Spiritism and Spiritualism
The following statement by Cardinal Donnet was given in a recent speech in the Senate: “But today, like in former times, it is true to say with an eloquent publicist, in humankind, that Spiritualism is represented by Christianity.”
It would certainly be a strange mistake if we thought that the celebrity speaker in that particular event had understood Spiritualism in the sense of spirits’ manifestations. The word was employed there in its true meaning, and the speaker could not have expressed it in a different way, unless he had made use of a paraphrase because there was no other term to express the same thought. If we had not provided the source of our citation, people might certainly think that we had extracted it from an American spiritualist, about Spiritism, equally represented by Christianity, in its most sublime expression. According to that, would it be possible that a future scholar, giving a free interpretation to the words of Cardinal Donnet, would try to demonstrate to our descendants that in 1860 a Cardinal had publicly professed the manifestation of the spirits, before the French Senate?
Don’t we see in this fact a new proof that there is the need for a different word for each thing, so that we can understand one another? How many endless philosophical arguments haven’t we had due to the multiple meanings of the words! The inconvenience is even worse with the translations, from which the biblical texts show more than one example. If in Hebrew the word day and period were not expressed in the same way, we would not have been mistaken about the meaning of the words in the book of Genesis, regarding the duration of the formation of the earth, and science would not have been cursed for a lack of understanding, when it demonstrated that the formation of the planet could not have been accomplished in a period of six times 24 hours.