18 JANUARY 1879, Page 3

The new Papal Encyclical against Socialism, Communism, and Nihilism is

a very sensible sort of document. The Pope has, indeed, in relation to these three subjects, got a theme which enables him to contrast to good effect the teaching of the Church with the wilder tendencies of our own time. On the subject of rebellion the Pope is, of course, rather Conservative. He lays it down that a Government, however bad, is never to be resisted, except it require from its subjects that which is rebellion against God, but that in that case God is to be obeyed rather than men. That would hardly cover, we imagine, the ground of most Catholic rebellions, unless a very free interpretation were admitted of that which implies sin or rebellion against God. The Irish Rebellion of 1848 was countenanced by some admirable Catholics ; but they would have found it difficult, we imagine, to show that submission to the British Government in 1848 in- volved mortal sin. However, it is seldom we can agree so sincerely with any Papal Encyclical as we can with this. Leo XIII. appears to be adopting a more thoughtful style for his addresses, one less strongly stamped by the old official traditions.