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LEO XIII. PRESIDING AT A PHILOSOPHICAL…

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LEO XIII. PRESIDING AT A PHILO- SOPHICAL DISPUTATION. We extract the Times of Monday, descriptive of a disputation by students in the presence of the Pope A noteworthy scene was enacted in the Vatican a few days ago, w^ich still more fully reveai8 tbe means by which Leo. XIli. to restore, not only the ecclesiastical, Out, it he can, also the temporal glories of the Papacy, It is evident that from the very beginning of his reign he formed the determination of doing all in his elevate the Roman hierarchy and priesthood to the highest practicable standard of morality and learning, and to surround the Pontifical throne with emment men. In his first Encyclical he told the Episcopate how much it behoved the clergy to show themselves shining examples of piety and learning before all men, and he has repeated the same charge more than once. In creating his first batch of cardinals he has chosen from among the men most noted for the qualities and attainment he had com- mended, and a day or two ago he gathered about him in the Vatican a number of the most distinguished students in the various colleges, and, sitting in the library, presided at a disputation on philosophy, and rewarded the disputants with gold and silver medals- not the mere objects of devotion generally bestowed by Popes, but medals having for their meaning the reward of merit only. No such scene has been wit- nessed in the Vatican for many long years, and, as described to me by one who was present, it somewhat recalls the days when a former Leo was the oentre of the talent and genius of his day. The Grand Hall of the Vatican Librazy, where the greater treasures are kept, is, as most people know, divided along the length by massive pilasters, which support the vaulted ceiling. Between these crimson silk curtains were drawn, and ethers hung across at about two-thirds the length, forming a room in size like the Hall of the Consistory. At one end the Pope, wearing his white dress, sat on the throne, which was raised on its dais; around him stood the personages and officials of the Pontifical Court. At right angles from the throne, on the right and the left, two rows of arm-chairs were occupied by the car- dinals. Behind them sat the bishops and other dignitaries, the rectors, vice-rectors, and professors of the different colleges, and other learned men while at the further end, facing the Pope, a series of benches had been arranged, on which sat a number of students. There were four from each college, and, of course, those four who had most distinguished themselves in their studies. In the space within, at each of the further corners from the throne, tables were diagonally placed for the upholder and impugner of the theses pro- posed. The students chosen for this honourable task and who have thus placed their feet on the first rung of the ladder to ecclesiastical distinction were Giuseppe Baroni and Giovanni Genocchi, of the Pontifical Pian Seminary; Francesco Brambilla, of the Cesaroli College; and Omero Monteeperelli, of the Pamphily Col!er»- in the Roman Seminary. Lots were drawn as to W ich, should develope the theses given and which should combat the arguments used, the subjects being two in metaphysics: Idece innatce non sunt admittendce and Dantur idece universalis et habent fundamentum in re and two in ethics Philosophica ratione demonstratur objectum humance felicitatis in Deo esse collocandum," and Existet lex ceterna ordinem naturalem servari jubens, perturbari vetans, per lumen rationis hominibw participata." Much ability was, I am told, displayed by the young disputants, and after each had silenced his antagonist, he had to combat further against such objections and subtleties as any of the prelates or professors present were inclined to raise and among those who put the students to this further and more crucial test were Don Ermete Binzecher, professor of canon law; Don Francesco Segna, professor of dogmatic theology; Monsignor Patacci, Bishop of Troade in partibus; and Monsignor Gabriele Boccali, recently of Perugia, but now newly attached to the Pontifical household. The Pope himself took no direct part in the discus- sion, but at its conclusion—it lasted three hours-he rose and made a short discourse. He expressed his satisfaction with what he had heard, and hoped that the theological disputation to be held in the same manner at the end of the month might be equally praiseworthy. It was his intention, he said, to hold these trials of ability each year, in order to encourage the students in their studies and stimulate them to greater exertions for the glory of the Church and the gqod of mankind; and he further purposed to have similar competitions in canon law and in Greek, Latin, and Italian literature; and with that he gave the medals I have mentioned and his benediction.

THE LATE WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON.

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