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perhaps is verbally inexact, when he speaks of the attribute of infallibility with which the sovereign pontiff is invested, for attribute usually expresses in English the quality of the man, not of the office, precisely what the bishop intended to deny. The papal'infallibility is the privilege of the office, not the attribute of the man, and is official, not personal: at least, this is all the author intended to assert, and is all the council has defined. The Observer's assertion is therefore either very silly or very malicious. The Catholic holds the pope to be infallible only in his official character as supreme teacher of the universal church, in matters of faith or matters pertaining to faith, and directly or indirectly affecting it. The pope is supreme governor and supreme teacher of the universal churchi, but it is only in the latter character that the council defines him to have the privilege of inerrancy. In governing we own his authority, but we arz not required to believe him infallible.
But this privilege, which attaches not to the person but to the office, is by virtue of no natural power or attribute of the pope,
and does not necessarily imply any superior natural ability or attainments in wisdom or sanctity on his fart, but is, solely by virtue of the supernatural assistance of the Holy Ghost, promised to him in his office of teacher, and who, as the Spirit of Truth, leads him into all truth. To pretend that to maintain this is to make the pope God, or to clothe him personally with divine attributes, is very absurd, especially in the Observer, which professes to believe in the infallibility of the written word, communicated through men chosen for that purpose. The infallibility attaches, strictly speaking, to the Holy Ghost, not to the human organ, and the only question that can be raised is, Is the Holy Ghost able to make a man the organ of his infallibility? The Observer cannot deny it, for it holds that the sacred writers were all inspired by the Holy Ghost who used them as his organs not only to teach truth, already revealed and preserved by tradition, but even to reveal truth before unknown to men, and both to reveal and to teach truth infallibly: which is somewhat more than we claim for the papacy. Which, indeed, is the greater, to inspire prophets and apostles to reveal the truth infallibly, or to assist the pope to teach, define, and declare the truth already revealed by prophets, apostles, and our Lord himself, and deposited with the church? The Observer professes to believe the greater, but shrinks from the less. God, according to this Evangelical sheet, can very well use men as his organs in revealing, but not in preserving, the truth in the minds of the faithful? Nay, we are wrong. The Observer is Evangelical; and Evangelicals claim, through the assistance of the internal illuminations of the Holy Ghost, creating what some of them call “the Christian consciousness," for each and every truly regenerate soul, all the infallibility that Catholics claim for the sovereign pontiff. According to the doctrine of the Observer, every regenerate soul, then, is God, or clothed with the incommunicable attributes of the divinity. A great institution is the New York Observer!
The pope is infallible in teaching, defining the revealed truth or the depositum; but this carries with it, necessarily, infallibility in teaching and defining the principles on which the revealed truth is founded, and
in condemning all errors opposed to thein. As these principles are like all real principles catholic, the same in all orders, since the several orders, generation, regeneration, and glorification, are only parts of a complete and dialectic whole,* the papal infallibility must extend to the principles of all the sciences no less than to dogma. The pope is infallible in judging the theories and speculations of philosophers, moralists, the hypotheses and inductions of the scientists, the schemes of politicians, and the projects of social reformers, for to judge these pertains to his office of supreme doctor of the universal church, and because error in any of these impugns the catholic principles which underlie Christian faith and morals.
The pope is also supreme governor, with plenary authority as the vicar of Christ to direct and govern the universal church. But in so far as this government is a question of prudence, no Catholic holds the pope to be infallible. He may make mistakes, for he may be misinformed as to facts, and he may be deceived as to men and the agents he employs, or the pastors he appoints. He may also be weak, deficient in zeal, energy, and vigilance, and thus fail in the prompt and faithful discharge of the duties of his office. But his infallibility in faith and morals saves him in his government from usurping any powers not included in his divine commission, and from enjoining or commanding any thing to be done that in principle contradicts the law
* See Synthetic Theology, Vol III., pp. 536 et seq.
of God. The pope may not always choose the wisest and best measures to remedy evils which creep in or are prodnced by the changes ever going on in the world in the midst of which the church is placed ; he may be too slow to exert his authority, to strike with the sword of Peter, too yielding to the secular powers, and too afraid of provoking their wrath, in a word, over-prudent, or over-cautious; yet it would be difficult to prove that any pope has ever really erred in this respect, or that, all the circumstances considered, the papal adıninistration has not been in all cases the wisest and best practicable at the time and place. As we read ecclesiastical history, we encounter several popes who seem to us to have as governors made grave mistakes alike in civil and in ecclesiastical affairs; but this judgment of ours is not infallible, and except where we have the authority of a subsequent pope, as in some instances we have, we do not like to assert that a pope has actually blundered even in his administration. We know not all the circumstances of the case, nor the secret designs of Providence; and the safe rule to follow is, that the presumption, in legal phrase, is always in favor of legitimate authority. All we mean to assert is, that, while we are held to strict obedience to the disciplinary and administrative authority of the pope as supreme governor of the universal church, we are obliged to assert his infallibility only when he is exercising his office of supreme doctor of the whole church.
The bishop of Pittsburgh gives the principal grounds of our faith in the papal infallibility, but we cannot at present follow him in that question. It suffices to say here, that if the pope is appointed by our Lord, to whom is given of his Father all power in heaven and in earth, to be the supreme teacher of the universal church, the universal church is commanded by God himself to believe and hold fast what the pope teaches. If then the pope could err in his teaching, the whole church by the divine authority might be led into error.
This would suppose that God who is truth, truth in itself, could be the accomplice of error and falsehood; which is both absurd and blasphemous. God can no more sanction the teaching of error than he can lie, and for God to lie is impossible.
THE CHURCH ABOVE THE STATE.*
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for July, 1873.)
We have seldom read a pastoral with more satisfaction than this of the right reverend bishop of Cleveland for last Lent. It is brief, but it is bold and energetic, straightforward and earnest. The venerable prelate evidently knows what he means, and he says it without circumlocution or reticence. A portion of it is of a local character, but a large part of it, though intended for and adapted to his own diocese, is applicable to every other diocese in the country. We cannot deny ourselves the honor of making an extract of some length:
“Though much has been done, much remains to be done : enemies are everywhere. Resistance to law is the order of the day; revolution is triumphant; and under the guise of progress, infidelity and disobedience is the religion of the hour. Liberty, which now means license, disorder, robbery, is in every one's mouth, whilst God and truth are forgotten. The Holy Father is a prisoner, the church persecuted and robbed, and her authority defied. Society is fast accepting the old pagan doctrine, that the individual is for the state, not the state for the indi. vidual. Under the specious plea of zeal for education, unless we make a bold stand for our rights, we shall soon see the child taken from the parent, and compulsory education inaugurated. Few believe and fewer still care for religion. The church cries aloud her warning note, but nobody listens; whilst the devil goes on sowing the seeds of ruin. We must be up and doing, and, shoulder to shoulder, meet the enemy. Never was there a time when Catholics needed unity more, or when they had a more dangerous enemy to meet; dangerous, because he comes as an angel of light.
“If we will hold our own amid this universal war that is going on, we must be more united. There must be less petty jealousies amongst us, nationalities must be made subordinate to religion, and we must learn that we are Catholics first, and citizens next. Catholicity does not bring us in conflict with the state, yet it teaches that God is above man, and the church above the state. To the church as the representative of God, we owe a spiritual allegiance, yet, in all that does not conflict with the law of God, we owe an unqualified obedience to the state.
“The question of the day is no longer Catholicity and Protestantism;
* Lenten Pastoral of the Rt. Rev. Richard Gilmour, Bishop of Cleveland, on Christian Education and other Catholic Duties. 1873.
but Catholicity and nationalism or infidelity, which, under the cry of education, carries on the war. Educate the man and you make him good, say modern reformers. True ; but the word educate, has two meanings. In man there are two powers to direct; the mind and the heart. Forgetting that if you educate the head and forget the heart, you have but half performed your task, and that, without religion, man cannot be moral. The modern would-be educators give indeed men intellectual power, but leave them without the moral training necessary to use it. Smartness to them is every thing ; goodness nothing. When you have developed the intellectual powers, you have put into the hands of man a dangerous weapon, much like a locomotive on a railroad. The machinery is powerful, the boiler is strong, and the steam at the proper gauge, and men exclaim, what power! This is what the education of the intellect gives-power; power for evil, power for good; power to destroy, as well as to save. Like the locomotive that genius has created, education gives power, but cannot give skill to guide, any more than genius that may create, can, without experience, guide the power it has created. Who would trust himself aboard a railroad car without a skilled hand to guide the power that is to draw it? yet, to guide the human mind, the most powerful and intricate of all machines, men insist that skill is not needed, and that this machine can be run without a guide.
“Now what is this guide? Religion, says the Catholic Church; relig. ion, says experience; and religion, begin to say the wiser men of the age. The Greeks and Romans were highly educated, but they were not moral: what of morality they had, came from their religion. Pagan though they were, they made religion part of their education; and the better to impress the laws of their gods upon the citizen, they united priest and emperor in the Cæsar.
“At present we have nothing to hope from the state. Yet we must not therefore cease to insist upon our rights, and, if needs be, at the polls demand them. Were Catholics alive and united on the school question; were they to demand from every man who asks their vote, a pledge that he would vote for our just share of the school fund, legislators would learn to respect the Catholic vote, and give us our just rights. Catholics are too timid; they seem to go upon the principle that if they are tolerated, they are doing well. This is a mistake; if we let our rights go by default, we should not wonder if we lose them. We must be decided in our demands, and present a bolder front to our enemies. It is unjust so to organize the public schools that we cannot in conscience send our children to them, and then tax us for their support. As well create a state church, and tax us for its support."
There is nothing novel or in itself startling in the assertion that “God is above man and the church above the state," but it requires some courage on the part of a Catholic bishop