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authority of the bishops, viz. the clergy, had no influence in directing the election, and could not veto an unsuitable candidate.
In 1802 the constitutional Church was overthrown, and the appointment to bishoprics was made by Napoleon I.
I have entered at some length into this subject of the constitutional character of the Church, because it is one essential to her well-being. Had this not been invaded by the State, there would have been no Papacy, no spiritual tyranny, and no Reformation.
There would have been no Papacy.
When the Church was overborne with violence and the power of princes, she was obliged to seek an authority to oppose against secular interference. Rome became a power because a power was needed to counteract the growth of monarchical despotism. If there had been no invasion of Church rights, there would have been no appeal court. Spiritual tyranny was the outgrowth of the union of Church and State; union is not the proper word, the defloration of the Church by the State. Nobly had the saints struggled to maintain independence for thought, and freedom from constraint even for those in error. Let us never be insolent when the times are favourable,” had said S. Gregory Nazianzen, “let us not think of exiles and proscriptions, drag no one before the judge, let not the whip remain in our hands.” “Religion," said Tertullian, “ forbids to constrain any to be religious; she would have consent, and not constraint.” “I can be severe on you in nothing," wrote S. Augustine to the Manichæan heretics,“ but I ought to bear with you now as I bore with myself at a former time, and i Orat. v. 36, 37.
2 Ad Scapulam.
treat you with the same patience which my neighbours shewed towards me, when, furious and blind, I struggled in your error." S. Ambrose refused to communicate with the bishops who had persecuted the Priscillianists. s. Martin rejected the communion of those prelates in Spain who had wrested from the emperor an order to execute heretics. “If violence be employed to sustain the right faith,” said S. Hilary,” “the wisdom of the bishops must oppose it; they must say, God will have no forced homage, what need has He of a profession of faith produced by violence ? He must be sought with simplicity, served by charity, honoured and gained by the honest exercise of our free will." We cannot,” said Cassiodorus in the name of Theodoric, “command religion, for no man can be made to believe against his will."9
That spiritual tyranny which caused the revolt of the sixteenth century could never have flung its upas branches far and wide had there been no confusion of temporal with spiritual powers. The hateful union of Alexander the Sixth and Ferdinand the Catholic, gave birth to the Spanish Inquisition.
For what purpose ? To mow all religion flat. Every doctrine of the Reformation is to be found in Catholicism, and it is idle to talk of the dogmas of Protestantism, of the Protestant faith as if in any point different and opposed to Catholicisin. Every truth held by Lollard, Hussite, Lutheran, and Calvinist is found embedded in the creed of the Church. The sixteenth century was a period at which the production of these dogmas into prominence was essential to the welfare of religion. They were parts of the faith which had been overlapped, and were growing sickly and stunted, a clearance for them was necessary, that they might have air and sun. Had not Church and State been united, these dogmas would have grown in their places and served to enhance the perfection of that flower carpet of belief with which the Church mantles the earth. There is no schism in the meadow; the golden-cup, the daisy, the red-robbin, and the blue-bell flower side by side, and make a subtle splendour of colour. Why should daisy rage against golden-cup, and blue-bell insist on the eradication of red-robbin? The Inquisition on one side and the Protestant reformers on the other thought otherwise. The Papacy declared, We will tolerate beliefs only at a certain level, some shall be pushed out of sight, and others shall be flaunted in the glare of day, anathema to those who do not accept our decision and keep justification by faith in the background and give prominence to salvation by works. The Reformers declared, We will tolerate no more dogmas than three or four, said one; five or six, said another; anathema maranatha to those who hold other doctrines than those we authorize. So Alva butchers in cold blood all heretics who say three or four instead of ten or twelve, and William of Orange posts his soldiers beyond the cathedral doors of Haarlem to massacre the Catholics who have had the hardihood to keep the feast of Corpus Christi which is an abomination to Calvinists.
Epist. contra Manichæos.
2 Ad Constantin. i. 6. 3 Cassiod. lib. ii, ep. 27.
There would have been no Reformation.
For the constitutional character of the Church would have saved the Church from falling into these abuses which demanded reformation. When the free circulation of the blood is impeded, congestion and mortification result; so the disturbance of the relations of the members of the Church, and of the current vivifying all in one Life, having been checked, corruptions were the necessary consequence.
A more striking lesson from the history of Christianity can hardly be drawn than that indicated by the lapse of missionary enterprise from the hands of a state-fettered hierarchy into those of monasticism. The spirit of independence which had energized the Church in her days of self-government was diverted at the dawn of the Middle Ages into another channel. Hitherto the hierarchy had been the power converting the world, but when it seated itself in golden fetters on the steps of the throne, it ceased to be a missionary agency, and Europe was converted by hermits and monks, men escaping from the slavery imposed on the priesthood and laity by a degenerate prelacy, that they might live together after the pattern of the primitive Church, obeying rules of their own adoption, and electing superiors to whom they might tender a free and cheerful obedience.
To gather up in few words the substance of this chapter.
I have shewn that if Christ be the Ideal, He must be the ideal Society as well as the ideal Man.
That ideal Society is the Church. It must have all the characteristics of Christ, for it is one with Him.
Every member of the Society must participate more or less in the characteristics of Christ.
His characteristics are unity, sanctity, universality, apostolicity, and infallibility.
These are therefore characteristics of the Church, and more or less of each of its members, that is to say,
, they form the ideal each man is bound to endeavour to realize.
The Church is the communion of saints, or in other words it is the union of all who exercise their functions in all times and places, bound into one by union with Christ.
The Church being a society must be organized.
Organization has for its object the assurance to every man of the recognition of his rights and liberties.
Therefore every man must participate in the appointment of the superiors of this organization.
Constitutional government is therefore of the essence of Church organization.
The state has interfered by violence with this liberty, and the result has been a demoralization of the Church, ending in rupture or indifference.
And I conclude, that till the union of Church and State is utterly annihilated, till, that is, moral authority and effective authority have been distinguished and dissevered, the Church can never meet the requirements of mankind nor fulfil her mission in the world.
As Christ individually suffered martyrdom by the princes of the world, so He, in His social capacity, has undergone His passion through the tyranny of the Crown exercised on His body, the Church; may be, that Passion will shortly be over, and even as there took place, according to the Gospel, a resurrection of the Personal Christ, so we shall witness a resurrection of Christ in His social character.
Far be it from me to assert that there is necessary opposition between the Church and the State. As long as the State confines the exercise of its authority to matters strictly within its sphere, and as long as the Church forbears from interference in political matters, there will be no clashing of interests. The office of the Church is to insist on the dogmatic basis of the rights of men,