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List Of Contents | Contents of Saunterings, by Charles Dudley Warner
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an idea of the height of this pretension if I translate a passage
which the liberal journal here takes from a sermon preached in the
parish church of Ebersburg, in Ober-Dorfen, by a priest, Herr
Kooperator Anton Hiring, no longer ago than August 16, 1868.  It
reads: "With the power of absolution, Christ has endued the
priesthood with a might which is terrible to hell, and against which
Lucifer himself cannot stand,-a might which, indeed, reaches over
into eternity, where all other earthly powers find their limit and
end,--a might, I say, which is able to break the fetters which, for
an eternity, were forged through the commission of heavy sin.  Yes,
further, this Power of the forgiveness of sins makes the priest, in a
certain measure, a second God; for God alone naturally can forgive
sins.  And yet this is not the highest reach of the priestly might:
his power reaches still higher; he compels God himself to serve him.
How so?  When the priest approaches the altar, in order to bring
there the holy mass-offering, there, at that moment, lifts himself up
Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Father, upon his
throne, in order to be ready for the beck of his priests upon earth.
And scarcely does the priest begin the words of consecration, than
there Christ already hovers, surrounded by the heavenly host, come
down from heaven to earth, and to the altar of sacrifice, and
changes, upon the words of the priest, the bread and wine into his
holy flesh and blood, and permits himself then to be taken up and to
lie in the hands of the priest, even though the priest is the most
sinful and the most unworthy.  Further, his power surpasses that of
the highest archangels, and of the Queen of Heaven.  Right did the
holy Franciscus say, 'If I should meet a priest and an angel at the
same time, I should salute the priest first, and then the angel;
because the priest is possessed of far higher might and holiness than
the angel.'"

The radical journal calls this "ultramontane blasphemy," and, the day
after quoting it, adds a charge that must be still more annoying to
the Herr Kooperator Hiring than that of blasphemy: it accuses him of
plagiarism; and, to substantiate the charge, quotes almost the very
same language from a sermon preached in 1785--In this it is boldly
claimed that "in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, there is
nothing mightier than a priest, except God; and, to be exact, God
himself must obey the priest in the mass."  And then, in words which
I do not care to translate, the priest is made greater than the
Virgin Mary, because Christ was only born of the Virgin once, while
the priest "with five words, as often and wherever he will," can
"bring forth the Saviour of the world." So to-day keeps firm hold of
the traditions of a hundred years ago, and ultramontanism wisely
defends the last citadel where the Middle Age superstition makes a
stand,--the popular veneration for the clergy.

And the clergy take good care to keep up the pomps and shows even
here in skeptical Munich.  It was my inestimable privilege the other
morning--it was All-Saints' Day--to see the archbishop in the old
Frauenkirche, the ancient cathedral, where hang tattered banners that
were captured from the Turks three centuries ago,--to see him seated
in the choir, overlooked by saints and apostles carved in wood by
some forgotten artist of the fifteenth century.  I supposed he was at
least an archbishop, from the retinue of priests who attended and
served him, and also from his great size.  When he sat down, it
required a dignitary of considerable rank to put on his hat; and when
he arose to speak a few precious words, the effect was visible a good
many yards from where he stood.  At the close of the service he went
in great state down the center aisle, preceded by the gorgeous
beadle--a character that is always awe-inspiring to me in these
churches, being a cross between a magnificent drum-major and a verger
and two persons in livery, and followed by a train of splendidly
attired priests, six of whom bore up his long train of purple silk.
The whole cortege was resplendent in embroidery and ermine; and as
the great man swept out of my sight, and was carried on a priestly
wave into his shining carriage, and the noble footman jumped up
behind, and he rolled away to his dinner, I stood leaning against a
pillar, and reflected if it could be possible that that religion
could be anything but genuine which had so much genuine ermine.  And
the organ-notes, rolling down the arches, seemed to me to have a very
ultramontane sound.




CHANGING QUARTERS

Perhaps it may not interest you to know how we moved, that is,
changed our apartments.  I did not see it mentioned in the cable
dispatches, and it may not be generally known, even in Germany; but
then, the cable is so occupied with relating how his Serenity this,
and his Highness that, and her Loftiness the other one, went outdoors
and came in again, owing to a slight superfluity of the liquid
element in the atmosphere, that it has no time to notice the real
movements of the people.  And yet, so dry are some of these little
German newspapers of news, that it is refreshing to read, now and
then, that the king, on Sunday, walked out with the Duke of Hesse
after dinner (one would like to know if they also had sauerkraut and
sausage), and that his prospective mother-in-law, the Empress of
Russia, who was here the other day, on her way home from Como, where
she was nearly drowned out by the inundation, sat for an hour on
Sunday night, after the opera, in the winter garden of the palace,
enjoying the most easy family intercourse.

But about moving.  Let me tell you that to change quarters in the
face of a Munich winter, which arrives here the 1st of November, is
like changing front to the enemy just before a battle; and if we had
perished in the attempt, it might have been put upon our monuments,
as it is upon the out-of-cannon-cast obelisk in the Karolina Platz,
erected to the memory of the thirty thousand Bavarian soldiers who
fell in the disastrous Russian winter campaign of Napoleon, fighting
against all the interests of Germany,--"they, too, died for their
Fatherland."  Bavaria happened also to fight on the wrong side at
Sadowa and I suppose that those who fell there also died for
Fatherland: it is a way the Germans have of doing, and they mean
nothing serious by it.  But, as I was saying, to change quarters here
as late as November is a little difficult, for the wise ones seek to
get housed for the winter by October: they select the sunny
apartments, get on the double windows, and store up wood.  The plants
are tied up in the gardens, the fountains are covered over, and the
inhabitants go about in furs and the heaviest winter clothing long
before we should think of doing so at home.  And they are wise: the
snow comes early, and, besides, a cruel fog, cold as the grave and
penetrating as remorse, comes down out of the near Tyrol.  One
morning early in November, I looked out of the window to find snow
falling, and the ground covered with it.  There was dampness and
frost enough in the air to make it cling to all the tree-twigs, and
to take fantastic shapes on all the queer roofs and the slenderest
pinnacles and most delicate architectural ornamentations.  The city
spires had a mysterious appearance in the gray haze; and above all,
the round-topped towers of the old Frauenkirche, frosted with a
little snow, loomed up more grandly than ever.  When I went around to
the Hof Garden, where I late had sat in the sun, and heard the brown
horse-chestnuts drop on the leaves, the benches were now full of
snow, and the fat and friendly fruit-woman at the gate had retired
behind glass windows into a little shop, which she might well warm by
her own person, if she radiated heat as readily as she used to absorb
it on the warm autumn days, when I have marked her knitting in the
sunshine.

But we are not moving.  The first step we took was to advertise our
wants in the "Neueste Nachrichten" ("Latest News ") newspaper.  We
desired, if possible, admission into some respectable German family,
where we should be forced to speak German, and in which our society,
if I may so express it, would be some compensation for our bad
grammar.  We wished also to live in the central part of the city,--in
short, in the immediate neighborhood of all the objects of interest
(which are here very much scattered), and to have pleasant rooms.  In
Dresden, where the people are not so rich as in Munich, and where
different customs prevail, it is customary for the best people, I
mean the families of university professors, for instance, to take in
foreigners, and give them tolerable food and a liberal education.
Here it is otherwise.  Nearly all families occupy one floor of a
building, renting just rooms enough for the family, so that their
apartments are not elastic enough to take in strangers, even if they
desire to do so.  And generally they do not.  Munich society is
perhaps chargeable with being a little stiff and exclusive.  Well, we
advertised in the "Neueste Nachrichten."  This is the liberal paper
of Munich.  It is a poorly printed, black-looking daily sheet, folded
in octavo size, and containing anywhere from sixteen to thirty-four
pages, more or less, as it happens to have advertisements.  It
sometimes will not have more than two or three pages of reading
matter.  There will be a scrap or two of local news, the brief
telegrams taken from the official paper of the day before, a bit or
two of other news, and perhaps a short and slashing editorial on the
ultramontane party.  The advantage of printing and folding it in such
small leaves is, that the size can be varied according to the demands
of advertisements or news (if the German papers ever find out what
that is); so that the publisher is always giving, every day, just
what it pays to give that day; and the reader has his regular
quantity of reading matter, and does not have to pay for advertising
space, which in journals of unchangeable form cannot always be used

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