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Reply to the Second Part of the Confession.
I. Of Lay Communion under One Form.
As in the Confessions of the princes and cities they enumerate among the abuses that laymen commune only under one form, and as, therefore, in their dominions both forms are administered to laymen, we must reply, according to the custom of the Holy Church, that this is incorrectly enumerated among the abuses, but that, according to the sanctions and statutes of the same Church it is rather an abuse and disobedience to administer to laymen both forms. For under the one form of bread the saints communed in the primitive Church, of whom Luke says: “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread.” Acts 2:42. Here Luke mentions bread alone. Likewise Acts 20:7 says: “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread.” Yea, Christ, the institutor of this most holy sacrament, rising again from the dead, administered the Eucharist only under one form to the disciples going to Emmaus, where he took bread and blessed it, and brake and gave to them, and they recognized him in the breaking of bread. Luke 24:30, 31: where indeed Augustine, Chrysostome, Theophylact and Bede some of whom many ages ago and not long after the times of the apostles affirm that it was the Eucharist. Christ also (John 6) very frequently mentions bread alone. St. Ignatius, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, in his Epistle to the Ephesians mentions the bread alone in the communion of the Eucharist. Ambrose does likewise in his books concerning the sacraments, speaking of the communion of Laymen. In the Council of Rheims, laymen were forbidden from bearing the sacrament of the Body to the sick, and no mention is there made of the form of wine. Hence it is understood that the viaticum was given the sick under only one form. The ancient penitential canons approve of this. For the Council of Agde put a guilty priest into a monastery and granted him only lay communion. In the Council of Sardica, Hosius prohibits certain indiscreet persons from receiving even lay communion, unless they finally repent. There has always been a distinction in the Church between lay communion under one form and priestly communion under both forms. This was beautifully predicted in the Old Testament concerning the descendants of Eli: “It shall come to pass,” says God, 1 Kings 2; 1 Sam. 2:36, “that everyone that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ office (Vulgate reads: “Ad unam partem sacerdotalem.“), “that I may eat a piece of bread.” Here Holy Scripture clearly shows that the posterity of Eli, when removed from the office of the priesthood, will seek to be admitted to one sacerdotal part, to a piece of bread. So our laymen also ought, therefore, to be content with one sacerdotal part, the one form. For both the Roman pontiffs and cardinals and all bishops and priests, save in the mass and in the extreme hour of life for a viaticum, as it is called in the Council of Nicea, are content with taking one form, which they would not do if they thought that both forms would be necessary for salvation.
Although, however, both forms were of old administered in many churches to laymen (for then it was free to commune under one or under both forms), yet on account of many dangers the custom of administering both forms has ceased. For when the multitude of the people is considered where there are old and young, tremulous and weak and inept, if great care be not employed and injury is done the Sacrament by the spilling of the liquid. Because of the great multitude there would be difficulty also in giving the chalice cautiously for the form of wine, which also when kept for a long time would sour and cause nausea or vomition to those who would receive it; neither could it be readily taken to the sick without danger of spilling. For these reasons and others the churches in which the custom had been to give both forms to laymen were induced, undoubtedly by impulse of the Holy Ghost, to give thereafter but one form, from the consideration chiefly that the entire Christ is under each form, and is received no less under one form than under two. In the Council of Constance, of such honorable renown, a decree to this effect appeared, and so too the Synod of Basle legitimately decreed. And although it was formerly a matter of freedom to use either one or both forms in the Eucharist, nevertheless, when the heresy arose which taught that both forms were necessary, the Holy Church, which is directed by the Holy Ghost, forbade both forms to laymen. For thus the Church is sometimes wont to extinguish heresies by contrary institutions; as when some arose who maintained that the Eucharist is properly celebrated only when unleavened bread is used, the Church for a while commanded that it be administered with leavened bread; and when Nestorius wished to establish that the perpetual Virgin Mary was mother only of Christ, not of God, the Church for a time forbade her to be called Christotokos, mother of Christ.
Wherefore we must entreat the princes and cities not to permit this schism to be introduced into Germany, into the Roman Empire, or themselves to be separated from the custom of the Church Universal. Neither do the arguments adduced in this article avail, for while Christ indeed instituted both forms of the Sacrament, yet it is nowhere found in the Gospel that he enjoined that both forms be received by the laity. For what is said in Matt. 26:27: “Drink ye all of it,” was said to the twelve apostles, who were priests, as is manifest from Mark 14:23, where it is said: “And they all drank of it.” This certainly was not fulfilled hitherto with respect to laymen; whence the custom never existed throughout the entire Church that both forms were given to laymen, although it existed perhaps among the Corinthians and Carthaginians and some other Churches.
As to their reference to Gelasius, Canon Comperimus, of Consecration. Dist. 2, if they examine the document they will find that Gelasius speaks of priests, and not of laymen. Hence their declaration that the custom of administering but one form is contrary to divine law must be rejected.
But most of all the appendix to the article must be rejected, that the procession with the Eucharist must be neglected or omitted, because the sacrament is thus divided. For they themselves know, or at least ought to know, that by the Christian faith Christ has not been divided, but that the entire Christ is under both forms, and that the Gospel nowhere forbids the division of the sacramental forms; as is done on Parasceve (Holy or Maundy Thursday) by the entire Church of the Catholics, although the consecration is made by the celebrant in both forms, who also ought to receive both.
Therefore the princes and cities should be admonished to pay customary reverence and due honor to Christ the Son of the living God, our Savior and Glorifier, the Lord of heaven and earth, since they believe and acknowledge that he is truly present - a matter which they know has been most religiously observed by their ancestors, most Christian princes.
II. Of the Marriage of Priests
Their enumeration among abuses, in the second place, of the celibacy of the clergy, and the manner in which their priests marry and persuade others to marry, are verily matters worthy of astonishment, since they call sacerdotal celibacy an abuse, when that which is directly contrary, the violation of celibacy and the illicit transition to marriage, deserves to be called the worst abuse in priests. For that priests ought never to marry Aurelius testifys in the second Council of Carthage, where he says: “Because the apostles taught thus by example, and antiquity itself has preserved it, let us also maintain it.” And a little before a canon to this effect is read: “Resolved, That the bishops, presbyters and deacons, or those who administer the sacraments, abstain, as guardians of chastity, from wives.” From these words it is clear that this tradition has been received from the apostles, and not recently devised by the Church.
Augustine, following Aurelius in the last question concerning the Old and New Testaments, writes upon these words, and asks: “If perhaps it be said, if it is lawful and good to marry, why are not priests permitted to have wives?” Pope Caliztus, a holy man and a martyr, decided thirteen hundred years ago that priests should not marry. The like is read also in the holy Councils of Caesarea, Neocaesarea, Africa, Agde, Gironne, Meaux, and Orleans. Thus the custom has been observed from the time of the Gospel and the apostles that one who has been put into the office of priests has never been permitted, according to law, to marry.
It is indeed true that on account of lack of ministers of God in the primitive Church married men were admitted to the priesthood, as is clear from the Apostolic Canons and the reply of Paphnutius in the Council of Nice; nevertheless, those who wished to contract marriage were compelled to do so before receiving the subdiaconate, as we read in the canon Si quis corum Dist. 32. This custom of the primitive Church the Greek Church has preserved and retained to this day. But when, by the grace of God, the Church has increased so that there was no lack of ministers in the Church, Pope Siricius, eleven hundred and forty years ago, undoubtedly not without the Holy Ghost, enjoined absolute continence upon the priests, Canon Plurimus, Dist. 82 - an injunction which Popes Innocent I., Leo the Great and Gregory the Great approved and ratified, and which the Latin Church has everywhere observed to this day. From these facts it is regarded sufficiently clear that the celibacy of the clergy is not an abuse, and that it was approved by fathers so holy at such a remote time, and was received by the entire Latin Church.
Besides, the priests of the old law, as in the case of Zacharias, were separated from their wives at times when they discharged their office and ministered in the temple. But since the priest of the new law ought always to be engaged in the ministry, it follows that he ought always to be continent. Furthermore, married persons should not defraud one the other of conjugal duties except for a time that they may give themselves to prayer. 1 Cor. 7:5. But since a priest ought always to pray, he ought always to be continent. Besides, St. Paul says: “But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, that he may please the Lord. But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife,” 1 Cor. 7:32, 33. Therefore let the priest who should please God continually flee from anxiety for a wife, and not look back with Lot’s wife, Gen. 19:26.
Moreover, sacerdotal continence was foreshadowed also in the Old Testament, for Moses commanded those who were to receive the law not to approach their wives until the third day, Ex 19:15. Much less, therefore, should the priests, who are about to receive Christ as our Legislator, Lord and Savior, approach wives. Priests were commanded likewise to wear linen thigh-bandages, to cover the shame of the flesh (Ex. 28:42); which, says Beda, was a symbol of future continence among priests. Also, when Ahimelech was about to give the blessed bread to the servants of David he asked first if they had kept themselves from women and David replied that they had for three days. 1 Kings 21 (1 Sam. 21:4, 5). Therefore, they who take the living Bread which came down from heaven, John 6:32ff., should always be pure with respect to them. They who ate the Passover had their loins girded, Ex. 12:11. Wherefore the priests, who frequently eat Christ our Passover, ought to gird their loins by continence and cleanliness, as the Lord commands them: “Be ye clean,” he says, “that bear the vessels of the Lord,” Isa. 52:11. “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy,” Lev. 19:2. Therefore let priests serve God “in holiness and righteousness all their days.” Luke 1:75.
Hence the holy martyr Cyprian testifies that it was revealed to him by the Lord, and he was most solemnly enjoined, to earnestly admonish the clergy not to occupy a domicile in common with women. Hence, since sacerdotal continence has been commanded by the pontiffs and revealed by God and promised to God, by the priest in a special vow, it must not be rejected. For this is required by the excellency of the sacrifice they offer, the frequency of prayer, and liberty and purity of spirit, that they care how to please God, according to the teaching of St. Paul.
And because this is manifestly the ancient heresy of Jovinian, which the Roman Church condemned and Jerome refuted in his writings, and St. Augustine said that this heresy was immediately extinguished and did not attain to the corruption and abuse of priests, the princes ought not to tolerate it to the perpetual shame and disgrace of the Roman Empire, but should rather conform themselves to the Church universal, and not be influenced by those things which are suggested to them.
For as to what Paul says, 1 Cor. 7:2: “To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife,” Jerome replies that St. Paul is speaking of one who has not made a vow, as Athanasius and Vulgarius understand the declaration of St. Paul: “If a virgin marry, she hath not sinned.” (1 Cor. 7:28), that here a virgin is meant who has not been consecrated to God. So in reference to : “It is better to marry than to burn” (1 Cor. 7:9), the pointed reply of Jerome against Jovinian is extant. For the same St. Paul says (1 Cor. 7:1): “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.“ For a priest has the intermediate position of neither marrying nor burning, but of restraining himself by the grace of God, which he obtains of God by devout prayer and chastising of the flesh, by fasting and vigils.
Furthermore, when they say that Christ taught that all men are not fit for celibacy, it is indeed true, and on this account not all are fit for the priesthood; but let the priest pray, and he will be able to receive Christ’s word concerning continence, as St. Paul says: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Phil. 4:13. For continence is a gift of God, Wisd. 8:21.
Besides, when they allege that this is God’s ordinance and command, Gen. 1:28, Jerome replied concerning these words a thousand years ago: “It was necessary first to plant the forest, and that it grow, in order that that might be which could afterwards be cut down.” Then the command was given concerning the procreation of offspring, that the earth should be replenished, but since it has been replenished so that there is a pressure of nations, the commandment does not pertain in like manner upon those able to be continent. In vain, too, do they boast of God’s express order. Let them show, if they can, where God has enjoined priests to marry. Besides, we find in the divine law that vows once offered should be paid, Ps. 49 and 75; Eccles. 5, Ps. 50:14, 76:11; Eccles. 5:4. Why, therefore, do they not observe this express divine law?
They also pervert St. Paul, as though he teaches that one who is to be chosen bishop should be married when he says: “Let a bishop be the husband of one wife;” which is not to be understood as though he ought to be married, for then Martin, Nicolaus, Titus, John the Evangelist, yea Christ, would not have been bishops. Hence Jerome explains the words of St. Paul, “that a bishop be the husband of one wife,” as meaning that he be not a bigamist. The truth of this exposition is clear, not only from the authority of Jerome, which ought to be great with every Catholic, but also from St. Paul, who writes concerning the selection of widows: “Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years, having been the wife of one man,” 1 Tim. 5:9.
Lastly, the citation of what was done among the Germans is the statement of a fact, but not of a law, for while there was a contention between the Emperor Henry IV, and the Roman Pontiff, and also between his son and the nobles of the Empire, both divine and human laws were equally confused, so that at the time the laity rashly attempted to administer sacred things, to use filth instead of holy oil, to baptize, and to do much else foreign to the Christian religion. The clergy likewise went beyond their sphere - a precedent which cannot be cited as law.
Neither was it regarded unjust to dissolve sacrileges marriages which had been contracted to no effect in opposition to vows and the sanction of fathers and councils; as even today the marriages of priests with their so-called wives are not valid. In vain, therefore, do they complain that the world is growing old, and that as a remedy for infirmity rigor should be relaxed, for those who are consecrated to God have other remedies of infirmities; as, for instance, let them avoid the society of women, shun idleness, macerate the flesh by fasting and vigils, keep the outward senses, especially sight and hearing, from things forbidden, turn away their eyes from beholding vanity, and finally dash their little ones - i.e. their carnal thoughts - upon a rock (and Christ is the Rock), suppress their passions, and frequently and devoutly resort to God in prayer. These are undoubtedly the most effectual remedies for incontinence in ecclesiastics and servants of God.
St. Paul said aright that the doctrine of those who forbid marriage is a doctrine of demons. Such was the doctrine of Tatian and Marcoin, whom Augustine and Jerome have mentioned. But the Church does not thus forbid marriage, as she even enumerates marriage among the seven sacraments; with which, however, it is consistent that on account of their superior ministry she should enjoin upon ecclesiastics superior purity.
For it is false that there is an express charge concerning contracting marriage, for then John the Evangelist, St. James, Laurentius, Titus, Martin, Catharine, Barbara, etc., would have sinned. Nor is Cyprian influenced by these considerations to speak of a virgin who had made a solemn vow, but of one who had determined to live continently, as the beginning of Letter XI., Book I sufficiently shows. For the judgement of St. Augustine is very explicit: “It is damnable for Virgins who make a vow not only to marry, but even to wish to marry.” Hence the abuse of marriage and the breaking of vows in the clergy are not to be tolerated.
III. Of the Mass
Whatever in this article is stated concerning the most holy office of the mass that agrees with the Holy Roman and Apostolic Church is approved, but whatever is added that is contrary to the observance of the general and universal orthodox Church is rejected, because it grievously offends God, injures Christian unity, and occasions dissensions, tumults and seditions in the Holy Roman Empire.
Now, as to these things which they state in the article: First, it is displeasing that, in opposition to the usage of the entire Roman Church, they perform ecclesiastical rites not in the Roman but in the German language, and this they pretend that they do upon the authority of St. Paul, who taught that in the Church a language should be used which is understood by the people, 1 Cor. 14:19. But if this were the meaning of the words of St. Paul, it would compel them to perform the entire mass in German, which even they do not do. But since the priest is a person belonging to the entire Church, and not only to his surroundings, it is not wonderful that the priest celebrates the mass in the Latin language in a Latin Church. It is profitable to the hearer, however, if he hear the mass in faith of the Church; and experience teaches that among the Germans there has been greater devotion at mass in Christ’s believers who do not understand the Latin language than in those who today hear the mass in German. And if the words of the apostle be pondered, it is sufficient that the one replying occupy the place of the unlearned to say Amen, the very thing that the canons prescribe. Neither is it necessary that he hear or understand all the words of the mass, and even attend to it intelligently; for it is better to understand and to attend to its end, because the mass is celebrated in order that the Eucharist may be offered in memory of Christ’s passion. And it is an argument in favor of this that, according to the general opinion of the fathers, the apostles and their successors until the times of the Emperor Hadrian celebrated the mass in the Hebrew language alone, which was indeed unknown to the Christians, especially the converted heathen. But even if the mass had been celebrated in the primitive Church in a tongue understood by the people, nevertheless this would not be necessary now, for many were daily converted who were ignorant of the ceremonies and unacquainted with the mysteries; and hence it was of advantage for them to understand the words of the office; but now Catholics imbibe from their cradles the manners and customs of the Church, whence they readily know what should be done at every time in the Church.
Moreover, as to their complaints concerning the abuse of masses, there is none of those who think aright but does not earnestly desire that the abuses be corrected. But that they who wait at the altar live of the altar is not an abuse, but pertains equally to both divine and human law. “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charge?” says Paul. “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?” 1 Cor 9:7, 13. Christ says: “The laborer is worthy of his hire.” Luke 10:7. But worthy of censure, above all things, is the discontinuance of the private mass in certain places, as though those having fixed and prescribed returns are sought no less than the public masses on account of gain. But by this abrogation of masses the worship of God is diminished, honor is withdrawn from the saints, the ultimate will of the founder is overthrown and defeated, the dead deprived of the rights due them, and the devotion of the living withdrawn and chilled. Therefore the abrogation of private masses cannot be conceded and tolerated. Neither can their assumption be sufficiently understood that Christ by his passion has made satisfaction for original sin, and has instituted the mass for actual sin; for this has never been heard by Catholics, and very many who are now asked most constantly deny that they have so taught. For the mass does not abolish sins, which are destroyed by repentance as their peculiar medicine, but abolishes the punishment due sin, supplies satisfactions, and confers increase of grace and salutary protection of the living, and, lastly, brings the hope of divine consolation and aid to all our wants and necessities.
Again, their insinuations that in the mass Christ is not offered must be altogether rejected, as condemned of old and excluded by the faithful. For Augustine says this was a very ancient heresy of the Arians, who denied that in the mass an oblation was made for the living and the dead. For this is opposed both to the Holy Scriptures and the entire Church. For through Malachi the Lord predicted the rejection of the Jews, the call of the Gentiles and the sacrifice of the evangelical law: “I have no pleasure in you, he saith, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name and a pure offering.” Mal 1:10, 11. But no pure offering has already been offered to God in every place, except in the sacrifice of the altar of the most pure Eucharist. This authority St. Augustine and other Catholics have used in favor of the mass against faithless Jews, and certainly with Catholic princes it should have greater influence than all objections of the adversaries.
Besides, in speaking of the advent of the Messiah the same prophet says: “And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old and as in former years,” Mal. 3:3, 4. Here in the spirit the prophet foresaw the sons of Levi - i.e. evangelical priests, says Jerome - about to offer sacrifices, not in the blood of goats, but in righteousness, as in the days of old. Hence these words are repeated by the Church in the canon of the mass under the influence of the same Spirit under whose influence they were written by the prophet.
The angel also said to Daniel: “Many shall be purified and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand.” And again: “The wise shall understand; and from the time that the daily sacrifices shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days,” Dan. 12:10, 11. Christ testifies that this prophecy is to be fulfilled, but that it has not been as yet fulfilled, Matt. 24:15. Therefore the daily sacrifice of Christ will cease universally at the advent of the abomination - i.e. of Antichrist - just as it has already ceased, particularly in some churches, and thus will be unemployed in the place of desolation - viz. when the churches will be desolated, in which the canonical hours will not be chanted or the masses celebrated or the sacraments administered, and there will be no altars, no images of saints, no candles, no furniture. Therefore all princes and faithful subjects of the Roman Empire ought to be encouraged never to admit or pass over anything that may aid the preparers of Antichrist in attaining such a degree of wickedness, when the woman - i.e. the Catholic Church - as St. John saw in the Spirit, will flee into the wilderness, where she will have a place prepared of God, that she may be nourished there twelve hundred and sixty days, Rev. 12:6. Finally, St. Paul says, Heb. 5:1: “Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” But since the external priesthood has not ceased in the new law, but has been changed to a better, therefore even today the high priest and the entire priesthood offer in the Church an external sacrifice, which is only one, the Eucharist. To this topic that also is applicable which is read, according to the new translation, in Acts 13:1, 2: Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen and Saul sacrificed - i.e. they offered an oblation, which can and ought justly to be understood not of an oblation made to idols, but of the mass, since it is called by the Greeks liturgy.
And that in the primitive Church the mass was a sacrifice the holy fathers copiously testify, and they support this opinion. For Ignatius, a pupil of St. John the Apostle, says: “It is not allowable without a bishop either to offer a sacrifice or to celebrate masses.” And Irenaeus, a pupil of John, clearly testifies that “Christ taught the new oblation of the New Testament, which the Church, receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout the entire world.” This bishop, bordering upon the times of the apostles, testifies that the new evangelical sacrifice was offered throughout the entire world. Origin, Cyprian, Jerome, Chrysostom, Augustine, Basil, Hilary, etc., teach and testify the same, whose words for brevity’s sake are omitted. Since, therefore, the Catholic Church throughout the entire Christian world has always taught, held and observed as it today holds and observes, the same ought today to be held and observed inviolably.
Nor does St. Paul in Hebrews oppose the oblation of the mass when he says that by one offering we have once been justified through Christ. For St. Paul is speaking of the offering of a victim - i.e. of a bloody sacrifice, of a lamb slain, viz. upon the cross - which offering was indeed once made whereby all sacraments, and even the sacrifice of the mass, have their efficacy. Therefore he was offered but once with the shedding of blood - viz. upon the cross; today he is offered in the mass as a peace making and sacramental victim. Then he was offered in a visible form capable of suffering; today he is offered in the mass veiled in mysteries, incapable of suffering, just as in the Old Testament he was sacrificed typically and under a figure. Finally, the force of the word shows that the mass is a sacrifice, since “mass” is nothing but “oblation,” and has received its name from the Hebrew word misbeach, altar - in Greek thysiasterion, on account of the oblation.
It has been sufficiently declared above that we are justified not properly by faith, but by love. But if any such statement be found in the Holy Scriptures, Catholics know that it is declared concerning fides formata, which works by love (Gal. 5), and because justification is begun by faith, because it is the substance of things hoped for. Heb. 11:1.
Neither is it denied that the mass is a memorial of Christ’s passion and God’s benefits, since this is approved by the figure of the paschal lamb, that was at the same time a victim and a memorial, Ex. 12:13, 14, and is represented not only by the Word and sacraments, but also by holy postures and vestments in the Catholic Church; but to the memory of the victim the Church offers anew the Eucharist in the mysteries to God the Father Almighty. Therefore the princes and cities are not censured for retaining one common mass in the Church, provided they do this according to the sacred canon, as observed by all Catholics. But in abrogating all other masses they have done what the Christian profession does not allow.
Nor does any one censure the declaration that of old all who were present communed. Would that all were so disposed as to be prepared to partake of this bread worthily every day! But if they regard one mass advantageous, how much more advantageous would be a number of masses, of which they nevertheless have unjustly disapproved.
When all these things are properly considered we must ask them to altogether annul and repudiate this new form of celebrating the mass that has been devised, and has been already so frequently changed, and to resume the primitive form for celebrating it according to the ancient rite and custom of the churches of Germany and all Christendom, and to restore the abrogated masses according to the ultimate will of their founders; whereby they would gain advantage and honor for themselves and peace and tranquility for all Germany.
IV. Of Confession
As to confession, we must adhere to the reply and judgement given above in Article XI. For the support which they claim from Chrysostom is false, since they pervert to sacramental and sacerdotal confession what he says concerning public confession, as his words clearly indicate when in the beginning he says: “I do not tell thee to disclose thyself to the public or to accuse thyself before others.” Thus Gratian and thus Peter Lombard replied three hundred years ago; and the explanation becomes still more manifest from other pasages of Chrysostom. For in his twenty-ninth sermon he says of the penitent: “In his heart is contrition, in his mouth confession, in his entire work humility. This is perfect and fruitful repentance.” Does not this most exactly display the three parts of repentance? So in his tenth homily on Matthew, Chrysostom teaches of a fixed time for confession, and that after the wounds of crimes have been opened they should be healed, penance intervening. But how will crimes lie open if they are not disclosed to the priest by confession? Thus in several passages Chrysostom himself refutes this opinion, which Jerome also overthrows, saying: “If the serpent the devil have secretly bitten any one, and without the knowledge of another have infected him with the poison of sin, if he who has been struck be silent and do not repent, and be unwilling to confess his wound to his brother and instructor, the instructor, who has a tongue wherewith to cure him, will not readily be able to profit him. For if the sick man be ashamed to confess to the physician, the medicine is not adapted to that of which he is ignorant.” Let the princes and cities, therefore, believe these authors rather than a single gloss upon a decree questioned and rejected by those who are skilled in divine law.
Wherefore, since a full confession is, not to say, necessary for salvation, but becomes the nerve of Christian discipline and the entire obedience, they must be admonished to conform to the orthodox Church. For, according to the testimony of Jerome, this was the heresy of the Montanist, who were condemned over twelve hundred years ago because they were ashamed to confess their sins. It is not becoming, therefore, to adopt the error of the wicked Montanus, but rather the rite of the holy fathers and the entire Church - viz. that each one teach, according to the norm of the orthodox faith, that confession, the chief treasure in the Church, be made in conformity to the rite kept among them also in the Church.
V. Of the Distinction of Meats
What they afterwards assert concerning the distinction of meats and like traditions, of which they seem to make no account, must be rejected.
For we know from the apostle that all power is of God, and especially that ecclesiastical power has been given by God for edification: for this reason, from the Christian and devout heart of the holy Church the constitutions of the same holy, catholic and apostolic Church should be received as are useful to the Church, as well for promoting divine worship as for restraining the lust of the flesh, while they enable us the more readily to keep the divine commands, and when well considered are found in the Holy Scriptures; and he who despises or rashly resists them grievously offends God, according to Christ’s word: “He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me.” Luke 10:16.
A prelate, however, is despised when his statutes are despised, according to St. Paul, not only when he says: “He that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit,” 1 Thess. 4:8, but also to the bishops: “Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to rule (Vulgate) the Church of God,” Acts 20:28.
If prelates, therefore, have the power to rule, they will have the power also to make statutes for the salutary government of the Church and the growth of subjects. For the same apostle enjoined upon the Corinthians that among them all things should be done in order, 1 Cor. 14:40; but this cannot be done without laws.
On that account he said to the Hebrews: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account,” Heb. 13:17. Here St. Paul reckons not only obedience, but also the reason for obedience.
We see that St. Paul exercised this power, as, in addition to the Gospel, he prescribed so many laws concerning the choice of a bishop, concerning widows, concerning women, that they have their heads veiled, that they be silent in the church, and concerning even secular matters, 1 Thess. 4:1, 2, 6; concerning civil courts, 1 Cor. 6:1ff. And he says to the Corinthians very clearly: “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” 1 Cor. 7:12, and again he says elsewhere: “Stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle,” 2 Thess. 2:15. Wherefore, the princes and cities must be admonished to render obedience to ecclesiastical statutes and constitutions, lest when they withdraw obedience that is due God, obedience may be withdrawn also from them by their subjects, as their subjects attempted in the recent civil insurrection, not to allow themselves to be seduced by false doctrines.
Most false also is their declaration that the righteousness of faith is obscured by such ordinances; nay, he is rather mad and insane who would observe them without faith. For they are given to believers, and not to Turks or Ishmaelites. “For what have I to do to judge them that are without?” 1 Cor. 5:12.
Moreover, in extolling here faith above all things they antagonize St. Paul, as we have said above, and do violence to St. Paul, whom they pervert to evangelical works when he speaks of legal works, as all these errors have been above refuted.
False also is it that ecclesiastical ordinances obscure God’s commands, since they prepare man for these, as fasts suppress the lust of the flesh and help him from falling into luxury.
False also is it that it is impossible to observe ordinances, for the Church is not a cruel mother who makes no exceptions in the celebration of festivals and in fasting and the like.
Furthermore, they falsely quote Augustine in reply to the inquiries of Januarius, who is diametrically opposed to them. For in this place he most clearly states that what has been universally delivered by the Church be also universally observed. But in indifferent things, and those whose observance and non- observance are free, the holy father Augustine states that, according to the authority of St. Ambrose, the custom of each church should be observed. “When I come back to Rome,” he says, “I fast on the Sabbath, but when here I do not fast.“
Besides, they do violence to the Scriptures while they endeavor to support their errors. For Christ (Matt. 15) does not absolutely disapprove of human ordinances, but of those only that were opposed to the law of God, as is clearly acknowledged in Mark 7:8, 9. Here also Matt. 15:3 says: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” So Paul (Col. 2) forbids that any one be judged in meat or in drink, or in respect to the Sabbath, after the Jewish manner; for when the Church forbids meats it does not judge them to be unclean, as the Jews in the Synagogue thought. So the declaration of Christ concerning that which goeth into the mouth (Matt. 15:11) is cited here without a sure and true understanding of it, since its intention was to remove the error of the Jews, who thought that food touched by unwashen hands becomes unclean, and rendered one eating it unclean, as is manifest from the context. Nor does the Church bring back to these observances Moses with his heavy hands.
In like manner they do violence to St. Paul, for 1 Tim. 4:1, 4, he calls that a doctrine of demons that forbids meats, as the Tatianites, Marcionites and Manichaeans thought that meats were unclean, as is clear from the words that follow, when St. Paul adds: “Every creature of God is good.” But the church does not forbid meats on the ground that they are evil or unclean, but as an easier way to keep God’s commandments; therefore the opposite arguments fail.
If they would preach the cross and bodily discipline and fasts, that in this way the body be reduced to subjection, their doctrine would be commendable; but their desire that these be free is condemned and rejected as alien to the faith and discipline of the Church.
Nor does the diversity of rites support them, for this is properly allowed in regard to particular matters, in order that each individual province may have its own taste satisfied, as Jerome says; but individual ecclesiastical rites should be universally observed, and special rites should be observed each in their own province.
Also, they make no mention of Easter for the Roman pontiffs reduced the Asiatics to a uniform observance of Easter with the universal Church. In this way Irenaeus must be understood, for without the loss of faith some vigils of the apostles were not celebrated with fasting throughout Gaul, which Germany nevertheless observes in fasts.
The princes and cities must also be admonished to follow the decision of Pope Gregory, for he enjoins that the custom of each province be observed if it employs nothing contrary to the Catholic faith, Canon Quoniam, Distinct. xii. Hence we are not ignorant that there is a various observance of dissimilar rites in unity of faith, which should be observed in every province as it has been delivered and received from the ancients, without injury, however, to the universal rites of the entire Catholic Church.
VI.Of Monastic Vows
Although many and various matters have been introduced in this article by the suggestion of certain persons (Another text, Cod. Pflug., reads “Preachers“), nevertheless, when all are taken into consideration with mature thought, since monastic vows have their foundation in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and most holy men, renowned and admirable by miracles, have lived in these religious orders with many thousand thousands, and for so many centuries their ordinances and rules of living have been received and approved throughout the entire Christian world by the Catholic Church, it is in no way to be tolerated that vows are licentiously broken without any fear of God.
For, in the Old Testament, God approved the vows of the Nazarenes, Num 6:2ff, and the vows of the Rechabites, who neither drank wine or ate grapes, Jer. 36:6, 19; while he strictly requires that the vow once made be paid, Deut. 23:21f; “It is ruin to a man after vows to retract,” Prov. 20:25; “The vows of the just are acceptable,“ Prov. 15:8.
God also teaches specifically through the prophet that monastic vows please him. For in Isa. 56:4, 5 it is read as follows: “Thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbath, and choose the things that please me and take hold of my covenant, Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than that of sons and of daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” But to what eunuchs does God make these promises? To those, undoubtedly, whom Christ praises, “which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake,” Matt. 19:12; to those, undoubtedly, who, denying their own, come after Christ and deny themselves and follow him, Luke 9:23, so that they are governed no longer by their own will, but by that of their rule and superior.
In like manner, according to the testimony of the apostle, those virgins do better who, contemning the world and spurning its enticements, vow and maintain virginity in monasteries, than those who place their necks beneath the matrimonial burden. For thus St. Paul says, 1 Cor. 7:28: “He that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” Also, concerning a widow, he continues: “She is happier if she so abide, after my judgment.“
No one is ignorant of the holiness of the hermit Paul, of Basil, Anthony, Benedict, Bernard, Dominic, Franciscus, Wiliam, Augustine, Clara, Bridget, and similar hermits, who indeed despised the entire realm of the world and all the splendor of the age on account of love to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the heresy of the Lampetians was condemned in most ancient times, which the heretic Jovinian attempted in vain to revive at Rome. Therefore, all things must be rejected which in this article have been produced against monasticism - viz. that monasteries succeeded vows.
Of the nunneries it is sufficiently ascertained that, though pertaining to the weaker sex, how in most cloisters the holy nuns persevered far more constantly to vows once uttered, even under these princes and cities, than the majority of monks; even to this day it has been impossible to move them from their holy purpose by any prayers, blandishments, threats, terrors, difficulties or distresses.
Wherefore, those matters are not to be admitted which are interpreted unfavorably, since it has been expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures that the monastic life, when kept with proper observance, as may by the grace of God be rendered by any monks, merits eternal life; and indeed Christ has promised to them a much more bountiful reward, saying: “Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life,” Matt. 19:29.
That monasteries, as they show, were formerly literary schools, is not denied; nevertheless, there is no ignorance of the fact that these were at first schools of virtues and discipline, to which literature was afterwards added.
But since no one putting his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of heaven, Luke 9:62, all marriages and breaking of vows by monks and nuns should be regarded as condemned, according to the tenor not only of the Holy Scriptures, but also of the laws and canons, “having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith,” as St. Paul says, 1 Tim. 5:12. Moreover, that vows are not contrary to the ordinance of God as been declared with reference to the second article of the alleged abuses.
That they attempt to defend themselves by dispensations of the Pope is of no effect. For although the Pope has perhaps made a dispensation for the king of Aragon, who, we read, returned to the monastery after having had offspring, or for any other prince on account of the peace of the entire kingdom or province, to prevent the exposure of the entire kingdom or province to wars, carnage, pillage, debauchery, conflagrations, murders, - nevertheless, in private persons who abandon vows in apostasy such grounds for dispensations cannot be urged.
For the assumption is repelled that the vow concerns a matter that is impossible. For continence, which so many thousands of men and virgins have maintained, is not impossible. For although the wise man says (Wisd. 8:21): “I knew that I could not otherwise be continent, unless God gave it me,” nevertheless Christ promised to give it. “Seek,” he says, “and ye shall find,ke 11:9; Matt 18:28; and St. Paul says: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,“ 1 Cor. 10:13.
They are also poor defenders of their cause when they admit that the violation of a vow is irreprehensible, and it must be declared that by law such marriages are censured and should be dissolved, C. Ut. Continentiae, xxvii. Q. 1, as also by the ancient statutes of emperors. But when they allege in their favor C. Nuptiarum, They accomplish nothing, for it speaks of a simple not of a religious vow, which the Church observes also to this day. The marriages of monks, nuns, or priests, have therefore never been ratified.
Futile also is their statement that a votive life is an invention of men, for it has been founded upon the Holy Scriptures, inspired into the most holy fathers by the Holy Ghost.
Nor does it deny honor to Christ, since monks observe all things for Christ’s sake and imitate Christ. False, therefore, is the judgement whereby they condemn monastic service as godless, whereas it is most Christian. For the monks have not fallen from God’s grace, as the Jews of whom St. Paul speaks, Gal. 5:4, when they still sought justification by the law of Moses; but the monks endeavor to live more nearly to the Gospel, that they may merit eternal life. Therefore, the allegations here made against monasticism are impious.
Moreover, the malicious charge that is still further added, that those in religious orders claim to be in a state of perfection, has never been heard of by them; for those in these orders claim not for themselves a state of perfection, but only a state in which to acquire perfection - because their regulations are instruments of perfection, and not perfection itself. In this manner Gerson must be received, who does not deny that religious orders are states wherein to acquire perfection as he declares in his treatises, “Against the Proprietors of the Rule of St. Augustine“, “Of Evangelical Counsels“, “Of Perfection of Heart“, and in other places.
For this reason the princes and cities should be admonished to strive rather for the reformation of the monasteries by their legitimate superiors than for their subversion - rather for the godly improvement of the monks than that they be abolished; as their most religious ancestors, most Christian princes, have done.
But if they will not believe holy and most religious fathers defending monastic vows, let them hear at least His Imperial Highness, the Emperor Justinian, in “Authentica,” De Monachis, Coll. ii.
VII. Of Ecclesiastical Power
Although many things are introduced here in the topic of Ecclesiastical Power, with greater bitterness than is just, yet it must be declared that to most reverend bishops and priests, and to the entire clergy, all ecclesiastical power is freely conceded that belongs to them by law or custom.
Besides, it is proper to preserve for them all immunities, privileges, preferments and prerogatives granted them by Roman emperors and kings. Nor can those things that have been granted ecclesiastics by imperial munificence or gift be allowed to be infringed by any princes or any other subject of the Roman Empire.
For it is most abundantly proved that ecclesiastical power in spiritual things has been founded upon divine right, of which St. Paul indeed says: “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction,” 2 Cor. 10:8, and afterwards: “Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction, 2 Cor. 13:10. Paul also displays his coercitive disposition when he says: “What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and in the spirit of meekness?” 1 Cor. 4:21. And of judicial matters he writes to Timothy: “Against an elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses,” 1 Tim. 5:19.
From these passages it is very clearly discerned that bishops have the power not only of the ministry of the Word of God, but also of ruling and coercitive correction in order to direct subjects to the goal of eternal blessedness. But for the power of ruling there is required the power to judge, to define, to discriminate and to decide what is expedient or conducive to the aforesaid goal.
In vain, therefore, and futile is all that is inserted in the present article in opposition to the immunity of churches and schools. Accordingly, all subjects of the Roman Empire must be forbidden from bringing the clergy before a civil tribunal, contrary to imperial privileges that have been conceded: for Pope Clement the Martyr says: “If any of the presbyters have trouble with one another, let whatever it be adjusted before the presbyters of the Church.” Hence Constantine the Great, the most Christian Emperor, was unwilling in the holy Council of Nice to give judgement even in secular cases. “Ye are gods,” he says, “appointed by the true God. Go, settle the case among yourselves, be cause it is not proper that we judge gods.“
As to what is further repeated concerning Church regulations has been sufficiently replied to above. Nor does Christian liberty, which they bring forth as an argument, avail them, since this is not liberty, but prodigious license, which, inculcated on the people, excites them to fatal and most dangerous sedition.
For Christian liberty is not opposed to ecclesiastical usages since they promote what is good, but it is opposed to the servitude of the Mosaic law and the servitude of sin. “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin,” says Christ, John 8:34.
Hence their breaking fasts, their free partaking of meats, their neglect of canonical hours, their omission of confession - viz. at Easter - and their commission and omission of similar things, are not a use of liberty, but an abuse thereof, contrary to the warnings of St. Paul, who earnestly warned them, saying: “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Gal. 5:13. Hence no one ought to conceal his crimes under the pretext of Gospel liberty, which St. Peter also forbade: “As free, and not using your liberty for an cloak of maliciousness, but as the servant of God,” 1 Pet. 2:16.
As to what they have added concerning abuses, all the princes and estates of the Empire undoubtedly know that not even the least is approved either by His Imperial Majesty or by any princes or any Christian man, but that both the princes and the estates of the Empire desire to strive with a common purpose and agreement, in order that, the abuses being removed and reformed, the excesses of both estates may be either utterly abolished or reformed for the better, and that the ecclesiastical estate, which has been weakened in many ways, and the Christian religion, which has grown cold and relaxed in some, may be restored and renewed to its pristine glory and distinction. To this, as is evident to all, His Imperial Majesty has thus far devoted the greatest care and labor, and kindly promises in the future to employ for this cause all his means and zeal.
Conclusion From the foregoing - viz. the Confession and its Reply - since His Imperial Majesty perceives that the Elector, the princes and the cities agree on many points with the Catholic and Roman Church, and dissent from the godless dogmas that are disseminated all over Germany, and the pamphlets circulated everywhere, and that they disapprove of and condemn them, - His Holy Imperial Majesty is fully convinced, and hopes that the result will be, that when the Elector, princes and cities have heard and understood this Reply they will agree with united minds in regard to those matters also in which they perhaps have not agreed hitherto with the Roman Catholic Church, and that in all other things above mentioned they will obediently conform to the Catholic and Roman Church and the Christian faith and religion. For such conduct on their part His Imperial Majesty will be peculiarly grateful, and will bestow his special favor upon them all in common, and also, as opportunity offers, upon them individually. For (which may God forbid) if this admonition, so Christian and indulgent, be unheeded, the Elector, princes and cities can judge that a necessary cause is afforded His Imperial Majesty that, as becometh a Roman Emperor and Christian Caesar and a defender and advocate of the Catholic and Christian Church, he must care for such matters as the nature of the charge committed to him and his integrity of conscience require.
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