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spiritual as an ever-present and active power, defining and administering for it the law of God, than the body can exist and perform its normal functions without the soul. The people do not and cannot give this power, for they are in the same order with the state, are human, and can give only a human authority. The sects in no sense are above the state or the people. They are human in their origin, and have at best only a human authority. The union of the state with any sect, be it the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Episcopalian, the Lutheran, or the Unitarian, would add nothing spiritual to it, would supply no spiritual authority, for any and all of these are as incompetent in spirituals as is the state itself. Their control of the state, or influence through the people on its policy or its acts, would be only the influence or control of the temporal over the temporal. The sects stand even below the level of the state. The state, legitimately constituted, and in the lawful exercise of its powers, is to be obeyed for conscience' sake, because so God ordains ; but a sect has and can have no legitimate human authority even, for there can be no human authority against the divine, and the human has no authority in spirituals. The sect has no authority either in spirituals or temporals, while the state has authority, and no superior in its own order, though its order has a superior in the spiritual order.
The sects, so far from furnishing the religious authority needed for the safety of the republic, are themselves the principal sources of danger to it, and against which the church is needed to protect it. Their assumption of spiritual authority, or pretension to count for something in the spiritual order, when in fact they count for nothing in that order, imposes on the people, misleads, perverts them, and moves them to force the government to usurp spiritual functions, and to violate the principle of equal rights, on which our republic is founded, and on which it must stand if it stands at all. This follows from the fact that all sects, when not created by the civil power, which has no authority to create or establish a sect, are simply self-constituted societies or voluntary associations, and represent no authority but that of the views, and sentiments, or opinions of the individuals voluntarily associated. They are all, comparatively speaking, of yesterday, are outside of the apostolic church, and severed from the body of Christ ; they are fallible by their own confession, and consequently are unable to speak with the voice of the Holy Ghost; for the Holy Ghost is the spirit of truth, and can neither err nor authorize error. A fallible church is simply no church at all, that is, no church of God, instituted, commissioned, or assisted by him; it may be a man-made church or synagogue of Satan, but nothing more or better.
It matters nothing to the present argument, that the sects hold more or less of truth, insist with more or less earnestness on the practice of some of the precepts of the Gospel, and call themselves by the name of Christ. Our Lord says: “Many will say to me in that day : Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." The question is, not what they preach or profess, but are they affiliated to the body of Christ, living his life, and acting by his authority. Nor does it matter that they have the Holy Scriptures, the inspired, authoritative, and infallible word of God, since they are no legally constituted court to keep, interpret, and administer the law written in them. They have no authority as a court
, and can pronounce no legal sentence, any more than can the famous Judge Lynch.
The state and the sects having no spiritual authority, and being incompetent to pronounce any valid spiritual judgment, or to define the rights which are the basis of the state, which it must hold sacred and inviolable, and which it is its chief duty to recognize, protect, and defend against all aggressors, it must be concluded, either that God has instituted no spiritual kingdom on earth to maintain and apply his law in the government of men and nations ; or else that the kingdom he has instituted is the Catholic Church, of which the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the vicar of Christ, is, by divine right, the supreme governor, and, by the supernatural assistance of the Holy Ghost, the infallible teacher of the universal church.
The former, no man who believes in Christ at all can pretend; and it would not comport with the character of divine providence to suppose that God has made civil society necessary, and yet left us without any adequate means of maintaining it. Only the latter, then, is admissible, and that must be admitted, because the church is manifestly the only means provided. She is the kingdom of God on earth, and, if accepted by the people in her
unity and integrity, is amply able to supply precisely what the state has not in itself, but absolutely needs for its maintenance; and to enable it to save alike the cause of order and of freedom, and to save society alike from anarchy and despotism.
The sects all object to the church as a spiritual kingdom above, over, and independent of secular government and the whole secular order. 'They do not care much what doctrines she preaches, or what practices she observes; they can swallow every thing except her authority as the kingdom of God on earth, as is seen in the joy with which they accept Döllinger and his associates. What they oppose—and the only thing they really oppose—is the papacy; and they would not oppose even that, if the pope claimed only a primacy of order, and not a primacy of jurisdiction. The thing they oppose is spiritual anthority really and effectively represented. They have no objection to asserting the dominion of God, the universal sovereignty of Jesus Christ, the supremacy of the spiritual order and the subordination of the temporal, provided you assert no representative of that sovereignty, and defend no divinely instituted and protected organic power capable effectively of asserting and maintaining that supremacy and that subordination. Do that, and they are one and all up in arms against you. This is perfectly natural, for the sects love their own opinions more than they love truth, and prefer following their own will to obedience to the law of God. They are in the temporal order, and if you effectively assert the supremacy of the spiritual, you take from them the power of usurping, or of inducing the state to usurp, spiritual functions, and reduce theni to nothing in the temporal order as they are in the spiritual order.
The sects, then, only act according to their nature, in opposing, by all the means in their power, the spread of CathOlicity in this country, because, just in proportion as the people become Catholics and recognize the papal supremacy, the
power of the sects necessarily decreases, and they lose their control over the state and their prestige with the public. As yet they are the ruling majority, and they are making desperate effort to combine and maintain the supremacy of the temporal in both spirituals and temporals. They are not unlikely to succeed, for a time at least, since they hate one another far less than they hate the church, and Pilate and Herod are agreed and become friends when the question is of crucifying the Lord of life. But, as we have seen, their success would be the subjection of the spiritual, the ruin of the republic, and the total loss of civil and religious liberty, possible only in a state that governs only in subordination to the spiritual order, or the law of God applicable to human affairs.
The predominance of the Catholic Church in the conviction and faith of the American people would undoubtedly deprive the sects of their present power, and probably would lead ultimately to their extinction; not because the church would use the physical power of the state against them, but because the people would gradually abandon them, and leave them to die of inanition. The sects cannot flourish or even live in a nation that acknowledges the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, that maintains the freedom, independence, and authority of the law of God, and confines the state within the limits of the temporal order. But this is no objection; for the extinction of the sects by conversion to the church is the salvation, not the extinction of the republic; if effected by conviction, and not by violence, it would be, not the destruction of our free institutions, as the sects pretend, but the removal of their worst enemy and greatest possible danger, since secularism is only sectarianism developed. Patriotism, republicanism, democracy is safe, civil and religious liberty guarantied, wherever the people are truly Catholic; and that they have no security when the people are non-Catholics, or only Gallican and universitarian Catholics, has been sufficiently shown.
Some of the nations that separated from the church have some degree-a high degree, if you insist—of national prosperity and temporal grandeur; but none of them have risen in either respect to the height of once renowned pagan nations that have passed away and left only ruins to mark the site where they once stood. The Catholic nations that separated the two powers, and declared—while professing to be Catholic, and dragooning heretics into the adoption of the Catholic faith, or exiling them to foreign lands—the temporal independent in face of the spiritual, have shamefully fallen, and fallen so low that no decent man would do them reverence; in France, Austria, Italy, Spain, as well as Spanish America, they have reaped, or are reaping, the fruit of their error in faith and blunders in politics, and verifying the assertion of Holy Writ: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” If the American people are wise in time, abandon sectarianism
and secularism, and return to the Lord, and submit to his vicar, there is hope for them; if not, there is none. They must go the way of the nations that turned away from God and would not have him to reign over them.
THE DOELLINGERITES, NATIONALISTS, AND
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1873.)
Our Lord built his church on Peter; and the supremacy in governing, and infallibility in teaching the universal church of Peter in his successors, the Roman pontiffs, have always been held and acted on by the church in all ages and nations as the fundamental principle of her constitution, and the law given her by her divine Founder. The Council of the Vatican has imposed no new faith; it has only defined what has been the faith from the beginning. It matters nothing that the faith on these points had not been explicit. ly defined from the beginning, for the church defines no point of faith till it is litigated, and in her capacity of ecclesia judicans; and even then ordinarily only in condemning and anathematizing the error or errors opposed to it, and she is her own judge of the time and manner of doing it.
The history of the church would be utterly inexplicable without the recognition of the pope as supreme governor and infallible teacher of the whole body of the faithful, or without recognizing at least that such is and always has been the faith of the church. How, otherwise, explain the fact that no assembly of bishops, however numerous, was ever held to be an æcumenical council unless convoked by the authority of the Roman pontiff, presided over by himself in person or by his legates, and its acts approved by him? The schismatic Greeks confess even to-day their inability to hold an ecumenical council, because no council can be æcumenical until it is presided over, and its acts approved, as they say, by the archbishop of old Rome. We know that as early as the second century, if my memory is not in fault, the heathen urged against the church the very objection