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impartial reader of the Eighth Report, our observations will seem borne out by facts;-that the spirit of the establishment of Maynooth is not more alien from the freedom and liberality of Protestantism, than it is calculated to produce the most efficient instruments in the hands of the Episcopal heads of Popery in Ireland; by a certain quantity of information to raise the clergy above the mass, and by a larger portion of ignorance to protect them from liberality; by a seclusion from society to guard the aspirant from the common feelings of the world, and by an occasional glimpse into its politics, to prepare him for his future activity; to make him, so far as a system can do it, the slave of the Bishop, the coadjutor of the demagogue, and the tyrant of the people.
We shall in continuation of our remarks on Maynooth, present to our readers, some of the statements generally made by the professors and students there, with regard to a few of the leading practical doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church; we say practical, for the Commissioners with great propriety, confined their examinations to the dogmas that bear upon society, rather than those that form the speculative system of religion, and are inculcated upon individuals. Such are the Papal infallibility, the temporal power claimed and exercised by the Bishops of Rome, the deposing power, the dispensing power, and the operation of the canon law on the progress of society. On all these and other subjects much was said, and though no great information was elicited regarding the points at issue, much interesting matter occurred in the course of the examinations, and what was more important still, the character of the Church of Rome, and the mode in which the plainest dictates of common sense are evaded, were most markedly displayed. We shall present our readers with a few observations on the subject: having promised two remarks.-The first is, that we shall not allude to the evidence given on the subject of the political bearing of the Maynooth education. It must be expected to reflect the general feeling of the population whatever that may be, and while we have no doubt that little pains were taken to counteract the feelings we allude to, we do not think that evidence has been adduced to prove that it was studiously* encouraged. Newspapers and political pamphlets are only professedly excluded, and in one instance, a most inflammatory publication was introduced by its author, and that author a Professor in Maynooth, and since a Bishop. From this special circumstance, we do not however think any thing is to be drawn, but that a Professor forgot his duty, a President was not careful of his, and that a Roman Catholic Bishop has displayed a frontless power of evasion that would do credit to best instructed disciple of Loyala. Our other remark is, and we request our readers to consider it, that the attempts made by the Professors and their friends on the Commission, to justify the opinions and practices of the Church, by proving that similar opinions have been taught by indivi
* See particularly pages 93, 95, 99.
duals in Protestant Churches, must be altogether fallacious. No Protestant communion possesses an Index Expurgatorius, or has the power of censuring or punishing individuals who hold immoral or pernicious opinions; if Saunderson has indulged in useless or injurious subtleties on the subject of the obligation of an oath, or Paley has advanced principles of too lax a character on that of morals, they are arraignable at the bar of the public, and by it may be condemned;-no further does our jurisdiction extend; but the infallible Church, if its infallibility be important for any purpose, must be prompt to discover error; all her children are amenable to her censure, and any work containing wrong views of faith or practice, or inculcating erroneous principles of Church doctrine, she is bound to stigmatize, and for every work not so stigmatized she is answerable; for all the inconsistencies and contradictions, all the absurdities and errors that have remained uncensured; for the lax morality of the Jesuits, for the ultra-montanism of Bellarmine, for the fanaticism of Sister Nativité, and the juggleries of Hohenlohe; all the fictions of her breviary, and all the absurdities of the Bollandists, and all the abominations of the Casuists, are to be placed to her account, and must ever remain against her until she strips herself of pseudo-infallibility, and is satisfied with the sincerity of scriptural strength, and the protection of scriptural promises.
If we were to name a doctrine whose establishment must be more essential than another to the satisfaction of a Roman Catholic; it would be the question of the personal infallibility of the Pope of Rome. That it stands foremost in importance cannot be denied, and if true, its negation must present to the view of the pious Roman Catholic a most awful view of the blasphemy incurred by refusing to give honour where it must be so justly due, to the vicar of Christ, the supreme authority on earth :-again, its solution is peculiarly important for his own satisfaction; by means of this, the Roman Catholic can solve all the paradoxes of his Church; can account for infallibility resting with the body before General Councils were called, and since they have been in abeyance; can reconcile Christ's promises with the actual state of the Church, and the infallibility conferred on General Councils, with the acknowledged fallibility of those bodies 'till the approval of the head is given-here he has a safe depository of truth; here an unfailing guardian of the faith. We are not surprised that this doctrine was the faith of the middle ages, as it assuredly is the most consistent with the structure of the Papal system, however it may be opposed by the genius and character of scriptural religion. The hesitation now displayed upon the subject forms an amusing commentary on the claims of certainty put forth by the infallible Church.Though the Council of Trent,* all but in words claims this prero
* To a calm observer, it must seem strange, that while this same Council proceeded to examine and arraign doctrines from the very foundation, it should never once have thought of examining Church Government. The most reasonable mode of proceeding, it would seem, would have been to have ascertained, at least, the power of the Popes, and to have limited and defined it, if limitable;
gative for the Pope; though the very contests with the Jansenists and the Bull Unigenitus, in fact assert it; though the doctrine is allowed to rest on many most solid arguments, and if not now put forward as an article of faith, still granted to be a very probable opinion, and that most cogent scriptural passages are, as we shall see, urged in its favour. Let us now inquire what our Maynooth Professors think upon this subject, premising that the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland has, at least, in two* instances refused its assent to the Gallican propositions which limit or deny his infallibility, and that the Maynooth Class-book recognizes the Council of Florence to be general, and adopts its ultra-montane notions of Papal supremacy, while it denies or hesitates about the two Councils of Basil and Constance, that first presumed to set bounds to his power and confine his claims.
The President of the College being interrogated on this point, replies as follows, much more to the credit of his sincerity than of his attention to the books read in the seminary:
"You are of course generally aware of the contents of Dr. Delabogue's works on dogmatic theology?—I have never read them entirely through, but I have occasionally read portions of each of the volumes.
“Are you aware whether, at the time when Dr. Delahogue graduated at the Sorbonne, it was necessary for him, as a graduate, to sign the celebrated declaration of the French clergy?--I believe the signing of that declaration was required of the Professors of the Sorbonne at that time.
"By that declaration the French clergy recognized the Pope as the spiritual head of the Catholic Church -They did, of course; they would cease to be Catholics if they denied it.
"At the same time they denied that he had any right to interfere, directly or indirectly, with the civil or temporal rights of sovereigns?-Certainly.
66 They also denied that it was an article of the Catholic faith that the Pope, speaking of himself and separate from a General Council, was infallible ? — They did."- p. 76.
Here we have the President of Maynooth, explicitly avowing the Gallican liberties, and declaring that they were taught in a book that he confesses he has not read-let us see further:
"I think we do disclaim on oath the Pope's infallibility as an article of faith. "Is it inculcated that it is not an article of the Catholic faith, nor are Catholics thereby required to believe, that the Pope is infallible ?-Certainly, it is expressly taught in our theological tracts.
"Has not the contrary been taught by some Catholic divines ?-Many have held that the Pope is infallible, but they have held it merely as a theological opinion; some have gone so far as to say, that it is not an article of faith, but is nearly so ;
and if not, to have asserted their consequent infallibility, but they cautiously evaded this question; a distinct statement of this point does not once occur in the decrees, while they implicitly give him all power; the judicial, the executive, the legislative, all are vested in him, nor does it appear how any constitutional restraint can be offered, or any check applied. Of this the policy of the Bull Unigenitus, furnishes a remarkable proof.
* In 1666, and 1778.
this absurd opinion, however, is evidently false, from the fact that the great body of divines, and of the Christian laity in every part of Europe deny it to be of faith, and generally reject it even as an opinion."-p. 77.
The hesitation of Dr. Crotty, as to the disclaiming on oath of this same doctrine is very edifying, and the assertion of the absurdity of the opinion mentioned in the last extract is important, when compared with a passage we shall presently extract from another part of the evidence. It is curious to remark, how the Church differs as to these very points: the Pope is fallible, or infallible-Dr. Crotty swears he is fallible, and thinks he has sworn so before-but he subsequently declares that
"If the Pope issue a decree appertaining to Catholic faith, which decree is received by the whole Church, that it then has the same force as if it proceeded from a General Council; not precisely because it is a decree of the Pope, but because it has the sanction of the whole Church including the Pope."-p. 78.
And when questioned as to the test of this, we have the following strange assertions:
"The test of its being received by the Catholic Church is the Bishops of the Catholic Church having given their assent to the decision of the Pope.
"Is it not a principle of the Roman Catholic religion, or of the Roman Catholic discipline, that every Bishop not expressing his dissent from a decision of the Pope, is assumed to assent to it ?—It is, nor do I require the expression of their assent as necessary for giving to the decree the force of an infallible doctrinal decision; but merely that the faithful may know the fact, that such a decree has been duly promulgated.
"You conceive then, that the actual expression of assent upon the part of a majority of the Roman Catholic Bishops, is necessary to give to the Pope's decision the authority of a General Council ?—I should think that it is, or rather may be, in certain cases, in the sense already mentioned.
"Are you aware, whether a difference of opinion upon that point exists among Roman Catholic divines?—It is a principle among Roman Catholic divines, that the Church can neither sanction by its positive approbation, nor even by its silence, error against faith.
"What is to determine whether it is error against faith, or not -The acceptance (even tacit) or opposition of the Church. If the Bishops adopt it, even tacitly, it is of faith; if they oppose it, it is no article of faith.”—p. 78.
Thus, we have our Rev. President swearing that the doctrine of the Pope's fallibility is taught in certain books he has not read; then thinking that he has sworn that it is not an article of faith, although as a probable opinion, he and all his College and the Church with him may believe it; then pointing out how the Pope per se is infallible, and proposing a test by which we will venture to say no illiterate Roman Catholic, no learned Roman Catholic, no Roman Catholic Bishop in the universe can ever ascertain the truth of the fact, that is the express or tacit consent of the majority of the Bishops. We will not press the point of the absurdities* that would follow from the implied neces
* Such as the truth of a doctrine depending on a numerical calculation; the chance of error against truth, in case of a plague carrying off several of the
sity of an actual majority, but merely call our readers attention to a test of INFALLIBLE DOCTRINE so vague, so varying, so incapable of all rational application, and yet with this the Bishops of the Church of Rome must be satisfied, and after them the laity. In the very next page we find our reverend President's, "I think," becoming certainty, and brought in collision with the most impudent author that ever insulted information, we mean, to use his own phrase, "the great controversialist," Dr. Milner.
"The question is, whether Dr. Milner was right in his assumption of the fact, that it was the unanimous opinion of the Irish Roman Catholic Bishops not to subscribe to those articles?—I have not seen Dr. Milner's pamphlet; I believe that Dr. Milner did not know the sentiments of the Irish Bishops on the subject, if he thought that our Bishops would refuse to subscribe them in the way I have mentioned.
"And that you do?—Yes, I think I do from their own declarations.
"And you think that they are prepared to subscribe to those articles?—As far as is necessary.
"You mean, that they are prepared to subscribe to the principle of the articles, as to the deposing power and infallibility of the Pope, and as to his right to interfere directly or indirectly in matters of a civil or temporal nature ?-Exactly."-p. 79.
Dr. Crotty declares elsewhere, "that no Roman Catholic ever held that the Pope was infallible, except declaring ex cathedra credenda ac tenenda," the creed and moral principles of a Christian.
"Does that mean when the Pope is propounding certain matters as constituting part of the necessary creed of a Christian?-Or things appertaining to principles of Christian morality.
"Has any class of divines in the Roman Catholic Church ever maintained, that the Pope could not err in matters relating to temporal concerns?—No class, nor any individual divine that I ever heard of; all Catholics hold the Church to be infallible, but they do not extend this infallibility to temporal matters or matters of fact.
"Or in making laws which partake of a political nature or tendency, such as the means by which what is considered heresy in the Roman Catholic Church should be resisted, as by temporal punishments and so forth ?—The Pope, and even General Councils, are held by Catholics not to be infallible in such matters, they are matters of prudence, where faith is not concerned, and in such they may go wrong.”—p. 82.
Has the Dr. ever heard that a Pope has been declared to be above all judgment on earth, therefore humanly speaking, to be infallible? Has he ever heard that in the great Council of Lateran this was attributed to the head of the Church? Has he never by accident understood, that a large proportion of the controversy of the Bull Unigenitus was on this very subject, the infallibility of the Pope on
Episcopal depositories of the faith, or the vibration between truth and falsehood, infallibility and error, if the division of the Bishops was nearly equal, and one of the body could be found as assenting as Pope Vigilius, who changed his opinion on an article of faith, only four times,