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GALLICANISM AND ULTRAMONTANISM.*

[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for July, 1874.)

The secular and sectarian press do not seem to have yet learned that the distinction formerly for some centuries insisted on between Gallicans and ultramontanes, since the Council of the Vatican, has no place among Catholics. Those who were called Gallicans have been condemned as heretics, and none except those formerly called ultramontanes can now be reckoned as Catholics. Gallicanism was always a heresy, and though implicitly condemned in the Council of Florence held in 1439 under Pope Eugenius IV., had not been explicitly condemned till the Council of the Vatican under Pius IX. Prior to the action of that council Gallicans, though, as say the theologians, material, were not formal heretics. But now, unless excused through invincible ignorance, they are formal heretics, incur the guilt of heresy, and form no part of the Catholic body. They are as much aliens from the church or commonwealth of Christ as are Arians, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Methodists, spiritists or devil-worshippers. It is a great mistake to regard Gallicans and ultramontanes as two parties existing in the church. Only ultramontanism is Catholic.

Yet we are asked almost every day, and by Catholics too, what we mean by Gallicanism, and comparatively few of those who should be well informed on the question have any but vague and very uncertain views of what is the essential Gallican error.

The error itself is older than France, as old as the first Christian emperor who attempted to interfere authoritatively in ecclesiastical affairs, and we may find it defended by the Merovingian sovereigns of Gaul, or the Neustrian Franks, who copied the cæsarism of Byzantium; we may find unmistakable traces of it among the German successors of the Frank emperor, Charlemagne, especially with Louis of Bavaria and his lawyers and courtiers; but it is called Gallicanism, because the French theologians were its principal defenders in the fourteenth and subsequent centuries, and because the French mind had the principal share

* The Power of the Pope during the Middle Ages. By M. GOSSELIN, Director in the Seminary of St. Sulpice. Baltimore : 1853.

in moulding it into shape, systematizing it, and giving it currency. It is summed up and presented in its least objectionable form, by the assembly of the French clergy, or rather by Bossuet by order of the king, or his minister Colbert, in what are well known as the four articles of the French clergy, adopted March 19th, 1682, which we here insert :

I. Beato Petro ejusque successoribus Christi vicariis ipsique ecclesiæ rerum spiritualium et ad æternam salutem pertinentium, non autem civilium ac temporalium a Deo traditam potestatem, dicente Domino: Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo; et iterum: Reddite ergo qua sunt Cæsaris Cæsari et quæ sunt Dei Deo : ac proinde stare apostolicum illud: Omnis anima potestatibus sublimioribus subdita sit; non est enim potestas nisi a Deo; quo autem sunt, a Deo ordinatæ sunt. Itaque, qui potestati resistit, Dei ordinationi resistit. Reges ergo et principes in temporalibus nulli ecclesiasticæ potestati Dei ordinatione subjici, neque auctoritate clavium ecclesiæ, directe vel indirecte deponi, aut illorum subditos eximi a fide atque obedientia, ac præstito fidelitatis sacramento solvi posse; eamque sententiam publicæ tranquillitati necessariam, nec minus ecclesiæ quam imperio utilem, ut verbo Dei, patrum traditioni et sanctorum exemplis consonam omnino retinendam.

II. Sic autem inesse apostolicæ sedi ac Petri successoribus Christi vicariis rerum spiritualium plenam potestatem, ut simul valeant atque im. mota consistant sanctæ æcumenicæ synodi Constantiensis a sede apostolica comprobata, ipsoque Romanorum pontificum ac totius ecclesiæ usu confirmata, atque ab ecclesia Gallicana perpetua religione custodita decreta de auctoritate conciliorum generalium, qnæ sessione quarta et quinta continentur; nec probari a Gallicana ecclesia qui eorum decretorum, quasi dubiæ sint auctoritatis ac minus approbata, robur infringant, aut ad solum schismatis tempus concilii dicta detorqueant.

III. Hinc apostolicæ potestatis usum moderandum per canones spiritu Dei conditos, et totius mundi reverentia consecratos; valere etiam regulas, mores et instituta a regno et ecclesia Gallicana recepta, patrumque terminos manere inconcussos; atque id pertinere ad amplitudinem apostol. icæ sedis, ut statuta et constitutiones tantæ sedis et ecclesiarum consensione firmata propriam stabilitatem obtineant.

IV. In fidei quoque quæstionibus præcipuas summi pontificis esse partes, ejusque decreta ad omnes et singulas ecclesias pertinere, nec tamen irreformabile esse judicium nisi ecclesiæ consensus accesserit.

These are the four famous Gallican articles as drawn up by the assembly of the French clergy, and published by order of the king, Louis XIV., and made the civil law, obligatory on all the clergy, religious, and theological professors and seminaries of the kingdom. The strangest thing to us is that anybody with a grain of sense could for one moment suppose it to be possible to defend them without ceasing to be a Catholic. To our understanding they are from beginning to end, not Catholic, but decidedly and unmistakably anti-Catholic. They place the Gallican church, a simple national or particular church, above the Catholic or universal church-a part above the whole--and virtually make Paris, not Rome or the apostolic see, the centre of authority, and the king, not the successor of Peter, pope and supreme judge of Catholic faith and tradition. We can conceive nothing more impudent or more arrogant than for thirty-four French bishops, assembled without any authority of pope or papal legate, by the civil authority alone, and acting under its direction, to decide questions both of faith and discipline, manifestly not of their competence, any more than it was of Louis XII.'s conciliabulum at Pisa, composed of five rebellious and excommunicated cardinals, to excommunicate and depose the reigning supreme pontiff. The pope Alexander VIII. condemned, it is some consolation to know, the acts of the French assembly, and by his supreme apostolic au-thority declared them null and of none effect, although the king in his pride paid as little respect to the papal authority as does Prince von Bismarck.

Bossuet, who drew up and defended these four articles, was a learned prelate, an eloquent preacher, and in some respects a great man; but he had, if a profound knowledge of Catholic dogmas, but a sorry knowledge of Catholic principles, or the divine constitution of the church. The church he defended was not the Catholic Church, but a French church with no visible infallible head, and no central anthority but the French king, and he sunk, not seldom, the Catholic bishop in the French courtier. He never grasped the church in her unity and catholicity, or understood that she is essentially papal or that the pope brings to the church the apostolic authority, which including indeed the episcopal power as the fountain the stream or the greater the less, is essentially distinct from the episcopate and above it. According to this great representative of the French mind, the papacy depends on the episcopacy, grows out of it, or is, as it were, built up by it. The pope, on his theory, supplies no element not supplied, at least in germ, by the episcopacy. If united or morally unanimous, the bishops possess all apostolic power inherited by Peter and his successors. Yet, as we understand the constitution of the church, she is. apostolic, founded on Peter, and the

papacy, the perpetuation or continuousness of the apostolate, is at her foundation as well as at her summit. Take away Peter or the papacy, but leave all else as it is, and the church has ceased to exist. She has no unity, no catholicity, no personality, and would be as destitute of life and power as the human nature of the Son without its hypostatic union with the divine person of the Word. Christ is himself the invisible person of the church, and without the papacy he would have no visible representative in the church and she would not be a visible church, and the invisible church is God himself. As we understand St. Cyprian in his “De Unitate Ecclesiæ,” all power or authority in the church takes its rise in unity, in the chair of Peter, and emerges from it. Hence Bossuet's theory that the council, that is, the episcopal body, if morally agreed, or virtually unanimous, holds and can exercise all the functions of the papacy, is manifestly repugnant to the constitution of the church as the living body of Christ.

The four articles presented here to our readers are what is called Gallicanism, and opposed to ultramontanism, that is, to Catholicity, but as far as our observation extends Gallicanism is usually restricted, in the popular mind, to the denial of the papal infallibility, or the assertion that the papal definitions of faith and morals are reformable, unless they have received the assent, at least tacit, of the universal church. We have met not a few theologians even, who denied being Gallicans, though they defended the first three Gallican articles, because they asserted the infallibility of the popes when they are teaching in matters of faith and morals the whole church. We have heard men assert that infallibility, and yet deny that the power of the keys extends over kings and princes, or that the church has authority, direct or indirect, over them in temporals or matters pertaining to this life. The learned and respectable Salpician, M. Gosselin, has not to our knowledge been counted a Gallican. Yet he asserts no natural or logical relation in the order of things between the temporal and spiritual, and seems to have forgotten that God works according to order, and is strictly logical in all he does. He defends the popes in the middle ages, it is true, from the charge of usurping the power they exercised over kings and sovereign princes, confirming them on their thrones, deposing thein and absolving their subjects from their oath of allegiance, &c.,

VOL. XIII-30

on the ground of human, not of divine right. What they did was by the request or assent of the people, or the jus publicum of the time. Such a ground of defence in the case of a human ruler would be valid, but is only an insult or a blasphemy in the case of the pipe, who holds the power, if at all, by divine right. Can it b; that these excellent writers are innocent of all conception of the dialectic character of the church, that they are only memory-machines, and never think of looking below the surface, or of inquiring into the meaning of the dry facts they collect from their varied erudition? They seem to us to have a marvellous lack of mental power, and to be quite incapable of mental digestion and assimilation. No wonder that the age becomes materialistic and feeble in character, that faith is everywhere dying out, piety losing its robustness, charity degenerating into a weak and watery sentimentality, and the parti-prêtre, socalled, is decried, or held up to the contempt of the people. Men cannot live and thrive on mental or spiritual husks. If compelled to feed with swine, they will grovel with them. We respect authority, we obey its faintest whisper, but we have ill-learned our holy religion, if Christianity is not broader and deeper than the papal definitions, which present it only piecemeal or under special aspects; if it is not an indissoluble whole, with all its parts linked inseparably together, and having each a strictly logical reason of being in the intrinsic truth of the whole. Christianity is not sustained by an extrinsic authority alone, but also by its intrinsic truth and internal laws. The business of the theologian is to bring out this intrinsic truth, these internal laws, these logical necessities (for all in Christianity is necessary, that is, necessary neccessitate ex suppositione, nothing arbitrary or anomalous), and place them in their real order and mutual relations. The papal definitions aid us in understanding the faith and enable us to avoid the errors contrary thereto, but they by no means teach us the whole faith in its unity and catholicity, or Christianity in its integrity, as the one law expressing the divine wisdom and purpose in creating, sustaining, and governing the universe as a whole and in all its parts whether natural or supernatural. He who includes only them in his objectum fidei will believe truth indeed, but he will have only a fragmentary faith. Much not defined must be embraced, and sound theological conclusions, though one premise is certain only by natural reason, cannot be denied without error against the truth, only a shade less sinful than heresy itself.

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