7. The Syllabus

{276} NOW I come to the Syllabus of "Errors," the publication of which has been exclaimed against in England as such a singular enormity, and especially by Mr. Gladstone. The condemnation of theological statements which militate against the Catholic Faith is of long usage in the Church. Such was the condemnation of the heresies of Wickliffe in the Council of Constance; such those of Huss, of Luther, of Baius, of Jansenius; such the condemnations which were published by Sextus IV., Innocent XI., Clement XI., Benedict XIV., and other Popes. Such condemnations are no invention of Pius IX. The Syllabus is a collection of such erroneous propositions as he has noted during his Pontificate; there are eighty of them.

What does the word "Syllabus" mean? A collection; the French translation calls it a "Resumé;"—a Collection of what? I have already said, of propositions,—propositions which the Pope in his various Allocutions, Encyclicals, and like documents, since he has been Pope, has pronounced to be Errors. Who gathered the propositions out of these Papal documents, and put them together in one? We do not know; all we know is that, by the Pope's command, this Collection of Errors was sent by his Foreign Minister to the Bishops. He, {277} Cardinal Antonelli, sent to them at the same time the Encyclical of December, 1864, which is a document of dogmatic authority. The Cardinal says, in his circular to them, that the Pope ordered him to do so. The Pope thought, he says, that perhaps the Bishops had not seen some of his Allocutions, and other authoritative letters and speeches of past years; in consequence the Pope had had the Errors which, at one time or other he had therein noted, brought together into one, and that for the use of the Bishops.

Such is the Syllabus and its object. There is not a word in it of the Pope's own writing; there is nothing in it at all but the Erroneous Propositions themselves—that is, except the heading "A Syllabus, containing the principal Errors of our times, which are noted in the Consistorial Allocutions, in the Encyclicals, and in other Apostolical Letters of our most Holy Lord, Pope Pius IX." There is one other addition—viz., after each Error a reference is given to the Allocution, Encyclical, or other document in which it is proscribed.

The Syllabus, then, is to be received with profound submission, as having been sent by the Pope's authority to the Bishops of the world. It certainly comes to them with his indirect extrinsic sanction; but intrinsically, and viewed in itself, it is nothing more than a digest of certain Errors made by an anonymous writer. There would be nothing on the face of it, to show that the Pope had ever seen it, page by page, unless the "Imprimatur" implied in the Cardinal's letter had been an evidence of this. It has no mark or seal put upon it which gives it a direct relation to the Pope. {278} Who is its author? Some select theologian or high official doubtless; can it be Cardinal Antonelli himself? No surely: anyhow it is not the Pope, and I do not see my way to accept it for what it is not. I do not speak as if I had any difficulty in recognizing and condemning the Errors which it catalogues, did the Pope himself bid me; but he has not as yet done so, and he cannot delegate his Magisterium to another. I wish with St. Jerome to "speak with the Successor of the Fisherman and the Disciple of the Cross." I assent to that which the Pope propounds in faith and morals, but it must be he speaking officially, personally, and immediately, and not any one else, who has a hold over me. The Syllabus is not an official act, because it is not signed, for instance, with "Datum Romæ, Pius P.P. IX.," or "sub annulo Piscatoris," or in some other way; it is not a personal, for he does not address his Venerabiles Fratres," or "Dilecto Filio," or speak as "Pius Episcopus;" it is not an immediate, for it comes to the Bishops only through the Cardinal Minister of State.

If, indeed, the Pope should ever make that anonymous compilation directly his own, then of course I should bow to it and accept it as strictly his. He might have done so; he might do so still; again, he might issue a fresh list of Propositions in addition, and pronounce them to be Errors, and I should take that condemnation to be of dogmatic authority, because I believe him appointed by his Divine Master to determine in the detail of faith and morals what is true and what is false. But such an act of his he would formally authenticate; he would speak {279} in his own name, as Leo X. or Innocent XI. did, by Bull or Letter Apostolic. Or, if he wished to speak less authoritatively, he would speak through a Sacred Congregation; but the Syllabus makes no claim to be acknowledged as the word of the Pope. Moreover, if the Pope drew up that catalogue, as it may be called, he would have pronounced in it some definite judgment on the propositions themselves. What gives cogency to this remark is, that a certain number of Bishops and theologians, when a Syllabus was in contemplation, did wish for such a formal act on the part of the Pope, and in consequence they drew up for his consideration the sort of document on which, if he so willed, he might suitably stamp his infallible sanction; but he did not accede to their prayer. This composition is contained in the "Recueil des Allocutions," &c., and is far more than a mere "collection of errors." It is headed, "Theses ad Apostolicam Sedem delatæ cum censuris," &c., and each error from first to last has the ground of its condemnation marked upon it. There are sixty-one of them. The first is "impia, injuriosa religioni," &c.; the second is "complexivè sumpta, falsa," &c.; the third the same; the fourth, "hæretica," and so on, the epithets affixed having a distinct meaning, and denoting various degrees of error. Such a document, unlike the Syllabus, has a substantive character.

Here I am led to interpose a remark;—it is plain, then, that there are those near, or with access, to the Holy Father, who would, if they could, go much further in the way of assertion and command, than the divine Assistentia, which overshadows him, wills or permits; so {280} that his acts and his words on doctrinal subjects must be carefully scrutinized and weighed, before we can be sure what really he has said. Utterances which must be received as coming from an Infallible Voice are not made every day, indeed they are very rare; and those which are by some persons affirmed or assumed to be such, do not always turn out what they are said to be; nay, even such as are really dogmatic must be read by definite rules and by traditional principles of interpretation, which are as cogent and unchangeable as the Pope's own decisions themselves. What I have to say presently will illustrate this truth; meanwhile I use the circumstance which has led to my mentioning it, for another purpose here. When intelligence which we receive from Rome startles and pains us from its seemingly harsh or extreme character, let us learn to have some little faith and patience, and not take for granted that all that is reported is the truth. There are those who wish and try to carry measures and declare they have carried, when they have not carried them. How many strong things, for instance, have been reported with a sort of triumph on one side and with irritation and despondency on the other, of what the Vatican Council has done; whereas the very next year after it, Bishop Fessler, the Secretary General of the Council, brings out his work on "True and False Infallibility," reducing what was said to be so monstrous to its true dimensions. When I see all this going on, those grand lines in the Greek Tragedy always rise on my lips—

[Oupote tan Dios harmonian
         thnaton parexiasi boulai

{281} and still more the consolation given us by a Divine Speaker that, though the swelling sea is so threatening to look at, yet there is One who rules it and says, "Hitherto shalt thou come and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed!"

But to return:—the Syllabus then has no dogmatic force; it addresses us, not in its separate portions, but as a whole, and is to be received from the Pope by an act of obedience, not of faith, that obedience being shown by having recourse to the original and authoritative documents, (Allocutions and the like,) to which it pointedly refers. Moreover, when we turn to those documents, which are authoritative, we find the Syllabus cannot even be called an echo of the Apostolic Voice; for, in matters in which wording is so important, it is not an exact transcript of the words of the Pope, in its account of the errors condemned,—just as is natural in what is professedly an index for reference.

Mr. Gladstone indeed wishes to unite the Syllabus to that Encyclical which so moved him in December, 1864, and says that the Errors noted in the Syllabus are all brought under the infallible judgment pronounced on certain errors specified in the Encyclical. This is an untenable assertion. He says of the Pope and of the Syllabus, p. 20: "These are not mere opinions of the Pope himself, nor even are they opinions which he might paternally recommend to the pious consideration of the faithful. With the promulgation of his opinions is unhappily combined, in the Encyclical Letter which virtually, though not expressly, includes the whole, a command to all his spiritual children (from which command {282} we, the disobedient children, are in no way excluded) to hold them," and Mr. Gladstone appeals in proof of this to the language of the Encyclical; but let us see what that language is. The Pope speaks thus, as Mr. Gladstone himself quotes him: "All and each of the wrong opinions and doctrines, mentioned one by one in this Encyclical (hisce litteris), by our Apostolical authority, we reprobate, &c." He says then, as plainly as words can speak, that the wrong opinions which in this passage he condemns, are specified in the Encyclical, not outside of it; and, when we look into the earlier part of it, there they are, about ten of them; there is not a single word in the Encyclical to show that the Pope in it was alluding to the Syllabus. The Syllabus does not exist, as far as the language of the Encyclical is concerned. This gratuitous assumption seems to me marvellously unfair.

The only connexion between the Syllabus and the Encyclical is one external to them both, the connexion of time and organ; Cardinal Antonelli sending them both to the Bishops with the introduction of one and the same letter. In that letter he speaks to the Bishops thus, as I paraphrase his words [Note 1]:—The Holy Father sends you {283} by me a list, which he has caused to be drawn up and printed, of the errors which he has in various formal documents, in the course of the last eighteen years, noted. With that list of errors, he is also sending you a new Encyclical, which he has judged it apropos to write to the Catholic Bishops;—so I send you both at once."

The Syllabus, then, is a list, or rather an index, of the Pope's Encyclical or Allocutional "proscriptions," an index raisonné;—(not alphabetical, as is found, for instance, in Bellarmine's or Lambertini's works,)—drawn up by the Pope's orders, out of his paternal care for the flock of Christ, and conveyed to the Bishops through his Minister of State. But we can no more accept it as de fide, as a dogmatic document, than any other index or table of contents. Take a parallel case, mutatis mutandis: Counsel's opinion being asked on a point of law, he goes to his law books, writes down his answer, and, as authority, refers his client to 23 George III., c. 5, s. 11; 11 Victoria, c. 12, s. 19, and to Thomas v. Smith, Att. Gen. v. Roberts, and Jones v. Owen. Who would say that that sheet of foolscap has force of law, when it was nothing more than a list of references to the Statutes of the Realm, or Judges' decisions, in which the Law's voice really was found?

The value of the Syllabus, then, lies in its references; but of these Mr. Gladstone has certainly availed himself very little. Yet, in order to see the nature and extent of the blame cast on any proposition of the Syllabus, it is absolutely necessary to turn out the passage of the Allocution, Encyclical, or other document, in which the {284} error is noted; for the wording of the errors which the Syllabus contains is to be interpreted by its references. Instead of this Mr. Gladstone uses forms of speech about the Syllabus which only excite in me fresh wonder. Indeed, he speaks upon these ecclesiastical subjects generally in a style in which priests and parsons are accused by their enemies of speaking concerning geology. For instance, the Syllabus, as we have seen, is a list or index; but he calls it "extraordinary declarations," p. 21. How can a list of errors be a series of Pontifical "Declarations"?

However, perhaps he would say that, in speaking of "Declarations," he was referring to the authoritative allocutions, &c., which I have accused him of neglecting. With all my heart; but then let us see how the statements in these allocations fulfil the character he gives of them. He calls them "Extraordinary declarations on personal and private duty," p. 21, and "stringent condemnations," p. 19. Now, I certainly must grant that some are stringent, but only some. One of the most severe that I have found among them is that in the Apostolic Letter of June 10, 1851, against some heretic priest out at Lima, whose elaborate work in six volumes against the Curia Romana, is pronounced to be in its various statements "scandalous, rash, false, schismatical, injurious to the Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils, impious and heretical." It well deserved to be called by these names, which are not terms of abuse, but each with its definite meaning; and, if Mr. Gladstone, in speaking of the condemnations, had confined his epithet "stringent" to it, no one would have complained of him. And {285} another severe condemnation is that of the works of Professor Nuytz. But let us turn to some other of the so-called condemnations, in order to ascertain whether they answer to his general description of them.

1. For instance, take his own 16th (the 77th of the "erroneous Propositions"), that, "It is no longer expedient that the Catholic Religion should be established to the exclusion of all others." When we turn to the Allocution, which is the ground of its being put into the Syllabus, what do we find there? First, that the Pope was speaking, not of States universally, but of one particular State, Spain, definitely Spain; secondly, that he was not noting the erroneous proposition directly, or categorically, but was protesting against the breach in many ways of the Concordat on the part of the Spanish government; further, that he was not referring to any work containing the said proposition, nor contemplating any proposition at all; nor, on the other hand, using any word of condemnation whatever, nor using any harsher terms of the Government in question than an expression of "his wonder and distress." And again, taking the Pope's remonstrance as it stands, is it any great cause of complaint to Englishmen, who so lately were severe in their legislation upon Unitarians, Catholics, unbelievers, and others, that the Pope merely does not think it expedient for every state from this time forth to tolerate every sort of religion on its territory, and to disestablish the Church at once? for this is all that he denies. As in the instance in the foregoing section, he does but deny a universal, which the "erroneous proposition" asserts without any explanation. {286}

2. Another of Mr. Gladstone's "stringent Condemnations" (his 18th) is the Pope's denial of the proposition that "the Roman Pontiff can and ought to come to terms with Progress, Liberalism, and the New Civilization." I turn to the Allocation of March 18, 1861, and find there no formal condemnation of this Proposition at all. The Allocution is a long argument to the effect that the moving parties in that Progress, Liberalism, and New Civilization, make use of it so seriously to the injury of the Faith and the Church, that it is both out of the power, and contrary to the duty, of the Pope to come to terms with them. Nor would those prime movers themselves differ from him here; certainly in this country it is the common cry that Liberalism is and will be the Pope's destruction, and they wish and mean it so to be. This Allocution on the subject is at once beautiful, dignified, and touching: and I cannot conceive how Mr. Gladstone should make stringency his one characteristic of these condemnations, especially when after all there is here no condemnation at all.

3. Take, again, Mr. Gladstone's 15th—"That the abolition of Temporal Power of the Popedom would be highly advantageous to the Church." Neither can I find in the Pope's Allocution any formal condemnation whatever of this proposition, much less a "stringent" one. Even the Syllabus does no more in the case of any one of the eighty, than to call it an "error;" and what the Pope himself says of this particular error is only this:—"We cannot but in particular warn and reprove (monere et redarguere) those who applaud the decree by which the Roman Pontiff has been despoiled of all the {287} honour and dignity of his civil rule, and assert that the said decree, more than anything else, conduces to the liberty and prosperity of the Church itself."—Alloc., April 20, 1849.

4. Take another of his instances, the 17th, the "error" that "in countries called Catholic the public exercise of other religions may laudably be allowed." I have had occasion to mention already his mode of handling the Latin text of this proposition—viz., that whereas the men who were forbidden the public exercise of their religion were foreigners, who had no right to be in a country not their own at all, and might fairly have conditions imposed upon them during their stay there, nevertheless Mr. Gladstone (apparently through haste) has left out the word "hominibus illuc immigrantibus," on which so much turns. Next, as I have observed above, it was only the sufferance of their public worship, and again of all worships whatsoever, however many and various, which the Pope blamed; and further, the Pope's words do not apply to all States, but specially, and, as far as the Allocution goes, definitely, to New Granada.

However, the point I wish to insist upon here is, that there was in this case no condemned proposition at all, but it was merely, as in the case of Spain, an act of the Government which the Pope protested against. The Pope merely told that Government that that act, and other acts which they had committed, gave him very great pain; that he had expected better things of them; that the way they went on was all of a piece; and they had his best prayers. Somehow, it seems to me strange, {288} for any one to call an expostulation like this one of a set of "extraordinary declarations," "stringent condemnations."

I am convinced that the more the propositions and the references contained in the Syllabus are examined, the more signally will the charge break down, brought against the Pope on occasion of it: as to those Propositions which Mr. Gladstone specially selects, some of them I have already taken in hand, and but few of them present any difficulty.

5. As to those on Marriage, I cannot follow Mr. Gladstone's meaning here, which seems to me very confused, and it would be going out of the line of remark which I have traced out for myself, (and which already is more extended than I could wish), were I to treat of them [Note 2].

6. His fourth Error, (taken from the Encyclical) that "Papal judgments and decrees may, without sin, be disobeyed or differed from," is a denial of the principle of Hooker's celebrated work on Ecclesiastical Polity, and would be condemned by him as well as by the Pope. And it is plain to common sense that no society can stand if its rules are disobeyed. What club or union would not expel members who refused so to be bound?

7. And the 5th [Note 3], 8th, and 9th propositions are necessarily {289} errors, if the Sketch of Church Polity drawn out in my former Sections is true, and are necessarily considered to be such by those, as the Pope, who maintain that Polity.

8. The 10th Error, as others which I have noticed above, is a universal (that "in the conflict of laws, civil and ecclesiastical, the civil law should prevail"), and the Pope does but deny a universal.

9. Mr. Gladstone's 11th, which I do not quite understand in his wording of it, runs thus:—"Catholics can approve of that system of education for youth which is separated from the Catholic faith and the Church's power, and which regards the science only of physical things, and the outlines (fines) of earthly social life alone or at least primarily." How is this not an "Error"? Surely there are Englishmen enough who protest against the elimination of religion from our schools; is such a protest so dire an offence to Mr. Gladstone?

10. And the 12th Error is this:—That "the science of philosophy and of morals, also the laws of the State, can and should keep clear of divine and ecclesiastical authority." This too will not be anything short of an error in the judgment of great numbers of our own people. Is Benthamism so absolutely the Truth, that the Pope is to be denounced because he has not yet become a convert to it?

11. There are only two of the condemnations which really require a word of explanation; I have already referred to them. One is that of Mr. Gladstone's sixth Proposition, "Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils, have departed from the limits of their power, have {290} usurped the rights of Princes, and even in defining matters of faith and morals have erred." These words are taken from the Lima Priest's book. We have to see then what he means by "the Rights of Princes," for the proposition is condemned in his sense of the word. It is a rule of the Church in the condemnation of a book to state the proposition condemned in the words of the book itself, without the Church being answerable for those words as employed [Note 4]. I have already referred to this rule in my 5th Section. Now this priest includes among the rights of Catholic princes that of deposing Bishops from their sacred Ministry, of determining the impediments to marriage, of forming Episcopal sees, and of being free from episcopal authority in spiritual matters. When, then, the Proposition is condemned "that Popes had usurped the rights of Princes;" what is meant is, "the so-called rights of Princes," which were really the rights of the Church, in assuming which there was no usurpation at all.

12. The other proposition, Mr. Gladstone's seventh, the condemnation of which requires a remark, is this: "The Church has not the power to employ force (vis inferendæ) nor any temporal power direct or indirect." {291}

This is one of a series of Propositions found in the work of Professor Nuytz, entitled, "Juris Ecclesiastici Institutiones," all of which are condemned in the Pope's Apostolic Letter of August 22, 1851. Now here "employing force" is not the Pope's phrase but Professor Nuytz's, and the condemnation is meant to run thus, "It is an error to say, with Professor Nuytz, that what he calls 'employing force' is not allowable to the Church." That this is the right interpretation of the "error" depends of course on a knowledge of the Professor's work, which I have never had an opportunity of seeing; but here I will set down what the received doctrine of the Church is on ecclesiastical punishments, as stated in a work of the highest authority, since it comes to us with letters of approval from Gregory XVI. and Pius IX.

"The opinion," says Cardinal Soglia, "that the coercive power divinely bestowed upon the Church consists in the infliction of spiritual punishments alone, and not in corporal or temporal, seems more in harmony with the gentleness of the Church. Accordingly I follow their judgment, who withdraw from the Church the corporal sword, by which the body is destroyed or blood is shed. Pope Nicholas thus writes: 'The Church has no sword but the spiritual. She does not kill, but gives life, hence that well-known saying, 'Ecclesia abhorret a sanguine.' But the lighter punishments, though temporal and corporal, such as shutting up in a monastery, prison, flogging, and others of the same kind, short of effusion of blood, the Church jure suo can inflict."—(Institut. Jur., pp. 167-8, Paris.) {292}

And the Cardinal quotes the words of Fleury "The Church has enjoined on penitent sinners almsgivings, fastings, and other corporal inflictions ... Augustine speaks of beating with sticks, as practised by the Bishops, after the manner of masters in the case of servants, parents in the case of children and school-masters in that of scholars. Abbots flogged monks in the way of paternal and domestic chastisement ... Imprisonment for a set time or for life is mentioned among canonical penances; priests and other clerics, who had been deposed for their crimes, being committed to prison in order that they might pass the time to come in penance for their crime, which thereby was withdrawn from the memory of the public."

But now I have to answer one question. If what I have said is substantially the right explanation to give to the drift and contents of the Syllabus, have not I to account for its making so much noise, and giving such deep and wide offence on its appearance? It has already been reprobated by the voice of the world. Is there not, then, some reason at the bottom of the aversion felt by educated Europe towards it, which I have not mentioned? This is a very large question to entertain, too large for this place; but I will say one word upon it.

Doubtless one of the reasons of the excitement and displeasure which the Syllabus caused and causes so widely, is the number and variety of the propositions marked as errors, and the systematic arrangement to which they were subjected. So large and elaborate a work struck the public mind as a new law, moral, social, and ecclesiastical, {293} which was to be the foundation of a European code, and the beginning of a new world, in opposition to the social principles of the 19th century; and there certainly were persons in high station who encouraged this idea. When this belief was once received, it became the interpretation of the whole Collection through the eighty Propositions, of which it recorded the erroneousness; as if it had for its object in all its portions one great scheme of aggression. Then, when the public mind was definitively directed to the examination of these erroneous Theses, they were sure to be misunderstood, from their being read apart from the context, occasion, and drift of each. They had been noted as errors in the Pope's Encyclicals and Allocutions in the course of the preceding eighteen years, and no one had taken any notice of them; but now, when they were brought all together, they made a great sensation. Why were they brought together, except for some purpose sinister and hostile to society? and if they themselves were hard to understand, still more so, and doubly so was their proscription.

Another circumstance, which I am not theologian enough to account for, is this,—that the wording of many of the erroneous propositions, as they are drawn up in the Syllabus, gives an apparent breadth to the matter condemned which is not found in the Pope's own words in his Allocutions and Encyclicals. Not that really there is any difference between the Pope's words and Cardinal Antonelli's, for (as I have shown in various instances) what the former says in the concrete, the latter does but repeat in the abstract. Or, to speak {294} logically, when the Pope enunciates as true the particular affirmative, "Spain ought to keep up the establishment of the Catholic Religion," then (since its contradictory is necessarily false) the Cardinal declares, "To say that no State should keep up the establishment of the Catholic Religion is an error." But there is a dignity and beauty in the Pope's own language which the Cardinal's abstract Syllabus cannot have, and this gave to opponents an opportunity to declaim against the Pope, which opportunity was in no sense afforded by what he said himself.

Then, again, it must be recollected, in connexion with what I have said, that theology is a science, and a science of a special kind; its reasoning, its method, its modes of expression, and its language are all its own. Every science must be in the hands of a comparatively few persons—that is, of those who have made it a study. The courts of law have a great number of rules in good measure traditional; so has the House of Commons, and, judging by what one reads in the public prints, men must have a noviceship there before they can be at perfect ease in their position. In like manner young theologians, and still more those who are none, are sure to mistake in matters of detail; indeed a really first-rate theologian is rarely to be found. At Rome the rules of interpreting authoritative documents are known with a perfection which at this time is scarcely to be found elsewhere. Some of these rules, indeed, are known to all priests; but even this general knowledge is not possessed by laymen, much less by Protestants, however able and experienced in their own several {295} lines of study or profession. One of those rules I have had several times occasion to mention. In the censure of books, which offend against doctrine or discipline, it is a common rule to take sentences out of them in the author's own words, whether those are words in themselves good or bad, and to affix some note of condemnation to them in the sense in which they occur in the book in question. Thus it may happen that even what seems at first sight a true statement, is condemned for being made the shelter of an error; for instance: "Faith justifies when it works," or "There is no religion where there is no charity," may be taken in a good sense; but each proposition is condemned in Quesnell, because it is false as he uses it.

A further illustration of the necessity of a scientific education in order to understand the value of Propositions, is afforded by a controversy which has lately gone on among us as to the validity of Abyssinian Orders. In reply to a document urged on one side of the question, it was allowed on the other, that, "if that document was to be read in the same way as we should read any ordinary judgment, the interpretation which had been given to it was the most obvious and natural." "But it was well known," it was said, "to those who are familiar with the practical working of such decisions, that they are only interpreted with safety in the light of certain rules, which arise out of what is called the stylus curiæ." And then some of these rules were given; first, "that to understand the real meaning of a decision, no matter how clearly set forth, we should know the nature of the difficulty or dubium, as it was {296} understood by the tribunal that had to decide upon it. Next, nothing but the direct proposition, in its nudest and severest sense, as distinguished from indirect propositions, the grounds of the decision, or implied statements, is ruled by the judgment. Also, if there is anything in the wording of a decision which appears inconsistent with the teaching of an approved body of theologians, &c., the decision is to be interpreted so as to leave such teaching intact;" and so on [Note 5]. It is plain that the view thus opened upon us has further bearings than that for which I make use of it here.

These remarks on scientific theology apply also of course to its language. I have employed myself in illustration in framing a sentence, which would be plain enough to any priest, but I think would perplex any Protestant. I hope it is not of too light a character to introduce here. We will suppose then a theologian to write as follows:—"Holding, as we do, that there is only material sin in those who, being invincibly ignorant, reject the truth, therefore in charity we hope that they have the future portion of formal believers, as considering that by virtue of their good faith, though not of the body of the faithful, they implicitly and interpretatively believe what they seem to deny." Now let us consider what sense would this statement convey to the mind of a member of some Reformation Society or Protestant League? He would read it as follows, and consider it all the more insidious and dangerous for its being so very unintelligible:—"Holding, as we do, that there is {297} only a very considerable sin in those who reject the truth out of contumacious ignorance, therefore in charity we hope that they have the future portion of nominal Christians, as considering, that by the excellence of their living faith, though not in the number of believers, they believe without any hesitation, as interpreters [of Scripture?] what they seem to deny."

Now, considering that the Syllabus was intended for the Bishops, who would be the interpreters of it, as the need arose, to their people, and it got bodily into English newspapers even before it was received at many an episcopal residence, we shall not be surprised at the commotion which accompanied its publication.

I have spoken of the causes intrinsic to the Syllabus, which have led to misunderstandings about it. As to external, I can be no judge myself as to what Catholics who have means of knowing are very decided in declaring, the tremendous power of the Secret Societies. It is enough to have suggested here, how a wide-spread organization like theirs might malign and frustrate the most beneficial acts of the Pope. One matter I had information of myself from Rome at the time when the Syllabus had just been published, before there was yet time to ascertain how it would be taken by the world at large. Now, the Rock of St. Peter on its summit enjoys a pure and serene atmosphere, but there is a great deal of Roman malaria at the foot of it. While the Holy Father was in great earnestness and charity addressing the Catholic world by his Cardinal Minister, there were circles of light-minded men in his {298} city who were laying bets with each other whether the Syllabus would "make a row in Europe" or not. Of course it was the interest of those who betted on the affirmative side to represent the Pope's act to the greatest disadvantage; and it was very easy to kindle a flame in the mass of English and other visitors at Rome which with a very little nursing was soon strong enough to take care of itself.

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1. His actual words (abridged) are these:—"Notre T.S.S. Pius IX., n'a jamais cessé de proscrire les principales erreurs de notre très-malheureuse époque, par ses Encycliques, et par ses Allocutions, &c. Mais comme il peut arriver que tous les actes pontificaux ne perviennent pas à chacun des Ordinaires, le même Souverain Pontife a voulu que l'on rédigeât un Syllabus de ces mêmes erreurs, destiné à être envoyé à tous les Evêques, &c. Il m'a ensuite ordonné de veiller à ce que ce Syllabus imprimé fût envoyé à V.E.R. dans ce temps où le même Souverain Pontife a jugé à propos d'écrire un autre Lettre Encyclique. Ainsi, je m'empresse d'envoyer à V.E. ce Syllabus avec ces Lettres."
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2. I have observed on them in Postscript on § 7, infr. pp. 368-370.
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3. Father Coleridge, in his Sermon on "The Abomination of Desolation," observes that, whereas Proposition 5th speaks of "jura," Mr. Gladstone translates "civil jura." Vid. also the "Month" for December, but above all Mgr. Dupanloup's works on the general subject.
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4. Propositiones, de quibus Ecclesia judicium suum pronunciat, duobus præsertim modis spectari possunt, vel absoluté ac in se ipsis, vel relativè ad sensum libri et auctoris. In censurâ propositionis alicujus auctoris vel libri, Ecclesia attendit ad sensum ab eo intentum, qui quidem ex verbis, ex totâ doctrinæ ipsius serie, libri textura et confirmatione, consilio, institutoque elicitur. Propositio libri vel auctoris æquivoca esse potest, duplicemque habere sensum, rectum unum et alterum malum. Ubi contingit Ecclesiam propositiones hujusmodi æquivocas absque præviâ distinctione sensuum configere, censura unicè cadit in sensum perversum libri vel auctoris.—Tournely, t. 2, p. 170, ed. 1752.
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5. Month, Nov. and Dec., 1873.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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