?" and on Cardinal Mazzella saying, "I should
rather ask how you are," he answered on the
moment, " Commend me to the mercy of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus." The Father General
wished to remain, but was induced to leave by
Cardinal Mazzella, who promised to stay until
His Paternity would return later, determined,
however, not to leave till the end came. He was
soon after joined by the Rev. Father Provincial
and the Procurator-General of the Society.

Towards ten o clock the dying Cardinal asked
for his confessor, and expressed a wish to receive
the plenary indulgence in articulo mortis,
adding with great simplicity and humility,
" But am I rightly disposed? Please assist me to

make the acts prescribed by Benedict XIV."

26



202 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

He repeated the Confiteor and the other
prayers along with his confessor, and then, with
painful effort, made the following ejaculations :
" Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I love Thee above all."
" Abide in me." " Thou hast chosen me."
Paler Noster to the end of the prayer. " I
believe firmly, fully, perfectly," Pater Noster,
etc. " I am sorry, I am sorry, I believe."
" Without Me you can do nothing. It is
so, O Lord, but with Thy grace and love I can
do all things. I love Thee above all." He
tried to say the canonical hours, which he had
by heart, but this his confessor forbade as too
much for him.

After some time his voice failed, but his
lips continued to move in prayer. The Holy
Father sent him again the apostolic benedic
tion, and Cardinal Monaco La Valetta came to
visit him, also the Secretary of the Congregation
of Indulgences, of which Cardinal Franzelin was
President. Cardinal La Valetta, who held him
in the greatest esteem and affection, was so
sensibly affected by the sight of his dear friend,
that he could not speak. When asked to
impart the Papal benediction, he could use no
form of words, but raised his hand, made the sign
of the Cross, and left the room weeping bitterly.



OBSEQUIES 203

Towards midday the Cardinal fell into what
could scarcely be called an agony. His con
fessor began to recite the prayers for a soul
departing, Cardinal Mazzella gave him again
and again the Crucifix to kiss. The Father
Rector held the blessed candle in his hand, whilst
the rest of the community and the students of
the college joined in the prayers. On the nth
of December, at twenty-two minutes after one,
Cardinal Franzelin went to God, to receive that
eternal rest, peace, happiness, and glory which
he had well merited by his life of great labour
and great suffering sanctified by great holiness.

One of the last expressed wishes of the Cardinal
was, that the funeral honours rendered to car
dinals would be dispensed with, and those only
of the Society be given to him. But the Holy
Father, whilst not interfering with the simple
obsequies of the order, commanded that he
should be honoured according to his rank.

The reception - room was therefore made a
chapelle ardente, and within it was laid the body
of the deceased Cardinal, vested as the rubrics
required. The students of the college, who
begged as a great privilege to be allowed to
attend and carry the sacred remains, recited in
relays the Office of the Dead ; and fourteen of



204 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

them who were preparing for ordination came
again and again to pray, and to look on the
face of him who, though dead, spoke to them
of the life which those consecrated to God in
the sanctuary should lead. Bishops, prelates,
dignitaries, and students from the different
colleges came in large numbers to pray beside
his remains and to kiss his hand in taking leave
of him.

The following morning the remains were
borne by the students to the domestic chapel,
where the Rev. Father Provincial, Father
Rector, and community, fathers from other
houses, the students of the college, and some
from the Gregorian University, were assembled
to receive them. The Office of the Dead was
recited without chant, and a low mass de requiem,
followed by the Absolution, was celebrated by
the Rev. Father Provincial, according to the
rule of the Society. It was thought prudent
not to tell the Very Rev. Father General Beckx
of this function, as, notwithstanding his ninety-
two years and the severity of the season, he
would have insisted on being present. Later
on, His Paternity came and prayed for an hour
by the side of his dead son.

The body was carried the same evening


Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:35 pm
Profile E-mail
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 4334
New post Re: Life of John Baptist, Cardinal Franzelin
OBSEQUIES 205

down to the Church of St. Andrew, and left for
a short time before the high altar, and thence
to the parochial Church of St. Bernard alle
Terme, where the Absolution was again given.
Finally, it was borne to the Campo Verano,
St. Laurence, outside the walls, and laid in the
vault of the Society, side by side with the
remains of Cardinal Camillo Tarquini, S.J.

On Wednesday the I5th the solemn funeral
obsequies were celebrated in the Church of
St. Bernard with impressive splendour. There
were present sixteen cardinals, the largest
number seen for years at such a function, the
ambassadors of Austria, Spain, and Belgium,
bishops, prelates, members of various orders
and congregations, and students from nearly
all the colleges of Rome. To the Venerable
Father General Beckx was assigned a place
of special honour. A very touching sight
were the blind children of the Institute of St.
Alexius, which was the church of the deceased
Cardinal s title, and to which he had been a
most generous benefactor.

We read that an Fastern king once pressed
a pagan philosopher, who had been witness of
his wealth, power, and glory, to say was he
not the happiest of men, to whom the sage



2o6 CARDINAL FRANZEL1N

answered that he should wait till he saw the
end ; and a Father of the Church has said,
" Laudapost vitam, magnifica post consumma-
tionem." " Praise and glorify a man after he
has died." Cardinal Franzelin was at the
Vatican on the Qth, and died on the nth of
December. Hence comparatively few knew of
his illness, and his death was a surprise and a
shock to very many in Rome. This naturally
caused a greater flow of thought and word
about him than generally sets in when even a
remarkable man dies. His brother cardinals,
in a very special manner, bore testimony to his
having succeeded in the two purposes of his
life, great holiness and great learning. They
spoke of him as not needing the masses which
they celebrated, as they believed him to be with
God in heaven ; they spoke of the fact that he
was never absent from a congregation or a
sermon, also of the full, accurate, minute, and
learned manner in which he treated every
question submitted to him, and that his death
was a great loss to the Church.

The Venerable Cardinal Massaia, the Apostle
of Abyssinia, spoke of the perfect way in which
he did his work in the congregations, and then
said with great feeling, " Oh, what a great loss



AFTER-DEATH TESTIMONY 207

to the Church is the death of good Franzelin !
My great age and infirmities do not allow me
to leave my house except two or three times a
year, to pay my respects to the Holy Father,
although His Holiness has dispensed me even
in this : nevertheless, I wished to be present at
the obsequies of Cardinal Franzelin." He then
broke out in praise of his religious life, ending
with the following words : "I have always felt
myself fascinated by his holiness and his
learning." His confessor and spiritual guide
for eight years said openly that he never
could find any matter for absolution ; and
in writing to the Rev. Father Provincial
of Naples, the same Father said : " Oh, how
much he suffered ! He was in truth a hidden
martyr. Intent solely on promoting the glory of
God and the good of the Church, he laboured,
heedless of health and of life, up to the very
day before his death."

Countless were the letters of sympathy and
condolence which the Venerable Father General
received, particularly from those cardinals who
could not attend the obsequies, as well as from
other eminent dignitaries of the Church. The
Very Rev. Father Nicholas Canevallo, Abbot
General of the Benedictines of the Cassinese



208 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Congregation of Primitive Observance, wrote as
follows :

" MOST ILLUSTRIOUS AND MOST REVEREND
FATHER, Permit me by this letter to discharge
a duty which my great esteem of the Society
and gratitude have imposed on me. I have just
heard of the death of His Eminence Cardinal
John Baptist Franzelin, a most worthy son of
the Society, and an illustrious member of the
Sacred College. I know what a great loss he
is to both, and the great sorrow which his death
has brought to your Paternity. Please accept for
yourself and the whole order my most sincere
sympathy. Although he was ripe for heaven,
still the Church, religion, and all good men,
who admired his precious gifts of head and
heart, expected and hoped to receive help and
assistance from him for yet many years. But
God has decreed otherwise, and I, adoring in
all humility of heart God s Holy Will, wish to
share your great sorrow. Our congregation
has reasons altogether special for taking part
in this mourning for the deceased Cardinal,
bound as it is to him by the ties of reverence
and gratitude. He was for some years member
of a commission of cardinals to which were



AFTER-DEATH TESTIMONY 209

committed the affairs of our congregation, and
I cannot tell you the unwearied care and zeal
with which he laboured for our good. We
must also heartily acknowledge that the favours
granted to us by the Holy See were due to his
uprightness and influence. He presided with
great prudence and wisdom at our general
chapter, held in 1880, in circumstances of the
highest importance to us. Great therefore is
the debt of our gratitude and the sorrow of our
hearts. To manifest this I thought it a duty
to give His Eminence letters of affiliation to our
order, and I have directed that the usual masses
and suffrages be offered for the repose of his
soul in all our houses. With sentiments of
the most profound esteem and reverence, I
remain, your humble and devoted servant,

" D. NICOLA CANEVALLO, O.S.B.,
Abbot General.

Subiaco dal Proto Monastero di S. Scolastica,
\4,th December 1886.

The Rev. Father Provincial of Rome, in his
circular letter ordering the usual number of
masses to be said for the repose of his soul,
briefly reviewed his life, and alluded to the

great fame he won as Professor, to the " illus-

27



210 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

trious monuments of wisdom and sacred learning
which he had left after him," to the services he
rendered to the Church in various congregations,
and in the Vatican Council ; also to the fact
that he was called by Pius IX. to the Sacred
College on account " of his eminent merits of
holiness and learning." The Catholic news
papers had very eulogistic articles ; one of
which, taken from the Osservatore Cattolico
of Milan, December 12, 1886, was as follows:
" A great theologian and Cardinal is dead.
As theologian he perpetuated the glorious
traditions of De Lugo, Vasquez, Bellarmine,
Toletus, etc. His theological treatises will
never die. That De Traditione is classical, and
it would be impossible to tell the great gain it
has been to theology. He was a most learned,
subtile, and deep examiner of Catholic dogmas,
and has thrown new light on some of them by
his explanation and treatment. He had so
studied and meditated on the Fathers of the
Church, that he made them his own. One
always reads his treatises, De Sacramentis,
De Deo Uno et Trino, with profit and delight,
whilst that De Eucharistia is written with
such unction that one is tempted to read it
kneeling, and to take from it the points of his



AFTER-DEATH TESTIMONY 211

daily meditation. His works reflect at once
his vigorous conceptions, his elevated thoughts,
his great mind, as well as his intense love of
truth, of the Church, and of sacred things.
They are also well calculated to nourish these
sentiments and feelings in others. The name
and works of the deceased Cardinal are not only
well known and prized by his many scholars
in Italy who admire and love him, but far and
wide outside it, particularly in Germany, where
they have already produced good fruit and won
many victories over heresy."

Ten years before, the following emphatic
testimony was borne in the Dublin Review of
April 1876, in the article entitled " Tradition and
Papal Infallibility," written by one of the greatest
men of the century, and though a layman, a
distinguished theologian and Professor of Theo
logy, Dr. William George Ward. "We have
more than once expressed our humble opinion
that Cardinal Franzelin is the greatest of living
Catholic theologians, and we feel it specially
opportune that our article should appear at a
moment when his numerous pupils and ad
mirers are jubilant at his recent elevation."

The Holy Father, Leo XIII., took Cardinal
Mazzella aside a day or two after Cardinal



212 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

Franzelin s death, and said to him : " Eminence,
you assisted Cardinal Franzelin when dying.
Do tell me all about him. I feel deeply his loss.
This morning I celebrated mass for his blessed
soul. As Cardinal, I saw him only a few times,
and had no intimate knowledge of him, but as
Pope I came to know him well. I admired in
him the gifts of God, his learning and his
prudence ; but these were natural gifts what I
admired more was his profound humility. He
used to come to me like a child and speak out
his scruples, anxieties, and troubles ; but more,
he would tell me things to lower and humiliate
himself, often saying, Holy Father, I place my
soul in your hands, look to the saving of it.
I used to do my best to comfort and console
him ; but the truth is, this holy man never
came to me that he did not increase my esteem
and admiration of him."

The moral of Cardinal Franzelin s life is
easily read, if we study it side by side with the
strict obligation under which every man lies of
coming home to the Great Father who created
him and placed him in this world for a short
time, that he might return to and be happy
with Him for eternity. This is not only the
solemn duty of man, but in a certain sense his



CONCLUSION 213

only duty ; because all things else should, in
some way or other, be directed to the right fulfil
ment and accomplishment of it. But more, God
has commanded that we merit and secure this
coming home to Him by a perfection of life,
similar to His own, according to each one s state.

St. Leo the Great in one of his sermons
asserts that the natural dignity of man of man
made to the image and likeness of God is
placed in imitating his Creator and reflecting in
himself, as in a mirror, the divine beauty and
goodness. St. Gregory the Great expresses
the same truth when he writes, that man s true
nobility is likeness to God, and the greater the
likeness the greater the nobility. St. John Chry-
sostom is of the same mind ; for he preaches
that all Christians, secular and religious, are
bound to strive to be perfect, each in his own
state and office : whilst our own St. Malachy
puts it well in a few words when he says, "In
vain am I a Christian if I imitate not Christ."

These Fathers of the Church prove the truth
of this proposition by the highest testimony,
that of God Himself, who commands us to
be perfect even as "our Father in heaven is
perfect," "to be followers of God as most dear
children," "to walk even as He walked," "holy



214 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

in all manner of conversation," "without spot
before the Lord," and who gives as reason for our
being so, that He Himself is perfect and holy.

Those lights of the Church also insist that
these and similar divine commands were given
to the faithful generally, and made perfection
according to their state as obligatory on them
as on priests and religious. Perfection does not
consist in the state, nor is it worked out by the
state, but in such co-operation with grace as
will make one do the holy will of God in that
state in which He has placed him ; and the
more perfectly this is done, the greater the
perfection. These eminent teachers prove this,
when speaking or writing of the Ever-Blessed
Virgin. Some of them do so when com
menting on the words which our Lord spoke
to the woman who cried out, " Blessed is the
womb that bore Thee and the paps that gave
Thee suck," " Yea, rather blessed are they who
hear the word of God and keep it."

When glorifying the Blessed Mother of God,
they assert that she won her crown not by
being the Mother of God, an office which she
could not merit, and God could not as such
reward, but she merited it by so co-operating
with grace that she kept the word and did the



CONCLUSION 215

will of God. She came to the highest place in
holiness, in power, and in glory, because she
most perfectly co-operated with the greatest
graces given to her in view of her highest state
and office; just as we shall win our places by
our co-operation with the lesser graces given to
us in view of ours. " More blessed was Mary,"
says St. Austin, " in receiving Christ s faith than
in conceiving Christ s flesh." St. Chrysostom,
supposing an impossible case, declares that she
would not have been blessed, though she had
borne Him in her body, had she not heard
the word of God and kept it. And Cardinal
Newman, not unworthy to be cited side by side
with such men, adds to their words his own
when he writes : " Mary has been made more
glorious in her person than in her office ; her
purity is a higher gift than her relationship
with God." Does not the Ever-Blessed Mary
seem to say all this, when she speaks of herself
as the humble handmaid of the Lord ?

Hence, as the habit does not make the
monk, nor the monk the saint, and as personal
holiness does not necessarily depend on
state, but on grace and co-operation with it, it
follows that persons living in the world who
have greater temptations and less protections,



216 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

greater trials and less helps, in a word, greater
difficulties in the way of perfection and less
graces than priests or religious, can become holier
than either by a more exact and more perfect co
operation with grace, and a more industrious use
of the means to increase it, than these others
practise. " It is not the religious order," writes
St. Vincent de Paul, that makes the saint, but
the care persons called to it take to perfect
themselves." Priests and religious are bound
to be, and as a rule are, holier and more perfect
than seculars ; still there is nothing to prevent
a secular, who is more earnest and devoted to
the work of his own sanctification, from becom
ing holier and more perfect than either. What
a very consoling and encouraging truth this is,
not only for those living in the world, but for
those also whose great work it is to make even
them " perfect, failing in nothing in all the will
of God."

Our Lord speaks rather contemptuously of
those who do only things which give them
pleasure, or at least cost them nothing, such as
saluting and loving only those who salute and
love them, of those who hear the word, but
do not do it. Nay, more, He declares that the
unfailing test of true holiness, perfection, and


CONCLUSION 217

love is not hearing or speaking the word, but
doing it, is not knowing the commandments
by heart, but keeping them, and that no man
can be His disciple who does not imitate Him
in self-denial and the bearing of His cross.
Speaking and hearing striking things of God s
law and will, beautiful and affectionate things
of our Lord, are very easy indeed compared
to the doing of His word and His will, to the
carrying of His cross.

Hard things coming to us through God s
ever-blessed providence, permissive or positive,
when supernaturally borne, are the great high
road to perfection and love as well as the test-
proof of both. Our Lord seems to preach this
when, being told that " His mother and brethren
stood without seeking Him," He answered
him that told Him, saying, " Whosoever shall
do the will of My Father who is in heaven, he
is My brother, and sister, and mother." When
He wished to give evidence to all men and all
time of His love for God, He gives it in His
obedience to the word and will of His Father,
the hardest, the most trying, the most suffering,
the most terrible, ever imposed upon man.
For did He not say at the Last Supper : " That

all men may know that I love the Father, and

28



218 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

as the Father hath given Me commandment,
so do I. Arise, let us go hence." Go hence
where and for what ? To meet and embrace
His passion, and to bear it silently, sweetly,
patiently, and resignedly to the end ; to drink
without even a look of distaste and to the
dregs, the bitter chalice which His Father gave
Him ; and at last to lovingly commend His
spirit into those very hands which " had struck
Him for the sins of His people," struck Him on
to death. Keeping this unfailing test of real
perfection and love in mind, is there any
priest or religious who has come much in
contact with souls but must admit, not in mock
pharisaical humility, but in very truth, that he
has met with some persons living in the world
far holier than himself? There is one at least
who could safely give an affirmative answer to
this question.

As God does not command impossibilities,
a perfection divine after the manner and like
ness of God is not only possible to fallen man,
but it is the dignity and the nobility which he
is bound to ambition and to secure. It is not
only possible, but in a true sense easy, because
God, in His infinite mercy, tenderness, and
compassion, came Himself to make it so. He



CONCLUSION 219

came Himself in our lowly nature, " in all
things like to us, without sin," " tried even as
we are," and " learning" obedience in suffering,"
the great High Priest who sanctified Himself
for His brethren. He is the power of holiness
and perfection by the grace He won for us at
such cost to Himself, and He is the exemplar
and pattern of holiness and perfection to all
men by His example. He is the Way, the
Truth, and the Life ; and no one can come home
to the Father except through Him. "To us,"
writes the inspired apostle, " there is but one
God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we
unto Him, and our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom
are all things, and we by Him." Our Lord
said to His apostles, and through them to His
Church of all time : "As the Father hath sent
me, I send you " to do what ? to reconcile and
bring home all men perishing and lost to the
Father.

His grace is the power and His life the
model of holiness. We know the latter, for He
lives " the seen of men " in the New Testament ;
and we can get the former by rightly asking
for it.

So did Cardinal Franzelin. From the
beginning, without a break, to the end he



220 CARDINAL FRANZELIN

most carefully used the means by which he
kept his soul filled with the grace of God
through Jesus Christ, who is the Life, and in
the light and strength of this power he made
himself like to his divine exemplar. He lived
and walked and worked after the manner
of Him who is the Way and the Truth.
" He did all things well," even to the drinking
of the bitter chalice which his Father gave
him.

His life suggests the thought that he carried
his baptismal robe without stain to the judg
ment seat of God. His brother cardinals
seemed to think that the masses said by them
on his death were not needed by him, but went
in their fruit to the souls in purgatory. May
we not therefore think, if not believe, that he
who here, though through a glass in a dark
manner," looked with more than ordinary in
sight and clearness into the nature of God One
and Three, and into the nature of His Divine
Son in the flesh and in the adorable Sacra
ment and Sacrifice, and taught others to do so,
now "face to face" intercedes with more than
ordinary power intercedes for the Church
and the Society of Jesus, both of which he
loved, honoured, and glorified, and for his old



CONCLUSION 221

scholars, with whom his name is a sacred and
treasured memory, and who owe more than
words could tell to the perfection of his
teaching and to the perfection of his example ?
May he do so for one of them who has had in
life no sweeter labour, no greater pleasure, than
to place this tribute, poor though it be, with
grateful, loving, and reverent hand on his
tomb.



THE END



M. H. GII.L AND SON, DUBLIN.



PUBLISHED + WORKS



OF



His EMINENCE CARDINAL FRANZELIN, s.j.



TREATISE DE DIVINA TRADITIONE ET SCRIPTURA.
DE DEO UNO SECUNDUM NATURAM.

DE DEO TRINO SECUNDUM PERSONAS.
DE VERBO INCARNATO.

,, DE SACRAMENTIS IN GEN ERE.

,, DE SS. EUCHARISTI.-E SACRAMENTO ET

SACRIFICIO.

,, DE ECCLESIA.

,, ON THE GENUINENESS OF THE VERSE OF ST.

JOHN, " TRES SUNT QUI TESTIMONIUM

DA NT IN CCELO" ETC.



EXAMINATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF MACARIUS, RUSSIAN

SCHISMATICAL B IS HOP, AND OF JOSEPH LANG EN

OF BONN, DE PROCESSIONE SPIRITUS SANCTI.



WALSH, Nicholas.

John Baptist Franzelin.


Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:36 pm
Profile E-mail
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forums/DivisionCore.