{348} February 26, 1875. Mr. Gladstone's new Pamphlet, which has just appeared, is only partially directed against the foregoing Letter, and, when he remarks on what I have written, he does so with a gentleness which may be thought to be unfair to his argument. Moreover he commences with some pages about me personally of so special a character, that, did I dare dwell upon them in their direct import, they would of course gratify me exceedingly. But I cannot do so, because I believe that, with that seriousness which is characteristic of him, he has wished to say what he felt to be true, not what was complimentary; and because, looking on beyond his words to what they imply, I see in them, though he did not mean it so himself, a grave, or almost severe question addressed to me, which effectually keeps me from taking pleasure in them, however great is the honour they do me.

It is indeed a stern question which his words suggest, whether, now that I have come to the end of my days, I have used aright whatever talents God has given me, and as He would have had me use them, in building up religious truth, and not in pulling down, breaking up, and scattering abroad. All I can say in answer to it, is, that from the day I became a Catholic to this day, now close upon thirty years, I have never had a moment's {349} misgiving that the communion of Rome is that Church which the Apostles set up at Pentecost, which alone has "the adoption of sons, and the glory, and the covenants, and the revealed law, and the service of God, and the promises, and in which the Anglican communion, whatever its merits and demerits, whatever the great excellence of individuals in it, has, as such, no part. Nor have I ever, since 1845, for a moment hesitated in my conviction that it was my clear duty to join, as I did then join, that Catholic Church, which in my own conscience I felt to be divine. Persons and places, incidents and circumstances of life, which belong to my first forty-four years, are deeply lodged in my memory and my affections; moreover, I have had more to try and afflict me in various ways as a Catholic than as an Anglican; but never for a moment have I wished myself back; never have I ceased to thank my Maker for His mercy in enabling me to make the great change, and never has He let me feel forsaken by Him, or in distress, or any kind of religious trouble. I do not know how to avoid thus meeting Mr. Gladstone's language about me: but I can say no more. The judgment must be left to a day to come.

In the remarks that follow I shall take the order of my Sections.

§ 1.

My first reason for writing in answer to Mr. Gladstone's Expostulation was his charge against us, "that Catholics, if they act consistently with their principles, cannot be loyal subjects," supr. p. 180. And he withdraws this in his new Pamphlet (Vaticanism, p. 14), though not {350} in very gracious language, "The immediate purpose of my appeal," he says, "has been attained, in so far that the loyalty of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in the mass remains evidently untainted and secure."

My second reason was to protest against "his attack upon our moral uprightness," supr. ibid. Here again he seems to grant that, if what I say can be received as genuine Catholic teaching, I have succeeded in my purpose. He has a doubt, however, whether it does not "smack of Protestantism," Vat. p. 69. He does not give any distinct reason for this doubt; and, though I shall notice it in its place, infr. § 5, I think it but fair to maintain as a plain principle of controversy, that it is the accuser who has to prove his point, and that he must not content himself with professing that the accused parties have not succeeded to his satisfaction in disproving it.

Lastly, as springing out of these two charges and illustrating them, was his exaggerated notion of the force, drift, and range of the Vatican definition of the Pope's infallibility and supremacy. Here again I consider he leaves my interpretation of it without reply, though apparently it does not content him. Some of the objections to what I have said, which he throws out obiter, as well as some made by others, shall now be noticed.

Supr. pp. 190, 191. I have said, apropos of the prospect of a definition of the Pope's Infallibility in the times of Pitt and Peel, "If [the government] wanted to obtain some real information about the probabilities of the future, why did they not go to headquarters? why not go to Rome? ... It is impossible that they could have {351} entered into normal negotiations with the Pope, without its becoming perfectly clear that Rome could never be a party to such a pledge as England wanted, and that no pledge from Catholics was of value to which Rome was not a party." To my astonishment Mr. Gladstone seems to consider this a fatal admission. He cries out, "Statesmen of the future, recollect the words! ... The lesson received is this: although pledges were given, although their validity was formally and even passionately asserted, although the subject-matter was one of civil allegiance, 'no pledge from Catholics was of any value, to which Rome was not a party,'" p. 89.

I deny that the question of infallibility was one of civil allegiance, but let that pass; as to the main principle involved in what I have said, it certainly does perplex and confuse me that a statesman with Mr. Gladstone's experience should make light of credentials, and should not recognize the difference between party opinion and formal decisions and pledges. What is the use of accredited ministers and an official intercourse between foreign powers, if the acts of mere classes or interests will do instead of them? At a congress, I believe the first act of plenipotentiaries is to show to each other their credentials. What minister of foreign affairs would go to the Cesarowitch, who happened to be staying among us, for an explanation of an expedition of Russia in upper Asia, instead of having recourse to the Russian ambassador?

The common saying, that "Whigs are Tories out of place" illustrates again what is in itself so axiomatic. Successive ministries of opposite views show in history, {352} for the most part, as one consistent national government, and, when a foreign power mistakes the objections which public men in opposition make to the details, circumstances, or seasonableness of certain ministerial measures, for deliberate judgments in its favour, it is likely, as in the case of the great Napoleon, to incur eventually, when the opposition comes into office, great disappointment, and has no one to blame but itself. So again, the Czar Nicholas seems to have mistaken the deputation of the peace party before the Crimean war for the voice of the English nation. It is not a business-like way of acting to assume the assurances of partisans, however sincerely made, for conditions of a contract. There is nothing indeed to show that the Holy See in 1793 or 1829 had any notion that the infallibility of the Pope, even if ever made a dogma, would be so made within such limits of time as could affect the bonâ fide character of the prospects which English and Irish Catholics opened upon Mr. Pitt or Mr. Peel. The events in Europe of the foregoing half century had given no encouragement to the Papal cause. Nor did Catholics alone avow anticipations which helped to encourage the latter statesman in the course, into which the political condition of Ireland, not any kindness to the Irish religion, primarily turned him. There were Anglican ecclesiastics, whom he deservedly trusted, who gave it to him as their settled opinion, as regards the Protestantism of England, that, if the emancipation of Catholics could but be passed in the night, there would be no excitement about it next morning. Did such an influential judgment, thus offered to Mr. Peel, involve a breach of a pledge, because it was not fulfilled? {353}

It was notorious all over the world that the North of Catholic Christendom took a different view of Papal infallibility from the South. A long controversy had gone on; able writers were to be found on either side; each side was positive in the truth of its own cause; each hoped to prevail. The Gallican party, towards which England and Ireland inclined, thought the other simply extravagant; but with the Ultramontane stood Rome itself. Ministers do not commonly believe all the representations of deputations who come to them with the advocacy of particular measures, though those deputations may be perfectly sincere in what they aver. The Catholics of England and Ireland in 1826 were almost as one man in thinking lightly of the question, but even then there were those who spoke out in a different sense, and warned the government that there was a contrary opinion, and one strong both in its pretensions and its prospects. I am not bound to go into this subject at length, for I have allowed that the dominant feeling among our Catholics at that day was against the prudence or likelihood of a definition of Papal infallibility; but I will instance one or two writers of name who had spoken in a different sense.

I cannot find that Mr. Gladstone deals with my reference to Archbishop Troy, whose pastoral bears the date (1793) of the very year in which as Mr. Gladstone tells us, Vat., p. 48, a Relief Act was granted to Ireland. The Archbishop, as I have quoted him (supr., p. 188), says, "Many Catholics contend that the Pope ... is infallible … others deny this ... Until the Church shall decide ... either opinion may be adopted." This {354} is a very significant, as well as an authoritative passage.

Again: Father Mumford's Catholic Scripturist is a popular Address to Protestants, in the vernacular, which has gone through various editions in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The edition from which I quote is that of 1863. He says, p. 39, "Whether the definition of a council alone, defining without their chief pastor, or the definition of the chief pastor alone, defining without a council, be infallible or no, there be several opinions amongst us, in which we do and may vary without any prejudice to our faith, which is not built upon what is yet under opinion, but upon that which is delivered as infallible."

Again, Bishop Hay is one of the most conspicuous Prelates and authoritative writers amongst us of the 18th century. In his "Sincere Christian," published between 1770 and 1780, he treats of the infallibility of the Pope at considerable length, and in its favour. He says, p. 188 (ed. 1871) that that doctrine "is not proposed to us as an article of divine faith, nor has the Church ever made any decision concerning it. Great numbers of the most learned divines are of opinion that, in such a case, the Head of the Church is infallible in what he teaches, but there are others who are of a contrary opinion." He proceeds, "On what grounds do those divines found their opinion, who believe that the Pope himself, when he speaks to the faithful as head of the Church, is infallible in what he teaches?" and he answers, "On very strong reasons both from Scripture, tradition, and reason." These he goes through seriatim; then he adds, p. 194, {355} "What proof do the others bring for their opinion, that the Head of the Church is not infallible? They bring not a single text of Scripture, nor almost one argument from tradition to prove it."

I might add that the chief instrument in rousing and rallying the Protestant sentiment against Catholic emancipation was from first to last the episcopate and clergy of the Church Established; now, if there was any body of men who were perfectly aware of the division of sentiment among Catholics as to the seat of infallibility, it was they. Their standard divines, writing in the vernacular, discharge it, as one of their most effective taunts, against their opponents, that, whilst the latter hold the doctrine of infallibility, they differ among themselves whether it is lodged in an Ecumenical Council or in the Roman See. It never can be said then that this opinion, which has now become a dogma, was not perfectly well known to be living and energetic in the Catholic communion, though it was not an article of faith, and was not spoken of as such by Catholics in this part of the world during the centuries of persecution.

Mr. Gladstone, as his mildest conclusion against us, is inclined to grant that it was not an act of duplicity in us, that in 1826 our Prelates spoke against the Pope's infallibility, though in 1870 they took part in defining it; but then he maintains it to be at least a proof that the Church has changed its doctrine, and thereby forfeited its claim to be "semper eadem." But it is no change surely to decide between two prevalent opinions; however, if it is to be so regarded, then change has been the characteristic of the Church from the earliest times, {356} as, for instance, in the third century, on the point of the validity of baptism by heretics. And hence such change as has taken place (which I should prefer to call doctrinal development), is in itself a positive argument in favour of the Church's identity from first to last; for a growth in its creed is a law of its life. I have already insisted upon this, supra, p. 314; also in former volumes, as in my Apologia and Difficulties of Anglicans.

§ 3.

Supr. p. 195. As Mr. Gladstone denied that the Papal prerogatives were consistent with ancient history, I said in answer that that history on the contrary was the clearest witness in their favour, as showing how the promises made to St. Peter were providentially fulfilled by political, &c., changes, external to the Pope, which worked for him. I did not mean to deny that those prerogatives were his from the beginning, but merely that they were gradually brought into full exercise by a course of events, which history records. Thus it was a mistake to say that Catholics could not appeal in favour of the Papal power to history. To make my meaning quite clear, as I hoped, I distinctly said I was not speaking theologically, but historically, nay, looking at the state of things with "non-Catholic eyes." However, as the following passage from the Etudes Religieuses shows, it seems that I have been misunderstood, though the writer himself, Père Ramière, does me the justice and the favour to defend me, and I here adopt his words as my defence. He says,—"Pour exprimer cette concentration providentielle, {357} dans les mains du Pape, du pouvoir eccelesiastique partagé autrefois dans une plus large mesure par l'episcopat, le P. Newman se sert d'un terme légal qu'il ne faut pas prendre à la lettre. Il dit que le Pape est héritier par défaut de la hierarchie écuménique du ive siècle. Le savant directeur de la Voce della Veritâ blâme cette expression, qui impliquerait, selon lui, qui le Pape tient son pouvoir de la hierarchie: mais le P. Newman exclut cette interpretation, puis qu'il fait deriver le plenitude du pouvoir pontifical de la promesse faite par Jésus-Christ à Saint Pierre," p. 256, 7, note.

§ 4.

Supr., p. 242. I here say that "were I actually a soldier or sailor in her Majesty's service in a just war, and should the Pope suddenly bid all Catholic soldiers and sailors to retire from her service, taking the advice, &c., … I should not obey him." Here I avail myself of a passage in Canon Neville's recent pamphlet ("A few Comments, &c.," Pickering), in which he speaks with the authority belonging to a late theological Professor of Maynooth:—

"In the impossible hypothesis of the Pope being engaged in a war with England, how would the allegiance of English Catholics be affected? ... how would it be, if they were soldiers or sailors? ... Some one will urge, the Pope may issue a mandate enforced by an annexed excommunication, forbidding all Catholics to engage in the war against him ... The supposed action of the Pope does not change the question materially ... The soldiers and sailors would not incur it, because {358} 'grave fears' excuse from censure [excommunication], censures being directed against the contumacious, not against those who act through fear or coercion ... It is a trite principle, that mere ecclesiastical laws do not bind, when there would be a very grave inconvenience in their observance; and it denies as a rule to any human legislator (e.g., the Pope) the power of making laws or precepts, binding men to the performance of actions, which, from the danger and difficulty attendant on their fulfilment, are esteemed heroic," pp. 101, 2.

§ 5.

Supr., p. 254. I have said, "The Pope, who comes of Revelation, has no jurisdiction over Nature," i.e. the natural Law. Mr. Gladstone on the other hand says, "Idle it is to tell us, finally, that the Pope is bound by the moral and divine law, by the commandments of God, by the rules of the Gospel: ... for of these, one and all, the Pope himself, by himself, is the judge without appeal," p. 102. That is, Mr. Gladstone thinks that the Pope may deny and anathematize the proposition, "There is one God:" and may proceed to circulate by Cardinal Antonelli a whole Syllabus of kindred "erroneous theses" for the instruction of the Bishops. Catholics think this impossible, as believing in a Divine Providence ever exercised over the Church. But let us grant, for argument-sake, that a Pope could commit so insane a violation of the Natural and the Revealed Law:—we know what would be the consequence to such a Pope. Cardinal Turrecremata teaches, as I have quoted him, that "were the Pope to command anything {359} against Holy Scripture, or the articles of faith, or the truth of the Sacraments, or the commands of the natural or divine law, he ought not to be obeyed, but in such commands to be ignored." Supr., p. 242. Other, and they the highest Ultramontane theologians, hold that a Pope who teaches heresy ipso facto ceases to be Pope.

Supr., p. 261. Here, after stating that there are cases in which the Pope's commands are to be resisted by individual Catholics, I challenge Mr. Gladstone to bring passages from our authoritative writers to the contrary: and I add, "they must be passages declaring not only that the Pope is ever to be obeyed, but that there are no exceptions to this rule, for exceptions ever must be in all concrete matters." Instead of doing so, Mr. Gladstone contents himself with enunciating the contradictory to what I have said. "Dr. Newman says there are exceptions to this precept of obedience. But this is just what the Council has not said. The Church by the Council imposes Aye. The private conscience reserves to itself the title to say No. I must confess that in this apology there is to me a strong, undeniable smack of Protestantism," p. 69.

Mr. Gladstone says "there is to me;" yes, certainly to him and other Protestants, because they do not know our doctrine. I have given in my Pamphlet, three reasons in justification of what I said; first that exceptions must be from the nature of the case, "for in all concrete matters," not only in precepts of obedience, rules are but general, and exceptions must occur. Then, in a later page, p. 334, I give actual instances, which have {360} occurred in the history of Catholic teaching, of exceptions after large principles have been laid down. But my main reason lies in the absolute statements of theologians. I willingly endure to have about me a smack of Protestantism, which attaches to Cardinal Turrecremata in the 15th century, to Cardinals Jacobatius and Bellarmine in the 16th, to the Carmelites of Salamanca in the 17th, and to all theologians prior to them; and also to the whole Schola after them, such as to Fathers Corduba, Natalis Alexander, and Busenbaum, and so down to St. Alfonso Liguori, the latest Doctor of the Church, in the 18th, and to Cardinal Gousset and Archbishop Kenrick in the 19th.

On the subject of the supremacy of Conscience a correspondent has done me the favour of referring me to a passage in the life of the well-known M. Emery (Paris, 1862), Supérieur of St. Sulpice. It runs as follows:—

"La célébration du mariage de Napoléon avec l'Archiduchesse d'Autriche donna lieu à une autre difficulté sur la quelle M. Emery fut dans le cas de s'expliquer, non avec le gouvernement, mais avec quelques cardinaux qui désiraient connaître son sentiment. Il s'agissait de savoir si les cardinaux résident à Paris, au nombre de vingt-six, pouvaient en conscience assister à la cérémonie religieuse du mariage. Quelques jours avant cette cérémonie, M. Emery, consulté la-dessus par le cardinal della Somaglia, qui paraissait regarder cette assistance comme illicite, lui répondit que, s'il était effectivement dans cette persuasion, il ne pouvait en conscience assister à la cérémonie, parce qu'il n'est jamais {361} permis d'agir contre sa conscience. Mais il ajouta que cette assistance, au fond, ne lui paraissait pas illicite," &c.

It got about in consequence that he had denied that any cardinal could with a safe conscience be present at the religious ceremony. This led Cardinal Fesch to write him a letter asking for an explanation, inasmuch as a cardinal had distinctly stated "que M. Emery avait confirmé ce cardinal dans son opinion, qu'il ne pouvait pas, en conscience, assister au mariage de l'Empereur;" whereas, Cardinal Fesch proceeds, "hier même, à trois heures après midi, M. Emery, pour la seconde ou troi-sième fois, m'avait protesté qui'l était d'une opinion toute contraire, et qu'il pensait que les cardinaux pouvaient assister à la cérémonie." In consequence he asked for "une réponse catégorique" from M. Emory.

M. Emery in consequence wrote letters to both cardinals to show his consistency in the language he had used in conversation with each of them, insisting for that purpose on the distinction which has led to the introduction of his name and conduct into this place, viz., that every man must go by his own conscience, not by that of another. He says to Cardinal Somaglia, "Vous m'avez dit qu'après avoir fait les récherches les plus exactes, vous étiez convaincu que vous ne pouviez aller au mariage sans blesser votre conscience. J'ai dû vous dire, et je vous ai dit, que, dans cette supposition, vous ne deviez point y assister, parce que j'étais persuadé comme vous, qu'on ne pouvait, qu'on ne devait jamais, agir contre sa conscience, même erronée." He adds, "Non que les inconvénients soient une raison d'autoriser l'assistance qui serait d'ailleurs illicite, mais ces inconvenients sont {362} une raison très-forte d'examiner le plus attentivement qu'il est possible, si réellement l'assistance est illicite, et si la conscience qu'on s'est formée à cette sujet n'est point une conscience erronée."—t. 2, pp. 249-254.

In the event Cardinal Somaglia kept to his view, contrary to M. Emery, and did not attend the marriage ceremony.

§ 6.

Supr., pp. 274, 275. Speaking of the proposition condemned in the Encyclical of 1864, to the effect that it is the right of any one to have liberty to give public utterance, in every possible shape, by every possible channel, without any let or hindrance from God or man, to all his notions whatever, I have said that "it seems a light epithet for the Pope to use, when he called such a doctrine of conscience a deliramentum. Presently I add, "Perhaps Mr. Gladstone will say, Why should the Pope take the trouble to condemn what is so wild? but he does," &c.

On this Mr. Gladstone remarks, Vat, p. 21, 22, "It appears to me that this is, to use a mild phrase, merely trifling with the subject. We are asked to believe that what the Pope intended to condemn was a state of things which never has existed in any country in the world. Now he says he is condemning one of the commonly prevailing errors of the time, familiarly known to the Bishops whom he addresses. What bishop knows of a State which by law allows a perfectly free course to blasphemy, filthiness, and sedition?"

I do not find anything to show that the Pope is speaking of States, and not of writers; and, though I {363} do not pretend to know against what writers he is speaking, yet there are writers who do maintain doctrines which carried out consistently would reach that deliramentum which the Pope speaks of, if they have not rather already reached it. We are a sober people; but are not the doctrines of even so grave and patient a thinker as the late Mr. J. S. Mill very much in that direction? He says, "The appropriate region of human liberty comprises first the inward domain of consciousness; demanding liberty of conscience in the most comprehensive sense, liberty of thought and feeling, absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological. The liberty of expressing and publishing opinion may seem to fall under a different principle, since it belongs to that part of the conduct of an individual which concerns other people; but, being almost of as much importance as the liberty of thought itself, and resting in great part on the same reasons, is practically inseparable from it, &c. &c. … No society in which these liberties are not on the whole respected, is free, whatever may be its form of government." (On Liberty, Introd.) Of course he does not allow of a freedom to harm others, though we have to consider well what he means by harming: but his is a freedom which must meet with no "impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong." "The only freedom," he continues, "which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their {364} efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual."

That is, no immoral doctrines, poems, novels, plays, conduct, acts, may be visited by the reprobation of public opinion; nothing must be put down, I do not say by the laws, but even by society, by the press, by religious influence, merely on the ground of shocking the sense of decency and the modesty of a Christian community. Nay, the police must not visit Holywell Street, nor a licence be necessary for dancing-rooms: but the most revolting atrocities of heathen times and countries must for conscience-sake be allowed free exercise in our great cities. Averted looks indeed and silent disgust, or again rational expostulation, is admissible against them, but nothing of a more energetic character.

I do not impute this to Mr. Mill. He had too much English common sense to carry out his principles to these extreme but legitimate conclusions; he strove to find means of limiting them by the introduction of other and antagonist principles; but then that such a man held the theory of liberty which he has avowed, and that he has a great following, is a suggestion to us that the Holy See may have had abundant reason in the present state of the continent to anathematize a proposition, which to Mr. Gladstone seems so wild and unheard of.

§ 7.

Supr., pp. 277, 281. I have said that the Syllabus is to he received from the Pope with "profound submission." p. 277, and "by an act of obedience," p. 281; I add, {365} "but not of faith," for it "has no dogmatic force." I maintain this still. I say, in spite of Professor Schulte, and the English Catholic writer to whom Mr. Gladstone refers, p. 32, I have as much right to maintain that the implicit condemnation with which it visits its eighty propositions is not ex cathedra, or an act of the Infallible Chair, as have those "gravest theologians," as Bishop Fessler speaks, who call its dogmatic force in question, Fessler, p. 91. I do not know what Fessler himself says of it more than that it is to be received with submission and obedience. I do not deny another's right to consider it in his private conscience an act of infallibility, or to say, in Mr. Gladstone's words, p. 35, that "utterances ex cathedra are not the only form in which Infallibility can speak;" I only say that I have a right to think otherwise. And when the Pope by letters approves of one writer who writes one way, and of another who writes in another, he makes neither opinion dogmatic, but both allowable. Mr. Gladstone speaks as if what the Pope says to Fr. Schrader undoes what he says to Bishop Fessler; why not say that his letter to Fessler neutralizes his letter to Schrader? I repeat, when I speak of minimizing, I am not turning the profession of it into a dogma; men, if they will, may maximize for me, provided they too keep from dogmatizing. This is my position all through these discussions, and must be kept in mind by any fair reasoner.

I grant the Pope has laid a great stress on the Syllabus; he is said in 1867 to have spoken of it as a "regula docendi;" I cannot tell whether vivâ voce, or in writing; any how this did not interfere with Fessler's {366} "grave theologians" in 1871 considering the Pope was not in 1867 teaching dogmatically and infallibly. Moreover, how can a list of proscribed propositions be a "rule," except by turning to the Allocutions, &c., in which they are condemned? and in those Allocutions, when we turn to them, we find in what sense, and with what degree of force, severally. In itself the Syllabus can be no more than what the Pope calls it, a syllabus or collection of errors. Led by the references inserted in it to the Allocutions, &c., I have ventured to call it something more, viz., a list or index raisonné; an idea not attached to it by me first of all, for Père Daniel, in the October of that very year, 1867, tells us, in the Etudes Religieuses, "Au Syllabus lui-même il ne faut pas demander que le degré de clarté qui convient à une bonne table des matières," p. 514.

But, whether an index or not, and though it have a substantive character, it is at least clear that the only way in which it can be a "rule of teaching" is by its telling us what to avoid; and this consideration will explain what I mean by receiving it with "obedience," which to some persons is a difficult idea, when contrasted with accepting it with faith. I observe then that obedience is concerned with doing, but faith with affirming. Now, when we are told to avoid certain propositions, we are told primarily and directly not to do something; whereas, in order to affirm, we must have positive statements put before us. For instance, it is easy to understand, and in our teaching to avoid the proposition, "Wealth is the first of goods;" but who shall attempt to ascertain what the affirmative propositions are, {367} one or more, which are necessarily involved in the prohibition of such a proposition, and which must be clearly set down before we can make an act of faith in them?

However, Mr. Gladstone argues, that, since the Pope's condemnation of the propositions of the Syllabus has, as I have allowed, a claim on the obedience of Catholics, that very fact tells in favour of the propositions condemned by him; he thinks I have here made a fatal admission. It is enough, he says, that the Syllabus "unquestionably demands obedience;" that is, enough, whether the propositions condemned in it deserve condemnation or not. Here are his very words: "What is conclusive ... is this, that the obligation to obey it is asserted on all hands; ... it is therefore absolutely superfluous to follow Dr. Newman through his references to the Briefs and Allocutions marginally noted," in order to ascertain their meaning and drift ... "I abide by my account of the contents of the Syllabus," p. 86. That is, the propositions may be as false as heathenism, but they have this redeeming virtue, that the Pope denounces them. His judgment of them may be as true as Scripture, but it carries this unpardonable sin with it, that it is given with a purpose, and not as a mere literary flourish. Therefore I will not inquire into the propositions at all; but my original conclusion shall be dogmatic and irreformable. Sit pro ratione voluntas.

Supra, p. 288. I have declined to discuss the difficulties which Mr. Gladstone raises upon our teaching respecting {368} the marriage contract (on which I still think him either obscure or incorrect), because they do not fall within the scope to which I professed to confine my remarks; however, his fresh statements, as they are found, Vat., p. 28, lead me to say as follows:—

The non-Roman marriages in England, he says, "do not at present fall under the foul epithets of Rome. But why? not because we marry ... under the sanctions of religion, for our marriages are, in the eye of the Pope, purely civil marriages, but only for the technical ... reason that the disciplinary decrees of Trent are not canonically in force in this country," &c.

Here Mr. Gladstone seems to consider that there are only two ways of marrying according to Catholic teaching; he omits a third, in which we consider the essence of the sacrament to lie. He speaks of civil marriage, and of marriage "under the sanctions of religion," by which phrase he seems to mean marriage with a rite and a minister. But it is also a religious marriage, if the parties, without a priest, by a mutual act of consent, as in the presence of God, marry themselves; and such a vow of each to other is, according to our theology, really the constituting act, the matter and form, the sacrament of marriage. That is, he omits the very contract which we specially call marriage. This being the case, it follows that every clause of the above passage is incorrect.

1. Mr. Gladstone says, that English non-Roman marriages are held valid at Rome, not because they are contracted "under the sanctions of religion." On the contrary, this is the very reason why they are held valid {369} there; viz., only because parties who have already received the Christian rite of baptism, proceed to give themselves to each other in the sight of God sacramentally, though they may not call it a sacrament.

2. Mr. Gladstone says, "our marriages are in the eye of the Pope purely civil marriages. Just the reverse, speaking, as he is, of Church of England marriages. They are considered, in the case of baptized persons, sacramental marriages.

3. Mr. Gladstone says, that they are received at Rome as valid, "only for the technical, &c., reason that the disciplinary decrees of Trent are not canonically in force in this country. There is nothing, unless it be motives of mere policy, to prevent the Pope from giving them [those decrees] force here, when he pleases. If, and when that is done, every marriage thereafter concluded in the English Church, will, according to his own words, be 'a filthy concubinage.'" This is not so; I quote to the point two sufficient authorities, St. Alfonso, Liguori and Archbishop Kenrick.

Speaking of the clandestinity of marriage (that is, when it is contracted without parish priest and witnesses,) as an impediment to its validity, St. Alfonso says, "As regards non-Catholics (infideles), or Catholics who live in non-Catholic districts, or where the Council of Trent has not been received ... such a marriage is valid."—tom. viii., p. 67, ed. 1845. Even then though the discipline of Trent was received in England, still it would not cease to be a Protestant country, and therefore marriages in Protestant churches would be valid. {370}

Archbishop Kenrick is still more explicit. He says, "Constat Patres Tridentinos legem ita tulisse, ut hæreticorum cœtus jam ab Ecclesia divulsos non respiceret … Hoc igitur clandestinitatis impedimentum ad hæreticos seorsim convenientes in locis ubi grassantur hæreses, non est extendendum."—Theol. Mor., t. 3, p. 351.

Such being the Catholic rule as to recognition of Protestant marriages, the Pope could not, as Mr. Gladstone thinks, any day invalidate English Protestant marriages by introducing into England the discipline of Trent. The only case, in which, consistently with the Council, any opportunity might occur to the Pope, according to his accusation, of playing fast and loose, is when there was a doubt whether the number of Protestants in a Catholic country was large enough to give them a clear footing there, or when the Government refused to recognize them. Whether such an opportunity has practically occurred and has ever been acted on, I have not the knowledge either to affirm or deny.

§ 8.

Supr., p. 302. "But if the fact be so that the Fathers were not unanimous, is the definition valid? This depends on the question whether unanimity, at least moral, is or is not necessary for its validity." Vid. also p. 303.

It should be borne in mind that these letters of mine were not intended for publication, and are introduced into my text as documents of 1870, with a view of refuting the false reports of my bearing at that time {371} towards the Vatican Council and Definition. To alter their wording would have been to destroy their argumentative value. I said nothing to imply that on reflection I agreed to every proposition which I set down on my primâ facie view of the matter.

One passage of it, perhaps from my own fault, Mr. Gladstone has misunderstood. He quotes me, Vat., p. 13, as holding that "a definition which the Pope approves, is not absolutely binding thereby, but requires a moral unanimity, and a subsequent reception by the Church." Nay, I considered that the Pope could define without either majority or minority; but that, if he chose to go by the method of a Council, in that case a moral unanimity was required of its Fathers. I say a few lines lower down, waiving the difficulty altogether, "Our merciful Lord would not care so little for His people ... as to allow their visible head and such a large number of Bishops to lead them into error." Père Ramière, in his very kind review of me in the Études Religieuses for February, speaks of the notion of a moral unanimity as a piece of Gallicanism; but anyhow it has vanished altogether from theology now, since the Pope, if the Bishops in the Council, few or many, held back, might define a doctrine without them. A council of Bishops of the world around him, is only one of the various modes in which he exercises his infallibility. The seat of infallibility is in him, and they are adjuncts. The Pastor Æternus says, "Romani Pontifices, prout temporum et rerum conditio suadebat, nunc convocatis œcumenicis conciliis, aut rogatâ Ecclesiæ per orbem dispersæ sententiâ, nunc per synodos particulares, nunc aliis, {372} quæ Divina suppeditabat Providentia, adhibitis auxiliis, ea tenenda definiverunt, quæ sacris Scripturis et Apostolicis Traditionibus consentanea, Deo adjutore, cognoverant."

Nor have I spoken of a subsequent reception by the Church as entering into the necessary conditions of a de fide decision. I said that by the "Securus judicat orbis terrarum" "all acts of the rulers of the Church are ratified," p. 303. In this passage of my private letter I meant by "ratified" brought home to us as authentic. At this very moment it is certainly the handy, obvious, and serviceable argument for our accepting the Vatican definition of the Pope's Infallibility.

Supr., p. 306. I said in my first edition, at this page, that the definition at Ephesus seemed to be carried by 124 votes against 111; as this was professedly only an inference of my own, I have withdrawn it. Confining myself to the facts of the history, which are perplexed, I observe:—The Council was opened by St. Cyril on June 22 of the current year, without waiting for the Bishops representing the great Syrian patriarchate, who were a few days' journey from Ephesus, in spite of the protest on that account of sixty-eight of the Bishops already there. The numbers present at the opening are given in the Acts as about 150. The first Session in which Nestorius was condemned and a definition or exposition of faith made, was concluded before night. That exposition, as far as the Acts record, was contained in one of the letters of St. Cyril to Nestorius, which the Bishops in the Council one by one accepted as conformable {373} to Apostolic teaching. Whether a further letter of St. Cyril's with his twelve anathematisms, which was also received by the Bishops, was actually accepted by them as their dogmatic utterance, is uncertain; though the Bishops distinctly tell the Pope and the Emperor that they have accepted it as well as the others, as being in accordance with the Catholic Creed. At the end of the acts of the first Session the signatures of about 200 Bishops are found, and writers of the day confirm this number, though there is nothing to show that the additional forty or fifty were added on the day on which the definition was passed, June 22, and it is more probable that they were added afterwards; vid. Tillemont, Cyril, note 34, and Fleury, Hist., xxv. 42. And thus Tillemont, ibid., thinks that the signatures in favour of Cyril altogether amounted to 220. The Legates of the Pope were not present; but they had arrived by July 10. The Syrian Bishops arrived on June 26th or 27th. As to Africa, then overrun by the Vandals, it was represented only by the deacon of the Bishop of Carthage, who sent him to make his apologies for Africa, to warn the Council against the Pelagians, and to testify the adherence of the African Churches to Apostolic doctrine. The countries which were represented at the Council, and took part in the definition were Egypt, Asia Minor, and Thrace, Greece, &c. The whole number of Bishops in Christendom at the time was about 1800; not 6000, as St. Dalmatius says at random. Gibbon says, "The Catholic Church was administered by the spiritual and legal jurisdiction of 1800 bishops, of whom 1000 were seated in the Greek, and 800 in the Latin provinces of {374} the empire." He adds, "The numbers are not ascertained by any ancient writer or original catalogue; for the partial lists of the eastern churches are comparatively modern. The patient diligence of Charles à S. Paolo, of Luke Holstein, and of Bingham, has laboriously investigated all the episcopal sees of the Catholic Church."

To the same purport Fr. Ryder of this Oratory wrote, after my first edition, in answer to Fr. Botalla, S.J., as follows:—

"As regards the Council of Ephesus, there are few points on which learned men are less agreed than its precise numbers. The names given at the opening of the first Session (June 22, 431) in which Nestorius was condemned and St. Cyril approved, amounted to 159; standing aloof from those and protesting against this precipitation in not waiting for the Antiochenes, were sixty-eight ... Five days afterwards the Antiochenes with the Patriarch John at their head, about twenty-seven in number, arrived, and then and there anathematized St. Cyril and all his adherents, declaring null and void all they had done. This condemnation is signed by forty-three. The forty-three consists, besides the Antiochenes, of some who had signed the deposition of Nestorius and some of the sixty-eight protesters. The larger part of the sixty-eight, we may presume, went to swell St. Cyril's party, for we find 198 signatures to the deposition of Nestorius. Subsequently to this, in various official documents the majority refers to itself as 'about 200,' 'over 200'; but we have no signatures beyond the 198. On the other hand, we possess a document of the minority of July 17, containing fifty-three {375} signatures. Afterwards the proportions of the schism were still more serious ... John of Antioch's twenty-seven were delegates and representatives of the whole Antiochene Patriarchate, except Cyprus. Thus, on leaving Ephesus, John was able to hold a Council at Antioch, and condemn Cyril with far larger numbers than before ... They cannot be well set at less than 100 ... [And elsewhere,] large portions of the Episcopate had no knowledge, or an utterly confused one, of what had been going on at Ephesus. St. Isidore, one of Cyril's own clergy, expostulates with him for his tyranny; and the works of Facundus and Liberatus show how deeply seated was the opposition of the African Church to the doctrine of Cyril."

§ 9.

Supra, pp. 320, &c. It has been objected to the explanation I have given from Fessler and others of the nature and range of the Pope's infallibility as now a dogma of the Church, that it was a lame and impotent conclusion of the Council, if so much effort was employed, as is involved in the convocation and sitting of an Ecumenical Council, in order to do so little. True, if it were called to do what it did and no more; but that such was its aim is a mere assumption. In the first place it can hardly be doubted that there were those in the Council who were desirous of a stronger definition; and the definition actually made, as being moderate, is so far the victory of those many bishops who considered any definition on the subject inopportune. And it was no slight fruit of their proceedings in the {376} Council, if a definition was to be, to have effected a moderate definition. But the true answer to the objection is that which is given by Bishop Ullathorne. The question of the Pope's infallibility was not one of the objects professed in convening the Council; and the Council is not yet ended.

He says in his "Expostulation Unravelled," "The Expostulation goes on to suggest that the Council was convened mainly with a view of defining the infallibility, and that the definition itself was brought about, chiefly for political objects, through the action of the Pontiff and a dominant party. A falser notion could not be entertained. I have the official catalogue before me of the Schemata prepared by the theologians for discussion in the Council. In them the infallibility is not even mentioned; for the greater part of them regard ecclesiastical discipline." P. 48, he adds, "Calamitous events suspended the Council."

Supr., p. 326, note. I have referred to Bishop Fessler's statement that only the last sentences of Boniface's Unam Sanctam are infallible. To this Mr. Gladstone replies, p. 45, that the word "Porro," introducing the final words to which the anathema is affixed, extends that anathema to the body of the Bull, which precedes the "Porro." But he does not seem to have observed that there are two distinct heresies condemned in the Bull, and that the "Porro" is the connecting link between these two condemnations, that is, between the penultima and final sentences. The Pope first says, "Nisi duo, sicut Manichæus, fingat esse principia, {377} quod falsum et hæreticum judicamus ... porro, subesse Romano Pontifici, omni humanæ creaturæ declaramus, definimus, et pronunciamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis." That the Latin is deficient in classical terseness and perspicuity we may freely grant.

Supra, p. 327, I say, "We call 'infallibility' in the case of the Apostles, inspiration; in the case of the-church, assistentia."

On this Mr. Gladstone says, "On such a statement I have two remarks to make; first, we have this assurance on the strength only of his own private judgment, p. 102." How can he say so when, p. 328, I quote Father Perrone, saying, "Never have Catholics taught that the gift of infallibility is given by God to the Church after the manner of inspiration!"

Mr. Gladstone proceeds, "Secondly, that, if bidden by the self-assertion of the Pope, he will be required by his principles to retract it, and to assert, if occasion should arise, the contrary." I can only say to so hypothetical an argument what is laid down by Fessler and the Swiss bishops, that the Pope cannot, by virtue of his infallibility, reverse what has always been held; and that the "inspiration" of the church, in the sense in which the Apostles were inspired, is contrary to our received teaching. If Protestants are to speculate about our future, they should be impartial enough to recollect, that if, on the one hand, we believe that a Pope can add to our articles of faith, so, on the other, we hold also that a heretical Pope, ipso facto, ceases to be Pope by reason of his heresy, as I have said (supr., p. 359). {378}

Mr. Gladstone thus ends: "Thirdly, that he lives under a system of development, through which somebody's private opinion of today may become matter of faith for all the tomorrows of the future." I think he should give some proof of this; let us have one instance in which "somebody's private opinion" has become de fide. Instead of this, he goes on to assert (interrogatively) that Popes, e.g. Clement XI. and Gregory II., and the present Pope, have claimed the inspiration of the Apostles, and that Germans, Italians, French, have ascribed such a gift to him;—of course he means theologians, not mere courtiers, or sycophants, for the Pope cannot help having such, till human nature is changed. If Mr. Gladstone is merely haranguing as an Orator, I do not for an instant quarrel with him or attempt to encounter him; but if he is a controversialist, we have a right to look for arguments, not mere assertions.


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