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I HAD finished my letter, and it had been some time in type, before Dr. Manning was elevated to his present important position, or the reading of the Encyclical of last year, and the comments upon it, had shown me how advanced, above all which was known formerly, is the present theory of Papal Infallibility.
The Ultramontanes in the Roman Communion seem to be drifting off further from the principles of the early and undivided Church. Under Jesuit influence “the shores of Italy “seem ever to be “receding.” We could not imagine ourselves to have lived a day out of the communion of the Church of S. Augustine. With the knowledge which we have of it, we could not imagine any, the slightest difficulty, which should have hindered our flying to it, had we been born in any sect external to it. It has been the home of our faith, our affections, our understanding, now to gray hairs. Like God’s word, so that undivided Church of God satisfies our whole selves. There are no clouds there. In its faith we have been ever at rest. Even in the Gallican Church, a century and a half ago, there seemed to be a dawn of reunion; there was, if not clear day, at least a break in the clouds, such as gave token that the breath of God might disperse them. Now things seem to be taking an opposite direction. It is the boast of the English Ultramontane party, that Gallicanism is extinct; and this not as relates to any question of the relation of the Pope to the civil sovereign. This the successive rulers from the Restoration of 1815 did what they could to extinguish, by becoming the oppressors of the Church. But in regard to the central question, where the infallibility of the Church lies, the Ultramontanes tell us that the Gallican belief, that nothing has the seal of infallibility which has not been received by the whole Church, is extinct in France.490490 Dublin “Review,” July, 1865, p. 130. If it is to be found anywhere, we are, I suppose, to look to Germany, or perhaps among some of the Gallican Bishops who have not spoken. The Dublin Review would have it, that even the tacit reception of the Encyclical of 1864: would, even upon Gallican principles, fix as matters of faith, not only the doctrines, virtually affirmed by the Encyclical, as being the contradictories of the propositions condemned, but the main principle which Pius IX. appears to have assumed, that he is infallible in all his formal utterances, on whatever subjects, connected, in his judgment, with the well-being of the Church, although with no visible bearing on faith or morals, and howsoever or to whomsoever those utterances may be made. It is for those of the Roman Communion to settle this. Of twenty-four Gallican Bishops who spoke (including Algiers, and Chambéry, as now French), two only, the Bishop of Nimes and Fréjus, include the old Gallican belief of reception by the whole Episcopate in their grounds for adhesion to the late Encyclical.491491 Dublin “Review,” April, 1865, p. 447. But twenty-two are but about one-fourth of the Bishops of France. It seems also very possible that the Roman Catholic Episcopate129
might agree in condemning all the eighty propositions, condemned in the syllabus, and yet not intend thereby to express their belief that every enunciation of the Pope, on whatever subject, is ipso facto infallible. For although the writer in the Dublin Review492492 Ib. July, p. 127. The Card. Archbishop of Chamb éry also notices “the condemnations having been published without exciting any protest,” i. e., I suppose, having been tacitly received. Ib. p. 129. has shown that the Encyclical of 1864 does claim this, in the name of Pius IX., the doctrine does not so explicitly lie there, as to require any Bishop, who should not assent to it, to express any dissent. Least of all would it seem to be required that every one who should dissent from it, should, in the present troubled state of the Church everywhere, add such an element of discord to the present conflict. It would make the doctrine of “reception by the Church” a nullity, if every thing was to be held to be received, which should not be protested against, even although not formally proposed for assent.
The claim, however, now raised, goes far beyond even the school of Bellarmine. If established, it would, in Pontificates so full of activity as that of Pius IX., who has issued thirty-two authoritative documents, be adding almost yearly to the faith of those in the Roman Communion. And union with the Roman See, on the part, e. g., of the great Russian Church, would involve this,—that every one should be ready to receive whatever all past Popes had authoritatively uttered, and whatever any future Pope, though unhappily a Borgia or a Julius II., might utter upon any subject whatsoever.
To the great Gallican Divines, however respectfully they spoke of the Pope, he was but one element in the infallibility of the whole Church. Since universal reception was the test of the infallibility of any decision of the Church, nothing could have this seal of infallibility, which was not received by him who was in dignity its first Bishop. It needed not, however, that what should become infallible, should always emanate from him; nor did it. The Anti-Pelagian statements of faith, e. g., which were received by the whole Church, came from S. Augustine and Africa; the concluding parts of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed came from a Council in which the East only was represented, but which became General through its reception by the West. To say, then, that the enunciations of the Pope became infallible through their reception by the whole Episcopate, would be a one-sided statement of Gallicanism; because such universal reception would equally render infallible any statement of faith which a Provincial Council should draw up against heresy: only in this case the Bishop of Rome would be an important member of those who should receive it.
From this, the doctrine set forth in Bellarmine differed, in that it ascribed infallibility to the Pope personally, but this with a limitation of its subject-matter. His two canons in this respect are:—1) “The Pontiff, when he teaches the whole Church, can in no case err in those things which appertain to faith.”493493 De Rom. Pont. iv. 3. 2) “Not only in precepts of faith cannot he err, but neither can he in precepts of morals, which are prescribed to the whole Church, and which relate to things necessary to salvation, or to such as are good or lad130
The doctrine, which places such an awful power in the hands of an individual, is limited in two ways in Bellarmine’s statement: 1) as to the formal way, in which the enunciation to be received as infallible is to be made. The “matters of faith” are to be such as are “taught to the whole Church;” the “precepts of morals” are to be “prescribed to the whole Church.” 2) In regard to morals, mere benefit to the Church is excluded. They are to be simply things “good or bad in themselves or necessary to salvation.” Matters of fact are omitted altogether. Nothing is said of them, either that they do, or do not, fall within the scope of Papal infallibility.
- That Pius IX. claims infallibility in judgments which he puts forth, “which do not touch the dogmas of faith and morals,” but “whose object is declared [by him to regard the Church’s right discipline and general good. His declarations on his civil princedom [i. e. on ‘his temporal sovereignty over his temporal subjects in Italy’] may be given as instances in point.” These statements of infallible truth need not, then, obviously be connected with the substance of revelation, or be supported by any thing in Holy Scripture or tradition, bearing on the subject.
- That these statements, in order to their infallibility, need not be addressed to the whole Episcopate, or be in any way formal in their character, but may be contained in letters to this or that individual pastor.”496496 Ib., pp. 444, 448.
- That consequently all the statements put forth in the Syllabus of 1864 are infallible truth.
- It follows that Papal infallibility is held to extend to matters of fact, and to things unconnected with former revelation.
- Since the claim for infallibility in these statements has been put forth, although not ‘totidem verbis,’ in the Encyclical of 1864, then, it is to follow, that each successive Pope is infallible on any of those or the like subjects, in whatever way or to whomsoever he may speak.
The errors condemned at the beginning of the Encyclical cannot, indeed, be said to have been condemned by any authority but that of our Lord. For Pius IX. condemned, so far, denials of God, of His Providence, and His revelations, which every peasant knows to be blasphemous. Others, again, of the propositions condemned are naked Erastianism. Some deny the first principles of morals.
I would only, in illustration of what I mean, speak of those, in regard to which the claim of infallibility is an advance apparently upon what has been hitherto taught in the Roman Communion.131
- As to matters of fact, it is claimed to be infallible truth,—that “no Pope497497 Prop. xxiii., in a work of a Spanish Ecclesiastic, Lima, 1848, condemned June 10, 1851, in the Multiplices inter, Recueil d. Alloc. Consistor., Encycliques, &c., citées dans l’Encycl. et Syll. 1864, p. 289, “Roman Pontiffs and Œcumenical Councils have quitted the limits of their power, usurped the rights of princes, and have erred even in defining matters of faith and morals.” The Dublin “Review” (April, 1865, p. 482) argues rightly, that each of these statements is condemned as to the Popes or Œcumenical Councils, not only as to both together. ever exceeded the limits of his power, or usurped the rights of princes, or erred in defining matters of faith or morals,” in which case Bossuet would be found, in regard to the last, in opposition to infallible truth. Again, it is to become infallible truth, that498498 Prop. xxxviii. of Nuytz, a Turin Professor, condemned in Ad Apostolicas, Aug. 22, 1851, that “‘nimia arbitria’ of Roman pontiffs contributed,” &c. Recueil, p. 294. “no too arbitrary acts of any Roman Pontiff contributed to the Church’s division into east and west.” Then, it is to be pronounced infallibly, that the Pope was right in the original unhappy dispute, with Photius and Ignatius alike, about Bulgaria, or in that which Fleury lamented, as finally fixing the schism, the setting up of a Latin Emperor and Latin Patriarchs, or in insisting on the addition of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed to be recited by the Greeks, after having acknowledged that the Greek and Latin Fathers, while using different formulae, meant the same thing; and yet subsequent Popes have abandoned this requisition in the case of the Greeks who have united themselves to the Latin Church.
- Again, it is to become infallible truth, that499499 Prop. lxxii., also quoted from Nuytz, condemned Ib. In the note there occurs, as a proposition of his, “the Emperor Justinian first annulled the marriage of priests.” Ib. p. 297. “Boniface VIII. was not the first who asserted that the vow of chastity, made at ordination, annuls marriage,”—a point which would fall, one should have thought, under human learning, not, at this date, of Divine revelation. Again, it becomes infallible truth, that500500 Prop. lxxix. This is not opposed to any maxim formally maintained by any one. In the Nunquam fore, Dec. 15, 1856, Pius IX. stated, that this was the object of the Mexican government, “In order to corrupt more easily the minds of the people, and to propagate the detestable and most foul pest of ‘indifferentism,’ and to attack our most holy religion, the free exercise of all worship is admitted, and full power is given of manifesting openly and publicly any opinions or thoughts whatever.” “civil liberty of all worships, and full power granted to all publicly to manifest any opinions or thoughts whatsoever, conduces to the more ready corruption of the morals and minds of peoples, and to propagate the plague of indifferentism.” A most thoughtful observer in the Roman Communion has said to this effect, “I had rather have to do with the open infidelity of the nineteenth century, than with the hidden infidelity of the middle ages.” This is no contradiction of the statement of Pius IX., but might make an essential limitation of it, viz., that some ways of attempting to check a great evil, the open spread of unbelief, might produce a greater,— an unbelief spreading unchecked and unhealed, because hidden.
- In regard to matters which do not relate to the substance of the faith or of morals, we have now a formal pronouncement, that the toleration of religious worship,
other than the Roman Catholic, is in itself inexpedient;501501 Prop. lxxvii. The Proposition condemned is, “In this our age, it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held the only religion of the state, all other whatsoever being shut out.” The question in the Nemo vestrum, to which reference is made, is not of any partial recognition or endowment of any such worship, but of its being. The convention which was broken in Spain was, “that that august religion, every other worship being shut out, continuing to be the only religion of the Spanish nation, was to be preserved as before,” &c. that immigrants, at least in some Roman Catholic countries, ought to be prohibited the use of their public worship;502502 Prop. lxxviii. “Hence it has been laudably provided in some Catholic countries, that immigrants should be allowed the public exercise of their several worships.” Pius IX. had condemned such permission in New Grenada “most energetically” (summopere), in the Acerbissimum, Sept. 27, 1852. Recueil, p. 322. To admit immigrants at all, and yet forbid them their worship, would plainly be to give them over to entire godlessness. And, apart from the loss of their own souls, the presence of a godless population is more perilous than that of persons with an imperfect faith. that503503Nuytz's proposition, denying this, is condemned in the Ad Apostolicas, Recueil, p. 294, and Syll., Prop. xxiv. “the Church has power to employ force against persons [vis inferendæ], and has temporal power direct or indirect.” Pius IX. placed the denial of this power of the Church in the front of the propositions, from which, he says,504504Ad Apost., Recueil, pp. 296, 7. In the Encyclical Quantæ curæ, he condemns those who are “not ashamed to affirm, that the Church has not the right of correcting by temporal punishments the violators of her laws.” (Recueil, p. 8.) “It is clear that the author [Nuytz], by such doctrine and such maxims, aims at perverting the constitution and the government of the Church, and the entire destruction of the Catholic faith, in that he deprives the Church of external judgment and corrective power, to the intent that those in error may return into the way of righteousness.”
It is, then, to be infallibly certain, that this “corrective force” (such as was exercised by the Inquisition, or in the reign of Henry VIII., or Queen Mary) is essential to the maintenance of the Catholic faith; and that, as used not only against heresiarchs, but “in order that those in error may return to the way of justice.” In fact, the only ground of not using it would be its visible inexpediency. Only such employment of force, as would exasperate, not extinguish, is unadvised.
Further, Pius IX. condemns, as by infallible authority, the denial of the temporal authority of the Church, or of the single Bishop;505505 Prop, xxv., Nuytz’s, condemned. “Besides the power, inherent in the Episcopate, there is another temporal power attributed, granted either expressly or implicitly by the civil power, which may therefore be recalled by the civil power when it wills.” It is involved then that the temporal power is inherent. Prop, xxvii., “The sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman Pontiff are to be excluded from all right and dominion of temporal things,” is condemned in the Maxima quidem, June 9, 1862, “as a saying uttered with all fallacy and guile.” (Recueil, p. 456.) of the immunity of Clerks from being sued or prosecuted in Civil or Criminal Courts, at least without consent of the Pope;506506 Prop. xxx., “The immunity of the Church and of Ecclesiastical persons had its origin from the civil law,” was formed from one of F. de Paula G. Vigil, Lima (condemned in the Multiplices inter, Recueil, p. 288), who asserted that “the immunity of the Church and of persons, constituted by ordinance of God and canonical sanctions, had its origin from the civil law.” Prop. xxxi. was not formally maintained as a thesis, but was acted upon. In the Allocutions referred to, Pius IX. said, “By this new constitution proposed [in the Mexican Republic], besides other things, every privilege of the Ecclesiastical forum is taken away” (Nunquam fore, Recueil, p. 384), and, “a law was passed (in New Grenada) whereby the Ecclesiastical forum is altogether taken away, and it is declared that all causes appertaining to the same forum, even those of the Archbishop and Bishops, whether civil or criminal, are for the future to be judged before lay tribunals by the magistrates of that republic.” (Acerbissimum, Recueil, p. 322.) The proposition condemned is, “The ecclesiastical forum for the temporal causes of clerks, whether civil or criminal, is to be altogether taken away, even without consulting, or against the protest of, the Apostolic See.” (Recueil, p. 22.)133
“of the sinfulness of the political principle of ‘non-intervention,’”507507 Prop. lxii. “The principle which they term non-intervention is to be proclaimed and observed.” The principle is condemned in the Novos et ante broadly. “We cannot abstain from deploring, besides other things, the destructive and pernicious principle, which they call non-intervention, not long ago proclaimed and acted upon by some governments, and tolerated by the rest, in the case of the unjust aggression of one government against another, so that a sort of licence and impunity of attacking and despoiling the rights, properties, and even territories of others against the laws of God and man, seems to be sanctioned, as we see in this sad time.” (Recueil, p. 420.) or the ascription of “the right called ‘Appel comme d’Abus’ to the civil power, even when exercised by an unbelieving ruler,”508508 Prop. xli., Fuytz’s. “That the civil power, even when exercised by an infidel ruler, has an indirect negative power over sacred things, and not merely the right, called exequatur, but also of ‘appeal from abuse’” (l’appel comme d’abus), condemned verbally in the Ad Apost., Rec. p. 294. the opinion that509509 Prop. lxxvi., from the Quibus quantisque, 1849. “We cannot but admonish and reprove those especially, who approve that decree [of the Constituens Romana, 1849], whereby the Roman Pontiff was despoiled of all honour and dignity of his temporal princedom, and assert that that decree conduces in the highest degree to the liberty and felicity of the Church herself.” (Rec., p. 224.) “the abrogation of the civil princedom which the Apostolic See enjoys [i. e. ‘the authority which the Pope possesses as king over his imperial subjects in Italy’]510510 Dublin “Review,” April, 1865, p. 441, note. ‘would conduce in the highest degree to the Church’s liberty and felicity.”
The two opinions on the civil princedom of the Papacy, condemned in the Syllabus, are very pronounced. The one states that its abolition would be a benefit; the other, though less strong in words, is stronger in fact: for Nuytz stated, that511511Prop. lxxv. condemned in the Ad Apost., Recueil, p. 294. “sons of the Christian and Catholic Church disputed among themselves as to the compatibility of the temporal kingdom with the spiritual,”—which involves that some at least doubted whether the temporal power was not morally wrong.
Neither condemnation lays down a positive doctrine obligatory upon Roman Catholics. The Syllabus however states, that512512 Recueil, p. 33. “many other errors are implicitly reprobated in the doctrine which all Catholics ought most firmly to hold on the civil princedom of the Roman Pontiff,” and that “this doctrine is clearly taught in “five Allocutions and one Apostolic letter, which it names. The doctrine is most fully stated in the earliest of 1849, that, “when513513Quibus quantisque, Rec. p. 224. the Roman Empire was divided into many kingdoms and various states, it was by a very singular counsel of Divine Providence that the Roman134
Pontiff, to whom the government and care of the whole Church was committed by the Lord Christ, should on this ground have a civil princedom, that he might, for the government of the Church itself and for the maintenance of its unity, enjoy that full liberty which is required for discharging the supreme Apostolic ministry. For all know that the faithful people, nations, kingdoms, would never yield full confidence and observance to the Roman Pontiff, if they saw him subject to the dominion of any prince or government, and not free. For the faithful people and kingdoms would never cease vehemently to suspect and fear, that the Pontiff would conform his acts to the will of the prince or government in whose dominions he lived, and therefore would not hesitate often, under that pretext, to contradict those acts. And let the enemies of the civil princedom of the Apostolic See, who now rule at Rome, themselves say with what confidence or observance they themselves would receive the exhortations, admonitions, mandates, constitutions of the supreme Pontiff, if they knew him to be subject to the empire of any prince or government, especially if he were the subject of any prince, between whom and the Roman state there should be any lasting war.”
On this ground Pius IX. said, “The nature of our office requires that, in maintaining the civil princedom of the Apostolic See, we should defend with all our might the rights and possessions of the holy Roman Church, and the liberty of that See, which is conjoined with the liberty and advantage of the whole Church.”
The other Allocutions add nothing to this,514514 Of the Alloc., cited in the Syll., the Si semper antea, Rec., p. 266, Cum Catholica, Ib., p. 402, Novos, Ib., p. 420, Maxima quidem, Ib., p. 460, repeat, unargumentatively, the statement that the civil Princedom was given by the singular counsel of the Providence of God (the Cum Cath. says, “God willed that this see of S. Peter should be provided with it”), for the greater benefit of the Church, through the independent position of the Pontiff. The Jamdudum cernimus, Rec., p. 438, only speaks of the Civil Princedom as belonging to the R. Pontiff. except, perhaps, that the Cum catholica ascribes the temporal government more directly to “the Will of God; “and the Maxima quidem says, “that the civil princedom was necessary,”515515 The Dublin “Review,” April, p. 487, in stating the doctrine, says, that “under present circumstances it is necessary for enabling the Pope freely to govern the Church without subjection to an earthly king.” I do not find that limitation in any document, unless the writer means, “The circumstances ever since the division of the Roman Empire into various kingdoms,” i. e., ever since the Pope has had temporalities. The ground alleged by the Pope would apply still more strongly to earlier times, since Persia was in continual antagonism to the Roman Empire; but then there were neither the temporalities nor the rule. which may be a little stronger than required.
I have purposely selected such statements only as do not in themselves “touch upon faith or morals.” I will only instance one more, as showing that every sentence in every pronouncement of the Pope is to be held as infallible. Prop. LXL, “The injustice of a fact, being prospered, brings no detriment to the sanctity of the right,” is only an incidental statement of the jamdudum cernimus,516516 Recueil, p. 440. in contradiction of the claim that the Pope should yield up his right in those of the ecclesiastical states which had been rent135
from him. The claim, of course, was shameless on the part of those who wrested them unjustly from him. But now it is made an abstract proposition, to be condemned by all Catholics. Incidental statements then are, equally with the most formal propositions, matters of faith. Yet the proposition necessarily requires limitation. For, since S. Paul commands us to submit to “the powers that be,”517517 Rom. xiii. 1. this submission must often be paid to those who are kings “de facto,” and not “de jure.” On this principle the early Christians yielded obedience to each successive Emperor. This principle, which justified the obedience to William and Mary, justified obedience to the first and third Napoleon, whom Popes recognized. The proposition is equivalent to the proverb, “might makes right,” and is, in fact, a denial of justice; yet S. Paul requires us to submit, as to a Divine ordinance, to authority, whose only “right” is its “might.”
In this case, however, the pronouncement did relate to a moral rule. I instance it only as evidencing the extent of the claim of infallibility. ISTot only the main proposition, but every argument used in all these Allocutions is held to be equally infallible truth. This illustrates the compass of the infallibility claimed. It is an infallibility equal in extent to that of the Divine Scriptures; so that each sentence, however incidental, becomes, like the Word of God, a sacred text.
The doctrine of Papal infallibility, laid down by Bellarmine, is declared in the Encyclical of last year to be inadequate. Pius IX. distinctly rejects, as518518 Receuil, p. 10. “contrary to the Catholic dogma of the full power divinely given to the Roman Pontiff by the Lord Christ Himself, of feeding, ruling, and governing the Universal Church, the audacity of those who, ‘not enduring sound doctrine,’ contend that without [deadly] sin, and without any loss of Catholic profession, assent and obedience may be withheld from those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to regard the general good of the Church, its rights and discipline, provided that that object does not touch upon dogmas of faith and morals.” And this “assent” to every utterance of the Pope is required to all his “judgments,” which519519Dublin “Review,” April, p. 445. “determine concerning truth and falsehood,” and that, tinder pain of mortal sin. “Cardinal Patrizi, writing,” says the Dublin Review, 520520 Ib., p. 449. Cardinal Patrizi’s words there translated are, “The faithful, who show themselves such in word and act, recognize in the voice of the Church’s visible head the very word of God [Italics of the Dublin “Review”]. That head has authority to address the whole Church; and he who listens not to him declares himself as no longer appertaining to ths Church, as no longer making part of Christ’s flock, and accordingly as no longer having a right to the kingdom of heaven.” “to the Catholics of Pius IX.’s own diocese, by his express sanction, and under his very eye, claims for the Encyclical, and, consequently, for every like expression of the Pope’s mind, to be the very word of God, to be received on pain of forfeiting heaven.” But then obviously the same must apply to all past ages; and all genuine judgments and decrees of all the past Bishops of Rome, upon whatever subject, whether bearing directly upon faith or morals, or upon the general good of the Church, will be to be regarded as “the very136
word of God.” Had this doctrine been held in times past, the very existence of General Councils appears to me perfectly unintelligible. For, if the word of the Pope was “the word of God,” there was no occasion for any declaration of the hereditary faith throughout the Church, such as the General Councils affirmed. Roman-Catholic writers will perhaps explain, where was the room for the appeal to Scripture and unbroken tradition as depositories of the faith, if the word of each successive Pope was itself “the word of God.”
This extension of Papal Infallibility would, I should think, embarrass the defence of the system. For those who have denied the personal infallibility of the Pope, like Bossuet, have confined themselves to pointing out those cases in which any Pope seemed to have fallen into great and obvious error. Now, since every portion of the teaching of any Pope is to be infallible, it will apparently have to be shown how any statement of any Pope which has since been abandoned, is consistent with such infallibility. To take the one subject of prohibited marriages. S. Gregory the Great declares on the ground of Leviticus, c. 18, that marriage “with a sister-in-law is forbidden, because through her former union she became the brother’s flesh.” In a formal answer to an inquiry of S. Augustine of Canterbury, “at what degree of consanguinity may the faithful marry, and may marriage be contracted with stepmothers or sisters-in-law? “S. Gregory states, “it is necessary that, in order to marry lawfully, they should be in the third or fourth degree,” i.
e. second or third cousins, and prohibits, on ground of Divine law, marriage with the sister-in-law, as well as with the mother-in-law.521521 Epist., lib. xi. Indict, iv. Ep. 64, Interr. 6, ed. Ben. This was directly contradicted by the unhappy Borgia (Alexander VI.), who gave a dispensation to marry a sister-in-law522522 To Emanuel, king of Portugal. and an aunt.523523 To Ferdinand, king of Sicily. See Dr. Pusey’s Evidence before the commission appointed to inquire into the law of marriage, n. 464 (as reprinted with Pref., pp. 26, 27). But Pope Innocent III. answered formally, that in the degrees, prohibited by the Divine law, a dispensation cannot be given,—“dispensari non possit.” He spoke, in three Epistles,524524 De Restit. Spol. c. Literas; de Consang. et Aff., cap. de Infidel.; de Divert., tit. Gaudemus, quoted ib. pp. 80, 81. of degrees prohibited “by Divine law,” i. e. as explained, and according to the known use of the term, “the Levitical law.” Cardinal de Turrecremata, acting by command of Pope Eugenius, pronounced that “the Pope could not dispense” when the Dauphin asked to be allowed to marry his deceased wife ’s sister.
Then also Pope Celestine was equally infallible, when he declared that525525 Letter to the Council of Ephesus. I have adopted the translation in Allies’ Church of England, from Fleury, xxv. 47, Oxf. Tr. Fleury observes, “Thus Pope Celestine acknowledged that it was Christ Himself Who established Bishops in the persons of the Apostles, as the teachers of His Church; he places himself in their rank, and declares that they ought all to concur for the preservation of the sacred deposit of Apostolic doctrine.” “the charge of teaching has descended [from the Apostles] equally upon all Bishops. We are all engaged in it by an hereditary right; all we, who have come in their (the Apostles’)137
stead, preach the name of our Lord to all the countries of the world, according to what was said to them, ‘Go ye, and teach all nations.’ You are to observe, my brethren, that the order we have received is a general order, and that He intended that we should all execute it, when He charged them with it, as a duty devolving equally upon all. We ought all to enter into the labours of those whom we have all succeeded in dignity.” Not, as people now say, the Pope alone, but according to Pope Celestine,526526 Ib. The passage just precedes the former, which is its sequel. “the assembly of priests is the visible display of the presence of the Holy Ghost. He Who cannot lie has said, ‘ Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them:’ much more will He be present in so large a crowd of holy men, for the Council is holy in a peculiar sense, as the representative of that most holy synod of Apostles which we read of. Their Master, Whom they were commanded to preach, never forsook them. It was He Who taught them; it was He Who instructed them what they should teach others; and He has assured the world, that in the persons of the Apostles, they hear Him.”
Then S. Leo was infallible, when he spoke of his own clear statement of doctrine having been confirmed by the whole Church. “What God has before decreed by our ministry, He confirmed by the irreversible assent of the whole brotherhood, to show that what was first put forth in form by the first See of all, and then received by the judgment of the whole Christian world, really proceeded from Himself.”527527 Ep. 120, ad Theod., quoted by Bossuet, Gall. Orthod., n. 60. 61.
Then S. Gregory the Great was infallible, when he spoke of the See of S. Peter as existing equally in Home, Alexandria, and Antioch. “And thus though the Apostles be many, yet the See of the chief of the Apostles, which belongs to one, though it is in three places, alone prevailed in authority, by virtue of his chiefship. For it is he who exalted the See, in which he also condescended to take his rest, and finish the present life [Borne]. It is he who adorned the See, to which he sent the Evangelist, his disciple [Alexandria]. It is he who established the See in which he sat for seven years, though he was to leave it [Antioch]. Inasmuch then as the See, over which by Divine authority three Bishops now preside, is one man’s and one, whatever good I hear of you, I lay to mine own account.”528528 Ep. ad Eulog. Episc. Alex., lib. vii., quoted by Allies, Eng. Ch., &c., p. 347.
He was infallible when he said,529529 Opp. T. iii., p. 632 A, quoted by Allies, p. 848. “Himself [‘the Mediator of God and man’] is the Rock from which Peter received his name, and upon which He said that He would build His Church.” He was infallible when he said, “It is now said to the universal Church, ‘Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth,’ “&c.530530T. iii. 387 E, Ib. p. 349.
He was infallible when he said,531531 Epp., lib. v., 43, ad Eulog., quoted Ib. p. 354. “No one of my predecessors ever consented to use so profane a term [as Universal Bishop], because plainly, if a single Patriarch is called universal, the name of Patriarch is taken from the rest. Wherefore let your Holiness138
in your letters never call any one universal, lest in offering undue honour to another, you should deprive yourself of that which is your due.” “He endeavours to claim the whole to himself, and aims by the pride of this pompous language to subjugate to himself all the members of Christ, which are joined together to the one sole Head, that is, Christ. If this is allowed to be said freely, the honour of all Patriarchs is denied. And when, perchance, he who is termed universal, perishes in error, presently no Bishop is found to have remained in a state of duty. Stand firm, stand fearless; presume not ever either to give, or to receive letters with this false title of Universal.” “I exhort and advise that no one of you ever give countenance to this name, ever agree to it, ever write it, ever receive a writing wherein it is contained, or add his subscription, but, as it behoves ministers of Almighty God, keep himself clear from such poisonous infection; since this is done to the injury and disruption of the whole Church, and, as we have said, in contempt of all of you. For if, as he thinks, one is universal, it remains that you are not Bishops.”532532Ad Episc. Ill., lib. ix. 68. Allies, p. 355. “To consent to this nefarious name, is nothing else but to lose our faith.”533533 Ad Sabinian., lib. v. 19, Ib. “I confidently affirm, that whoever calls himself, or desires to he called universal Priest, in his pride goes before Antichrist,—whoever he is, who desires to be called sole Priest, he lifts himself up above all other priests.”534534 Ad Imp. Maur., lib. vii. 33. Allies, p. 356. “Far from Christian hearts he that blasphemous name, in which the honour of all the Priests [Bishops] is taken away, while it is madly arrogated by one to himself.535535 Ad Imp. Maur., v. 20, Ib. Certainly, to do honour to the blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles, this was offered to the Roman Pontiff per536536Allies translated “per” “during,” observing that S. Gregory used per, or in, not a. It was in fact used, not by but in, the Council by two Alexandrian Deacons who accused Dioscorus, and probably, as Van Espen conjectured (T. v. 477, Ib.), in opposition the like title given to Dioscorus, Archbishop of Alexandria. Allies observes, however, “The title Ecumenical has been constantly since, and is now borne by the Patriarch of Constantinople; no doubt a very innocent meaning may be given it. The remarkable thing is, that Gregory has pointed out in such plain unmistakable language a certain power and claim, which he inferred, rightly or wrongly, would be set up on this title Ecumenical, and which he pronounces to be a corruption of the whole constitution of the Church “(Ib., p. 360), and that he and his predecessors repudiated it. Thomassin would have it, that the Council, by its silence, authorized the title given in “those” requests (i. 1. 11, Ib.). It is obviously unreasonable to argue any thing from the fact that the Council did not interrupt the proceedings to protest against a title occurring in a petition, and very capable of an innocent sense. the venerable Council of Chalcedon. But no one of them ever consented to use this singular appellation, that all Priests [Bishops] might not be deprived of their due honour by something peculiar being given to one. How is it, then, that we seek not the glory of this name, though offered us, yet another presumes to claim it, though not offered?” “If537537 Ep. ad Anastas., lib. vii. 27. Ib. 368. This, as Allies remarked, is exactly the argument used for the infallibility of the Pope; i. e. that is claimed for him, which S. Gregory the Great, being also on the same principle infallible, rejected. one Bishop be called universal, the whole Church falls to pieces if that one, being universal, falls.” “Your139
Blessedness538538 Ad Euseb. viii. 30. has also taken pains to tell me that you no longer write to certain persons those proud names which have sprung from the root of vanity, and you address me, saying, ‘as you commanded,’ which word ‘command’ I beg you to remove from my ears, because I know who I am, and who you are. For in rank you are my brother, in character my father. I did not, therefore, command, but took pains to point out what I thought advantageous. I do not, however, find that your Blessedness was willing altogether to observe the very thing I pressed upon you. For I said that you should not write any such thing either to me or to any one else; and, lo! in the heading of your letter, directed to me, the very person who forbad it, you set that haughty appellation, calling me universal Pope, which I beg your Holiness to do no more, because whatever is given to another more than reason requires, is so much taken away from yourself I do not consider that an honour, by which I acknowledge that my brethren lose their own. For my honour is the honour of the Universal Church. My honour is the unimpaired honour of my brethren. Then am I truly honoured, when the due honour is not denied to each one in his degree.
For if your Holiness calls me universal Pope, you deny that you yourself are what you admit me to be, universal.” “By this539539 Ep. ad Joann., Patr. Const, v. 18. Ib. p. 360. rash presumption the peace of the whole Church is disturbed, and the grace, poured out upon all in common, contradicted. Surely the Apostle Paul, hearing some one say, ‘I am of Paul, I of Apollos, I of Cephas,’ exclaimed in exceeding horror at this rending of the Lord’s body, by which His members attached themselves, as it were, to other heads, saying, ‘Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? ’ If he then rejected the members of the Lord’s body being subjected to certain heads, as it were, besides Christ, and that even to Apostles themselves, as leaders of parts, what will you say to Christ, Who is, as you know, the Head of the Universal Church, in the examination of the last judgment,—you, who endeavour to subject to yourself, under the name of Universal, all His members? Who, I say, in this perverse name, is set forth for imitation, but he, who despised the legions of angels joined as companions to himself, and endeavoured to rise to a height unapproached by all, that he might seem to be subject to none, and be alone superior to all? (quoting Isa. xiv. 13, 14.) Surely Peter, the first of the Apostles, is a member of the holy Universal Church; Paul, Andrew, John,—what else are they but the heads of particular communities? And yet all are members under One Head. And to comprehend all under one brief expression, the saints before the law, the saints under the law, the saints under grace,—all these, making up the body of the Lord, are dispersed among the members of the Church, and no one ever wished to be called universal. No one ever chose to be called by such a name; no one claimed to himself this rash appellation; lest, should he claim to himself the glory of singularity in the rank of the High Priesthood, he might seem to have denied it to all his brethren. What, therefore, dearest brother, will you say in that terrible examination of the judgment to come,—you, who covet to be called not merely father, but common father?”140
Then S. Leo IX. was infallible when he said,540540 In Mansi, xix. 640. Allies, p. 363. “The humility of those venerable Pontiffs [the Bishops of Rome], worthy of all imitation, considering that the chief of the Apostles is not found called universal Apostle, utterly rejected that proud name, by which their equality of rank seemed to be taken away from all Prelates throughout the world, in that a claim was made for one upon the whole.”
Then Leo II. was infallible, who, when the Acts of the sixth General Council were sent him, wrote back,541541 In Mansi, xi. 1057. Allies, p. 381. “We anathematize alike those inventors of new error, Theodore, Bp. of Pharan; Cyrus, of Alexandria, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul, Peter, plotters against, rather than Prelates of the Church of Constantinople; and also Honorius, who did not illumine this Apostolical Church with the doctrine of Apostolic tradition, but, by a foul betrayal, attempted to subvert its spotless faith.”
Then S. Leo I. was infallible, when he rejected the 28th Canon of the Council of Chalcedon, which placed Constantinople in the second rank, next to Rome, as being542542 Ep. 105, ad Pulcher. c. 3. “opposed to the rules of the sacred Canons established at Nicæa,” in that he says, “In all Ecclesiastical causes we obey those laws which the Holy Spirit, by means of the 318 Prelates, appointed for the peaceable observance of all Priests,” &c. And Pope Adrian was infallible when he said,543543 In Mansi, xii. 1073. Ib., p. 399. “He [the Patriarch of Constantinople] never could have ranked second, save for the authority of our holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as is plain to all” (which rank, however, Constantinople took, and had on the authority of the Canon, from the time of the Council itself).
Then, again, S. Leo was infallible, when he said,544544 Serm. v. de Nativ. Dom. Opp. i. 160. Par. 1675. Comp. S. Gregory I. (Mor. in Job, 1. 18), “He alone was truly born holy, Who, that He might conquer corrupt nature, was not conceived in the ordinary way.” “The Lord Jesus, then, was alone born innocent among the sons of men, because He alone was conceived without the pollution of carnal concupiscence;” and Pope Gelasius,545545Epist. adv. Pelag. Hær. conc. x. p. 181, ed. Reg. when speaking of “saints, who have by God’s abundant grace easily overcome the vices of mortality,” yet “attest that they were not yet so free from them, so that it should be peculiar (proprium) to that Immaculate Lamb to have had absolutely no sin, lest this should not seem to be a thing to be ascribed to Him alone, if any other saint whatsoever should be believed to have been free from offence.” And Innocent III., when he said,546546 In Solemn. Assump. Glor. semper Virg. M. Serm. 2. Opp. T. i. p. 161. Colon. 1575. “That one (Eve) was produced without fault, but produced unto fault; but this one (Mary) was produced in fault, but produced without fault. That one was said to be Eva; to this one was said Ave;” and that “the Holy Ghost547547 The whole passage is (on S. Luke i. 35, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee), “But forthwith the Holy Ghost came upon her; He had indeed before come into her, when, in her mother’s womb, He cleansed her soul from original sin; but now too He came upon her, to cleanse her flesh from the ‘fomes’ of sin, that she might be altogether without spot or wrinkle. That tyrant, then, of the flesh, the sickness of nature, the ‘fomes’ of sin, as I think, He altogether extinguished, that henceforth any motion from the law of sin should not be able to arise in her members.”—In Solemn. Purif. Glor. V. M. Serm. Unic., Opp. T. i. p. 107. purified her soul from original sin in her mother’s womb” which is141
what Gregory XV. denied by implication, when he removed the word “sanctification “from the liturgies.
I have set down no difficulty which I do not myself think insurmountable. I see absolutely no way in which, upon the forbidden degrees, Alexander VI. can be reconciled with Gregory I., or how the acceptance of the sixth General Council, which anathematized Honorius as a heretic, by Leo II., and his own individual condemnation of him, are reconcileable with the doctrine of the infallibility of both, in all which they pronounce; or how the rejection of the position of Constantinople, on the ground of the immutable decrees of Nice by Leo I., is consistent with the statement of Adrian, that that see owed its position to Rome; or how S. Gregory’s denunciation, not only of the title “Universal Bishop,” but of what the title contained, and that, in any sense in which it could be supposed to be taken by the Patriarch of Constantinople, not as taken by that Patriarch only, but as unbecoming himself also, is compatible with the Ultramontane theories about the Pope. It is a characteristic of the word of God, that it “abideth for Pius
IX. could not, I should think, adopt the language of Gregory I., as to the marriage of those near of kin, or in denying his own right to be called “Universal Bishop,” or to what the Patriarch of Constantinople meant to assume by that name; nor could he, I conceive, use the language of S. Leo or Gelasius, of Christ “alone being born innocent,” or having alone had absolutely no sin; still less that of Innocent III., that “she was produced in fault,” “producta in culpa,” or that “she was sanctified from original sin in her mother’s womb.”
These are but specimens of inextricable difficulties, in which, I fear, the Roman Church would involve itself by acceding to this doctrine of the Papal infallibility not only as to matters of faith and doctrine, but as to matters not connected therewith, and even as to historical facts. This theory is not yet put forth for actual acceptance, although it is contained in the Encyclical of 1864. It is even remarkable that, out of nineteen propositions of Nuytz,548548 Printed in the Recueil, &c., pp. 294-7, from la Croce di Savoia. all are condemned except two, which related personally to the Pope. Of these, the bearings of the one I do not understand,—” The personal law of the Pontiff cannot be the sole law.” The other is in direct terms, “The Pope is not infallible.” However the contrary is implied in the Encyclical, yet the marked omission of this, among the propositions condemned in the Syllabus, seems to imply that Pius IX. does not yet think the state of minds in the Roman Church ripe for a formal decision. It seems a state of things analogous to that, when the Greeks had avowed their disbelief in any material fire of Purgatory, and that belief was not affirmed.
Dr. (now Archbishop) Manning, however, two years ago, had so made the belief in the personal Infallibility of the Pope on matters not directly relating to faith and morals part of his Creed, that he made the temporal princedom of the Pope also a part of142
that Creed, and maintained that “non-intervention in the question of the temporal power of the Pope is essentially a denial of the divine institution of the Church.” He declares “that the English government,549549 Introd. to Sermons on Eccl. Subj., 1863, p. 65. as proclaiming the principle of non-intervention in the Roman question, thereby denies the divine authority of the Church,” as well as of “the Holy See, and its divine mission to the nations of the world.”
He forgets, apparently, the good deeds of England in restoring Pius VII., and, on the ground of a doctrine, ruled by Pius IX. fourteen years before, and not as yet formally proposed to be accepted by the Church, he declares that “the English government,550550 Dublin “Review,” April, 1865, p. 441. in proclaiming this principle of non-intervention, assumes an attitude towards Christianity and the Church, and towards the Christian society, which gives it at this moment the melancholy pre-eminence of being the most Anti-Catholic, and therefore, if not in its intentions, certainly in its influences and results, the most Anti-Christian power in the world.” Happy condition of the world, when mere neutrality makes a civil power the most Anti-Christian in it!
And yet, according to another Ultramontane writer, “9 the Church’s whole doctrine on his civil princedom, as regards its methodical expression, has been commenced, matured, and perfected by Pius IX.”
Before, it was an open question, whether or no the civil princedom did, or did not, contribute to strengthen the spiritual power of the Pope. Pius IX. has adopted the arguments, and nearly the words of an eminent French Bishop of the seventeenth century in maintaining that it does, amid the mutual jealousies of the Roman Catholic powers.551551 “Let us return to the Bishops, and conclude that it is only ignorance and grossness which made them think these seignories, united to their sees, were useful to maintain religion. I only see the Roman Church, where one can find a special reason for uniting the two powers. While the Ro man Empire lasted, it contained in its vast extent nearly all Christianity; but after Europe was divided among many princes independent of each other, if the Pope had been the subject of any one of them, there would be ground to fear that the others would have had difficulty in owning him as a common father, and that schisms would have been frequent. One may believe then, that it was by a singular effect of Providence that the Pope found himself independent and master of a state, powerful enough not to be easily oppressed by other sovereigns; in order that he might be the more free in the exercise of his spiritual power, and be able to keep more easily the other Bishops within the bounds of their duty. This was the thought of a great Bishop of our time.”—Fleury, Disc. 4, sur 1’Hist. Eccl., n. 10. There is much to be alleged for it. Contrariwise, it has been the occasion of very grievous ill. “Witness the warlike and intriguing Popedom of Julius II. Fleury balances the evil and the good, and of himself evidently thought the evil to preponderate. He says:552552 Fleury, Disc. 4, sur 1’Hist. Eccl., n. 9. —
“Leo IX. and the Popes who undertook to repair the ruins of the 11th century, and to restore the Roman Church to its lustre, wished also to re-establish its temporal powers, which they founded, first on ‘the donation of Constantine,’ then on those of Pepin, Charlemagne, Louis le Débonnaire, and Otho. All the world knows now what is the ‘donation of Constantine;’ and its falsehood is more universally recognized than that of the decretals of Isidore; but, at the time of these Popes, its truth, was not questioned. S. Bernard presupposed it, when he said to Pope Eugenius that he was the successor not only of Peter, but of143
Constantine: it was known and received as early as the 9th century, and minds hardly began to be disabused of it toward the middle of the 15th. Even the Greeks received it, as appears in Balsamon, who quotes it entire, and claims to found upon it the prerogatives of the see of Constantinople.
“Geoffrey of Viterbo, speaking of ‘the donation of Constantine,’ in his abridgment of history dedicated to Pope Urban III., said that ‘many thought that the Church had been more holy in the three first centuries, but that afterwards it was more happy.’ Whoever advanced this beautiful sentence held sentiments very low, much beneath not the Gospel only, but human philosophy. Any one, ever so little above the common herd, sees readily that the pure happiness of this life is in virtue, not in riches; but one who believes the Gospel may not doubt it. Jesus Christ showed it by His example and His words; since, being the Lord of all riches and all human greatness, He sovereignly despised them, and bequeathed to His disciples poverty and suffering as their only inheritance. I still then return to this question; did they in the 11th century discover a wisdom unknown before, and were Leo IX. and Gregory VII. more enlightened than S. Leo or S. Gregory!
“These great Popes had not yet explored their archives enough to find there ‘ the donation of Constantine;’ they were neither sovereign Princes nor temporal Lords, and yet they did not complain that any thing was wanting to their power, and had no time to spare, after their spiritual occupations. They were persuaded of the distinction of the two powers so well expressed by Pope Gelasius,553553 Ep. 8, ad Anastas. when he said that Emperors themselves are subject to Bishops in the order of religion, and that in the political order Bishops, even he of the first see, obey the laws of Emperors.”
Then, after defending the lawfulness of Ecclesiastical property in itself, even that “Bishops became Counts, Dukes, and Princes, as they still are in Germany: even (which is furthest from the institution) monks, whom their humility had put below all men, found themselves with subjects and vassals, and their Abbots gained the rank of Seignors and Princes,” he adds, “All these rights are legitimate; it is not lawful to dispute them with the Church more than with laymen; and, to return to the Roman Church, it would be very unjust to dispute with it the sovereignty of Rome and of great part of Italy, of which it has been in possession for so many centuries, since most sovereigns have no better title than long possession.
“Arnold of Brescia, then, was rightly condemned, who stirred up the Romans against the Pope, maintaining broadly that the Clergy ought not to have seignories, lands, or real property, but ought to be supported solely by alms and voluntary offerings. Yet I own I should have been glad to find in authors of Arnold’s time the reasons whereby they refuted his errors. For the two letters of S. Bernard to the Romans thereon are only pathetic declarations, in which he enters into no proof, and presupposes the rights of the Pope indisputable.554554 Ep. 243, 244. Then, too, he did not, as we saw, question ‘the donation of Constantine.’ This document, if true, established the fact and the special right of the Pope; and for the right of the Clergy in general, it was unquestionable, as I have just shown.
“But that most wise maxim of the Apostle should have been remembered, that what is lawful is not always expedient;555555 1 Cor. vi. 12. and it should have been borne in mind (as did those of old) that the human mind is too limited to be equal to exercise at once spiritual and temporal power. At least, men ought to have respected the practice of those of old, and should have thought that, had the donation of Constantine been true, S. Leo and S. Gregory would have known it, and would have had good reasons for not using it, as it is certain they did not. The experience of more than 600 years has shown the great wisdom of their conduct. Bishops who are simply Bishops give little hold to the temporal power;556556Synes., Ep. 57, and 121. whereas it has continually grounds of quarrel with Bishops who are Lords. The holy Bishops liked but too well to have temporal144
“When the Church established the rule of admitting those only into the Church who had embraced a life of continence, it had not only regard to the purity befitting the frequent approach of the sacred mysteries; she also wished that her chief ministers should be disengaged from the cares which marriage necessarily brings, and which made S. Paul say that the married man is divided between God and the world.558558 1 Cor. vii. 33. But what is the care of one family compared with the care of a whole state? What is the well ordering of a wife with five or six children compared with the government of 100,000 subjects?
“We are naturally more struck with sensible objects than with spiritual. A Prince is occupied in repressing crimes, preventing seditions and conspiracies against his person and state. He labours to preserve and defend it against its enemies without, and to avail himself of occasions of aggrandizing it. To this end he has to raise and maintain troops, fortify places, amass treasures, to provide for so many expenses. He must correspond with neighbouring princes, negotiate, make treaties of commerce and alliance. To a politician these things seem great and serious; ecclesiastical functions seem to him little, and almost childish. To chant in a church, walk in procession, act in ceremonies, chatechize, appear to him ordinary occupations, of which the first comer is capable. What in his eyes is important and solid is to maintain his power, and weaken his enemies. He regards prayer, reading, meditation on Holy Scripture as occupations more befitting a monk than a statesman, and he finds no time to give to them. You have seen what fears S. Bernard had for Pope Eugenius lest overwhelming business should hinder him from reflecting daily on his duties and himself, and he should fall at last into a state of obduracy.
“Perhaps you will believe that a Prince-Bishop will reserve to himself his spiritual functions, and will throw the burden of the government of the state on some layman. He will take care not to do this, for fear the layman should become the real Prince. Bather he will abandon the spiritual part to others; for he fears nothing from a Priest, a Grand-Vicar, a Suffragan Bishop. He will willingly leave them the study of theology and the canons, preaching, cure of souls, of which he will at most have a general account rendered to him; but he will have detailed accounts of his troops, his fortresses, his finances. He will give charge of them to other ecclesiastics, whom he will trust more than laymen, but who will be ecclesiastics in form, and in truth men of business. If you doubt it, see how the diocese and states of those so powerful princes of Germany and Poland are governed. You will see by this experience, that those of old were very wise, and that the alliance of temporal with the spiritual power was advantageous neither to religion, nor to the state. As to religion, it is evident that it was better upheld by Bishops who were purely Bishops, and exclusively occupied with spiritual things, as S. Ambrose and S. Augustine.”
I have given this long extract from Fleury, to show the freedom with which this subject of the civil princedom used to be discussed, as being entirely an open question. At the commencement of the present Pontificate it still was so, even in Rome itself. Now a declaration of Pius IX., that “it came in the Providence of God,” and that (which time alone could show) it is “necessary” to the due exercise of the Pope’s spiritual authority, has made, we are told, a new article of faith, so that to take no side about it is to “deny the Divine authority of the Church.”
For, unless the declaration of the Pope had made it a matter of faith, it is obviously a subject of speculation of human wisdom. Fleury says, that, before the existence of this civil princedom, the Popes did not feel any thing wanting to their spiritual power,—such power as they used before the false decretals. The event only could show that the loss of that civil princedom would impair what they have now.145
Unless Pius IX. be directly inspired by God, like one of the old Prophets, to foretell that its abandonment would involve its injury or forfeiture, it is a question of human wisdom still.
Secular policy hangs over the relations of the Pope to Pepin; 559559 The celebrated answer, which transferred the kingdom of France to Pepin, would hardly be a precedent. “Burghard, Bishop of Wirzeburg, and Folrad, Chaplain, were sent to Zachary Pope, asking as to the kings of France, who at that time had not the royal power, if it were well or no. And Zachary Pope sent word to Pepin, that it was better that he should be called king, who had the power, than he who remained without royal power; that order might not be disturbed, he commanded that Pepin should become king by Apostolic authority.”—(Annal. Lauriss., A. 749. Pertz, Mon. Germ. i. 136.) The next year, “Pepin, according to the custom of the Franks, was elected king and anointed by the hand of Archbishop Boniface of holy memory, and raised by the Franks to the throne at Soissons. But Hilderic, who was fals ely called king, was shorn and sent into a monastery,”—(ib. A. 750.) In return, Pepin made the Pope Patricius of the Exarchate, yet under fealty to Pepin, and for the time owning the Greek Emperor. (See authorities in Gieseler, Ser. 3, A. 1, c. 2, § 5.) This arrangement could not be said to be by the Providence of God, in any other way, than all acts of men are overruled by Him. and what was originally a fief, held of a secular monarch, became, by what all acknowledge to have been a forgery, “the donation of Constantine,”—an abdication of the temporal government in behalf of the Pope. Its loss, had human ambition had its way, would have been an event of God’s Providence, Whose love is never more visible than when He chastens.
The whole turns on the inspiration of that word “necessary.” Unless the Pope is so inspired, that every word of his, even in matters not bearing on faith and morals, is “the very word of God,” it does not follow that “non-intervention as to the question of the temporal power of the Pope is essentially a denial of the Divine institution of the Church.”
The present Ultramontanes have apparently changed the old Ultramontane doctrine of the inerrancy of the Pope, i. e. that of his preservation from error, into that of Divine perpetual inspir ation. We have, according to them, a perpetual revelation from God, disclosing new truths as infallibly as if S. Peter, or S. Paul, or S. John were yet on this earth. One recently returned from Rome, had the impression that “some of the extreme” Ultramontanes, “if they do not say so in so many words, imply a quasi-hypostatic union of the Holy Ghost with each successive Pope.”560560The accurate writer, who reported this to me, observed in answer, “This seems to me to be Llamaism.” It is well that they should know the impression which they give to those most disposed towards them. Archbishop Manning has recently said:—
“It is surely by a disposition of the Divine Head of the Church, that, in the heart of the 19th century, when both the intellects and wills of men have reached an excess of unbelief and of licence in matters of revelation, of morals, and of politics, the Vicar of our Lord, the Teacher of all Christians (as the Council of Florence entitles him), should twice in these last years have spoken with the voice of infallible truth, thereby testifying not only to the singular prerogative, which, as the first-fruits of grace, was bestowed upon146
the Immaculate Mother of God, and to the great constructive principles of morality and jurisprudence, on which the Christian world is founded, but also to the perpetual assistance of the Spirit of God, by whose light the Church and its Pontiffs, in all ages, now as in the beginning, discern and declare the limits of truth and falsehood. The dogmatic Bull of the Immaculate Conception, and the Encyclical of last year will, we believe, mark an epoch in the reconstruction of the Christian order of the world.”561561 Pastoral, as published in “The Weekly Register,” June 17.
I know not why Archbishop Manning has selected two occasions only in which Pius IX. spoke with authority. For the Syllabus quotes thirty-two documents. Allocutions, or Epistles,562562 Recueil des Alloc. consist, encycliques, &c. Paris, 1865. all as of equal and binding authority, besides the Encyclical Letter and Constitution on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. All being of equal authority, it would follow that all are “the very word of God;”563563 See above. The inspiration must be extended to the writers of the Bulls also. and that the Pope would be the perpetual prophet of the Church, infallible, like Isaiah or Jeremiah, or the rest of “the goodly fellowship of the Prophets,” in every enunciation of his, on any matters of the Church, even if contained in a letter to a single Bishop.
This would, indeed, mark an epoch, in the history of the Church. It seemed to myself, as well as to Archbishop Manning, that the declaration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin as revealed truth, is calculated to be full of consequences, as entailing the transmutation of other “pious opinions” about her into truths necessary to salvation. According to the principles which have been put forth in regard to the recent Encyclical, that not only the main question ruled, but expressions, however seemingly incidental, are infallible truth, very much would have been so declared already. Then it would be infallible truth (though originally a mistake of copyists), that564564Encycl., 1849, “Ubi primum.” “she was to bruise the serpent’s head;” and that565565 “Ineffabilis,” 1854. “as Christ, the Mediator of God and man, having taken our human nature, destroying the handwriting of the decree which was against us, nailed it to His cross, triumphing, so the Most Holy Virgin, conjoined with Him, by a most strait and indissoluble bond, exerting, together with Him, and through Him, eternal enmity against the venomous serpent, and triumphing most fully over him, bruised his head with her immaculate foot” then it would be matter of faith, that “she slew all heresies in the whole world;” that she is “the safest refuge of all in peril;” that “she has in her hands the affairs of our salvation;” that the present “zeal of piety, religion, love” towards her is not enough; that she “is placed between Christ and the Church;” that “if we have any hope, grace, salvation, all redounds from her.” It would be infallible truth that “the Most Blessed Virgin is a tabernacle created by God Himself, and formed by the Holy Spirit,” i. e. “by God, as the one only cause, without any operation of an earthly father, as was Jesus. For either she was conceived after the manner of men, in which case she was created by God in the same way in which He147
creates all born by human generation, and then this would have no bearing upon her immaculateness; or she was created by God directly, in which case there would be no difference so far between her conception and that of our Lord.”566566 The argument of Narvaez, Exam. Bullæ Ineffabilis, p. 90. And, if these are matters of faith, it follows that every other statement, which I have mentioned above, is virtually matter of faith too, or may be presently made so.
Larger principles may be involved, as when the Bull Ineffabilis alleges as a ground of a doctrinal decision that “the Church had been wont, both in Ecclesiastical offices and in the most holy Liturgy, to transfer the words, in which the Divine Scriptures speak of uncreated Wisdom and represent Its everlasting origin, to the origin of that Virgin too; which origin was fore-established by one and the same decree with the Incarnation of the Divine Wisdom.” For, in order that this should be an argument, it must be, that applied meanings of Holy Scripture, not the literal only, should be grounds of belief, whereas S. Thomas says,567567 P. 1, q. 1, art. 10, in resp. ad arg. 1. “All the senses (of Holy Scripture) are founded on one, viz. the literal, from which alone can an argument be drawn, not from what is said allegorically, as Augustine says.”568568 Ep. c. Vincent. Donat. Narvaez quotes to the same end Acosta, a Jesuit, “de Christo revelato,” iii. 4.
Yet larger is the statement that “in the Roman Church,” i. e. in the Church at Home, “alone has religion been guarded inviolably, and from it it is requisite that all other Churches should borrow the propagation of faith.”569569 The writer of the “Ineffabilis” has applied to the Church at Rome, in relation to the rest of the Catholic Church, which has the faith already, words which Tertullian uses of the Church everywhere, in relation to those who, being newly converted, had to receive the faith in the first instance. The writer of the Constitution says, “Ex qua traducem fidei reliquæ omnes Ecclesiæ mutuentur oportet.” Tertullian says, “The Apostles founded Churches in every city, from which the other Churches thenceforth borrowed the propagation of faith and seeds of doctrine (a quibus traducem fidei et semina doctrinæ cæteræ exinde Ecclesiæ muiuatæ sunt), and are daily borrowing them, that they may become Churches.”—De Præscr. c. 20, p. 468. Oxf. Tr. 9. See notes Ib. “But if this were so, to what end,” asked Narvaez, “to ask from the Churches everywhere, what was their doctrine, or rather their devotion, as to the Immaculate Conception? “There is, indeed, an answer, which seems to be that of the writer of the “Constitution,” that it was indeed superfluous, but that it was done to give greater solemnity to the proceeding, “that we might deliver our supreme judgment as solemnly as possible.” But then again General Councils are declared to be superfluous.
On the principle involved in the Encyclical of 1864: and the Syllabus, that historical statements, made by the Pope, are infallible, it would be infallible truth, that “this doctrine was in vigour from the most ancient times and thoroughly implanted in the minds of the faithful, and marvellously propagated through the Catholic Church by the care and zeal of its sacred Bishops; “in which way it would be difficult to see how fathers, doctors, saints, and Popes, who denied it, were not guilty of heresy; that “the distinction between the first and second mome nt and instant conception “(the active and148
passive conception) “was devised, in order to weaken the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception; “whereas notoriously it was part of the philosophy of the day, and was the first stage of that doctrine, and the distinction was insisted upon, in order to admit of the law of the transmission of original sin, without admitting that it ever passed upon the soul of Mary. Again, it would be infallible truth, that Alexander VII. spoke of the conception of Mary as immaculate from the first moment; whereas he spoke only “of her soul, in the first instant of its creation and infusion into the body,” in conformity with the distinction which Pius IX. rejects. Then it is infallible that his “predecessors vehemently gloried to institute by their Apostolic authority the feast of the Conception in the Roman Church; whereas Aquinas says, that “though the Roman Church does not celebrate the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, it tolerates the custom of some Churches who celebrate that festival;”570570 P. 3, q. 29, art. 2, arg. 3. or that the celebration of the festival of the Conception in itself proves that that Conception was immaculate, whereas the Feast of the Conception of S. John Baptist was inserted in the old Martyrologies, Roman, Usuard’s, Aden’s;571571 Nat. Alex. H. E. Sæc. ii. Diss. 16, § 21. and the feast of the Blessed Virgin, “de Spasmo,” though since abolished as unworthy of her, would imply that this too was sacred; and Sixtus IV. would be infallible in approving an office of the Conception, which Pius V. was infallible in suppressing, as “being made up of fictitious testimonies of fathers and ecclesiastical writers, nowhere found in their works.”572572 Nat. Al. ib. Or if the lessons in any service authenticated the belief of what was celebrated in it, then, as Narvaez says, it might become matter of faith, which “is piously believed, that she [the Blessed Virgin] comforts the sons who are enrolled in the society of the Scapular, who have used a little abstinence and a few prayers, with a truly motherly affection, while they are expiated by the fire of purgatory, and by her intervention brings them most speedily to their heavenly home.” In the same way the stigmata of S. Francis, or the piercing of the heart of S. Theresa, might be equally matter of faith. 573573The above instances are furnished by the very remarkable wo rk of Narvaez, “Professor of Theology in the Order of Preachers, and in the University of Complutum” [Alcarade Henares] ,1858, “Examen Bullæ Ineffabilis, institution et concinnatum juxta regulas sanioris theologiæ,” Paris, 1858,—a detailed and just criticism of “the writer of the Bull.”
Faber anticipated “an Age of Mary,” in comparison to which all previous devotion to her should be slight. Archbishop Manning anticipates a new era, in which the Pope should continually be declaring new matters of faith, to be believed without authority of Scripture or tradition, on his sole authority; or to be supposed to have authority of Scripture or tradition, solely because he declares them. Wherein these new eras should issue, whether in the coming of Christ, as Faber thought, or through a collapse of faith (through the amount of that, taught as “of faith,” which was no part of God’s revelation to the Church), in the coming of Anti-Christ, God only knows.149
Turrecremata spoke of old of those who, without any solid foundation,574574 “Adulando eos quasi æquiparare Deo.” He is speaking of those who claimed for the Pope the right to dispense with the degrees of kin prohibited by the Levitical law. He calls them “Doctorculi.” See Dr. Pusey’s Evidence, &c., p. 35. “wish by flattery to equal the Popes, as it were, to God.” The unhappy marriage of Henry VIII. with his brother’s wife, with the yet more unhappy scruples of one who had no other scruples, and the rent of England, was the fruit of that flattery. More perilous yet may be men’s strong convictions. Yet there are still those, although slightly spoken of and depreciated by the Jesuits, who look with misgiving on the rapid course with which this new state of things is hurried on. 575575 It could only be under such strong conviction that Card. Wiseman said of the Abp. of Paris, who died in recovering his people at the barricades, “he was a mere Gallican.” It was currently said at Paris, that an Archbishop said to an English advocate of the new system, “Compared to you, Monsignor, I am not Gallican, I am Scandinavian.” To such we, to whom Bossuet or De Noailles would, we believe, have listened, stretch forth our hands. The strife with unbelief stretches and strains the powers of the Church everywhere; Satan’s armies are united, at least in their warfare against “the truth as it is in Jesus.” Are those who would maintain the faith in Him alone to be at variance? On the terms which Bossuet, we hope, would have sanctioned, we long to see the Church united; to all who, in East or West, desire to see intercommunion restored among those who hold the faith of the undivided Church, we say, “This is not our longing only; this is impressed on our Liturgy by those who were before us; for this, whenever we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, we are bound to pray, that God ‘would inspire continually the Universal Church with the Spirit of truth, unity, and concord.’” For this I pray daily. For this I would gladly die. “O Lord, tarry not.”150
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