Imágenes de páginas

Holy Ghost, who leads her into all truth. These so-called Old Catholics (as if Catholicity could be either old or new) hardly deserve the serious refutation of their principle of infallibility, which we have given it. They are neither philosophers nor theologians; they have no breadth or depth of mind, and are as narrow and as superficial as our contemporary Protestants and rationalists.

We need not comment here on infallibility as asserted by Catholics. The Catholic assumes the validity, and indeed the infallibility of reason, in questions of pure reason, but the papal infallibility, by divine assistance, in all questions that transcend reason, so far as the truth in regard to them has been revealed by our Lord himself and the Holy Ghost through the prophets and apostles. Yet as the rational is for the super-rational and the natural is for the supernatural, in which it has its principle, medium and end, reason has not her complement in herself, and is completed only in revelation. The questions of either order do not come up separately from those of the other; they come up in a mixed form, run into each other, are, so to speak, interlaced one with another, so that both rules are brought into play at the same time, and are alike necessary in the solution of the problems raised. A broad and distinct line of demarcation between questions of reason and questions of supernatural authority can be drawn only for a short distance, and in general the two authorities do and must operate together, each performing its proper function. Philosophy is the rational element of theology, but philosophy and theology are not and cannot be two separate and independent sciences; each is necessary to the other, and the two elements together form only one complete and dialectic whole. Thus the Catholic never asserts reason at the expense of the papal infallibility, nor papal infallibility at the expense of reason ; but accepts and harmonizes both in the dialectic constitution of the Creator's works, as revealed in the Word-works of nature and works of grace, both of which are equally his works, and forming ontologically one whole.

But Döllinger and his associates do not err solely through ignorance. At the bottom of their rejection of papal infallibility is a concession to cæsarism or nationalism, which is necessarily antagonistic to Catholicity, and to the papal authority which sustains it. They may call themselves Catholics to take away their reproach, to seduce the simple and unwary, or to obtain their salaries from the state ; but


their real motive is hostility to the Catholic Church herself. A plan had been concocted prior to the Council of the Vatican, indeed an association was formed—if we may credit the statement made to us personally by an AngloCatholic, as he called himself, and of which he professed to be a member, and which he assured us had assumed formidable proportions—to effect a grand union of all episcopal churches, including the church of Rome, in the world. The plan, as detailed to us, contemplated a union, or, rather, a confederation of the Greek church, the Armenian church, the Russian church, the Anglican church, the Gallican church, the Spanish church, the Scandinavian churches, and the Roman church, on national and liberal basis. Each national church was to be independent of the others in its internal arrangements and worship, was to have its own liturgy, and administer its own ecclesiastical affairs. The pope was to have the primacy of honor and order of the whole, but no jurisdiction except in his own national church. Anglicans, whose orders were considered doubtful, should submit to have their orders rehabilitated by bishops whose orders could not be questioned.

The obscurity in which the question of the papal prerog. atives was supposed to be involved, it was thought, would afford an opportunity of bringing the great body of the Catholic people into the plan, and through their pressure and the influence of public opinion, force the pope to accede to the union or confederation. Our informant insinuated, rather than asserted, that Döllinger and his Munich friends were the originators of the plan; but he claimed to have recently visited him, and distinctly asserted that the learned professor belonged to the association, and was a prominent leader in the movement.

The convocation of the Council of the Vatican by the pope, was a terrible blow to the conspirators, and the two decrees, the one defining the papal supremacy, and

the other the papal infallibility, was a severer blow still. They had left no stone unturned to prevent the adoption of these decrees, which so effectually dissipated the pretended obscurity which enveloped the prerogatives of the successor of Peter, and defeated all hopes of drawing the Roman church into their plan of national churches. This was fatal. Without the Roman church their confederation of national churches was sure to miscarry ; for as long as Rome stood out, they could get nobody to acknowledge their confeder

ation of national churches as the Catholic Church. The convocation of the council was in the nick of time, and nothing could have been more opportune than the definition of the papal supremacy and infallibility, so strenuously resisted even by a number of eminent prelates as inopportune. These eminent prelates, we must believe, little knew into whose hands they were playing, or what influences had been brought to bear on them; and the convoking of the council and its decrees are to us a new proof that the church operates under divine direction, and that our Lord watches over the interests, and protects by his love and power the honor of his immaculate spouse. He has again brought to naught the councils of the ungodly against her. Blessed be his name now and for ever.

The plan, of course, was favored by the secular powers, and Döllinger and his associates were only the tools of Cæsar. Cæsar is instinctively opposed to Catholicity, and it is only under the influence of extraordinary grace that he

but national churches. He wants the church or religion to discipline his subjects and enforce on them, in the name of God, submission to his authority; but wants not a church able to subject him to her discipline if he does not reign justly and oppresses his subjects. In this he is the dupe of Satan. One of the great causes of the frightful alienation in modern times of the people, who are naturally conservative and never given to innovation, from the state no less than from the church and religion, is the fact that Cæsar has used the church to preach submission to the people, but prohibited her from using her authority to rebuke his own tyranny and oppression. To the people relig. ion has come to appear as the accomplice of the despot, and they regard it as their worst enemy, and have in large numbers come to hate it, and to loathe its very name, although the Catholic Church is their best and often only friend, and, where free, is their most efficient protector. For the prevalent hatred of religion among the people, kings and their courtiers, worldly prelates, and liberal Catholics are responsible, and kings are no longer secure on their thrones. It is the inevitable effect of decatholicizing and nationalizing the church.



[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1873.)

WE read the writings of no contemporary author who seems to us to understand so well the threatening evils of our times in their causes and consequences as the illustrious archbishop of Westminste, the not unworthy successor of the lamented Cardinal Wiseman. The more we read the works the late cardinal has left behind him, the more are we struck by the richness of his mind, and the extent and variety of his learning and knowledge, the sweetness and unction of his spirit, and the depth and earnestness of his soul. He was the man for his times in England, and it would be impossible to estimate the services he rendered the Catholic cause in that ultra-Protestant kingdom. But his successor, in many respects a different type of character, as intellectual perhaps, and apparently less genial and more austere, is, in our judgment, as a man and a prelate by no means his inferior, or less fitted to his country or his times. His writings are no less profound, broad, or eloquent, and seem to us even more simple, direct, and effective. He seems to say the right word, at the right time, and in the right place, precisely the word, he makes us feel, that we should like to say, and would


if we could. Few prelates were more zealous or more influential in support of the papal infallibility, and in obtaining its definition in the holy Council of the Vatican. Few, if any, saw more clearly the necessity of that definition to recover, even in Catholic ranks, the proper respect for the papal authority, to give a death blow to the liberalizing and compromising tendency that was obscuring the faith in the minds of prominent laymen and even of some churchmen, and rendering their Catholicity weak and puny, only a step removed from Protestantism itself; and we, English-speaking Catholics, owe him a debt of gratitude for the stand he took and the influence he exerted. Gallicanism, coupled,



* Lectures the Four Great Evils of the Day; the Fourfold Sorereignty of God; and the Grounds of Faith. By the Most Reverend HENRY EDWARD MANNING, Archbishop of Westminster, Baltimore: 1872.


as it had begun to be, with the pretence that a Catholic is free to deny any proposition that has not been formally defined to be of faith, was become little different from the less radical forms of Protestantism, and rendered the assertion of Catholicity in its strength and plenitude not a little hazardous. It had become a reproach with large numbers of nominal Catholics, but real heretics, to defend the papacy, or to be called an ultramontane; and there was a time in our own country when a Catholic could, with less danger to his Catholic standing, speak against the pope than against the emperor of the French. It was high time that the papal prerogatives should be defined more explicitly than they had hitherto been, since the unity and catholicity of the church are inconceivable without the supremacy and official infallibility of the successor of Peter. Catholicity depends on unity, and unity, St. Cyprian tells us, in the visible order, is founded in the chair of Peter.

Now, without any change in faith, but by an explicit definition of what it is and always has been a great change has been operated in the tone and feeling of Catholics towards the рарасу;


every Catholic now understands that to contemn the

pope is to contemn the church, and to contemn the church is to contemn Christ, whose spouse she is. The members are now one with their head, and the church is united and can move as one man against the enemies of God and his Christ. The publication of the syllabus was a great fact, the Council of the Vatican and its decrees is a greater fact still,-one which closes for ever the door to heresy, and makes the issue henceforth under one aspect, between Peter and Cæsar, and under another aspect, between the church and infidelity, or between Christ and Satan. Satan, we think, has gone the length of his tether, and can obscure the issue by no new heresy or new clouds of smoke from the bottomless pit. Persecutions, perhaps even to blood, may come, and heaven bé peopled with new armies of martyrs, but Catholics can no longer mistake their banner or the word of command. This is an immense gain, and notwithstanding the very nearly universal defection of the temporal powers, the church seems to us never to have been stronger, or in a more favorable position for the discharge of her mission of winning souls to Christ, than she is now.

The four great evils of the day, according to the illustrious archbishop, are: 1. The revolt of the intellect against

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »