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Title: Letters From Rome on the Council
Author: Döllinger, Johann Joseph Ignaz von
Language: English
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                     Letters From Rome on the Council

                              By “Quirinus”

                   (Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger)

                 Reprinted from the _Allgemeine Zeiting_.

                         Authorized Translation.

                                Rivingtons

                      London, Oxford, and Cambridge

                                   1870



CONTENTS


Preface.
Views of the Council. (Allgemeine Zeitung, May 20, 1869.)
The Future Council. (Allg. Zeit., June 11, 1869.)
Prince Hohenlohe and the Council. (Allg. Zeit., June 20 and 21, 1869.)
The Council. (Allg. Zeit., Aug. 19, 1869.)
The Fulda Pastoral. (Allg. Zeit., Sept. 25, 1869.)
The Bishops and the Council. (Allg. Zeit., Nov. 19 and 20, 1869.)
First Letter.
Second Letter.
Third Letter.
Fourth Letter.
Fifth Letter.
Sixth Letter.
Seventh Letter.
Eighth Letter.
Ninth Letter.
Tenth Letter.
Eleventh Letter.
Twelfth Letter.
Thirteenth Letter.
Fourteenth Letter.
Fifteenth Letter.
Sixteenth Letter.
Seventeenth Letter.
Eighteenth Letter.
Nineteenth Letter.
Twentieth Letter.
Twenty-First Letter.
Twenty-Second Letter.
Twenty-Third Letter.
Twenty-Fourth Letter.
Twenty-Fifth Letter.
Twenty-Sixth Letter.
Twenty-Seventh Letter.
Twenty-Eighth Letter.
Twenty-Ninth Letter.
Thirtieth Letter.
Thirty-First Letter.
Thirty-Second Letter.
Thirty-Third Letter.
Thirty-Fourth Letter.
Thirty-Fifth Letter.
Thirty-Sixth Letter.
Thirty-Seventh Letter.
Thirty-Eighth Letter.
Thirty-Ninth Letter.
Fortieth Letter.
Forty-First Letter.
Forty-Second Letter.
Forty-Third Letter.
Forty-Fourth Letter.
Forty-Fifth Letter.
Forty-Sixth Letter.
Forty-Seventh Letter.
Forty-Eighth Letter.
Forty-Ninth Letter.
Fiftieth Letter.
Fifty-First Letter.
Fifty-Second Letter.
Fifty-Third Letter.
Fifty-Fourth Letter.
Fifty-Fifth Letter.
Fifty-Sixty Letter.
Fifty-Seventh Letter.
Fifty-Eighth Letter.
Fifty-Ninth Letter.
Sixtieth Letter.
Sixty-First Letter.
Sixty-Second Letter.
Sixty-Third Letter.
Sixty-Fourth Letter.
Sixty-Fifth Letter.
Sixty-Sixth Letter.
Sixty-Seventh Letter.
Sixty-Eighth Letter.
Sixty-Ninth Letter.
Appendix I.
Appendix II.
Appendix III.
Appendix IV.
Appendix V.
Advertisement.
Footnotes



PREFACE.


These Letters of the Council originated in the following way. Three
friends in Rome were in the habit of communicating to one another what
they heard from persons intimately acquainted with the proceedings of the
Council. Belonging as they did to different stations and different classes
of life, and having already become familiar, before the opening of the
Council, through long residence in Rome, with the state of things and with
persons there, and being in free and daily intercourse with some members
of the Council, they were very favourably situated for giving a true
report as well of the proceedings as of the views of those who took part
in it. Their letters were addressed to a friend in Germany, who added now
and then historical explanations to elucidate the course of events, and
then forwarded them to the _Allgemeine Zeitung_.

Much the authors of these Letters could only communicate, because the
Bishops themselves, from whose mouth or hand they obtained their
materials, were desirous of securing publicity for them in this way, That
there should be occasional inaccuracies of detail in matters of
subordinate importance was inevitable in drawing up reports which had to
be composed as the events occurred, and not seldom had only rumours or
conjectures to rest upon. But on the whole we can safely affirm that no
substantial error has crept in, and that these reports supply as faithful
a portrait as can be given of this Council, so eventful in its bearings on
the future history of the Catholic Church, and not only conscientiously
exhibit its outward course, but in some degree unveil those more secret
and hidden movements whereby the definition of the new dogma of
infallibility was brought about. If it were necessary here to adduce
testimonies for the truth of these reports, we might appeal to the actual
sequence of events, which has so often and so clearly confirmed our
predictions and our estimate of the persons concerned and their motives,
as well as to the Letters and other works of the Bishops, whether
published with or without their names.

This collection of Letters then is the best authority for the history of
the Vatican Council. No later historian of the Council will be able to
dispense with them, and the Liberal Catholic Opposition, whose
ecclesiastical conscience protests against the imposition of dogmas
effected by all kinds of crooked arts and appliances of force, will find
here the most serviceable weapons for combating the legitimacy of the
Council.

In order to preserve the original character of the Letters, as a chronicle
accurately reflecting the opinions and feelings of the Bishops of the
minority, they are published now in a complete collection without any
change, with the exception of a few corrections here and there in a
foot-note. Some articles from the _Allgemeine Zeitung_ are prefixed to the
Letters, which have an important bearing on the previous history of the
Council;(1) and an appendix is subjoined containing documents partly
serving to throw a further light on the history of the Council and partly
to corroborate our statements.

_September 1870._



VIEWS OF THE COUNCIL. (ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, MAY 20, 1869.)


Cardinal Antonelli is said on good authority to have replied very lately
to the question of the ambassador of a Northern Government, that it is
certainly intended to have the dogma of Papal Infallibility proclaimed at
the ensuing Council; and, moreover, as this has long been the belief of
all good Catholics, that there would be no difficulty about the
definition. It by no means follows, if this report is correct, that the
importance of the new principle of faith to be created is not well
understood at Rome. The _Civiltà Cattolica_ leaves no room for doubt that
one of its principal effects is already distinctly kept in view, and that
a further principle, which again must involve an indefinite series of
consequences, is being deliberately aimed at.(2) In the number for April
3, it has spoken with full approval, with reference to the approaching
Council, of the famous Bull of Boniface VIII., _Unam Sanctam_, doubly
confirmed by Papal authority, and addressed as a supreme decision on faith
to the whole ecclesiastical world, and treats it as self-evident that all
the contents of the Bull, with other doctrinal decrees issued throughout
the Church, will come into full force after the Council, and thenceforth
form the basis of Catholic doctrine on the relations of Church and State.
The maxims that will have to be adopted, as well by the learned as in
popular instruction, when once Papal Infallibility has been defined, are
these:—

The two powers, the temporal and spiritual, are in the hands of the
Church, _i.e._ the Pope, who permits the former to be administered by
kings and others, but only under his guidance and during his good pleasure
(_ad nutum et potentiam sacerdotis_). It belongs to the spiritual power,
according to the Divine commission and plenary jurisdiction bestowed on
Peter, to appoint, and, if cause arise, to judge the temporal; and whoever
opposes its regulations rebels against the ordinance of God.

In a word, the absolute dominion of the Church over the State will next
year come into force as a principle of Catholic faith, and become a factor
to be reckoned with by every Commonwealth or State that has Catholic
inhabitants; and by “Church” in this system must always be understood the
Pope, and the Bishops who act under absolute control of the Pope.

From the moment therefore when Papal Infallibility is proclaimed by the
Council, the relations of all Governments to the Church are fundamentally
changed. The Roman See is brought into the same position towards other
States which it now occupies towards Italy in regard to the provinces
formerly belonging to the States of the Church. All States find
themselves, strictly speaking, in an attitude of permanent revolt against
their lawful and divinely ordained suzerain, the Pope. He indeed on his
side can and will tolerate much which properly ought not to be—for it has
long been recognised in Rome that right, even though divine, by no means
implies the duty of always exercising it. In numberless cases silence will
be observed, or some such formula adopted as that of the Austrian
Concordat, art. 14: “Temporum ratione habitâ Sua Sanctitas haud impedit,”
etc. But that must only be understood “during good behaviour,” or so long
as the times do not change or it seems expedient. In conscience every
Catholic is bound to be guided, in the first instance, in political and
social questions, by the directions or known will of his supreme lord and
master the Pope, and of course, in the event of a conflict between his own
Government and the Papal, to side with the latter. No Government therefore
can hereafter count on the loyalty and obedience of its Catholic subjects,
unless its measures and acts are such as to secure the sanction, or
agreement of the Pope. As to non-Catholic Governments, moreover, the
former declarations of Popes against heretical princes, which receive
fresh life from the dogma of Infallibility, come into full force. If it is
already a common complaint that in countries where the Government or the
majority are Protestant, Catholics are treated with suspicion when they
take any part in the service of the State, and are purposely excluded from
the higher and more important posts, how will this be after the Council?



THE FUTURE COUNCIL. (ALLG. ZEIT., JUNE 11, 1869.)


We have received the following interesting information from a trustworthy
person, who is returned to Germany after a long sojourn in Rome, where he
was in a position, among other things, to get to know the projects for the
Council. The relations of Pius IX. to the _Civiltà_ may be fully
understood from the fact—attested by the officials of the Chancery—that
the editors are regularly admitted to an audience with the Holy Father,
like the prime minister, usually once a week, never less often than every
fortnight. At these audiences the manuscripts prepared for the next number
are laid before the Pope, who reads them, and, according to his interest
in the contents, comments on them or returns them unaltered to the
Chancery. The ideas of the _Civiltà_ are therefore not only not unknown to
the Pope, but are published with his express and personal approval. The
chosen model of Pius IX. is Gregory VII., and his favourite notion is to
discharge that _rôle_ in the present Church which Gregory did in the
middle ages. He is therefore thoroughly given up to theocratic tendencies
in the contest against the modern State, and the attacks of the _Civiltà_
upon it and the whole system of modern civilisation express his innermost
thoughts. Even the General of the Jesuits is said often to be uneasy about
the language used by members of his Order in their journal, and unable to
avoid the apprehension that it may seriously prejudice the Order
hereafter.

In the Chancery, where Antonelli’s confidant Mgr. Marini revises the
_Civiltà_, it very seldom happens that any alterations are made in the
articles, partly because the Cardinal Secretary of State would at no price
get into bad odour with the Jesuits. Only the record of contemporary
events (_Cronaca Contemporanea_) is submitted _pro formâ_ to the Dominican
Spada, the Master of the Palace, for inspection. But although there can be
no shadow of doubt that in all its utterances about the approaching
Council the _Civiltà_, is simply the organ of the Holy Father himself,
Antonelli does not cease to give the most reassuring answers to questions
addressed to him on the subject by the various diplomatic agents. Rome, he
assures them, will not take the initiative in making either the
propositions of the Syllabus or Papal Infallibility into dogmas. Many
representatives of foreign Governments have been deceived by these
declarations, and have written home in that sense, the immediate
consequence of which was seen in the reception accorded in some Courts to
the despatch of the Bavarian Government. But they will not allow at Rome
that they mean themselves to give the first impulse for these solemn
dogmatic decisions. That only proves the confidence felt in the Vatican
that a considerable number of the Bishops will come forward to demand it.
It is a secret already pretty well published in Rome, how the play is to
be put on the stage, and who is to be the protagonist. Nor does any one
there venture seriously to deny the fact that a version of the Syllabus,
composed by Father Schrader, at the wish of the Pope himself, changing its
negative theses into positive, is already drawn up.

Archbishop Manning and Cardinal Reisach are the leading persons in all
these designs. Reisach,(3) who is accounted in Rome a man of eminent
learning and wisdom, and who always manifests the most unbounded devotion
to the Pope, takes an unfavourable view of German affairs. It was through
him that Dr. Mast, well known through what occurred at Rottenburg, was
placed on two of the preparatory Commissions (_Politico-Ecclesiastica_ and
_De Disciplinâ Ecclesiæ_) as consultor. So again, he has sought out
Moufang of Mayence and Molitor of Spires, for his own Congregation,
because he presumes them to be like-minded with himself. The general rule
in selecting persons for the preliminary work has been to consider their
devotion to the cause, not their scientific capabilities. First among
them, in the directing Congregation of Cardinals, must be named Bilio, who
never loses an opportunity in conversation of eloquently extolling Papal
Infallibility. To the same class belongs Panebianco, a zealous friend of
the extremest claims of the Bourbons. Neither of them is known for learned
labours of any note, as neither are Barnabo and the aged Patrizzi, who is
named President of this Congregation merely on account of his name and
age. Among the domestic consultors of the Commission on dogma, known in
literature, and as its very soul, sits the Jesuit Perrone, who is become
indispensable to the Pope; then comes Spada, the Dominican, Master of the
Palace, who gained his theological reputation by a controversial treatise
in defence of eternal punishment; Cardoni, who exhibited his strong views
in a work advocating the obligation of religious when named to bishoprics
still to live according to the rules of their Order; and finally,
Bartolini, who has vindicated the identity of the Holy House of Loretto
with the house of the Blessed Virgin at Nazareth—all simply men of the
most rigid type. Among those employed in these preliminary labours,
Professor Biondo, of St. Apollinare, excels all the rest, if in nothing
else, in his conviction that true devotion to the Church can only be found
in Italy. We may take as a significant illustration of the method of
choosing foreign consultors, the appointment of Mgr. Talbot for England,
who, when appointed, was out of his mind, and has now been for four months
in a lunatic asylum. Among the French who are invited the Abbé Freppel
appears to be the most moderate. But even in Rome there are many
clergymen, and even Cardinals, who do not conceal their opinion that with
such designs the Council will be an embarrassment for Rome, and a danger
for the Church. But nothing of this comes to the ear of the supreme
authority, nor would information of it directly conveyed to the Pope be
likely to effect any change. Even the _Curia_ measures the sentiment of
the Catholic world by the homage paid to the Pope, and therefore the
solemnity can only encourage them in their designs about the Council. It
is sometimes feared that the French Bishops may give trouble; any
opposition on the part of secular governments is not taken into account,
for the _Curia_ has completely broken with the modern State, and has
systematically ignored it both in the project and the proclamation of the
Council, while according to the precedent of nearly all former Œcumenical
Synods, an understanding should have been come to with the Catholic States
as to the time and place of holding it, and the subjects to be discussed.
The separation of Church and State in this last procedure is the act of
Rome, although the opposite theory is sanctioned in the Syllabus. Anything
like a literary and scientific opposition, or a movement among the laity,
such as has here and there begun to show itself, is regarded in the
Vatican as a mere tempest in a tea-cup.



PRINCE HOHENLOHE AND THE COUNCIL. (ALLG. ZEIT., JUNE 20 AND 21, 1869.)


In former times, the assembling of an Œcumenical Council was caused by a
general sense throughout the Catholic world of some religious need,
whether the definition of an article of faith or the abolition of grave
evils and abuses—in short, a reformation—was felt to be necessary. It was
universally known what questions the Council was to treat of. The
sovereigns communicated, for this end, with the heads of the Church and
the Pope, and brought forward their own wishes and requirements, as at the
last Œcumenical Council of Trent, which had at least to be taken into
consideration. But how entirely different is this Council under Pius IX.!
Already, in 1854, an episcopal assembly, at Rome, raised to the dignity of
a dogma the thesis of a theological school of the middle ages, combated
even by Thomas Aquinas, but which happens to have become a favourite
opinion of the Pope, although no ground had been discovered for this new
article of faith in any want of the religious life which the Church has to
cultivate. And this was done against the judgment of a considerable number
of the prelates who were consulted, without any basis for the doctrine
being able to be found in Scripture and Tradition, by the acclamations of
the assembled bishops—after a fashion, that is, in which no dogma had ever
been defined before. The Abbé Laborde, who craved permission to lay his
objections before the assembly, received for answer his banishment from
Rome, and the name of another priest was subscribed to the Bull
proclaiming the dogma without his knowledge or consent, so that he found
himself compelled to protest publicly against it. In view of these facts,
and under the just anticipation that at the approaching Council the
dominant party in Rome will be equally tyrannical in their treatment of
dissentients,—it is already reported that three members of the present
Commission, who are opposed to Jesuit tendencies and practices, have been
suffered to retire—several distinguished heads of the Church have
renounced the idea of delivering their testimony there. And how is this
Council the outcome of any urgent requirements of the Church’s life, and
does Catholic Christendom know what end it is designed to serve, and what
is to be expected of it? Nothing of the sort. The necessity of the
Council, if it will not put its hand to a reformation of the Church, in
accordance with the needs of modern civilisation, is not everywhere
understood by the clergy themselves. Only this winter wishes were loudly
expressed by some of them that its assembling might be dispensed with,
considering the position of the Church in Austria and Spain; but in the
Holy Father’s state of exaltation on the subject these wishes could have
no effect. Then again,—what is perhaps without precedent in all Church
history—the the matters to be treated of in the Council have been
carefully kept secret; the Bull of Indiction confines itself to vague
generalities, and the theologians employed in the preliminary labours were
bound to silence by the oath of the Holy Office,—_i.e._, the
Inquisition—imposed under pain of excommunication to be incurred _ipso
facto_. It seems not to be necessary, therefore, at least for the present,
that Christendom should have even any inkling of the doctrines on the
acceptance or rejection of which salvation or damnation is to be made
dependent.

It is not the satisfaction of real religious needs that is
contemplated—there would be no need to shun publicity in that case—but
chartering dogmas which have no root in the common convictions of the
Catholic world. Leibnitz used to call even the Council of Trent a “concile
de contrabande;” the way in which this last Council is to be brought on
the stage would make the designation for the first time fully applicable.

If these circumstances alone are enough to make Governments that have
Catholic subjects suspicious of the designs of the _Curia_, there are also
further proofs that their designs are not confined to strictly
ecclesiastical affairs, but involve direct encroachment on the life of the
modern State. Not to dwell here on the too open-hearted confidences of the
_Civiltà_, which, although published with the approval of the Holy Father
himself, have been characterized by him as an “imprudenza,”(4) we will
pass to other facts which sufficiently indicate the projected decrees of
the Council.

To the inquiries of ambassadors about the reasons for summoning a General
Council, Antonelli could only reply by referring to the great revolution
and fundamental change in civil and political relations. It may be
inferred from this declaration that the Council is intended to discharge a
political office also, and in what sense, Rome has told us in the Syllabus
and the condemnation of the Austrian Constitution. For this object an
ecclesiastico-political consulting committee has been formed, subordinate
to the Commission intrusted with the supreme control of the Council, with
Cardinal Reisach at its head, and whose Italian members are as conspicuous
for their want of scientific culture as for their opposition to any
concession to the requirements of the age, and their hostility to all
foreign countries, and especially to the non-Roman portions of Italy. The
Syllabus will be put into shape in its affirmative form by this Section,
in order thus to be submitted for sanction to the Council. One of its
members lately expressed himself in the following terms, with the applause
of his colleagues and of the Holy Father himself:—“The Syllabus is good,
but raw meat, and must be carefully dressed to make it palatable.” This
skilful dressing, which is to make it everywhere acceptable, it is hoped
to effect by publishing the propositions in the form of exhortations,
instead of commands, which, however, will come to the same thing, as the
exhortations emanate from the head of the Church.

It is with good reason that Prince Hohenlohe, in his despatch, expresses
the fear that the Council, according to the programme of the _Curia_, will
publish decrees on political rather than ecclesiastical questions, and he
rightly states that the projected dogma of Papal Infallibility is also an
eminently political question. For when once that is defined, the mediæval
pretension of the Pope to dominion over kings and nations, even in secular
matters, which has never been abandoned, is thereby also raised to the
rank of an article of divine faith. Thiers lately made the remarkable
observation that the temporal power alone holds the Pope in check;—a monk,
who was Pope, would think himself omnipotent. Certainly, without the
temporal power, the maintenance of which depends on the goodwill of the
French Government, and the administration of which keeps the Pope within a
political area, he would give freer rein, when it was possible, to his
views of the corruption of the modern State. Once seat a monk on the Papal
throne, as many have already sat there, unacquainted with the actual
world, and in heart alienated from it, and arm him with the prerogative of
infallibility,—his decrees in the present condition of society are sure to
evoke the most deplorable conflicts.

The ultramontane press in Germany, which is itself beginning to find the
decisions sketched out by the _Civiltà_ intolerable, now adopts the
tactics of denying the official character of the Jesuit journal, and
clings to the straw of hope that neither Papal Infallibility nor the
Syllabus will be made dogmas. But it is no secret in Rome that those
alarming communications of the _Civiltà_ were letters written by French
Jesuits, prepared and published with the sanction of the Holy Father
himself, and cannot therefore be treated as mere chance contributions of
private correspondents.

For several years past the Court of Rome, with the aid of its
indefatigable allies the Jesuits, has been preparing the way for securing
beforehand the votes of the Bishops on Papal Infallibility. Thus some
years ago the Bishops of different countries received, quite unexpectedly,
an urgent admonition from Rome to hold Provincial Synods, and frame
decrees at them. These decrees had to be sent to Rome, to the Congregation
exclusively charged with the revision of such ordinances, and were then
returned, after correction and enlargement by the Cardinals and Committees
of the Congregation. When they came to be printed, it was found that all
these Synods had shown a wonderful unanimity in adopting Papal
Infallibility as a self-evident principle into their exposition of
universally known Catholic doctrine. The Jesuit organs have not failed to
point triumphantly to these decisions of so many Bishops and Synods.

It is a fact that Antonelli publicly declared there could be no difficulty
about the promulgation of Papal Infallibility, because it was a doctrine
already held by all good Catholics. And this is the watchword of the whole
ultramontane party at Rome. It is also a fact that the question was
brought before the directing Commission in order to be put into shape, and
then submitted for confirmation to the Council. And although it is certain
that the discussion of it by the Commission is finished, the decision will
be carefully kept secret for a time, because as yet courage fails them for
a straightforward course of procedure, and they hope to gain their end by
a sort of _coup d’état_, viz., carrying the dogma by spontaneous
acclamation, to be evoked by a foreign prelate.(5) And thus Governments
will be deprived of the opportunity of gaining any influence over the
decisions of the Council, and protecting themselves against threatening
eventualities.

Well-informed persons, who do not deny the intention of making
Infallibility into a dogma, think that some innocuous formula will at last
be discovered, such as prefixing a “quasi” to “infallibilis,” so that all
the trouble expended in gratifying this darling wish of Pius IX. will be
almost labour lost. But so long as the decision rests with the Jesuits,
who have an overwhelming majority in the preparatory Congregation, there
is no ground for this hope. They foresee the possibility of being again
driven from the helm a few days after the death of the Pope, and therefore
press for an unqualified definition, that they may make capital out of the
infallible Pope for conquering a new position of influence for themselves
in civilized Catholic countries. And if they could not reckon without some
regard to other factors also, still their calculations had a good prospect
of success, for Pius IX. is completely in the hands of the Jesuits,
especially of Father Piccirillo, the chief person on the _Civiltà_ staff,
who will act as _spiritus rector_ of the Council. The Pope is seldom left
alone, lest he should fall under the influence of others who judge more
correctly of the situation of the modern world and the real wants of the
Catholic Church; he lives in an artificial atmosphere of homage poured
forth by the ultramontane journals. He is so possessed with a sense of his
own power that he believes he ought not to regard or fear any possible
opposition of the French Government to the decisions of the Council.

Meanwhile there are growing signs that at least a portion of the French
episcopate are not willing to degrade themselves to the humiliating _rôle_
of mere acclaimers to the propositions of the _Curia_. In two articles of
the _Français_ (for March 18 and 19) Dupanloup has already decisively
disclaimed sympathy with the tendencies and insinuations loudly expressed
in the notorious correspondence of the _Civiltà_. He gives a specimen of
the hopes and wishes about the Council intimated by the French Bishops in
their pastorals, where he shows that they are all far from expecting it to
assail political and social liberty and freedom of conscience, to condemn
modern civilisation and widen the breach between the Catholic Church and
other Christian bodies, by proclaiming new dogmas; but, on the contrary,
that they look for a reformation of Church discipline adapted to the age,
and a work of general reconciliation with the great ideas of cultivation,
freedom, and the common weal. These declarations of the French episcopate
excited great surprise and deep disgust at Rome, without, however, to all
appearance, having disturbed the _Curia_ in their plans, as they know from
the statistics that they can count on an imposing majority in the Council.

Seats are prepared for 850 Bishops at the Council, but the question
whether Bishops _in partibus_ are to have decisive votes is not yet
decided. Since, however, their admission will not materially affect the
relative position of the two parties, they may be left out of the account.
To these voting members of the Council must be added 57 Cardinals, and the
number might be raised before its opening to 72, by the bestowal of the 15
hats vacant at present. There are thus about 920 decisive votes, including
40 Italian Cardinals, 294 Italian Bishops, 66 Spanish, 22 Portuguese, 90
French,—in all 512 prelates of the Romance race in Europe, to whom must be
added 77 Brazilian, Mexican, and South American Bishops, raising the whole
Romance representation to 600 votes. From this number about 60 must be
deducted for vacant Italian Sees, and some 140 who may presumably be
unable to attend. And so about 400 are left, whose votes, with the
exception of a number of French Bishops, are counted upon by the _Curia_.
The Court also reckons on the votes of 48 from England and Ireland, 52
from North America, 20 from Greece and Turkey, 6 from Belgium, 5 from
Holland, and 16 from Canada. If the Polish and Russian Bishops are allowed
to come, they too will swell the majority; and so, it is believed, will
the Armenian and Uniate Bishops in Austria, Russia, and Bulgaria,
numbering about 40. Of the 65 German and Austrian Bishops scarcely half
will side with the Opposition. And so, if matters are to be settled by
majorities, the _Curia_ is fully assured of its victory. Cardinal
Antonelli counts on from 500 to 600 votes of those actually present.

Under these circumstances the Governments of countries with Catholic
populations should be urgently pressed to devote their serious attention
to what is already going on in Rome, and not to let themselves be taken by
surprise by the decrees of the Council, which, when once promulgated, will
place their subjects in a painful dilemma between their duties towards the
State and their obedience to the Church; will everywhere create disquiet
and conflicts; and must, above all, involve their Bishops in
contradictions with the Constitutions they have sworn to observe. In the
present difficulties of the general political and social situation in
Europe, a conflict in the highest degree fatal might ensue with the
Church, whose mission of culture is not yet diminished even for the time,
and whose co-operation for its own purposes the State cannot dispense
with. In this contest the Church cannot conquer, because the spirit of the
age is against her; but the very crash of so mighty an edifice would cover
and destroy with its ruins the institutions of the State itself, perplex
consciences, and entail universal mischief by for the first time fully
confirming the spirit of absolute negation of the ethical and ideal
conception of life. The proceedings of Prince Hohenlohe may have sprung
from this statesmanlike consideration; they are inspired by a friendly
spirit towards the Church herself, and are of a thoroughly loyal
character. He wishes the Governments openly to communicate with their
Bishops, in order to point out to them the deplorable consequences which
must follow from so premeditated and systematic a revolution of the
existing relations between Church and State, and also, while there is
still time, to take precautions against the event of conciliar decrees
encroaching on the political domain. He challenges the learned
corporations of the State most directly competent, to give their opinion
publicly as to the practical results involved in making the Syllabus and
Papal Infallibility into dogmas. This proceeding is far from being
premature, for it is the business of a statesman not only to legislate in
view of accomplished facts, but to provide for menacing dangers, nor will
his conduct be blamed by any true friend of Church and State, whose
faculty of judgment is not utterly blinded by hatred. The repressive
measures which Governments would be compelled to employ after the
promulgation of the contemplated dogmas would not be at all in the
interest of the Church. Suppose, for instance, freedom of conscience,
already condemned in the Syllabus, were anathematized by the Council, and
the doctrine of religious compulsion sanctioned, the Bavarian Bishops who
had assented to this decree, or wished to obey it, would have broken their
oath to the Constitution, the Constitution which guarantees freedom of
conscience would be under the ban of Rome, and the Government would have
to answer by publishing the Concordat.



THE COUNCIL. (ALLG. ZEIT., AUG. 19, 1869.)


If the present situation in regard to the Council is considered, the
triumph of the Jesuit ultramontane party there appears highly probable.
The demonstration of the Rhenish Catholics has as yet assumed no larger
dimensions, and will evidently gain nothing by the projected Catholic
meeting at Düsseldorf; for not only is red-hot ultramontanism a decisive
obstacle, but the widely growing and deepening religious indifference
hinders men from taking any part in movements based on a spirit of loyalty
to the Church. In Rome, accordingly, little notice is taken of the
movement, and satisfaction is felt at the prospect of expelling this
mischievous liberal element from the Church, because then it is hoped the
kernel which remains true may be more boldly dealt with. Our German
ultramontane press, which lost no time in making a bitter and contemptuous
attack on the address of the Rhenish Catholics, is therein only the
exponent of the mind of the _Curia_. Meanwhile the German Bishops are
preparing themselves to commit an act of doctrinal and ecclesiastical
suicide, by renouncing for ever their long obscured but not as yet
surrendered rank and authority as supreme judges of faith.(6) Two of them,
Bishops Ketteler of Mayence and Fessler of St. Pölten, have already
pronounced in separate works for the infallibility of the Pope.

The diplomatic action of Prince Hohenlohe in regard to the Council has
indeed created for the time a sensation, which still continues among the
States interested in the matter, and which eventually culminated in the
desire to obtain further information about the propositions to be
submitted for the acceptance of the assembled Bishops, but even the
representative of France has been baffled by the arts of the _Curia_.
When, in June, M. Banneville put the decisive question whether they were
not prepared to deny the alarming rumours as to the propositions to be
laid before the Council, and to take immediate steps for facilitating the
representation of Catholic States in the Council through ambassadors of
their own, Antonelli replied that he had no knowledge of what was going on
in the Commissions, but as to the second point, the Church in her present
changed relations with Catholic States, which sometimes persecute her and
sometimes put her on an equality with other religious bodies, could not
take the initiative. M. Banneville, who had simply spoken of the presence
of an ambassador at the Council, but had said nothing of his rights,
stated that this conversation had “profoundly humiliated him.” Thenceforth
the Court of Rome was the more confirmed in its resolve to keep out
diplomatists from the Council. To an indirect question as to the admission
of an ambassador from non-Catholic States, which have a large Catholic
population, an instant negative was returned. The quarrel of the Austrian
Government with the Bishop of Linz has given a further impulse in the same
direction, for then Antonelli began to declare more openly that it was
indeed possible, but not likely, that any ambassadors would be admitted,
till now at last he makes no secret of its being out of the question for
Rome, under existing circumstances, to think of allowing Governments to be
represented. It would not be feasible, he opines, to admit France alone,
and what other Catholic States are there that have not already
disqualified themselves for taking part in the Council? Thus by degrees
France too is gently thrust aside with her inquiries and demands, and the
only question is whether Napoleon’s Government will be content with this.
Unless the clerical party in France itself causes the Emperor to assume an
attitude of opposition to the Jesuit ultramontane programme of the
Council, there is not much to be expected from him, since in view of the
internal difficulties his Government at present has to contend with, he is
obliged to take that party into account as an important factor in his
calculations.

The Jesuits work assiduously in France, as well as Germany, to form a
propaganda for the projected dogmas, and to familiarize men’s minds with
the idea that absolute certainty and inerrancy are only to be found with
one man, viz., the Pope. Bouix in Paris, and Christophe at Lyons, have,
with the _Monde_, and _Univers,_ already most urgently inculcated on the
Bishops what “good Catholics” expect of them in regard to the acclamation.
But, with the exception of the Bishop of Nîmes, none of them have openly
adhered to the Jesuit programme of the Council; on the contrary, the
attitude of the French episcopate is perhaps at this hour the only black
speck on the horizon of the _Curia_. And in fact with them rests the
decision in the present ecclesiastical crisis. To the French episcopate it
belongs to show that they still preserve the great traditions of internal
freedom in the Church, newly brought to light since the mediæval reforming
Councils by French theologians, and thenceforth always conspicuously
represented among them, and that they are filled with the spirit of
Bossuet, who did not confound loyalty to the Church with blind devotion to
unfounded claims of the Pope, but understood it to mean, above all things,
loyalty to the ancient spirit and original institution of the Church.

But there are good grounds for hoping that at least a majority of the
French Bishops will constitute a free-spoken opposition at the Council;
the two French theologians Freppel and Trullet, as well as Cardinal
Bonnechose, are said to have exercised a most powerful influence in this
direction.(7) The latter openly complains that words of moderation are not
listened to in Rome, and that, up to this time, giving any definite
declarations of a reassuring nature has been avoided. He is understood to
have said plainly that the great majority of the French episcopate wished
to keep peace with the State, and would lend no hand to the sanctioning of
extreme tendencies. It is even rumoured that a collective remonstrance of
the French Bishops on the notions prevalent at Rome is already
contemplated, but has not yet been able to be carried out on account of
some hesitation about the mode of action. Much may be hoped from
Dupanloup’s attitude at the Council; in him freedom of discussion and
voting is sure to find a representative equally bold and eloquent.

But even the opposition of the French Bishops will produce no results, if
the decisions of the Council are to depend on majorities, for there can be
no doubt that Rome may safely count on the great majority upholding her
designs. We should have a repetition of what occurred in the Doctrinal
Commission, when the question of Infallibility came before it, and a
Monsignore and titular Bishop, residing in Rome, produced a memorial
intended to prove that this high prerogative of the Pope had been the
abiding faith of the Church all along, and arguing from this belief for
the opportuneness of promulgating the new dogma, on the ground especially,
among others, that at no period had the Bishops been so devoted to the
Holy See as now. It is natural to expect of men so submissive, and so
ready to follow every hint of the Papal will, that they should joyfully
seize the occasion for offering this grand homage also to the Pope. This
was so conclusive to the Committee that they all decided at once, without
any discussion, for the promulgation of the new dogma. Only one of the two
German theologians, Alzog of Freiburg, opposed it; Schwetz of Vienna, on
the other hand, fully agreed. For Rome, therefore, the question is
settled, and whoever is otherwise minded at once forfeits his character
for Catholic orthodoxy.

Nor is there any more doubt about making the Syllabus dogmatic, for Roman
prelates, who wish to have the character of being very enlightened, openly
affirm that the propositions contained in it might already be regarded as
dogmas. And it is stated on the best authority, even by high dignitaries
themselves, that the whole of the seventeen questions laid before the
assembled episcopate by Cardinal Caterini at the time of the Centenary,
are to come before the Council for discussion, on the basis of the
opinions then transmitted by the Bishops to Rome. And as a considerable
number of these questions concern the relations of Church and
State—_e.g._, civil marriage, the relations of Bishops to the civil power,
etc.,—it is clear enough what credit is to be given to the assurances that
the Council will not deal with any matter that could involve the Church in
conflict with the State. It was found almost necessary, after public
opinion had been alarmed by the _Civiltà_, to change the method of
procedure. It was either expressly denied that the Council would deal with
such matters as the _Civiltà_ had indicated, or it was said that even in
Rome what subjects would come on for discussion and decision was unknown,
since the intentions of the Bishops, at present scattered over all parts
of the world, were not known, and on the general ground that the decisions
of a Council acting under Divine guidance cannot be conjectured
beforehand. As if the recent Provincial Synods, and the answers of the
Bishops to the questions laid before them by Caterini, had not supplied
Rome with a perfectly clear understanding of their views! As if it was not
notorious that the work the Council was desired to accomplish had been
already cut out for it in detail in the preparatory Congregations!

Now, at length, if we may trust a communication dated from Rome in the
_Donau Zeitung_, the authorities seem inclined to abandon this system of
playing at hide-and-seek with the public, and find it necessary, in some
measure at least, to lift the mask from their designs for the Council.
Pius IX. himself is said no longer to make any secret of his intention to
bring forward the question of Infallibility; but he declares that the
Council will be left entirely free in discussing and deciding on it, and
that it will only be raised to a dogma if a large majority pronounce for
it. And with this agrees a recent statement of Antonelli, made in the
teeth of his earlier declarations, that the Holy Father will meet the
Council with positive proposals of his own, and that no doubt can be
allowed as to the acceptance of his authority. This last clause shows what
is meant in Rome by the so-called freedom to be enjoyed by the Council. If
then that freedom is all of a sudden pointedly dwelt on, this is only one
of the devices of the _Curia_ for hoodwinking public opinion, just as
eminent theologians of liberal tendencies were summoned to the previous
Commissions, which were none the less occupied with duties of a precisely
opposite kind.

It may be conceived that loyal but far-sighted Catholics, like
Montalembert, are profoundly afflicted at the course things are taking in
questions of decisive interest for the authority and the whole future of
the Church, The religious indifference of the age will prevent any open
schism in the Catholic Church, but the internal apostasy will be all the
more extensive. All modern culture will separate itself in spirit from the
Church, which has nothing but anathemas for the development of the human
mind. And when an Œcumenical Council, which is the highest teaching
authority in the Church, degenerates into the instrument of an extreme
party, and sanctions doctrines in glaring contradiction to the teaching
and history of the Church, the very foundation on which the confidence of
faith has hitherto reposed is undermined and destroyed. And thus the ever
growing rejection of Christianity will be powerfully strengthened, so that
even believing Protestants watch with sorrow an Œcumenical Council
preparing to compromise its authority. Very different, of course, is the
view of men like Manning and Ward, who fancy the definition of Papal
Infallibility will be a short and easy way for restoring their countrymen
to the bosom of the Catholic Church. Pius IX. himself is indeed convinced
that he is only building up the Church and crowning her work in placing
the dogma of Infallibility on it as a cupola.

It has been thought fit by statesmen to exercise no constraint on the
designs of the _Curia_, but to await its decisions, and afterwards, if
they should be menacing to political interests, to employ measures of
repression. This conduct cannot, of course, accord with the mind of
believing Catholics who are not ultramontanes, as it leaves their
obligations towards those articles of faith untouched, and cannot annul
the definitions for their consciences. But the question arises, whether
from a political point of view this expedient must not be pronounced a
mistake. Consider the dangerous influence conciliar decrees provoking
hostility against the modern State and its civilisation may exert on those
numerous classes, which are always in the hands of the clergy, and form an
important factor in the life of the State. Consider, again, what is to be
expected in this respect of a clergy who, as everything serves to
indicate, will hereafter more than ever before be alienated from all
modern culture, on the express ground of the decrees of the approaching
Council, educated in a spirit of hostility to the State, and made into a
mere passive instrument of Rome. It is difficult to exaggerate the
conflicts between Church and State that may be expected to follow.



THE FULDA PASTORAL. (ALLG. ZEIT., SEPT. 25, 1869.)


The Pastoral which the Bishops assembled at Fulda ordered to be read in
all the Churches under their jurisdiction is an important document. It
reflects the excited and abnormal state of feeling prevalent among
Catholics, since the Jesuits, and some Prelates allied with them, have
announced the design of using the Council for proclaiming new dogmas,
especially that of Papal Infallibility. “Even among loyal and zealous
members of the Church,” say the Bishops, “anxieties calculated to weaken
confidence are being excited.” The object and main substance of their
Pastoral is directed to allaying those anxieties, and assuring German
Catholics that their Bishops at least will not assent to the projected
dogmas. They have solemnly pledged their word, before the whole nation,
that they will avouch at the Council the three following
principles—_first_, “That the Council can establish no new dogmas, or any
others than are written by faith and conscience on all your (German
Catholics’) hearts;” _secondly_, “That a General Council never will or can
proclaim a new doctrine not contained in Holy Scripture or Apostolic
Tradition;” _thirdly_, That only “the old and original truth will be set
in clearer light.”

This indeed is very re-assuring. The Jesuits have proclaimed that the
bodily Assumption of the Holy Virgin and the Infallibility of the Pope are
to be made dogmas at the Council. The Bishops are aware that the two
Jesuit organs, the _Civiltà_, and _Rheinischen Stimmen_, from the
Monastery of Laach, as well as the Archbishop of Mechlin (Deschamps), and
Bishop Plantier of Nîmes, have put forward the erection of Papal
Infallibility into a dogma of the Universal Church. Moreover, the assembly
at Fulda knew well enough that the preliminary materials for this
definition were already prepared at Rome. Now nobody will seriously
maintain that these two opinions are written by faith and conscience on
the heart of every Catholic, or are doctrines contained in Scripture and
Tradition, and ancient and original truths. The Pastoral therefore
contains a promise, worded with all the distinctness that could be
desired, that, so far as it depends on the votes of the German Bishops,
the yoke of the new articles of faith shall not be laid on the German
nation.

The German Bishops cannot of course pledge themselves beforehand for the
whole Council, for they will have at most only about 25 votes at their
disposal—a small number in an assembly of 400 or 500 bishops. But if these
25 votes, which represent nearly eighteen million Catholics, and the whole
of a great nation, remain united and firm, they are a guarantee that the
new dogmas will not be decreed. For it is not majorities or minorities
that decide on dogmas, but the Church requires the actual or approximate
unanimity of the whole assembly. And it may be assumed as probable that
the Austrian Bishops will not separate themselves from their German
colleagues in these weighty questions, except, of course, the Bishop of
St. Pölten, who already openly declares himself for the principal new
dogma, and will therefore no doubt vote for it. It may, moreover, be
confidently asserted that a considerable portion of the French Bishops
will unite with the German Opposition against the new dogmas. And an
Opposition so numerous and so compact will make it impossible for the
Latin Prelates to carry through their pet doctrines, powerful as they may
appear, if their votes are counted and not weighed.

From another point of view, too, the Pastoral is noteworthy and
gratifying. It markedly discountenances that pessimism which for some
thirty years past has characterized Papal documents, and which gave
occasion to the observation that Pius IX. and his predecessor whine
whenever they talk Latin. Occurrences in Italy, Spain, and Germany, and
the history of the Austrian Concordat, with many other things, have led
most of the clerical organs to take a gloomy view of the state of the
world; and we frequently find them maintaining that a universal overthrow
of the whole order of society in the Christian world, a universal deluge,
is inevitable, but that the ship of the Church, the one asylum of safety,
will float, like the ark, upon the waves, and then will begin a new order
of things, and new period of history corresponding to the ultramontane
ideal. In sharp antithesis to these gloomy pictures and predictions, the
Bishops declare, _first_, that throughout the world the kingdom of God
increases with fresh vigour, and brings forth fruit; _secondly_, that all
attacks on the Church, and sufferings brought upon her, work for her good;
and _thirdly_, that religious and ecclesiastical life is strengthened.
Such a view as this is better calculated to arouse and sustain attachment
to the Church and confidence in her indestructible powers of life and
providential guidance than the opposite view, which exhibits to Catholics
everywhere nothing but the humiliation of their Church and the triumph of
her enemies.



THE BISHOPS AND THE COUNCIL. (ALLG. ZEIT., NOV. 19 AND 20, 1869.)


As the moment for the opening of the Council approaches, the excitement
and disquiet, not only of Catholics but of all who concern themselves with
the movements of the day, increases in view of so important an event. For
the notion that the Council is merely an internal affair of the Catholic
Church, and that its decrees will be confined to the sphere of the
religious conscience, will be accepted by nobody who has heard of the
projects entertained by the _Curia_, and who is not ignorant of the close
connection of the Church with the culture of modern life, and the powerful
position this gives her in the State and in the social order generally.

We may safely state that the Fathers of the Council are already divided
into two camps, and that anxiety and painful uncertainty prevail in both
of them. The occurrences of the last few weeks have brought out their
opposite views and designs into sharp contrast. It is now known in Rome
that a considerable number of Northern Bishops are not disposed to accept
the _rôle_ assigned to them of simple assent to ready-made decrees, and
that the German Bishops, except those trained by the Jesuits, most
decisively object to making new articles of faith. Many Bishops also dread
the far-reaching consequences of Papal Infallibility, and the
retrospective effects of the new dogma, and they know that the
establishment of such doctrines would drive the educated classes of the
country, if not into open schism, to an internal and lamentable breach
with the Church. Accordingly, remonstrances have been forwarded to the
Pope from three quarters—from the Prelates of Hungary, Bohemia, and
Germany,—expressing the most emphatic desire that the Council should not
be forced to any decision on Papal Infallibility, or on matters affecting
the relations of Church and State, in the sense of the Syllabus. What
reception this document met with in Rome may readily be divined from the
great astonishment the Fulda Pastoral is known to have excited there, when
a translation of it was laid before the Pope. It is now thought politic in
Rome to deny the existence of these letters of remonstrance, but they have
taken such effect that the highest authorities begin to hesitate, and ask
themselves the question whether they have not gone too far in their
confident assurance of victory. The idea of being able to carry the
Infallibility dogma off-hand by acclamation seems at least to have been
abandoned. It is understood that some less summary method of gaining their
object must be resorted to, if it is to be gained at all. And hence at the
last moment they have begun to look out for some Council Chamber where the
Bishops may discuss the matters to be decided upon, for the chapels
appropriated to the Council in St. Peter’s are only designed for solemn
sessions.(8) It is said in Rome that the pungent remark of a Cardinal to
the Holy Father has had something to do with the change of the original
scheme of an acclamation. Pius IX. had asked his opinion as to the most
effective way of carrying the decrees, and he replied, that obviously the
_theatrical_ effect would be greater if there was no debating, but simply
decision by acclamation, as though by inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And
thus the hope of getting the Council over in three weeks is also given up,
and it is now expected to last to the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The drawing up of the letter of remonstrance at Fulda is said not to have
been such plain sailing. The Pastoral originally sketched out by Heinrich,
Canon of Mayence, but to which important additions were made subsequently,
was subscribed by all the Bishops, even those who had been pupils of the
Jesuits, who consoled themselves with the belief that the dogma of
Infallibility did exactly combine the conditions specified there as
requisite for a dogmatic decree, and was really scriptural, primitive, and
written on the hearts of all good Catholics. So their Jesuit masters had
taught and assured them. But the secret document sent to the Pope had
necessarily to be more explicit, and though it was limited to pointing out
how inopportune the definition of new dogmas, especially of Papal
Infallibility, would be, that was precisely opposite to what the
Jesuitizers among the Bishops were convinced of. The Jesuits themselves
lose no opportunity of proclaiming that nothing can be more opportune than
this dogma, and from their own point of view they may be right enough, for
the rich and ripe fruits of the dogma would fall into their own laps, and
would help the Society to absolute dominion over science, literature, and
education within the Catholic Church. The proposed dogma would give
canonical authority to the Jesuit theology, and identify it with the
doctrine of the Church, and the Order, or the spirit of the Order, would
always be required for teaching and vindicating the new system. The
Bishops of Paderborn and Würzburg therefore refused to sign, and the
representative of the Bishop of Spires followed their example.

The scruples of these Northern Bishops were so utterly unexpected that
they must have created great surprise at Rome. Their informant in the
matter of the Infallibility dogma had assured the authorities, in the
teeth of the Northern Prelates, and with the full concurrence of all the
members of the Commission, that no fitter or more favourable time could be
found for establishing the new dogma, for at no former period could the
Court of Rome reckon so securely on the unconditional devotion of the
Bishops, nor was there ever a time when they were so ready as at this
moment to surrender before the Pope all exercise of their own judgment or
independent examination. The remonstrances of the Hungarian, Bohemian, and
German Bishops have of course poured water into this wine, to the no small
astonishment and indignation of the Roman Prelates, with whom it is an
axiom that nobody is a good Christian who does not believe the
infallibility of the Pope as firmly as the divine mission and truthfulness
of Christ. Accordingly, the _Correspondance de Rome_ cast in the teeth of
Prince Hohenlohe, that since all true Catholics already hold the
infallibility of the Pope when speaking _ex cathedrâ_, a decree of the
Council will only confirm what is universally known and believed.(9) Let
those good souls who flatter themselves that the _Civiltà_, with its
expectations and demands, stands alone, weigh well the utterances of so
well-known a journal.

The Austrian Bishops have not thought it well to follow the example of
their Hungarian, Bohemian, and German colleagues. One of them, Dr.
Fessler, is notoriously the most determined advocate of the whole
ultramontane system, and was the first Bishop to declare the definition of
the new dogma to be at once a natural and suitable work for the Council.
His services were promptly rewarded; he is already named chief secretary
of the Council, and his hand will press heavily on its decrees. The
_Curia_ may congratulate itself on its choice. The silence of the Austrian
Bishops is further explained by the differences of opinion among them
about the questions coming before the Council.

In their secret letters the Northern Bishops have opposed the new
definition only as being inopportune, and it is known that the French
Opposition Bishops mean to take the same ground. But it deserves careful
consideration whether this line of action can be really tenable or
effective at the Council. Surely it may be certainly foreseen that the far
more numerous, and, from its determined attitude, stronger party on the
other side will answer, “If your only objection to the dogma is that it is
unsuited for the times, you thereby admit its truth; for if you thought it
doubtful or erroneous, you must have opposed the definition on that
ground. By not venturing to assail its truth, you deprive your objection
to its opportuneness of all weight, for when was ever a religious truth,
on which eternal salvation depends, suppressed on such a ground as this?
Does this holding back, inspired merely by fear of men, correspond to the
ancient spirit and lofty mission of the Church? How many of her doctrines
would she have dared to proclaim if she had chosen to wait on the approval
of the age? Rather, for that very reason, must religious truths be loudly
and emphatically proclaimed, when a contrary opinion is growing among men,
because thereby an insidious heresy is marked out and judged by the
supreme authority in the Church. Your plea of inopportuneness is therefore
a fresh and urgent ground for adhering firmly to the solemn definition of
Infallibility by the Council.”

How far better then would it be if these Prelates were to declare simply
and directly, what the German Bishops have indeed said in their Pastoral,
but, of course, in general terms only, and without express mention of the
Infallibilist hypothesis; “This doctrine possesses none of the requisite
conditions of an article of faith; it has no guarantee either of Scripture
or Tradition, and no roots in the conscience and religious mind of the
Christian world.” Such a line would be incomparably worthier of the
Bishops, and would make their position far stronger and more unassailable.
Instead of letting themselves, as is intended, be yoked, like willing
prisoners, to the triumphal chariot of the sole infallible and sole
defining Pope and lord, they would be making a beginning for the
revendication of their ancient apostolical rights, which the Papacy has
sequestered or robbed them of. They would be asserting, by implication,
that the Papacy and the Church are not identical, and therefore that the
Church cannot be made responsible for all decrees and actions of the
Popes. Half-and-half courses, and false piety, in the tremendous crisis
the Catholic Church is now entering upon, are not only powerless but
fatal. And this half-heartedness, which looks only too like fear, will
make the Ultramontane and Jesuit party all the bolder and stronger in
their plans. And they continue still as firm as the rock of Peter. In the
number for Oct. 2, p. 64, the Civiltà maintains, against a new French
paper, the _Avenir Catholique_, that the relation of the Bishops assembled
in Council to the Pope is simply one of most absolute subjection and
obedience to Papal commands, and declares, on the authority of Ferraris,
who is a classical authority at Rome, what is meant by _præsidentia
auctoritativa_, viz., the Pope’s right, not only to decide on everything,
but to coerce all opponents, by ecclesiastical censures—excommunication,
suspension, and deposition—and other judicial means.(10) If the Pope
strikes down every contradiction or refusal of a Bishop at once, with the
thunderbolt of his anathemas, according to the _Civiltà_ he no more
violates the freedom belonging to the Fathers of the Council, than a man
who keeps within his own rights in his dealings violates his neighbour’s
rights of property. We must remember, as to this definition of freedom,
that the logic of the Jesuits has always gone its own way without
troubling itself with the logic of the rest of mankind.

It deserves notice, however, that two months before the opening of the
Council the Jesuits had traced out for the Bishops the extent and nature
of the freedom they are to enjoy there. They do their part frankly enough
in dispelling any illusion on the subject. If any complaint from the
Bishops should be heard in Rome, such as was made by the Spanish and
French Bishops at Trent, the _Curia_ can reply that they were told all
this beforehand. The _Civiltà_ has the most direct sources of information,
and may therefore be safely trusted when it says, in a recent number, “We
are not the authors of the Papal thoughts, nor does Pius IX. speak and act
under our inspiration, but _we are certainly the faithful echo of the Holy
See_.” And, as an echo of the Pope, the _Civiltà,_ in its last number, p.
182, gives a more precise explanation or statement of the infallibility of
_ex cathedrâ_ decisions, as extending, not only to all dogmas, but to “all
truths and doctrines connected with the various kinds of revealed dogmas,
and so to all sentences and decrees concerning the common weal of the
Church, her rights and discipline.” In truth, if the Bishops don’t even
yet see the precipice to the edge of which they have been led step by step
for years, and which they are just going to spring into, that is no fault
of the Roman Jesuits, who have honestly done what they could to open their
eyes. It is therefore to be earnestly wished that the _Civiltà_ may be
read and well weighed as widely as possible, for then one may hope they
will be “forewarned, forearmed.” They have certainly had no lack of signs
and warning voices, who are expected and are willing to subscribe the
intended decrees of the Council. “The true echo of the Holy See” proclaims
to the world that every Pope is, ever has been, and ever will be
infallible, _first_, when he teaches or maintains anything in any way
connected with revealed truths of faith or morals; _secondly_, when he
decrees anything affecting the welfare, rights, or discipline of the
Church. Clearly therefore, henceforth the question will be, not in what
cases the Pope is infallible, but what are the few cases where he is not
infallible. He, as being infallible, will have the first and only right to
determine what is the welfare of the Church, and what it requires. And
since, in the whole range of public life, of politics and science, there
is scarcely anything not permanently or incidentally connected with the
weal of the Church, and with its real or assumed rights and discipline, he
will have it in his power to make every secular question a Church
question. For it must certainly be anathematized as an error, as the
Syllabus says, to affirm that the Pope has exceeded the limits of his
power. How can he possibly do so on this theory? He is infallible alike in
the definition of doctrine and in its application to concrete cases. He is
therefore always right in every claim and every decision, and whoever
opposes him, or does not at once unconditionally submit, is always wrong.
Whatever demand he makes of any State or Sovereign, whatever law or
constitution he abrogates, he must at once be obeyed, for he acts for the
good of the Church, and he, as being infallible, can alone judge and
settle what that is. The episcopate and clergy must blindly submit to his
infallible guidance and serve dutifully under his banner, when he
proclaims war against a State, or an institution.

Need we explain in detail what painful conflicts with their Governments
and the Constitutions they have sworn to, Bishops and clergy, nay all
Catholics, might be precipitated into on this system? What caused that
lamentable persecution and oppression of Catholics in Great Britain, and
their loss of civil privileges for centuries, but Paul V.’s prohibiting
their taking the oath of allegiance to their Sovereigns? Although the oath
contained nothing against the religious conscience of Catholics, the Pope
condemned it because, identifying his own pretensions with the interests
of the Church, he thought it intolerable that it denied the power of Popes
to depose kings, absolve subjects from their allegiance, and excite revolt
and treason against the Sovereign and the State. It is a maxim of the
Decretals that no oath against the interests of the Church is binding.(11)
But what is for the benefit of the Church the infallible Pope determines.
How often have Popes identified their own political interests with the
good of the Church, and required and occasioned the breach of oaths and
treaties! Thus Innocent III. absolved John from his oath to observe Magna
Charta, on his consenting to receive back his crown as a gift from him.
When, in the fifteenth century, Eugenius IV. was at war with Francis
Sforza, and the general Piccinino had promised not to attack him, the Pope
absolved him from his promise, because it was prejudicial to the interests
of the Papacy, and “a treaty prejudicial to the Church is not binding.”
Charles V. and Francis I., in their treaty of Madrid, had stipulated that
neither should have his oath dispensed without the consent of the other;
but Pope Clement VII. was the first to seduce the King to commit perjury,
in order that he might form an alliance with him against the Emperor. So
again did Paul IV. release Henry II. from his five years’ truce with
Charles V., confirmed by oath, in order to gain the King of France as an
ally against Spain.

The Jesuit theory of the infallible Pope and the extent of his powers is
in no way less extravagant than that which deluded Agostino Trionfo into
his deification of the Pope under John XXII.(12) Once admit the maxim of
the Syllabus, that the Popes have never exceeded the just limits of their
power, and it must obviously be their right to dispose of crowns and
peoples, property and freedom, since they have in fact claimed and
exercised the right. Thus, for instance, Nicolas V. did not at all violate
the common rights of men, but only made a proper use of his own absolute
authority, when he gave full power to King Alfonso of Portugal, and his
successors, to subjugate unbelieving nations, appropriate their
territories and all their possessions, and reduce their persons to
perpetual slavery. Nor was Alexander VI. less justified in conferring on
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and their successors the newly discovered
countries of America, and then drawing the famous line from north to south
through the New World, and dividing it between Spain and Portugal. It was
to the authority of the Pope, as the lord of all mankind, to whom all men
are subject, wherever born, and of whatever religion, since God has
subjected the whole earth to his jurisdiction, and made him master of it,
that the Spanish conquerors appealed against the natives. On this plea
they treated all refusal to submit as rebellion, for which they meant to
take vengeance on the natives—as in fact they did in the most horrible
manner—by cruel wars, confiscation of property, and slavery. Their lust of
conquest, with all the abominations they perpetrated, could always be
excused and justified by the remembrance that they were only acting with
the sanction of God’s earthly representative, and punishing the refusal to
recognise his legitimate dominion over the world.

In the article we have cited, the _Civiltà_ affirmed anew, on the
authority of the Minorite, Bonaventure of S. Bernardino (_Trattato della
Chiesa_), that the Pope can dispose of the whole “Temporali” of kings and
princes, their authority and possessions, whenever, in his judgment, the
good of the Church requires it. The work of a French writer, Maupied,
gives the Fathers of the Society of Jesus the desired opportunity of again
commending their _Magna Charta_—their favourite Bull, _Unam Sanctam_—as
the completest exposition of the relations of Church and State (p. 213):
“Fall down on your faces, and adore your lord and master in Rome, who can
after his pleasure depose you, deprive you of your rights and bishoprics,
and bid you draw or sheathe the sword.” This is a compendium of the
teaching the _Civiltà_ addresses to princes and magistrates. If Papal
Infallibility is defined by the Council as an article of faith, the whole
system is sanctioned, down to its extremest consequences, and the Jesuits
will not fail to point to it as proving that their political doctrines
also are now approved.

Under such auspices does the Council open, when the Bishops, according to
the _Civiltà_—“the faithful echo of the Holy See,”—have only to say Yea
and Amen to the teachings and commands of their master. Never in her whole
history has the Church had a severer task imposed upon her, or passed
through a more perilous and decisive crisis than the present. It is not
only a question of internal freedom; it is, above all, the question
whether she is to be involved in an endless war with the political order
and civilisation of the modern world, or by keeping to the really
religious sphere, and thus guarding her rightful independence, is for the
future too to fulfil throughout the widest area her blessed mission
towards mankind. The Council, which has to decide on this alternative,
acquires a weight and significance such as none had before it.



FIRST LETTER.


_Rome, December 1869._—The Council is opened. It is, we may say, in full
swing, and the situation has to a certain degree revealed itself. Two
great questions are in every mind and on every tongue—_first_, “Wherein
will the freedom promised to the Council consist, and how far will it
extend?” and _secondly_, “Will Papal Infallibility be erected into a
dogma?”

As regards the freedom of the Council, the position of the episcopate is
in some respects better and in others worse than at Trent three centuries
ago. Then the Italians had the most complete and undeniable preponderance
over the Spanish and French Prelates, who were the only others that came
into the reckoning at all. The opposition of the latter could at best only
stop the passing of some particular decrees, but, generally speaking,
whatever the legates and their devoted troop of Italian Prelates desired
was carried, and as they desired it. The numerical relations are entirely
changed now, and there is a far more comprehensive representation of
National Churches. The Italian Bishops, even if unanimous among
themselves, do not form a third of the whole Synod. But what they have
lost in numbers is abundantly made up by the lion’s share the Papal Court
seizes beforehand for itself, and thereby for the Italian _prelatura_.

The first step taken, and the regulations already made by Pius IX. for the
present Council, prove that it is not to follow the precedents of the
ancient free Councils, or even of the Tridentine. At Trent all decrees
still ran in the name of the Council. “The Œcumenical Tridentine Synod,
lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, ordains and decrees, etc.,” is the
heading of every session and its decrees. Very different is to be the
arrangement at Rome. There has already been distributed to the Bishops a
_Methodus in primâ Sessione Concilii observanda_, which prescribes thus:
“The Pope will hand over the decrees to the Secretary or another Bishop to
read, who reads them with the heading, ‘Pius, Episcopus, servus servorum
Dei, _sacro approbante Concilio_, ad perpetuam rei memoriam.’ ” After
reading them he asks the Cardinals and Bishops whether they assent. If all
say _Placet_, the Pope declares the decrees carried “nemine dissentiente.”
If some answer, _Non placet_, he mentions the number, and adds, “Nosque,
sacro approbante Concilio, illa ita decernimus, statuimus atque sancimus
ut lecta sunt.” This is the formula first introduced after Gregory VII.’s
time, when the Papacy had climbed to its mediæval eminence. The first to
use it was Alexander III., at the Roman Synod of 1079.(13) It stands in
glaring contrast to the practice of the ancient Synods for the first
thousand years of Church history, which drew up and promulgated all their
decisions freely, independently, and in their own name. Here the Pope
appears as the author of the decrees, the one authoritative legislator,
who out of courtesy allows the Bishops to express their opinions, but
finally decides himself, in the plenitude of his sovereign power, as seems
good to him. In another Papal document communicated to the Bishops it is
said still more emphatically, “Nos deinde supremam nostram sententiam
edicemus eamque nunciari et promulgari mandabimus, hâc adhibitâ solemni
formulâ, Decreta modo lecta, etc.” Meanwhile one concession has been made,
which might possibly have some value: the Pope has declared that, though
the right of initiating measures belongs entirely to himself, he is
willing to allow the Bishops to exercise it. This would give them the
opportunity of at least bringing forward for discussion some of the worst
evils—such as, _e.g._, what many of them feel to be the hateful nuisance
of the Index—and preparing remedies. But then it must be borne in mind
that on every question the _Curia_ has at its disposal a majority of
Prelates, who are its own creatures, and many of them in its pay. With the
help of this troop of devoted followers it can get rid of every
disagreeable proposal before it is even submitted to discussion.

The Sessions of the Council are solemnities only held for the formal
promulgation of decrees already discussed and passed; the real business is
done in the previous Congregations. Every Bishop who wants to speak there
is to give notice the day before, but those who wish to speak without
having given notice are not to be prevented. A congregation of twenty-four
members is to be chosen by the Bishops from among themselves, for the
purpose of specially investigating subjects on which differences of
opinion have been expressed, and reporting on them. At least nine-tenths
of the Prelates are condemned to silence simply from being unable to speak
Latin readily and coherently through want of regular practice. And to this
must be added the diversities of pronunciation. It is impossible, _e.g._,
that Frenchmen or Italians should understand an Englishman’s Latin even
for a minute.(14)

There will no doubt be some subjects on which the Bishops may really speak
and determine freely. But the moment a question in any way affects the
interests and rights of the Roman _Curia_, there is an end of their
freedom. For every Bishop has sworn not only to maintain but constantly to
increase all the rights of the Pope, and it is notorious that at Rome, and
in regular intercourse with the Papal Congregations, one can take no step
without being reminded, directly or indirectly—by courtly insinuation, or
rudely and openly,—of this oath, and the enormous extent of the
obligations incurred by it, which embrace the whole range of
ecclesiastical life. The Bishops then are so far free in Council, that no
Bishop who expresses an opinion unpalatable to the _Curia_ is threatened
with imprisonment or bodily injury.(15) Those Bishops enjoy a larger
freedom who have the moral courage to incur the reproach of perjury and
the threat of Papal displeasure and its consequences; who, knowing well
that they can only carry out the most indispensable rights and duties of
their office by virtue of Papal privileges and delegations—quinquennial
faculties and the like,—yet vote simply according to their
convictions.(16) The only question is how many Bishops will act thus.

The members of the Court of Rome vie with one another in assurances that
perfect freedom will be left to the Bishops in the grand question of the
proclamation of the new dogma of Papal Infallibility. This is confidently
asserted by those Germans who are more deeply initiated into the views of
the _Curia_, such as the Jesuits Franzelin, Schrader, and Kleutgen. And
above all, Bishop Fessler, the Secretary of the Council and favourite of
the _Curia_, who was the first among the Bishops to declare that it was
the main business of the Council to formulate and proclaim the new dogma,
takes especial pains to convince the Bishops that the Pope has no
intention of bringing the subject before them himself. He admits that the
preparatory Commission has discussed this most important and comprehensive
of all doctrines, and has almost unanimously decided it to be both true
and opportune; and that their reporter has shown conclusively, that
considering the boundless devotion to Rome of the present episcopate (at
least the majority of them), no more favourable moment could be chosen for
enriching the Church with this new and fundamental article of faith.

This is now their watchword. All the initiated repeat it, and some
episcopal optimists try to persuade themselves and others that the danger
is really past, and the scheme abandoned for this time. But the truth is
this: the authorities know well enough that the absolutists among the
Bishops—all those who hope to strengthen their dominion and extend it over
secular matters by means of Papal Infallibility—are both numerous and
organized, and only await the intimation that the right moment has arrived
to come forward themselves with a motion powerfully supported. To begin
with the Germans, there is the Bishop of Paderborn, whose Jesuit
theologian, Roh, says that, precisely because Papal Infallibility is
called in question by Bishops like Dupanloup and Maret, the Council must
define it, to make any repetition of this atrocity impossible for the
future. Then there are the Bishops of Regensburg, Würzburg, St. Pölten,
and Gratz, the Belgian and English Prelates, and those of French
Switzerland, among whom Mermillod rivals Manning in his fanatical zeal for
the new dogma; the Spanish Prelates—men selected for promotion by Queen
Isabella and the nuncio at Madrid, simply for their thorough-paced
ultramontanism—pure absolutists in Church and State, who would gladly see
the new dogma ready-made at once, but have to be restrained for a while.
To these must be added such French Prelates as Plantier of Nîmes, Pie of
Poitiers, the Bishops of Laval and Montauban, and others. One knows least
of the votes of the Italian and United States Bishops, who, like the
Irish, will probably be divided. In any case the Court party can count on
a considerable majority in favour of the new dogma.

Of course the opposite party, who wish to stave it off, is strong and
numerous. To it belong the majority of the German and Austrian, as well as
the Bohemian and Hungarian Prelates, and among the French, the Archbishops
of Paris, Rheims, and Avignon, the Bishops of Marseilles, Grenoble,
Orleans, Chalons, and many more. And on the point of the time being
inopportune for defining the Infallibilist dogma, a portion of the “old
Papal guard,”—viz., the Italian Bishops—will join them, not to speak of
American and Irish Prelates.

But—and in this lies their weakness—they are only held together by a very
loose bond. The one point they are agreed upon is that the promulgation of
the new dogma will cause great embarrassments to the Church and to
themselves personally, and involve them in all sorts of conflicts. On the
main question, whether this substitution of an infallible man for an
infallible Church is true, and attested by Scripture and Tradition, they
are themselves divided. If the confidants of the _Curia_ understand how to
insert the wedge into this split, and drive it home, they may perhaps
contrive to break up the whole Opposition, and carry through, by an
imposing and apparently almost unanimous vote, this Alpha and Omega of
ultramontanism, in which all their wishes and hopes are concentrated.
Meanwhile no stone will be left unturned, and very various methods will be
applied, and arguments used, in working upon different Bishops. The
earnest desire of the Holy Father will be urged on some soft-hearted
Prelates; they will be told that the only way the Council can rejoice his
heart amid his bitter trials, and brighten the evening of his life, is by
freely offering him that crown of personal infallibility which former
Popes have striven for, but never obtained. To others it will be intimated
that the Council itself must look like a play with the chief figure left
out, or an abortion, if the Syllabus and Infallibility are not made into
dogmas, for there is no other question important enough to justify
collecting 500 Bishops from five quarters of the world. Those who agree
with the doctrine, but shrink for the present from the unpleasant
consequences it might entail upon them, will be told, “Now, or perhaps
never.” With freedom of the press established everywhere, it will be
impossible much longer to keep the poison of historical criticism, so
especially rife in Germany, out of the theological schools and seminaries,
and so perhaps the next generation of clergy will not believe so
absolutely in Papal Infallibility as the clergy in many countries do now,
and then the new dogma will come at an unseasonable time, and encounter
powerful opposition. Besides, it is best to lose no time in putting the
iron bar of the new dogma across the way, for then all historical facts
that witness against Infallibility, all results of criticism and
investigation, all appeals to the forgeries and fictions which helped to
build up the edifice, are once for all got rid of and destroyed, at least
within the Church. No Catholic will any longer venture to appeal to them,
and if he is an historical student, he will only be able to console
himself by saying, _Credo, quia absurdum_. The dogma has triumphed over
history, as Manning has so admirably explained in his last Pastoral.

Their favourite argument is the common one about increasing the strength
and security of the coercive power of the Church. The Bishops are told
that the personal infallibility of the Pope will make not only him but
them, his delegates and plenipotentiaries, much more powerful, and that
under its shadow they will rule with a stronger hand, for resistance will,
in most cases, be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, speaking through the
Pope and his chosen instruments. Who, for instance, would any longer dare
to defend a book condemned by the Congregation of the Index, after it had
become infallible? On the other hand, the Bishops have their scruples, and
some of them may be heard saying that this would be a poor consolation for
losing half their episcopal authority, and that it is hard to ask them to
degrade themselves, and renounce their former dignity as the supreme
tribunal of faith, by making the Pope infallible. It might not be pleasant
to return home from the Council with the consciousness of having
themselves abdicated at Rome the best, and what has hitherto been held in
the Church the highest, part of their authority, and burned it as a
holocaust on the altar of Papal autocracy. The _rôle_ of a Papal courtier,
however convenient at Rome, has its dark side north of the Alps.

Already many symptoms of uneasiness betray themselves. Pius IX. said the
other day to a German Prince of the Church, who formerly gave his opinion
against the Immaculate Conception, and has now again pronounced openly
against the Infallibilist dogma, _Ce dogme de l’infaillibilité passera,
comme l’autre, malgré vous_. On the other hand, the _Regolamento_ has
excited great discontent, for it unmistakeably indicates the design of
giving the Pope the decision, and making the Bishops only consultors. Had
the assembly been in some degree prepared for it, and had time allowed
them for coming to an understanding, there would certainly have been
opposition to it. But the heads of the French episcopate have only just
come together, and no attempt even has been made to bring the German and
French Bishops into communication with each other. And a feature of Roman
policy about the Council, now first introduced, is not exactly calculated
to promote confidence and a happy expectation of the prosperous results of
the Synod. I mean the rigid secrecy. According to the last directions,
all, bishops and theologians, are to maintain the strictest secrecy about
everything, and the preliminary labours, as is well known, had to be
carried on under the seal of secrecy of the Holy Office (the Inquisition).
Nothing was communicated to the Bishops themselves, who came to Rome in
complete ignorance of what they were to vote about—a procedure without any
precedent in Church history. It really seems sometimes as if the object
was to turn the Church topsy-turvy, and take pleasure in doing exactly the
contrary to what the Church of earlier ages did when nearer her original
foundation. Formerly the idea of a Council was associated with the notion
of the fullest publicity, and the common participation of all the
faithful; the deliberations were conducted with open doors, and all were
admitted who wished to hear them,—for from the beginning all secrecy was
strange and unnatural to the Church, which was distinguished from
heathenism in the very point of neither having nor tolerating any esoteric
doctrine or secret compact. But the Roman _prelatura_ too shares the
Italian predilection for making mysteries,—as evidenced in the number of
secret societies in the Peninsula,—and then the Jesuits of the _Civiltà_,
and their French and German copyists, had so solemnly promised that the
Council would provide in its decrees a sure and effective remedy for
humanity, sorely diseased as it is, and threatened with destruction. As
yet we have waited in vain for any intelligible intimation of what this
panacea is to be. Beyond Papal Infallibility and the Syllabus, nothing has
transpired. Were the curtain to be drawn back at the beginning, and the
secret betrayed,—that the much lauded panacea is only moonshine, and that
the Council is not in a position to prescribe any other medicine to the
patient named mankind than the usual and well-known remedies of faith,
hope, and charity—the discord, already growing, would be still further
increased. It is well therefore to lay the finger on the lips.

Meantime the Pope has united the most thorough-paced Infallibilists,
Manning, Plantier of Nîmes, Pie of Poitiers, Mermillod of Geneva, and
Deschamps of Mechlin, on a Committee said to be intrusted with the
discussion of very important questions. Manning appears to be recognised
as their leader by all the adherents of the new dogma, and Mermillod
strongly supports him. Cardinal Pitra, the French Benedictine formerly
intrusted with a mission, which proved unsuccessful, to the Archbishop of
Rouen, Cardinal Bonnechose, has lately tried the same plan with the German
Bishops. He began by describing the Bishop of Orleans as a mischievous
teacher of error, and was obliged to hear, much to his surprise, that
these German Bishops quite agreed with Dupanloup, and the Hungarians with
the Germans. Thus all have taken their side, or will do so in the next few
days. All the Spanish, Belgian, and English(17) Bishops, the majority of
the Italians, and a considerable number of the French, have ranged
themselves under the banner of the new dogma. They all declare that it
must now be decreed that every one, without exception, must inwardly
believe and outwardly confess Papal Infallibility on pain of damnation;
and all the more so, since Pius himself has now abandoned the reserved
attitude he had maintained up to this time in presence of the
diplomatists, and openly proclaims, that, being himself profoundly
convinced of his own infallibility, he neither can nor will tolerate any
further doubt about it in others. And thus the influence of this party is
very powerful, and already preponderates; the whole mechanism of the
Council, the order of business, the _personnel_ of its officers, in short
everything, is substantially in their hands, or will be placed at their
disposal. All preparations were made in their interest, and all
alternatives were foreseen. That great ecclesiastical polypus, with its
thousand feelers and arms, the Jesuit Order, works for it under the earth
and on the earth; _Mea res agitur_ is its watchword.

On the other side, ready for the contest, and resolved at least to show
fight, stand the German, Bohemian, and Hungarian Bishops,—with the
exception, of course, of Martin, Senestrey, Fessler, and some others—and
all among the French, American, and Irish Bishops who possess any culture
and knowledge. These men still hope to see a portion of the Oriental
Bishops—the real ones, not the mere Italian so-called
Vicars-Apostolic—join their side, and there is indeed a very general
anxiety as to what position the Orientals, especially the Armenians, will
take up in reference to the great questions at issue. They would all like
to keep the Church free from the millstone of the new dogma intended to be
hung about her neck, though very few even among them have a clear
perception of the momentous consequences it would entail, in science and
literature, in politics, and in the relations of the Catholic Church to
other Churches. But the whole party has wind and sun against it, and has
to join battle in the most unfavourable position, on slippery soil, and
confined to acting on the defensive under the greatest difficulties. The
Infallibilists, from the nature of the case, are far clearer and better
agreed, both as to end and means, than their adversaries, many of whom do
not conceal their predilection for the dogma, though they tremble at the
consequences of it. Moreover, many of them will allow themselves to be
gained over before long, whether through devotion to Pius IX., or by the
threats and enticements the _Curia_ knows so well how to apply, and for
which it possesses an inexhaustible treasury to choose from. There is, for
instance, the honorary title granted by Rome to about 250 Bishops, _solio
Pontificio assistens_, which seems to the short-sighted only fit for
lackeys, but is in fact greatly sought after, and will be most graciously
accorded to those who unconditionally surrender themselves. And then there
are those manifold concessions out of the rich store of Papal reserved
rights, special benedictions, and the like, so that there are always nine
out of every ten Bishops who want one at least of these privileges.

We may readily conceive the excitement in the Jesuit camp. After the
patient, indefatigable toil of years of seed-time, the harvest-time seems
to them to be come at last. Up to 1773, their Order, from its numbers, the
cultivation of its members, the influence of its schools and educational
establishments, and its compact organization, was unquestionably the most
powerful religious corporation, but at the same time was limited and held
in check by the influence and powerful position of the other Orders.
Augustinians, Carmelites, Minorites, and, above all, Dominicans, were
likewise strong, and, moreover, leagued together for harmonious action
through their common hatred of the Jesuits, or through the natural desire
to escape being mastered by them. Dominicans and Augustinians possessed by
long prescription the most influential offices in Rome, so much so indeed
that the two Congregations of the Index and the Holy Office were entirely
in the hands of the Order of Preachers, to the exclusion of the Jesuits.
Since the restoration of the Jesuits this is completely changed, and
entirely in their interest. All the ancient Orders are now in decline,
above all, in theological importance and influence; they do but vegetate
now. Moreover, the Dominicans have been saddled with a General thoroughly
devoted to the Jesuits, Jandel, a Frenchman, who is exerting himself to
root out in his Order the Thomist doctrines, so unpalatable to the
Jesuits. The youngest of the great Orders, the Redemptorists or
Liguorians, act—sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly—as the serving
brothers, road-makers, and labourers for the Jesuits. And hence, now that
they enjoy the special favour of the Pope, they have come to acquire a
power in Rome which may be called quite unexampled. They have, in fact,
become already the legislators and trusted counsellors of the Pope, who
sees with their eyes and hears with their ears. To those familiar with the
state of things at Rome, it is enough to name Piccirillo. For years past
they have implanted and fostered in the mind of Pius IX. the views he now
wants to have consecrated into dogmas, and have managed to set aside, and
at last reduce to impotence, the influence of wise men, who take a sober
view of the condition of the times. When the Dominican Cardinal Guidi, who
was then the most distinguished theologian in Rome, freely expressed to
the Pope his views about the projected Council and the measures to be
brought before it, from that hour he was not only allowed no audience of
Pius IX., but was excluded from all share in the preparatory labours of
the Council, so that he remained in entire ignorance of the matters to be
laid before it. But the Jesuits are also the oracles of many Cardinals,
whose votes and opinions are very often ready-made for them in the Gesu.
The Congregation of the Index, which they used formerly so often to
attack, blame, and accuse of partiality, when their own works were
censured by it, is now becoming more and more their own domain, though the
chief places are still in the hands of the Dominicans; and this may
gradually take place with most of the Congregations in whose hands is
centralized the guidance and administration of Church affairs in all
countries.

And thus, if Papal Infallibility becomes a dogma, what inevitably awaits
us is, that this Infallibility will not merely be worked in certain cases
by the counsel and direction of the Jesuits; much more than that. The
Jesuits will for the future be the regular stewards of this treasure, and
architects of the new dogmas we have to expect. They will stamp the
dogmatic coinage and put it into circulation. It is enough to know the
earlier history of the Society to know what this means, and what an
immense capital of power and influence it will place at their command.
“Rulers and subjects”—that will henceforth be the relation between the
Jesuits and the theologians of other Orders. Worst of all will be the
position of theologians and teachers who belong to no Order. At the mercy
of the most contradictory judgments, as is already, _e.g._, the case in
France, constantly exposed to the displeasure of the Jesuits, of the
_Curia_, and of their Bishop or his adviser, and daily threatened in their
very existence, how are they to get spirit, perseverance, or zeal for
earnest studies, deep researches, and literary activity? Every Jesuit,
looking down from the impregnable height of his privileged position, will
be able to cry out to the theologians of the secular clergy, “Tu longe
sequere et vestigia prorsus adora;” for now is that fulfilled which the
Belgian Jesuits demanded 230 years ago in their _Imago Societatis Jesu_.
Their Order is now really, and in the fullest sense, the Urim and Thummim
and breastplate of the High Priest—the Pope—who can only then issue an
oracular utterance when he has consulted his breastplate, the Jesuit
Order.(18) Only one thing was still wanting for the salvation of a world
redeemed and regenerated once again: the Jesuits must again become the
confessors of monarchs restored to absolute power.

It is one of the notes of an age so rich in contradictions that the
present General of the Order, Father Beckx, is not in harmony with the
proceedings of his spiritual militia. Here, in Rome, he is reported to
have said, “In order to recover two fractions of the States of the Church,
they are pricking on to a war against the world—but they will lose all.”
But for that reason, as is known, he possesses only the outward semblance
of Government, while it is really in the hands of a conference. With this
the fact seems to be connected that he has appointed for his theologian at
the Council the most learned and liberal-minded man of his Order, Father
de Buck—a man whose views stand in much the same relation to those of his
fellow-Jesuits Perrone, Schrader, and Curli, as the Bishop of Orleans’s
views to those of the Archbishop of Westminster.



SECOND LETTER.


_Rome, Dec. 18, 1869._—After the solemn receptions, and the formal opening
of the Council, visits, audiences, and homages, the time for serious
business has arrived, and the Fathers have emerged from the dim twilight
of early synodical dawn into the clear daylight. People have begun to get
mutually acquainted, and to question one another. The first chaotic
condition of an exceedingly mixed assemblage, some of whose members
scarcely understand one another, or not at all, has been succeeded by a
sort of division, through the _rapprochement_ and closer combination of
men of similar views. As we related before, two great parties of very
unequal strength have organized themselves, and the shibboleth which
caused this division is the question of Papal Infallibility, which is
universally and consistently taken to imply that whoever is resolved to
vote for this dogma is also ready to give his vote for all the articles of
the Syllabus, and generally for every dogmatic proposition emanating from
the Pope.

The Synod is unquestionably the most numerous ever held; never in the
early or mediæval Church have 767 persons entitled to vote by their
episcopal rank been assembled. It is also the most various in its national
representation. Men look with wonder at the number of missionary Bishops
from Asia, Africa, and Australia. If one considers the constant complaints
of want of funds in the missionary journals, the great distance, the
difficulty and expense of the journey, and how much these men are wanted
in the ill-organized state of their dioceses, with so few priests, the
question occurs, Who bears the cost, and what means were employed to rob
so many millions for a long time of their spiritual guides? Meanwhile most
of the Bishops are pupils of the Roman Propaganda, and obedient to every
hint of its will. And the more the new dogma is combated, the more
necessary is the imposing _consensus_ of five quarters of the world—of
Negroes, Malays, Chinese, and Hottentots, as well as Italians and
Spaniards.

More than two-thirds of the Council are either completely agreed, or at
least won over to the necessity of making the personal infallibility of
the last 256 Popes, and their future successors, an article of faith now.
Since the original design of carrying it by simple acclamation has been
given up, Manning has renounced the _rôle_ assigned to him of initiating
it. But the Bishops of the Spanish tongue on both sides the ocean—in South
America and the Philippine Isles—have declared, in a meeting held in the
apartments of their Cardinal, Moreno, that they are ready to propose the
dogma. A Roman Cardinal said lately of Bishops of this sort, “If the Pope
ordered them to believe and teach four instead of three Persons in the
Trinity, they would obey.”

The other party, opposed to the dogma, includes towards 200 Bishops, and
this is more than even the most sanguine ventured to hope at first. To it
belong the majority of the German, Austrian, and Hungarian Bishops, half
the French, all the Portuguese, some Irish, at least half the North
American and Canadian, and a considerable number of the Oriental. If the
votes were not only counted, but weighed according to the intellectual
standard of the voters, the 200 would be far the majority. Among the
German Bishops, besides those already named, the two Tyrolese, Gasser and
Riccabona, Leonrod Bishop of Eichstadt, and the Vicar of Luxembourg,
belong to the Infallibilists. Ketteler of Mayence, half won over by his
hosts—he lives in the German College(19)—half succumbing himself, is said
to purpose deserting to the same camp. He, as well as Stahl, Leonrod, and
Martin are hampered awkwardly by the Fulda Pastoral, which they
subscribed, but when once the knot is loosened or cut, they have only to
bring their assent to the new dogma.

It is said in the ruling circles that an opposition of 40 Bishops and
under is so small and insignificant in so large a Council that no account
need be taken of it. This would be to give up the principle always
hitherto maintained, even at Trent, that no decision in points of faith
could be issued without the physical or moral unanimity of the Council.
But as the dogma in question is one which for the future will make all
majorities and minorities of episcopal votes superfluous and valueless, it
may very well be that by anticipation, or by virtue of an exception which
is now to be made into a rule, the minority should in this case be
pronounced non-existent and undeserving of any notice. I hear other
curialists say that, as soon as the Opposition is reduced to 40, they,
under a sense of their impotence, will give up all resistance, and either
quit the field, or come over to the conquering side. And so the present
strength of the Opposition must be greatly diminished, and this is being
strenuously laboured at. There are plenty of means for the purpose, and as
long as there are Bishops who think themselves fortunate if they gain the
title of “Domestic Prelate to the Pope,” a gentle pressure or insinuation,
the prospect of a privilege, or a robe of distinguished colour, will
produce the desired effect on many. Such things act like those insects
which bore through the hardest wood. The episcopate of course has still
many men to show who are inaccessible to threats or seduction. But we
should like to count up at the end of the Council how many have passed
unscathed through the fiery ordeal. Meanwhile a confident certainty of
victory prevails among the majority. Manning said the other day to an
acquaintance of mine, “So sure as I stand here, the dogma of Infallibility
will be proclaimed,” and on the other hand, one of the leading Bishops of
the Opposition said lately, “I came here with small hopes, and with a
feeling of oppression, but I have found everything worse than I expected.”
A German priest had been summoned to Rome as theologian of his Order by
the General, a Spaniard. At first greeting him the General said that the
great end they were all bound to work for was to come to an understanding
on the dogma of Papal Infallibility. And when the German professed an
opposite opinion, and handed him a work he had written in that sense, the
conclusion was soon arrived at: he was sent home at once as useless, and
even mischievous. When he was taking leave of certain Bishops, one of them
said to him, “I should rejoice if any one recalled me or sent me home; we
Bishops have been ordered here to the Council, without being told what we
are to deliberate upon, and now that I know it I would gladly turn my back
on the Council and on Rome.”

The 500 Infallibilists have good ground for their confidence. It is but
natural, to begin with, that they should trust the magical power of those
resources of the _Curia_ they have themselves had experience of. And,
next, they are well aware of their excellent organization, which has
hitherto proved irresistible. They are commanded from two centres acting
in common, the Gesù and the Propaganda. The Jesuit General, Beckx, if by
no means in harmony with the line taken by the _Civiltà_, which has been
removed from his jurisdiction, thinks and feels about the Infallibility
question in strict accordance with the doctrine and rules of his Order,
and knows how to hold fast the threads with the support and counsel of his
assistants. Not a few Bishops, without knowing it themselves, get drawn
and moved round by these wires which meet in the Gesù. If they cannot be
commanded at once, they will be slowly but surely led into the right road
by a chaplain or secretary or consultor devoted to the Order. The
Propaganda, as we said before, provides for all missionary Bishops, and it
again is inspired from the Gesù. The whole machine works so accurately
that lately, in the selecting of a Commission, 450 voting papers contained
the same names. So admirably is the discipline managed that many a Cabinet
majority might envy this scarcely attainable ideal of the Council.



THIRD LETTER.


_Rome, Dec. 19, 1869._—Since I have been here, breathing physically and
morally the air of Rome, and have heard some of the most prominent
Infallibilists, I can understand a good deal which was an enigma to me
when in Germany. The leading spirits of this party believe in the advent
of a new spiritual dispensation, a period of the Holy Ghost, which is to
depend on the turning-point of this definition of Papal Infallibility.
Archbishop Manning declared some years ago, in a speech received with
enthusiastic applause by the Roman dignitaries, “La Chiesa Cattolica di
oggidí esce tutta nuova del fianco del Vicario di Gesù Cristo.” This
reference to the formation of the woman from Adam’s rib is very
suggestive, for Eve, by the Divine ordinance, was to be subject to the
man,—and it includes the notion which I have met with in several quarters
here, that the proclamation of the new dogma will be immediately followed
by an outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and a renewal of the Pentecostal
miracle. There will of course be this difference, that henceforth the
Bishops will no longer speak with tongues, like the apostles and disciples
on the day of Pentecost, but only with the tongue of the Infallible Pope,
and will utter in this way the thoughts and words of the Holy Ghost. Hence
not the slightest effect is produced when any one, say a German or
Englishman, points to the terrible intellectual stumbling-block that will
thereby be obtruded on the faithful, and the perplexity and inward
alienation of so many thousands, and those too the higher and leading
minds, which may be certainly foreseen. The gain will far exceed the loss;
numberless Protestants and schismatics, attracted by the powerful magnet
of Papal Infallibility, and the power of the Holy Ghost, hidden in Papal
utterances, will stream into the Church—that is the sort of vision
hovering before these men. And a man who believes in an age of the Holy
Ghost cares nothing for what is said of the breach with the views and
traditions of the ancient Church involved in the new article of faith: he
thinks it quite in order that a new dogma should inaugurate a new era.
Compared with such fanaticism, the speech of another Infallibilist leader,
a Frenchman, at a public dinner, sounds sober, though in its way it is no
less extravagant, when he assures us that the great connoisseur and
discoverer of subterranean Rome, the Cavaliere de Rossi, has detected
Papal Infallibility in the Catacombs, and whoever wants to see and
appreciate it there, has only to descend into them.

Pius IX. finds that he can undertake what he likes with a majority so
absolutely devoted to him and simply at his beck. The assurance, so often
reiterated not long ago, that nothing was meant to be decreed which could
disturb Governments or introduce conflicts between Church and State, seems
to be already forgotten or held superfluous, and a number of Bishops, at a
general audience, heard, not without consternation, from the mouth of the
highest authority, the statement that the Syllabus must be made dogmatic:
it would be better to yield in other points than give that up.

Meanwhile the Opposition grows visibly stronger, and men like Darboy,
Dupanloup, and MacHale, Archbishop of Tuam,(20) are not to be despised as
leaders. They are not content with getting rid of Infallibility and the
Syllabus, but strive for some freedom in the Council, and here they find
sympathy even among the Infallibilists. For to have their hands so
completely tied by the Pope’s regulations, has surpassed all, even the
worst, anticipations of the Bishops. That first gleam of hope, excited by
the announcement that the Bishops would be allowed to propose motions, has
speedily vanished. For it has become clear that this was merely intended
to save the Pope from having to propose his own Infallibility to the
Council, and provide for the motion emanating from the Bishops—according
to the present plan, the Spanish Bishops. The right of initiation is
rendered purely illusory by the fact that the Pope has reserved to himself
and the Commission he has named, composed of the stanchest Infallibilists,
the sanction or rejection of every motion. To this must be added the
regulations for the order of business, and the naming by the Pope of all
the officials of the Council, as well as the scrutators and presidents of
Congregations or Commissions. This is an act of arbitrary power, and a
gagging of the Council, far beyond anything attempted even at Trent. Yet
at Trent the want of freedom was felt to be so great that for 300 years
the Catholic world has manifested no desire to repeat the experiment of a
Council. But what will be the impression made by the present Council,
where the order of business is so managed as to make any serious
discussion impossible? The strongest expressions of discontent come from
the French Prelates, they feel how undignified, not to say ridiculous, is
the _rôle_ assigned to them,—of saying _Placet_ to ready-made decrees—even
more keenly than the Germans, who are also greatly disgusted. Attempts to
protest against this oppressive code in the Congregation were suppressed
by the declaration of the President, Cardinal de Luca, that the Pope had
so ordained, and no discussion could be allowed on the subject. He would
allow neither the courageous Bishop Strossmayer nor Archbishop Darboy to
say a word on these intolerable restrictions. The whole scene made a
profound impression.

On December 14 the two parties measured their strength and organization in
electing the twenty-four members for the Commission _de Fide_, which is,
of course, the most important of all. The Liberals were completely
overmatched, and, notwithstanding their 200 votes, not indeed properly
combined, failed to carry one of their candidates. Neither Dupanloup nor
Hefele could be brought in. A list of names to be voted for from the
Propaganda was handed to every trusted partisan; the Italians and
Spaniards were also furnished with one, and so all the Infallibilist
leaders appear on the list of the Committee, Manning and Deschamps, Martin
and Senestrey, Pie of Poitiers, Reynier of Cambray, then some Italians,
Spaniards, and South Americans,—these therefore are the flower of
theological learning among the Bishops. One of these men they must keep
their eye fixed on, for he seems called to take a place of supreme
importance and honour in this Council, and if all goes well, will
certainly be counted with the heroes of ancient Councils, Athanasius,
Cyril, and Augustine. This is Mgr. Cardoni, Archbishop of Edessa,
Secretary to the Congregation for examining Bishops, Consultor of several
other Congregations, theologian of the Dataria, and President of the
Ecclesiastical Academy. Yet this man was not long ago a very obscure
personage, even in Rome, but as First Consultor of the Preparatory
Commission of Dogmas, he composed the report or _Votum_ of forty pages on
Papal Infallibility. This is now printed and distributed, and serves as
the basis for the discussion on the subject to be introduced in Council.
Cardoni himself, as reporter, will discharge the necessary offices of
midwife at the birth of the new dogma; he will have the last word if any
doubts or objections are raised, and then at least 500 votes will proclaim
at once the Infallibility of the Pope and the triumph of the greatest and
most fortunate of Roman theologians. Cardoni will immediately be made
Cardinal; as he brings this Divine gift to the Pope, he will himself
partake in the enjoyment of what is so much indebted to him, and will reap
the harvest of his labours.



FOURTH LETTER.


_Rome, Dec. 20, 1869._—It may truly be said that theology is now rare,
very rare, in Rome. There is, of course, no lack of theologians; the Pope
himself has no less than a hundred, chiefly monks; but if they were all
pounded together in a mortar into one theologian, even this one would find
some difficulty in getting his claims recognised in Germany. If any one
here were to demand of the so-called theologians what, between the North
Sea and the Alps, is considered the first requisite for a theologian,—the
capacity of reading the New Testament and the Greek Fathers and Councils
in the original language,—he would be ridiculed as a dreamer. And as to
the theology of many Bishops, one is often reminded of the daughters of
Phorcys, who had only one eye and one tooth, which they lent each other by
turns to use. Not a few of them flutter about Infallibility like flies
about a candle, in evident fear of getting burnt. But when the critical
moment comes, they will vote obediently as the master whose power they
have sworn to increase bids them. If the Prelates were even slightly
acquainted with Church history, they would certainly recoil in terror from
the maxims and doctrines their decision will recall from the realm of
shadows they seem to have sunk into, and clothe again with flesh and
blood. They would recoil from the complications and contests they and
their successors must hereafter be involved in with all nations and
governments, as forced executors of every infallible utterance of 256
Popes.

The sudden departure of Cardinal Mathieu, Archbishop of Besançon, is
connected with the election of the Commission on Faith, which turned out
so unfortunately for the Germans; the French Bishops after the previous
consultation had divided their forces, the Infallibilists voting for
Bonnechose, their opponents for Cardinal Mathieu. The defeated party
wanted to protest against a scandalous intrigue about the election,
carried on by a man whose name I suppress; and Mathieu’s sudden departure
was in order to avoid being mixed up with the conflict, and from disgust
at the whole affair.

A singular incident not long since created some sensation and amusement in
English circles. The English Bishops, like their Archbishop, Manning, are
declared Infallibilists—a tendency first introduced among the clergy there
since Wiseman’s time, for before that Gallican views prevailed almost
universally in England, and definite assurances were given on the subject
at the time of Catholic Emancipation. And as Papal Infallibility implied
necessarily the doctrine of the Pope’s dominion over monarchs and
governments, which was formally abjured—_e.g._, in the Irish clerical
seminary of Maynooth—the Infallibilist theory was supposed to be shelved
also. It chanced that lately the _Pall Mall Gazette_, which is much read
even here, under the heading, “The Infallibility of the Pope a Protestant
Invention,” quoted the following question and answer from a widely-used
manual of instruction, approved by many Bishops, and highly praised even
in Manning’s journal, the _Tablet_, called _The Controversial
Catechism_:—“_Q._ Are not Catholics bound to believe that the Pope is in
himself infallible?—_A._ This is a Protestant invention, and is no article
of Catholic belief; no Papal decision can bind under pain of heresy,
unless received and prescribed by the teaching body, the Bishops of the
Church.”

At the moment I am writing, there is a pause, but by no means a truce. _Le
Concile ne marche pas, mais il intrigue_, I heard a Frenchman say this
morning. The acoustic qualities of the Assembly Hall, which is the whole
height of St. Peter’s, make it quite unfit for use. If anything is to be
proclaimed, it must be shouted at full pitch to the four sides. It
happened the other day that the Bishops on one side were crying _Placet_,
while those on the other side expressed their opinion by _Non placet, quia
nihil intelleximus_. Pius IX., who was long ago made aware of the state of
the case, really thought that all discussion was superfluous. And as the
hall must be abandoned as utterly useless, the 120,000 scudi lavished on
preparing it are wasted. There is no lack of funds, however; so much so,
that 20,000 scudi have been spent already on laying the foundation of the
memorial pillar of the Council. These things must make an indescribable
impression on those who have heard most touching pictures drawn in the
pulpit at home of the wants and poverty of the Head of the Church.

Antonelli, to whom the impossibility of carrying on the Council in this
place has been represented, has now taken the matter in hand, and another
chamber is to be found and got ready. A room in the Quirinal is talked of,
or the _atrium_ over St. Peter’s in the Sistine. The latter would be an
ominous place, for in the _Sala Regia_, which the Bishops must pass
through to enter the Sistine, is Vasari’s famous picture, painted by order
of Gregory XIII., for the glorification of the massacre of St.
Bartholomew. The contemplation of this picture, which now, since the
publication of the nuncio Salviati’s despatches, the Pope is proved to
have ordered with full knowledge of the real nature of that horrible
occurrence, and full intention of sanctioning it, might perhaps somewhat
indispose the Prelates to vote for the articles of the Syllabus on
religious coercion and the power of the Church to inflict bodily
punishment. Antonelli means now to take up the Council in earnest. For
him, indeed, who was formerly an advocate, the theological side of
Infallibility has little interest; but he is too skilful and experienced a
statesman and financier not to appreciate keenly the gain to be derived
from the new dogma in all countries, in the shape of power, influence, and
revenue. He understands well enough, and better than many statesmen this
side the Alps, the incalculable consequences of having it henceforth
taught and insisted on as a first principle in every catechism, public
school, and country pulpit, that Papal decrees and decisions, not only in
the domain of faith but of morals, the relations of Church and State, and
the whole life of society, are absolutely infallible,—of its being made
the first and crucial question for Catholics in all cases, What has the
infallible Pope, either the reigning pontiff or one of his predecessors,
decided on this point, or what will he decide if asked?

A Bull appeared yesterday, which, if read and understood, would create
great excitement. It professes to abolish a part of the numerous
excommunications _latæ sententiæ_,(21) which the Popes have gradually
accumulated; but virtually it is intended as a renewal or confirmation of
the Bull _In Cœnâ Domini_, which Clement XIV. (Ganganelli) first dropped
the custom of publishing annually, and which, from his time, had been
regarded, everywhere out of Rome, as abrogated, though the _Curia_ always
maintained that it was binding in principle, as Crétineau-Joli shows in
his Memoirs of Consalvi. I am only giving here the judgment of a friend
who has read the Bull. If he is rightly informed, it is but the first link
in a chain of decrees embodying the retrospective force of the anticipated
dogma, for the saying will hold good then, “Quod fuimus erimus, quod
fecimus faciemus.” Every claim once advanced must be maintained, every
doctrinal proposition renewed, and so the living body will be chained to a
corpse.

Desertions from the ranks of the Opposition to the majority of 500, must,
no doubt, be reckoned on, and the renegades will say, like Talleyrand,
that they are not deserting, but only coming in earlier than others.
Whether these desertions will be numerous enough to reduce the minority to
40 or 50, as the authorities hope, will be determined when the question of
opportuneness gets disentangled from the question of principle. For it
requires more than common courage to make open profession of disbelief in
the Infallibilist dogma at Rome, since the Pope, in his letters to Manning
and Deschamps, has indulged in severe censures of those who question his
infallibility; and every Cardinal and Monsignore is accustomed to express
himself in the same sense.

Can this Council, then, which can move neither hand nor foot, be called
free? Is an assembly free, when no speech can be made, no single decision
come to, without the express permission of an external master? If this is
freedom, there has never been an unfree Council. So I hear many saying, as
well clergy as laity, and even Bishops. The Pope, of course, has not
forgotten that, on the day of his election, sitting on the High Altar of
that very church where the Council is now being held, he was adored by the
Cardinals, and four days afterwards crowned with the triple tiara, with
the words, “Scias te esse rectorem orbis.” It has been summoned to arrange
and negotiate the transition from the previous condition of the Church to
a new one. Till now, at least in theory, Councils were, or were supposed
to be, assemblies deliberating and deciding freely. But, in the new
condition of the Church, under the rule of Papal Infallibility, assemblies
of Bishops are purely superfluous, or only useful as machines for
acclamation. The present assembly stands midway between the old Church and
the new, and participates in both. The vital breath of freedom and
independence it is deprived of, but it is not yet a mere
acclamation-machine: it can still dissent and say, _Non placet_. On the
day when the new dogma is proclaimed, and the eternal city again, as in
1517,(22) declares its joy by illuminations, the Synod will have killed
itself with its own hand, and marched into the grave as the last of its
generation. And just as when a knight died the last of his race, his
shield was broken and his arms obliterated, so will the usual chapter _De
Conciliis_ be obliterated from the dogmatic manuals.



FIFTH LETTER.


_Rome, Dec. 23, 1869._—The Council is suspended for a while, for want of
an available place of meeting, or is occupied only in studying the
_Schemata_ that have been distributed at home, and deliberating in
different sections. The German Bishops have resolved to address a memorial
to the Pope, protesting against being put into a strait-waistcoat by the
regulations for the order of business, and claiming the right of proposing
motions freely. They think it intolerable that every proposal, wish, or
motion should have first to be examined, revised, and mutilated or changed
at their pleasure by two Commissions, before it can even come on for
discussion. And how are these two Commissions composed? Of course, the
eight German Bishops who have already separated themselves from their
countrymen, and prefer to associate with Spaniards and South Americans,
hold aloof from this proceeding too. If I am correctly informed, a similar
memorial has been handed in from the French Bishops; it was, at least,
being circulated for signature during the last few days.

You will have received, or found in the French and English papers, the
Bull of Excommunications I mentioned in my last. As I said before, it is a
re-issue of the Bull _In Cænâ Domini_. Certain excommunications nobody
paid any attention to are dropped out, as, _e.g._, of sovereigns and
governments who levy taxes without permission of the Pope. But new
censures of wide application have come into their place. In reading the
Bull, one feels as if one had got into the thick of a tempest, so fierce
and frequent are the lightning-flashes of the Vatican ban, darting and
burning in all directions. If they were to be treated seriously, there
would not be many houses in the cities of Europe that would not be struck.
The Bishops are hit hard; one unpleasant surprise follows on another.
While they are considering how to secure a minimum of freedom in the
Council, they are suddenly overwhelmed with a hailstorm of
excommunications, many of which are directly aimed at themselves, but all
of which are to be administered and executed by them and their clergy.
They are summoned to Rome, and hardly have they got there when this Bull
of anathemas, drawn up without their knowledge or participation, and which
thrusts the souls intrusted to them by thousands out of the Church, is
sent to them; and the whole burden of it, with all its endless
consequences and complications, is laid on their shoulders. They seem
intended to drain the cup of humiliation to the dregs. The only persons
pleased with the Bull, as far as I can see, are the Jesuits, who are in
the very best spirits here in Rome, and see both present and future in the
most rosy hues. The view of the pious Bishops is simple and unanimous: the
more excommunications, so many more reserved cases and perplexed and
tormented consciences. But the confessionals of the Jesuits will be doubly
thronged, who are furnished with all sorts of plenary powers of
absolution, and are thus made indispensable, and placed in a very superior
position to the secular clergy. Moreover, the Bishops are deprived of the
power of absolving from these censures. So each of these multiplied
excommunications is worth its weight in gold to the Order, and helps to
build Colleges and Professed Houses.

The Bull containing directions in the event of the Pope’s death occurring
during the Council was not issued by Pius IX. from any real anxiety to
provide for such an occurrence,—for he enjoys the best health, and in all
probability will falsify the old proverb, “Non numerabis annos Petri.”(23)
No one really supposed the Council would claim the right of electing in
Conclave, as occurred once under totally different circumstances, after
the deposition of a Pope (John XXIII.) at Constance. The real point of the
document lies in the declaration that the Council is to be at once
dissolved on the Pope’s death, as a corpse from which the soul has
departed. And this is a decisive intimation of the relations not only of
the dead but of the living Pope to the Council. The Bull might be summed
up in the words, “Without me you are nothing, and against me and my will
you can do nothing.”

The opposition of German and French Bishops to the new dogma was more or
less anticipated here; what was not expected was that the Orientals,
numbering about sixty, and the North American Bishops, would pronounce
against it. The former declare openly that no surer means could be found
to throw back their Churches into schism, and place them under the holy
Synod in St. Petersburg or the Patriarch in Stamboul. The Americans ask
how they are to live under the free Constitutions of their Republic, and
maintain their position of equality with their (Protestant)
fellow-citizens, after committing themselves to the principles attested by
Papal Infallibility, such as religious persecution and the coercive power
of the Church, the claim of Catholicism to exclusive mastery in the State,
the Pope’s right to dispense from oaths, the subjection of the civil power
to his supreme dominion, etc. The inevitable result would be that
Catholics would be looked upon and treated as pariahs in the United
States, that all religious parties would be banded together against them
as common enemies, and would endeavour, as far as possible, to exclude
them from public offices. One of the American Bishops lately said, “Nobody
should be elected Pope who has not lived three years in the United States,
and thus learnt to comprehend what is possible at this day in a freely
governed Commonwealth.”

But even in the apparently compact and admirably organized mass of the 500
Infallibilists, softly whispered doubts are beginning to be heard here and
there. Before the eyes of some of these devoted Prelates hovers a pale and
warning ghost, called exclusion of the clergy and of Catholic instruction
from the public schools. It would indeed be impossible to put more
effective weapons into the hands of the powerful and increasing party who
are aiming at this, than by giving its due prominence henceforth in all
Catechisms to the supreme article of faith of Papal Infallibility, with
some of its consequences expressed, and others left to be orally supplied
by the teacher, so that boys and girls would be trained in full knowledge
of the glaring contradiction between religion and the order of the State,
the Church and the Constitution of their country.(24) A Belgian layman
here assured me yesterday that the result of the new dogma in his country
would be a powerful movement against the position of the clergy in the
primary schools; the gymnasia and middle schools they have lost already.
One of the Belgian Bishops even is said to begin to be troubled with these
apprehensions. And now a cry of distress is rising from England. The
National Education League has published its programme for a system of
compulsory education of the people, excluding all denominational teaching,
and only allowing the Bible for religious reading. The English Bishops now
in Rome, who are fanatical for the new dogma, may ask themselves if on
their return home they could make a more acceptable present to the
Committee of this already very powerful League than by issuing a corrected
Catechism, enriched with the new article of faith. A penny edition of it
would bring in hundreds of thousands of members to the League, and
admirably further the design it now openly proclaims of “absorbing in a
friendly way” the schools already existing.



SIXTH LETTER.


_Rome, Dec. 24, 1869._—The first part of a tolerably comprehensive
document, or _Schema_, has been distributed, it is said, to the Bishops,
“sub secreto pontificio,” and no less than seventeen parts equally
comprehensive are to follow. The _Schema_ of a dogmatic constitution
_contra multiplices errores ex Rationalismo derivatos Patrum examini
propositum_ is a sort of doctrinal compendium, divided into chapters, and,
as is easily seen, is only an amplification of the opening propositions of
the Syllabus. In this way we shall have the unprecedented occurrence of a
Papal decree, extending to the length of a book, issued with the approval
of the Council. If it is received and promulgated in this shape, it will
create astonishment by its wholly unconciliar form. It is thrown into a
declamatory shape; it indulges in complaints and reproaches about the
blindness and misery of men, who have fallen into so many deadly errors,
even materialism and pantheism; it carries on its front the impress of the
new Jesuit school, and seems to be inspired by the aim of bringing before
the contemporary world, in their crudest form, all the hardest and most
offensive principles of particular doctrinal schools, which it has
hitherto been endeavoured to soften or set aside. For the originator of
this tractate assures us that the aversion of men for such doctrines is
only one of the poisonous fruits of Rationalism. Here is a characteristic
specimen. At that Florentine Synod of 1439, which bequeathed such painful
recollections both to East and West, Eugenius IV. had it defined “that the
souls of those who die only in original, or in actual mortal sin, descend
into hell, but are unequally punished.”(25) This proposition has sadly
tormented theologians, and they have devised all sorts of ways of
softening or explaining it, even assuming the very doubtful authority of
this Council, which was rejected by the whole Gallican Church. For even
the most resolute faith recoils in horror from the logical inference, that
God has created the human race in order from generation to generation to
plunge into hell far the larger portion of mankind, simply because they
have not received the baptism which in most cases was never offered them.
The vast gulf between this proposition and the Scriptural doctrine that
God is Love, and wills all men to be saved, no theologian has undertaken
to bridge over. But the Roman Jesuit to whom we owe this _Schema_ really
thinks these are just the doctrines best adapted to cure men of this age
of the fatal Rationalism they have fallen into.(26) This reminds one
strongly of Antonelli’s saying, that these Fathers have a special talent
for ruining whatever they touch.

The death of Cardinal Reisach is considered here an irreparable loss, and
above all by the Pope himself, whose confidence he enjoyed more than any
other Cardinal. He had the greatest share in preparing the propositions
laid before the Council, and had he been able to make his influence felt,
he would certainly have given powerful support to the new dogmas. He
passed here for a man of comprehensive learning and great penetration. His
friends used to commend his friendly and genial nature. For us Germans he
was a sort of phenomenon, a show specimen of his kind, so to speak. In him
we saw how far a German can go in the process of being Italianized, so
radically was his whole being metamorphosed into that of the Italian
_prelatura_, and the peculiar circle of thought in which Roman clerics and
dignitaries move had become a second nature to him. What distinguishes a
Roman Prelate is, first, that liturgical endowment—that willing absorption
in the _cæremonia_, as the old Romans partly originated and partly
borrowed it from the Etruscans—and next, the faculty of calculating
quickly and surely what loss or gain in power and influence the settlement
of any ecclesiastical question will bring. Reisach was eminent in both
respects. No one excelled him in reverence for every line of the rubric
and every ceremonial detail, as practised here. And again, in his dislike
for German science, literature, and theology, he had become a thorough
Italian, so that his ignorance of even the most famous intellectual
products of Germany was quite fabulous. To him principally were addressed
the denunciations of German works not composed exactly to the taste of the
Roman Jesuits, and it was he who arranged with the Congregation of the
Index the censures pronounced during recent years on the works of learned
Germans.

Thus then there is a niche left vacant in the Roman temple of heroes.
Another Reisach will not so easily be found; for it is given to very few
men to transmute their originally single nature into the form of the
Siamese twins, inhabited by two souls, a German and an Italian.(27) If the
vacant Hat is not to be the price of desertion from the ranks of the
Opposition, but the reward of past services, three German Bishops may put
in a claim for it, Martin, Senestrey, and Fessler. In fiery zeal for the
good cause, restless activity, and unquestioning devotion, they are on a
par, and were all Germany like-minded with this trio, the great
sacrifice—“il sacrificio del intelletto”—so variously commended by the
_Civiltà_, would have long since been accomplished, and the Jesuits might
hold up the Germans as a model for all nations to follow. Meanwhile for
the moment Fessler occupies the most conspicuous position.

_Postscript._—I have just learnt that the Pope is not disposed to give up
his Council Hall in St. Peter’s. Another attempt to hold a General
Congregation there is to be made on Tuesday, which can hardly be a
success. The natural consequence will be that the second Solemn Session,
announced for January 6, will fall through from lack of any decrees ready
to promulgate. The protest of a portion of the French Episcopate against
the order of business has really been sent in, and this has inspired fresh
courage into the German and Hungarian prelates, who have drawn up a
protest against the innovations differing so widely from the form of the
ancient Councils; they dwell especially on the violation of the right
belonging by Divine institution to the Bishops. I need not say that the
notorious eight—the Jesuit pupils and the Tyrolese Bishops—declined to
join in this proceeding. Meanwhile scruples have arisen among the other
pupils of the Jesuits, which again bring the whole affair into doubt.
There is a notion among the French of dividing the Council into
assemblies, formed according to the different languages, so as to get over
the difficulty or impossibility of carrying on a free discussion in Latin.
But then it became clear at once that, through the number of missionary
Bishops, and Swiss or Belgians of the Romance tongues, the majority would
be on the side of the Infallibilist party. And the Pope, who hates all
these assemblies of Bishops, has interposed by causing a sort of standing
order to be proclaimed, through the curialistic Cardinal Bonnechose, that
he will allow no meetings of more than twenty Bishops.



SEVENTH LETTER.


Cardinal Schwarzenberg has been the subject of conversation in Rome for
the last few days. He is said to have formally gone over to the
Infallibilist camp, and the report will no doubt make the round of Europe.
But it is not true, and he himself declares, notwithstanding appearances,
that he has not changed, and does not mean to change, his attitude and
mind. The circumstance which has given occasion to the rumour is as
follows:—

In a combined meeting of German and Hungarian Bishops, it was resolved, on
Haynald’s motion, to request of the Pope a better representation, and one
more accordant with the dignity of the two Churches, on the Commissions.
It was hoped that a majority of the French and a considerable number of
the North American and Oriental Bishops, and even some Spanish and Italian
Prelates, would join in this step. For Haynald’s object was to propose
that the whole assembly should be divided into eight national groups, and
that each of these “eight nations” should be entitled to have two or three
members, elected from its own body,—some sixteen or twenty-four in
all—added to the four elected Commissions, and to the Commission nominated
by the Pope for examining all motions proposed. This, it was thought,
would secure a counterpoise to the skilfully disciplined majority which
was crushing out all opposition. For it has already become evident that
the strength of the Romanist party lies in the number of titular Bishops
selected by the Pope, and Vicars-Apostolic or missionary Bishops; in
persons, that is, who, having no flocks, or only having them in
expectation, represent in fact nothing and nobody, and can therefore bear
no testimony to the faith of their Churches, which have no existence. The
Germans were greatly elated by this project; they admired and
congratulated themselves on having shown so much spirit, and daring to
tell the Pope something widely different from the assurance that they were
ready to die in absolute subjection to him. Hereupon Schwarzenberg came
forward to declare that he would not sign the petition, as he did not
choose to compromise himself further with the Pope, and Rauscher of
Vienna, and Tarnóczy of Salzburg, sided with him. This caused great
consternation, and at the first moment many thought it betokened an entire
apostasy, and that in Schwarzenberg’s case the Cardinal had triumphed over
the German. But he has so emphatically denied this that he must be
believed. It is very conceivable that Schwarzenberg, seeing more deeply
into the situation at Rome, was led by grounds of expediency to take this
course; possibly the mere wish to make as sparing use as they could of the
fund of high spirit and courage brought from Germany, and the fear of
using it up too quickly, in case the Council should last some time, may
have determined the three Prelates to decline subscribing. Already a new
demand has been made upon the Bishops, to adopt the _Schema_ the Pope had
intrusted the preparation of to the Jesuits.

The contest over this _Schema_ has begun in good earnest, according to the
impression made by the General Congregation held yesterday, Dec. 28. The
first part of the _Schema_ was the one the speakers dwelt on,—as far, that
is, as they could be heard, for the acoustic uselessness of the hall makes
itself felt before and behind, and the pulpit had to be carried about all
round the room before the right position could be hit upon for it.
Meanwhile it had transpired, who were the authors of the _Schema_ which
the Pope meant to promulgate, “with the approbation of the Council,” as a
binding rule of faith. They were two German Jesuits, Schrader, and
another, either Franzelin or Kleutgen. It is remembered how, a year ago, a
great deal was made in the newspapers of distinguished German scholars
having been summoned to Rome for the preliminary labours of the Council.
If several of the names mentioned created surprise from their obscurity,
it gave satisfaction to find among those invited men like Hefele and
Haneberg. It is now clear that every work of real importance was intrusted
to other hands, chiefly to the Jesuits, while Hefele was summoned to Rome
to extract the ceremonial from the Acts of the Council of Trent, after
which he was dismissed, and Haneberg was commissioned to prepare a report
on Eastern monasteries. Schrader has become notorious as the advocate of
the extremest Papal system by his book _De Unitate Romanâ Commentarius_,
where he treats all episcopal authority as a mere emanation of the Papal.
According to him, every article of the Syllabus is to be so understood
that the contradictory statement contains the true doctrine. It was
therefore with very good reason that he was chosen out to draw up the
_Schema_, or, in other words, to fabricate a second strait-waistcoat for
theology, after the Council had already been put into one in the
regulations for the order of business.

The _Schema_ has aroused manifold displeasure, even among allies of
Schrader and his brethren, and men who, like them, are Infallibilists.
What I hear said everywhere is that the whole thing is a poor and very
superficial piece of patchwork, with more words than ideas, and, as the
blind old Archbishop Tizzani said in the Congregation, is above all
designed to stamp the opinions of the Jesuit school as dogmas, and to
substitute a string of new obligatory articles of faith for the
_theologumena_ or doctrines of the theological schools hitherto left open
to the judgment of individuals. For a Society, like that of Loyola’s
disciples, it is of supreme importance to possess in the multitude of new
anathemas what will always supply abundant matter for accusations; it
appertains to their “arcana dominationis” always to keep alive the fear of
being charged with heresy. It makes other theologians dependent on the
Order, and cramps their literary energies. And it must be borne in mind
that there are no longer any powerful theological corporations which might
meet the Jesuits on equal terms. Were the _Schema_ to be adopted, very few
professors of Old Testament Exegesis could escape the charge of heresy, so
far is the inspiration of the scriptural books, even the
deutero-canonical, extended here for the first time.

And thus it happened yesterday that there was no single speaker for the
_Schema_, but all, beginning with Cardinal Rauscher, spoke against it; and
Archbishop Conolly of Halifax said in so many words, “Censeo _Schema_ cum
honore esse sepeliendum.” This of course has only been the beginning of
the discussion, and we are naturally in suspense as to how it will
proceed. But so much is already gained, that a spirit of independence is
roused among the Bishops. Much is said here about the desertion of certain
Bishops from the ranks of the Opposition, and new names are mentioned
every morning, often with the remark that So-and-so has let himself be
caught with the bait of one of the fifteen vacant Hats. These Hats are
held here to be capable of working miracles. There is thought to be no
more effective means of working the conversion of a hardened
anti-Infallibilist than a decoration of that kind, and, in truth, the
number might not be great of those who would say with Darboy, “Je n’ai
point de rhumer de cerveau, je n’ai pas besoin de chapeau.” As long as
fifteen of these Hats are suspended in the air ready to descend on a
willing head, so long, every Italian is convinced, there can be no lack of
conversions. The example of the Synod of Constantinople in 859 is quoted,
where the Bishops were induced to vote for the deposition of Synesius by
promising each of them separately the Patriarchal throne. Yet of the
majority of French, German, Hungarian, and American Bishops, no one who
knows them would expect this weakness; and so on closer inspection these
rumours come to nothing. Even Ketteler, who had been given up for lost on
account of his intimate relations with the Jesuits,—he lives in the German
College—shows himself firm, and the most important personage who as yet
has deceived the expectations formed of him is Cardinal Bonnechose,
Archbishop of Rouen. It is stated in German circles that fifteen Spanish
Bishops are wavering, and show a disposition to join the Opposition. The
apprehension that the other party, whose admirable organization and
adroitness in manœuvring deserves the highest praise, will carry through
Infallibility by a _coup_ still survives, and only yesterday several
Bishops entered the Council Hall in dread of being taken by surprise by
the acclamation. Cardinal di Pietro says it is no longer possible to drop
the affair; things have gone too far already.

I understand the feeling of the Roman clergy, and their indignation at
these stubborn Hyperboreans. It is as though one wanted to snatch from the
hands of the thirsty wanderer, who, after long toil, had at length reached
the fountain, the cup he was raising to his lips. With Infallibility, as
it is now defined and made clear as the sun at noonday by the Jesuits, all
resistance is broken, every attack triumphantly parried, every end brought
within reach. If the _Curia_ once becomes by this means the horny
Siegfried, no vulnerable point even in the back will be left. The Jesuit
Schrader, in his book on Roman unity, has proved that every act and every
ordinance of the Pope is infallible. For, as he says, “all Papal measures,
as regards their truth, belong to the order of faith, or morals, or law.
All decrees, whatever their subject, always contain a true doctrine,
whether speculative, moral, or juridical. But the Pope is infallible in
the order of truth and doctrine, and therefore in all his decrees.” Your
readers will believe I am ridiculing or calumniating the valiant Jesuit,
who shines at present as a star of the first magnitude in the theological
heavens of Rome; but I have only given a faithful translation, as any one
may ascertain for himself. That is the logic which prevails here, and
which no Roman cleric doubts to be of triumphant force.

_Dec. 30._—The second Session of the General Congregation on the _Schema_
took place yesterday. About a third of the hall had been cut off by a
partition, so that the speakers could be somewhat better understood. Among
the five speakers, who, like the seven that had preceded them, pronounced
for the rejection of the _Schema_, Strossmayer, and Ginoulbiac, of
Grenoble, who is considered the best theologian among the French Bishops,
commanded most attention. The _Schema_ was again censured for going much
too far in its statements and condemnations, and it was shown that the
Council, by accepting it, would enter on a wholly new path, widely
different from that of the earlier Councils, where the Church would be
forced into constantly narrower definitions, until a complete dogmatic
philosophy, stiff and rigid, had been formalized. Strossmayer also
observed on the formula of promulgation selected by Pius, which represents
the Pope as a dogmatic lawgiver, and the Council as a mere consultative
body called in to assist him, that it is an unheard-of innovation,
departing from all conciliar traditions. This led to an opposite statement
by Cardinal Capalti, one of the Presidents, and a reply from Strossmayer.
As yet no single one of the host of 500 has said a word in defence of the
_Schema_. The excitement is, as may be conceived, great. That even
Rauscher came forward against the _Schema_ created the more sensation, as
it was he who brought its author, Schrader, to the University of Vienna.



EIGHTH LETTER.


_Rome, Jan. 8, 1870._—One month is now gone by without any result, or, as
many here say, simply wasted. The first real Session, on January 6, went
off without any single decree being published. It has produced a very
painful impression generally, that, for the obvious purpose of something
to do, the unmeaning ceremony has been adopted of swearing to the
profession of faith which every Prelate had already sworn to at his
ordination and at other times. The question was inevitably forced on men’s
minds whether this profusion of superfluous swearings, in an assembly of
men on whose orthodoxy no shadow of suspicion had been cast, was at all
fitting or reconcilable with the Scriptural prohibition of needless oaths.
But the Session had been announced, and the Opposition Bishops, contrary
to expectation, had found a great deal to censure in the _Schema_ in
general and in detail, so that in four General Congregations nothing had
been effected. The simplest plan would have been to defer the Session, and
anywhere else that course would have been followed. But in Rome? That
would have been a _de facto_ confession of having made a mistake, and it
is here a first principle that the _Curia_ is always right. So they had
747 oaths taken, and thus the Solemn Session was held.

It is exceedingly convenient to have to deal with a majority of 600
Prelates, who are simply your creatures, obedient to every hint, and
admirably disciplined. Three hundred of them are still further bound to
Pius IX. by a special tie, for they are indebted to him, as the _Civiltà_
of January 1 reminded them, for both food and lodging, “sono da lui
alloggiati e sostentati e assistiti in tutto il bisognevole alla vita.”
Nor does that journal fail to point to the extreme poverty of many of the
Bishops or Vicars-Apostolic, drawn hither from Asia, Africa, and
Australia; even among the European Bishops it calls many “poverissimi.”
Who has paid their travelling expenses, it says not. The _Civiltà_ may be
easy; none of them will swell the ranks of the Opposition, or attack the
_Schema_, or refuse their votes and acclamations to the infallibility of
their benefactor. And then the _Civiltà_ has another powerful factor to
rely upon; it says, and confirms what it says by the words used by the
Pope at the Centenary, June 27, 1867, that from the tomb of St. Peter
issues a secret force, which inspires the Bishops with a bold and
enterprising spirit and great-hearted decisions. If I rightly understand
the _Civiltà_, it means that for many Bishops it is a risk, and requires a
lofty courage, to vote for Papal Infallibility here in Rome, while the
clergy and laity of their own dioceses, excepting a few old women of
either sex, never hitherto knew, or wished to know, anything of this
Infallibility, and the prevalent belief has always been that the business
of Bishops at a Council was only to bear witness to the faith and
tradition of their Churches, not to construct new dogmas strange to the
minds of their flocks. “Nous avons changé tout cela,” thinks the Roman
journal, and therefore is the Council held in St. Peter’s, and not in the
Lateran, that the “secret force” may take full effect. Certainly there is
no lack of secret forces here, They are in full activity; there is an
address being hawked about, praying the Pope to take up the Infallibility
question at once, and put the Council in a position to vote upon it. This
time the movement originated with two German Bishops, Martin of Paderborn
and Senestrey of Regensburg. Slender causes and great effects! When the
pond is full, a couple of moles can produce a flood by working their way
through the dam. Both of these men have become perceptibly impatient at
the obstinate and rebellious disposition of their German and Austrian
colleagues, and are seeking to hasten the day, when, with the new dogma in
their hands, they may triumph as willing believers over the forced belief
of their brethren, only converted at the last moment. The address seems to
have flashed suddenly upon the world, for—so said Mermillod and the rest
of the initiated—its very existence was hardly known of; and it had 500
signatures. It was not shown to Bishops of notoriously anti-Infallibilist
sentiments, but no labour is spared with the doubtful, and others who have
not yet declared themselves, so that it is quite possible 600 signatures
may be scraped together. Papal Infallibility is here limited to cases
where the Pope addresses his dogmatic decision to the whole Catholic
Church.(28) That was Bellarmine’s view, and it would certainly offer many
advantages; for all difficulties and objections drawn from the first
twelve centuries of Church history would be cut off at a stroke, as it is
notorious that no Pope during that entire period addressed any decree on
matters of faith to the whole Church. The idea never occurred even to a
Gregory VII. or Alexander III. or Innocent III. The two last only issued
decrees at the head and in the name of General Councils. Boniface VIII.,
in 1302, was the first who in the title addressed his Bull _Unam Sanctam_
to the whole Christian world. This Bull therefore, which makes the Pope
king of kings and sole lord in political as in religious matters, would
indeed be covered with the shield of Infallibility, and we should have a
firm and immoveable foundation for the policy and civil law both of the
present and the future. At the same time the various hypotheses and
attempted denials rendered necessary by the case of Pope Honorious would
be got rid of at one blow. Only this little difficulty would remain: how
it came to pass that the Popes, who only needed to prefix the word “Orbi,”
or “Ecclesiæ Catholicæ,” to their decrees, in order to make them
infallible and unassailable, so persistently despised this simple means,
and thereby tolerated or produced so much uncertainty in the world? All
their decrees before 1302, and most of them since, are addressed to
particular individuals or corporations, and therefore fallible.

The question now is, whether the minority of some 200 Prelates have spirit
and harmony enough for a counter-address. On this thread the fate of the
Catholic Church seems to hang. Pius IX. says, “As to Infallibility, I
believed it as plain Abbé Mastai, and now, as Pope Mastai, I _feel_
it.”(29) He could therefore give us the best information, if he “feels”
his infallibility, as to whether he only feels it when he signs a decree
addressed to the whole Church, or also whenever his dogmatic anathemas, of
which we possess such an abundance, are addressed to a single Bishop or
national Church only. Meanwhile, if that large section of the
Infallibilists who are fanatical get the upper hand, no distinctions will
be admitted; the matter will be settled straight off by acclamation, and
the Pope will be simply told, “Thou alone art always inspired by the Holy
Ghost, whether speaking to all, to many, or to one, and every word of
thine is for us the command of God.” Others naturally opine that the
matter cannot be so easily arranged, but that the question must be taken
up in good earnest and sifted to the bottom, that it may be demonstrated
to the whole world that Infallibility admits of historical illustration.

In a conversation which took place to-day between two leading men of the
opposite parties, a Belgian and a Frenchman, the former said, “Je veux que
l’on discute à fond tous les textes et tous les faits.” The Frenchman
answered, “Je souffre de penser que le Saint Siége va être discuté et
disséqué de la sorte!” That is, in truth, a serious anxiety. To begin
with, no discussion among the Fathers can be dreamt of so long as the
Council Hall in St. Peter’s is kept to, for the speeches made there
already for the most part were not understood at all, or only by very few.
What is heard is waves of sound, not words and sentences. But even if at
last a room better suited for human voices and ears is found, the question
of Infallibility would never be submitted to a regular and really free
discussion. How would the Romance majority of Spaniards and Italians, who
are the slaves of the _Curia_ but the masters of the Council, and whose
whole intellectual outfit is based on the scholasticism of the
seminaries—how would they receive it, if an audacious German or Frenchman
were to throw the light of history and criticism on the rambling
Infallibilist evidences of, _e.g._, a Perrone? What scenes should we
witness! The offenders would be reduced to silence, not only by the
throats but the feet of the majority.(30) Either the discussion will be
broken off, when it is begun, or it will never be allowed to begin. And
therefore so many favour the plan of acclamation; and it is related how
Archbishop Darboy assured the Cardinal de Luca that such an attempt would
be followed by the immediate departure and protest of a number of
Bishops.(31)



NINTH LETTER.


_Rome, Jan. 9, 1870._—The Opposition has become exceedingly troublesome.
The successive gradation of Roman judgments about it is noteworthy. First,
it was said that the Council ran like a well-oiled machine; that all were
of one mind, and only vied with each other in their devotion to the
Supreme Head. Then the local correspondents of foreign papers reported
that something which looked like opposition was manifesting itself, but it
was a mere drop in the ocean. So said the London _Tablet_ and _Weekly
Register_. Next they allowed there was certainly an Opposition, but it was
already demoralized, or, as Antonelli said, must speedily fall to pieces.
In diplomatic circles it was said that they were good people enough, but
one must wait a little till the impressions of Fulda had worn off, and
they had imbibed the _spirito Romano_; “il leur faut deux mois de Rome, et
tout le monde sera d’accord.” One month more, January, has to pass, and
then in February conversions and desertions will begin. Meanwhile, Simor,
Primate of Hungary, Tarnóczy of Salzburg, and Manning, are favourites for
vacant Hats. It is hoped that the first will split up the harmony of the
Hungarian Bishops, and bring over some with him as trophies into the
Infallibilist camp.

Cardinals Schwarzenberg and Rauscher—that is now become perfectly
clear—have not budged an inch; both of them feel thoroughly as Germans,
and are nowise minded to desert, cowardly and despairing, into the great
Romance camp. Schwarzenberg has circulated an excellently composed
treatise, which speaks out very judiciously on the real needs of the
Church, and certain reforms which are become urgently needed, and
emphasizes the perversity shown in the demand for the Infallibilist
dogma.(32) Cardinal Rauscher has done the same, and his treatise against
Infallibility is now in circulation. Something more has occurred also: on
the 2d of January, 25 Austrian and German Bishops, with Schwarzenberg at
their head, subscribed a protest, drawn up by Haynald, Ketteler, and
Strossmayer, which is said to have been read and talked over fifteen times
before it gave entire satisfaction. They appeal to their inherent rights,
not dependent on Papal grace, but on Divine institution; ready as they are
to guard the rights of the Head, they must also demand that the rights of
the members shall be preserved and respected; the forms and traditions of
the Tridentine Synod should not be so far departed from. The tone of the
document is dignified. Rauscher has not subscribed though he thoroughly
agrees with it, it is said from considerations the force of which the
other Prelates acknowledged. The petition handed in by 15 French Prelates
for an alteration of the order of business the Pope has answered by a mere
dry refusal. We shall soon see whether the Germans will meet with similar
treatment; in the eyes of these Italians the most modest criticisms and
demands are open rebellion. To many of the German and Hungarian Bishops
even this Protest seemed too bold and audacious, and they have prepared
another representation, with forty signatures, expressed in much more
moderate terms. They entreat the Pope to be graciously pleased to allow
them to inspect the stenographic reports, and to let the Bishops print
their treatises on the questions laid before them without the censorship,
for the information of their colleagues. Posterity will marvel at the
humble submissiveness of these Bishops, and the wisdom of the Roman
policy, which, after two years’ preparation for the Council, provides a
hall where all discussion is impossible, and furthermore prohibits the
Bishops from inspecting the stenographic reports of their own speeches.

Some ten of the leading Bishops of different nations have formed
themselves into an International Committee, so as not, for the future, to
ask concessions of the Pope in the name of one nation only—the French or
German. They wish that every Bishop should be admitted to speak in
Congregation according to the order of inscription, irrespective of
hierarchial rank or age, and that the speeches should be at once printed,
and distributed to the Bishops before the next Session; and finally, that
the Papal Commission for revising motions, which holds the whole Council
in its hands, should be increased by the introduction of members freely
elected. Some further requisitions which I am not acquainted with are said
to be added.

Against these things, which make the Pope very irritable, two principal
remedies are adopted. In the first place, an attempt is made to prevent
any number of Bishops meeting together, either by direct prohibition or by
announcing the displeasure of the supreme authority against those who take
part in such separate deliberations, which are said to be revolutionary.
And next, the Bishops are worked upon individually, and every one is
watched and taken stock of, on the assumption that everybody has his
price, if one could only discover what it is. Two examples of this may be
cited here. One of the most distinguished German Bishops, who is free from
the usual clerical vanity, and could neither be bought with titles nor
with the cut or colour of a vestment, was quite lately accosted by the
Pope—in full consciousness of his Vicarship of Christ—with the question,
asked in the most affectionate tone, “Amas me?” What inference was
attached to an affirmative answer need not be specified. The other case
occurred somewhat earlier. Lavigerie, Bishop of Nancy, came to Rome
coveting some striking mark of distinction. It seemed worth while to bind
him closer to the _Curia_, and so an article of ecclesiastical dress was
hit upon, which he and no other Bishop of the Western Church was to wear.
It was called a superhumeral, and is described as a somewhat broader
stole, thrown over the shoulders, and adorned with fringes, with two
maniples of the shape of shields hanging down from it. The effect is said
to have been enormous, and of course since then Mgr. Lavigerie is a
profoundly convinced Infallibilist. “C’est avec de hochets qu’on mène les
hommes,” said the first Napoleon; but it moves one’s pity to look at
Bishops who let themselves be led by the nose by these childish toys.

Very instructive considerations may be formed here on the representation
of particular nations and national Churches at the Council. Frenchmen and
Germans must practise themselves in the virtues of humility and modesty,
and learn how insignificant they are in the Catholic Church, in all that
concerns doctrine and legislation. There is the diocese of Breslau, with
1,700,000 Catholics, but its Bishop has not been chosen for any single
Commission, while the 700,000 inhabitants of the present Roman States are
represented by 62 Bishops, and the Italians form half or two-thirds in
every Commission. For the Kingdom of God, wherein the least is greater
than John and all the Prophets, lies, as is well known, between
Montefiascone and Terracina, and whoever first saw the light in Sonnino,
Velletri, Ceccano, Anagni, or Rieti, is predestinated from the cradle
“imperio regere populos.” It is true the 62 Bishops of this chosen land
and people have not succeeded in restoring the most moderate standard of
morality in their little towns and villages; there are still whole
communities and districts notoriously in league with brigands—but the
Council has no call to trouble itself with matters of that sort. There are
the Archbishops of Cologne with 1,400,000, of Cambray with 1,300,000, and
of Paris with 2,000,000 Catholics, but any four of the 62 Neapolitan and
Sicilian Bishops can out-vote these Bishops with their 5,000,000 Catholics
at their back. Thus the 12,000,000 Catholics of Germany Proper are
represented at this Council by fourteen votes. Their relative positions
may be expressed in this way: in Church matters twenty Germans count for
less than one Italian. And should a German indulge any fancy that his
nation, with its numerous theological High Schools, and its learned
theologians, might reasonably claim some weight at a Council, he only need
come here to be cured at once of that notion. There is not in all Italy
one single real Theological Faculty, except in Rome; Spain gets on equally
without any higher theological school or any theology; yet here at the
Council some hundreds of Italians and Spaniards are masters, and are the
appointed teachers of doctrine and dictators of faith for all nations
belonging to the Church.

Count Terenzio Mamiani has lately observed, in the _Nuova Antologia_,
published at Florence, that in Italy there are not so many religious books
printed in half a century as appear in England or North America (or
Germany) in one year. And we must remember too that the theological
literature published in Tuscany and Lombardy might almost be called
copious in comparison with the nearly absolute sterility of the States of
the Church. Here in Rome you may find a lottery dream-book in almost every
house, but never a New Testament, and extremely seldom any religious book
at all. It seems as though it were a recognised principle that, the more
ignorant a people, the greater must be the share their hierarchy have in
the government of the Church. And thus we have the question of
nationalities within the bosom of the Church. Everything done here is but
the expression of one idea and the means to one end, and this idea and end
are that the spiritual domination of the Italians over the other nations,
especially over the Germans and French, should be extended and confirmed.
Above a hundred Spaniards have come from both sides of the ocean to let
themselves be used as instruments of the Italians at the Council. They
have no thought, or will, or suggestion of their own for the good of the
Church. It is difficult to form a notion of the ignorance of these Latins
in all historical questions, and their entire want of that general
cultivation which is assumed with us as a matter of course in a priest or
bishop. And up to this time I have always found here that the predilection
for the Infallibilist theory is in precise proportion to the ignorance of
its advocates. It has been deemed necessary still further to help on this
immense numerical superiority, and so the Pope, as I am informed, has
appointed during the two years since the proclamation of the Council 89
Bishops _in partibus_, whose flocks are in the moon or in Sirius.

And now for something about the course of procedure in the Council as to
the _Schema_ during the last ten days. There are only constantly speeches
on each side, for a real discussion is impossible in the Hall, and it is
obvious that it was chosen, and is still kept to in spite of daily
experience, for that very reason.(33) Some speakers, however, whom nature
has endowed with a specially ringing voice, have made an unwonted
impression. The most significant occurrence was Cardinal Capalti’s
interruption of Strossmayer’s speech. The Bishop had touched on the novel
and unconciliar form in which the decrees were to be published, as
decisions of the Pope, with the mere approval or forced consent of the
Council. It was an ominous circumstance that the assembly sacrificed by
its silence the man who was speaking for its rights. Meanwhile there has
been a wholly unexpected attack on the _Schema_ by a host of speakers, so
that Antonelli, on leaving the Council, said, in visible excitement, to a
diplomatist who was waiting for him, that this could not continue, or the
Council would go on for ten years. Strossmayer was followed by Ginoulhiac,
the learned Bishop of Grenoble, who spoke in the same sense. The
proportion of speakers against the _Schema_ is overwhelming. In the
Session of January 3, all four spoke against it, even the Patriarch of
Venice. An impression was produced by the warning of the Eastern
Patriarch, Hassoun, against embittering the Orientals, and driving them
into schism by dogmatic innovations. The Italian, Valerga, named by the
Pope to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, represented the Roman
standpoint in its crudest form, but he had his speech read for him by
Bishop Gandolfi.

It is now said to be certain that Darboy, Simor, and Tarnóczy have been
apprised of the intention to make them Cardinals. As regards the two last,
the abandonment of all opposition to the Infallibilist dogma, and to every
other decree on faith in a Papal sense, is an indispensable condition. But
with Darboy the case is different: the _Curia_ must take him as he is or
let him alone, for he cannot be bought at any price. The irritation,
complaints, and sighs of the Pope at having to make this man a Cardinal,
who will not yield or apologize, have already lasted some years. The
Romanist party have published in a Quebec newspaper the Pope’s bitter and
reproachful letter to him, to which he made no reply. Darboy was and is
resolved to be the _bonâ fide_ Bishop of his diocese, the largest in the
world, and will not admit any arbitrary encroachments or concurrent
jurisdiction of the Court of Rome to annul his acts at its caprice. “This
stinks of schism,” say the Romans here.(34) And therefore, according to
Roman notions, he is “a bad Christian,” for he does not believe in Papal
Infallibility, and will not vote for it even as a Cardinal. Moreover,
nobody sees better through the whole web of curialistic policy, with its
artifices, small and great, and he shows not the slightest sympathy for
it, so that in any case he will be a very inconvenient and unprofitable
Cardinal. At the same time he is a man of rare eloquence, rich experience
and knowledge of mankind, and easily outweighs ten Italian Cardinals in
culture and learning. And the worst of it is that this bitter necessity of
elevating Darboy has to be accepted with a good grace, for France wills
it, and France must still remain the magnanimous champion of Rome and the
Council. Some consolation is found for it in the now openly proclaimed
apostasy of Archbishop Spalding of Baltimore, who has hitherto been
wavering, for it is hoped that other American Bishops will follow his
example.

If at the end of the first month we take a view of the situation, it is
clear that the word “Council” requires to be taken in a very wide and
general sense to include this assembly. It cannot be compared with the
ancient Councils in the first thousand years of Church history, before the
separation of East and West, for there are no points of contact. In the
first place, the whole lay world, all sovereigns and their ambassadors,
are entirely excluded from the Synod, which has never happened from the
Council of Nice downwards. That was, of course, necessary, for even at
Trent the French ambassador announced, on entering the Council, that his
King had sent him to watch over the freedom of the Bishops; and certainly
the ambassadors of Catholic Powers would have protested against the
present arrangements and order of business, which give much less security
than even at Trent. Here the Bishops are in a sense the Pope’s prisoners.
Without his permission they cannot leave the Council, they are forbidden
to meet together for common deliberation, are not allowed to print
anything till it has passed the censorship, or to bring forward any motion
without the Pope’s approval. It is the Pope who makes the decrees and
defines the dogmas; the Council has simply to assent. Two rights only are
left to the Bishops; they can make speeches in the General Congregation,
and they can say _Placet_ or _Non placet_. There is a quite luxurious
abundance of means of coercion, impediments and chains;—with the Pope’s
300 episcopal boarders, the 62 Bishops of the Roman States, the 68
Neapolitans, Sicilians, etc., all manœuvring with a precision a Prussian
General could not wish to surpass on the reviewing-ground, the _Curia_
might have fairly hoped to gain its ends, even were a little more freedom
allowed to the Opposition section of the Assembly.(35)



TENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Jan. 15, 1870._—On Sunday last the Pope gave audience to a great
crowd of visitors,—some 700 or 1000, it is said,—at once, and took
occasion to express before them his displeasure at the Opposition Bishops.
He said there were some Prelates who lacked the temper of perfect faith,
and hence arose difficulties, which however he, the Pope, should know how
to overcome. In Church matters no attention was to be paid to the judgment
of the world, as he himself despised it, for the Church’s kingdom is not
of this world. It has hitherto of course been held in the Church that the
judgment of the world—that is, of their flocks, who constitute their own
immediate world—is exactly what the Bishops ought to attend to very much,
and to avoid giving offence to them and perplexing their consciences in
matters of religion.

The prohibition to hold large episcopal meetings, communicated to the
French Bishops only through Cardinal Bonnechose, is not obeyed either by
the French or Germans, who continue to take counsel together. The united
Germans and Hungarians have accepted in substance an address drawn up by
Cardinal Rauscher, and on Sunday, January 9, bound themselves by a
reciprocal obligation, with forty-three signatures, to vote against and
combat in all conciliar methods the erection of Papal Infallibility into a
dogma. The Austrian Prelates stand foremost in clearness, decision, and
courage. Rauscher, Schwarzenberg, Haynald, and Strossmayer know what they
want, are full of true love for the Church, understand the greatness of
the danger, and are perfectly aware that no positive gain, nor any of the
important reforms so urgently needed, can be expected from this
Council—the Spanish and Italian phalanx is too strong and impenetrable for
that,—but they hope, at least, by energetic resistance to ward off
positive mischief from the Church.

The French on their part are active; Cardinal Mathieu, who returned to
Rome, January 5, has opened a saloon in his house for the deliberations.
Next to Dupanloup, Bishop Place of Marseilles, Meignan of Châlons,
Landriot of Rheims, and Ginoulhiac of Grenoble, speak most decidedly.
There are some thirty-five like-minded with them, and the inopportunists
among them and the Germans are gradually coming to perceive that their
position is quite untenable, and that to persist in treating Infallibility
as a mere question of time and convenience, is to give their adversaries a
safe and easy victory. But the Germans are further advanced in this
conviction than the French. The now famous Infallibilist Address seems to
have been simultaneously hawked about from two quarters, viz., by the trio
of Manning, Deschamps, and Spalding, and by Martin and Senestrey. Who
composed it, and how many Bishops have signed it, is still uncertain; the
movement has come to a dead-lock, perhaps because the Spaniards, who talk
of presenting an address of their own, don’t want to sign it. Several
Italians too refused to sign, and so the result has not been as
satisfactory as was hoped, although it can hardly be doubted that the
dogma will have 450 or 500 votes when it is laid before the Council.

It is a characteristic feature of the case, that throughout Italy prayers
are offered in all the monastic communities still surviving, and in all
zealously Catholic families, for the definition of the new dogma. The fact
is mentioned in English journals, and I have heard it confirmed here. It
reveals the patriotic feeling, that Papal Infallibility is an Italian
possession more or less profitable to every member of the nation. “The
Pope,” as one hears it said here, “will always feel and think above all as
an Italian; his decrees are manufactured by a Court nine-tenths of whom,
at least, are Italians, and with his infallibility under our management,
we Italians shall be able to dominate and make capital out of all other
nations, in so far as they desire to be Catholic.” The Italian is
generally a good calculator. However, Italian priests and prelates feel
and know right well what every nation and national Church owes to itself.
If the Papacy belonged to any other nation, the Italians would never dream
for a moment of acknowledging the system of Papal absolutism with its
grand prop of Papal Infallibility. One soon observes, in conversing with
these Monsignori, how they despise in their hearts the French and German
Ultramontane Bishops, while at the same time admitting the correctness of
their views, and praising them liberally for rolling in the dust before
the infallible _Curia_, and crying out to the Romans, as that orator
Ekebolius cried out to the Emperor Julian, “Only trample us under your
feet, the salt that has lost its savour.”

Thirty-five German Bishops have declared at the beginning, that they are
ready to subscribe the above-mentioned counter address against the dogma
of Infallibility, pretty fully expressed in the form of a petition to the
Pope, and among them are included those who were before of opinion that
they had sufficiently discharged their duty by the letter they sent to him
from Fulda. This is a praiseworthy example of harmony, but at the same
time the greatness of the danger, which has now become evident to even the
most trustful mind, is shown by the fact that all present at the
consultation on this address bound themselves in writing to subscribe it.
It is needless to say that the Tyrolese and the pupils of the Jesuits,
with Bishop Martin, held aloof from the meeting.

Another proof was given on this occasion of the very different measure
dealt to the two parties. The Infallibilist Address was at once printed,
though everything else here has first to undergo the most rigorous
censorship. The Roman censors would, of course, have refused their
_imprimatur_ to the counter address, and there was some scruple felt about
printing it out of the country, as though by an evasion of the Papal laws,
and so it cannot be printed at all. Even Bishop Dupanloup has been refused
permission to print his answer to Deschamps. The address will probably be
subscribed by the Bishops of each nation in separate batches, so that
there will be five addresses, coinciding in substance. Forty-seven Germans
and Hungarians are reckoned on—so many have subscribed already—and
thirty-five French. The Anglo-Americans have somewhat altered the wording
of the address, and say they can command twenty-five signatures. But what
is most remarkable is, that a considerable section of the North-Italian
Bishops from Piedmont and Lombardy now come out as opponents of
Infallibilism, and give promise of twenty-five signatures for the counter
address. The decisive point with them is their relation to the Italian
nation and government, for the Infallibilist dogma must inevitably lead to
a hopelessly incurable rupture between it and the Church. To these must be
added six Irish and four Portuguese, making in all an Opposition of from
140 to 150 votes.

The great question daily mooted in the Vatican is now, how Infallibility
can be erected into a dogma in spite of the resistance of the Opposition
minority, for there is no longer any illusion as to an obstinate residue
of anti-Infallibilist protesters being sure to be left, after allowing for
the fullest effects of all the alluring seductions used. Precedents are
sought for in the history of Councils where the majority has passed
decrees according to its own will, without regard to the opposite
representations and negative votes of the minority. But no such precedents
are to be found. At all Councils from Nice downwards the dogmatic decrees
have always been passed only with entire or approximate unanimity. Even at
Trent, where the Italians, commanded from Rome through the legates,
dominated everything, many very important decrees were abandoned after
being drawn up, as soon as a few Bishops only had pronounced against them.
If only this fatal precedent of the Tridentine Synod could be got rid of!
The Jesuits investigate and refine, but, unluckily for them, one of their
own body, Father Matignon, in 1868, when an Opposition was still believed
to be impossible, himself established the fact, and justified it on
doctrinal grounds;(36) and that is made use of now. So there is nothing
left but to labour indefatigably for the conversion of opponents. But
people in Rome seem not to know “qu’on ne prend pas les mouches avec du
vinaigre;” and that methods of coercion, intimidation, and discrediting
character, are not quite the most effectual means, psychologically, for
converting adverse Bishops, is clear from the tone again and again
manifested in the speeches on the _Schema_, which has gained conspicuously
in sharpness and explicitness. On January 10, a Northern Prelate,
distinguished for gentleness and refinement, but accustomed to
parliamentary contests, said he had been obliged to speak in the vigorous
style usual in his own country of the entire absence of real freedom in
the Council, for the insolence of the other party was becoming daily more
intolerable.



ELEVENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Jan. 17, 1870._—It is a remarkable phenomenon that Pius IX., who is
every way inferior to his predecessors of this century in theological
culture, lets himself be so completely dominated by his passion for
creating new articles of faith. Former Popes have indeed had their
hobbies: some wanted to aggrandize and enrich their families; others, like
Sixtus VI., were zealous in building, or, like Leo X., in fostering art
and literature, or they waged wars like Julius II., or, finally, they
wrote learned works, and composed many long Bulls full of quotations,
etc., like Benedict XIV. But not one of them has been seized with this
passion for manufacturing dogmas; it is something quite unique in the
history of the Popes. Herein, therefore, Pius IX. is a singular phenomenon
in his way, and all the more wonderful from his hitherto having kept aloof
from theology, and, as one always hears, not being in the habit of ever
reading theological books. If it is inquired how this strange idiosyncrasy
has been aroused in the soul of a Pope who began his reign under such very
different auspices, as a political reformer, the answer given by every one
is, that it is the Jesuits, whose influence over him has been constantly
growing since he took Father Mignardi of that Order for his confessor, and
who have created and fostered in him this passion for dogma-making.

The displeasure and discontent of the Bishops finds constant nutriment in
the conduct of the _Curia_. They say that if these momentous propositions
had been laid before them in good time, some months before the opening of
the Council, so that they might have carefully examined them and pursued
the theological studies requisite for that purpose, they should have come
duly prepared, whereas now they are in the position of having to speak and
vote on the most difficult questions almost extempore. The attacks and
objections directed against the first part of the _Schema_ in their
speeches have not applied so much to the separate articles as to the
general scope and tendency of the whole, and I have not been able to
ascertain anything more certain about the matter, for the real elaboration
of the _Schema_, and discussion of its articles in detail, has to be
managed in the Commission; in the Council Hall it is impossible. As yet
there have been only long speeches on either side, as in academies or in a
school of rhetoric, which, for the most part, were not understood, and in
which the main question—what shape the decrees are to take, if issued at
all—was never grappled with.

On Friday, January 14, the debate on the _Schema_ opened. This is occupied
with the duties of Bishops—their residence, visitation of their dioceses,
and obligation of frequently travelling to Rome and presenting regular
reports on the state of their dioceses; the holding of Provincial and
Diocesan Synods, and Vicars-General. The duties of Bishops are the one
thing spoken of, and the design is everywhere transparent of increasing
their dependence on the _Curia_, and centralizing all Church government in
Rome still more than before. Archbishop Darboy observed on it, that it was
above all necessary, in examining this second _Schema_, to discuss the
rights of Bishops, instead of only the duties Rome assigned them. Cardinal
Schwarzenberg had really opened the debate in this sense, and he had the
courage to speak of the College of Cardinals, and the reforms it needed. A
simple Bishop would not have been suffered to do this, but they dared not
interrupt a Cardinal. The speakers who followed, too, had a good deal to
find fault with in the _Schema_, especially Ballerini, formerly rejected
as Archbishop of Milan, and now titular Patriarch of Alexandria, and Simor
the Primate of Hungary. This Prelate has protested so emphatically against
the _Schema_ and the treatment the Bishops have experienced at the hands
of the _Curia_, that the offer of a Cardinal’s Hat seems by no means to
have produced the desired effect upon him. There are said to be still
sixteen portions or chapters of the _Schema_ in reserve, so that the
authorities are already displeased at the length of the Bishops’ speeches;
and lately one Bishop gained general applause by saying he renounced his
right to speak.

We may gain some very valuable evidences in Russia and Poland as to how
Papal Infallibility is already conceived of, and what hopes and fears
respectively are entertained in reference to the projected new dogma. The
six or seven million Catholics of that empire are very variously situated,
and have different interests, and therefore, in some sort, opposite
wishes. Among the Polish Catholics, who are just now being denationalized
and Russianized, many are always looking out for the overthrow of the
Russian dominion, and the restoration of a kingdom of Poland. To this
party belongs Sosnowski, formerly administrator of the diocese of Lublin,
whom the Pope has admitted to the Council. He is to represent the whole
Polish Church at the Council, and is an ardent Infallibilist; he has
accordingly given a severe snubbing, by way of answer, to the Polish
priests who had communicated to him certain proposals of reform, with a
view of restricting Papal absolutism, to be laid before the Council. His
reply circulates here, and is also to be printed in a newspaper published
at Posen. Sosnowski represents to the Polish clergy that the emancipation
of Poland from Russia must continue to be the great object; and that for
this a Pope recognised as completely absolute and infallible is
indispensable. He appears to mean that such a Pope, being supreme lord
over all monarchs and nations, can even depose the Russian Czar, or at
least absolve the Poles from their oath of allegiance. He moreover assures
them that Pius IX. has told him he reckons confidently on this
emancipation of Poland from Russia. Here in Rome it is said and taught
that the Pope is supreme master even of heretical and schismatical just as
much as of Catholic sovereigns; for through baptism, whether received
within or without the Church, every one at once becomes his subject. And
we are reminded, in proof of this, how Pope Martin IV., in 1282, deposed
the Greek Emperor, Michael Palæologus, and absolved his subjects from
their allegiance, simply because he had made a treaty with the King of
Aragon. This explains why the Russian Government told the Bishops who
requested leave to attend the Council, that they might go to Rome, but
should not return. The 2,800,000 Catholics in Russia Proper, in the
ecclesiastical province of Mohilew, think very differently from Sosnowski.
A clergyman from thence said to-day, “If Papal Infallibility is made an
article of faith, put into the catechisms and taught in the schools, it
will bring us into a most difficult and desperate position as regards the
Russian Government and people. We shall be told that our Czar sits in
Rome, and that we obey him rather than the Czar at St. Petersburg, to whom
we only swear a conditional allegiance, holding ourselves ready to rebel,
if our infallible master at Rome absolves us from the oath; that we put
his commands and prohibitions above the law of the land and the will of
the Emperor. And thus, if Papal Infallibility is defined at Rome, it will
be almost equivalent for us to a sentence of death on the Catholic Church
in Russia, for everything will be done to undermine a Church regarded as
an enemy and standing menace to the State.”

Two new works have arrived here, each of which, in its own way, touches on
the great question of the day. The one is a book of Dr. Pusey’s, on the
relations of the English Church to the Catholic, where he declares that
making Papal Infallibility a dogma would destroy all hope of a reunion of
the Churches, or of the adhesion of any considerable section of the
English Church.(37) Manning has assured them in Rome of precisely the
reverse. The other work is the first Letter of the famous Oratorian,
Father Gratry, to the Archbishop of Mechlin, a pungent criticism on that
Prelate’s brochure in favour of Infallibility, and on his gross
misrepresentations of the history of Pope Honorius.(38) Gratry also
exposes the Roman falsifications introduced into the Breviary. It may
alarm the curialists, when they discover how all the most intellectually
conspicuous among the French clergy pronounce against their favourite
doctrine, and their design of imposing it on the whole Church, and how the
disreputable means employed for building up this system, by trickery and
forgeries, are more and more being brought to light.

The Pope’s attempt to reduce 740 members of the Council to complete
silence on all that goes on there has proved a failure, as might have been
foreseen. A great deal has come out, and the Pope manifests great
displeasure at it. In a conversation with a diplomatist, who asked him
how, with this rule, trustworthy reports could be sent to the different
Governments, he accused the French Bishops of violating the secrets of the
Council, and called them “chatterboxes” (_chiacceroni_). Accordingly, in
the Session of January 14, a more rigorous version of the order of
business was read, to the effect that the Pope had made it a mortal sin to
communicate anything that took place in the Council; so that any Bishop
who should, for instance, show a theologian, whose advice he wanted, a
passage from the _Schema_ under discussion, or repeat an expression used
in one of the speeches, incurs everlasting damnation! If your readers
think this incredible, I can only assure them that it is literally true,
and must refer them to the moral theology of the Jesuits on the foundation
of the Pope’s right to brand human actions, forbidden by no law of God,
with the guilt of mortal sin, at his good pleasure. A Papal theologian,
whom I questioned on the subject, appealed simply to the statement of
Boniface VIII., that the Pope holds all rights in the shrine of his
breast.



TWELFTH LETTER.


_Rome, Jan. 26._—The grand topic of all conversations is Bishop
Strossmayer’s speech of yesterday; and it is possible to give a pretty
correct description of its contents, which seem to have made a profound
impression on his 747 hearers. The Bishop declared it to be unseemly to
begin with the disciplinary decrees about Bishops and their obligations,
because this might raise the suspicion in their dioceses that their recent
conduct had given occasion to it. When their duties were spoken of, their
rights should also be put forward. But, in fact, the reform must be
carried through from the highest ranks of the hierarchy to the lowest, so
that the Bishops should be introduced in their proper order. He spoke of
the necessity of making the Papacy common property, _i.e._, making
non-Italians eligible; for it is now a purely Italian institution, to the
immense prejudice of its power and influence. He pointedly insisted on a
similar universalizing of the Roman Congregations, so that the important
affairs of the Catholic Church should not be arranged and settled in a
narrow and jealous spirit, as had unfortunately been the case hitherto.
And all matters not necessarily pertaining to the whole Church must be
withdrawn from the competence of the Congregations, so that it might no
longer be the case, as before, “ut qui superfluis et minimis intendit,
necessariis desit.”

Strossmayer insisted on a reform of the College of Cardinals, in the sense
of its containing a representation of all Catholic countries in proportion
to their extent and importance. The impression produced is said to have
been most thrilling, when he exclaimed that it was to be wished the
supreme authority in the Church had its throne, where the Lord had fixed
His own, in the hearts and consciences of the people, and this would never
be the case while the Papacy remained an Italian institution. And with
regard to the more frequent holding of Councils, he is said to have
reminded the Fathers of the _Decretum Perpetuum_ of Constance, that a
Council should be assembled every ten years. But the presiding Legates
seemed to be greatly disturbed at the mention of Constance. The Bishop
proceeded to point out that ordinary prudence urgently dictated to the
Church the more frequent holding of Councils. The increased facilities of
intercourse supplied means to the Church to gather more frequently in
Council round its head, and thus show an example to the more advanced
nations, who transact their affairs in common assemblies, of the
open-heartedness and freedom, the patience and perseverance, the charity
and moderation, with which great questions should be treated. Once, when
Synods were more frequent in the Church, the nations had learnt from her
how to bring their affairs to a settlement, but now the Church must offer
herself teacher in the great art of self-government.

Strossmayer urged that an influence over episcopal appointments should be
given to Provincial Synods, in order to remedy the dangers connected with
the present system of nominations, which have become incalculable. He
lashed with incisive words and brilliant arguments those who preach a
crusade against modern society, and openly expressed his conviction that
henceforth the Church must seek the external guarantees of her freedom
solely in the public liberties of the nations, and the internal in
intrusting the episcopal Sees to men filled with the spirit of Chrysostom,
Ambrose, and Anselm. It cut to the quick when he spoke of the
centralization which is stifling the life of the Church, and of the
Church’s unity, which only then reflects the harmony of heaven and
educates men’s spirits, when her various elements retain inviolate their
proper rights and specific institutions. But as the Church now is, and in
the organization designed to be imposed on her, her unity is rather a
monotony that kills the spirit, excites manifold disgust, and repels
instead of attracting. On this point the Bishop is said to have made very
remarkable statements from his own experience, proving that, as long as
the present system of narrow centralization endures, union with the
Eastern Church is inconceivable, and, on the contrary, new perils and
defections will be witnessed. He called the canon law a Babylonish
confusion, made up of impractical and in most cases corrupted or spurious
canons. The Church and the whole world expect the Council to make an end
of this state of things by a codification adapted to the age, but which
must be prepared by learned and practical men from every part of the
Catholic world, and not by Roman divines and canonists. In repudiating the
proposal of a previous speaker, that the Pope should take a general
oversight of the Catholic press, he seized the opportunity of pronouncing
a glowing panegyric on a man who had been shamefully maligned by that
press, but to whom is chiefly owed any real freedom that exists in this
Council. Every eye was turned on Dupanloup.

Many single sayings are quoted from this magnificent speech. A French
Prelate had desired that Bishops should not sit in the confessional;
Strossmayer replied that he must have forgotten he was the countryman of
St. Francis of Sales. Another speaker had maintained that the reformation
of the Cardinals should be intrusted to their Father, the Pope;
Strossmayer replied that they had also a Mother, the Church, to whom it
always belongs to give them good advice and instruction.

The speech lasted an hour and a half, and the impression produced was
overwhelming. Bishops affirm that no such eloquence in the Latin tongue
has been heard for centuries. Strossmayer does not indeed always speak
classical Latin, but he speaks it with astonishing readiness and elegance.
Cardinal di Pietro, who answered him yesterday, spoke of the “rara
venustas” of his speech. It is related in proof of his noble manner, and
the spirit in which he spoke and was listened to, that the opponent he
most sharply attacked immediately asked him to dinner. He is said to have
received 400 visits in consequence of his speech. The President paid him a
singular compliment in putting out a special admonition the day after his
speech against any manifestation of applause.

There was the greatest excitement beforehand. His eloquence was already
known from his former speech, which was rendered more significant from the
Legates interrupting him. Had he been again interrupted this time, every
one felt that the freedom of the Council would be in the greatest danger.
Strossmayer’s tact and moderation prevented it, although it was observed
that Cardinal Bilio wished on one occasion to make the Presidents
interfere. When Strossmayer mounted the tribune, somebody was heard to
say, “That is the Bishop against whom the bell will be used.”



THIRTEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Jan. 30, 1870._—A great deal has happened since my letter of
January 17. My last was exclusively devoted to the impression produced by
Strossmayer’s speech, and I must go back to several previous occurrences.
I will therefore enter directly on the most important facts of the last
few days. You have already heard from the telegrams that the Pope has
returned the addresses of the Opposition, of which there were several,
divided according to nationality. They will be at once handed over to the
Commission _de Fide_, composed of twenty-four members. These counter
addresses are subscribed by 137 Bishops, while 400 or 410 have signed the
first address in favour of the dogma. This document, I can now inform you
definitely, was the joint production of a committee consisting of Manning,
Deschamps, Spalding, the German Bishops Martin and Senestrey, Bishop
Canossa of Verona, Mermillod of Geneva, and perhaps one or two more. That
none of these gentlemen, or of the 400 signataries, have observed the
gross and palpable untruths and falsifications of which this composition
is made up, is marvellous, and justifies the most unfavourable inferences
as to the theological and historical cultivation of these Prelates. If the
names of the Bishops on either side are, not counted simply, but weighed,
and the fact is taken into account that the main strength of the
Infallibilist legion consists of the 300 Papal boarders who go through
thick and thin in singing to the tune of their entertainer—that all the
host of titular Bishops, with very few exceptions, and of the Romance
South Americans, who are even more ignorant than the Spaniards, are ranged
on the same side—and if we then compare the countries and dioceses
represented respectively by the 400 and the 137, we shall come to the
conclusion that the overwhelming preponderance in number of souls, in
intelligence, and in national importance, is wholly on the side of the 137
of the Opposition. It is besides affirmed now that the Address of the 400
was not really presented to the Pope at all, but withdrawn at the last
moment. If that is true, it must have been in consequence of a command or
hint from the Pope, either from his advisers even yet feeling ashamed of
exposing him by the reception of a document bristling with falsehoods, or
because they thought he could not in that case reject the hated counter
address, as he has done, without too glaring an exhibition of
partisanship. The Spaniards have drawn up an address of their own, which
harmonizes so well with the address of the 400, that Manning declared
himself quite ready to sign it.

The second important occurrence of the last few days is the treatment of
the Chaldean Patriarch, an aged man of seventy-eight. He had commissioned
another Bishop to deliver a speech he had composed, when translated into
Latin, in the Council, expressing his desire to preserve the ancient
_consuetudines_ of his Church and to lay a new compendium of them before
the assembly. He added, with indirect reference to the Infallibilist
dogma, a warning against innovations, which might destroy the Eastern
Church. The Pope at once ordered him to be summoned, he was to bring
nobody with him; only Valerga, whom the Pope has named Patriarch of
Jerusalem, one of the most devoted courtiers of the Vatican, was present
as interpreter. He found the Pope in a state of violent excitement,
trembling with passion, and after a great deal of vehement language he was
commanded either to resign his office on the spot, or renounce all the
prerogatives and privileges of his Church. His request for two days to
consider the matter was instantly refused, as also the request for leave
to consult his own suffragans then in Rome. Had he refused, he would
certainly have been incarcerated in a Roman prison; for it is notorious
that according to the Roman theory every cleric is the subject, not only
spiritually but bodily, of his absolute lord the Pope. So nothing was left
him but to subscribe one of the papers laid before him, and make his
renunciation.

The third recent circumstance to be mentioned is the confidential mission
of Lavigerie, Archbishop of Algiers, to Paris. I have spoken of this man
before as Bishop of Nancy, and forgot to add that he had been translated
to Algiers. He is to persuade the Emperor and the ministers Ollivier and
Daru to make no opposition to the passing of the Infallibilist dogma, and
to offer in return that the articles of the Syllabus on Church and State
shall be either dropped, or modified in their application to France. He of
course asserts that he has no mission of the kind, and is only going to
Paris about an educational question, just as Cardinal Mathieu professed to
have only gone to France to hold an ordination.(39) In Paris the
strangeness of the situation is remarked on, that the very State which
used always most vigorously to assert its independence against the
domineering pretensions of the Pope is now suffering, not only the
infallibility but the supreme dominion of the Pope, and his right of
interference in its political affairs, to be decreed under cover of its
bayonets. And in Rome it is understood that, if the French troops were
suddenly to disappear during the rejoicings and illuminations following on
the Infallibilist triumph, the situation might become very uncomfortable.
It is therefore thought that a couple of articles of the Syllabus might
the more easily be surrendered, as the shield of Infallibility would cover
the whole Syllabus, and no one could hinder an infallible Pope from taking
the first opportunity, in spite of all secret promises, of again utilizing
the principle now made into a dogma. The Roman clerics, whether high or
low, are unable to comprehend that not only the German but the Latin
nations feel so decided an antipathy to the domination of the priesthood
over civil and social life, and on that account only must resist the
Infallibilist theory, because it involves the doctrine that the Pope is to
encroach on the secular and political domain with commands and
punishments, the moment he can do so without too great prejudice to his
office and fear of humiliation. It seems so natural and obvious to a Roman
Monsignore or Abbate that the chief priest should rule also over monarchs
and nations in worldly matters; from youth up he has seen clergymen acting
as police-officers, criminal judges, and lottery collectors, and has no
other experience than of the parish priest, the Bishop, and the
Inquisition, interfering in the innermost concerns of family life, and the
“paternal government” often taking the shape of a strait-waistcoat; he
lives in a world where the confusion of the two powers is incarnated in
every college, congregation, and administrative office. Nowhere but in
Rome would it have been possible for Leo XII., with universal consent of
all the clergy, high and low, to re-introduce the Latin language into the
law courts after it had been abolished under the French occupation.

Lately, for the first time, a local priest, Leonardo Proja, in a work
published here, has openly expressed his confidence that the Council will
at once condemn the shocking error of setting aside the supreme dominion
of the Pope over the nations, even in civil matters (“vel in civilibus”)
as an invention of the Middle Ages.(40)

The Court of Rome and the Bishops are at present studying in a school of
mutual instruction. The _Curia_ studies the Bishops individually,
especially the more prominent among them, and watches for their weak
points and the ways of getting at them and making them pliable, and, above
all, of dissolving national ties. They don’t always manage matters
skilfully, for the want of all real freedom, the use of coercive measures,
and this apparatus of bolts and bars, cords and man-traps, by which the
Prelates are surrounded and threatened at every step in Council, by no
means produce a _couleur de rose_ state of feeling, and the contrast
between the title of Brother, which the Pope gives officially to every
Bishop, and his way of treating them all, both individually and
collectively, like so many schoolboys, is too glaring. Even the boasted
freedom of speech does not extend very far, for every Prelate speaks under
threat of interruption by the bell of the presiding Cardinal, directly he
says anything displeasing to Roman ears. On the other hand, the Bishops,
during their stay here of six or seven weeks, have learnt a good deal more
than the curialists, and many of them have really made immense advances,
before which the Romans would recoil with a shudder, if they could see how
things stand. A great many of these Prelates came here full of absolute
devotion to the Pope, and with great confidence in the integrity of the
_Curia_ and the purity of its motives. When they found themselves
oppressed and injured at home by its measures or decrees, they still
thought it was so much the better in the other branches of ecclesiastical
administration. But now, and here, scales have, as it were, fallen from
their eyes, and they are daily getting to understand more clearly the two
mighty levers of the gigantic machine. The dominant view in Roman clerical
circles here is, that the Church in its present condition needs, above all
things, greater centralization at Rome, the extension and deepening of
Papal powers, the removal of any limitations still standing in the way in
national Churches, and the increase of the revenues accruing from Papal
innovations. This it is the business of the Council to accomplish. When,
therefore, two Bishops lately attacked in their speeches the abuse of
expensive marriage dispensations, it was at once said, “Well, then, if any
change is made, what is to become of our Congregations and the revenues of
their members?”

The Bishops will return home poorer in their happy confidence, but richer
in such impressions and experiences. They will also carry back from Rome
with them a fuller knowledge of the Jesuit Order, its spirit and
tendencies. They now see clearly that the grand aim of the Order is to
establish at least one fortress in every diocese with a Papal garrison,
and to hold bishops, clergy, and people under complete subjection to Rome
and her commands. A French Bishop observed the other day, “If matters go
on in this way, we shall have even our holy water sent us ready-made from
Rome.” And the Jesuits’ business is to see that things do go on in this
way. The Bishops have now an opportunity of seeing through the tacit
compact, perfectly understood on both sides, between the _Curia_ and the
Order. The Pope accepts the Jesuit theology, and imposes it on the whole
Church, for which he requires to be infallible; the Jesuits labour in the
pulpit, the confessional, the schoolroom, and the press for the dominion
of the _Curia_ and the Romanizing of all Church life. One hand washes the
other, and the two parties say, “We serve, in order to rule.” So far the
relations of parties are clear enough, and result from the nature of the
case. It is less easy to define the attitude and disposition of the
Bishops towards each other.(41)



FOURTEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 2, 1870._—There is evidently a deep split running through the
Council. It is not merely the question of Infallibility which divides the
Bishops, though this rules the whole situation. Each party has an opposite
programme. The majority, with their reserve of the 300 Papal boarders,
speak and act on the principle that they are there to accept without
objection or substantial change whatever their master, the Pope, puts
before them; that they are as Bishops what the Jesuits are as Priests—the
heralds of the Pope’s omnipotence and infallibility, and the first
executors of his commands—and accordingly they mean to vote against every
motion not introduced or sanctioned by the Pope, and to impede, both in
Council and out of Council, whatever would displease him or curtail the
revenues of the _Curia_. And thus the 130 or 140 Bishops, who wish for
improvement in Church matters, are thwarted and paralysed at every step by
an adverse majority of 400, admirably generalled. Cardinal Barnabó,
Prefect of the Propaganda, is one of the most deserving men in the _Curia_
from this point of view. He maintains good discipline among the missionary
Bishops, and is not ashamed to besiege an individual Bishop who is under
Propaganda, or supported by it, for a whole evening, and threaten him with
the withdrawal of his pay if he does not vote just as the Pope desires.

Midway between the two opposite camps there stands a body of some 150
Prelates of different nations, averse to the new dogma and to the whole
plan of fabricating dogmas, to which the Jesuits are impelling the Pope,
and alive to the necessity and desirableness of many reforms, but who, on
various grounds, shrink from speaking out plainly and with the guarantee
of their names.

As far as I can gather from personal intercourse of various kinds with
many of the Infallibilist Bishops, their zeal is chiefly due to the
following notions:—

_First_, They are more or less impressed by the representation that there
is a general need for new dogmas, and that the old ones are no longer
sufficient; but for preparing and enforcing these a single infallible
dictator is better adapted than an episcopal assembly. For, besides the
inevitable opposition of a minority to every new dogma, the Bishops could
never come forward as more than witnesses of the tradition of their
respective Churches, whereas the infallible Pope, under direct inspiration
of the Holy Ghost, can at once make into a dogma and article of faith
whatever is clear to himself, without troubling himself about the past or
the tradition of particular Churches, even the Roman,—as, for instance, at
present, the doctrine of the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

_Secondly_—and this is a crucial point,—The distinction between Bishops
learned or ignorant in theology will become immaterial, because henceforth
they will be mere promulgators and executors of Papal decrees on faith,
and therefore ignorance of theology and Church history, which still has
some importance, and is felt as a defect to be ashamed of, will no longer
be any reproach to a Bishop. He who has no judgment of his own to form may
well be incapable of forming one; he is the mere speaking-trumpet of one
above him.

_Thirdly_, Theology itself will be greatly simplified, and its study
rendered shorter and easier. Those lengthy historical proofs of dogmas,
the investigations as to the range and consequences of a doctrine and the
like, will all become superfluous, and matters will be settled out of hand
by a brief question to the Pope and his reply. A collection of these
rescripts, under the title of “The Art of Learning Theology in a Week,”
may henceforth be placed in the hands of every candidate for the
priesthood, and would supply the place of a whole library. Even as a
matter of economy this is no despicable advantage. The majority of 400 and
minority of 137 are then opposed to each other in this way:—the majority,
or the Spanish and Italian section (_a fortiori fit denominatio_) say, “We
are resolved to abdicate as a teaching body and integral constituent of
the ecclesiastical ministry; we desire to commit suicide for the benefit
of the Church, in order that the authority of a single man may be
substituted for the collective authority of the whole episcopate and of
all Churches.” The minority think, on the other hand, “We are resolved to
hand down inviolate to our successors the inheritance of eighteen
centuries, bequeathed to us by our predecessors. Our spiritual forefathers
were judges and definers in matters of doctrine, and such we desire to
remain; we do not choose to give a helping hand to making ourselves and
our successors mere acclaimers instead of definers.”

For the rest, it involves a logical contradiction on the part of the
Infallibilists to lay any special weight on mere numbers, for nothing
turns on the votes of the Bishops in their system, but everything depends
on the decision of the Pope. If 600 Bishops were ranged on one side and
the Pope with 6 Bishops on the other, the 600 would be thereby proved to
be in error and the 6 in possession of the truth. Cardinal Noailles
observed very correctly, 150 years ago, that 300 Bishops, who proclaim a
doctrinal principle on the mere word of a Pope whom they regard as
infallible, have no more weight than one single Bishop who votes on his
own personal conviction. The opposition of the minority, as might be
expected from their antecedents of the last twenty years, is indeed
wrapped up in cotton, but at bottom it is positive enough. It comes to
saying that, if the Pope really wishes the Council to take in hand the
question of Infallibility, witnesses must be heard on the subject.

The Address of the forty-five German and Hungarian Bishops objects to the
boundaries, as they had been hitherto drawn by the Pope for the teaching
of the Church, being transgressed, and the Council being compelled to
enter on a discussion of the grounds _pro_ and _con_, which must
necessarily bring much suspicious matter into public debate. The
definition itself would be sure to excite hostility against the Church,
even with men of the better sort (_melioris notæ viros_) and lead to
attacks upon her rights. It may be said that the whole German episcopate,
and the immense majority of the German Catholic Church by their mouth, has
spoken out against the Infallibilist dogma.

Simor, Patriarch of Hungary, has not, or at least not yet, subscribed the
Address, but he spoke emphatically against the dogma in the meeting of
German Bishops on January 16. All the other Hungarian Bishops at Rome,
thirteen in number, have signed the Address; only the Greek Uniate Bishop
of Papp-Szilaghy has, like Simor, omitted to do so. The North Italian
Bishops too have determined on an address, substantially identical with
the German one.

The French Address, which thirty-three Bishops agreed to on January 15, at
a meeting at Cardinal Mathieu’s, differs somewhat in wording from the
German, but the contents are the same in the main, and it is hoped to get
forty signatures for this; twenty French Bishops wish to abstain from
signing anything, and something under twenty have signed Manning’s
address, so that there are still twice as many French on the side of the
Opposition as of the definition. We may add seventeen North Americans, who
have accepted the German Address, with the omission of the clauses omitted
in the French one, while the North Italians adopted it unaltered. The
opposition to the dogma has thus maintained an universal character,
including the most various nationalities. But it would be hardly feasible
to decide a new dogma by mere counting of heads, treating the Bishops,
like the privates of a regiment, as all equal, so that one vote is worth
just the same as another. An analysis of the component elements of this
majority, and a comparison of it with the Opposition in scientific culture
and representation of souls, would give sufficiently impressive results.

The most startling phenomenon is presented by the Belgian and English
Bishops. The former are all on the Infallibilist side, and there can be no
doubt that they understand the political importance of the new dogma. They
apparently wish to make the breach incurable between the Catholics of the
younger generation and the Liberal party, who adhere to the Belgian
Constitution; for no Catholic for the future can at once recognise the
doctrine of Papal Infallibility and the principles of the Belgian civil
law, without contradiction. What makes the majority of English Bishops
zealous adherents of Infallibilism it is hard to say; they are not in
other respects disposed to be led by Manning. Nor can we assume that, like
the Belgians, they deliberately wish to make the Catholic Church of their
country the irreconcilable foe of the British Constitution, though that
would be the inevitable consequence of the doctrine. It has been pointed
out to these Prelates from England, that the solemn declarations of
English and Irish Catholics are still preserved in the State Archives, in
which they formally renounced belief in Papal Infallibility, and purchased
thereby the abolition of the old penal laws and Emancipation. Thus it is
said in the “Declaration and Protestation,” signed by 1740 persons,
including 241 priests, “We acknowledge no infallibility in the Pope.” In
the “Form of Oath and Declaration,” taken in 1793 by all Irish Catholics,
occur the words, “I also declare that it is not an article of the Catholic
faith, neither am I thereby required to believe or profess, that the Pope
is infallible.” And a Synod of Irish Bishops, in 1810, declared this oath
and declaration to be “a constituent part of the Roman Catholic religion,
as taught by the Bishops; a formula affirmed by the Roman Catholic
Churches in Ireland, and sanctioned and approved by the other Roman
Catholic Churches.”

I hear that, among the Irish Bishops, Moriarty is averse to breaking with
the ancient tradition of his Church. Bishop Brown of Newport, an open and
decided opponent of Infallibilism, is kept away by ill health; Ullathorne
of Birmingham and Archbishop MacHale of Tuam wish also to keep clear of
it, but without signing the address. Bishop Clifford of Clifton, on the
contrary, as I hear, has signed it. So Manning’s following among his
countrymen is a very divided one.



FIFTEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 4._—There is a good deal of interesting matter to report of
the Sessions of the last few weeks. And, first, as to the Council Hall:
notwithstanding the great curtain, it remains a wretched apology for a
Council-chamber, and I must repeat emphatically that such a discussion as,
_e.g._, was possible in St. Paul’s Church, at Frankfort, in 1848, would be
hardly practicable here. Bishops whose voices are feeble and not
penetrating enough, must give up the idea of speaking, and even strong men
among them feel thoroughly exhausted after they have spoken. A French
Bishop, whose speech had produced a great effect, said afterwards of the
hall, “Elle est sourde, muette, et aveugle.” But the Pope persists, on
account of the neighbourhood of the so-called “Confession of St. Peter,”
from which he thinks a force issues to bind the Bishops closer to him, and
fill them with contempt of the world. This influence, however, has been
very little manifested as yet—rather the reverse. There have been many
Opposition speeches, and the bell of the presiding Legate not unfrequently
interrupts them with its shrill dissonance; in the latter Sessions a new
method has been practised of reducing unpleasant speakers to silence—by
scraping with the feet. It is a striking fact that talent, eloquence, and
force of thought are observed to be almost entirely on the side of the
Opposition; very few men of mark or able speakers can be mentioned on the
Infallibilist side. Manning and Mermillod would be good and versatile
speakers, only they are not sufficiently masters of Latin. Deschamps alone
on that side has won great applause as an eloquent speaker, though with
sufficient poverty of thought.

Among the Cardinals, de Angelis, de Luca, Bilio, and Capalti are
considered the four Papal pillars of the Council. Bilio, a Barnabite, and
still a young man, passes in Rome for an eminent theologian, and while the
other Cardinals and Monsignori would hold it a sin to understand German,
he knows two German words, which he constantly repeats, but always with a
shudder, “deutsche Wissenschaft.” He thinks German science something like
the witches’ caldron in Macbeth—full of horrible ingredients.

The first dogmatic _Schema_ has gone back to the Commission on Faith after
a long, many-sided, and severe criticism, and is to be revised and again
laid before the Council as little altered as possible. The revision is
intrusted to three of the most zealous Infallibilists, Martin, Deschamps,
and Pie, with the indispensable Jesuits, Schrader and Franzelin. The
Bishops are then simply to accept it without discussion. It is not to be
discussed, first, because there can be no discussion in the Hall;
secondly, because this wretched patchwork does not bear discussion;
thirdly, because there would be no coming to an end this way; fourthly,
and chiefly, because an excellent precedent will be created, which may be
made a rule for the forthcoming _Schemata_, and will open the prospect of
carrying through matters far more important and more valuable for the
_Curia_.

If once the first _Schema_ were voted without discussion, by the help of
the devoted majority of 400, though against the opposition of many
Bishops, the same method might be pursued with subsequent _Schemata_, and
thus the most important of all, on the Church and the Pope, could be
carried, which contains the most exorbitant assertions of Papal
omnipotence, and implies Papal Infallibility, which is introduced by a
side-wind. By this means the maxim observed at former Councils, and even
at Trent, that decisions can only be settled by a unanimous vote, would be
happily got rid of, and the resistance of the Opposition broken or
rendered useless. Such a victory of the curialistic party would exceed all
other successes in importance and practical value. The Council is
accordingly come to a momentous crisis. Father Theiner, the Prefect of the
Papal Archives, has had a part of the first volume of his _Acts of the
Council of Trent_ printed. We find there a _modus procedendi_, which
secures to the Fathers of the Council much more freedom and action than
the present regulations, of which Italian Prelates say themselves that
they leave no freedom, and only allow a sham Council. Theiner has been
altogether forbidden, by the management of the Jesuits, to publish his
work, and has received the most strict commands not to show the part
already printed to any Bishop.

The introduction of the second _Schema_, on Discipline, gave occasion to
many earnest and important speeches. The Germans at first had to blush for
one of their number, Martin of Paderborn, who made a speech overflowing
with the most unqualified devotion to the will of the supreme master, the
authorship of which was attributed to his Jesuit domestic chaplain, Father
Roh. But the speech of Archbishop Melchers of Cologne made all the more
favourable impression. He spoke, with quiet dignity and freedom, of the
perversity and shamefulness of the meddling Roman domination, the system
of dispensations, and the unmeasured centralization. Great was the
astonishment of the assembly; Cardinal Capalti went on urging, with
impatient look and sign, on de Luca, the President for the day, to stop
the German Archbishop. At last, when he had nearly finished, de Luca
interrupted him, and said he must hand in his proposals to the Commission.
Melchers did not let himself be put down; he replied that he had done that
long ago, and had received no answer, and observed that he spoke in the
name of more than a million German Catholics. And then he quietly went on
with his speech. The words of Archbishop Haynald cut deeper still; he is
the best speaker in the Council after Strossmayer, and is also subtle and
circumspect, so that the Legate, who was visibly anxious to interrupt him,
could not discover the right moment for putting his bell in motion.

As little did they dare to interrupt Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, when he
ascended the tribune and began as follows:—“We are told we are not to make
long speeches, but I have a great deal to say. We are told again not to
repeat what has been said by others, but at the same time we are kept shut
up in this Hall, where for the most part we cannot understand one another;
we are not allowed to examine the stenographic reports of our speeches,
and the only answer made to our representations is always the same—‘The
Pope wills it.’ I don’t know therefore what has been said by the speakers
who have preceded me.” He then went on to speak of the rights of the
Bishops, their degradation by the Roman centralizing system, “the caves,
wherein the Roman doctors have buried themselves from the light of day,”
etc. He spoke in admirable style, and was listened to with rapt attention,
though at every word his auditors expected an interruption from the
Legate; but it never came. Darboy himself said afterwards that he had done
like Condé, and flung his marshal’s staff into the ranks of the enemy.

On January 22, Dupanloup made a speech in the same sense, which has
already been reported to you, and took occasion to mention those courtiers
who have learnt never to tell the truth to the Pope. Courtiers of this
sort from various nations sat and stood in crowds around him. He might
have added what was said to the Pope—vainly, of course—300 years ago, in a
work composed by his order, and is just as true now as then: that the
dream of omnipotence and infallibility, so studiously produced and
cherished in his soul by flatterers, is the main cause, next to the
avarice of the _Curia_, of the decline and corruptions of the Church.
Meanwhile it is truly wonderful that so much could be said at all; it was
felt to be a moral discomfiture or capitulation of the _Curia_ in its
state of siege. Cardinal Schwarzenberg, and after him the Primate of
Hungary, had certainly struck the note which still rang on, but the
Legates had not dared to silence them with the bell, and so missed the
opportunity of _principiis obsta_. Schwarzenberg had already created a
great sensation by recommending the periodical recurrence of Councils,
afterwards taken up by Strossmayer, and then falling back on the decree of
Constance (for decennial Councils), which is an abomination at Rome. No
doubt they would have no objection in Rome to Councils every ten or twenty
years, suitably modernized, manipulated, and obedient to every wink, like
the present majority; but the fatal Opposition embitters this enjoyment,
and when once the great work is accomplished, and Infallibility
proclaimed, it will be found at Rome that all this machinery is not worth
its pay, “que le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle;” for it costs too much
money to entertain 300 _Placet_-saying Bishops, to make it worth while
often to reproduce the drama, or rather the pantomine.

Other Prelates, whom the _Curia_ reckons among the _Dî minores gentium_,
have no indulgence shown them. When an American Bishop spoke of the
corruptions and gross falsehoods in the Roman Breviary, and of the
fabulous interpolations in the works of some Fathers, _e.g._, St.
Augustine, inserted there, Capalti rang his bell violently—the Fathers
were not to be so spoken of. But the American did not let himself be
disturbed, and proceeded at once to quote the Breviary lections from St.
Gregory. He was again called to order, and told he must change the subject
or leave the tribune.

In this second _Schema_, compiled by Jacobini, the second Secretary of the
Council, the gross ignorance of the author is glaringly exposed. With the
usual self-sufficiency of Rome, and with the aim of making the Bishops
still more dependent on the _Curia_ than before, the special conditions of
whole countries had been ignored. Thus every Bishop, who wished to leave
his diocese, was first to get the Pope’s permission from Rome, and the
Archbishops were to delate all who acted otherwise at Rome. Simor observed
sharply on that, “This then is the position Rome assigns to Metropolitans,
after robbing them of all their ancient rights: to be the accusers of
their conprovincial Bishops.” Another declared roundly that, if his
physician sent him to a watering-place, he should not think of asking
leave from Rome. Jacobini would not even recognise the right of Bishops to
attend the political assemblies of their countries, of which they are
members by the Constitution, because, as the _Schema_ words it, “assembleæ
generales” no longer exist in the sense allowed by Urban VIII. The Pope
was further to have the right henceforth of giving away the benefices in
the Bishop’s gift during the vacancy of the See, which would bring in a
large increase of taxes for the _Curia_, and draw a number of candidates
to Rome again, as in the palmy days before the Reformation. In Germany we
should get back the class of so-called _Curtisanen_,(42) who notoriously
did so much to promote the Protestant division. The Bishops inflicted many
a blow on the abuse of expensive dispensations to be elaborated at Rome
from artificially derived impediments of marriage (as of cousins,
godfathers, and the like) before the Legate’s bell could stop them. Then a
Hungarian Bishop related, how it often happens that a poor woman comes
weeping to the Bishop, to beg him to save her marriage and her very
existence by a dispensation. But the Bishop must let the poor woman be
ruined, for not he but the Pope only can dispense, and “mulier non habet
pecunias—pecunias.” The Court Prelates said afterwards that this Hungarian
had made himself very disagreeable with his “mulier non habet pecunias.”

The following occurrence was comic:—You know in what repute the supple and
complaisant Fessler, Bishop of St. Pölten, is held here, the first herald
for retailing the new dogma to the world. Not long ago, Charbonnel, the
Capuchin Bishop of Sozopolis, placed himself near him, and began to speak
of clerical place-hunting, the eagerness for distinctions and promotions
among Bishops, and the crooked ways they often take to obtain them, and
pointed so unmistakeably by look and gesticulation at his neighbour, the
Secretary, that on going out Fessler said it was high time to put an end
to the Council, which was every day getting more disagreeable. The
question was then started by German and Hungarian Bishops whether it would
not be better, as Martin thought, to substitute lay-brothers for
clergymen’s housekeepers, or whether the restoration of “the common
life”—the Chrodogang institute—of course in a very modified form, should
be attempted. They overlooked the fact that such matters cannot be
regulated by a Council, but must be arranged according to the disposition
and circumstances of the clergy in the various dioceses. Haynald, Meignan,
Bishop of Châlons, and the Chaldean Patriarch, insisted that mere school
questions should not be decided by the Council without any necessity, and
that some freedom of movement must be left to Science. But the word
freedom has nowhere so ill a sound as at Rome. Only one kind of freedom
can be spoken of here—the freedom of the Church; and, in their favourite
and accustomed manner of speech, by the Church is intended the Pope, and
by freedom domination over the State, according to the Decretals. And to
talk of freedom of Science! The Council, if it entertained such views,
would be forgetting altogether that it was only called together for two
purposes—to increase the plenary power of the Pope, and to aggrandize the
Jesuits. But the Order has, like the Paris labourer of 1848, “le droit du
travail;” it is not content to exist only, but must work—of course in its
own way,—and for this it requires two things: first, new dogmas; and
secondly, plenty of condemnations and anathemas. The business of the
Council is to provide both.

The Cardinals, with the exception of Rauscher, Schwarzenberg, and Mathieu,
have taken no part in the speaking, nor have the Generals of Orders and
Abbots. Only when the need for a reform of the Cardinals themselves was
spoken of, Cardinal di Pietro rose, who is regarded as the most
liberal-minded of the Italians in the Sacred College, to show that such a
reform could only be a financial one, _i.e._, that the Cardinals required
larger incomes. What the Bishops meant was something very different, viz.,
a better and fuller representation of different nations in the _Curia_,
and a limitation of the Italian monopoly. But scattered observations of
that kind could elicit no sort of real apprehension in the minds of the
Italians, who are firmly seated in the saddle; so secure do they feel in
their possession of a dominion many centuries old, and so very odd do the
claims of other nations appear to them. In this point the present Romans
or Latins are of the same mind as the old Romans of the sinking Republic,
who sacrificed 600,000 men in the Confederate war rather than allow equal
political rights to their Italian allies.

The great blow, which brings matters near a decision, has now been just
struck, and all that the Jesuit and anti-German party longed for, and the
French and Germans feared, is now before our eyes, the third _Schema_, “on
the Church and the Pope,” has been distributed, and leaves hardly anything
to be desired in point of clearness and plain speaking. These transparent
decrees and anathemas may be thus summed up: “The Christian world consists
simply of masters and slaves; the masters are the Italians, the Pope and
his Court, and the slaves are all Bishops (including the Italians
themselves), all priests, and all the laity.”

This third _Schema_, which was distributed to the Bishops on January 21,
is a lengthy document of 213 pages, entitled _De Ecclesiâ_, and it is the
one the _Curia_ is chiefly bent on getting received. It is said to be the
work of a red-hot Infallibilist, Gay, Vicar-General of the Infallibilist
Bishop Pie of Poitiers, and is so drawn up that by a slight addition the
Infallibility of the Pope, which it already leads up to and implies, can
be inserted in express form very easily, and as the necessary logical
supplement; and thus the internal harmony of this important document, with
its appended anathemas, would be completely secured. Three main ideas run
through the _Schema_, and are formulated into dogmatic decrees guarded
with anathemas: _First_, to the Pope belongs absolute dominion over the
whole Church, whether dispersed or assembled in Council; _secondly_, the
Pope’s temporal sovereignty over a portion of the Peninsula must be
maintained as pertaining to dogma; _thirdly_, Church and State are
immutably connected, but in the sense that the Church’s laws always hold
good before and against the civil law; and therefore every Papal ordinance
that is opposed to the Constitution and law of the land binds the
faithful, under mortal sin, to disobedience to the Constitution and law of
their country.



SIXTEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 5._—On reviewing the situation, I believe I may venture to say
that it has become better, far better, than it was a few weeks ago. For
this the Christian world is mainly indebted to the noble, dignified and
united attitude of the German and Hungarian Bishops. These men,—I speak of
course only of the majority of the forty-six—while taking frequent and
most conscientious consultation with one another, and knowing the three
German Cardinals to be in substantial agreement with them, have gained
almost daily in clearness of view, confidence and decision; and their
example, again, has encouraged the Bishops of other nations. If, as many
fear, Ketteler should, at the critical moment, go over to the Papal side,
and let his sympathy for the convenient Infallibilist doctrine get the
better of his love for the German Church and nation, his loss will be more
than made up by forces newly gained. Hefele, who is the first living
authority about Councils, has signed the Opposition address, and would, I
believe, have still more gladly signed a stronger one. Three Cardinals of
one nation who don’t want to have anything to do with Papal Infallibility!
“It is an unheard-of, an abominable thing,” say the Romans. “O that we
still had Reisach! his loss is bitter at so critical a moment, and that we
should have to console ourselves for his death by the living voices of
Martin, Senestrey, Leonrod and Stahl, is still bitterer!”

The Hungarians are greatly influenced by knowing that they would find
themselves isolated in their own country, if they, the representatives of
ecclesiastical reform, were to return from Rome conquered, and as forced
believers in Papal Infallibility and the complete system of ecclesiastical
despotism. Their position is one of close union, and by its union is
imposing; whereas the fifteen or sixteen Bishops of Austrian Germany are
somewhat weakened by the desertion of Martin and the three Bavarians and
the approaching apostasy of Ketteler, who is already preparing the way for
it in the _Mainzer Journal_. From thence, as I perceive, has the falsehood
gained currency, that the Opposition are ready to accept Spalding’s
(professedly) modified proposals, and thus to acknowledge Infallibility in
its grossest form and vote the whole third _Schema_—that Magna Charta of
ecclesiastical absolutism—absolutely and without any change. That would
indeed be a catastrophe almost without precedent in Church history. We
should have to assume that the Opposition Bishops had resolved to verify
in their own case Mazarin’s saying about Parliaments, that their policy is
always to say “No,” and act “Yes.” Ketteler, moreover, has special grounds
of his own for gaining or preserving the particular favour of the Pope;
for remembering his retirement from the candidature for the Archbishopric
of Cologne, he might effect the abolition of the compact of Rome with the
Governments, which secures a veto to the latter, and the introduction of
either entirely free elections with Papal confirmation, or, still better,
of simple nomination of Bishops by the Pope. He has spoken in Congregation
in this sense, and was of course cheered by the Infallibilists.

No less strong and dignified is the attitude of half the French Bishops,
who have attached themselves to men like Darboy, Dupanloup, Landriot of
Rheims, Meignan of Châlons and Ginoulhiac of Grenoble. On the other side,
there are about twenty decided Infallibilists, while the rest of the
French Bishops wait or avoid speaking out. The party of Darboy and
Dupanloup have the double advantage of being supported by their
Government—while the Austrian ministry assumes a wholly apathetic and
indifferent position,—and of belonging to the nation whose troops make the
Council and the civil Government of the Pope possible, and whose Bishops
therefore the _Curia_ is obliged to treat with respect. A French Bishop
can say a good deal without, as a rule, having to fear being called to
order by the Legate’s bell.

The North American Bishops too are being gradually educated to
ecclesiastical maturity in the school of Rome and the Council, and have
already grown out of that naïve belief in the disinterested generosity and
superhuman wisdom of the _Curia_ which most of them brought here. To-day
the Pope paid them a visit at the American College, conversed in a
friendly way with the Bishops individually, said obliging things, and, in
a word, displayed those well-known powers of fascination he has such a
command of. “A month ago this would have taken effect,” said an American
priest who was present, “but now it comes too late.” He also assured me
that not five of the forty-five American Bishops would sign the
Infallibilist Petition or vote for the dogma.

I have heard many, and especially French, Prelates say, during the last
few days, sometimes in obscure hints, sometimes clearly, that the Council
will soon—in a few weeks—be closed or dissolved; an opinion all the more
surprising, because nothing as yet has been done. In that case the Bull
with the many Excommunications will have to be treated as issuing from the
Council.(43) But the only relation of the Bishops to that Bull is as the
suffering and punished party.

The third Solemn Session was to have been held on February 2, but had
again to fall through from the want of any materials. And there are still
mountains of work and numbers of elaborate _Schemata_ awaiting the
Council; for the decrees it is summoned to make, or rather which Pius IX.
intends to proclaim to the world, “with the approbation of the Council,”
are to be veritable pandects embracing the entire doctrine and
constitution of the Church, regulating all relations between Church and
State, and restoring the Papal supremacy over the bodies and souls of all
men. The domain of morals, properly so called, is alone excluded; for
there the Jesuits have good reasons for wishing to keep their hands free.
In short, the projected work that still remains to be done would occupy at
least a year and a half. And for this end everything has been chosen and
sharpened into the form of canons, which can only introduce complications,
provoke conflicts with the civil Governments, embitter the relations of
rival Confessions, prejudice the position of the Bishops, and foster the
hatred of the lay world against the clergy. And accordingly, with many
Bishops, the wish to escape taking any part in these discussions may be
father to the thought, and a speedy end of the Council may appear to them
a sort of conciliar euthanasia. To many a Bishop has the old proverb
already occurred, in reference to the Council, that the best thing would
be not to have been born and the next best to die early. It is not the
Swiss only who have a home-sickness. And then there is the treatment; I
heard a French Count here say to-day, “On les traite d’une manière
brutale.”

I have just received the last number of the Paris _Correspondant_, with
its article by the Viscount of Meaux, Montalembert’s son-in-law, who is
here. His account of how the Council is treated is so much to the point,
and so thoroughly confirms my own statements, that I will quote it for
you.

“The _Schemata_,” he says, at p. 347, “are prepared beforehand, the order
of business is imposed by authority (_imposée_), the Commissions are
elected before any consultation, from official lists, by a disciplined
majority which votes as one man. On these Commissions the minority is not
represented, and there are no other deliberations except in Congregation.
Before these Congregations the subjects are brought in all their novelty
and laid before the 700 members, without any previous explanations. It is
difficult to understand the speeches, and there are no reports which the
Fathers can inspect, so that no Bishops have the opportunity of submitting
their thoughts to the deliberate examination of their colleagues.
Moreover, they are forbidden to have anything printed here for the
Council. All these characteristics indicate an assembly summoned to
approve, not to discuss, intended to exalt, not to moderate, the power
which has summoned it. And with what haste does it push on in this
direction! How impatiently does the majority press for a declaration of
Papal Infallibility!” So far the Viscount. Matters must indeed have come
to a pass when so cautious and strictly Catholic a journal as the
_Correspondant_ presents its readers with this picture of the Council.

There are two serious dangers to which we are always exposed. The first I
have already spoken of, which is introducing the plan of passing the
_Schemata_ by majorities, so that the desired dogma would be carried as it
were by assault. The second danger—and it seems to me far more
threatening—is that one of those involved and disguised formulas which the
Infallibilists vie with one another in devising, in order to deceive and
catch the votes of the less sharp-sighted Prelates and thus incorporate it
into the third _Schema_, may really succeed with the greater number of the
hitherto opposing and protesting Bishops. This notion is in fact implied
in the phrase one has heard so often, that a middle party must be formed
among the Bishops; for the programme or shibboleth of this middle party is
to be an elastic formula, or one only expressing the thing metaphorically,
or, again, one not sharply dogmatic but rather pious and edifying in
sound. By the help of this middle party the formula might be made
acceptable to the rest of the Prelates, and the desired end be happily
attained. Thus Mermillod and two others have to-day invented a phrase,
which seems to them suited to square the circle and to satisfy and unite
all. They say they wish to declare that the Pope, whenever he speaks on
doctrine, speaks _tanquam os et organum Ecclesiæ_. And by this they
understand that the Church has no other mouth than him and without him is
dumb, from which it obviously follows that he is infallible. I doubt if
many Bishops will be detained in the meshes of a net so coarsely spun. No
better is the formula invented by Spalding, which might be called a pretty
downright one,—that everybody must inwardly assent to every doctrinal
decision of the Pope on pain of everlasting damnation.(44) That goes far
beyond even the Manning-Deschamps Address, which limits his infallibility
to decrees addressed to the whole Church, while this formula of Spalding’s
declares every conceivable Papal utterance (_judicium_) infallible; for a
Christian can only give the assent of inward belief, when there is no
possibility of error and when there is a really divine authority and
revelation. Every theologian must declare this invention of the Archbishop
of Baltimore’s to be the most monstrous demand ever made on the conscience
and understanding of the Catholic world. It is as if a courtier at Teheran
were to say, “I will not indeed affirm that our Shah is almighty, but I do
assert confidently that he can create out of nothing whatever he will and
that his will is always accomplished.” The reverend Fathers who torment
themselves with inventing such devices would perhaps do best if they were
to make a collection among themselves, and offer a prize of 100 ducats for
that form of circumlocution or involution most securely adapted for
entrapping the innocent souls of Bishops. Then the most ingenious heads
from all Europe would compete in sending in their suggestions, and the
right bait might be discovered among them.



SEVENTEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 5._—To supplement and partly to verify the news in my last
letter, I will now tell you some facts that came to light yesterday and
the day before.

The Opposition Addresses were presented to the Pope on January 26,
subscribed by forty-six Germans and Hungarians, thirty French, and twenty
Italian Bishops, together with some of the North American Bishops, the
Portuguese, and certain others. Cardinal Barnabo had employed all
available means of intimidation to prevent the Orientals from signing, and
hence the number of signatures was somewhat below what had been expected.
Of the Germans, Martin, Senestrey, Stahl and Leonrod had signed the
Infallibilist Address, which, as was only afterwards discovered, has not
been presented, because—it was countermanded. It is not, as I first
informed you, composed by the Episcopal Committee, but by the Jesuits, and
emanates from the bureau of the _Civiltà_; the abiding marvel is that 400
Bishops could be induced to sign such a document without even verifying a
single one of the pretended facts cited in it. That an Infallibilist
should subscribe in blind confidence, and without examination, a document
coming from the Pope himself, is natural; but that 400 pastors of the
Church, assembled for deciding and therefore for examining ecclesiastical
questions, should endorse on faith the composition of a nameless Jesuit,
is an occurrence the Order may pride itself on.

A Petition has been set on foot by the Jesuits, and hawked about with the
Pope’s approval, proposing that the bodily Assumption of the Mother of the
Lord should be made an article of faith, and all who henceforth doubt of
it, or point to the notorious origin of the notion from apocryphal
writings, be anathematized. This anathema would inevitably fall on every
one who is acquainted with Church history and patristic literature. This
passionate delight in anathemas, curses and refusals of absolution has
been powerfully aroused, as you may see from the canons which reproduce
the Syllabus and are added to the third _Schema_. The augurs of the Gesù
do not indeed smile, but simper, when they meet each other, for they know
that the rich harvest from these seeds will drop into the bosom of their
Order. Here again it is shown plainly that the interests of the Bishops
and of the Jesuits are sharply opposed.

That Bull, with its many curses and cases reserved to the Pope, which
fills the Jesuits with hope and joy (though not they but the Dominicans of
the Inquisition are its authors), is for the Bishops a source of
discouragement and despair, so that the Bishop of Trent is said to have
lately observed that he would rather resign his See than publish it. It is
now asserted that the Pope has again suspended it, partly on account of
remonstrances of the French Government, partly to put the Bishops in
better humour for the Infallibilist definition.

The Petition for the new Marian dogma had 300 signatures on January 31. In
managing such affairs the Jesuits are unrivalled, for the Order is like a
great actor, such as Garrick, _e.g._, whose every limb from top to toe
moves, speaks, and conspires to express the same idea. Then they have an
Infallibilist Petition from the East, the only one known to have been got
up; that is to say, they made the Maronite boys and youths of their
educational establishment sign the Petition they had drawn up.

As I now hear, the majority, on January 25, resolved to let their Address
and Petition drop, if the minority will accept Spalding’s proposed
addition to the third _Schema_. They are indeed very magnanimous, for that
addition, as was observed just now, goes much further and stands to the
Address somewhat as Dido’s ox-hide cut up into thongs to the hide before
it was cut: it will embrace whole countries and cities. Spalding desires
too to have the Index placed completely under the shield of Papal
Infallibility, and therefore the opinion that the Pope can have made any
mistake about the sense of a book is to be condemned. Next day, the
Petition of the minority, who knew nothing of the decision of the other
party, was presented to the Pope and rejected by him. The Infallibilists
appear to have spread the report that their Address had been actually
given in simply for the purpose of catching their opponents in a trap.

On Sunday, January 23, the Commission named by the Pope for examining
motions proposed held its first sitting, under the presidency of Cardinal
Patrizzi and not of the Pope himself, as was thought—seven weeks after the
Council met and when a number of motions had long been awaiting its
scrutiny. This delay had evidently been designed. It has now been resolved
to arrange and examine proposals, not according to subjects but nations,
so that the proposals of the French, Germans, etc., will be separately
discussed and decided upon.

Cardinal Rauscher has written, or got written, a treatise on the
Infallibility question in German, which is now being translated into
Latin, and which does not merely oppose the dogma as inopportune, but
attacks the whole principle and, as I am assured, on fundamental grounds.
But it cannot be printed here, where the Roman censorship is constantly
growing stricter. It will be printed in Vienna, and copies will then have
to be sent here under cover to the Austrian Embassy. To the
representations of the German and French Bishops against the
oppressiveness and injustice to the minority of the order of business, the
Pope has not seen fit to make any reply. _Væ victis!_ Woe to them who do
not belong to the faithful and devoted majority! This is what resounds
here, morning, noon and night. Meanwhile the Papal Committee of the
Council has devised a new means for paralysing the minority, and cutting
short discussions which might easily become inconvenient. It is directed
that all objections or proposals for modifications of the _Schemata_ are
first to be handed over in writing to the Presidents and referred by them
to the Commission _de Fide_, which rejects or admits them at its pleasure.
If the authors of the proposals appeal against the decision of the
Commission, the whole Council decides, of course by simple majority of
votes. If this arrangement were really to be introduced, the
minority—_i.e._, the German and French Bishops—would be deprived of all
possibility of exerting any influence on the composition of the decrees or
warding off any decree they considered injurious; they would always be
outvoted, and the Council would more and more take the form of a mere
machine for outvoting them. The Bishops would soon learn to spare
themselves the useless trouble of proposing changes, and a much closer
approach would be effected to the great object of making new articles of
faith and decrees by a mere majority of votes. The only question is what
the French and Germans intend to put up with from the Italians and
Spaniards, for it is clear that here again the question of nationalities
turns up in the background, and the Brennus sword of the Southern and
Latin majority is always ready to be thrown into the scale.



EIGHTEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 6._—The report of the dissolution or prorogation of the
Council gains in strength. Manning has found it important enough to have
it contradicted in his journal, the _Tablet_. He writes, or makes somebody
write, “The Holy Father is full of strength and confidence, and has no
intention of proroguing the Council, as his enemies say.” As far as the
Pope is concerned, I hold the statement to be true. Pius is still
absolutely confident of success and firmly convinced of two
things—_first_, of his divine, legitimate and irresistible fulness of
power, which requires that a conspicuous example, memorable for all future
ages, shall be made of the Bishops who oppose him; _secondly_, of the
special protecting grace and guidance accorded to the Council by the Holy
Virgin, on whose benevolence he notoriously maintains that he has very
special claims. He has issued an Indulgence for the whole Church, which
gives us some insight into his connection of ideas and religious views. In
the Bull of December 1869, he says that the Dominican General, Jandel, has
represented to him that the new method of prayer, consisting of 150
repetitions of the “Hail, Mary,” was first introduced at the time the
grand crusade against the Albigenses was organized. But our own age is
infected with so many monstrous errors that this new method of prayer
should be employed now also, in order that under the mighty protection of
the Mother of God the Council may destroy these monsters. Whoever,
therefore, after confession and communion, recites the Rosary daily for a
week, for the Pope’s intention and for the happy termination of the
Council, may gain a plenary indulgence of all his sins, applicable also to
the dead. The Pope adds that even when a child, and far more as Pope, he
has always placed his whole confidence in the Mother of God, and that he
firmly believes it to be given to her alone by God to destroy all heresies
throughout the world. How this special power of the Holy Virgin consists
with the fact that many heresies have now lasted quietly for fourteen
centuries, it would be interesting to know. The rest the reader may find
himself in the German Pastorals.

Pius has even had his naïve but robust belief in his own heavenly
illumination and vocation to proclaim new doctrines sensibly embodied in a
picture. In a chamber beyond the Raphael Gallery there is a picture
painted by his order; he stands in glorified attitude on a throne
proclaiming his favourite dogma of the Immaculate Conception, while the
Divine Trinity and the Holy Virgin look down from heaven well pleased upon
him, and from the Cross, borne in the arms of an angel, flashes a bright
ray on his countenance. Thus Pius stands in a special mystical relation to
Mary; she guides and inspires the Council through him, and he in turn will
proclaim, with its assent, the decrees she has inspired and which will
destroy the monstrous errors of the present day, or will at least give
them a fatal blow. Unfortunately, not one single decree has yet been
brought out after exactly two months, and all the heresies continue just
as strong as before the Council met. And yet the pregnant and successful
Councils of the ancient Church did not require a longer time for their
decisions; the Council of Nice was finished in two months, the Council of
Chalcedon in six weeks. Certainly it was not then supposed that Mary had
first to give the Pope, and then he to give the Council, the weapons for
destroying heresies: they were content to rely on the Paraclete promised
by Christ.

Meanwhile the present assembly has nothing in common with those ancient
Synods, except in being composed of persons called Bishops. But our
Bishops are unlike those of the ancient Church, for they have to yield up
to the _Curia_ three-fourths of the rights possessed by their
predecessors, and it would be simply ridiculous to liken the state of
tutelage and restraint they are now placed under by the _Curia_ to the
free and independent attitude of the fifth-century Councils. The more
free-spoken among them have just addressed, on 2d February, another
Petition to the Pope, requesting that the so-called Council Hall in St.
Peter’s may be exchanged for a more suitable chamber; for now that serious
discussions on the dogmas and decrees are to begin—and the third _Schema_
will be met with strong and persevering opposition in many of its
articles—the present arrangement becomes still more intolerable than
before. Any regular discussion is simply impossible in the present Council
Hall; there is no doubt of that. “That is just right,” say the Papal
officials; “we neither desire nor need discussion, but simply that the
propositions should be voted.” “But this is an unheard-of thing, against
all conciliar usage and all natural right,” reply the Bishops. Archbishop
Darboy said, “We are called on to anathematize doctrines and persons; to
pass sentences of spiritual death. But would any jury in the world
pronounce capital sentence without first having heard the defence?” And
thus the Council has entered on a very critical period, and a spirit of
irritation is becoming visible, increased by the constantly deepening
conviction that the Bishops are to be used for purposes alien to their
minds and suicidal. One word describes the entire plot—outvoting by
majorities. The united German, French and North American Bishops are
opposed to a well disciplined army of about 500, who will vote as one man
at the beck of the Pope. This army consists of 300 Papal boarders, the 62
Bishops of the Roman States who are doubly subject to him, 68 Neapolitans,
80 of the Spanish race, some 110 titular Bishops without dioceses, the
Italian Cardinals, 30 Generals of Orders, etc.(45) In a word, the Latin
South is arrayed against the French and German North. And therefore the
design of the _Curia_, to carry decrees or dogmas on every question of
Church and State, etc., by a mere calculation of _plus_ and _minus_, is
doubly monstrous and utterly unchurchlike. For, _first_, it must
inevitably produce a deep national irritation, if it is said hereafter in
Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, France and the United States, “The Italians and
Spaniards have triumphed over our views and interests at Rome, simply
because their dioceses are much smaller than ours and they have 50 Bishops
for 100,000 souls, while we have only one.” _Secondly_, it involves a
complete break with the past of the Church and the practice of Councils.
Some Bishops have examined the official records of the Council of Trent by
the Roman historian Pallavicini, and have found there that Pius IV.
directed his Legates—and that too with special reference to a decree on
the fulness of Papal jurisdiction—to make no decrees the Bishops were not
_unanimously agreed upon_.(46)

But now just the contrary is to take place. The decisive contest on that
point—if it comes to an open contest—will not be fought on the third
_Schema_, _On __ the Church and the Pope_, but at once on the first
_Schema_, the handiwork of the Jesuits, when it is returned to the
Council, professedly modified but in substance unchanged, from the
Commission of two Jesuits and three Infallibilists. As we hear, no
attention has been paid to the counter representations of the Bishops,
some of whom have objected to it altogether as superfluous and
mischievous, some as erroneous and exaggerated. It will now without
further discussion, which is simply impossible in the Council Hall, be
accepted by the mere majority of votes of the compact troop of
Infallibilists, who are at the Pope’s command as _valets à tout faire_,
and proclaimed as a dogma by Pius, _approbante Concilio_, as the form
runs. Thereby, according to approved Roman doctrine, has the Holy Ghost
spoken by the mouth of His divine representative, “causa finita est;” and
it only remains for the 150 or 200 opposing Bishops to make all haste to
perform a great mental evolution, to change their laws of thought, to
reverence as revealed truth what they have hitherto rejected as error, and
to force the clergy and laity under them by excommunication and suspension
to perform the same gymnastic feat of leaping at one jump from unbelief
into firm and immoveable faith.

The modern and purely mechanical scholasticism has brought matters to such
a pass that many seriously look upon the Council as a machine, which only
needs turning to get new dogmas carried and authorized by the Holy Ghost.
Formerly, theologians used to say that the voice of a General Council is
nothing but the voice of the whole Church concentrated in one place; that
every Bishop bears witness to the traditional belief of his Church and of
his predecessors; and that the harmony of these testimonies proves what is
the universal belief, and thus attests the truth and purity of the
profession of faith sanctioned by the Council. But now all this is
entirely changed. The Bishops have come, without any previous knowledge as
to what they were to vote about; long-winded and ready-made documents are
laid before them on questions most of them have never examined in their
lives, of which their flocks at home know nothing and have never heard;
they are expected to pass decrees the necessity and opportuneness of which
appear to them highly problematical, and to pronounce a string of
anathemas, because the Pope and Jesuits will it. They are cooped up in a
treadmill called a Council, and must willingly or unwillingly grind what
is thrown into it. It cannot indeed be exactly said that this procedure is
new and unprecedented, for the same thing occurred, on a much smaller
scale, at the Fifth Lateran Council under Julius II. and Leo. X.; but then
only the Italian Bishops were made use of, who had long been broken in to
the _rôle_ of flunkeys. Now, on the contrary, the Bishops of all nations
have been brought into prison at Rome, and are to say Yea and Amen to the
decrees the _Curia_ and the Jesuits have drawn up and mean to make
obligatory.

But the minority have taken courage, and stand on the defensive; and so
the machine is at a standstill. The opponents of Infallibilism have not
decreased; on the contrary, it is now thought that about 200 will vote
against it. Many, who at first were only “inopportunists,” have now
through more careful investigation of the question become decided
opponents of the doctrine itself.

Antonelli does not spare assurances, that the Governments may be quite at
ease as to the decrees to be issued by the Council; he says they only
affect theology, that nothing will be changed in practical life by them,
and that the _Curia_ has no intention of employing them for the purpose of
interfering with political affairs. But these reassuring declarations are
only made orally; great care is taken to avoid putting them into a
written, and therefore binding, form. Meanwhile the French Government
perfectly comprehends the situation and the objects aimed at, and has
already announced that it will fully support its Bishops and protect them
against the threatened domination by majorities. Archbishop Lavigerie has
gained nothing in Paris, and the decision of France has been communicated
to the Cardinal Secretary of State, to the effect that the Government will
not allow the 33 French Bishops and their allies of the German and English
tongue to be crushed and forced into adopting dogmas they have rejected.
The _Civiltà_ has just been singing the praises of Count Daru, who is a
living proof that there are still real statesmen; it will very soon adopt
just the opposite tone.

Among the points which make the Bishops the more astonished, the longer
they stay here and the more narrowly they inspect the condition of things,
is the decline of study in Rome, and the want, not merely of learned men
but even, and most especially, of well-grounded theologians. Rome was
never a favourable soil for serious study and true learning; a resource
was found in attracting foreigners here, which could easily be done by
means of the great Religious Orders whose Generals reside here. But now
these Orders, with the exception of the Jesuits, are in the same state of
decay. Where are men of distinguished learning to be found among the
Dominicans, Carmelites, Cistercians and Franciscans of our own day? To the
Pope himself and those immediately about him this is a matter of
indifference; Pius feels instinctively that, if there were real
theologians at Rome, they would all offer at least a passive resistance to
his _penchant_ for creating new dogmas. Only the Jesuits and their pupils
favour that sort of thing; and as long as there were real theologians in
Rome, history knows of no Pope who was possessed with this abnormal
passion for fabricating dogmas.

Now, indeed, among the 41 Italian Cardinals, only two are named as
theologians, the Thomist Guidi and the Barnabite Lulio. Of the
achievements of the latter nothing is known, and he has left the Jesuits
to their own devices in the elaboration of the _Schemata_; but in the
Council he is the chief representative of Roman theology. More
distinguished than Lulio is the Piedmontese Prelate and Professor,
Audisio, author of a History of the Popes, which of course cannot be
measured by a German standard. Vincenzi, a good Orientalist and author of
a learned—but in the main erroneous—apology for Origen, being a quiet,
modest man who goes his own way, is thought nothing of here, and has
neither title, dignities, nor benefices, although in knowledge he
outweighs twenty Monsignori. De Rossi, the most acute and learned among
the genuine Romans, who has educated himself by the study of German works,
is a layman and therefore cannot be anything. The Dominican Modena,
Secretary of the Congregation of the Index and as such director of the
whole institution, who died a few weeks ago, passed here for a learned
theologian, but no monuments of his knowledge and research are extant
outside the Index. When a foreigner observed to him shortly before his
death that, in order to condemn German or English books, one should
understand something of the language, he showed great surprise at so
unheard-of a demand, and replied that for Italians, who notoriously far
excel all nations in genius and acuteness, if a foreigner translated a
couple of passages from a book into Latin or Italian, that supplied quite
enough materials for pronouncing a censure on the book. The Dominican
Gatti has now succeeded Modena as Secretary of the Index, and therefore as
supreme judge _ex officio_ of the literature of the world. On his
scientific capacity and literary achievements history is silent. And so
the few learned works produced here have to be provided by foreigners
domiciled at Rome.

Theiner publishes documents from the Archives, so far, that is, as they
serve “the good cause;” much he is notoriously forbidden to publish. The
French Benedictine, Pitra, now a Cardinal, edits the original documents of
Greek canon law; the French Chaillot writes the single important Church
journal or record, _Analecta Juris Pontificii_, where, notwithstanding its
rigid Ultramontane line, useful collections or ancient treatises not
previously printed may here and there be found. Dogmatics and theological
philosophy—_i.e._, philosophy adapted to dogmatic needs and ends—are
provided here by the three German Jesuits, Schrader, Franzelin and
Kleutgen. For here Germans are only thought available when they have first
been transformed into Jesuits and thereby, as far as possible,
un-Germanized. That Order, on which the features of the Spanish national
character of the sixteenth century are still indelibly impressed, cannot
tolerate a genuine German in his natural shape; it would be compelled to
eject him as Etna vomited out the brazen slipper of Empedocles. It is well
known that the most industrious and learned of the Roman Prelates,
Liverani, was obliged to leave Rome; he lives, I believe, at Florence.(47)

If we examine the names of the Professors at the Roman University of the
Sapienza, we find among the teachers of theology, with the solitary
exception of the Canon-Regular, Tizzani, who is now blind, only
monks—Dominicans, Carmelites and Augustinians—and these mere names wholly
unknown beyond the walls of Rome. No less lamentable is the view presented
by the philosophical, mathematical and philological departments. The best
that can be said of this University, the intellectual metropolis of
180,000,000, is about this, “que c’est une fille honnête qui ne fait pas
parler d’elle.”

On the whole, the air here is much too raw, the soil inhospitable, the
Index too near, and the censorship too merciless, for scientific works and
serious investigations. The Italians say of a mindless work, “É scritto in
tempo di Scirocco.” And here there is an intellectual scirocco established
in permanence. And thus the brave German Benedictines, who assembled here
some years ago under an Italian Abbot, Pescetelli, in St. Paul’s without
the Walls, have become victims of the unhealthy atmosphere—that is,
besides the mental scirocco indigenous here, the sharp north wind blowing
from the Gesù. They had energetic men among them, such as Nickes and
others, were anxious to work in German fashion, and made a good beginning
in a volume of _Voices from Rome_, published in 1860; a German Cardinal
was their protector. But no sooner had they been denounced to the Pope by
the Jesuits—German and of ill-repute for orthodoxy are synonymous terms
here than they had to decamp. The Abbot, weary of these chicaneries,
resigned his office and returned to Montecassino. But the Benedictines
generally are looked on most unfavourably by the authorities here. As it
was said in a capital sentence at Paris, in 1794, that the condemned man
was “suspected of being suspected of deficient sense of citizenship,” so
must it be said of the Benedictines here that they “are suspected of being
suspected of a deficient sense of Papalism.” They are not devoted enough
towards the _Curia_; these little religious communities cannot be so
entirely kept in hand, the Jesuits from of old are hostile to them, and it
is found in Rome that they have not hitherto rendered sufficient service
to the great cause of strengthening Roman domination. They are therefore
to be revolutionized, and, like the Jesuits and the Mendicant Orders, to
receive a monarchical constitution. Their autocratic General will then
reside in Rome, and the Pope will do with them what he did with the
Dominicans, when he made Jandel, the Jesuit pupil, their General. Then the
Benedictines will be for the Jesuits what the Gibeonites were for the
Israelites, their “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”(48)

Such a project for revolutionizing the Benedictines, who would then of
course cease to be sons of St. Benedict, is reputed to be among the
measures prepared for the Council. If the present condition of Rome be
compared with earlier ages, as late as Benedict XIV.’s reign, or even
twenty or thirty years later, there is truly an enormous difference, and
this deep decay and intellectual collapse cannot be explained by external
causes merely; inward and more hidden motives must be taken into account,
which I think I well understand, but will not here speak of. That does not
trouble our Roman clergy of to-day; they institute no comparisons, and
don’t even know the names of the men who dwelt in the same spot a century
ago. And the thought of their own poverty of intellect and culture, if it
ever occurs to the Roman clerisy, does not at all hinder their always
admiring themselves, like Dante’s Rachel,


            “Mai non si smaga
    Dal suo miraglio, e siedo tutto giorno
    Ell’ é de’ suoi begli occhi veder vaga.”(49)



NINETEENTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 8, 1870._—It is a most exciting drama that is being exhibited
here, and notwithstanding much that is both little and painful in its
details, one of great and moving import; and those who have the
opportunity of inspecting its machinery more narrowly, can hardly at times
avoid feeling very strongly on the subject. The figure of Laocoon, with
the snakes coiled round him, is constantly recurring to my mind; for I
seem to be witnessing the strategical arts and skilful evolutions of a
general, who is trying to surround a little band of opponents with his
immensely superior forces, so as to compel them to lay down their arms and
surrender at discretion without striking a blow. The disproportion is
indeed enormous; first there is the Pope, whose mere name still is a host
in itself, and that Pope is Pius, who for twenty-four years has had such
homage and flatteries heaped upon him as no Pope ever had before, and who
is accustomed to shake the Roman Olympus by his nod. Then there are the
Cardinals and Prelates, the whole spiritual staff of Congregations—the
Papal family—all fully united and resolved, and the _contribuens plebs_ of
foreign Bishops, who are fairly caught in the net, and will not be
suffered to escape without the bonds and chains of the most stringent
decrees securing their obedience. On the other side stand from 150 to 200
Bishops, of divers tongues and nations and now for the first time united
by a common need and a common danger, like a snowball liable to melt at
the first breath of milder air, and fighting like those Spaniards of the
Cortes, who, with one foot chained to a stone, compelled the Mexicans to
spare their lives. One asks every morning in doubt and terror, how far the
solvents employed have attained their end? Many would gladly capitulate if
only they were met half-way by tolerable conditions, and such would secure
them a rather less cold reception on their return to their dioceses.
Meanwhile the eyes and the hopes of all educated Catholics, not only in
Germany but in Italy, France and North America, are fixed on the chosen
band of 300 Bishops.

But how are matters likely to proceed? The Opposition is tough and
tenacious. Every new _Schema_ bears so unmistakeably the impress of the
interests of either the Jesuits or the _Curia_, that the Bishops cannot
help growing constantly more cautious, suspicious and reserved. And to
make their designs still clearer, the Jesuits supply the practical
commentary in their official journal, the _Civiltà_, to the effect that no
measures of the Governments against the encroachments of the Church on the
civil jurisdiction, or her summons to transgress the laws of the country,
would bind the consciences of their subjects. The subjoined anathema
against every one who refuses to acknowledge that laws are annulled by the
ordinances of the Church (_i.e._, the Pope), is a sorry consolation for
the Bishops; for experience has shown too often that courts of justice and
statesmen don’t trouble themselves about the excommunications incurred in
the discharge of their official duties. The Bishops accordingly foresee
nothing but endless rubs and collisions with the civil power, as well as
with whole classes of the population at home; and when the Jesuits are
commended to them as pledged and triumphant allies in the contest to be
waged against Governments, constitutions and laws, they generally shake
their heads suspiciously and with no particular feeling of triumphant joy.

The Pope’s 300 episcopal foster-sons cost him 25,000 francs daily, and
that makes the pleasant little sum of 1,500,000 francs for two sterile
months, during which these doughty warriors have sat a good deal, but
accomplished nothing by their sitting; for the old Roman proverb, “Romanus
vincit sedendo,” has not been verified here. The Pope is gradually getting
frightened at this daily expenditure, and, after the fashion of great
lords, who readily lay the blame of the failure of their own plans on the
bad advice of their subjects, he said to-day, in an outbreak of disgust,
“per furia di farmi infallibile, mi faranno fallire.”

The proceedings of the Council must therefore be expedited and curtailed.
At the same time nothing must be remitted of the matters it is to deal
with and vote into canons and decrees. Therefore the order of business
must be changed. Cardinal Antonelli says now that “the speeches have been
too long and too many, and must be entirely put an end to; the Bishops
must be content with handing over their observations in writing to the
Commission of twenty-four or the Commission for Petitions.” He tries to
sweeten the bitter draught to their lips by remarking that this decision
is for their own advantage, for, after being so wearied out with the long
sittings and listening to speeches, they must be glad to be relieved of
the burden. The Bishops, however, experience no such joyful feeling, but
say that the last vestige of conciliar freedom is now abolished. They have
the more reason for saying so, since it is notorious that the
Infallibilist and purely Romanist party is exclusively represented on the
Commissions, so that it may be clearly foreseen that the remarks and
suggestions of the liberal-minded and reforming Bishops will simply be
thrown into the waste-paper basket, or, under the most favourable
circumstances, be buried in the archives of St. Angelo. At the moment I am
writing the new _Regolamento_ has not yet been published, owing to the
urgent requests and representations of certain Bishops. But to judge from
Antonelli’s statement, the authorities seem determined to drop the last
veil, and show quite openly to the world that the Council has been
arranged as a mere machine of Roman administration, and must therefore of
course be forced back into the path from which it had wandered. Many a
Bishop now looks back with painful regret to the Council of Trent, where,
notwithstanding the haughty insolence of the Italians, the ambassadors of
Spain and France acted as protectors to the foreign Prelates, and were a
great check on the arbitrary violence of the Legates. Now, Antonelli
assures every diplomatist who says a word on the unprecedented method of
procedure, and the hostile character of the proposed decrees towards the
State, that these things have only a theoretical and doctrinal
significance, and that in practice the _Curia_ will study a wise
moderation, and place itself on a friendly footing with the Governments.
He means, that when one fills one’s arsenal with new and effective
weapons, that is no proof that they will at once be discharged. I don’t
know whether this satisfies the diplomatists. Perhaps Count Trautmansdorff
is satisfied, for his Government has repeatedly announced its resolve to
wait quietly till the Council is over and the _Curia_ is put in possession
of all the decrees and dogmas it wants. Then, when the new doctrines are
already inserted in all the catechisms and taught in all seminaries and
enforced in every confessional, it will be time enough to consider what
line the civil power should take in the matter. M. de Banneville and the
Paris Government do not seem to be of this opinion. I don’t imagine they
are minded at Paris so entirely to sacrifice the Bishops to the arbitrary
will of the _Curia_ and its paid majority, and for the last few days the
French ambassador has been engaged in a lively telegraphic correspondence
with his own Government. We may very soon expect important disclosures.

As far as I can make out, the conviction still prevails among the Roman
clergy and their episcopal allies that the dogma of Infallibility in the
third _Schema_ will be accepted by the Council, at least in a somewhat
modified form, but one easily capable of being extended and quite
sufficient for present exigencies. They say, “We will first take the vote
on the question of opportuneness, and a mere majority may very well decide
that. It has decided already by the 400 or 410 signatures to the
(Infallibilist) Address, and the Bishops who have themselves answered No,
will be obliged to yield to this decision, and so to come to the vote on
the dogma itself, _i.e._, to declare whether they personally hold the Pope
to be dogmatically fallible or infallible.” The Romans expect that, when
matters have come to this point, not a few Bishops—especially Ketteler of
Mayence, and, it may be hoped, many more with him—will come over to their
side and profess their faith in Papal Infallibility. In whatever form they
clothe their belief, it comes to the same thing in the end. At last there
will only remain a little band of obstinate Prelates who will protest.
They may talk if they please, and then it will be proclaimed to the world,
by an overwhelming majority of perhaps 700 votes, that it has become
Infallibilist. Then might a new St. Jerome say, with greater force than
the former one said of Arianism, “Miratus est orbis se esse factum
infallibilistam.” A Roman clergyman, who expressed this expectation to me
with peculiar confidence, added that there had been a like occurrence at
the Council of Trent and it would now be repeated. I perfectly understood
him, and the matter deserves to be mentioned here as a striking parallel
to certain recurring possibilities. The Council, which was meant to reform
and thereby to save the Church, was brought to an early consideration of
the universal neglect of Bishops to reside in their dioceses and the need
for recognising this duty as one of Divine obligation. But it appeared at
once, in the first period of the Council, that the Court of Rome and its
faithful Italians in the assembly had the strongest interest in preventing
the assertion of this simple and logically necessary truth. For, as
regards the past, it would have implied severe censure of the practice
followed by the Popes since the beginning of the thirteenth century, which
would be shown to be a constant violation of the Divine law; while, in
regard to the present and future, it would have seriously limited the
plenary power of the Popes, for it was always held a principle in the
Church that no one could dispense from the law of God. But the non-Italian
Bishops, and nearly all the Italians themselves, were at first in favour
of declaring it to be “the Divine law,” so strong was the evidence. And it
was seen clearly enough that from the divinely imposed obligation must
again be inferred the equally divine rights and institution of the
episcopate. Meanwhile the Jesuit General made his two famous speeches to
show that all episcopal authority was a mere emanation from the Pope. For
ten months, from September 18, 1562 to July 14, 1563, all sessions of the
Council had to be suspended to prevent any decree being made on the
subject; and at last, on July 14, 1563, the twenty-eight Spanish Bishops
and “the Divine right of residence” succumbed to the majority of 192
votes, about three-fourths being Italians. _Absit omen!_

The _Civiltà_ of February 5, 1870, in its article, “I Politicastri ed il
Concilio,” has supplied a noteworthy commentary on the canons or decrees
of the third _Schema_, which affirm the Church to be an institution armed
with coercive powers of inflicting bodily punishments; for that is
obviously the meaning. The “Politicastri” are those statesmen who imagine
that the State has a sphere of its own, independent of the legislation of
the Church and the interposition of the Pope. That, according to the Roman
Jesuits, is a most abominable error. A law which contradicts a law of the
Church has not the slightest validity for men’s consciences. For the
authority of a Council—and _a fortiori_ of a Pope, from whom, on the
Jesuit theory, Councils derive all their force and validity—is above the
authority of the State.(50) Should the State therefore require obedience
to a law opposed to an ordinance of the Council, it would do so without
any real right (_senza vero titulo giuridico_), and, should it enforce
compliance, would be introducing a suicidal tyranny. It is further
explained that this by no means applies to those religious laws only which
rest on Divine ordinance, but also to those which are purely
ecclesiastical, and therefore on Catholic principles are variable.

Let us take the twelfth of the _Canones de Ecclesiâ_, which anathematizes
all who doubt the Church’s power to inflict corporal punishment; and
consider further that the Popes have most solemnly declared that by
baptism all heretics are become their subjects, are amenable to the laws
of the Church, and must, if needful, be compelled to obey them.(51)
Consider further that the Syllabus condemns the toleration or equality of
different religions, and no doubt can remain as to what system it is
intended to introduce.

The second Letter of the famous Oratorian and member of the French
Academy, Father Gratry, has just come here, and has produced a great
impression. It treats of the gross forgeries by which the way for the
introduction of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility has been gradually
prepared, first in the ninth and then in the thirteenth century; and
dwells especially on the fact that the theologians—above all Thomas
Aquinas, who rules in the schools, and his many disciples and
followers—were deceived by these fabrications, and that even the Popes
themselves were misled by them. Gratry’s exposition is clear and
convincing; but he goes beyond the middle ages. He shows how dishonestly
the Breviary was tampered with at Rome at the end of the sixteenth
century, and how, up to the present time the Jesuits, Perrone and
Wenninger,—the latter in a truly amazing fashion—have followed the
practice of citing fabulous or corrupted testimonies.

One grand result of the Council its authors have not foreseen or reckoned
upon, which, however, has already attained alarming dimensions; I mean the
scandal it has given. They seem to have really believed with a childish
_naïveté_ that the Council could be hermetically sealed up, like birds
under a glass bell, and its members shut up apart,—that 3000 persons could
be reduced to silence by a Papal edict about matters they feel there is
the strongest necessity for speaking of. Such a notion could only grow up
in the heads of Roman clerics, who are wont to look at the world beyond
their own narrow sphere only through crevices of the open door, or through
the key-hole. Only too much has become known. The Jesuits, the _Civiltà_,
the _Univers_, the _Monde, et id genus omne_, have done their best to
reveal the sharp contrast of opposite parties, and the world of to-day,
sceptically disposed as it is and little inclined to cover the shame and
nakedness by turning away its face, is present at a double spectacle: it
witnesses the system of force and intrigue by which a Council is managed,
and it watches with keen observation the process of manipulating a new
dogma. Men say now, what Cardinal Bessarion said before, according to an
anecdote current here, that the way Saints were canonized in his own time
made him very suspicious about the older Saints and Canonizations. In the
same way the Protestant and Catholic laity, who are here in such numbers
at present, say, “We know and see now how matters are managed in the
Church when a new dogma is to be made; what artifices, and deceptions, and
methods of intimidation are employed to gain votes. Must it not have been
the same at former Councils?” I have heard even Bishops here say that such
thoughts pressed upon them, and were severe temptations against faith. And
if these things are done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
Is it different with you in Germany?



TWENTIETH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 9, 1870._—In commencing the discussion on the Catechism the
Council passed into the last stage of the peaceful proceedings, which are
to precede the battle on the claims of the Roman authority. The speech of
Cardinal Rauscher, who is ill, was delivered by the Bishop of Gurk, and
made a great impression. He was followed by Cardinal Mathieu, one of the
best Latinists in the French episcopate, the Primate of Hungary and the
Archbishop of Tours. After them Dupanloup spoke, who was again, as on the
former occasion, not well heard. He lashed those who think that the
cultivated nations of the Catholic world are to have a Catechism dictated
to them by Rome. The Session was not favourable to the propositions, but
men can no longer fix their minds on themes of lesser importance. All are
thinking of the decisive contest which is imminent. Many indeed on both
sides wish that it could be avoided. The threatening attitude of the
policy of France has roused serious misgivings. It was known in Rome at
the end of January, but the decisive instructions only arrived on
Saturday, February 5, and produced a deep and unpleasant sensation.
Hitherto the Court of Rome was able to hinder the withdrawal of the French
troops, by threatening to take refuge under English protection at Malta;
but with the good understanding that now prevails between the French and
English Governments this is no longer possible. It is perfectly well known
in the Vatican that neither of the two powers will stretch out a hand to
uphold Papal absolutism. It is a proof of the strong impression produced
by the French note that the Papal Court has kept it secret. No appeal is
tried to Catholic public opinion or the loyal episcopate, for it is well
ascertained that the Infallibilist doctrine has very different enemies
from the temporal power. To Cardinal Antonelli it seems like a denial of
the whole work of his life to stake the temporal power of the Pope for the
sake of a new dogma. But if this is to be saved, the dogma must be
sacrificed. So the Opposition now has the assurance that the neutrality
and non-intervention of the Catholic powers is come to an end, and it is
encouraged at the same time by the part the learned world has begun to
take on its side, since the publication in Germany of the addresses which
attest the antagonism of eminent Catholic scholars and professors of
theology to the new dogma.

Nevertheless the minority is composed of heterogeneous elements, and it
may be safely calculated that they will not all hold out to the last. Some
opponents of the definition are friends of the doctrine, and oppose it on
grounds not of a purely abstract or theological nature. No one has
calculated the numerical proportion of these in inopportunists to the real
opponents of Infallibility. Any serious discussion of the question has
long been avoided, and many think it ought to be avoided, because therein
lies the dangerous weakness of the party. The ground of inopportuneness,
which had already been adopted in the Letter to the Pope from Fulda, was
taken up from the first, in the hope of paralysing the majority by an
imposing number of dissentients. They hoped to be strong by their numbers,
and to look strong by a certain kind of unity. The theory of
inopportuneness seemed to provide a common ground for the decided
opponents of the dogma and for the timid and vacillating or moderate
adherents of the doctrine itself. That a really united Opposition has been
formed on this basis is mainly due to the Bishop of Orleans. He attacked
the opportuneness with such a powerful array of testimonies in his famous
Pastoral, that every one saw clearly the doctrine itself was involved,
though he never entered in so many words on the theological question. The
position he provided has served its purpose for two months, without the
party being brought to a declaration for or against the dogma. It has
served to bring in adherents to the Opposition, who in the strictest sense
of the word belong to the Roman Court party, and to provide waverers with
a comparatively innocent method of resistance. It has prevented the
victory of the _Curia_ in the days of their greatest ascendancy, but it is
untenable for a permanence. The position of the inopportunists has the
fatal disadvantage that it can be out-flanked. That would have happened,
had the Bishops been separately requested to give their opinions “sub
secreto,” with a promise that no public declaration in the Council should
be desired.

Then, again, it is a position that can easily be mastered by means of the
majority. A minority may be invincible on the ground of dogma, but not of
expediency. Everything can be ventured to combat a false doctrine, but not
to hinder an imprudence or a premature definition. In questions of faith
one dare not give in; not so in questions of discretion only. And then the
Council must have been sooner or later driven from the ground of
inopportuneness, if it was not shipwrecked on the order of business; for
it was a point of view the decision could not finally hinge upon, in
presence of a preponderating majority.

The defection of part of the Opposition was thus only a question of time,
though it became more difficult for individuals after each act done in
union, and many an inopportunist has advanced to theological contradiction
of the dogma. But the attempt to make the rejection of the doctrine the
principle of the party forced the contrast more and more on the minds of
individuals. Among the Germans primarily, and in the groups of leading
Bishops from different countries who took counsel together, a more
determined spirit gradually developed itself, and it was seen that their
adversaries made capital out of every sign of unclearness of view among
the Opposition. They were constantly spreading reports that on the main
point all were united, and that at most there were not above twenty
opponents of the dogma, including only two Germans, who were adherents of
Hermes and Günther; perhaps only five opponents in all, or none at all. In
presence of these assertions a public declaration seemed necessary, less
for the faithful at home than for non-Catholics, who ask about the
doctrine. The Bishops of the Opposition told themselves that honour and
episcopal duty demanded that a Bishop should not withhold his belief on a
fundamental question, at a moment when all have to speak, the moment of
danger. The very success of the inopportunist policy is no true success.
It is no victory of the truth, when it is not openly proclaimed in the
contest. Those who do not fight under the banner of their own convictions
are not on equal terms with their adversaries.

Thus the view has been more and more making way, that not only must every
definition be avoided as dangerous, but that the doctrine of the Roman
theologians and their adherents in the Episcopate must be rejected as
false. And this brought men more and more to the scientific ground. It was
no longer a mere affair of personal conviction, but of direct evidence,
and the moment was come for literary argument to assert its place in the
proceedings of the Council. The position of the mere inopportunists became
more difficult, and the band which held the party together was loosened.
Their adversaries at once zealously availed themselves of this favourable
crisis; nearly every Bishop of the minority was plied with various
intermediate formulas and conciliar proposals. Attempts were made to sow
disunion among the leaders; political jealousies at home, and whatever
else could be made use of, were seized upon to undermine mutual
confidence. Some were to be deceived by the phantom of a middle party, and
were told that they might take a position as peacemakers at the head of a
mediating section—of course in the anticipation that every one who makes
concessions and admits the principle of the definition will pass over to
the majority. Against all these attempts the Bishops of the minority have,
on the whole, though not without some wavering, kept firm and true. But
still the transition to the strictly theological standpoint, where
individual conviction on the question of Infallibility must be decisively
recognised and represented, cannot be accomplished without an internal
conflict and shaking of the party.



TWENTY-FIRST LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 11, 1870._—When once literature began to be brought to bear
actively on the proceedings of the Council, the crisis could not long be
delayed, for science, which has to do with truth only, knows nothing of
diplomatic considerations, and makes no concessions to the requirements of
the moment. It brings back the discussion inevitably from theory to fact,
from the sphere of dogma to the sphere of history. In remorselessly
exposing the inventions and forgeries which form the basis of the doctrine
of Papal Infallibility, it necessarily attacks the whole ultramontane
system of which that doctrine is the logical consequence. The fundamental
refutation of the dogma is fatal to much in the specifically Roman
theology and the modern claims of the Popes, which would not otherwise
have been assailed in Council by any Bishop. Those who shrink from
collision with the _Curia_, and would desire to spare it a public exposure
of error before the whole world, and who have therefore hitherto remained
on the defensive, will now be driven further and placed in a position they
would never have chosen. They see their adversaries in a light—whether as
deceived or deceivers—which seriously disturbs their daily intercourse
with them. For it is no longer possible to conceal by any periphrasis the
fact that the spirit the Opposition has to combat is no other than the
spirit of lying. And so, when the voice of honest science cannot be
excluded, no peaceful issue is possible. The contest takes the form of an
internecine strife against that absolute Papal system for which the Court
had at first confidently expected to gain the almost enthusiastic sanction
of the Council. The aid of science can be purchased at no cheaper price.
No wonder then if the Bishops recoil in trembling before the weighty task
of winning the victory for that view which specially prevails among
learned Germans of this day, first in the Council, and then among the mass
of the clergy and the faithful. There are few among them who are not
inwardly conscious that they will themselves come in for some of the heavy
blows.

Father Gratry’s first Letter on its arrival at Rome roused serious
reflection in many. His skilful handling of a subject familiar to all, and
his repeated application of the solemn passage, “Numquid indiget Deus
mendacio vestro?”(52) together with his unmistakeable allusion in his
division of mankind into “viri veraces” and “viri mendaces,” contributed
to make clear the full significance of the contrast—to many for the first
time. Döllinger’s printed criticism of the Address was not calculated to
quiet the excitement it caused. The Roman party, in the hope of effecting
an internal split in the party, seized the handle which Döllinger’s
statement that he was in harmony on the main question with the majority of
the German Bishops seemed to supply, and tried to extract a counter
declaration from the Bishops. The first attempt, to induce the Archbishop
of Munich to exert his authority, failed. Then the Bishop of Mayence
brought the matter before the Assembly of German Opposition Bishops. He
angrily disclaimed for himself any solidarity with Döllinger’s view, and
averred his belief in Papal Infallibility, saying it was only the
difficulty and danger of a dogmatic declaration quite unnecessary in
itself that made him an opponent of the definition. Had his motion been
accepted, and the German Opposition renounced their hostility to the dogma
and retired to the ground of mere expediency, the complete victory of the
Infallibilists would have been a matter of a few weeks only. But when the
German Bishops rejected Ketteler’s urgent demand, and decisively refused
to give up their assault on the dogma, the half-and-half character and
weakness of their position vanished, and they ceased to subordinate or
sacrifice the theological standpoint to the question of expediency. And
thus the difficult word has been spoken; they have already pronounced
against the doctrine itself in the Addresses they have signed. The
reproach incurred thereby does not, of course, apply in full force to the
Bishop of Mayence, who has always told his colleagues that he is on their
side on the question of opportuneness only. The Bishop of Rottenburg
(Hefele) has already declared in his speech at Fulda that it is necessary
to advance further and assail the doctrine itself. And he repeated this in
reply to Ketteler’s proposal. The great majority of the Bishops were
unfavourable to that proposal. While in this way they testified their
agreement with Döllinger, some of them—especially Strossmayer—declared
emphatically for the œcumenicity of the Council of Florence. They have
weighty reasons for this. The more strongly the minority hold to
Döllinger’s interpretation of the famous Florentine decree, the less can
they afford to depreciate the authority of the Synod. For in their opinion
it is just that decree which serves to expose the dishonesty of the other
party, and to overthrow the extreme doctrine. It will do them good service
too in the discussion on the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ and the new _Schema de
Romano Pontifice_, which is now announced.

But while the German Bishops rejected Ketteler’s proposal, and left to the
_Civiltà Cattolica_ and the Mayence _Katholik_ the war against the Munich
School, they did not venture to come to an open breach with the less
homogeneous elements of their party, wishing to retain Ketteler on their
side—who is as zealous against the Roman principles in Church and State as
against German science—as an active ally in the contest against the
_Schema_. For this end there have been consultations, especially between
the Archbishop of Cologne on one side and the Archbishop of Munich on the
other. The commotion produced by Döllinger’s essay in the learned world of
Germany gives them an opportunity for helping the minority over this
discomfiture, and averting for the immediate moment of danger the
threatened disruption. It cannot be denied that to a certain extent the
latest declarations of German Catholics are very acceptable to the
Bishops, for the very reason that they partly emanate from men who belong
to the more moderate opponents of Infallibility. It is a piece of good
luck for the Bishops staying at Rome that men who are independent, and at
a distance from the flatteries and threats of the Vatican, undertake to
call things by their right names, that reason makes itself heard by the
side of passion, and science by the side of authority. It is moreover very
convenient that the materials can be used while the writer is disowned.
But although the Bishops know well how to value the importance of the
support given to their cause from Germany, yet this new movement is not
altogether to their taste; their dignity demands that they should not
succumb to pressure from without, or owe too much to the public press. A
Bishop is indeed presumed to be a theologian. And as it is impossible that
the considerations which for the moment are decisive in the Council should
always be taken into account by writers, there cannot fail to be manifold
embarrassments. From the intra-conciliar point of view it is easy to go
too far. And then it may be regarded as almost inevitable that many
Bishops should receive these manifestations of opinion from Germany with
outward coldness, or reply by advising that it should be left in their
hands alone to secure the victory of truth. In their eyes silence is in
itself a kind of vote of confidence. A too zealous participation might
almost look like a sign of doubt as to the Bishops having strength and
perseverance and coherence enough to conquer. To be sure, none feel such
doubts more strongly than the Bishops themselves, but nothing can better
serve to give them the confidence in themselves which is so much to be
desired as showing them that others feel it.

And thus among the German Bishops in Rome Hefele’s view has triumphed over
Ketteler’s, the logical and decided over the half-and-half policy, and the
difficult turning-point has been passed without loss or breach in the
party. And not a day too soon! Next week a new _Schema_ and a new order of
business will bring the disunion and irritation in the Council to a point.



TWENTY-SECOND LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 15, 1870._—If I wrote a fortnight ago that the situation was
essentially improved since the first weeks, this must be taken with
important reservations. The most keen-sighted of the North American
Bishops then said, “We have done nothing at all, and that is a great
deal.” He thought it an important gain that of the proposals laid before
the Council, the two _Schemata_, nothing had passed, and none of the
objects for which it had been convoked had, up to that point, been
attained. But this has only been the damming up of a stream which
eventually bursts through the more violently, and carries away the dam
with it. For the majority of 500, who are resolved to indorse everything
and vote every measure proposed, holds firmly together, before and behind;
while the minority, on the other hand, is in danger of being shivered to
pieces on the rock of opportuneness.

The _Schema_ now under discussion, of a common Catechism for the whole
Catholic world, is clearly connected with the general programme cut out
for the Council; for if the new dogmas are fabricated, they will at once
be inserted into this universal Catechism, and thereby inculcated in the
simplest and most convenient manner on the youth and the whole body of the
faithful. The Jesuits have found the experiment very successful in Germany
with their own Catechism, and have thereby naturalized the doctrine of
Infallibility gradually, with a precision rendered more explicit in each
successive edition in the boys’ and girls’ schools, especially those
conducted by nuns. The Catechism has also proved a great financial
success, and thus whole countries have become tributary to the Order. In
the same way the new Catechism of the Council will be a source of manifold
profit to both the _Curia_ and the Jesuits. The _Curia_ treats the Council
with scientific skill, like a patient who has first to be gently
physicked, and then has stronger doses given him by degrees. First came
the _Schema_ of philosophical and theological doctrine, then of
discipline, and now the question of a common Catechism. Behind this looms
the deeply-cutting _Schema_ on the Church; and when that is triumphantly
passed, the _Schema_ on the Pope appears as the crown of the grand
legislative work. While the former tractate propounds the _supremum
magisterium_ of the Church, as holding sovereign power over lands and
seas, souls and bodies, in the last _Schema_ this supreme _magisterium_
crops out in the person of Pius IX., who now enters into the possession of
the supreme dominion and powers marked out for him in the dogmatic chart,
if we can speak of any marking out when, in principle, everything is laid
claim to, and the master himself alone and conclusively draws the line of
demarcation where he chooses. He presents himself to the world as
infallible teacher and legislator in the realm of science, as supreme
judge of the literature of the world, as supreme lord and master in all
that pertains to religion, or is related to it, and as infallible judge of
right and wrong in all points. Many will say with Polonius, “Though this
is madness there is method in it.” Let us examine these principles more
closely.

_First_, The Pope possesses the supreme and immediate dominion and
jurisdiction, not merely over the Church in general, but over every
individual Christian. Every baptized person is directly and immediately
subject to the Pope, his ordinances, special commands and penalties. His
power is “suprema tum in Ecclesiam universalem, tum in omnes et _singulos_
Ecclesiarum pastores et _fideles_ jurisdictio;” or, as the twenty-one
Canons say, “ordinaria et immediata potestas.” Whoever disbelieves this
incurs anathema.(53)

_Secondly_, The Church stands as high above the State as heavenly
beatitude above the profits and goods of this earthly life.—(_Can._ 13.)

_Thirdly_, Every one must therefore prefer the advantage of the Church to
the welfare of the State, “Si quando videantur utilia regno temporali, quæ
bonis sublimioribus Ecclesiæ et æternæ salutis repugnent, ea nunquam
habebunt pro veris bonis, etc.”—(_Can._ 13 ad fin.)

_Fourthly_, The supreme _magisterium_ of the Church, _i.e._ the Pope,
whether alone or in union with a Council, has to decide what Princes and
Governments should do or leave undone in questions of civil society and
public affairs. “De ipsâ agendi normâ judicium, quatenus de morum
honestate, _de licito vel illicito_ statuendum est pro civili societate
publicisque negotiis, ad supremum Ecclesiæ magisterium pertinet.”

_Fifthly_, As the Pope possesses not only the supreme office of teacher,
but also the supreme right of coercion and punishment, he not only
distinguishes as teacher what is and what is not permissible for States
and nations, but he can enforce his decision on political matters by
penalties upon every one—be he monarch or minister or private citizen. He
has the right “devios contumacesque exteriori judicio et salubribus pœnis
coërcendi atque cogendi.”—(_Can._ 12.)

_Sixthly_, Whenever a law of the Church conflicts with a law of the State,
the latter must give way; and whoever maintains that anything forbidden by
the law of the Church is allowed by the law of the State incurs
anathema.—(_Can._ 20.)

These ecclesiastical maxims, which deprive the laws of the land of all
force and of all obligation for the conscience, are partly those already
in existence, partly those any Pope may issue hereafter whenever it
pleases him.

Thus marriage, primary instruction and education, the toleration or
suppression of dissenting communions, the jurisdiction and privileges of
the clergy, the acquisition and control of ecclesiastical property, oaths,
wills, and the whole of the unlimited domain taken into her hands and
legislated for by the mediæval Church, and in short whatever comes under
the head of permissible or forbidden—this, _en masse_, forms the sphere of
the Pope’s jurisdiction, wherein he rules with absolute and sovereign
power, and puts down all opposition by coercion and punishments. Truly
this reminds one of the Prophet’s words, “The bricks are fallen down, but
we will build with hewn stones; the sycamores are fallen, and we will
plant cedars in their place.” Since Paul _iv._’s time, 260 years ago, no
Pope has so openly and undisguisedly spoken out the thoughts and wishes of
his heart. The kernel of the doctrine, then, is this: there is on earth
one sole lord and master over kings and subjects alike, over nations as
over families and individuals, against whom no right or privilege avails,
and whose slaves all are. The only difference is that some, viz., the
Bishops, can on their side rule and lord it in their dioceses as upper
servants in the name of the Church or the Pope, so far as their master
does not interfere to stop them, while all others are mere slaves and
nothing more. This obviously goes far beyond the Syllabus. This is the
Bull _Unam Sanctam_ modernized and, so to speak, translated out of
military language (about the two swords) into political and juristic
terms. Innocent III., Innocent IV., and Boniface VIII., said that,
“ratione peccati,” they could interfere anywhere, and bring any affair or
process before their Court, for it belongs to the Pope to decide what is
sin and to punish it. What is said here comes to the same thing, that the
Pope determines what is or is not allowable, and acts accordingly.

It is a stately edifice of universal Papal dominion whereon the keystone
of Infallibility, which bears and upholds the whole, is to be placed, so
that every command and ordinance of the Pope, even in political matters,
is infallible, as the Jesuit Schrader has so clearly and forcibly pointed
out. And to this must be added further (according to Canon 9) a vast and
infinite domain for infallible decisions, viz., “all that is requisite for
preserving the revealed deposit in its integrity.” Who can specify what is
included here, or fix any limits to it?

Two other links in this world-embracing chain are not visible, which are
yet necessary for its coherence. The Interdict, which robbed whole
populations of divine service and sacraments, must be restored in its
ancient splendour, and the Pope’s right to dispense from oaths must be
distinctly asserted.

The Fathers of the Council have daily opportunities of feeling how useful
the temporal power is for the plenary jurisdiction of the Papacy. Were
they assembled anywhere else than in Rome, there would be the possibility
of holding a real Synod in the sense and manner of the Ancient Church,
while the so-called Synod in Rome is in fact the mere painted corpse of a
Council laid out on a bed of state.

Soul and freedom are wanting. On any other soil than that of the States of
the Church, the Bishops could assemble in a room where they could debate
and understand one another, while they are now forcibly detained in the
Council Hall. They could come to a mutual understanding by means of the
press, by printed proposals or statements of opinion, weekly reports and
the like. Anywhere else such treatment as the Patriarch of Babylon
experienced would have been impossible; he has now taken refuge under the
protection of the French Embassy. But here the King of Rome lends to the
Pontiff the means of enforcing unreserved submission, and it is like the
lion’s den, “vestigia nulla retrorsum.”

Many a French Bishop has shared the experiences of the famous Lamennais
thirty-eight years ago, who came to the Eternal City full of ardent
devotion to the Chair of Peter and firm faith in its infallibility, and on
his departure, after a long stay there, wrote to a friend, “Restait Rome;
j’y suis allé et j’ai vu là la plus infame cloaque qui ait jamais souillé
les regards humains.” I will not transcribe what follows, though it was
lately read to me by a Bishop. It may be seen in his Letters.(54) But this
I can testify: there are men in the French Episcopate who used to be
zealous champions of the temporal power, but who would now bear its loss
with great equanimity, if only the calamity of the decrees chartered for
the Council could be thereby warded off.

Yesterday, February 14, the ice was broken at last. The Bishop of Belley
for the first time mentioned the Infallibility doctrine in the General
Congregation, observing that the Council should at once proclaim it and go
home, as that was the only object they had been summoned to Rome for.

Meanwhile an instructive calculation has been made of the proportion in
which the different nations and Catholic populations are represented in
the Council. It appears from them that the Catholics of North Germany have
_one_ vote in Council for every 810,000 souls, and those of the States of
the Church for every 1200, so that one Roman outweighs 60 Germans. It has
been further ascertained that the 512 Infallibilists in the Council
represent a population of 73,011,000 souls, while only 94 opponents of the
dogma represent 46,278,000. With the Infallibilists one vote represents
142,570, with the Opposition, 492,320 souls.

Austria has now announced by her ambassador, Count Trautmansdorff, that
the Government will not allow decrees in contradiction with the
Constitution to be promulgated in the country. This threat will produce
little effect, for all the doctrinal decrees have full force throughout
the whole Church from the mere fact of being promulgated at the Council;
only the disciplinary regulations require to be promulgated in the various
countries and dioceses. Thus the Council of Trent has never been
promulgated in France, notwithstanding all the endeavours of the _Curia_,
but the dogmatic decrees have always been in full force there as
elsewhere.



TWENTY-THIRD LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 16, 1870._—The order of business is now to be altered, which
means that an end is to be put to the speeches. The Bishops are to hand in
their views, scruples and suggestions in writing to the Commission for
revising motions, which will use its own discretion as to noticing or
leaving unnoticed the proposals made with a view to their being submitted
to the Council. There will then, in place of a discussion, be a mere
voting, which individuals may give their reasons for, if they have
previously stated the particular point they wish to speak on and obtained
leave for it. And in the new order of business, the Pope’s right to make
and promulgate decrees on faith with a mere majority is said to be
emphatically laid down. When this and the anticipated and dreaded _Schema_
“On the Pope” are promulgated, we shall see what attitude the Bishops will
assume towards them. Both are now suspended like two swords over the heads
of the Fathers. All at last depends on whether the Opposition remains
compact, or crumbles to pieces under the efforts of the curialists.

If the general war required by the principles of the new _Schema_ against
modern systems and governments, which conflict in numberless cases with
the laws of the Church, is to be undertaken, the question arises, Where is
the army to carry it on, and what weapons are to be employed? No doubt the
trumpeters of the army are ready at hand, viz., the Jesuits of the
_Civiltà_ and the monastery of Laach, but it seems a doubtful look-out
about soldiers. The Jesuits, indeed, command at present a considerable
number of distinguished and wealthy females, but that will not go far in
the great contest against laws, parliaments and governments. The Pope
himself must principally supply the arms, which can only be the old ones
of excommunication, interdict and processes of the Inquisition.
Excommunication was formerly very effective, when the excommunicated could
be proceeded against as heretics after a twelve-month, but that is no
longer feasible. Interdict, too, is become a blunted instrument, which no
Pope has ventured to make use of since Paul V. succumbed in his battle
with Venice. The Inquisition only survives now for the 700,000 souls of
the present States of the Church. That drastic means of giving up
refractory populations _en masse_ to slavery and spoliation, as applied by
Clement V., Nicolas V., Julius II., and Paul III., cannot easily be
adopted now. So they will be content for the time with establishing the
principle, and must await more favourable circumstances for realizing it.
But the Bishops are between two fires: they are discredited with Rome,
because they must continue to acknowledge the civil laws, which are in
fact condemned; they are exposed with their Governments and people to the
constant suspicion of being on the watch for some political complication
to secure the triumph, at least in particular cases, of the ecclesiastical
principles recognised as valid at Rome—in other words, the Decretals—over
the laws of the State.

It seemed to me important to ascertain more precisely the attitude of the
Dominicans—who are still a powerful corporation, through their possessing
such influential offices as the Inquisition, Index, Mastership of the
Sacred Palace, etc.—towards Infallibilism. They have always been the
standing rivals and opponents of the Jesuits, and before 1773 were often
able to resist them successfully. Now, of course, everywhere out of Rome,
they are out-flanked and repressed by the Jesuits, while in Rome they have
no influence with the Pope. Yet they too are all decided Infallibilists,
and that because of their great theologian, Thomas Aquinas. That he
himself became implicated in this notion only through means of the
forgeries in Gratian, and of another great fabrication, with spurious
passages of the Fathers, specially devised for his own benefit, they
neither know, nor are willing to believe when told of it. They say they
have once sworn to the doctrine of St. Thomas, and must therefore adhere
to the Infallibilist doctrine introduced by him into the schools, to avoid
perjury.(55)

A certain feeling of discouragement betrays itself among many
Infallibilists, and there is much in the occurrences of the last few weeks
to account for it. Thus the Archbishop of Milan, whose diocese nearly
equals in extent the whole States of the Church, has received an address
from his clergy and people expressing agreement with his work against the
dogma, which has greatly rejoiced him. And the news of the state of
feeling in Germany is disheartening. Golden results had been reckoned on
from the efforts of the Jesuits and their pupils there for the last twenty
years. It was supposed here that a very considerable number of people
beyond the Alps must be inspired with zeal for Papal Infallibility. When
the impulse given by Döllinger evoked so many and such weighty expressions
of opinion on the other side, it was confidently expected in Rome that a
strong popular demonstration in favour of the dogma would burst out, like
a mighty hurricane, from every district in Germany, as the 800 Jesuits at
work there would easily be able to bring that to pass. But now it is
evident that no single man of influence in the whole country will make
himself responsible by name for this opinion, and that all who are eminent
for authority and knowledge—especially historians and theologians—protest
against the proposed new dogma. Even the Jesuit Catechism has not been
able to effect everything in this respect. Can a new dogma be fabricated
for Spaniards, Italians and South Americans exclusively? And even in North
Italy an opposition is being manifested. It is a questionable policy to
show to the German people so openly the gulf between their religious
thoughts and desires and those of the Latin nations, and even to widen
that gulf. And in what position would the episcopal signataries of the
Fulda Pastoral find themselves, after giving such an explicit assurance to
Catholic Germany, “that the Council would establish no new or different
dogmas from those already written by faith on the hearts and consciences
of all German Catholics”? The faith and conscience of the German
Catholics, both theologians and laity, have now spoken loudly and
unequivocally enough. And it is utterly impossible for a German Bishop to
return home from the Council with the new dogma ready-made in his hand,
and say to his flock, like St. Paul, “Ye foolish Germans, who hath
bewitched you?” “You don’t know yourselves what you have hitherto held in
your faith and conscience. See, here is the true bread for your souls,
just brought fresh from the bake-house of the Council. This is what you
ought long ago to have believed; be converted, and confess that to be
white which you have thought was black, and that to be a divine truth
which you have taken for an invention of man.” It cannot be presumed that
a Bishop would willingly contemplate exposing himself to the ridicule of
all Germany.

The rumour of a speedy prorogation of the Council is constantly growing
more definite. As this depends on one capricious will, it is quite
possible in itself. But some striking result would have first to be
attained, some conspicuous act accomplished by the Council; or else the
fraud would be too glaring, the nakedness of the land too strikingly
exhibited to the whole world. To the question, why ten precious weeks had
been idly wasted without a single decree being achieved, the only answer
would be, that the desire to deprive the Council of all independent action
had led to the machine being cramped and fettered till it was brought to a
standstill altogether. In accordance with the advice of the Jesuits the
whole Council had in fact been pre-arranged, and nothing was to be left to
the Fathers on their arrival at Rome but to affirm the thoughts and
formulate the decrees suggested by others. The _Schemata_ prepared shall
be read one after the other, and the Fathers shall say _Placet_, and to
prevent their having any temptation to criticise and mangle and curiously
dissect and combat the motions laid before them, the Sessions shall be
held in a Hall where the speeches cannot be heard, and all discussion is
impossible. That was the programme; the result has proved that the Court
had judged rightly of about 500 out of the 700 members, but had deceived
itself as to the remaining 200. Veuillot, who communicates the correct
views about the Council daily to the French, has declared that it was
right to deprive the Bishops of the freedom of evil (_qu’il ne fallait pas
laisser aux Évêques la liberté du mal_). This beneficent care for the
health of the Bishops’ souls has however been extended a little too far.
Many of them are so ungrateful as to think they are treated too much like
automatons, and that with the “liberté du mal” they have also been
deprived of the “liberté du bien.” The Roman lists of names from which the
Commissions had to be chosen are not forgotten. The right of proposing
motions has been made illusory by the composition of the Commission
appointed for examining them, and the arrangement for making the
permission to bring them forward dependent on the pleasure of the Pope.
And thus great uneasiness, not to say exasperation, prevails among the 200
Bishops. And on the other hand, the Pope has been for several weeks past
in a chronic state of mingled indignation and astonishment at finding so
many Bishops—even at Rome, in his own immediate neighbourhood—daring to
think and say the contrary to what he, Pius IX., thinks and says.

This rebellion of thought has not indeed yet been directly and openly
manifested in the Council Hall. But when the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_, and
with it Infallibility, really come to be discussed, then even within the
sacred precincts of St. Peter’s, and close to the Tomb of the
Apostles—which the Pope had assured himself would inspire very different
thoughts into the Bishops’ heads—bold utterances of contradiction will be
heard, and will resound throughout Europe, for “publicity discloses the
Acheron of the Council.” The expected and decisive sealing up of 3000
mouths is at an end once for all, and even that most correct and devoted
of Romanists, Veuillot, has declared in his _Univers_ that such a silence
of the grave is impossible, especially for the French, and has accordingly
blurted out such of the secrets of the Hall as seemed to him desirable
without scruple. Nor have the authorities taken it at all ill of him. But
to hear Bishops publicly in Council, and in the hearing of the Papal
Legates, proclaiming views diametrically opposed to those of the Pope—and
that, too, in a question so fundamental and so completely dominating the
whole future life of the Church—would be a scandal which must be averted
even at the heaviest cost. Some time before the Indiction of the Council,
in 1866, Pius himself formally asserted, in the most significant terms,
and in presence of a numerous assemblage of foreigners who had come to
offer him their homage, his true attitude towards the world and the
Bishops, whether assembled or dispersed. He spoke in French, and in words
carefully prepared beforehand, and I give the speech precisely as it was
reported, with the reporters’ names subscribed, in the _Monde_, the
_Union_, and the _Observateur Catholique_ of April 1, 1866, p.
357:—“_Seul_, malgré mon indignité, _je suis le successeur des apôtres_,
le vicaire de Jésus Christ; _seul_, j’ai _la mission de conduire et de
diriger la barque de Pierre, je suis la voie, la vérité, et la vie._ Il
faut bien qu’on le sache, afin de ne pas se laisser tromper et aventurer
par la parole de gens qui se disent Catholiques, mais qui veulent et
enseignent tout autre chose que ce que veut et enseigne l’Église.”

Whether he really intended thereby to deny the office of the Bishops as
successors of the Apostles, which has always hitherto been recognised in
theology, I cannot say. But this much is clear, that every Bishop who in
any important question of faith differs from the views of Pius, departs
from “the way,” swerves from “the truth,” excludes himself from “the
life.” Nothing of the sort has ever been suffered at Rome; no dissent has
ventured into the light of day. The censorship and the Inquisition have
taken care of that. It would be a supremely dangerous precedent if that
were now to happen for the first time, and with many Bishops of different
nations for the dissidents. The contradiction between the Liberal Bishops
and the Pope would be the more glaring, as Pius has only in the last few
days addressed a very categorical letter to the Liguorian Jules Jacques on
his own infallibility. He praises this man for having collected from the
writings of Liguori his statements about Papal Infallibility, and thus
exhibited the “sound doctrine.” The “unsound” doctrine cannot be freely
proclaimed in St. Peter’s, and besides it has such a peculiar power of
infection, that for centuries Rome has surrounded herself with a threefold
_cordon_ and all sorts of disinfecting remedies against this epidemic. And
accordingly, from the Roman standpoint, the adjournment of the Council
must obviously appear to be in any case the lesser evil in comparison with
so unheard-of a scandal. Just think of a philippic in the Council Hall
against the infallibility of the Pope, an exposure of the errors of
Popes—there in St. Peter’s, close to the Vatican, and before 700 Prelates!
That would indeed be, in the words of Daniel, the abomination of
desolation in the holy place.

Moreover, an adjournment and subsequent reassembling would have this
advantage, that the order of business and the locality could be changed.
So long as these remain unchanged, it is impossible to speak seriously of
a Council, and if the Roman censorship prevents any complaints on the
subject being heard, the _Curia_ cannot conceal from itself that after the
close of the Council the real state of the case will be universally
recognised as a notorious fact, and the entire want of freedom or
examination or discussion be insisted upon as a ground and justification
for rejecting the decrees. But a Council universally questioned or
rejected would be an endless source of embarrassment and distress for the
_Curia_ themselves. They would have at last to exclaim, “All I have gained
is a loss.”

These and the like thoughts are now occurring to many. The advice of the
French Government, which would on all accounts gladly welcome an
adjournment, the admonitions of Austria, which has at last, at the twelfth
hour, receded from its attitude of coldness and indifference, and the
knowledge that the two Protestant powers, Prussia and England, maintain
the same views on the threatened decrees and intended ecclesiastical
conquests, though without making any direct representations on the
subject—all this more or less contributes to the gravity of the crisis.
There are some drops of wormwood mingled with the joyous goblets quaffed
daily to the Pope by the majority of 500 obsequious and courtly Latins. As
the obedience of these Bishops and the Vicars-Apostolic, who can at any
moment be deposed by Propaganda, is unlimited, they will vote the
_Schemata_ exactly as the Pope desires; but most of them do it at least
with an inward repugnance, and say, like the Aragonese Cortes of old, “We
obey, but we don’t execute.”



TWENTY-FOURTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 20, 1870._—The following classification of the French Bishops
here according to their parties may be interesting.

The French themselves distinguish three factions, Liberal, Ultramontane,
and the Third Party—_i.e._, those who have signed no address, and have
openly refused to do so. To the Liberal section belong Alby, Gaz,
Marseilles, Nizza, Cahors, Mende, Perpignan, Bayonne, Montpellier,
Valence, Viviers, La Rochelle, Luçon, Besançon, Metz, Nancy, Verdun,
Annecy, Autun, Dijon, Grenoble, Paris, Orleans, Rheims, Chalons, S.
Brieux, Vannes, Bayeux, Coutances, Evreux—thirty votes altogether.

The Ultramontanes are—Rodez, Aire, Nîmes, Angoulême, Poictiers (in the
superlative), Belley, St. Diez, Strasburg, Le Puy, Tulle, St. Jean de
Maurienne, Langres, St. Claude, Blois, Chartres, Meaux, Versailles,
Amiens, Beauvais, Rennes (a malcontent Ultramontane), Seez, Moulins,
Toulouse, Carcassonne, Montauban, Laval and Le Mans—twenty-seven votes.

In the Third Party, headed by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Rouen, are
included Périgueus, Bourges, Tarantaise, Cambray, Arras, Nevers, Troyes,
Pamiers, Tours—ten votes.

The Bishops of Digne, Fréjus, Toulon and Soissons are described as
doubtful.

The English Bishops are similarly divided. Manning has only been able to
get one single Bishop over to his side. Two, Errington and Clifford, have
signed the Address against Infallibility. Six, including Bishop Ullathorne
of Birmingham, form a third party, who decline to sign anything on either
side. It is the same with the Irish Bishops. The Romanized Cullen, whom
the Pope forced as Primate on the Irish Bishops, with the same view as he
imposed Manning on the English Bishops, against their will, is of course
an Infallibilist, and would rejoice to enforce this dogma, which they
detest, on the educated classes of Ireland by the help of the lower
orders. Bishops Moriarty and Leahy (of Dromore) have signed the Petition
against Infallibility. Archbishop MacHale of Tuam, and some others with
him, belong to the third party, while the majority of the Irish Bishops
see in Papal Infallibility a means for increasing their influence over the
people. What view the South Italian Bishops take is illustrated by the
following anecdote. An Italian statesman spoke to two of them about the
immoderate claims contained in the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_, and asked them
whether they really meant to assent to such decrees? “We cannot go against
the Holy Father,” was their reply. When he reminded them of the
independent attitude of the German Bishops, they replied, “They can take
that line, for they are rich.” Another of the South Italians amused the
Council by urging that the constant wearing of the long cassock should be
enforced, because Christ rose and ascended into heaven in that dress.

Since the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ has been in the hands of the Bishops, it is
clear to all that the Council has been convoked simply for the purpose of
extending the power of the Pope and strengthening the influence of the
Jesuits, and that everything is designed to subserve this one end. The
Bishops are to forge chains for binding, first the secular powers, and
then themselves and the whole clergy with them. The feeling they are
possessed with is a bitter and painful one. They feel outwitted and caught
in a trap. They were summoned to Rome, without being told a word of the
objects aimed at or the matters to be dealt with; on their arrival they
were strung and fixed, like the keys of a harpsichord, into the great
conciliar instrument, and they find that they are to be used by the hand
of the mighty musician to produce tones which sound to themselves most
utterly nauseous. They know well enough that the most eloquent speeches
and most forcible arguments don’t change a single vote of the majority,
who would remain firm and unmoved as the rock of Peter if a Chrysostom or
Augustine was among them. In an outburst of disgust at the _Schema de
Ecclesiâ_, a German Prelate, formerly Roman in his sympathies, exclaimed,
“This _Schema_ deserves to be thrust down into hell.” One hears these men
congratulating their colleagues who stayed at home under a presentiment of
what was coming. The news of the adjournment of the Council, begun under
such evil auspices, would be welcomed by them with delight.

But these reports of an adjournment are rather wishes than hopes. The
prorogation would imply an admission that the Council had been a failure
through the fault of the _Curia_, in the perversity of the regulations it
imposed on the Bishops, and the extravagance of the measures it brought
forward. “Perissent les colonies plutôt qu’un principe”—this saying,
uttered in the Paris Convention of 1793, may often be heard here in
various applications. The world will be enlightened in a few days by the
publication of the new or altered order of business. It is not prorogation
that is the immediate business, but the subjection of the minority more
than ever to the rule of the majority and its wire-pullers who stand
behind it, the outvoting them by majorities.

In French circles a paper called the _Moniteur Universel_ is making no
small sensation. It contains a detailed account of the proceedings of the
Council, drawn up by a learned Frenchman residing here and under the
inspiration of French Bishops. It is thoroughly authentic and carefully
weighed—far the best and most accurate account of the Council in that
language. You may perhaps find room for the following, which substantially
confirms and partly supplements and rectifies my own statements:—

“The Council of Trent arranged the order of business for itself. In this
case just the contrary has been done: everything was pre-arranged and
imposed on the Council by the Pope, and even the secretaries and
scrutators were named beforehand. No initiative is allowed to the Bishops;
the Commission for examining motions is formed of the hottest
Infallibilists and members of the _Curia_, but the final decision is
reserved to the Pope. The proposers of a motion are not even allowed to
explain and defend it, so that the freedom nominally conceded to the
Bishops of proposing measures is rendered purely illusory. By the
composition of the four Commissions, elected from Roman lists of names,
all work of critical importance is kept in the hands of the few
Infallibilists chosen for the purpose by the _Curia_, to the exclusion of
700 Bishops, among whom are all the German Bishops who signed the Fulda
Letter to the Pope, and the most influential French Prelates. In short,
all Bishops not known to be thorough-going Infallibilists have been
systematically excluded from the Commissions. Very different was it at
Trent, where all the Fathers, divided into four Congregations, took a real
part in the work. We must add the monstrous disproportion of national
representation—the enormous and overwhelming preponderance of the
Italians, still further strengthened by the host of Vicars-Apostolic, who
can at any moment be deposed by the Propaganda without any legal
formality. Thus the Italian Bishops alone outnumber all the French,
German, Hungarian and North American together, though these last represent
a population nearly three times as large. The weakness of the two French
Cardinals, Bonnechose and Mathieu, who ought to have taken the lead, has
frustrated the attempt to unite the French Bishops in a national group.
Bonnechose consulted Antonelli, who said the French must not assemble in
larger bodies than fifteen or at most twenty together. The evil
consequences were at once shown in the elections.

“The Bishops are compelled by the Pope to hold their sittings in a place
where at least a third cannot understand a word that is said, so that,
_e.g._, Cardinal di Pietro long since declared he had not really
understood a single speech, and another Cardinal said that not twenty
words of all the speeches had reached his ear. A really searching
discussion and living interchange of observations and replies is out of
the question. No speaker can hope to produce any impression on this
audience. And thus the first _Schema_, which consists of 140 pages, was
the subject of general discussion for weeks without any detailed
discussion of the separate articles being arrived at, or any point
certainly ascertained, notwithstanding the number of speakers. The only
result was a great waste of time, bodily fatigue and a deep
discouragement. Had the object been to satiate the assembly with speeches
_usque ad nauseam_ it could not have been better managed. It would be
something if the Fathers could read the speeches they can’t hear, but
neither are they allowed to be read; the Bishops may not even print their
addresses at their own cost. Thus many of them are wholly deprived of the
opportunity of expressing their views, knowing that they will not be
heard.

“Vigorous preparations were made for two years before the opening of the
Council. There is matter enough for ten Councils, but it is only
communicated to the Bishops piecemeal, so that they can get no insight
into the connection and plan of the separate propositions. Thus a
ready-made Council has been put before 700 Bishops, which they are obliged
again to unstitch like a web. As the Bishops had no means of gaining
previous information, the Council is mostly deaf and dumb, and has at last
got driven into a narrow pass from which there is no exit without a
thorough alteration of the order of business. No one can say how it will
be with the examination of the separate articles of the _Schemata_, and
yet the Council ought to have most carefully weighed every word of decrees
which are to be imposed on the world under anathema.”



TWENTY-FIFTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 24, 1870._—Since my last letter, the Council, whose movements
for a long time were like those of a tortoise, has made gigantic strides.
The Goddess of Insolence (ὕβρις) rules here just as the Greek
tragedians—especially Sophocles—describe her. All rumours of an
adjournment of the Council were partly well-meant wishes of several
Bishops, partly produced by the fact of the Governments—the French in
particular—earnestly desiring it. Here in Rome no one of the Vatican party
has thought of it for a moment. All who know the real state of things and
persons here must be convinced that the Council will certainly be gone
through with to the end, either completely—in full accordance with the
well-calculated plan sketched out during the last two years for partly
Jesuitizing and partly Romanizing everything in the Church, in theology
and in the religious life, and carrying out centralization to the utmost
extent—or that, at least, there will be no adjournment till the most
precious jewel hitherto wanting to the Papal tiara, dogmatic
Infallibility, has been inserted there. Then, and not till then, will the
_Curia_ have obtained the irresistible talisman which opens every gate,
fulfils every desire and brings every treasure. That dogma is Aladdin’s
magic lamp for Rome.

There are three powers who wish to gain by the Council, and who decide on
its proceedings and destiny—the Pope, the Jesuits, and the _Curia_. Among
the members of the _Curia_ there are indeed very few who have not long
since made their calculations, with that appreciation of the realities of
life which is peculiar to the Italian nation, and who do not know as well
what a dogma is worth for Rome as people know what a man is “worth” in
England. Every assailant of the dogma is their personal enemy; he is
simply emptying their gold-mine. Nor is the doctrine less valuable and
indispensable to the Jesuits, at this day more than before, since they no
longer have to fear the rivalry of any other Order in making capital out
of the prerogative of Infallibility.

As regards the Pope, he has constantly changed in his official life and
vacillated from one side to the other, and those about him say that in
many, nay in most, things he follows capricious and momentary impulses.
But Pius is inflexible and immutable where he fancies he is a divine
instrument and has received a divine mission, and that is the case here.
He is persuaded that he is ordained by the special favour of God to be the
most glorious of all Popes. Among his predecessors there are three to whom
he seems to me to have a great likeness. I should say that he had chosen
them as models, if I could assume that he knew their history. But Pius has
never occupied himself with the past; he is purely the child of his age,
and lives only in the present. The three are Innocent X., Clement XI., and
above all Paul IV. He has in common with the first his strong experimental
belief in his own personal inspiration without any theological culture. He
resembles the second in giving himself up to the theological guidance of
the Jesuits, and in his highhanded treatment of such Bishops as dare to
have an opinion of their own. And just as Paul IV. used to boast that
hereafter men would be obliged to tell of the lofty plans conceived by an
aged Italian who, as being near his death, might have rested and bewailed
his sins,(56) so does Pius too desire in his old age to make great though
peaceful conquests, and to establish the Papal sovereignty as a “rocher du
bronze,” to borrow the phrase of another autocrat. With the help of the
Council he hopes to render the universal dominion of the Papacy an
impregnable fortress, by means of new walls, bastions and batteries, and
to hand it down to his successors as an omnipresent and omnipotent power.
He believes that the thoughts and desires of his soul are in reality the
counsels of God made known to him by inspiration, and that if by following
these counsels he accomplishes the deliverance of the Church and of
mankind, it is the Hand of God which uses him as an instrument. And why
should not Pius see a sign of his election to high and extraordinary
destinies in the circumstance of his having already sat longer than any of
his 256 predecessors, even Pius VI., on the apostolic throne? A history of
his Pontificate has already been written in this sense by one of the
Jesuits of the _Civiltà,_ and Pius has the chapters read to him one after
the other. I am told that a chapter on the Council is already written. The
French Court historiographer, Vertot, who had to describe a Belgian
campaign including the siege of a fortress, wrote the history of the siege
before it was finished, and said quietly, “Mon siège est fait.” And thus
the Jesuit historian of the Pope can already say, “Mon Concile est fait.”
And in one sense the Council is indeed finished since the 23d
inst.—finished by the new order of business.

If the merit of this clever invention is primarily due to the Cardinals on
the Commission for revising motions, and the Jesuits who were probably
taken into partnership with them, its introduction must be counted among
the most eventful acts of Pius, past or future. If it is carried out and
adhered to without opposition, it is unquestionably the most conspicuous
of all the victories of the Pope. Margotti, the editor of the _Unita
Cattolica_, will hardly be able to find words to do justice to the great
day, February 23, 1870, with its boundless wealth of happy results, in the
next edition of his work, _Le Vittorie della Santa Chiesa sotto Pio IX_. A
_Te Deum_ will have to be sung in every Jesuit College of the old and new
world.

Great anxiety was felt beforehand about the new order of business. It was
said that the Sessions were to be something more than mere votings, that
there would still be speeches made, that the written memorials would not
be so directly thrown into the waste-paper basket, but would be considered
and—if they approved of them—made use of by the Commission. But everything
will be settled by the Commission and by a simple majority of votes; the
minority may talk, but only so long as the Commission and the majority
choose to listen to them. _Væ victis!_ The Council belongs to the Italians
and the Spaniards, who are in close alliance with them: from henceforth to
wish to reject any _Schema_ or decree brought before it, is like wanting
to stop water from flowing downwards. All the proposals of the minority
for a change in the order of business have been left unnoticed. It had
already been resolved that a debate could only be cut short by the votes
of a majority of two-thirds, but this has been reversed. What will the
French and Germans do now? This is naturally the question which trembles
on every lip and is written on every countenance. Will they simply
acquiesce in the _fait accompli_ with a good grace, and obediently assume
the rôle of the Greek Chorus in the drama of the Council—simply to reflect
and moralize, but take no active part in the proceedings? The next few
days will show. So much every one perceives; the order of business is the
noose which, once fixed on the minority, cannot be got out of, and will
only be drawn tighter and tighter till it strangles them at last. It is
clear that the majority has the hide of a rhinoceros, from which every
arrow shot by the Opposition, however skilfully aimed, glances off
harmless. Where are now the wise and foolish virgins? “Give us of your
oil, for our lamps are gone out,” must the Germans, French, and Spanish
say henceforth to the Italians, and the answer will be more friendly than
in the Gospel: “You need not buy any more oil; come over to our side and
be content to use our store.”

It is hardly necessary to observe to your readers that everything which
takes place here turns on the question of Infallibility. The new order of
business is merely the outer covering for this kernel. “With Infallibility
we have all we desire or need,” say the Italians, if that is gained we may
“let the nigger go,” and can dispense with his services for the future.
But for German theologians, whose hair stands on end at the new order of
business and all it involves, I can find no other consolation than what
they may derive from the following Persian tale. An English ambassador
sent to Persia—I think it was Morier—paid the usual visits at Teheran, and
was introduced to the younger son of the Shah. He found him groping about
blindfold in the room, and feeling for the furniture in it. The Prince
explained this strange business by telling him that it was the rule for
the younger sons to be blinded at the death of the Shah, in order to make
them incapable of succeeding, and that he wished to prepare and practise
himself beforehand for the fate impending over him. “Go ye, and do
likewise.”

If the German theologians should still have courage to present an address
to their Bishops, the subscription might be, “Morituri vos salutant.” Why
have these theologians come to such utter discomfiture?

Here one already hears shouts of triumph; the day of retribution will soon
come for those proud Transalpines, when they must bend their necks under
the Caudine yoke of the new dogma, or await suspension, degradation, etc.

If German theology had long been decried and hated by the _Curia_ and the
Italian Jesuits, and if the _Civiltà_ gladly took occasion to pour out its
wrath on the scholars of “foggy” Germany, you may conceive the extent this
fury has reached in Italian clerical papers and curialist circles, since
it has become known that the most influential theologians have pronounced
against Infallibility, and that not one—with the exception of a couple of
pupils of the Jesuits—has said a word to defend it. It is well that one of
the most distinguished Italians, a man whose devotion to the Church is
unimpeached even in Rome, and whom the Pope has commissioned to write a
history of the Council—I mean Cantù—has some years ago confessed and
censured this characteristic of his countrymen. “To call laziness
superiority, and evade the trouble of examining questions by depreciating
them, this is only too much the habit of Italians, and then they mock at
the ponderous, long-winded, hair-splitting Germans. But we must endure the
reproach of negligence and thoughtlessness from the Germans, while we
blindly accept falsified documents.”(57)

Cantù has hit on the sore place there; for it is precisely their having
pointed out the long line of numerous and systematic forgeries, on which
the Roman claims of Infallibility are based, and which are used to further
other aims of the Italians, that is the main ground of the hatred of the
Germans. And now Frenchmen too, like Gratry, come forward and publish
these facts over land and sea in their cosmopolitan tongue and clear
incisive style.

To return to what preceded the publication of the new order of business;
in the last sittings of the Council coming events threw their shadows
before. The Bishops of Carcassonne and Belley declared roundly that
Infallibility must be proclaimed, and in order, said the latter, to
restore the menaced or broken unity of the Church. The impatience and
vexation of the authorities are constantly on the increase. Manning said
there was only one way of stopping the definition, and that was to cut the
throats of half the 500 Bishops of the majority. Of course the Prelates
who heard him cried out, like the Emperor Charles V. at the Diet of
Augsburg, when Count George of Brandenburg wanted to cut off heads for
another doctrine, “No heads off! no heads off!” At the last sitting on the
_Schema de Catechismo_, on the 22d, a scene occurred which presages what
is to become the regular practice. The Bishop of Namur had said, in
reference to some previous attacks on the Breviary, that no one who spoke
against it could be a good Christian. For the information of your readers
I must premise a few words here. The Breviary is a collection of prayers
and lections for the clergy, introduced by Rome, consisting chiefly of
psalms and passages from the Bible and the Lives of the Saints.(58) The
_Curia_ has used this, like so many other things, as an _instrumentum
dominationis_, and a number of fables and forgeries devised in the
interest of the Papal system have been interpolated into it. The French
Church had long since adopted the precaution of employing a Breviary of
her own, much better and purer than the Roman. It was against observations
made about this in the Council that the harsh comment of the Bishop of
Namur was directed.



TWENTY-SIXTH LETTER.


_Rome, Feb. 28, 1870._—Our last letter closed with an account of a scene
in the Session of February 22, occasioned by some attacks on the Roman
Breviary. The Bishop of Namur had maintained that no one who attacked it
could be a good Christian.

Haynald was one of those who had censured the present condition of the
Breviary, and he now replied to Bishop Gravez that in criticising it he
had the Fathers of Trent and the Popes themselves for accomplices
(_complices_). A tempest broke out at these words. But Haynald went
further and said, with reference to Bishop Langalerie of Belley, that the
majority, with their proposals for new dogmas, were the cause of the
disunion which had broken out in the Church, and that it would be much
better for the heads of the Church to confine themselves to preserving the
ancient doctrines in their purity, instead of adding new ones. The Church
had succeeded very well with the old doctrines. At this first open attack
in Council on the Infallibilist project the storm grew fiercer, and
Capalti seized the bell of the President, De Angelis, rung it violently
and forbade the speaker to proceed. “Taceas et ab ambone descendas,” he
exclaimed. When Haynald went on all the same, a wild cry broke from the
majority. The Archbishop of Calocsa at last came down, and so great was
the excitement that the sitting was closed and the next postponed to March
2.

Meanwhile more attention and care than before has been devoted in Paris to
what is going on at Rome. The Emperor and his present ministers understand
the gravity of the situation; they know what would be meant by such
journals as the _Monde_ and the _Univers_ daily appealing to infallible
Papal decisions, and under their authority calling in question every
institution and law of France, and proving beforehand to their readers
that there is no obligation in conscience to submit to them, because the
Pope has directly or indirectly signified his disapproval. Archbishop
Lavigerie of Algiers brought back word to Cardinal Antonelli, on returning
to Rome from his mission, that France was in no condition to tolerate the
definition of Infallibility, which might lead to a schism, since not only
the whole body of State-officers, but the writers, and even the Faubourg
St. Germain, were opposed to the new dogma. Antonelli is not apt to be
much influenced by such representations, which he views as mere idle
threats; he is spoilt by the courtly flatteries of the ever obsequious M.
de Banneville, whom he has managed completely to disarm. He has three
devices of domestic diplomacy by which he knows how to make excellent use
of both Banneville and Trautmansdorff. At one time he says, “It is not
we—Pius, the _Curia_ and I—who want the dogma, but the foreign Bishops,
and we should be encroaching on the freedom of the Council by impeding
them. And we ought not to subject ourselves to that reproach.” Then, for a
variety, he adopts another line. “The Pope,” he says, “has all he wants
already, and the dogma of Infallibility would not give him anything more.
As it is, and with a Council assembled, all the decrees emanate from him
and receive from him their validity, and he can summon or dissolve the
Council at his pleasure, so that it only exists by his will and would
crumble into dust without him. It is therefore the interest of the
Bishops, not ours, that is in question here, and they will know well why
the dogma is so valuable to them.” His third formula is, “Every good
Christian believes the doctrine already, and therefore little or nothing
will be changed in the Church by defining it, and we have not the least
desire to use the new decree for calling in question the existing compacts
and Concordats. We shall gladly leave alone the concessions we have
already granted.” These resources of the Cardinal have hitherto sufficed.
But new powers and demands seem to be coming to the front, which his
diplomatic counters will no longer satisfy. I have copies of two letters
of Count Daru, of January 18 and February 5. These official expressions of
opinion from Paris have made the _Civiltà_ Jesuits bitterly angry, and
their famous article on the _Policastri_, in its original form, contained
a violent attack on the French statesmen, who were classed with the other
ministers and diplomats in such ill repute at Rome. But this roused the
alarm of the supreme authority, and so the Jesuits had to eat their own
words, and to substitute for their attack a high commendation of Count
Daru and the loyalty of France to the Concordat. There is some good in
having the articles of the _Civiltà_ regularly revised in the Vatican. I
understand that it is intended at Paris to send a special ambassador to
Rome to the Council.

Meanwhile the Bishops of the minority are consulting how they shall deal
with the new order of business. It was announced to the Fathers at the
Session of February 22 that, in accordance with these new regulations,
they must hand in all their observations on the first ten chapters of the
_Schema de Ecclesiâ_ in writing within ten days.

Archbishop Spalding of Baltimore has not receded from his ludicrous notion
that his Infallibilist formula is milder and more tolerable than that of
the 400. He has laid it before the thirty-five French Bishops (of the
minority), who have unanimously rejected it. Its essence consists, as was
mentioned before, in asserting that everybody must receive with
unconditional inward assent every Papal decision on every question of
faith or morals or Church life. On all theological principles such faith
can only be accorded in cases where all possibility of error is excluded,
or, in other words, where a revealed truth is concerned; and therefore to
accept this formula would be to set aside the limitation of Papal
Infallibility, hitherto recognised even in Rome, to decisions pronounced
_ex cathedrâ_. And thus, in the crush and confusion of the innumerable and
often contradictory decisions of Popes, theology would degenerate into a
lamentable caricature of a system—“science” it could no longer be
termed—involved in hopeless contradictions. If the good Spalding had the
slightest acquaintance with Church history, he would know that he was
bound, in virtue of his inward assent paid to all Papal decrees, first of
all to reject his own orders as invalid.(59)

And now I must notice more particularly what Bishop Ketteler has published
against me in some German newspapers. He says that in the telegram of
February 13, published in the _Allg. Zeitung_ of February 15, he has found
the opportunity he had long desired for convicting the writer of the
_Letters from Rome_ of building up “a whole system of lying and
deceit.”(60) It is “an indescribable dishonesty,” a “detestable untruth,”
etc. His short letter bristles with such accusations. The untruths he
complains of are the following:—

(1.) The telegram called the statement made by Bishop Ketteler and his
ally, Bishop Melchers, a “proposal.” He replies that it was only a
“communication.”

(2.) It treats the occurrence as a “negotiation,” whereas it was only a
“short conference.”

(3.) There was no debate with “a serious opposition.” The Bishops indeed
had expressed different views, and some had disapproved Döllinger’s
pronouncement, while the others thought only certain individual Bishops
might have occasion to come forward against it. (They accordingly
understood Ketteler’s “communication” just as my informant did, and
therefore spoke out against accepting it.)

(4.) Ketteler did not hear any Bishop say, as stated in the telegram, that
Döllinger really had the majority of (German) Bishops with him.

And now let us compare Ketteler’s account, deducting the abusive comments
subjoined to every sentence, with the—of course extremely
compressed—account in the telegram, and we shall find the two in
substantial agreement. The Bishop is obliged to interpolate something into
the telegram, in order to find fuel for the fire of holy indignation his
delirious fancy has betrayed him into. He quarrels with me fiercely for
saying there was a debate and a negotiation, whereas there was only a
conference; but I never made use of those words. He says he made no
motion, but he himself recounts statements of the Bishops which show
clearly that they understood his “communication” as an invitation to do as
he did. Only one somewhat important point of difference remains, viz.,
whether the Bishops named in the telegram said what they are there
reported to have said or not. Bishop Ketteler can only say that he did not
hear them say it. But considering that in an informal meeting of forty or
forty-five persons, broken up into groups, a great deal is said which
every one in the room does not hear, and that I received my information
the same day from one who was present, I still adhere to my assertion that
they did say it. For the rest, I am much indebted to Bishop Ketteler; he
assures us that he has long desired an opportunity for saying all the evil
he can of me and my Letters. He has now made a grand onset. If he had
found anything in the eighteen long Letters before him better suited to
his purpose, he would certainly not have taken refuge in such petty
trivialities and, like a boy with snowballs, have flung what has turned
into water in his hand. He has thus unwillingly given testimony to the
truthfulness of my Letters. And for this I pardon him his exaggerated
rhetoric, but will not suppress the remark made by an Englishman who knows
mankind well: “There are certain women, says Fielding, always ready to
raise a cry of ‘Murder, fire, rape’ and the like, but that means no more
in their mouths than any one else means in going over the scale, Ut, Re,
Mi, Fa, Sol,” etc.



TWENTY-SEVENTH LETTER.


_Rome, March 8, 1870._—“Habemus Papam falli nescium!” The Bishops of the
Manning and Deschamps party are in raptures; all Rome, say the
Infallibilist devotees, is in the highest spirits. The great doctrine, on
which, as all the Jesuits and their disciples assure us, hinges the
salvation of humanity and the regeneration of science and literature, was
published on March 6 in the form of a supplement to the _Schema de
Ecclesiâ_. The Pope bears witness of himself that he is infallible as
teacher of the Church, and the great majority of the Council will readily
assent. Already they are exulting in that moment of triumph when the Pope
from his throne in the Hall, “sacro Concilio approbante,” and amid the
pealing of all the bells in Rome, will proclaim to the world that it is
now fortunate enough to possess an infallible teacher and judge in all
questions of faith and morals, guaranteed by God Himself. Day and hour for
the proclamation will be chosen with the greatest deliberation and
foresight, and here another ground for clinging so pertinaciously to the
present Council Hall comes out. It was thought quite incomprehensible why
“the master” insulted 750 aged men by compelling them, in spite of all
wishes and representations and the evidence of his own senses, to hold
their sittings in a Chamber so utterly unfit for the purpose. In a city so
abounding in churches and halls as Rome this seemed an act rather of
ill-tempered caprice than of hospitable care. It was known of course that
the previous expectations of the Vatican had been disappointed, that it
had been hoped the _Schemata_ would be received by acclamation or by
storm, as it were, without discussion, and that the Hall had been chosen
on the very ground of its acoustic defects being adapted to that end. Now
however a new recommendation of the Hall betrays itself. At a certain hour
on a clear and cloudless day the rays of the sun fall exactly on the place
where the Pope’s throne stands, so that Pius may hope, by help of careful
arrangements about the time, to stand in a glory of sunlight at the moment
when he announces to the world the divine revelation of his own
infallibility. It is on this wise, as we said before, that he has had
himself represented in the memorial picture of the proclamation of the
Immaculate Conception. At the Coronation of Charles X. of France doves
were let fly into the church. And so in Rome also a dove might be trained,
so as to make it hover above the Pope at the moment of his apotheosis
being proclaimed by his own mouth, which would make the effect quite
irresistible.

In this state of things the eyes of all men are turned on the Bishops
united, or rather not united but only assembled, in Council. The great
majority are much in the disposition of the Athenians, when Alexander sent
word to them that he had become a god, and wished to be worshipped as
such. The popular assembly cried out that, if Alexander really wished to
be a god, he was one. So say 300 Bishops: “We eat the Pope’s bread and
drink his wine and rest under his roof, so—let him be infallible.” And 100
Bishops say: “We are nothing but titular Bishops, with no dioceses or
flocks; from whom but the Pope do we get our titles? So—let him be
infallible.” Others again say: “We call ourselves Bishops or
Vicars-Apostolic by favour of the Pope, and during his good pleasure. Let
him then be infallible.” Lastly others say: “The _Curia_ has us in its
power, and we need it at every step; the Pope must be infallible, since he
desires it.” Thus we have 550 born infallibilists. And to them must be
added those whom the Italians—_e.g._, Mamiani—call more curtly than
courteously “gli Energumeni stranieri,” prelates of the Manning type _et
id genus omne_, who really take part as volunteers in this campaign for
the triumph of papal infallibility and the domination of souls. Many, like
Sieyès formerly, will vote “la mort et sans phrase,” but we shall read of
unctuous motives alleged by the volunteers for their votes. They want
infallibility for themselves as well as others; for themselves, because
then there will be no further need “to dig,” for which they have “neither
hand nor foot,” but all doctrines will be received ready made, measured
and cut out by the Jesuits and stamped and guaranteed as genuine in the
Roman printing-office; for others, because thereby every doubt or
suspicion or inconvenient demand in matters of doctrine will be summarily
got rid of and suppressed.

It is three months to-day since the Council was opened. Viewed from
without, the circumstances could hardly have been more favourable; in
national diversities and universality of representation the assembly
surpassed all former Councils, nor was it so obvious at the beginning that
under this bright outside was concealed a crying and iniquitous inequality
of representation, and that here again the mastery was placed in the hands
of the Italians. But how have all hopes been deceived now, and who had
thought of this lamentable upshot!

Lamartine desired of his age that Italy should produce “des hommes et non
de la poussière humaine.” For three months have these 750 prelates been
assembled—in theory the very flower of the Catholic world, the pastors of
180 million souls, men with a rich experience at their back. They were at
once separated into two parties, one of 600 and the other of about 150. On
which side are the men and on which the human dust? What have these 600
done in the three months they have been together, what have they brought
to an issue, and what thoughts or sparks of intelligence have been struck
out of this daily contact with so many high dignitaries from the four
quarters of the world? Their utter sterility, aimlessness and poverty of
thought—their passively resigning themselves to a mere assent to the
thoughts and words of others—all this, when watched close at hand, makes a
painful impression. It is true that European history since 1789 has
accustomed us to the infirmities and follies and the unproductiveness of
great deliberative assemblies; it has become an every-day phenomenon, and
in our days one’s expectations from an ecclesiastical assembly can only be
of the most moderate kind. There is no fear there of rash and hasty
decisions or revolutionary measures. But La Bruyere’s saying, “A great
assembly always becomes a rabble,” is verified even at Rome, and the
Italians of 1870 have already begun to emulate the example of their
ancestors in 1562. Just as the majority at Trent knew how to reduce a
disagreeable speaker to silence by wild cries and coughing and scraping
with their feet, so is it now at the Vatican Council. It is the
humiliating feeling of intellectual impotence and of deficiency alike in
knowledge, eloquence and mind, as compared with the minority, from whom
almost everything emanates that can be called life or thought in the
Council. They feel their abject littleness, in their thankless rôle of
being a mere echo of the _Schemata_ and Canons proposed, and having to
present in so unadorned and undisguised a form that “sacrificio dell’
intelletto” which the Jesuits so eagerly commend. The honour of being
afterwards lauded, as one of the 600 organs of the Holy Ghost at this
Council, has to be purchased rather dear. But we cannot in fact come to
close quarters and converse with these Bishops of the majority, without
being reminded of the reply of a Dane to a Frenchman, who said to him
(before the Revolution) that the highest Order in France was that of the
Holy Ghost. “Notre Saint Esprit est un éléphant,” answered the Dane. But
the situation is almost too serious for such thoughts.

A synopsis of the outstanding measures has been presented to the Council.
There are altogether 51 _Schemata_: 3 on “Faith,” 28 on “Discipline,” 18
on “Religious Orders,” 2 on “Oriental Church affairs:” of these 39 have
not yet been distributed, and 46 not discussed; 12 are in the hands of the
Bishops, of which 5 have been already discussed and are to be again
presented and examined, after being modified by the Commission. This is
obviously matter enough for two years’ work; yet the Council Hall and the
hitherto irresistible and invulnerable majority will conspire to push the
51 _Schemata_ expeditiously through the Council, unabbreviated and hardly
altered. If only the master at last praises and rewards his servants!

Meanwhile 34 French Bishops have signed a Statement of Protest against the
new order of business. I hear that the perversity of deciding doctrines by
counting heads is emphatically dwelt on. The same document has been
subscribed by 33 German Bishops, with certain additions. Cardinals Mathieu
and Rauscher, while professing their agreement, did not think it well to
sign. Some 10 or 12 Germans have accepted a shorter but more precise and
pointed address, maintaining the same principles. Some Orientals too have
signed, while the deliberations of the Americans, on the other hand, came
to no result.

Such declarations are necessary for the outer world and for the
satisfaction of their own consciences, but they can hardly be expected to
produce any effect, nor do the signataries themselves anticipate any
important change being made in the new _regolamento_. Would that their
representations were formal protests, declaring that they would take no
further part in an assembly lacking the necessary conditions of a true
Council! But neither the French nor Germans could resolve on that. It
would be hard even for a man like Dupanloup, who may be reckoned a leader
of the Opposition, openly to contradict his own earlier writings about the
Pope. The question suggests itself, If Pius, before his infallibility is
made a dogma, has said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” what will
he say when his apotheosis is accomplished? What words of human language
will suffice adequately to denote the sublimity of his position? A former
saying of a member of the Italian aristocracy, well known for his witty
remarks, occurs to me, “Gli altri Papi credevano esser Vicarii di Christo,
ma questo Papa crede che nostro Signore sia il suo Vicario in cielo.”

We live here in the place whereof Tacitus wrote eighteen centuries ago,
“Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est.”(61)

If infallibility is defined, every member of the Roman Congregations has
the pleasing certainty that he possesses “divinæ particulam auræ.” Pius is
as firm and resolved as ever; the Jesuits have told him that, if the new
dogma produces any confusion and scandal in the Church, it matters
nothing—other dogmatic decisions have led to great confusion, but have
remained triumphant; in a hundred years all will be quiet. Father
Piccirillo, the editor of the _Civiltà_ and special favourite of Pius, has
consoled other prelates in the same way.

The _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ has been compared with the lecture notes of a
Jesuit Professor at the Collegio Romano, and the two are shown to agree
precisely. Even the most abject _Placet_-men of the majority feel rather
ashamed of this; they had not quite expected to be summoned to Rome,
simply in order to formulate the lecture notes of a Jesuit into dogmatic
decrees for the whole Church.

An individual so insignificant intellectually, that I never expected to
have any occasion for mentioning his name, and who is regarded in German
circles as the standing joke of the Council, a certain Wolanski, has just
been placed on the Congregation of the Index, as censor for German books.
He would be utterly incompetent even to transcribe the work of a German
theologian for the press. But in Rome they like, from time to time, to
give a kick of this sort to foreigners.

_Postscript._—I have just been put in a position to tell you something of
the contents of the episcopal protest against the new order of business.
In respect to the thirteenth article it is objected, that in former
Councils a method of voting simply designed to secure expedition (“eo
expedito modo”) has never been adopted—a form “quo nullus certe alius
gravitati et maturitati deliberationis, imo et ipsi libertati minus
favet.” It is added, that even in political assemblies the right is
granted of demanding that votes should be taken by calling names. It is
not rapidity of decision, but prudence and the utmost possible security,
that is the important point. “Quod in Concilio maxime refert, non est ut
cito res expediatur, sed ut caute et tutissime peragatur. Longe satius est
paucas quæstiones expendere et prudenter solvere, quam multo numerosiores
proponere et decurtatis discussionibus suffragiisque præcipitanter
collectis res tam graves irrevocabiliter definire.” The document goes on
to protest against the regulation for first counting the votes of those
who assent to the proposed decrees, and not till after this has been done
of those who reject them. This is quite wrong; “Cum in quæstionibus fidei
tutius sit sistere et definitionem differre, quam temere progredi, ideo
conditio dissentientium favorabilior esse debet, et ipsis prioritas in
dandis suffragiis excedenda esset.” The memorialists further desire that,
in the definition of a dogma or the establishment of a canon armed with
anathema, the votes should be orally given by _Placet_ and _Non placet_,
not by rising and sitting down. And then great stress is laid on the point
of dogmas not being decided by a mere majority but only by moral
unanimity, so that any decree opposed by a considerable number of Bishops
may be held to be rejected. The Bishops say, “Cum dogmata constent
Ecclesiarum consensu, ut ait Bellarminus,” moral unanimity is necessary.
There is a further demand or request of the Bishops, “ut suffragia patrum
non super _toto Schemate_ et quasi _in globo_, sed seorsim super unâquâque
definitione, super unoquoque Canone, per _Placet_ aut _Non placet_
sigillatim rogentur et edantur.” The Fathers should also be free,
according to the Pope’s previous arrangement, to give in their remarks in
writing. But the following is the most important passage:—“Id autem quod
spectat ad numerum suffragiorum requisitum ut quæstiones dogmaticæ
solvantur, in quo quidem rei summa est et totius Concilii cardo vertitur,
ita grave est, ut nonnisi admitteretur, quod reverenter et enixe
postulamus, conscientia nostra intolerabili pondere premeretur. Timeremus,
ne Concilii Œcumenici character in dubium vocari posset, ne ansa hostibus
præberetur, S. Sedem et Concilium impetendi, sicque demum apud populum
Christianum hujus Concilii auctoritas labefactaretur, ‘quasi veritate et
libertate caruerit,’ quod his turbatissimis temporibus tanta esset
calamitas ut pejor excogitari non possit.” On this we might however
observe with all respect, that a greater calamity is quite conceivable,
and that is the sanctioning of a doctrine exegetically, dogmatically and
historically untenable by an assembly calling itself a Council. The
Protest ends with these words:—“Spe freti futurum ut hæ nostræ gravissimæ
animadversiones ab Eminentiis vestris benevolenti animo accipiantur,
earumque, quae par est, ratio habeatur, nosmet profitemur: Eminentiarum
Vestrarum addictissimos et obsequentissimos famulos.”



TWENTY-EIGHTH LETTER.


_Rome, March 9._—The decree on infallibility appeared on Sunday, March 6,
just a year after the project was announced in the _Allgemeine Zeitung_.
The Bishops knew three weeks before, through an indiscretion of Perrone’s,
that it was drawn up. But its extreme and unqualified form will have taken
many by surprise. Men could hardly believe that the Roman See would
publicly confess so huge an excess of ambition, and itself court a
reproach of which the Catholic Church may indeed be cleared, but the
Papacy never. The circumstances preceding the appearance of this
composition, which will be a phenomenon in the world’s history, are hardly
less remarkable and significant than the text itself.

It was decided on February 21, at a meeting of the French Cabinet presided
over by the Emperor, to send a special ambassador to the Council. A
despatch to this effect was forwarded to Rome the same evening. The notion
so greatly displeased the Marquis de Banneville, that he delayed carrying
out his instructions and sent word of his anxieties to Paris. Here he said
quite openly that he could remain no longer, and must go to Paris to get
the decision reversed. He contented himself however with sending an
_attaché_ to France. At last, on March 1, the design of the French
Government was communicated to Cardinal Antonelli, and three days
afterwards, on March 4, the Marquis de Banneville came to receive his
reply. The Cardinal was unfortunately prevented by an attack of gout from
seeing him. And thus the answer has been given in the unexpected form of a
dogmatic decree.

Not less remarkable is the coincidence of the decree with the publication
of Count Daru’s Letter. Its publication, which proclaims to the world the
policy of the French Cabinet towards the Court of Rome, has excited the
greater sensation in Rome, as it could not have emanated from any ordinary
correspondent. The letter was only known to the English Government, and
there was no copy in England except in the hands of the Ministry. It
cannot be supposed that it would be offered for publication without the
connivance of Count Daru himself, and this conjecture is confirmed by the
tone of the _Français_, Count Daru’s organ, on the subject. It was open to
it to disavow the letters, which are addressed to a private individual,
and not, as the _Times_ incorrectly stated, to a French prelate. But
instead of seizing on this loophole, the _Français_ says that the private
letters of the minister contain nothing different from his public
despatches. What gives these things the greater weight is that they imply
the probability of interpellations, in Paris as well as in Florence, and
the ministry must be presumed to be determined to persist to the end in
the path it has entered upon.

But the clearest light is thrown on the act of the _Curia_, when we look
at its relation to the simultaneous movement among the minority.

The new order of business seemed to many calculated to bring the internal
split in the Opposition to the surface. To accept it was equivalent to
accepting the dogma itself. To reject it was to intimate the resolution
not to surrender the rights of Bishops, of whom St. Thomas says, “Obtinent
in Ecclesiâ summum potestatem,” and therefore not to recognise the Pope’s
infallibility. But it has just been explained in the most emphatic terms
in Father Gratry’s Letters, which are in the hands of all the Bishops, how
difficult it is to coquet with the Jesuit dogmas without falling into the
old Jesuit system of morality. However, this much desired division only
occurred on a very limited scale.

The Opposition resolved to protest against the order of business. The
Protest is said to have been drawn up by skilful French hands, and was
subscribed on March 4 by thirty-four French Bishops, and another, signed
by almost the same number of German Bishops, was presented to the Legates
two days later. A very high estimate is formed of its importance here.
According to the Roman view the majority of the Council has no better
right than the minority to proclaim a new dogma, for the right belongs to
the Pope alone, who can just as well elevate the teaching of the minority
as of the majority into a dogma. And therefore, in maintaining that no
dogma can be defined without the universal consent—the moral unanimity—of
the Episcopate, and that a Council which receives a dogma without that
consent is liable to be rejected as not free and Œcumenical, the Bishops
are not only protesting against the threatened encroachments of the
majority, but just as much against the claim of the Pope to define dogmas
by his own authority. I have lately cited the words of Pius IV. on that
point. In putting forward and defending their right and qualification to
be witnesses of the faith and representatives of their Churches, the
Bishops are not only vindicating a position very difficult to assail, but
at the same time shaking the principal foundation of the present Council.
In the first place the minority represent relatively far greater numbers
of Catholics than their adversaries, and in the next place the bulk of the
majority is artificially swelled by a crowd of prelates who really
represent no Churches and only bear witness for themselves. That many of
them have been simply created to give their services at this Council, is
notorious. According to the official Roman register, fifty-one Bishops _in
partibus_ were named between June 1866 and August 1869. By every one of
these creations the Pope has neutralized by his own plenary power the vote
of an Archbishop of Paris or Vienna; in other words, he has put some
favourite Roman monsignore on an equality, as regards the decisions of the
Council, with a venerable Church containing more than a million of souls.
The presence of such elements in the assembly gives grounds for doubting
whether it can be regarded as a real representation of the whole Church,
and so this declaration of the Bishops is like knocking a nail in the
coffin of the Œcumenical Council.

I have mentioned that the Protest of the French Bishops was handed in on
March 4. That day was the beginning of the decisive crisis for the
Opposition. The adhesion of the Germans was next awaited; it followed on
the 6th March, and their example is pretty sure to be followed by other
nations. The prospect of this danger, combined with the news from France,
brought the long preconcerted resolve of the other side to sudden and
immediate maturity. A few days before they had not intended to come
forward with the decree yet. But now the great object was to cut short any
further development on the part of the Opposition, and, if possible, to
hinder the German Protest. The existing situation seems even to have
influenced the form of the decree. For a moment the French middle
party—Bonnechose, Lavigerie, etc.—had fancied a professedly moderate
formula would be carried, but now the counsels of the most determined
infallibilists prevailed, and the Pope, in great visible excitement, gave
his assent to the decree in the form in which it has been published. This
took place on March 5. The decree is dated March 6. With the view of
stopping the German Protest, they did not wait for the next sitting to
distribute the printed copies to the Fathers in Council as usual, but sent
them direct to their houses. This was the answer to the protesting
movement.

Considering that none of the former addresses of the minority—some twelve
have been presented—have been taken the slightest notice of, there were of
course the best reasons for anticipating no better fate for this last. But
it has served another purpose. It was an intimation on the part of the
signataries that their patience has reached its limits. The Protest did
not indeed pledge them to any definite course of action. But it certainly
imposes on them the duty of not tolerating anything further of the same
kind, and not lending a hand to any decision affecting the whole future of
the Church, under conditions they have themselves declared to imperil the
authority and solidity of the Council. Either the Protest means nothing,
and the signataries are as persuaded of its worthlessness and insincerity
as their adversaries, or it means that they will not allow the great dogma
to come on for discussion unless they obtain an assurance that no dogma
shall be proclaimed by Pope or Council without a moral unanimity. The
_Curia_ have known how to give so emphatic an expression to their contempt
for the Opposition, that even the sharpest and bitterest words would show
less scorn and insolence than their act. By choosing the precise moment,
when the minority declare that their conscience is troubled and in doubt
about the legitimacy and result of the Council altogether, for bringing
forward the very decree which has all along been the main cause of that
doubt and trouble of conscience, they proclaim plainly and emphatically
that they know the Opposition regards its own words as nothing but words,
and that there is no earnest manly decision or religious conviction behind
them. The conscientiousness of the Opposition, _i.e._ of the most
distinguished French and German Bishops, could not be put to a prompter, a
more crucial, or a more decisive test.

How will this test be borne? How will the doctrine of the Church and the
honour of two nations be saved? The events of the next few days will
decide.



TWENTY-NINTH LETTER.


_Rome, March 15._—Livy relates that, in the battle at the Thrasimene Lake,
the combatants on either side, Romans and Carthaginians, felt nothing of
the earthquake under their feet. Here in Rome it is not so much the heat
of the contest that makes the great body of Bishops unconscious of the
moral earthquake which has begun to shake the Church, for there is no
strife in the ranks of the majority, and their intercourse with the other
party is very small. But every one thinks first of his own home and
diocese, and the Italians, Spaniards and South Americans—nearly 500
prelates in all—have abundant cause for reckoning on absolute indifference
and ease, on a passive and generally willing assent. In those countries it
is only money questions, the contest about Church property, that stirs
men’s minds. How much is to be left to the clergy or taken from them, that
is the question here. And the Bishops hope that papal infallibility will
give some added force to the papal decisions on the inviolability of
Church property.

Among the Opposition Bishops many are still in good spirits and full of
confidence. “We are too many, and we represent too considerable portions
of the Christian world, for our resistance to be ignored and our votes
thrust aside,” is what many of them still assert. But the dominant party
don’t admit this. Antonelli says: “As soon as the Pope promulgates a
decree with the assent of a great number of Bishops, he is infallible, and
therefore a minority of opposing votes need not be attended to.”
Naturally—for he, like other Italians, moves in the circle of papal
infallibility which he, as advocate and financier, considers to belong to
the “grandes idées de l’Église.” He would certainly, if asked, agree with
the view of Cardinal Jacobazzi, about 1530, that the Pope could hold an
Œcumenical Council with one Bishop only and issue an infallible decree.
The state of the case is this: if the decree is published by the Pope with
the assent of the majority of the Council, it is ruled that the gift of
infallibility has all along resided in the Popes alone, and that the
supreme authority in dogmas has only been derived to General Councils from
them, whether by their taking part in the proceedings or confirming them.
On this theory, even a very considerable number of opposing Bishops have
no rights; the Pope could issue a dogmatic decree with the minority
against the votes of the majority, for he and he alone would always be the
organ of the Holy Ghost. Either no reply will be given to the complaints
of the Bishops about the new order of business, any more than to their
previous memorials, or they will be told that it is reserved to the Pope
to settle whether a decree or _Schema_ voted by a majority only shall be
promulgated, since he, being alone infallible, can do what he pleases. In
this sense the silence of Section 14 may well be interpreted.

All the talk about “inopportuneness” is now quite at an end. I had
predicted that from the first. Any Bishop who wanted to discuss now,
whether it was the right time for making the new dogma, would be laughed
at rather than listened to. It has been decided by 500 Bishops with the
Pope that the decree is opportune, and in saying that the question is
about the truth of articles of faith, not their convenience, they have
reason and history on their side.

There are said to be 100 Opinions or Objections of the Bishops about or
against the _Schema_ on the Church, already in the hands of the Commission
of Faith. Among them is the memorial of an eminent German Bishop, whose
bosom two souls seem to inhabit, and who therefore occupies the singular
position at once of a friend of papal infallibility and an opponent of the
definition and member of the Opposition. He read his paper in the meeting
of German Bishops, and it was received with general approval, in spite of
the pungent comments it contained on the new order of business in
connection with the publication of the _Schema_ on infallibility a few
days later, as being a disgrace to the Council and the Church.

Count Trautmansdorff and M. Beust have received from Antonelli one of
those quieting and entirely conciliatory answers that clerical statesman
is so fond of pouring forth in all directions.(62) Its substance is as
follows: in theory, and as regards what the scholastics called universals,
where high and far-reaching principles have to be established, the Church
is inexorable; there she cannot abandon an iota of her claims, and must
draw and force home the sword of anathema. She must therefore necessarily
pronounce modern civilisation, with its freedoms, a medley of
soul-destroying errors, must raise the banner of coercion and forcible
suppression, and accordingly condemn freedom of religious profession and
of the press. But in practice—in Concordats and special Indults and
concessions of graces—the Pope is not so strict and inexorable; there he
is open to negotiations, and the separate Governments can obtain from him
as a favour the actual toleration of what in theory he most solemnly
condemns, of course only _durante beneplacito_, so long as it pleases him
and the Governments behave well and don’t deserve to be punished by the
withdrawal of their indults and privileges. And that is so long as
circumstances remain unaltered, for it is self-evident that, as soon as
the temper of public opinion and the political situation become such as to
offer any prospect of an ecclesiastical pretension being successfully
urged, the indult will be abrogated and the practice conformed to the
theory. Antonelli always has both pockets full of such distinctions
between the strict and hard theory and the mild and indulgent pliability
in practice, and no diplomatist leaves him without such consolation. De
Banneville has always been satisfied with the fare thus set before him by
the Secretary of State. Trautmansdorff has so far the advantage, that the
doctrines of Church and State imposed by the Court of Rome on the Council
give the Austrian Government a very convenient handle for declaring the
legal abolition of the Concordat, which is practically torn to pieces
already; for with a Pope who has become infallible and feels himself
called to be the supreme judge of right and wrong, though there may indeed
be an armistice, no real and genuine peace and no treaty is possible.

Moreover nothing can be more convenient and elastic than the theory
Antonelli expounds with all the unction of priestly diplomacy to the
representatives of the European Governments. It makes everything—persons
and institutions, governments and peoples—ultimately dependent on the
indulgence and favour of the Pope. By the higher and divine law, so runs
this doctrine, everything in the world should properly be differently
arranged; the censorship of the Holy Office, religious coercion and
clerical immunities, in a word the whole system of canon law, should
flourish everywhere in full vigour as in the States of the Church. But the
Vicar of God is merciful; he condescends to the evil condition of States
and of mankind, and does what is so easily done in Rome, he dispenses—for
at Rome obsolete laws are maintained simply to supply matter for
dispensations,—he declares his readiness to tolerate what in itself is to
be condemned, out of regard for the unfavourable circumstances of the age,
and thus all at last falls under the sceptre of the Pope, who rules at one
time by favour and dispensations, at another by strict law. Constitutions
and laws will be allowed to exist for awhile, and until further notice.
This however is no recognition of them, but only an “indult,” for which
sovereigns and statesmen and nations must be thankful while it lasts, but
which may at any moment be revoked.

The plan of acclamation, announced by the Jesuits as far back as February
1869, still counts many friends. There are 600 episcopal throats ready to
shout, and these prelates had the rather get the affair settled in that
summary fashion, because they would then be spared the hearing of things
which bring a blush to many a face. For the Opposition Bishops could bring
forward reasons and facts which, if once spoken in this place, would make
a powerful echo and come unrefuted before the present and future
generations. Of all possible questions that of infallibility is certainly
the one which can least be discussed here and before 275 Italian prelates.
What has happened in the last sittings, the exaltation of some and the
bitterness of others, gives no hope of a quiet examination, but on the
contrary leads us to expect that the majority will make the fullest use
either of their physical preponderance or of the new rights given them by
the Pope for reducing their adversaries to silence. Many who are resolved
to gratify the Pope’s desire by their _Placet_, are apprehensive that the
objections of their opponents might leave the unpleasant taste of an
unanswered argument in their mouths, and that the sting of a vote given
without adequate knowledge and examination might remain fixed in the
conscience of the Bishops. In this connection the answer of a North
American Bishop of the infallibilist party is significant. He said that he
remembered having heard, when in the theological class in his seminary,
that the condemnation of Pope Honorius by the Sixth Council meant nothing,
and now in his old age nobody could require him to study and examine the
question for himself.

Since the appearance of Gratry’s Letters, what is most especially dreaded
is the mention and discussion of the forgeries and fictions that have been
perpetrated for centuries past in the interest of the Papacy. Should they
really come to be spoken of in the Council Hall, one may be quite prepared
for Legate Capalti, even if he is not presiding, striking his bell till it
bursts. The Italian and Spanish majority would sooner let a speaker teach
Arianism and Pelagianism than touch on this sore. Cyprian, pseudo-Isidore,
Anselm, Deusdedit, Gratian, Thomas Aquinas and Cyril—these are now
terrible names, and hundreds here would fain stop their ears when they are
uttered. “Is there then no balm in Gilead, no physician?” Just now a
theologian or historian would be worth his weight in gold, who could
produce evidence that all these forgeries and inventions are genuine
monuments of Christian antiquity, and that the whole edifice of papal
absolutism has been built up with the purest and most conscientious
loyalty to truth. For this “horse” they would now, like Richard III. of
England, offer a kingdom. For the first time the world, with a free press
in full possession, is to accept a new dogma with all its extensive
belongings—to accept it in faith, at a time when historical criticism has
attained a power against which Rome is impotent, and when its conclusions
pass into the literature and the common consciousness of all thinking men
with a rapidity hitherto unprecedented. The works will soon be counted not
by hundreds but by thousands, which relate and make capital out of the
fact that from the year 500 to 1600 deliberate fraud was at work in Rome
and elsewhere for disseminating, supporting, and finding a basis for, the
notion of infallibility. If they imagine in Rome that they can escape this
power by means of the Index and similar fulminations, such as some French
Bishops have hurled at Father Gratry, that is like sending a couple of old
women with syringes to put out a palace on fire.

The leader and oracle of the infallibilists, Archbishop Manning, knows
something of the contradictions of history to his pet dogma. He has heard
something of the long chain of forgeries, but he demonstrates to his
associates by a bold method of logic, that it is an article of faith that
is at issue here, and that history and historical criticism can have
nothing to say to it. “It is not, therefore, by criticism on past history,
but by acts of faith in the living voice of the Church at this hour, that
we can know the faith.”(63) The faith which removes mountains will be
equally ready—such is clearly his meaning—to make away with the facts of
history. Whether any German Bishop will be found to offer his countrymen
these stones to digest, time will show.

Of what French infallibilists are capable has been evidenced in the case
of Bishop Pie of Poictiers, who is, next to Plantier of Nîmes, the leader
of this faction. He introduces into his Lenten Pastoral the history of
Uzza, who wanted, with a good object, to support the tottering Ark, and
was punished by being burned to death. The Ark, he says, is the Church and
its doctrine, and whoever touches it with the best intentions, be he
layman or priest, commits a grievous crime and audacious sacrilege, which
must bring down on his head the most terrible wrath of God. The animals,
which draw the waggon containing the Ark, are the Bishops. If then,
proceeds Pie, any of these oxen swerve from the road and kick
(_regimbent_), there are plenty more at hand to bring back the cart into
the right track, for—and here the oxen suddenly become horses
(_coursiers_)—all the steeds of the sacred cart do not stumble at the same
time. Thus does this prelate expound to his flock the position of the
majority and minority at the Council, and for their full consolation he
adds: “Moreover there is one supreme and divinely enlightened driver of
the cart, who is liable to no error, and he will know how to deal with the
shying and stumbling of the horses.” According to Bishop Pie therefore,
the waggon of the Church is sometimes drawn by horses—the Opposition who
make _sou-bresaut_ and _écarts_; sometimes by steady-going oxen—the great
majority,—and among these last the Bishop of Poictiers with amiable
modesty reckons himself. If the readers of the _Allgemeine Zeitung_ doubt
whether a highly respected leader of the majority and member of the
Commission on Faith has really written such nonsense, I can only refer
them to the document itself, which will no doubt be reprinted in the
_Univers_ or _Monde_.(64)

There are many indications that the wishes of the clique of zealots, who
wanted to get the infallible Pope made out of hand on St. Joseph’s day,
will not be realized, but that a longer interval will have to be allowed.
The _Schema_ “on Faith” prepared by the Commission, viz., by the
above-named Bishop Pie, and containing the philosophical and theological
matter for the Council, was to have been distributed last week, and even
Bishops of the minority had received professedly confidential notice of
it; but no such distribution took place. So the Session of this week too
will fall through, and it is not easy to see how this first fruit of the
Council can well be imparted to the expectant world before Easter. And
here I constantly come across the view that the postponement of the
discussion on the grand _Schema de Ecclesiâ_, with the article on
infallibility, is done with a purpose. The Opposition is still too strong
and compact; it is hoped that some members will be detached from it every
week, and that several will leave Rome; some Austrians are gone already.
Everything depends on making the Opposition so small and weak, that they
may be walked over, and may seem only to exist as a captive band of German
Barbarians to grace the triumphal procession of the Latins, and then to be
surrendered to those “exécuteurs des hautes œuvres de la justice de Rome,”
MM. Veuillot and Maguelonne, the editors of the _Univers_ and the
_Correspondance de Rome_.(65) This delay is of course a severe trial of
patience for the majority who are hungering after the new bread of faith.

I will not conceal that even among the highest Roman dignitaries the
infallibilist dogma provokes expressions of discontent. Are they honestly
and sincerely meant? The voting will show. The _mot d’ordre_ has gone
forth to correspondents of foreign journals, to say that the whole
Opposition is thoroughly broken up, and that some are deserting and the
rest running away. But as yet these are wishes rather than facts. As far
as I can see, the French and German Bishops, who wish to maintain the
ancient doctrine of the Church and reject the new dogma, hold firmly
together. Some Bishops said, directly after the publication of the
supplementary _Schema_ on infallibility, that their only choice lay
between a schism or a false doctrine; nothing else was left them except to
resign their Sees. And your readers would be astonished if I could venture
to mention their names—names of the highest repute.

The war of extermination against the Theological Faculties of the German
Universities is to be energetically carried on. The Bishop of Ratisbon’s
measure is only a premonitory feeler. Some particular exceptions however
might be made, as long as the chairs were filled by pupils of the Jesuits.
The German College is now to be the nursery for professors of theology and
philosophy at German Seminaries and High Schools. This reminds one of the
Alexandrian Psaphon, who kept a whole aviary of parrots, and taught them
to scream, “Great is the God, Psaphon,” and then let them fly, so that
they carried over land and sea the fame of his godhead. In Rome there is
fortunately an abundance of such aviaries. There are colleges here for
England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Hungary, Belgium, Poland,
and North and South America, and thousands of their inmates have already
been indoctrinated in Psaphon’s fashion.



THIRTIETH LETTER.


_Rome, March 20, 1870._—At last the greatest theologian of Catholic
England, in fact the only man of learning there who would be called in
Germany a real theologian, has spoken out in the great controversy. Dr.
Newman is superior of the Birmingham Oratory. It has long been notorious
that he deplored the condition of the English (Catholic) Church, which has
for many years been brought under the convert yoke, and sympathized with
the old Catholics, both clergy and laity, who are now crushed under it; so
much so, that the convert party there tried to brand him with the
reputation of heterodoxy, and strangers intending to visit the illustrious
Oratorian were warned not to incur suspicion by doing so. Newman had
accordingly maintained a persistent silence in the controversies going on
in England, desirous as everybody was and is to know his judgment upon the
question which is now “gladius animam Ecclesiæ pertransiens.” But in the
midst of this silence he had opened his heart, in a letter to a Bishop who
is a friend of his own, on the uncomfortable and dangerous position into
which an “aggressive and insolent faction” has brought the Church, and
disturbed so many of the truest souls. He says:(66)

“... Such letters, if they could be circulated, would do much to reassure
the many minds which are at present distressed when they look towards
Rome.

“Rome ought to be a name to lighten the heart at all times, and a
Council’s proper office is, when some great heresy or other evil impends,
to inspire hope and confidence in the faithful; but now we have the
greatest meeting which ever has been, and that at Rome, infusing into us
by the accredited organs of Rome and of its partisans (such as the
_Civiltà_ [the _Armonia_], the _Univers_, and the _Tablet_) little else
than fear and dismay. When we are all at rest, and have no doubts, and—at
least practically, not to say doctrinally—hold the Holy Father to be
infallible, suddenly there is thunder in the clearest sky, and we are told
to prepare for something, we know not what, to try our faith, we know not
how. No impending danger is to be averted, but a great difficulty is to be
created. Is this the proper work of an Œcumenical Council?

“As to myself personally, please God, I do not expect any trial at all;
but I cannot help suffering with the many souls who are suffering, and I
look with anxiety at the prospect of having to defend decisions which may
not be difficult to my own private judgment, but may be most difficult to
maintain logically in the face of historical facts.

“What have we done to be treated as the faithful never were treated
before? When has a definition _de fide_ been a luxury of devotion and not
a stern, painful necessity? Why should an aggressive, insolent faction be
allowed to ‘make the heart of the just sad, whom the Lord hath not made
sorrowful’? Why cannot we be let alone when we have pursued peace and
thought no evil?

“I assure you, my lord, some of the truest minds are driven one way and
another, and do not know where to rest their feet—one day determining ‘to
give up all theology as a bad job,’ and recklessly to believe henceforth
almost that the Pope is impeccable, at another tempted to ‘believe all the
worst which a book like Janus says,’—others doubting about ‘the capacity
possessed by bishops drawn from all corners of the earth to judge what is
fitting for European society,’ and then, again, angry with the Holy See
for listening to ‘the flattery of a clique of Jesuits, Redemptorists, and
converts.’

“Then, again, think of the store of Pontifical scandals in the history of
eighteen centuries, which have partly been poured forth and partly are
still to come. What Murphy inflicted upon us in one way M. Veuillot is
indirectly bringing on us in another. And then again the blight which is
falling upon the multitude of Anglican ritualists, etc., who themselves,
perhaps—at least their leaders—may never become Catholics, but who are
leavening the various English denominations and parties (far beyond their
own range) with principles and sentiments tending towards their ultimate
absorption into the Catholic Church.

“With these thoughts ever before me, I am continually asking myself
whether I ought not to make my feelings public; but all I do is to pray
those early doctors of the Church, whose intercession would decide the
matter (Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Basil)
to avert this great calamity.

“If it is God’s will that the Pope’s infallibility be defined, then is it
God’s will to throw back ‘the times and moments’ of that triumph which He
has destined for His kingdom, and I shall feel I have but to bow my head
to His adorable, inscrutable Providence.

“You have not touched upon the subject yourself, but I think you will
allow me to express to you feelings which, for the most part, I keep to
myself....”

Thus writes Newman in most glaring contrast to Manning. The latter was
long nothing but his admiring disciple, and does not possess a tenth part
of the learning of his master. He owes simply to his infallibilist zeal
acquired in Rome his elevation to the Archbishopric of Westminster, to
which the Pope appointed him, in anticipation of his present services,
against the will of the English Catholics and the election of the Bishops.
The Roman correspondent of the _Standard_ having published extracts from
Newman’s letter, he took occasion to come forward and say that he had no
wish to conceal that he “deeply deplored the policy, the spirit, the
measures of various persons lay and ecclesiastical, who are urging the
definition of that theological opinion” (of papal infallibility), while on
the other hand he has “a firm belief that a greater power than that of any
man or set of men will overrule the deliberations of the Council to the
determination of Catholic and Apostolic truth, and what its Fathers
eventually proclaim _with one voice_ will be the Word of God.”

No one knows better than Newman that, next to the Jesuits, two of his old
Oxford friends and disciples, Manning and Ward, are the chief authors of
the whole infallibilist agitation. Well for him that he does not live in
Manning’s diocese! In the English clerical journals, _e.g._, the _Weekly
Register_, the fact has lately several times come to light, that English
priests who utter a word against infallibility are promptly reduced to
silence by threats of suspension and deprivation. Every infallibilist, who
has the power, is also a terrorist, for he feels instinctively that free
and open discussion would be the death of his darling dogma. Under these
circumstances it is very significant that some of the English Bishops are
bold and honest enough to speak their minds plainly, to the effect that
the English Catholics had gained all their political rights on the
repeated assurance, and with the express condition, that the doctrine of
papal infallibility would not be taught and received in the English
Church, and that on that ground they have felt bound to repudiate this
opinion. The chief among these Bishops are Clifford, Bishop of Clifton,
and Archbishop Errington.(67)

I can give you the precise facts of the affair about Montalembert’s
Requiem from the most authentic sources, and it is worth while to do so,
for it speaks volumes on the present state of things. The news of his
death had reached Rome some hours, when a considerable number of
foreigners, chiefly French, were admitted to an audience with the Pope.
Immediately after the first words of blessing and encouragement, which
they had come to request of him, Pius went on to speak of the man whose
death had just been announced to him, saying that he had done great
services to the Church, “mais il était malheureusement de ces Catholiques
libéraux qui ne sont que demi-catholiques. Il y a quelques jours il
écrivait des paroles”—here the Pope made a pause, and then
proceeded—“Enfin, j’espère qu’il est bien mort”—or probably “qu’il a fait
une bonne mort”—“L’orgueil était son principal défaut, c’est lui qui l’a
égaré.”

While this was going on in the Vatican, Bougaud, one of the Vicar-Generals
of the Bishop of Orleans, was inviting his countrymen from the pulpit of
the French church of St. Louis to a Requiem for the illustrious dead, to
be held next day in the church of Ara Celi. Archbishop Merode, Grand
Almoner of the Pope and brother-in-law of Montalembert, had so arranged
it, because it is an ancient privilege of the Roman patricians to have
funeral services solemnized for them in this church, and Montalembert had
been named a patrician by Pius IX. in recognition of his services in
restoring the States of the Church and bringing back the Pope to Rome. He
had contributed more than any of his contemporaries to that restoration,
and it was he whose speech in the National Assembly at Paris in 1848 had
decided the question of the Roman expedition. Bougaud had also mentioned
that. Many had heard on the day before the service that it had been
suddenly forbidden; nevertheless at the appointed hour in the morning
about twenty French Bishops appeared with many priests and a large
assemblage of laymen, the _élite_ of the French visitors now in Rome.
There before the entrance of the church they found M. Veuillot, the old
and implacable opponent and accuser of Montalembert, standing among a
group of sacristy officials, who announced to all comers that the Pope had
forbidden any service being held or any prayers offered there for the
departed Count. They thought this incredible and forced their way into the
church, and here the sacristans informed them that, by special order of
the Pope, not only was the intended Requiem stopped but the usual masses
must be suspended, as long as the French remained in the church. By
degrees the congregation broke up, and about an hour afterwards, when the
church was empty, a French priest contrived to say a low mass in a side
chapel.

It was probably Banneville who intimated to the Pope, at his audience for
taking leave on the 17th, what a feeling this had created in French
circles in Rome, and what impression it must produce in France. So on the
morning of Friday the 18th, to the amazement of the court officials, the
Pope went to Sta. Maria Transpontana, an out-of-the-way church, without
his usual cortége. Several Bishops passed the church on their way to the
Council, and were surprised to see the Pope’s carriage waiting at the
door, as they knew nothing of what had taken him there. In the church the
Pope sent orders to a Bishop to say mass “for a certain Charles,” at which
he assisted, and the following notice then appeared in the _Giornale di
Roma_: “His Holiness, in consideration of the former services of Count
Montalembert, ordered a mass to be celebrated for him in Sta. Maria
Transpontana, and himself assisted at it from the tribune.” Meanwhile the
journalists were instructed to say in their correspondence columns, that
the prohibition had been issued, because the Requiem was meant to be made
into a demonstration.(68) That insinuation implicates Archbishop Merode
also, who resides in the Vatican, for he had given the order. The charge
of pride, which the Pope brought against Montalembert, will excite
astonishment and something more in France, where it was precisely his
gentleness and modesty that had made him so universally beloved.



THIRTY-FIRST LETTER.


_Rome, March 21, 1870._—A feeling of weariness, lethargy and disgust has
been forced on many Bishops by the treatment they have received and the
whole course of affairs in the Council up to this time. The news of its
dissolution would be welcome tidings to their ears. And not only
strangers, but many residents here, would joyfully hail their deliverance
from the existing situation; even one of the Legates said lately that, if
the Council were to be suddenly dissolved by a death, the Church would be
freed from a great distress. The Assembly Hall alone would suffice to
disgust a prelate with the idea of taking part in a Council for the rest
of his life. Yet they are obliged to sit hours in this comfortless
chamber, without understanding what is said. A sense of time unprofitably
wasted is the only result of many a sitting for men, to whom at home every
hour is precious for the care of a large diocese. They say that, for the
first time since Councils came into being, the Bishops have been robbed of
their essential and inalienable right of free speech on questions of
faith; that they are compelled to vote, but not allowed to give reasons
for their vote and bear witness to the doctrine of their Churches. They
complain that, though they can hand in written observations, no one but
the Commission of twenty-four knows anything about them, and that for the
Council itself and their fellow Bishops they can do nothing. The
Commission will perhaps present a summary report of a hundred of these
memorials and counter representations, according to the new order of
business. This means that the work carefully matured by a Bishop through
weeks or months of severe study will be summed up in two or three words,
and in the shape it is thrown into by a hostile Committee. If the Bishops
regard it as an intolerable oppression at home to have to submit their
Pastorals for previous inspection to their Governments, here they can have
nothing printed, even after it has undergone the censorship.

It is no mere phrase, when the Bishops say in their Protest against the
new order of business that their consciences are intolerably burdened, and
that the Œcumenical character of the Council is likely to be assailed and
its authority fundamentally shaken (_labefacteretur_). They consider the
arrangement for deciding doctrines by simply counting heads intolerable,
and they recognise as of immeasurable importance, and the very
turning-point of the whole Council (_totius Concilii cardo vertitur_), the
question as to the necessary conditions of a definition of faith binding
the consciences of all the faithful. The Pope wants to have a new article
of faith made by the Council, on the acceptance or rejection of which
every man’s salvation or condemnation is henceforth to depend. And now
this same Pope has overthrown the principle always hitherto acknowledged
in the Church, that such decrees could only be passed unanimously, and has
made the opposite principle into a law.

The Opposition Bishops are well aware that any regular examination and
discussion of the infallibility question is rendered impossible by the
nature of the Council Hall and the plan of voting by majorities. They have
therefore proposed to the Legates that a deputation of several Bishops
chosen from among themselves should be associated with the Commission on
Faith, or with certain Bishops of the majority, to discuss the form of the
decree, and that, when they have come to a common understanding, the
formula as finally agreed upon should be submitted to the vote of the
Council in full assembly. The authorities will not readily yield to this
demand on many accounts, and chiefly because what Tacitus said of the
Roman people 1800 years ago is well understood at Rome now, “Juvit
credulitatem nox et promptior inter tenebras affirmatio.”

It was a prudent foresight which led the Pope so strictly to prohibit the
Bishops from printing anything here during the sitting of the Council; the
Jesuits of the _Civiltà_ must retain their exclusive monopoly of free
speech. But such conferences as the minority wished for were no less
dangerous than printing, and would naturally lead to the grounds of their
decision being made public. They have been summoned to affirm, not to
deny, and “promptior inter tenebras affirmatio.” Meanwhile the Germans say
that a thorough sifting of the question is the first thing necessary to be
insisted upon, and that for two reasons: first to satisfy their own
consciences, and secondly for the sake of their flocks. For they would not
think it enough to enforce the new dogmas on the faithful of their
dioceses by mere official acts and by referring them to the authority of
the Council, which is ultimately reduced to the authority of the Pope, but
would feel bound to give them sufficient reasons for its acceptance; and
they have not been able to discover the cogency of these reasons
themselves. Pius IX. considers this superfluous. He feels his
infallibility, as he says, and therefore thinks it very scandalous that
the Bishops do not choose to be content with this testimony of his
feeling. However, the negotiations with the Legates about these
conferences are still going on.

It must be allowed that there is not the slightest exaggeration in the
words of the seventy-six protesting Bishops. It is strictly true that the
new order of business, if it is carried out, must raise the greatest
doubts as to the Œcumenical character of the Council among all thinking
Catholics, especially such as are familiar with the history of Councils.
And it is undeniable that this would excite a terrible disturbance in the
Church, a contest the end of which cannot be foreseen. The Jesuits are now
stirring the fire with the same assiduity and malicious pleasure as their
predecessors in the Order of 1713 and the following years, when the whole
of France and the Netherlands was plunged into a state of ecclesiastical
strife and confusion by the Bull _Unigenitus_, which they procured. They
enjoy such contests, and have always carried them through with the
merciless harshness which is peculiar to them, relying on the strength of
their organization. It may sound hard that the Order should so often be
reproached with making its members at once accusers and bailiffs, but they
would themselves consider this rather a note of praise than of blame.

The retribution for their conduct in 1713 and afterwards came in 1763 and
1773. But the Order, or at least its Roman members, who are all-powerful
through the favour of the Pope, have no fear of such consequences now. A
Jesuit can make a home for his theology, now here now there. If the Order
is driven from one country, it is received into another; its property is
moveable and can be transferred easily and without loss, and moreover it
possesses, so to speak, an itinerant mint in its carefully elaborated
skill in the direction of female souls, whether lodged in male or female
bodies. They are thorough adepts too in the speculations of the money
market, and manage their transactions in banknotes as successfully as the
most practised merchant, so that they are quietly but surely recovering
their prosperity in many cities of the Italian Kingdom, even in Florence,
while all other Orders have been suppressed there. So they are well
equipped and in excellent spirits for meeting the future. If their system
of doctrine is now raised to full dominion by Pope and Council, and if
they succeed in the next Conclave in procuring the election of a Pope
thoroughly devoted to them and resolved to carry on the present system,
the ship of the Order will ride majestically on the waves of future
events, and fear no storms. A thoroughly well-informed man has assured us
that the Pope said the other day to a Roman prelate, that “the Jesuits had
involved him in this business of the Council and infallibility, and he was
determined now to go through with it, cost what it might. They must take
the responsibility of the results.” A very similar statement was made by
the Emperor Francis I. He said that “he could not tell how his finance
minister would answer hereafter for having precipitated so many men into
poverty and misery by establishing a national bankruptcy.”

For the fourth or fifth time since the opening of the Council, the
ultramontane correspondents have been instructed to say, that the acoustic
defects of the Hall have been remedied through new arrangements. This is
not true; the speeches are never understood in many parts of the Chamber,
not even where the secretaries sit. Meanwhile the Pope has conceived a
desire to appear again in the midst of the Bishops and hold a Solemn
Session. Hitherto he has been invisible and generally unapproachable to
his “venerable brethren,” as he officially styles them. The last time the
assembly saw him was at the unsuccessful Solemn Session of January 6, when
the Bishops had to go through the useless ceremony of swearing oaths, in
order to fill up the vacant time. For Pius does not feel that there is the
slightest need for ascertaining the views of the Bishops about the
measures in hand, or their wishes and proposals, and hearing their report
of the state of Church matters in their own countries. He stands too high
for that. A French prelate remarked lately that the Council does not
thrive, because the Pope stands at once too near it and too far from it—so
near that he robs it of all freedom, so far that there is no community of
feeling and views and understanding.

There has never indeed been a period in Church history where it has been
made so palpably plain to the Episcopate how much the name of “brother,”
which the Pontifex gives to every Bishop, is worth, and how immeasurable
is the gulf between the “brother” on the Roman throne, the Pope-King, and
the brother in Paris or Vienna or Prague.

On the 16th a part of the first _Schema_ was distributed in a revised
form, and a General Congregation was held upon it on the 18th, at the very
time when the Pope was hearing a mass for Montalembert in reparation for
his treatment of the illustrious dead on the 15th and 16th. He wanted to
hold a Solemn Session on the 25th, and thought there would be some decrees
ready to be published. In defiance of the order of business the Bishops
had only a day and a half, instead of ten days, allowed them to get
acquainted with the revised text. However, so large a number of speakers
sent in their names, and so many new difficulties came to light, that Pius
had once more to abandon his design of proclaiming new articles of faith
on that day to the expectant world. It looks as if the fourth month of the
Council would pass by with as little result as the three first. Easter
Monday is already named as the period fixed for publishing the first
doctrinal decree. Meanwhile a new power has been introduced in the person
of the Jesuit, Kleutgen. He had been condemned some time ago by the Holy
Office on account of a scandal in a convent. But he has now been
rehabilitated, as the Jesuits have no superfluity of theologians, and is
to take part in drawing up the _Schemata_. The time fixed for sending in
representations on the infallibility decree has been extended for ten days
more, to the 25th. There is no lack of criticisms and counter-statements;
the Bishops, although foreseeing that their intellectual progeny will be
strangled directly after birth, seem anxious to gain the satisfaction of
saying, “dixi et salvavi animam meam.” The German Bishops remember the
assurances they gave at Fulda. The Archbishop of Cologne reminded the
faithful of his diocese, as late as Feb. 9, of this Pastoral, to set their
minds at rest. To-day, March 21, in view of the infallibilist _Schema_ and
the new order of business, he would no doubt hardly think it prudent to
say any longer to the Germans, “Be confident that the Council will
establish no new dogma, and proclaim nothing which is not written by faith
and conscience on your hearts.” The Germans will now be curious to see the
circumlocutions and explanations appended, in the fresh Pastorals compiled
after the fabrication of the new dogma, to the Pastoral issued from the
tomb of St. Boniface.

The Bishops should take care that they are not, like the eagle in the
Libyan fable, struck with arrows feathered from their own wings.
Banneville, who succeeded two men very unacceptable in Rome, Lavalette and
Sartiges, was amicably received, and found it agreeable to keep on the
best footing with Antonelli, and to treat the whole affair of the Council
easily and superficially. Whatever he said was always very mildly
expressed. It was so convenient to enjoy the favour both of the Pope and
the Secretary of State, and to be commended by the majority of the Council
as a pious and enlightened statesman. The differences between him and
Count Daru were accordingly inevitable. For Daru appreciates the extent of
the danger, not only as a statesman but as a zealous Catholic, while
Banneville’s one thought has ever been to please the Roman authorities, so
that a French prelate said to him shortly before his departure,
“Pensiez-vous que vous étiez ambassadeur auprès de Jésuites?” And thus at
last the necessity of instructing him has been recognised at Paris. But at
the same time Bishop Forcade of Nevers has been sent there, intrusted with
the mission of representing Banneville’s conduct to the Government as
exactly right, and advocating the views and desires of Antonelli and the
majority of the Council. He has told them at Paris that the majority do
not want to hear anything of the admission of a French ambassador to the
Council—which is credible enough—but that the Government has nothing to
fear from the decrees, for the Court of Rome would in any case respect the
Concordat. Antonelli, as may be seen, abides by his panacea. The only
question is whether they are disposed at Paris to be paid with such
diplomatic counters. Meanwhile it has been rumoured that Count Daru would
send a memorial to the Council. To the Council? Say rather to the Pope and
his Secretary of State. This putting forward of the Council, whose freedom
and self-determination the Roman Court is neither able nor willing to
anticipate, is a device which no one can take seriously. The Bishop of
Orleans in his last publication has pierced a hole in the mask, which
renders it nearly useless. He remarks (p. 54), “Whatever is to come before
the Council can only come through the Commission appointed by the Pope,
that is ultimately through himself. He is the master, the sole and
absolute master, with whom it rests to admit a proposal or set it aside.”

Antonelli says that no ambassadors can be admitted, for if it were
conceded to the French, it could not be refused to other powers, Austria,
Bavaria, or even Prussia. He is quite right there. It has been a main
object from the first with this Council to give a striking example of the
entire exclusion of the lay element in ecclesiastical deliberations. It is
just because the Governments and States are so deeply concerned in the
projected decrees, because their rights and laws and their whole future
are affected, that they are not to be heard or admitted. In presence of
the representative of his Government, many a Bishop would think twice
before assenting to a decree flatly contradicting the laws and political
principles of his country. And then the admission of ambassadors would
break through the mystery, and make the strict silence imposed on the
Bishops almost useless. A large number of them, and above all the entire
Opposition, would be very glad of this, but for that very reason the
ruling powers detest it the more. As a foretaste and practical
illustration of what the maxims of the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ will lead to,
when made into dogmas, it is worth while to notice the decision issued by
the Pope and his Penitentiary in September 1869, when this Schema had just
been drawn up, on the question whether a priest could swear to observe the
Austrian Constitution. To take the oath absolutely was forbidden; he can
only take it with an express reservation of the laws of the Church,
and—which is very significant—he must state publicly that he only takes
the oath, even with this reservation, by virtue of papal permission. That
is a new and very important step on the road to be trodden with the aid of
the Council. Every clergyman is to be reminded, and to remind others, in
merely discharging a simple civil obligation, that he is dependent on the
Pope in the matter, and may not properly speaking swear civil fealty and
obedience to the laws without papal permission, not even in the
conditional form which makes the oath itself illusory. This is quite after
the mind of the Jesuits, who have always shown a special predilection for
the doctrine that every cleric is not a subject and citizen with
corresponding rights, but simply a subaltern and servant of the Pope. This
is a prologue to the twenty-one Canons of the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_.

I have just learnt from the _Kölner Volkszeitung_ that the chaplain of a
prelate here charges me with a gross falsehood in reference to the words
of the Pope. He appeals to the Paris _Union_, which has the words used by
the Pope, “Je suis la voie, la vérité, et la vie,” with the passage
inserted by the editor. I had cited the words from the _Observateur
Catholique_ of 1866 (p. 357), where they are authenticated by the
signature of an ear-witness, MacSheeby, and correspond entirely with the
statement of the _Union_. But in the _Monde_, which was not in my reach, a
totally different version is given, which has no similarity to that
authenticated by Roman correspondents in the _Union_ and _Observateur_,
and does not connect the words, “I am the way,” etc., with the Pope at
all. It must remain uncertain after this whether the version of the
_Monde_ or of the two other journals is the genuine one.



THIRTY-SECOND LETTER.


_Rome, March 28, 1870._—The Bishops who have attacked the new order of
business, because it brought into view the possibility of a dogmatic
definition being carried without the _consensus moraliter unanimis_,
received the desired answer in no doubtful form at the sitting of Tuesday,
the 22d. The measures of the _Curia_ for a month past have been
unmistakably contributing more and more to produce a worthy and
loyal-hearted attitude among the minority. After long dallying, Rome has
brought the secrets of her policy a little too boldly and conspicuously
into view. Hardly was the domination of the majority in matters of faith
fixed by the stricter _regolamento_, when the Pope had the proclamation of
his own infallibility proposed in the most arrogant form. On this followed
the attempt to press it to an immediate decision, and then the
determination to admit no ambassadors of the Governments. If these
proceedings were not enough to lay bare the perilous nature of the whole
situation, the Pope and the zealots of his party supplied the remaining
proof,—the former, by his conduct about Falloux, about Montalembert on the
day the news of his death arrived, about the Munich theologians in secret
consistory, and about the so-called Liberal or “half-Catholics” on every
occasion; the latter by their growing impatience about the infallibility
definition, and their assurances that there is no real opposition to this
dogma, and that, if there was, it could not hold its ground after the
promulgation had taken place. And so the opponents of the decree must know
at last that they have to deal with a blind and unscrupulous zeal, not
with a theological system carefully thought out and placed on an
intellectual basis; that the contest has to be carried on against the
whole power and influence of the Pope, and not, as had been maintained
with transparent hypocrisy, only against the wishes of the noisy and
independent party of the _Civiltà_ and its allied journalists. They begin
to use more earnest and manlier language, the language of clear
apprehension and conscientious conviction. If the comments handed in last
week on the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_, and the protests against any hurrying of
the discussion on it, were known to the world, the Catholic Episcopate and
the strong reflux current here would appear in a very different light from
what might be gathered from the previous course of things. Not a few of
these opinions drawn up by the Bishops breathe a truly apostolic spirit,
and deal with the Roman proposals in the tone of genuine theology. An
influential theologian of a Religious Order has pronounced of one of them,
that it exceeds in force and weight the treatise which appeared in Germany
last year, _Reform of the Church in Her Head and Her Members_.(69) It has
been urged by English prelates that it concerns their honour to resist the
promulgation of a dogma, the explicit repudiation of which by the Irish
Bishops was an efficacious condition of Catholic Emancipation. The
American Protest contains a more threatening warning than the German, and
the German is stronger than the French.

After these declarations the attitude of the minority was clearly defined,
and invincible by any foe from without. Their contention is, that no right
exists in the Church to sanction a dogma against the will and belief of an
important portion of the Episcopate, and that only by abandoning any claim
to such a right can the Council be regarded as really Œcumenical. To be
quite consistent, the minority ought to take no further part in the
Council till this point, on the decision of which they rightly hold its
authority to depend, is settled; for their protest implied the doubt
whether they were taking part in a true or only a seeming Council, whether
they were acting in union with the Holy Ghost or co-operating to carry out
a gigantic and sacrilegious deception. Yet the words expressly stating
this doubt, and making the distinct withdrawal of the theory of voting
dogmas by majorities a condition of any further participation in the
proceedings, were not adopted into any of the Protests. This implied that
the signataries would appear in the next General Congregation, that they
refrained from a suspicious attitude, and were unwilling to interpret the
ambiguous order of business _in malam partem_, until facts compelled them
to do so. A conflict which might have such incalculable results was to be
avoided, till necessity made it a positive duty; and that was not the case
as long as a favourable interpretation of the _regolamento_ continued
possible.

Thus the minority committed the strategical blunder of postponing a
conflict which they saw to be inevitable, and when they could not know
whether any more favourable opportunity for entering on it for the benefit
of the Church would occur in the future. There is hardly anything doubtful
or open to double interpretation in the order of business, when more
closely examined. Every Bishop sees quite clearly that it is specially
arranged for overcoming the opposition of the minority, and will be used
without scruple for that end.(70) And who knows how many members of the
present Opposition, if once the _Curia_ applies its last lever, will have
strength to resist to extremities? how many are ready, by humble
submission or by resigning their Sees, to quiet their consciences and
sacrifice their flocks to error? There are men among them better fitted
for the contest against the principle formally enounced in the revised
order of business, than for the contest against infallibility. The Bishop
of Mayence, _e.g._, passes for one of the strongest and most decided
opponents of the _regolamento_, which I mention as a point of great
importance at this moment. The resolve of the protesting Bishops, to avoid
the threatened conflict at present, can only be justified if another and
better opportunity for defending the cause of the Church occurs in the
future course of the Council and before any decision is arrived at. Had
they been willing, after handing in their protests, to go on quietly
joining in the proceedings, without doing anything to give emphasis to the
step they had taken, they would in fact have bent under the yoke of the
majority. They only needed to keep silent: that implied everything. For it
would necessarily be assumed that they had withdrawn or forgotten their
protests, and to continue to act upon and submit to the new order of
business themselves would imply that they had renounced their resistance
to any of its particular details. It was therefore all the more essential
for them to let it be clearly known how far their concessions would
extend, and what was their final limit. Unless they did this, they would
either seem not quite sincere, or would have really accepted the
_regolamento_ with its obvious consequences. The Council, the Presidents,
the Pope, the expectant Catholic world without, had a right to know their
real intentions, and whether they meant to adhere to their declarations.
The first voting on the propositions of the _Schema de Fide_ could not
fail to decide this point. Thus it became a necessity to put this question
of principle in the front at the reopening of the deliberations of the
Council.

Meanwhile the concessions of the Presidents and the majority on some
points had elicited a more friendly feeling in the Opposition. The
discussion on infallibility was postponed, and the first _Schema_ was
returned from the Commission with important modifications. Even the
shameful treatment of Montalembert could not altogether destroy this
conciliatory state of feeling. Ginoulhiac, the learned Bishop of Grenoble,
who was to be preconised as Archbishop of Lyons on Monday the 21st,
undertook on the 22d to meet the discreet concessions of the
infallibilists in a kindred spirit. He was indeed obliged to make his
speech on the Tuesday, though he had not been preconised on the day
before. The French, who have no Cardinal—for Mathieu’s custom is to go
away at any critical moment, and he was not then returned—had gladly left
to one of the Austrian Cardinals the less pleasing duty of declaring their
attitude towards the _regolamento_. Schwarzenberg did but slightly glance
at it in his speech and yet was called to order. Archbishop Kenrick of St.
Louis, one of the most imposing figures in the Council, touched on the
theme more closely, and dwelt on the office of Bishops as witnesses and
judges of faith, in the sense which forms the basis of the opposition of
the minority. Lastly, Strossmayer ascended the tribune, and then followed
a scene which, for dramatic force and theological significance, almost
exceeded anything in the past history of Councils. He began by referring
to that passage at the opening of the _Schema_, where Protestantism is
made responsible for modern unbelief—“systematum monstra, mythismi,
rationalismi, indifferentismi nomine designata.” He blamed the perversity
and injustice of these words, referring to the religious indifference
among Catholics which preceded the Reformation, and the horrors of the
Revolution, which were caused by godlessness among Catholics, not among
Protestants. He added that the able champions of Christian doctrine among
the Protestants ought not to be forgotten, to many of whom St. Augustine’s
words applied, “errant, sed bonâ fide errant;” Catholics had produced no
better refutations of the errors enumerated in the _Schema_ than had been
written by Protestants, and all Christians were indebted to such men as
Leibnitz and Guizot.

Each one of these statements, and the two names, were received with loud
murmurs, which at last broke out into a storm of indignation. The
President, De Angelis, cried out, “Hicce non est locus laudandi
Protestantes.” And he was right, for the Palace of the Inquisition is
hardly a hundred paces from the place where he was speaking. Strossmayer
exclaimed, in the midst of a great uproar, “That alone can be imposed on
the faithful as a dogma, which has a moral unanimity of the Bishops of the
Church in its favour.” At these words a frightful tumult arose. Several
Bishops sprang from their seats, rushed to the tribune, and shook their
fists in the speaker’s face. Place, Bishop of Marseilles, one of the
boldest of the minority and the first to give in his public adhesion to
Dupanloup’s Pastoral, cried out, “Ego illum non damno.” Thereupon a shout
resounded from all sides, “Omnes, omnes illum damnamus.” The President
called Strossmayer to order, but he did not leave the tribune till he had
solemnly protested against the violence to which he had been subjected.
There was hardly less excitement in the church outside than in the Council
Hall. Some thought the Garibaldians had broken in: others, with more
presence of mind, thought infallibility had been proclaimed, and these
last began shouting “Long live the infallible Pope!” A Bishop of the
United States said afterwards, not without a sense of patriotic pride,
that he knew now of one assembly still rougher than the Congress of his
own country.

This memorable day has already become the subject of myths, and so it is
no longer possible to define with certainty how many prelates were hurried
into these passionate outbreaks. Some speak of 400, some of 200; others
again say that the majority disapproved of the interruption. The
excitement was followed next day by a profound stillness, which was not
broken even when Haynald and the North American Bishop Whelan said very
strong things. It seemed as if a sense of what they owed to the dignity of
the Council and a feeling of shame had got the better of those turbulent
spirits. But enough has occurred to show the world what spirit prevails
here, and what sort of men they are who support infallibilism. That up to
this time this Council does not deserve the respect of the Catholic world,
is the least point; it is of more importance, that an internal split in
the Church is more and more revealing itself. Henceforth it will no longer
be possible to throw in the teeth of genuine Catholics their compromising
or dishonourable solidarity with error and lies, for this has given place
to an open and avowed opposition. On one side stands the small but morally
powerful band of those who accept Strossmayer’s noble words with head and
heart, on the other a crowd of “abject”(71) fanatics and sycophants. This
division is of supreme significance for the future course of the Council,
because it strengthens and consolidates the minority in their harmony and
determination, and obliges them to take a further step, as soon as the
majority have made it unmistakably clear that they will not acknowledge
and respect their claim to prevent a dogmatic definition.

The Presidents, by denouncing Strossmayer’s speech but not the
interruption of it, as it was their duty to do, gave evidence of an
undisguised partiality, and justly incurred the suspicion of sympathizing
with the shouters and not with the speaker, and thinking the proclamation
of infallibility allowable without the moral unanimity of the Council.
Accordingly a categorical demand was sent in to them to declare themselves
on this point, and, in case of their giving no answer, another last step
is reserved, which will have the nature of an ultimatum and will bring the
Œcumenicity of the Vatican Council to a decisive test. And so it may be
said that the Bishops of the minority have delayed but not wavered. The
moment for a decisive move, which may test the existence of the Council,
must come when a dogmatic decree has to be voted on. This crisis seemed to
have arrived on Saturday, March 26, when the preamble of the _Schema de
Fide_ was to have been voted on. Various amendments had been proposed, one
very important one by Bishop Meignan of Chalons, in which the Fathers were
designated as definers of the decrees, and another equally important,
implicitly containing infallibility, by Dreux-Brézé, Bishop of Moulins.
Moreover this preamble contained the obnoxious passages immortalized by
the glowing eloquence of Strossmayer. The antagonistic principles seemed
to have reached their ultimate point. Votes were to be taken on dogmatic
decrees before any agreement had been come to on the necessary conditions
of such voting. At the last moment the Presidents resolved to evade the
crisis. The very day before the sitting, Friday, March 25, Cardinal Bilio
went to the authors of the amendments and persuaded them to withdraw them,
and so on Saturday the text of the preamble was brought forward without
any amendment. Nor was there any voting on that either, but they passed at
once to the discussion on the first chapter of the _Schema_, in which the
Primate of Hungary (Simor) made an adroit and conciliatory speech as
advocate of the Commission on Faith. The debate then proceeded. By the
eleventh article of the new order of business, every separate part of a
_Schema_ must be voted on before the next can come on for discussion.

It was a breach of this rule to pass on straight to the first chapter of
the _Schema_, without having voted on the preamble. The Bishops asked
themselves what this meant. Was it intended, by the withdrawal of the
amendments and the abandonment of the discussion, to declare the preamble
tacitly accepted? Was it intended to correct that objectionable passage?
But the wording of the _regolamento_ was too strict to allow of that being
done except in the General Congregation. It seemed at any rate as if more
prudent counsels had prevailed and it was intended to avert the dreaded
contest on the main principle by concessions, so as to pass such decrees
as were possible, that they may be unanimously promulgated in the Easter
session. Thus time would be gained for loosening the compact phalanx of
the Opposition, and at the same time getting it more deeply implicated in
a compromising actual acceptance of the new order of business, in its form
as well as its spirit. This double danger is always imminent, but in fact
the Opposition as yet has suffered no loss.

We are at the end of the fourth month of the Council, and yet they have
not dared to put one decree to the vote. The amendments, which were so
obnoxious, have disappeared. The passage about unbelief being the
offspring of Protestantism, which Strossmayer assailed, will perhaps be
corrected, though in an irregular manner. The simple and sanguine spirits
among the Opposition Bishops exult over a victory obtained. One of the
most famous of them exclaimed, “It is clear the Holy Ghost is guiding the
Council.”



THIRTY-THIRD LETTER.


_Rome, March 30, 1870._—Yesterday (the 29th) the first voting in Council
took place, on the preamble of the _Schema de Fide_. As I told you in my
last letter, this preamble had been objected to by Strossmayer on account
of the passage representing rationalism, indifferentism, the mythical
theory of the Bible and unbelief as consequences of Protestantism. Several
amendments had been proposed; two of them I have mentioned already, one
introduced by Bishop Meignan of Chalons, substituting for a mere
approbation of the decree a statement expressly guarding the right of the
Episcopate to define,—the other, proposed by Dreux-Brézé, designed to
smuggle in the infallibilist doctrine in a form requiring a sharpsighted
eye to detect it.(72) Many infallibilists had reckoned on the victory of
their dogma last week by means of this amendment. The Presidents had got
some of the amendments withdrawn on Friday, the 25th, but these two they
suffered to remain. They were equally sure that the first would be
rejected and the second accepted by the majority; nay they counted on a
far larger majority for the passage implying infallibility than for the
rejection of Meignan’s proposal, and hoped that this occasion would tend
to bring to light unmistakably the power and extent of the infallibilist
party.

At the beginning of the sitting of Saturday, the 26th, the exact
regulations for the method of voting were first read out, and this was
repeated a second time to preclude any risk of misapprehension. Yet it was
announced immediately afterwards that there would be no voting, and this
unexpected change was made during the Session and in presence of the
Fathers. There had in fact been a kind of fermentation going on since
Tuesday, the 22nd, when Strossmayer’s affair occurred. The justice of his
criticism on the passage about Protestantism and unbelief had become
evident to many; at least fifteen Bishops made representations to the
President about it as late as the Friday. According to a very
widely-spread report, one of them was the Bishop of Orleans and the other
the Bishop of Augsburg. But in spite of this, and of the prospect of a
catastrophe, which the union of the Germans made imminent, they seem to
have gone into Saturday’s sitting firmly resolved not to yield. Yet a last
attempt succeeded. After the mass, when all were assembled, a Bishop
handed in a paper with a few lines to the Presidents, on which two of them
at once left the Hall. Meanwhile the order of the day and the method of
voting was read out. On their return the decision was announced; the
preamble was withdrawn to be amended. It was an English Bishop whose paper
produced such important results.(73)

On Monday, the 28th, the preamble was distributed in its revised form;
Dreux-Brézé’s objectionable amendment had disappeared, the passage about
Protestantism was altered, and even the style was improved. Primate Simor,
speaking in the name of the Commission, had already stated officially that
the Bishops were at liberty to subscribe the decrees by _definiens
subscripsi_, _i.e._, to use the ancient conciliar formula by which the
Bishops used to describe themselves as defining the decrees. And thus the
principle for which Meignan, Strossmayer, and Whelan had contended, was
conceded. In this form and after these concessions the preamble could no
longer be opposed.

The strength of the minority has been proved, though in an irregular
manner. But obviously this gives an opening to the majority for similarly
setting aside the order of business when it is inconvenient for
themselves. Beyond a doubt the spirit of conciliation has triumphed over
all opposition at the critical moment. And it may be distinctly said that
this result was attained, partly through the firm attitude of the
minority, partly through the prudent and abundantly justified yielding of
the Presidents. By this discreet procedure they have declined all
responsibility for the conduct of those who, on Tuesday the 22d, would
hear of no objections to that portion of the preamble. And their doing
this so decidedly makes their silence on the other matter, which caused
such an outbreak, the more surprising, and some explanation of it is all
the more necessary.

The amended preamble was then accepted unanimously. But the chapter _De
Deo Creatore_ did not pass so easily, though it might have been expected
that, at the end of four months, the Bishops would have arrived at some
agreement on that point. The main difficulty arose from the tendency again
to smuggle in statements favourable to infallibility, and paving the way
for its definition by a sidewind. The first paragraph, _e.g._, opens thus,
“Sancta Romana Catholica Ecclesia credit et confitetur unum esse Deum
verum et vivum, Creatorem cœli et terræ.” Two amendments were proposed on
this: (1.) “Proponitur, ut initio capitis primi simpliciter dicatur,
‘Sancta Catholica Ecclesia credit et confitetur,’ ” etc. (2.) “Proponitur,
ut in capite primo verba ‘Romana Catholica Ecclesia’ transferantur, ita ut
legatur ‘Catholica atque Romana Ecclesia.’ Sin autem non placuerit
Patribus, ut saltem comma interponatur inter verba _Romana_ et
_Catholica_.” There was a great deal of discussion about this word
“Romana.” The German Opposition Bishops exhibit a better organization than
the French. In spite of the great majority, it was announced that the
voting would be only provisional, a “suffragatio provisoria,” and it is
probable that the first chapter will be revised in this point, as in
several others, before being presented for definitive acceptance.

It is very noteworthy that the Italian Government has made no attempt to
utilize the new complications, and the introduction of a new system of
policy in France very hostile in principle to Roman absolutism. The Roman
question has gone to sleep at the moment when a solution seemed to be in
view. Indifference has taken the place of zeal at the very time when zeal
had a prospect of success. Nowhere is the reason of this seeming apathy
better understood than at Rome. The Italians are patient, because they see
the settlement approaching in the natural course of things and without
violence: they know that with the death of Pius IX. a far-reaching change
must ensue. His successor will enter on the difficult inheritance under
very different conditions.

The change of sovereigns will, in another point of view, be a very
critical transition for the system dominant here. There is no point the
non-Italian Episcopate with the foreign Cardinals and the Great Powers,
are so united upon as throwing open the _Curia_ and the Sacred College to
foreigners. A Papal election under present circumstances might be very
dangerous for the centralization policy. The hardly-won domination of that
party which Pius IX. has made into his instrument would be menaced, for
after a long pontificate an election is always a reaction and not a
continuation. The numerous elements of opposition, which have so long been
suppressed, combine then for mutual aid. Pius IX. has created the College
of Cardinals himself, but his successor will be the creation of the
College. The ruling party runs the risk of getting a Pope who will no
longer serve it and carry on its policy, and it is certain that the next
Pope will be much weaker than the present one in his relations with the
Governments, the Cardinals and the Episcopate. Much, very much, of the
present resources of the Papacy depends on the person of Pius IX., and
will be buried with him. It is the interest of all who are concerned in
the continuance of the existing system, that his personal influence should
survive his reign.

He alone can hand on to his successor his own special connection with
France, and he alone can secure the choice of a successor in the Jesuit
interest. But, to accomplish that, he must survive his own pontificate,
must himself fix on the desired successor, must himself inaugurate him and
support him with the whole weight of his personal influence. And thus the
bold and ingenious device has been started of Pius IX. abdicating, and a
new election being held during his life. It is said not to be quite a new
project; in the honeymoon of the Council, just after the New Year, it
first began to be somewhat inconsiderately spoken of. Pius IX. is nearly
eighty, two years older than is generally said. He was elected June 16,
1846, and will therefore, on June 16, 1870, complete the twenty-fourth
year of his pontificate. But there is an old saying, universally believed
in Rome, that no Pope will reign twenty-five years, as it was the
exclusive privilege of St. Peter to be Pope for a quarter of a century.
“Non numerabis annos Petri.” It is a fact that none of the 255
predecessors of the present Pope has held office for twenty-five years;
even those elected at thirty-seven, like Innocent III. and Leo X., died
earlier. So according to this belief, which is not confined to the vulgar,
Pius has only one year more to live. But in spite of his age he is healthy
and wonderfully strong, and, as he belongs to a long-lived family, he has
the prospect of still living some time, only not as reigning Pope. It is
no pleasing prospect for a man, in whose character there is a large
element of _amour propre_, to be treated as the setting sun, while all are
speculating on his speedy death. It would be another thing, at the very
moment of his glorious triumph over the Council and after gaining
infallibility, to resign it, to decline to enjoy his success, to renounce
this mighty power in the first moment of fruition, and to transfer the
splendid inheritance to the hands of a younger man. Thus next June might
witness the most brilliant jubilee, and an example be given of such
imposing grandeur that the world has seen nothing like it, of such wisdom
and eventful significance that the present system would be immortalized
and become the heirloom of the Papacy for all ages. The Pope would retire
into a glorious privacy, like the founder of the North American Republic
after his second Presidentship, and taste the honours of an ex-Pope,
unequalled by any former ceremonial splendour, and close his days in a
position of unprecedented elevation. This seductive dream has found little
aliment in the course of the Council hitherto. The plan would be at bottom
a conspiracy against existing law, against Cardinals, Governments, and the
Episcopate, and notwithstanding its dazzling lustre, would make the very
worst impression on the Council. A victorious Pope might conceivably
attempt to carry it out, but in the present situation it would be a
dangerous challenge.

The abdication of a Pope is not without precedent in history. In 1294 a
Pope took this step, which has never since been repeated; Celestine V.
resigned the papal office, to which he felt himself unequal. After a long
and quarrelsome Conclave, the Cardinals, at their wits’ end, had elected
the pious recluse of Einsiedlen, and dragged him from his mountain home; a
few months later they got tired of him and urged him to abdicate, and he
complied. Many doubted whether a Pope could resign; they thought that,
according to the law established by the Popes themselves in the decretals,
no Pope could dissolve of his own power the bond which unites him to the
Church and the Church to him. It would require a superior in the hierarchy
to do this, and none such exists. It had first therefore to be decided
that a Pope could resign, and Celestine settled this by a special Bull.
After that he solemnly and publicly laid down his office. Boniface VIII.
succeeded, who shut up the unfortunate man in a mountain fastness, where
he died soon afterwards in a damp unhealthy dungeon.

In the strictly initiated circles, where the above project is most
definitely spoken of, the man selected by Pius for his successor is also
known; it is Cardinal Bilio, aged forty-four, who possesses the confidence
equally of the Pope and the Jesuits. He edited the Syllabus, and assisted
the Jesuits in drawing up the first _Schema_; in short, Pius would have
the satisfaction of reckoning securely on his carrying on the present
system for many years. Of course, even if the seventeen or eighteen vacant
Cardinals’ Hats were given to men pledged to this scheme, it would still
remain a question whether Pius could succeed in still controlling the
Conclave after his abdication. Many think that the Cardinals would then,
as has so often happened, elect a very aged man, and Cardinal de Angelis
is named as the likeliest to be chosen.



THIRTY-FOURTH LETTER.


_Rome, April 10, 1870._—When it became known that the Solemn Session for
accepting and proclaiming the first dogmatic decrees was to be held, not
on the 11th April as first intended, but on the 24th, the question of how
this interval should be used came to the front. For the moment general
attention is directed towards Paris. The answer of Cardinal Antonelli,
drawn up by Franchi, Archbishop of Thessalonica _in partibus_ and one of
the most active curialists in the affairs of the Council, arrived there
March 24. According to the account of a French statesman, it produced the
impression of being intended for a mediæval king, who could neither read
nor write. The two main points in it are—(1.) that the _Canones de
Ecclesiâ_ contain no new claims and do not affect States which have a
Concordat at all, and (2.) that no ambassador can be admitted to the
Council.

The French Government oscillated a long time between the counsels of
different advisers. The Bishop of Nevers represented the middle party, at
whose head stands Cardinal Bonnechose; the Bishop of Constantine and
afterwards the Bishop of Coutances might, as members of the Opposition,
have come to a similar opinion. At first the plan found favour of not
sending any special ambassador to the Council, but accrediting the
ambassador to the Pope for the Council also. France would thereby have
gained the start of Prussia, for it was hardly to be supposed that a
Protestant diplomatist would claim the right of entering the Council. So
much more important became the question, whether the Marquis de
Banneville, who had meanwhile gone to Paris to justify his policy of
inaction, would be superseded, or sent back to Rome in this double
capacity, and therefore with increased powers. The latter course would be
a significant concession to the inflexible Pope, a decided gain for the
majority, and therefore a sensible blow for the Opposition. It would be a
practical proof that Rome had only to resist, in order to intimidate
France, and that the Imperial Government renounced all further
interference with the Council. That was so obvious that a host of
candidates for this weighty and honourable office were proposed to the
minister. Baroche is said to have wished for it; Cornudet, a friend of
Montalembert’s, was much talked of, as well as Corcelles and Latour
d’Auvergne, two men who seemed particularly well fitted to make the change
of persons more acceptable at Rome. For some time the Duke of Broglie had
the best prospect of it, who stands high among the Catholic laity as a
political historian and student of Church history and the Fathers, but as
a Liberal Catholic he belongs to the party the Pope hates above all others
just now. To appoint him would have been at once to identify the French
Government with the minority, and might, instead of conciliating, have led
to results most abhorrent to the amiable and pious character of the Duke.

It was also a prevalent opinion that qualifications should be first
attended to, and the best head among French statesmen be intrusted with
this important mission—that men should be chosen like Rouher or Thiers,
who had done service to the temporal power, but who stood quite aloof from
the internal feuds of parties. To accredit them would make the withdrawal
of the Romanizing Banneville less surprising and less irritating to the
_Curia_. The Bishops of the middle party wanted the place for one of
themselves. But they are not a body in much favour at Paris, and it was
intimated to them that the best qualified prelates are not to be found in
their ranks. Their representative, the Bishop of Nevers, came back in a
state of irritation from Paris, where he is said to have found only three
adherents of papal infallibility, two of whom were women. It is
conjectured that the third was the Nuncio Chigi, who has affirmed that all
Paris will illuminate the day the dogma is proclaimed.

The proposal for a Conference emerged again in the French Cabinet, but was
rejected as inappropriate, for it would necessarily betray the weakness of
a disunited ministry. At last the plan was adopted of sending a
preliminary answer to Antonelli’s letter, and waiting for the result of
this before fixing on an ambassador. And so it was resolved at the
beginning of April to draw up a note, which might at the same time be laid
before the other powers, and serve as the basis for common action. It was
communicated to the various Governments during last week, and is said to
have been brought to Rome to-day by the Marquis de Banneville. But the
Empress had meanwhile sent to Rome to get a more definite and authentic
report of the views of the Bishops. But the answer did not reach Paris
till after the note had been drawn up and despatched.

The only answer the minority needed to give was to communicate to the
Government the various memorials they had presented to the Council, for
these documents indicate the only policy which can be pursued with
success, and which must be pursued. They deal not only with purely
theological questions, but with the management of the Council, with
questions of freedom and right which concern the lay world as much as the
clergy. It is in the nature of things that the Governments should follow
the lead of the Opposition, for to fall short of this would be to
sacrifice their Bishops, while to go beyond it would be unjustifiable and
dangerous.

It has now been again declared on the part of the minority, that their
freedom is encroached upon by the order of business and the way the
Presidents conduct affairs. The changes they asked for were not made, and
their protests remained unanswered. In the opinion of many Bishops the
legitimate freedom of the Council no longer exists, and over a hundred
have said plainly that it would not be regarded as Œcumenical, if the
question of making dogmatic definitions on faith and morals against the
will of the minority is left doubtful. And this doubt, so far from being
removed, has been changed into certainty at Rome. The Presidents passed
over the demand of the Opposition in silence, although it threatened and
called in question the very existence of the Council; they did not protect
Strossmayer against the rude interruption which followed on his asserting
the necessity for unanimity, but rather sided with it. The official press
has openly attacked this view of the minority. Antonelli maintains the
right of the Pope to make into a dogma the precise contrary of what the
Council has unanimously accepted. According, therefore, to the well-known
declarations already made by the minority, the Council has lost the
character of Œcumenicity, and the See of Rome has abandoned the ground of
Catholicism.

The various States must direct their attention to these points within
these limits. They may pronounce in favour of the prorogation or
reformation of the Council, but they cannot recognise it under its present
conditions on any strictly Catholic principles. But to desire reforms now,
after the experience of four months, during which the dominant spirit has
manifested itself with such unscrupulous audacity, and after the
determination to force through the infallibilist system in doctrine and
practice in its crudest form by deceit and violence has become
unmistakably clear, would betray a rare simplicity. The whole thing is
settled by the question about majorities; and on that point, after what
has passed, Rome can hardly yield now without giving up her claims
altogether. An infallibility, which is subject to the veto of the minority
of Bishops, ceases to be infallibility; the condition of moral unanimity
in the Episcopate excludes it. And so the Council could not be saved
without involving the _Curia_ in a contradiction. A Council dominated by a
Pope who holds himself infallible is _a priori_ a nonentity. The
Governments can only help it by securing it a speedy euthanasia. If they
wished to act worthily and sincerely and in accordance with the gravity of
the situation, they would have to declare, in union with the most
influential Bishops, that the arbitrary and crooked way of managing the
Council makes the establishment of any important decrees impossible; that
the Vatican Council has lost all moral authority in the eyes of the world,
and that the best thing would be to put an end to it with the least
sacrifice of its dignity.

The Governments might use such language, but only after an open breach
between the minority and the Presidents. The minority must have spoken
their last word, and they have not done so yet. The interest of the
Catholic Church requires that the Bishops should have the necessary time
for forming and carrying out their resolutions, and that the crisis should
not be precipitated by a catastrophe. The Council can do no good by the
decrees fathered on it, but it has already done much good by the
declarations of different sections of its members, by the speeches of
individual Bishops, and the spirit manifested by a portion of them, and it
will do much more very shortly. More than once have words been spoken
there which have fired millions of hearts, have strengthened the bond of
love and unity among Christians, and have openly indicated the real
defects and the real remedies required for them. This seed of a better
future in the Catholic Church will not be lost, but will bring forth
abundant fruit. In each successive utterance genuine Catholic principles
have come out more and more clearly, as the progress of the combat has
forced them on the minority. The false problems, only hypocritically
pre-arranged to be laid before the Council, disappear more and more. It
becomes more and more clearly ascertained and acknowledged, that the
contest is one of first principles, for the maintenance of divine truths
and institutions against arbitrary violence and impudent deceit.

New declarations on the rights of the State and the conditions of a really
Œcumenical Council, directly condemning the new Roman system of the
Syllabus and Infallibilism, may perhaps appear in a few days. While in the
highest degree critical and threatening for the Council, they might form
the basis of sounder developments for the future. If particular States are
to bring the matter to a decisive issue, it seems desirable that the
Bishops should come forward with their resolutions designed to promote
this end.



THIRTY-FIFTH LETTER.


_Rome, April 12, 1870._—Veuillot says, in the _Univers_ of April 2, that
there are three great “devotions” in Rome, the Holy Sacrament, the holy
Virgin, and the Pope. For the moment, and in regard to the Council and all
that concerns the _Curia_, the devotion to the Pope is of course the chief
affair. How that devotion may best be erected into the supreme law of
religious thought and feeling—how to effect that henceforth, in all
questions of the spiritual life, every one shall turn only to Rome and
take his orders and look for certainty from thence alone—this is the task
the Council has to achieve; all else is subordinate, or is merely the
means to an end.

Next to the Jesuits Veuillot is unquestionably the man to whom
infallibilism is chiefly indebted; and when it is made a dogma, a grateful
posterity must give honourable place to his name among the promulgators of
the new article of faith. He is much too modest, when he says his rôle in
the Church is only that of the door-keeper who drives out the dogs during
divine service. Veuillot is much more to his readers than any Father of
the Church. Continual dropping hollows out the stone, and for years past
Veuillot has been familiarizing his readers, in numberless articles where
the copious verbiage concealed the poverty of thought, with the notion
that papal infallibility is the first and greatest of all truths. His
journal is read even in Rome in the highest circles, and read by those who
read nothing else, except perhaps Margotti’s _Unità Cattolica_.

The _Univers_ is very successful in the business of stirring up the
inferior clergy against their bishops in the dioceses of Opposition
prelates, and getting them to present addresses in favour of
infallibilism. In the number of April 2, _e.g._, they are directed to get
their petitions for the new dogma sent here through the Paris nunciature,
and to take particular care that they are printed—“de plus, il importe de
les publier.” The _Monde_ has invented a peculiar means of advancing the
good cause. It announces that the Freemasons are the people who
disseminate writings against papal infallibility, and then intimates to
the Italian Bishops the important fact that the minority of the Council
are affiliated to Masonic Lodges.

The _Unità Cattolica_, the organ of Margotti, the Italian Veuillot, has
15,000 subscribers and 100,000 readers, and has more influence than all
the 256 Italian Bishops put together. Their pastorals are powerless as
compared with this daily paper, and they themselves are divided between
their fear of the powerful Margotti and their regard for the judgment of
the educated classes. But as most of these last are indifferentists, and
give no moral support to a Bishop, the journalists carry the day, who
treat every opponent of the pet Roman dogma as Veuillot does.

An Anglican clergyman named Edward Husband, who not long since became a
Catholic, has again left the Church, because the dispute about papal
infallibility and the extravagant _cultus_ of Mary were too great scandals
for him. It is only to the exasperation caused by proceedings at Rome, as
an English statesman has written word, that we owe the passing in the
House of Commons by a majority of two of a Bill for the civil inspection
of Convents, which had always previously been rejected. The minority had
done their best to avert it, but were overruled, and Newdegate—a person
who was hitherto almost regarded as a joke—triumphed. All reports from
England confirm the belief that this is only one symptom of the hostile
state of feeling rapidly spreading there. Among English statesmen there is
not one, within the memory of man, who has shown such sympathy for
Catholics and their Church as Gladstone, as neither have any had so
extensive a knowledge of theological and ecclesiastical questions. Yet he
too took occasion, during the debate of April 1 on the Irish Education
question in the Commons, to speak his mind on the tendencies of the Roman
Jesuit party. After quoting an unfavourable comment of his former
colleague, Sir George Grey, on the demands of the Irish Bishops, he
proceeded to say, with raised voice and in most emphatic tones, amid the
“loud cheers” of the House, that “events have occurred and are occurring,
in a great religious centre of Europe, of such a character that it is
impossible for a statesman to feel himself in nearer proximity with the
opinions of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy than he stood four years
ago.”(74)

I have already pointed out that, as soon as the new articles of faith are
defined, their effects will be manifested in the education question
throughout pretty well the whole of Europe. This enrichment of the creed
will at once be repaid with losses and humiliations of the Church in the
popular schools, and in the whole system of education. In England this is
making itself felt already. The agitation for secularizing the schools,
the immense majority of which have hitherto been denominational, gains
continually in force and range under the influence of the news from Rome.
The _Daily News_, _e.g._, said that the fact of ultramontanes desiring
denominational schools was quite enough to convince Protestants of the
superiority of secular and national schools. Yet Manning goes on asserting
in the Vatican, that the infallibilist dogma will be the powerful magnet
to draw Protestants by thousands into the Church. They are only too glad
to believe him.

You know already that the Roman Jesuits have declared it, in the last
number of the _Civiltà_, to be a wicked error to require moral unanimity
of the Council for a dogmatic decree. They call it a Gallican heresy to
make the consent of the whole Church, or the whole Council, a condition of
dogmatic decisions. A simple majority is quite enough, for it is
ultimately the will and mind of a single individual, viz., the Pope,
wherein resides the whole force and authority of the decision. If he
assents to the judgment of a minority of the Bishops, it thereby becomes a
law of faith for the whole Christian world; but if the majority is with
him, all shadow of doubt vanishes. Whenever a controversy arises, whether
in the scattered or assembled Church, it is the Pope’s office to settle
the difference by his decisive sentence, and to say, “This is truth:
whoever believes it belongs to the Church, and whoever believes not, let
him be accursed.” Once again it is clear that the Jesuits are of a
different mind from the rest of the world. The world supposes that the
Pope is to be declared infallible by the Council, and that only then will
this infallibility become an universal article of faith. The Jesuits of
the _Civiltà_, on the contrary, think that the Pope—and he alone—is
already and ever has been infallible, and that all authority in matters of
faith is merely a light streaming forth from him and merging in his
authority; the sole ultimate ground on which the Council, whether
unanimously or by a majority, can declare the Pope infallible is because
it knows that former Popes have held themselves to be infallible, and that
the present Pope believes in and “feels” his own infallibility. And thus
on the Jesuit theory we have the symbol of eternity, the snake biting its
own tail. Why must we regard the Pope as infallible? Because he says so,
and every one must believe his word on pain of damnation. Why must we
believe his word? Because he is infallible. And why are the Bishops of the
whole world summoned to Rome? To bear witness to this logic of the Jesuits
and the _Curia_, much like the compurgators in German law. The Pope
affirms, “I am infallible,” and the 700 Bishops affirm that he is a
trustworthy witness, and because he says so it is certain. The
infallibilist Bishops admit the new theory of the legal force of dogmatic
decrees of a majority. They too say, “When the Pope adheres to the
majority, the article of faith is already defined, and to reject it is
heresy.” They too revolve in the logical circle of the Jesuits.
“Infallibility is always on the side taken by the Pope.”

The pretence of impartiality maintained for some time by the Vatican, and
under which Antonelli sheltered himself against diplomatic inquiries and
warnings, has now been abandoned. The Pope has taken his side in the most
emphatic way; he feels and denounces as a personal injury every hesitation
about the projected dogma, and his expressions of displeasure grow
constantly bitterer, and are sedulously disseminated, so that many Bishops
are already terrified or driven into the infallibilist camp by the dread
of his biting reproaches, for his words are immediately spread about in
their dioceses and pass like a coin from hand to hand. Every work that
appears anywhere in favour of his pet dogma is rewarded and sanctioned by
a commendatory papal Brief, as being excellent, profoundly learned and
conclusive, while the opponents of the dogma are branded in these
documents as fools, blind or wicked assailants of what they inwardly know
to be the truth. The _Univers_ lately contained three such papal missives
on the same day.(75) Meanwhile the opportunity of an allocution is seized
for whetting the consciences of the Bishops of the minority, and telling
the world how impure are the motives of their opposition, and how virtuous
and noble-hearted are the prelates of the majority, the Italians and
Spaniards. On March 28, the _Osservatore Romano_ published a speech
addressed by Pius to the Oriental prelates and papal vicars of the Latin
rite, in which he said, _totidem verbis_, that in the representative of
Christ was renewed what happened to Christ Himself before the tribunal of
Pilate. Pilate suffered himself to be terrified by the assurance that, if
he delivered Christ, he was no friend of Cæsar, and gave him up through
fear of men. And so now, when the principles of eternal life and the
rights of the Church and the Papal See are at stake, they are attacked by
men who call themselves friends of Cæsar, but are really friends of the
Revolution. “Be united,” added the Pope, “with me, and not with the
Revolution, and be not misled by the desire for popularity and applause;
to me and not to public opinion must your minds be directed (_poiche
dovete tener rivolte le menti a me e non alla opinione publica_). Put no
trust in your own lights.” And he concluded, “On the basis of humility we
will fight for the kingdom of God, without despairing and without fear of
error.”

Thus does Pius lay bare the egotism and cowardice of the Bishops who demur
to infallibility. They are afraid of conflicts with the modern State,
which is the product of the Revolution, and are loath to alienate the
educated classes of the Church, which is mere popularity-hunting. Pius is
in earnest in what he says about humility, and applies it to himself as
well as others; he frequently says that he too is a poor sinner, who has
his place in the great hospital of diseased and sinful humanity, but with
this difference,—in all other mortals sin begets error as its necessary
consequence, but not with him. He is indeed a sinner, but in his case sin,
through a special miracle, has no influence on the intellect, and when he
feels his own infallibility, it would be presumptuous to dream of any
self-exaltation or flattering illusion.

It is of course understood that other and very various methods are also
being made use of to diminish the numbers of the Opposition. Leave of
absence is most readily accorded to them. It has become visible now to the
blindest eye that the infallibilist dogma is the real object of the
Council, for which alone it was convoked. The great aim hitherto in all
sessions and votings has been gradually and imperceptibly to bring the
Bishops to the point of practically accepting the decisions of the
majority on questions of faith, and to get them to let the critical moment
for protest and refusal of participation slip by unused. By this means
precedents are created, and when the crucial question of infallibility
comes on, they will be told that they have already virtually conceded the
principle, and it is now too late to deny it.

The Governments have made it quite clear that it is only encroachments on
the secular and civil domain, such as the relations of Church and State,
and especially the twenty-one canons, which give them any anxiety, and
have led them to make representations and protests. They disclaim all
intention of meddling with questions of pure dogma, and therefore leave
untouched the infallibilist theory, which Count Beust regards as a mere
internal question of Church doctrine. This admission breaks off the point
of all diplomatic arrows shot from Vienna, Paris, or anywhere else, for
with infallibility the _Curia_ possesses all it wants for the attainment
of its ends and the extension of its power over the social and political
domain. Prévost-Paradol justly remarked the other day in the _Journal des
Débats_, “The ministers who are so ready to let the infallibilist dogma
slip through their fingers seem not to consider that it comprehends
everything (_qu’il emporte tout_). If the Pope is declared infallible
to-day, he was infallible yesterday, and, if so, the Syllabus has
precisely the same force and validity as if the Council had confirmed it.”
So it is in truth, and moreover the Bulls and decisions of former Popes,
which claim absolute dominion over the State, become inviolable articles
of faith. And then again it seems to pacify the Governments that Antonelli
assures them he and his master are merely concerned with the theory, and
have no intention of at once putting the new articles of faith into
practice, summoning kings before their tribunal, overturning
constitutions, and abrogating laws. On the contrary the Pope, if his mercy
is appealed to, will look favourably on much belonging to the present
civilisation and order of the State; only of course all this must be
regarded as a mere indulgence which might at any moment be withdrawn.
Meanwhile at Rome the disclaimers of the Governments of any desire to
meddle with doctrine are sedulously made capital out of for working on the
Bishops. They are referred to in proof that the whole lay world has
nothing to say to this purely dogmatic question, and that the Governments
themselves treat the matter as politically innocuous, and the Bishops are
admonished to lay aside their foolish resistance to a doctrine which with
the power of the Pope will also so mightily increase their own.



THIRTY-SIXTH LETTER.


_Rome, April 13, 1870._—The _Schema de Fide_ has occupied the Fathers in
almost daily sessions, and the Solemn Session for the public voting and
promulgation of the decrees finally completed, which was first fixed for
Easter Monday, has been postponed to Low Sunday. The number of amendments
proposed gives the Bishops a great deal of labour, if the handling of
these matters in the Council Hall is to be called a labour. What takes
place is this: the Bishop who wishes to propose an alteration in the text
of the Jesuit draft ascends the tribune and delivers an address, which as
a rule the majority of his auditors cannot follow. Then he hands the
President his motion, which however is not read, so that the Council gain
their first knowledge of it through the Deputation, who have the
amendments sent in to them—which of course are often very
contradictory—printed and distributed in the order of precedence. Thus,
_e.g._,—there were no less than 122 amendments proposed on the third
chapter of the _Schema_, occupying 44 folio pages. They began to be
distributed on April 3, and most of the Bishops only got their copies on
the 4th, when there was a sitting of the Council, and on the 5th the
voting was to take place, so that most of them had no time even for a
cursory reading: still less was it possible to give explanations or
attempt to come to any oral understanding or comparison of the various
views. Meanwhile the discipline of the majority continues to be admirable;
they always know exactly how they are to vote, and obey the signal given
as one man. Nor has there been any repetition of the wild paroxysm of
passion on March 22, which turned the Hall into a bear-garden of demoniacs
while Strossmayer was speaking. Many who were most conspicuous that day in
their screams and gesticulations, seem to have felt ashamed since, and
have no doubt also received a hint that such excesses of zeal may injure
the good cause. But however well organized and docile the majority show
themselves, the defects of the order of business, combined with the bad
qualities of the Hall, become very perceptible, and the result of the many
votings is a confusion into which the Deputation tries afterwards to
impart some sort of order.

Strossmayer has made a representation to the Legates; at the sitting of
March 22 he was called “a damnable heretic,” without having given any
intelligible occasion for it, and he expects and demands a public
reparation for this injury in whatever way they deem most suitable. What
is still more important, his conscience has constrained him to put the
question from the tribune, whether articles of faith are really to be
decided by mere majorities according to the 13th article of the new order
of business. When he expressed his conviction that moral unanimity was
essential in such cases, he was interrupted by a frightful tumult and
could not say any more.

The Legates have given no answer either to the three representations of
the Bishops about the second order of business with its principle of
majorities, or to Strossmayer’s complaint. But on April 1 an admonition of
President de Angelis was again read, directing the Fathers to be as brief
as possible in their speeches, that they might not produce disgust
(_nausea_) in the assembly by their prolixity or digressions, in which
case they had only themselves to thank for the marks of displeasure
elicited. This was commonly understood as an indirect answer to
Strossmayer; he had produced “nausea” in the prelates, and had therefore
no cause for complaint. That was rather too much for the minority, and
their international Committee of about 30 Bishops resolved on presenting a
common protest to the Presidents against the frequent interruptions and
the wording of the admonition. Meanwhile Haynald was not interrupted, when
he declared his agreement with Strossmayer. And it is worth notice that
the Presidents have not as yet availed themselves of the right assigned
them by the Pope to cut short the discussion, and get the speeches of the
Opposition put an end to by the vote of the majority. There was nothing
certainly in the subjects last under discussion to tempt them to do so.
The Bishop of Rottenburg had proposed that the decree should contain no
anathemas on persons but only on doctrines; the Germans and about six
French Bishops agreed with him, but the rest would hear nothing of it. But
it was significant that the most extreme section of infallibilists urged
that in mentioning the Church in the _Schema de Fide_, the predicate
“Romana” should alone be affixed to Church, with a perfectly correct
instinct that the complete Romanizing of the Church which they desiderate
must lead to the annihilation of its Catholicity, and that the particular
predicate necessarily excludes the universal. But they did not carry their
point.

It is the universally prevalent feeling that all these detailed
discussions and motions are mere preliminary skirmishes in which both
parties practise themselves for the great contest and the decisive blow to
be struck when the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ comes on. The chief aim is to
ascertain how far the minority can be induced to go, how much they will
put up with, and what can be wrung from them by surprise or by quiet
working on them individually. Public scenes, solemn protests before the
whole world, are what the Legates want at any price to avoid. When the
infallibilist dogma was to have been carried by sudden acclamation on St.
Joseph’s Day, four American Bishops handed in a paper declaring that, if
this were done, they would immediately leave the Council and announce the
reasons of their departure as soon as they got back to their dioceses.
That took effect.

It is perhaps one of the most noteworthy and eventful changes in the
policy of the Papal Court, that it now strains every nerve deliberately to
exclude the laity from all share in Church affairs, and endeavours to hold
them aloof in every case where formerly the Church not only allowed but
desired and demanded their regular participation. Thirty years ago it was
quite different, but since the darling scheme of the Jesuits for complete
ecclesiastical absolutism and centralization in Rome, both intensive and
extensive, has been adopted, the maxims first avowed by Pius in his
instructions to Pluym, his delegate at Constantinople, have been acted
upon. The Pope there affirms that the participation of the laity in Church
matters has been the greatest injury to the Church. In Germany and north
of the Alps generally, all who thought they knew anything of the spirit
and history of the Church had believed just the contrary, and considered
those to have been the most prosperous ages of the Church when there was a
cordial understanding and unsuspicious co-operation between clergy and
laity; and they pointed to the example of earlier Popes, who attributed a
priesthood to Christian princes, and exhorted them to take the most active
part in ecclesiastical affairs. But historical reminiscences are of no
account here; we must be content to float on the stream of the present,
without looking backwards or forwards, with the great multitude. “Fear
nothing; I have the Madonna on my side,” said the master the other day to
a prelate who had warned him of the danger incurred by the present system.
That word explains the enigma of our present situation.

The quarrels with the Orientals, which I shall perhaps relate more fully
by and bye, have again thrown a clear light on the existing condition of
things and the maxims adhered to. In a dispute about the privileges of a
Convent here, an Armenian Archbishop with his secretary and interpreter
were condemned by the Inquisition to imprisonment in one of the Jesuit
houses—nominally “to make the exercises.” The unfortunates for whom this
fatherly correction was decreed, were to “exercise themselves” till they
were reduced to submission. They first betook themselves to the protection
of the French embassy, but in accordance with instructions from Paris they
were repulsed. Then they were taken under the charge of Rustem Bey, the
Turkish ambassador at Florence, who has lately been residing here and
transacting business with Antonelli. But the Cardinal soon intimated to
him that Catholic priests, of whatever nation, were in Rome simply
subjects of the Pope and under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition. So the
helpless Armenians had to succumb, and were favoured with domestic
imprisonment, while a monk of another Order was made Abbot of the convent.
The affair has naturally excited double astonishment. German, French, and
English priests, who are here in great numbers, have had the unpleasant
surprise of discovering that, according to the theory accepted here, they
belong not only spiritually but bodily to the Pope, who is the absolute
lord of their persons, and that the Inquisition can seize and incarcerate
any of them at its pleasure. And the occurrence has recalled some very
unlovely reminiscences. Men acquainted with Roman history have shown that
Paul V. got Aonio Paleario and Carnesecchi to surrender themselves and had
them burnt by the Inquisition; that Paul V. enticed to Rome by a
safe-conduct the priest Fulgentio, who took the side of the State in the
Pope’s quarrel with Venice, and had him burnt there as “a lapsed
heretic;”(76) that the English Benedictine Barnes, who was seized on
Belgian soil and dragged to Rome, was first imprisoned in the Inquisition
till he became insane, and then had to die in a lunatic asylum. It is true
that the Inquisition no longer inflicts torture and death, but nobody who
has once come into its power would escape without having an abjuration
extorted from him. The best security for a Western priest consists in the
dread of the _Curia_ of involving itself in trouble with his Government;
were it not so, a foreign clergyman would be compelled to confine his
conversation with clerics here to the weather, for there is always the
most stringent obligation of denouncing any one the least suspected of
heresy to the Inquisition, and a German clergyman, who got into any
theological talk could hardly avoid that suspicion, so many would be the
points of difference and opposition.

There have been movements among the Hungarian Bishops, the connection of
which is not quite clear. But the following facts are authentic. Simor,
Archbishop of Gran and Primate, who for two months adhered with the rest
of his countrymen to the minority, has gone over in the most demonstrative
way to the majority, who pride themselves not a little on their conquest.
It had been previously agreed between the Emperor and the Pope that he
should be made a Cardinal, and he had been informed of this; but for a
Cardinal-designate before his actual creation to vote against the formally
and energetically expressed will of the Pope would be monstrous. Such a
thing is quite inconceivable in Rome. Moreover, before he became Primate,
Simor spoke in favour of infallibilism.(77) Another Hungarian Bishop is
gone over with him. Other Hungarian Bishops whom the minority, whether
rightly or not, reckoned deserters, have gone home, and have there, it is
said, represented the state of things in the very darkest colours, saying
that there is no real freedom in the Council and the minority is breaking
up. The Government at Pesth have consequently sent a confidential agent
here to invite the Hungarian Bishops to escape the storm and return home.
But they replied that the Government had better provide for the return of
those already gone home, so as to add more strength to the minority on
whom all the hopes of Catholics are now centred.



THIRTY-SEVENTH LETTER.


_Rome, April 15, 1870._—The _Constitutio Dogmatica de Ecclesiâ Christi_
will receive its definitive form in the Congregation of Easter Tuesday,
but the substance is already fixed. It received many significant
alterations in the course of discussion, and the ready reception accorded
to it as a whole is due to the many detailed amendments which have been
conceded. These changes are so important that the spokesman of the
Commission, Pie of Poitiers, said in his closing speech it was really the
work of the whole Council, so that the Fathers might truly say, “_Visum
est Spiritui Sancto et nobis_.” After the insertion of the word “Romana”
before “Catholica Ecclesia,” the three first chapters were accepted in
their amended form. The fourth, on faith and knowledge, was debated only
cursorily and by a few speakers on April 8. But this chapter contains a
passage of the greatest practical importance. At the end occur these
words: “Since it is not enough to avoid heretical pravity, unless those
errors which more or less nearly approach it are shunned, we admonish all
of the duty of observing the constitution and decrees where such evil
opinions not expressly named here have been proscribed and prohibited by
this Holy See.”(78) The Bishops with good reason saw in this passage a
confirmation of the judgments and increase of the authority of the Roman
Congregations, _i.e._, of the tribunals through which the Pope exercises
his power. It seemed to them desirable to give due expression to their
objections, and accordingly a request was made to the President to appoint
a further day for this subject. But as nobody had inscribed his name to
speak, the request was refused and the whole debate was closed on that
day, Friday, April 8. But to avoid the danger of opposition at the last
moment and secure the decrees being unanimous, a certain concession was
made by announcing that the closing paragraph should not be voted on till
the whole _Schema de Fide_, four chapters of which only were as yet ready,
should be completed. Thus a great point was gained,—a decree on matters of
faith was carried by moral unanimity and not by surprise, but after a
serious though compressed debate, which helped to win for the views of the
minority a very perceptible influence on the form of the decree.

But on the following day, April 9, a notice was communicated that, as the
closing paragraph of the _Schema_—beginning with the words “Itaque supremi
pastoralis,” etc.(79)—had not been treated with sufficient particularity
at the last general sitting, it must be again brought forward for
deliberation before the whole fourth chapter came to be voted upon. The
Fathers were thereby admonished that they might produce their amendments
on the fourth chapter at the next sitting. This Congregation was held on
April 12, when the final paragraph was put to the vote, and this roused
them from the dream of unanimity. It was observed in the debate that if
the voting on the paragraph were put off till the whole _Schema de Fide_
was completed, this would be putting it off to the Greek Calends. But if
the fixing of this _Schema_ was undertaken directly after Easter, the more
important subject of the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ must give place to it, and
so it might easily happen that infallibility would not come on at all this
spring. To withdraw the closing paragraph would be not only not to
maintain but to lose that favourite form of authoritative papal utterance
through the medium of the Roman Congregations, which especially required
to be upheld. Pie of Poitiers insisted on the fact that the paragraph had
been published in the _Allgemeine Zeitung_, and could not therefore
without peril be withdrawn even for the moment only.

The Opposition were partly disposed themselves to treat the passage as
unimportant. There were some who thought that in principle it was right
for the Roman decisions to be respected and a certain authority attached
to them, for this was necessary for the government of the Church; and the
very wording of the passage distinguished these decisions from matters
defined under anathema. So the minority resolved not to make any
collective resistance to it, and many well-known members of the Opposition
accepted it without contradiction. Notwithstanding this, when the whole
fourth chapter came to be voted on on Tuesday, April 12, the desired
unanimity was not attained; 83 Bishops gave a conditional _Placet_ only.
They handed in the grounds of their vote in writing, which seem to have
been of various kinds, for even the Bishops of Moulins and Saluzzo, who
are notorious infallibilists, were among them. Some, especially English
Bishops, may well have demurred to the designation “_Romana_ Catholica”
before “Ecclesiâ;” others may have thought it necessary to guard their
rights as against majorities; but far the greater number wanted to
repudiate the concluding passage. The vote was understood here in this
latter sense, and no stone was left unturned to induce the Opposition to
yield on that point. The step they have taken makes the deeper impression,
because it is known that they have not put forth their full strength.

It must be allowed that the final paragraph contained no actual doctrine
which made the resistance of the Episcopate an absolute duty and required
unanimous consent, but still it is obvious that the Council thereby
sanctioned and strengthened what it ought to have reformed and limited,
and therefore the carelessness manifested by a portion of the Opposition
admits of no favourable explanation. For the chief cause of the weakness
and corruption of the Church is to be found in those Roman
Congregations,—in the principles of some and the defects of others. The
Bishops who accept the paragraph give their approval, _e.g._, to the
Inquisition and the Index, and thereby prejudice not a little their moral
influence and dignity. The vote of last Tuesday does not accordingly
appear to me any proof of the firm organization or imposing power of the
minority; it only shows what they might accomplish if they chose, but that
they do not choose to do as much as they can. But the event will show
whether the _Curia_ holds to its policy of securing unanimity by prudent
and well-timed concessions. The minority will be urged and entreated first
to withdraw their objections. If that fails, the Court must either give up
the hope of unanimity or accept a very sensible humiliation. For if the
text remains unaltered, those who have now given a conditional _Placet_
can give no simple _Placet_ next time.(80) Rome will certainly exhaust all
her arts to avert the scandal of an open opposition in a Solemn Session.

I said in a former letter that the Opposition had taken up a position
which no enemy from without could dislodge them from, but this did not
imply at all that all internal dangers are overcome. These by no means
consist in the decomposing influences of hope and fear which the _Curia_
makes such use of, or the prospect of a Cardinal’s Hat, or again in party
divisions at home, which might have disturbed and divided the French,
Austrian and North American Bishops. The latter danger might have made
itself felt at the commencement of the Council, but constant intercourse
and community of experiences during this winter have put an end to it. The
real disease which has weakened the minority in the past and threatens it
in the future lies deeper—the great internal differences of Catholicism,
which are now being brought to a decisive issue, do not coincide with the
antagonism of the rival parties in the Council, but divide the minority
itself. The main question, exclusive of the immediate controversy and
partly independent of it, which divides Catholics into two sections so
sharply that no sympathy or confidence can bridge over the gulf, remains
unsolved within the minority and constantly endangers their coherence. The
common designation of Liberal Catholics tends rather to obscure than to
express the principle of this division. By Liberal Catholics may be
understood those who desiderate freedom not only _for_ but _in_ the
Church, and would subject all arbitrary power of Church as well as State
in matters of religion to law and tradition; but that is the end they aim
at, not their fundamental principle. Such requirements concern the
constitution rather than the doctrine of the Church, law rather than
theology. They are important, but they do not contain the crucial point of
the present contest in the Church. The root of the matter lies not simply
in the relation to be maintained towards the chief authority in the
Church, but in the right relation to science; it is not merely freedom but
truth that is at stake. It is mainly as an institution for the salvation
of men and dispenser of the means of grace that the Church has to deal
with the labouring, suffering and ignorant millions of mankind. And in
order to guard them from the assaults of popular Protestantism, a popular
Catholicism and fabulous representation of the Church has been gradually
built up, which surrounds her past history with an ideal halo, and
conceals by sophistries and virtual lies whatever is difficult or
inconvenient or evil, whatever, in short, is “offensive to pious ears.”

But such a transfigured Catholicism is a mere shadow Catholicism, not the
Church but a phantom of the Church. Its upholders are compelled at every
step to employ various weapons, to ward off any triumph of their enemies
and avoid disturbing the faithful in a religious sentiment artificially
compounded of error and truth combined. The more the notion of the supreme
glory, and even infallibility, of the Pope was developed, the greater
solidarity with the past became requisite, that the history of the Popes
might not be suffered to bear witness too strongly against such views. To
quote a significant phrase in constant use here during this winter, “the
dogma must conquer history.”(81) A contest has arisen, not of dogma but of
a theological opinion against history, that is against truth; the end
sanctifies the means. It was held allowable in order to save the Church
and for the interest of souls to commit what would in any other case have
been acknowledged to be sin. Not only was history falsified, but the rules
of Christian morality were no longer held applicable where the credit of
the hierarchy was at stake. The very sense of truth and error, right and
wrong,—in a word the conscience—was thrown into confusion. Thus, _e.g._,
when Pius V. demanded that the Huguenot prisoners should be put to death,
he did right, for he was Pope and a Saint to boot. Since Charles Borromeo
approved the murdering of Protestants by private persons, it is better to
approve it than to call his canonization in question. Or one moral
aberration is got rid of by another. Many of the leading Catholic writers
of this century deny that Gregory XIII. approved the massacre of St.
Bartholomew,(82) or that heretics have ever been put to death at Rome.

This spirit, which falsifies history and corrupts morals, is the crying
sin of modern Catholicism, and it reaches high enough. Of the three men
who are commonly held in France to stand at the head of the Catholic
movement, one wrote a panegyric on Pius V., another under the name of
_Religion et Liberté_ attacked absolutism in France while defending the
double absolutism in Rome, and a third vindicated the Syllabus—all three
thus manifesting the influence of this deplorable spirit.

On the other hand the genuine Catholic, who wishes also to be a good
Christian, cannot separate love for his Church from the love of goodness
and truth. He shrinks from lies in history as much as from present
adulation, and is divided by a deep moral gulf from those who deliberately
seek to defend the Church by sin and religious truth by historical
falsehood. This contrast is most conspicuously exhibited in the question
of infallibility, as one example may suffice to prove. The principles of
the Inquisition have been most solemnly proclaimed and sanctioned by the
Popes. Whoever maintains papal infallibility must deny certain radical
principles of Christian morality, and not merely excuse but accept as true
the opposite views of the Popes. Thus the Roman element excludes the
Catholic and Christian. Such differences obviously cut deep into men’s
ethical character, and divide them far more decisively than any striving
for common practical ends or community of interest and feeling can unite
them on the ground of prudence. In presence of so profound an internal
division the question of the opportuneness of the definition of
infallibility assumes a very subordinate place, and the mere inopportunist
is immeasurably removed from the decided opponent of the dogma. Between
Bishops who consider Popes fallible and those whose conscience is easy
enough to swallow certain doctrines of former Popes on faith and morals,
and who do not see any deadly peril for souls in giving a higher sanction
to these dogmas—between anti-infallibilists and mere inopportunists—the
difference is far deeper than the union. The inopportunists stand nearer
to the infallibilists than to those who oppose the dogma on principle.
They are divided from the one party on a mere question of prudence, from
the other on a question of faith and morality; with the one they are
united by an internal bond, with the other by an external bond, only which
circumstances may dissolve.

This is the true explanation of the halting policy so often observed in
the Opposition. The honest opponents of infallibility wished to secure the
support of those who do not properly speaking share their sentiments. But
they should never for a moment have forgotten that they have to attack
what Gratry has rightly described as an “école de mensonge.” And the
greatest honesty and outspokenness is necessary for defending the honour
and truth of Catholicism against that school. Instead of that they exhibit
themselves in a false light and obscure the situation.

Meanwhile Pius IX. by his letters to Guéranger and Cabrière has completely
and publicly identified himself with that school, at the very moment when
Gratry was so unmistakeably exposing its spirit, and he has made this
still clearer by the distinctions bestowed on Margotti and Veuillot at the
very moment when Newman characterized them as the leaders of “an
aggressive and insolent faction.” He said plainly to the French Bishop
Ramadie of Perpignan that “only Protestants and infidels denied his
infallibility.” His official organ describes the Opposition as allies of
the Freemasons, and he himself calls all who oppose his infallibility bad
Catholics. It is true that the Opposition has gradually been brought to
make very decided declarations of opinion, and has itself expressed doubts
about the future recognition of the Council. But that has complicated its
attitude still further. The other party may ask, “Why these doubts about
Œcumenicity? The Bishops of various countries are assembled in great
numbers; the Governments offer no hindrances, and the Council has united
itself with the Pope in the greatest freedom in the capital city of the
Church. Why then doubt the good results and œcumenical character of the
Council and the validity and future recognition of its decrees?” And the
Opposition can only answer, “For the sole and single reason that the Pope
destroys all freedom of action by his regulations, that he has already
overthrown the ancient constitution of the Church and exercises a power
over the Council incompatible with the rights of the Bishops and the
freedom of the Church.”

The French note is to be presented to-day to Antonelli and next week to
the Pope, instead of to the Council. It is doubted whether Pius will
communicate it to them.(83)



THIRTY-EIGHTH LETTER.


_Rome, April 17, 1870._—It is a good sign that the minority have at length
recognised the imperative necessity of grappling directly with the problem
of papal infallibility, and examining in their own writings this question
on which the future of the Church depends. It has been perceived now that
it was an unfortunate notion to put forward only grounds of expediency,
discretion, and regard for public opinion; for no answer was left when
Spanish, South American, Irish, Neapolitan and Sicilian Bishops said that
no such public opinion existed with them, that some were apathetic and
others had long held the doctrine, which would create not the slightest
difficulty or inconvenience with them, and that they were the majority.

It was high time therefore to take firmer ground, and now this has been
done by Cardinals Schwarzenberg and Rauscher and Bishop Hefele, three of
the most influential prelates of the Church, or rather by four, for Bishop
Ketteler too has either composed or got some one to compose a work on
papal infallibility.(84) But the whole edition had the ill luck to be
seized in the Roman Post-office, so that not a single Bishop got a copy.
The authorities seem to know that the work opposes the dogma, on which all
the thoughts and plans of the _Curia_ now hinge, although Ketteler not
long ago showed himself an adherent of the doctrine, and only assailed the
opportuneness of defining it.

The _Univers_, as the official organ of the Court, now announces the
principle on which the Papal Government acts. One must distinguish, it
says, between the Custom-house and Post-office. The Custom-house gives the
Bishops the missives and packets addressed to them unopened, for it
assumes that they will only have proper books sent them. It is different
with the Post-office, which is bound not to favour the dissemination of
error.(85) So the conscientiousness of the officials of the Roman
Post-office is a model for the rest of the world, and it is understood
that the habitual opening of letters, so far from being immoral, is an
expression of the purest and most delicate morality; for might not a
letter contain some error or attack on the rights of the Vicar of Christ?
And how could the officials answer to God and His earthly representative
for even unconsciously co-operating in the spread of such error?

As I have not seen Ketteler’s publication, I can only quote the judgment
of a friend who has read it and thinks it will do good service. The other
three works are before me. They must all have been printed at Naples, for
the Roman police has to look after the consciences not only of the
Post-office secretaries and letter-carriers, but of the compositors,
printers, bookbinders and booksellers. It cannot allow that any breath of
error should sully the pure mirror of their souls, even though concealed
under the veil of the Latin tongue; and the corroding poison becomes worse
when prepared, as in this case, by Bishops and Cardinals.(86)

I will speak first of Cardinal Rauscher’s work, which is the most
comprehensive of the three, and touches on many questions passed over in
the other two. Written in a calm and dignified tone, it carefully avoids
every word or phrase which could offend the _Curia_, and goes to the
utmost length in making concessions possible for any one to accept without
becoming an infallibilist; but it will nevertheless pour much oil on the
flame of anger which has been blazing for weeks past, and singes now one
Bishop and now another. Papal infallibility, says the Archbishop of
Vienna, must extend to everything ever decided by any Pope, and the whole
Christian world must hold with Boniface VIII. and his Bull _Unam Sanctam_
that the Popes have received power from Christ over the whole domain of
the State. That will be welcome news to those who want to exclude the
Church altogether from civil society. That the Popes themselves in the
ancient Church did not hold themselves infallible, that the whole history
and conduct of the ancient Church in doctrinal controversies would be an
inexplicable riddle on the infallibilist hypothesis, and moreover that the
Popes have often fallen into open errors rejected by the Church—all this
is well established, though the author cites only some particular facts
from the abundant sources he has to draw upon. He then shows the sharp
antithesis between the ancient doctrine of the Church and the Popes on the
relations of Church and State and the enunciations of Popes since Gregory
VII. and Innocent III. With papal infallibility the whole mediæval theory
of the unlimited power of Popes to depose kings, absolve from oaths of
allegiance, abrogate laws, and interfere in all civil affairs at their
will, must be declared to be an immutable doctrine with which the Church
stands or falls. The Christian Emperors would have treated such a doctrine
as high treason, and even in the days of Charles the Great it would have
excited universal astonishment. If this doctrine really had to be preached
now to the Christian people, it would be a triumph for the enemies of
religion, for the best men would soon be convinced of the utter
impossibility of paying any regard to the precepts of the Christian
religion in civil matters. The Cardinal proceeds to dwell on the forgeries
by which the great master of scholastic theology, the favourite and oracle
of all Jesuits and ultramontanes, Thomas Aquinas, was led to adopt the
doctrine of infallibility, and how again his influence shaped the whole
scholastic system and drew the great Religious Orders, who were bound by
oath to maintain his teaching, to adopt it. He concludes in these weighty
words:—“If the Pope is declared to be, alone and without the Episcopate,
infallible in faith and morals, the Œcumenical Councils are robbed of the
authority recognised by Gregory the Great, when he said he honoured them
equally with the four Gospels; for they would be and would always have
been, even at the time of the Nicene Council, superfluous for deciding on
faith and morals. This doctrine would be a declaration of war against the
innermost convictions of the Church, and she would be robbed for the
future of those aids supplied by the Council of Trent at her extremest
need; even the See of Rome would lose the support the Bishops then
assembled gave to it, for after the close of that Council, the power of
the Popes became greater than it was before.”

The remark of Cardinal Rauscher that, when the dogma of papal
infallibility is defined the Church will be deprived of one of her most
effective institutions, viz., General Councils, has made a great
impression here, as far as I can see. It is readily understood that an
assemblage of men, educated to believe in the infallibility of one master,
and to repeat mechanically without examination whatever he tells them,
would have no influence among men and would be universally regarded as
superfluous, a mere idle pageant rather than any real support to the
Church. The Church would be impoverished by the loss of one member of its
organism, and that very member would be paralysed which in moments of
distress and danger had most effectually protected her.

Bishop Hefele’s work is worthy of the man who is beyond question the most
profound historical scholar among the members of the Council. One can only
regret that a writer so pre-eminently qualified to pronounce a clear and
weighty opinion on the whole controversy in all its bearings should have
confined himself to the single question of the condemnation of Pope
Honorius. Those who wish to know the history of Honorius and the Sixth
Council in 681, and to see a flagrant example of the utterly crude and
unscientific poverty of that modern scholasticism which is treated as
theology in the Jesuit lecture-rooms, may be recommended a brief study of
this question, which has already produced so many writings and hypotheses,
simple and easily understood as it is in itself. A General Council,
acknowledged by the whole Church in East and West, condemned a Pope for
heresy after his death, and anathematized him on account of a dogmatic
letter he issued. The sentence was without contradiction accepted
throughout the whole Church, the Roman Church included, and even
introduced into the profession of faith to which every new Pope had to
swear at his election. It was repeatedly confirmed by subsequent Councils,
and in short remained in full force for centuries, till the Popes were
seized with a desire to become infallible. It is only since the fifteenth
and sixteenth century, and especially since the Jesuits—beginning with
Bellarmine—undertook to revise history according to the requirements of
their new dogmatic system, that this extremely contradictory fact had to
be submitted to a process of manipulation, and the rock on which all
schemes of papal infallibility seemed to be wrecked had to be got out of
the way. “Si plus minusve secuerit sine fraude esto,” was said in the old
Roman law which allowed a creditor to cut a pound of flesh from the body
of his debtor, and so do the knives of the Jesuits and curialists cut
right into the flesh of history. The Acts of the Sixth Council were said
to have been corrupted through the perfidy of the Greeks, and the whole
history and even the letters of Honorius to be forgeries. The Popes
themselves, Rome, and the whole West had let themselves be fooled by the
cunning Greeks into condemning an innocent and orthodox Pope as a heretic,
and the letters of Pope Leo II. must also be forgeries. In short these
reasoners were caught in the meshes of their own net, and when in 1660
Lucas Holstein got the Roman _Liber Diurnus_ printed—an excellent edition
of which Rozière lately brought out in Paris—the whole impression was
suppressed, for it contained the old form of oath which expressly attested
the condemnation of Honorius. But twenty years later the book appeared to
the great chagrin of Rome, and the infallibilist school had to change
their front. They now turned to the letters of Honorius and tried to show
that they were perfectly orthodox. But that did not touch the fact that a
General Council had solemnly condemned a Pope for heresy, and that the
whole Church—the Popes and the Roman Church included—had accepted the
sentence without demur. Hefele has shortly and pointedly exposed the
shifts and dishonesties of this long controversy carried on in more than a
hundred polemical works; and he has taken care, at the same time, to
establish conclusively the wide-reaching facts and general results of the
inquiry. He shows (page 11), how up to the eleventh century every Pope
swore to the truth that an Œcumenical Council had condemned a Pope for
heresy.(87)

Cardinal Schwarzenberg’s work is chiefly directed against Archbishop
Manning.(88) Hitherto the infallibilists, to avoid pushing their theory
into sheer absurdity, had appended the condition of _ex cathedrâ_, which
everybody could interpret more or less stringently according to his own
view, and theologians had actually given twenty-five different
explanations of what was required for an _ex cathedrâ_ decision. In order
to get out of this labyrinth, Manning has propounded a simpler theory.
Everything according to him depends on the Pope’s intention; whenever he
“intends to require the assent of the whole Church,” he is infallible.(89)
Schwarzenberg points out with pungent irony to what monstrous consequences
this would lead. He recalls the saying of Boniface VIII. that the Pope
holds all rights locked up in his breast. And thus it must be assumed on
Manning’s theory that the Pope holds in his own mind all doctrines present
and future, and draws from this internal treasure-house under divine
inspiration what he wishes to reveal to the world, so that infallibility
becomes inspiration. Has it occurred to the Cardinal that this is
precisely the personal opinion of the very man who has now, for the sake
of his own infallibility, resolved to plunge the Church into an internal
conflict, of which no one can see the end?

It is then further pointed out that, if the new dogma with its
consequences prevails, all Governments will put themselves in an attitude
of self-defence against the Church. Bishops as well as Councils cease to
be any necessary part of the _magisterium_ of the Church, and there is no
longer any need for the distinct assent of the Episcopate; the only office
left them is to praise and accept with thanks every decision of the
Pope’s. Perhaps they may still be allowed to give their advice before he
decides, but they have nothing to say to the decision itself or after it,
but only to obey and promulgate the papal revelations.



THIRTY-NINTH LETTER.


_Rome, April 23, 1870._—The four chapters of the _Constitutio Dogmatica de
Fide_ bear in their ultimate shape such evident marks of the influence of
the minority, and so many concessions were made in them, that there is a
danger of overlooking the greatness of their defeat and their change of
mind, should they finally accept the supplemental paragraph mentioned in
my last letter but one. Although it was determined that the minority
should make no general opposition to this paragraph, there were not a few
Bishops who saw clearly enough its importance and danger. They consoled
themselves at first with the promise that the suspicious passage, which
clothed the Roman Congregations and the mischief they work in the Church
with conciliar sanction, would not be voted upon till the still incomplete
portion of the _Schema de Fide_ came on for final settlement. And when, in
spite of this promise, it was announced to be the general wish of the
Commission that the voting should take place at once, the opponents were
quieted by a written assurance that no new power was thereby to be given
to the Roman Congregations, and nothing to be altered about them, but all
to remain as of old. Gasser, Bishop of Brixen, had the courage to say, in
the name of the Deputation, that the passage did not refer to heresy,
though it expressly binds the Bishops to the observance of the
constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, not only in regard to heresy
(_hæretica pravitas_), but also theological errors and controversies. It
is incredible that any one could be deceived by such a ruse as this, and
yet it is a fact that not even forty Bishops made the omission of this
paragraph a condition of their _Placet_. As the Opposition seemed thereby
to be shrunk to less than five per cent. of the Council, the _Curia_ was
persuaded that it could get rid of them altogether by acting with spirit.

On April 18 appeared an admonition with the following passage: “It must be
remembered that according to the Apostolic Brief, _Multiplices inter_ (of
Nov. 27, 1869), prescribing the method of procedure in public Sessions, no
other vote can be given in them than a simple _Placet_ or _Non
placet_.”(90) The Fathers who had given conditional votes in Congregation
had to choose now whether they would accept the chapter unconditionally or
reject it “sans phrase.” It was foreseen that this alternative would
disclose the weakness of the Opposition, and that those of its number who
shrank from a decisive rejection would be won for the majority, for the
real test of an Opposition is not in words but acts. Protests which are
not answered, and speeches which are not heard, may be patiently borne
with, as long as all goes well in the public voting. The _Curia_ reckons
that the minority will not now dare to show itself, and thus the unanimity
will not be disturbed: and its consequent resolve might decide the whole
course and upshot of the Council. If the minority gives in here, it will
have suffered a first defeat, and must reconstitute itself on a new basis,
by taking part in decrees carried under anathema, which are against its
own convictions, it breaks with its past, accepts the responsibility and
solidarity of the Council and complicity with the majority. This is to
admit that all the petitions and protests it was thought necessary to
present in the interests of the freedom of the Council were superfluous
and aimless, and all the warnings offered of the threatened danger of its
œcumenicity being questioned, etc., unmeaning. For the Council to publish
anathemas implies the conviction that it is free, legitimate, and
œcumenical, and that the order of business is acceptable. The minority
thereby would themselves testify to everything they have hitherto
assailed, and the only thing left for them would be to insist on their
rights as guarded by the _consensus unanimis_. All other grounds for
calling the Council in question would be abandoned, and it might fairly be
doubted whether the Opposition would adhere to that after giving up so
much; at the same time it is morally certain that the Court and the
majority do not acknowledge that right.

During the General Congregation of the 19th, four Bishops, Latour
d’Auvergne, Dreux-Brézé, La Bouillerie, and Mermillod, went to the Pope
and requested him to have the decree on infallibility brought forward
directly after the Solemn Session of the 24th. They thought rightly enough
the favourable moment had come and all was now ready. Pius received the
Bishops, who came as deputies of the 400, with great distinction, and
replied that he would discuss the matter with the Presidents.

As it is impossible to see how the Bishops or the Governments could get
rid of the _regolamento_ when once it is fairly established, the
Opposition Bishops know that they will have to approach the great question
in the position they take for themselves to-morrow in the first solemn
voting, and with such power, unanimity, and influence as they thereby
establish their claim to. It is still open to them up to to-night to use
the present moment for a complete victory. They only need declare that
their protests and warnings were not idle words but seriously meant, that
the incongruities which endanger the freedom of the Council and suggest
doubts of its legitimacy must be got rid of before any decrees are
published under threat of everlasting damnation, and that until they are
listened to on this point they refuse to take part in any solemn voting.

But, as far as I know of the Opposition, the majority of them have no ear
or heart for such counsel; their grand object is to avoid any decisive
conflict, and so to-morrow they will simply yield,—to consider quietly
afterwards their future plan of campaign! Some have thought they might
save their honour and conscience by a written explanation of their vote.
In the public international meeting of the Opposition these plans were
rejected, but two rough drafts of the kind were proposed the day before
yesterday, one by the Germans, one by the French. Both are too strong and
dignified to find many supporters, and too weak to justify the Opposition
in the eyes of the Christian world.

It is the sacred duty of the Bishops in Council to bear witness to the
ancient doctrine of the Church, and to reform it when it has been obscured
by abuses in practice and in the rule of the hierarchy. The more abuses
there are, so much the more difficult, and so much the more indispensable
also is this reform. What the Catholic world expects of the Council is not
a fresh sanction, still less an increase, of these abuses, but the
deliverance and purification of the Church from them. But to accept the
paragraph which recommends obedience to the constitutions and decrees of
Roman Congregations is to make the fulfilment of this serious duty, on
which the fate of the Church hinges, impossible. For that paragraph will
confirm and clothe with new authority decrees which are a disgrace to the
Church and an injury to civilisation, wherein the confused morality of
dark centuries is taught and Christian morality denied; and that too
without any examination or discussion, any limitation or exception. The
Bishops will thereby degrade themselves to servants of the Roman
_prelatura_, and sink into accomplices of the Inquisition. We are told
indeed that the paragraph will not touch dogma, but for ethics and
practice it is almost more important than infallibility itself. It gives
full play beforehand for arbitrary caprice and paves the way for the
infallibilist dogma.

If we look into the future, the questions come before us of unanimity in
matters of faith, and of the confirmation and acceptance of the Council
throughout the Church. As to the latter, the Bishops will make it far
harder for the Governments to stand by them if to-morrow they virtually
repudiate their own protests. The question of unanimity remains as weighty
as before, and the gross errors of the _Civiltà_ in its attack on
Strossmayer’s vindication of the principle of moral unanimity in decisions
on faith has greatly lightened the task of two learned Bishops, who
undertook to put in a clear light the true doctrine of the Church on the
subject.

If the voting of to-morrow goes altogether in the sense of the _Curia_,
the inference will be that all the positions of the minority can be
turned, and that as they are resolved to avoid any collision, they may be
brought by skilful manipulation not to trouble the moral unanimity any
further. Many of them console themselves with the thought that they are
only sacrificing everything to peace and harmony, and are not responsible
for the undertaking they have been deluded into.

The propositions of the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ give abundant room for
manœuvring. There are many opportunities for apparent concessions and for
dividing and perplexing the Opposition, and finally driving them into a
corner, so that in mutual distrust of one another they may abandon all
hope of making any successful resistance, and satisfy themselves that as
nearly everything has been given up already it is not worth while to risk
a catastrophe by taking any further step.



FORTIETH LETTER.


_Rome, April 24, 1870._—The final votes of _Placet_ or _Non placet_ on the
four chapters of the _Schema de Fide_ are to be taken in to-day’s public
Session. And thus after four months and a half a theological decree, or
rather a batch of decrees and doctrinal decisions, will be brought to a
successful issue, and the first ripe fruit plucked from the hitherto
barren tree of the Council, so that there will be something in black and
white to carry home. As these four chapters have been subjected to the
pruning and toning down of the Opposition, they bear little resemblance to
the original draft of the Jesuits, and the minority may lay claim to a
victory which four months ago could scarcely have been hoped for. What has
been gained for the future by these theological commonplaces and
self-evident propositions is of course another question. The general view
of the Bishops appears to be that there is no real gain for the Church in
these propositions, which can only excite the wonder of believing
Christians that it should be thought necessary to prohibit at this time of
day such fundamental errors. The value of their labours they take to lie,
not in what they have said, but in what they have with so much trouble
expunged from the _Schema_.

Several Bishops attach great weight to the consent of the Deputation to
substitute for “Romana Ecclesia” the words “Ecclesia Catholica et
Apostolica Romana.” Others think it a matter of indifference. Hefele’s
pamphlet on Honorius has created such a sensation that the Pope has
commissioned the Jesuit Liberatore and Delegati, Professor at the
Sapienza, to white-wash Honorius, and make away with everything in his
history incompatible with the new dogma. Pius is persuaded, and his
infallible “feeling” tells him, that everything must have happened quite
differently from what is represented; how, he knows not, but he thinks
that the Jesuit and the Roman professor have only to make the proper
investigations and they will soon discover the requisite materials for
refuting the German Bishop.

On Wednesday, April 20, Rome was illuminated to celebrate the Pope’s
return from Gaëta. The Roman officials greatly dislike these illuminations
on financial grounds, for they have to contribute to the cost out of their
own pockets. A triumphal arch was erected for the Pope at the end of the
narrow street leading to St. Peter’s piazza, and the following inscription
in letters of fire was conspicuous far and wide:—


    Popoli chinatevi innanzi al Vaticano,
    Ecco il Pontefice ch’io vi conservai nei giorni di pericolo,
    Esso è la pietra angolare della mia chiesa,
    Il refugio degli oppressi,
    Il sostegno del povero,
    Lo scudo della civiltà e della fede.


That is the witness Pius bears to himself. To theologians it may be a new
idea that he personally is the corner-stone of the Church, but that is
only one of the many predicates and prerogatives which may be deduced from
infallibility. Two isolated voices cried “Evviva il Papa infallibile.” It
was clear the multitude was to be stimulated to swell the cry, but, as
before, all remained quiet. The attempt has been sometimes made before,
whether by amateurs or under official inspiration I know not, and then
Veuillot asserts in the _Univers_ that he has heard this shout of vast
multitudes breaking forth spontaneously from the exuberance of their
hearts. It is like the music of the spheres which only Pythagoras heard.

Ketteler’s pamphlet was finally published on April 18, and the Bishop has
begun to distribute it. It is really directed against the dogma itself,
which for a long time people could not believe, and not merely against the
opportuneness of defining it. How much better would it have been for the
interests of the Church, if the necessity had been recognised long ago for
looking this Medusa’s head straight in the face, and defying its
petrifying gaze, and if our Bishops had plainly and decisively announced
their resolution last December to have no dealings with it. Now at least
Cardinal Rauscher does not spare warnings; he perceives the gravity of the
danger and has had a new fly-leaf distributed, showing that the
promulgation of papal infallibility will elevate the two Bulls _Unam
Sanctam_ (of Boniface VIII.) and _Cum ex Apostolatûs officio_ (of Paul
IV.) into rules of faith for the whole Catholic world, and thus it will be
taught universally in Europe and America, henceforth, that the Pope is
absolute master in temporal affairs also, that he can order war or peace,
and that every monarch or bishop who does not submit to him or helps any
one separated from him ought to be deprived of his throne if not of his
life, besides the other wonderful doctrines in the second of these Bulls,
which must reduce every theologian to despair.(91) All that is nothing to
the majority, for whom the law of logical contradiction has no existence.
It is their watchword that the dogma conquers logic as well as history.
One of their German members gladly re-echoes the idea that the proper aim
and office of the Council is to stop the mouth of arrogant professors; if
that is accomplished everything is gained, according to this pastor of a
flock feeding on red earth. On the other hand I heard very different words
fall to-day from the mouth of another German Bishop, who said he was
constantly asking himself how long the German Bishops would look on and
put up with everything.

The great and all-absorbing question now is what will next be brought
before the Council after April 24. In the natural order the second part of
the _Schema de Fide_ would come on, which is comparatively innocuous
though abundantly capable of improvement. But is it not time to fabricate
the talisman of absolute power, the infallibilist dogma? Then would the
Council be in the fullest sense and for ever provided for and finished,
and the master would praise his servants. Many will answer the question in
the affirmative. The two modern Fathers, Veuillot and Margotti, strain
every nerve daily for that end, and many of the most zealous French
Bishops—as those of Moulins, Bourges, and Carcassonne, and the
indefatigable Mermillod—have represented to the willing Pius, as I
mentioned yesterday, that now is the nick of time, and that he may gratify
the longing of his faithful adherents by placing infallibility in the
order of the day. These Frenchmen consider that their Government, now
occupied with the plébiscite, will not trouble itself with the acts and
decisions of the Council, and moreover needs the help of the clergy. Amid
the bustle of the plébiscite, they think the new dogma, and even the
reproduction of the Syllabus in the twenty-one canons, will excite little
stir or indignation, for the French can only embrace one idea at a time,
and the Parisians only discuss one subject in their _salons_.

Banneville has at last actually presented the memorandum of his Government
to the Pope, as President of the Council, and with the intimation that it
should be communicated to the Fathers. That of course will not be done,
for both Pius and Antonelli are irritated at the paper. Pius is annoyed at
the innermost kernel of the dogma being so openly exposed to view, when
Count Daru says, “You want to hand over all rights and powers to the
Church, and then by the infallibilist dogma to concentrate this plenitude
of temporal and spiritual power in the one person of the Pope.” That is of
course what the _Curia_ does want, but it should be uttered in pious and
somewhat obscure phraseology, as the _Civiltà_ usually speaks, and not be
called by its right name in this bold and naked fashion. Antonelli again
is much displeased, because his favourite distinction between the
principles in which the Church must be inexorable, and the practice in
which Rome will graciously concede the very opposite, is met here by the
inquiry whether the faithful are actually to be taught henceforth that
they must believe what they need not carry out in practice, and accept as
divinely revealed rules which they may without hesitation transgress? He
had reckoned on a better understanding, on the part of the French
Government, of the favourite Roman theory of infinite and inexhaustible
papal indults and dispensations, and is glad that he need make no reply to
the note which throws so glaring a light on the morality of the _Curia_
and its notions of duty and truth. He contents himself with telling the
diplomatists that there would be some difficulty in the Pope’s
communicating the note to the Council. Clearly, for they must at the same
time be directed to attempt a refutation, and that would lead to very
awkward consequences. The French Government might indeed have sent their
memorandum to each Bishop separately, but then they would have had the
prospect of the non-French Bishops of the majority returning it unopened.

Count Trautmansdorff has also presented the memorandum of the Austrian
Government to the Cardinal Secretary of State. It runs as follows:—

“Nous voulons seulement élever aussi notre voix pour dégager notre
responsabilité et signaler les conséquences presqu’inévitables d’actes qui
devraient être regardés comme une atteinte portée aux lois qui nous
régissent. Comme le Gouvernement français, c’est à un devoir de conscience
que nous pensons obéier, en avertissant la cour de Rome des périls de la
voie dans laquelle des influences prepondérates semblent vouloir pousser
le Concile. Ce qui nous émeut, ce n’est pas le danger dont nos
institutions sont menacées, mais bien celui que courent la paix des
esprits et le maintien de la bonne harmonie dans les relations de l’état
avec l’Église. Le sentiment qui nous fait agir doit paraître d’autant
moins suspect au St. Siége qu’il correspond à l’attitude d’une fraction
importante des Pères du Concile, dont le dévouement aux intérêts du
Catholicisme ne saurait être l’objet d’un doute. Placés sur un tout autre
terrain que cette fraction, puisque nous n’obéissons qu’à des
considérations politiques, nous nous rencontrons toutefois aujourd’hui
dans le désir commun d’écarter certaines éventualités. Cette coïncidence
de nos efforts nous permet de croire qu’en prenant la parole au nom des
seuls intérêts de l’État nous ne méconnaissons pas ceux de l’Église. Si la
démarche du Gouvernement français, que nous désirons seconder de tout
notre pouvoir, vient en ce moment donner un appui à la minorité du Concile
et l’aider à faire prévaloir des idées de modération ou de prudence, nous
ne pourrons que nous féliciter d’un tel résultat, bien que, je le répète,
notre action soit parfaitement indépendante et doive rester en tout cas
indépendante de celle des membres du Concile.”

Finally the observations of the French Government are urgently commended
to the attention of the _Curia_.



FORTY-FIRST LETTER.


_Rome, April 27, 1870._—We find ourselves in a remarkably critical
position here. The great event so long expected of the first promulgation
of dogmas is over, and the desired unanimity has been successfully
attained for these four chapters of the _Schema de Fide_, notwithstanding
the supplemental paragraph. Two Bishops who could not overcome their
dislike to that paragraph preferred to stay away or leave Rome for the
day. All the curialists are in high feather, and are congratulating each
other on their victory, boasting that they have gained three most
important points without any public opposition. First, the Pope, for the
first time for 350 years,(92) and in contradiction to the practice of the
first 1000 years of Church history, has defined and published the decrees
in his own name as supreme legislator, just like those masters of the
world, Innocent III., Innocent IV. and Leo X., merely with the addition
that the Council also sanctions them. Secondly, the new order of business
has now been virtually accepted by all, and the protest abandoned.
Thirdly, the conclusion, which is meant to invest with conciliar authority
the former dogmatic decrees of the Popes, has been accepted.

The excitement visible on the countenances of the majority, when
Schwarzenberg, Darboy, Rauscher and Hefele were called up to vote, showed
what had been expected. The mass of the majority say the same thing will
happen when the _Schema_ on the Church has to be voted on; the minority
answer that it will not, and that they only want to avoid wasting their
powder before the time; “la minorité se recueille,” like Russia after the
last war, and on the division day will be found fully equipped for the
fight. We shall soon see, for that day is not far distant. But now what
next? The infallibilist party are afraid of this dogma being lost after
all, like a ship wrecked in port. They reckon that the time is approaching
when the Council must inevitably be prorogued, and therefore urge the Pope
to break through the regular order of the _Schemata_, and bring forward at
once either the whole _Schema de __ Ecclesiâ_ or the article on papal
infallibility which has been interpolated into it. The four French Bishops
assured him that they spoke in the name of the 400. Pius would not of
course feel any very constraining influence in their wishes _per se_, for
he knows well enough that the 400 are composed mainly of his foster-sons
and of the Bishops of the States of the Church and the Neapolitans, who
all speak or hold their peace and sit or stand as they are bidden. But it
would be an unspeakably bitter sacrifice for him to refuse to his trusty
adherents what he so earnestly desires himself, and to let these 400 or at
least many of them say, “Your own organ, the _Civiltà_, the Jesuits,
Veuillot, Margotti—have forced this question upon us; we have agitated for
it and staked our name and theological credit on it, and now it is all to
be labour lost!”

But now the writings of the German Bishops have appeared and the notes of
the Governments have been delivered. To the French note is added a more
urgent one from Austria, as well as a Prussian, a Portuguese and now also
a Bavarian note, and all breathe the same spirit. All give warning that
they shall regard the threatened decrees on the power and infallibility of
the Pope as a declaration of war against the order and authority of the
State. Even the English Government leaves no room for doubt about its
mind, and if the Pope—as I know—fears above all things any manifestation
of feeling there, he might learn from Manning that the strongest antipathy
is felt among all classes, high and low, to the proposed dogmas, and that
English statesmen see in them nothing less than a suicidal infatuation.
Manning has thoroughly authentic proofs of that in his hands, but of
course he won’t produce them.

Pius is in a chronic state of extreme irritation. He sees with pleasure
his two favourite journals—the _Univers_ and _Unita_—abuse the Opposition
Bishops in the most contemptuous language, and he indulges himself in
outbreaks of bitterness against those who question his infallibility,
which pass from mouth to mouth here but which one dares not write down.
Even Cardinal Bilio is alarmed at such ebullitions, and affirms that he is
constantly urging moderation and forbearance on the Pope, and has already
warded off a great deal of mischief.

What strikes us foreigners is the evident indifference to the Council and
its acts manifested by the inhabitants of the eternal city of every class.
It is seldom spoken of in society, and what absorbs the attention of the
world north of the Alps seems hardly to have the least interest for the
Romans, what is there heard of with astonishment they hardly think worth a
passing mention. And if ever the Council is spoken of, it is in hurried,
mysterious, abrupt sentences, for every one says the espionage system has
never been in such force here as since the opening of the Council, and a
large staff lives by the trade. I know persons here whose doors are
constantly watched by spies, who do not even conceal themselves, and if
the Roman theologians had such rich materials for their investigations as
is possessed by the Roman police, they would not have their equals in the
world.

The Romans as a rule are fully aware of the financial value of the
infallibilist doctrine, and know right well that a large increase of
revenue as well as power from all countries is looked for as its product.
That in their eyes is already an accomplished fact. They know for certain
that the dogma will be at once proclaimed, and there is hardly a Roman
here who has not an uncle or brother or nephew in orders and may not hope
to share the anticipated profits in his own person or in the person of his
relatives. The curialists here say, “We have lost so much by the
diminution of the States of the Church, and so many payments, benefices
and lucrative posts have passed out of our hands, that we absolutely
require to be indemnified in some other way, and this the new dogma is
intended to do and must do for us.” If ever the Pope is acknowledged
throughout Christendom as an infallible authority, it is inevitable that
ecclesiastical centralization should take much larger dimensions than
before. Not only doctrine, but everything concerning Church life will be
drawn to Rome and there finally settled. Theologians may undertake to
distinguish between matters to which the Pope’s infallible authority
extends or does not extend, but in practice everything signed with his
name will be held to be an utterance of divine truth, and nothing which is
not attested with that signature will be held valid. There is a proverb
here—


    Quei consigli son prezzati
    Che son chiesti e ben pagati.


And who would not gladly pay a handsome sum to be armed with an infallible
decision, which will at once crush all opposition and put down all
adversaries? The golden age of papal chanceries and clerks lies not in the
past, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when, as a court prelate
of the day tells us, the papal officials were daily employed in counting
up gold pieces; it will first dawn on the day this truly golden doctrine
of infallibility is promulgated. Were Cicero to re-appear in Rome now, he
might repeat what he said in the Oration _Pro Sextio_, “Jucunda res plebi
Romanæ, victus enim suppeditabatur large sine labore;” only he could no
longer add, “Repugnabant boni, quod ab industriâ plebem ad desidiam
avocari putabant.” For such “boni” no longer exist at Rome; rather is the
account of Tacitus completely verified, “Securi omnes aliena subsidia
expectant, sibi ignavi, aliis graves.”(93) Another thing is the large and
incurable deficit in the Roman finances, which must increase every year.
There is an annual expenditure of thirty million francs to cover, and the
Peter’s pence, which came to fourteen millions in 1861, have sunk to about
eleven millions, notwithstanding the collections ordered to be made
everywhere twice a year. No further help can be obtained from loans. M. de
Corcelles, who has exposed this uncomfortable state of things with the
best intentions, has no other remedy to propose but a great increase of
Peter’s pence. It is hoped in Rome that the different nations will
contribute larger sums than before to the Pope, now he is become
infallible and thus more closely united to Deity. But they reckon much
more on the enormous centralization and all-embracing monopoly of all
possible dispensations, indulgences, consultations, canonizations, and
decisions on moral, liturgical, political, dogmatic and disciplinary
questions. They remember the treasures amassed in the temple of Delphi in
ancient days, and expect the new oracle to be erected on the Tiber to
attract, like a vast magnet, not iron but gold and silver.

Neither Pius nor the Monsignori and other curialists think it conceivable
that the minority will hold out to the last in their opposition. They
reckon securely on this fraction of the Council being broken up by fear
and discouragement, and that few if any of them will let matters come to a
_non placet_ in the next public Session, and thus openly confess
themselves unwillingly subdued. To those Roman clerics, who are accustomed
to look at religious questions only as the ladder by which to mount to an
agreeable life and good income, courage and steadfastness in the
confession of ascertained truth is something strange and inconceivable.
Fear and hope, calculations of loss and gain, will finally decide the
Bishops’ votes—that is the firm persuasion of every Italian member of the
_Curia_. So much is certain: if on the very eve of the Solemn Session,
when the new dogma is to be promulgated, it was certainly known that
eighty Bishops would say _Non placet_ next day, the Session would be
countermanded and the Church saved. The first question for us Germans is
of course whether we can trust our Bishops? Will they abide steadfast? Or
will they at last sacrifice themselves and the truth, their clergy and
their flocks? As to what immediately concerns the clergy, this is not
strictly a question of doctrine belonging to the sphere of religious faith
and mystery, where one might make a willing submission of mind to a decree
held to be the voice of divine revelation; it is a pure question of
historical facts to be determined by historical evidence, of points on
which every educated man capable of judging evidence, whether a Catholic
or not, can form an independent judgment. Every one with eyes to see can
answer with absolute certainty these three questions, on which the whole
matter hinges—

1. Is it true that the admonition to Peter to confirm his brethren has
always and in the whole Church been understood of an infallibility
promised to all Bishops of Rome?

2. Is it true that this infallibility of all Popes has been taught and
witnessed to in the whole Church through all ages down to our own day?

3. Is it true that no Pope has ever taught a doctrine rejected by the
Church, and that no Pope has ever been condemned by the Church for his
doctrine?

It is absolutely impossible for any one, who feels compelled by his own
investigation of history to answer these three questions in the negative,
to submit inwardly to the opposite decision of the Council, whatever
external homage he may pay to it. Ten Councils will not be able to shake
him for a moment in his conviction; he will only say, “pur si muove.” His
doubts will be turned, not against what is historically certain but
against the Council; he will call in question the real freedom, the
intrinsic claims and authority of this Council, and—to go no further—the
two successive regulations for conducting business supply in this case
abundant materials for the question. And it is just as impossible for a
man who has a notion of historical certainty to believe in any one else’s
mind being changed by the decree of an assembly of Bishops. If a
well-educated man told me he had just come to the conclusion that Julius
Cæsar never lived, I should not believe in his conviction but in some
disorder of his mental faculties, and should advise him to undergo medical
treatment. And so, if the new dogma is proclaimed and the clergy submit
either tacitly or expressly, no cultivated man in all Germany will believe
that the thousands of scientifically trained men who have had a German
education have suddenly changed their convictions, because some hundreds
of Italians and Spaniards have chosen to decree away the testimony of
history. “Facts are stubborn things.” Public opinion will recognise only
two alternatives in the case of those who submit, ignorance or
dissimulation and falsehood. And the effect will be an immeasurable moral
degradation of the Catholic clergy and a corresponding decay of their
influence.

This consideration will not of course make the slightest impression on the
majority of the Council, or even on those Germans who belong to it. We
have psychological riddles to deal with here. How, _e.g._, are we to
explain the fact that a man, who has taught the very opposite doctrine in
a manual of instruction for the higher class of colleges published
seventeen years ago, and has let it pass through eleven or twelve editions
without a word being altered, is now in Rome one of the most zealous
promoters of the definition, and is constantly affirming that all the
clergy except a few professors will readily submit?



FORTY-SECOND LETTER.


_Rome, April 29, 1870._—What I mentioned in my last letter as a pamphlet
of Cardinal Rauscher’s, is a printed memorial addressed to the Presidents
of the Council, bearing the title of _Petitio a pluribus Galliæ, Austriæ
et Hungariæ, Italiæ, Angliæ et Hiberniæ et Americæ Septentrionalis
Præsidibus exhibita_, and dated April 20th. It states that papal
infallibility is beset by many objections and difficulties, which require
an examination such as is impossible in a General Congregation. Among them
is one of supreme importance, bearing directly on the instruction to be
given to the faithful on the divine commandments and the relation of the
Catholic religion to civil society.

“The Popes have deposed Emperors and Kings, and Boniface VIII. in the Bull
_Unam Sanctam_ has established the corresponding theory, which the Popes
openly taught down to the seventeenth century under anathema, that God has
committed to them power over temporal things. But we, and almost all
Bishops of the Catholic world, teach another doctrine. We teach that the
ecclesiastical power is indeed higher than the civil, but that each is
independent of the other, and that while sovereigns are subject to the
spiritual penalties of the Church, she has no power to depose them or
absolve their subjects from their oaths of allegiance. And this is the
ancient doctrine, taught by all the Fathers and by the Popes before
Gregory VII. But if the Pope, according to the Bull _Unam Sanctam_,
possessed both swords—if, according to Paul IV.’s Bull _Cum ex Apostolatûs
officio_, he had absolute dominion by divine right over nations and
kingdoms,—the Church could not conceal this from her people, nor is the
subterfuge admissible,(94) that this power exists only in the abstract and
has no bearing on public affairs, and that Pius has no intention of
deposing rulers and princes; for the objectors would at once scornfully
reply, ‘We have no fear of papal decrees, but after many and various
dissimulations it has at last become evident that every Catholic, who acts
according to his professed belief, is a born enemy of the State, for he
holds himself bound in conscience to do all in his power to reduce all
kingdoms and nations into subjection to the Pope.’ We need not define more
precisely the manifold accusations the enemies of the Church might deduce
from this.

“This difficulty then must be most carefully sifted before papal
infallibility is dealt with. The Conference we demanded on March 11 may do
much towards clearing it up. But the question, whether Christ really
committed to Peter and his successors supreme power over kings and
kingdoms is, especially in this day, one of such grave importance that it
must be directly brought before the Council, and examined on all sides. It
would be inexcusable for the Fathers to be seduced into deciding, without
thorough knowledge and sifting, on a question which has such wide
consequences and affects so deeply the relations of the Church to human
society. This question therefore must necessarily be brought before them,
before the eleventh chapter of the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ can be taken in
hand. It might, if you please, be separately treated. But, as it cannot be
adequately judged of without a thorough examination of the relations of
the ecclesiastical to the civil power, it appears to us very desirable
that the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the _Schema_ should be
discussed before the eleventh.”

What first strikes one about this remarkable document is, that the German
Bishops belonging to the minority—Martin, Stahl, Senestrey and the
Tyrolese are of course out of the reckoning—are not represented here. Does
this indicate a real divergence of view or only a difference of tactics?
The former notion seems to me inconceivable. It is impossible that men
like Hefele, Ketteler, Eberhard and the rest should have any doctrinal
predilection for the system of papal absolutism extended over sovereigns
and the whole political and civil domain. Certainly they too are so
strongly opposed to the infallibilist dogma because it involves the
mediatizing of all kings and governments. I can therefore at present
discover no explanation of this phenomenon, and cannot allow any room for
the suspicion that the persistently active curialistic influences have
succeeded in dividing the German Bishops from the rest of the minority.

What will the Presidents do with a document so serious, so moderate and so
incisive? What have they done already? So far as I know, nothing. It is a
principle, and has now become an habitual practice with them, to leave all
representations and petitions of the minority unnoticed and unanswered.
The directing Deputation, which is intrusted with the entire control of
the Council, feels quite justified in adopting this line by the papal
ordinances.

The policy hitherto pursued by the Jesuits and the _Curia_ was, first to
extend to the utmost the comprehensive office of the Church, as legislator
for the nations and guardian of faith and morals; and then, by making the
Pope absolute master and dictator of the Church, to assign to him all that
had been claimed for the Church, so that he—acting of course in the
interests of religion and morality, but simply according to his own good
pleasure—should have every office, person and institution subject to him,
and that the final appeal in every cause should lie to his tribunal. Since
all this can only be secured and guaranteed by the infallibilist dogma,
the inferences on the relations of Church and State drawn by the opposing
Bishops form precisely the chief recommendation of that dogma in the eyes
of the Legates, the Italian Cardinals, the Spanish and Italian Bishops and
those of the French who are ultramontanes. They all say among themselves,
if not aloud before the world, “That is just what we want; our very object
is to get the doctrine on the relations of Church and State changed, the
independence of civil society and the civil power abolished, and the
complete temporal supremacy of the Church—_i.e._, the Pope—at least
gradually established.” It is not indeed advisable to say this as yet in
such explicit and unreserved terms, but the reason why the infallibilist
dogma is so opportune and indispensable is exactly because it implies
jurisdiction over the temporal sphere, which the Pope can according to
circumstances either leave unused and say nothing about it, or suddenly
draw forth for use like a weapon concealed under a mantle. He has dealt
thus with the Austrian Constitution; while he let alone other countries,
whose constitutional systems must have been partly at least a scandal on
Roman principles, he pronounced the Austrian Constitution abominable
(_nefanda_). And any one, who wishes to examine the practical significance
of this infallible judgment, need only go to the Tyrol and observe how it
has been already explained there to the inhabitants by their enthusiastic
clergy.

At the audience, when he presented the French note to the Pope, Banneville
expressed the wish of his Government that the discussion of the _Schema de
Ecclesiâ_ (with the chapter on infallibility) might at least not be taken
before its time—which was equivalent to saying, “At least give us time,
for the matter is not yet ripe for discussion.” Hitherto delay has been
for the interest of the _Curia_, for it was expected that the minority
would wither away and finally be extinguished; they trusted to the power
so often proved of the Roman solvents. The article of the _Civiltà_ which
told the prelates, “We care nothing for your talk about moral unanimity in
matters of dogma, and shall make the new dogma in spite of your
opposition,” was written _in terrorem_, and was meant to hold up before
the refractory the terrible perspective of a contest emerging in the
abortion of an impotent schism. The article has not in the main produced
the desired effect, for the Bishops still hold together and bind
themselves by writings and public declarations, and the number of those
who can no longer with any decency desert to the majority threatens to
increase. Now therefore it is the interest of the _Curia_ to allow no
further delay, but to bring forward the _Schema_ at once.

The Bavarian ambassador has presented the note of his Government, which
appeals emphatically to the attitude of the German Bishops who represent
in the Council sound principles on the relations of Church and State.(95)
It cannot indeed appeal to its own Bishops, for three of them are active
and fiery supporters of infallibilism and the supremacy of the Pope over
Kings and States. It was previously thought impossible for a German Bishop
to desire to see the day when the Popes could again grasp the reins of
temporal dominion which had dropped from their hands, depose monarchs,
give away countries, abolish constitutions, annul laws and dispense oaths
of allegiance. But this spectacle we now enjoy! For the pastors of souls
must be assumed to intend to make dogmas, not for a mere pastime or for
the enrichment of theological commentaries and text-books, but in order to
reduce the theory to practice.

Pius did not say, when receiving the French memorandum, whether he would
communicate it to the Council. But Antonelli has now stated that the Pope,
though President of the Council, will not find it at all advisable to do
so. That is only consistent, for every curialist regards the Council as
under strict tutelage, and in fact only existing by the will of the Pope
and living by the breath of his mouth. It is simply from care for their
health that he withholds so unsound a document from his Bishops. Antonelli
says he will not reply to it, as it contains nothing new, and merely
repeats the note of Feb. 20, which is not strictly true. He adheres to his
favourite distinction, “In theory we are inexorable, grasping,
high-flying, as Gregory VII. or Innocent III., but in practice full of
forbearance and compassion. We take account of human weakness and
blindness, and, if the Northern nations do not acknowledge the
prerogatives of our priestly absolutism, and desire to retain their
political and religious liberties in spite of our theoretical condemnation
of them, we shall not force matters to an open breach and shall make no
use of the old methods of compulsion.”

Now are the Governments agreed or not in reference to the Council? They
are no doubt all agreed in their aversion to the new dogma and the renewal
of the Syllabus, but there is a great difference in their practical
attitude. The rulers in some States mean to utilize the occasion for
bringing about the entire separation of Church and State, _i.e._, for
gradually extruding the Church and the clergy from all the positions of
public trust they still hold, and reducing the Church to the level of a
sect tolerated and as far as possible ignored by the State, and
secularizing education, marriage and family life. This is the attitude of
Belgium, Italy and Spain towards the Council. Out of Belgium there is no
country so remarkably indifferent about the Council and its decrees,
whatever they may be, as Italy, _i.e._, the Italian Government and many
millions of Italians. The statesmen there say, “We have no Concordats to
defend, for they have fallen with the old Governments; the State has no
longer any concern with religion and the Church, which are mere private
affairs of the individual. And thus the separation of Church and State is
already in principle accomplished.” I can vouch for the following saying
of a high public official there: “There are hundreds of us who do not know
whether we are among those excommunicated on political grounds or not. In
a dangerous illness we may send for a confessor, and then we shall find
out.”

The number of those who desire and aim at this complete divorce of Church
and State is legion. Their view predominates in the French cabinet since
Daru’s retirement, and most of them view what is going on in Rome with
satisfaction and hope. The more frantic and insolent is the conduct of the
Papalists, so much the better in their opinion, for so much easier and
more painless will the separation be for civil society. To make papal
infallibility and the Syllabus into dogmas is in their eyes a step which,
far from hindering, one should wish to see thoroughly effected. When the
Church is caught in this net, she must assume the full responsibility of
all doctrines and principles established by any of the Popes, and she has
herself pronounced judgment on their utter incompatibility with the whole
existing order of society. The State can then no longer go hand in hand
with her anywhere, and will dismiss her. It is impossible to be ignorant
that this view is widely prevalent, and is rapidly and powerfully
increasing.



FORTY-THIRD LETTER.


_Rome, April 30, 1870._—Now that the matter has gone so far, those about
the Pope no longer make any secret of the fact that for many years—indeed
from the beginning of his pontificate—he has formed the design of making
papal infallibility an article of faith. A work has lately been
distributed here, _Riflessioni d’un Teologo sopra la Riposta di Mgr.
Dupanloup a Mgr. Arcivescovo di Malines_, Torino 1870. The writer says,
“Could the Bishop of Orleans be ignorant that Pius IX. has always intended
to define this dogma and condemn Gallicanism? All the acts of his
pontificate have been directed to this end. Nay, we affirm distinctly that
he believed himself to have received a special mission to define the two
dogmas of papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception.(96) And as he
is under the special guidance of the Holy Ghost, his will sufficiently
establishes the opportuneness of this definition.”

This was obviously written for the eyes of the Pontiff, whose whole life
is surrounded as with a rose-garland of miraculous deliverances,
illuminations and divine inspirations. And thus the veil is now dropped,
and the time come for speaking openly. Up to the end of last summer, and
even till December, the answer given from Rome to all inquiries and
anxieties of Bishops or Governments was, that there was no intention of
bringing infallibility before the Council and that the _Civiltà_ was
mistaken; the Court of Rome was not responsible for what an individual
Jesuit might write. Antonelli gave the most quieting assurances on all
sides. But meanwhile the Committee of Theologians employed in preparing
the materials for the Council had already voted this new dogma, under
direction of the highest authority, and Archbishop Cardoni had sent in his
report upon it, which was received by all against the single vote of
Alzog. The subjects to be brought before the Council were carefully
concealed from the Bishops, and an oath of silence imposed on the
theologians who were summoned, in order that they might come to Rome
unprepared and without the necessary books, and might simply indorse the
elaborations of the Jesuits as voting-machines in the prison-house of the
Council.

It is merely repeating what is notorious in Rome to say that Pius IX. is
beneath comparison with any one of his predecessors for the last 350 years
in theological knowledge and intellectual cultivation generally. One must
go back to Innocent VIII. and Julius II. to find Popes of similar
theological and scientific attainments. It is known here that, small as
are the intellectual requisites for ordination in the Roman States, it was
only out of special regard to his family that Giovanni Maria Mastai could
get ordained priest. His subsequent career offered no opportunity or means
for supplying this neglect, and thus he became Pope with the feeling of
his entire deficiency in the necessary acquirements. This unpleasant
consciousness naturally produced the idea that the defect would be
remedied without effort on his part by enlightenment from above, and
divine inspiration would supply the absence of human knowledge. This
illusion has been and will be so common, that we need not have troubled
ourselves about it, did it not threaten now to become a destructive
firebrand. The public letters which have passed of late between the
assembled Fathers on the absorbing question of the day deserve attention.
They show the deep gulf which divides the members of the Episcopate. There
is Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore, who first wanted to help the Pope to
get his infallibility acknowledged indirectly by his now famous
_postulatum_, where the real point was kept in the background, when he
proposed a decree that every papal decision was to be received with
unconditional inward assent. But now, in his letter to Dupanloup, he has
changed his mind, and wants infallibility to be openly and explicitly
defined. So again in the _postulatum_ he had declared moral unanimity to
be necessary for a dogma, but now on the contrary he considers a mere
majority of votes to be sufficient. Two other American Archbishops have
come forward in opposition to him, Kenrick of St. Louis and Purcell of
Cincinnati. They say that Spalding’s letter has fallen among them like a
bomb-shell; it has hitherto been their custom for such matters to be
discussed in an assembly of the American Bishops, but that has not been
done in the present case, and he has written his letter alone and without
any communication with his colleagues. Indeed he had previously advised
them to oppose the definition of infallibility, as sure to produce nothing
but difficulties, but now he has taken up just the opposite view, on what
grounds they know not. The two prelates add that American Catholics have
very special reasons for disliking the definition, for the notion of the
Pope having the right to depose monarchs, dispense oaths of allegiance,
and give away countries and nations at his will, is equally strange to
Protestants and Catholics in their country. They think that Archbishop
Spalding will find himself greatly embarrassed in America with his
infallibilist doctrine, as has already been the case for some years with
regard to the condemnation of religious freedom by the Syllabus. The two
Archbishops, as one sees, tread lightly and cautiously. They are in
Rome,—“incedunt per ignes suppositos cineri doloso.” Still they assert
with American freedom of speech, “We, and several more of us, believe that
the dogma contradicts the history and tradition of the Church.”

The citizens of the United States, whether Protestant or Catholic, will
certainly be astonished when the new dogma comes into full force among
them and its consequences are brought to light, suddenly recalling a long
series of papal decisions into active life;—when, for instance, the recent
Bull (_Apostolicæ Sedis_), with its many and various excommunications
reserved to the Pope alone becomes known, and again the decision of the
infallible Urban II. that it is no murder to kill an excommunicated man
out of zeal for the Church, a decision which to this day stands on record
in 200 copies of the canon law. And as a commentary on this the work of
the present Jesuit theologian of the Court of Rome, Schrader (_De Unitate
Romanâ_), will be put into their hands, from which they will learn that
the contents of all papal decrees are infallible, for they always contain
some “doctrina veritatis”—whether moral, juridical, or rational—and the
Pope is always infallible “in ordine veritatis et doctrinæ.” Yet that is
but one flower from the dogmatic garden, into which Archbishop Spalding
will introduce the citizens of the United States after infallibility is
happily proclaimed. They will then also hear, among other interesting
truths, that according to the irrefragable decision of Leo X. every priest
is absolutely free by divine and human law from all secular authority, and
no layman has any right over him.(97) And they must be reminded, in order
to make them more submissive, that in 1493 Pope Alexander VI. gave over
their country with all its inhabitants, “in virtue of the plenitude of his
apostolic power,” to the kings of Spain in the infallible Bull _Inter
cætera_,(98) and then drew the famous line from the North to the South
Pole, which included whole provinces of the present United States in his
great and generous gift. By virtue of papal infallibility they are
subjects of the Spanish Government, and who knows if right and fact may
not some day again coincide? “Res clamat ad dominum.”



FORTY-FOURTH LETTER.


_Rome, May 13, 1870._—The time for the most eventful decisions is come:
to-morrow the debate on infallibility commences. The opponents of the
dogma have taken every means to put off this decision, and now that they
are foiled, enter upon the question with the greatest repugnance and a
sense of being defeated by anticipation in the perilous contest. The
diplomatists too, who had presented notes from their Governments to the
Vatican or had been instructed to support the notes presented, made urgent
representations that the existing order of business should not be departed
from, so as to get the discussion of infallibility deferred. And then some
Bishops made an attempt to move the Pope’s conscience. They told him that
by this undertaking he was sowing divisions among the faithful, shaking
faith, preparing for the closing days of his life a terrible
disillusionizing and bitter reproaches, and kindling a fire which after
blazing up in various parts of the Catholic world would turn into a
frightful conflagration. He was urgently entreated to listen to some of
the Bishops, who were in a position to inform him of the real state of
things in different countries.

There has unquestionably for some time past been a certain vacillation
among the Pope’s counsellors, but never for a moment did they think of
giving up the whole enterprise, and confessing themselves defeated. And as
it was clear that, if the _Schemata_ preceding the infallibility question
were discussed in their regular order, the hot season would set in with
its miasmas, and the inevitable prorogation of the Council would most
seriously imperil the dogma, the resolve to proceed at once with the
matter, regardless of consequences, prevailed in the _Curia_. The
Opposition tried to hinder this intention by a solemn act. A deputation,
consisting of several Bishops of different nations—a German, a Hungarian,
and a Bohemian Bishop for Germany—was to be sent to the Pope, with
Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati for its spokesman, to make the most
earnest and direct representations to him. From fear of this
demonstration, and in order at once to cut off all hopes placed upon it,
the _Curia_ had the _Synopsis Animadversionum_ distributed in great haste,
_i.e._ a selection from the Opinions of the Bishops, partly in favour of
the dogma, partly against it. The opinions are about equally divided, but
some represent more than one author. Thus _e.g._ 4 Hungarians and 16
Dominicans, in one case 24 Bishops, gave in the same Opinion. They are all
printed without the names, but some of the writers are easily recognised,
as _e.g._ Rauscher, Schwarzenberg, Fürstenberg, Krementz, Dupanloup,
Clifford, Kenrick, etc. It is to be observed that some of these opinions
are printed word for word, while others—of the Opposition Bishops—are
cunningly tampered with, to the great disgust of their authors. But in
most cases the reader cannot tell whether he has the opinion of a man of
high position or of a nobody before him.

In consequence of this rapid manœuvre of distributing the Synopsis, the
Opposition did not think it well to send their deputation, which
accordingly fell through. The dogmatic constitution on infallibility was
known here on the 1st of May, but was not published for eight days
afterwards. The _Curia_ was evidently not yet quite clear about its
tactics; perhaps the season might not appear sufficiently advanced, and
they might feel more secure of carrying their point when the heat had
driven the foreign Bishops away and the Council was left to the Italian
and Spanish rump.

The minority however did not cease to labour for the postponement of the
infallibilist discussion. The certainty that the _Curia_ would be in
earnest about it gave them somewhat more energy than they had shown in the
debate on the Little Catechism. The voting on it on May 4 had been quite
unexpected. For it had been resolved that the amendments modifying the
text should first be voted on, and the whole text be decided afterwards,
when printed and brought forward in the definitive form it had received
through the voting on the amendments. But instead of that, amendments and
text were voted upon on the same day, so that many Bishops—including
Darboy and Kenrick—were absent, and the whole number of _non-placets_ and
conditional votes together did not reach 100. This voting on May 4 was
however provisional; the definitive voting takes place to-day, Friday, May
13. The _Curia_ of course does not wish to have so considerable an
Opposition left, and has therefore somewhat altered the text, but not in
their sense. All the German Bishops of the minority, amounting to about
40, will vote _Non placet_, as I hear, and the French also, with a single
exception, making some 30 more. Several others will join them, so that the
previous 56 _Non-placets_ will be augmented by most of the 44 prelates who
voted _juxta modum_. The opposition to the Little Catechism may thus reach
100 votes, and will certainly exceed 80.

One might be tempted to ask why the Opposition, when it is so numerous,
has no confidence of victory and is always shrinking from decisive
measures. It is idle to suppose that the cancerous ulcer of infallibilism
can ever be once for all cut out of the body of the Church, except by a
scientific demonstration of its falsehood, or its adherents subdued
without a decisive contest. This uneasy attitude of the minority arises
from the want of sympathy and confidence among its various elements. The
inopportunists are afraid of their allies not only hindering the
definition but undermining belief in the doctrine and upsetting the whole
Jesuitical system and school of lies, and thus exposing the contrast
between the primacy as Christ founded it and as it has since been
perverted. And the others judge from what they themselves say that their
resistance will not be firm and persevering, and that they already think
of yielding sooner or later. And even for those who hold the doctrine to
be thoroughly false and unecclesiastical, it is much more convenient not
to proclaim their conviction so roundly and maintain the opposition at all
hazards, after the Pope has solemnly and formally committed himself and
done all in his power to get the dogma defined and all condemned who
reject it. For all who openly declared the doctrine to be an error would
be declaring the Pope to be an innovator; and he must appear to every
decided opponent of infallibilism no common innovator either, like any
“doctor privatus,” but the most fearful and dangerous enemy of revealed
truth and the pure doctrine of the Church, since he abuses his supreme
authority to impose a false doctrine on consciences by terrorism, anathema
and excommunication. But it is too much to demand of the Bishops to
express such judgments, or give occasion for such conclusions and
alternatives. While they wish to hold aloof from so tremendous a conflict,
it is their interest to avoid a collision which must involve such
considerations. The more many of them are ensnared in the delusion of the
present papal system, the more vivid is their desire not to be forced into
so public and decisive an announcement.

It is exactly those Bishops who are not the strongest dogmatically who
display the most zeal in hindering the discussion on infallibility, and
they have done a good deal to rehabilitate a force capable of resistance
even after the abject surrender of April 24. This fact shows how little
the astute and practised Roman Court has succeeded in gaining over the
Fathers separately. The Hungarian primate notoriously signed the
_postulatum_ against infallibility with reluctance, and he has since
openly adhered to the majority as spokesman of the Deputation _de Fide_,
after he had previously retired from the assembly of German Opposition
Bishops. He has a good right to reckon confidently on a Cardinal’s Hat;
and yet it is known that he, like almost all the Hungarians, will come
forward to oppose the definition, and will probably speak against it
to-morrow. Ginoulhiac, Bishop of Grenoble, who is perhaps the most learned
Bishop in France, after Maret, though his learning is of a somewhat narrow
and old-fashioned kind, is by nature and education one of those who are
anxious to find some middle way, by which they may at once bow to
authority and escape the consequences of an inexorable logic. The _Curia_
has long believed his theologian’s heart could be won by well-selected
citations, but other means have been also employed. After he had been
named to the Archbishopric of Lyons, the Pope refused him the desired
audience and also the preconisation, so that the diocese will have to
remain many months without a chief pastor. But he continued firm, and took
part in the compilation of a document, which might well become the most
important in its results of all the declarations of the Opposition. The
Bishop of Mayence was predisposed by all his sympathies and antipathies to
support the cause of Rome in this Council, and he has often, as well at
Fulda as here, repudiated the notion that the Pope’s claim to
infallibility is an encroachment on the divine prerogatives. For a time he
was a drag on his colleagues, but the policy of the Court and its
treatment of the Opposition has more and more alienated him from the
curialists; so that from seeming at first in Roman eyes to be divided by
an immeasurable gulf from men like Dupanloup, he has become a powerful
influence in the minority. The pamphlet on infallibility, written at his
suggestion, and addressed from Solothurn to the Bishops, showed his
changed attitude. This publication is well known to have been for a time
kept back, and it was only after a contest of some weeks with the
authorities that he succeeded in getting it issued. As the contemporaneous
writings of Rauscher, Schwarzenberg and Hefele met with no particular
opposition, this hostile treatment of Ketteler was ascribed to the belief
that the greater sharpness of the German protest against the order of
business, as compared with the French, was due to him. Where the French
text speaks of the Bishops as representing the Churches, the Germans added
the remark that this was the more important to insist upon in the case of
the Vatican Council, where so many Bishops were admitted to vote, whose
claim to vote by divine right was doubtful.(99) This historical
consideration has since been urged with great effect by Kenrick, whose
decisive weight in fixing the value of the Vatican Council will only be
known later. It was universally believed that Ketteler had co-operated in
getting this passage inserted in the German Protest, and so one is not
surprised that he should have taken a leading part in the last move of the
Opposition. To-day a declaration, signed by 77 Fathers, has been presented
to the Presidents, protesting energetically against the inversion of the
established order in the interests of infallibility. It contains the
severe remark that they well know no answer can be expected, but they are
unwilling to let any doubts be cast on the freedom of the Council, and to
have the Bishops made a public laughing-stock.

They cannot take much by this move. The arguments against inverting the
purely arbitrary order of business, previously introduced, are weak in
comparison with the objections to the definition on principle, and to
insist on them is simply beating the air. The majority only see proofs of
their weakness and grounds for increased confidence in the obstinate
holding aloof of the Opposition from the main question, and in the fact
that men who are not real assailants of the dogma play a prominent part in
its proceedings. Wherever there has been any talk of hesitation, it has
been only in the Vatican and the Commission _de Fide_, never among the
mass of the party. Pius may for a moment have shared the scruples
suggested to him by two of the Legates, and the Deputation may have
believed that the dogma could be established without any violent
precipitation, and regretted the indecent zeal of the French, but the
ardent infallibilists—French, English, Belgian, Swiss, etc.—have never
slackened in their confidence or their assiduity. They still affirm, as
they ever have done, that infallibility has no real opponents or hardly
any, and that the leading members of the Opposition privately hold the
view or at least have never openly rejected it; there are but few even
among the _Animadversiones_ which deny the admissibility of the
definition. So they think that there is a bait for every one of these
troublers of peace, and that they can all either be won over by
concessions or frightened into submission. The example of the Prince
Bishop of Breslau, who is known to have suspended a priest for attacking
the doctrines of the Syllabus, is very interesting in this point of view.
If the Pope were to issue a Bull condemning the opponents of his
infallibility, and to deal in the same way or—as he easily might—more
solemnly and harshly with other doctrines than the Encyclical of 1864,
Prince Bishop Förster would at least punish all malcontents as severely as
he punished the contemner of the Syllabus.(100) Yet in spite of all this,
he is a member of the Opposition, and the majority believe it would
probably soon melt away, if the Pope could resolve on adopting this
policy. Moreover their leaders speak as though the Opposition had already
incurred censures. They expect to make short work with the German Bishops
who signed the Fulda Pastoral. In that document it is said, “The Holy
Father is accused of acting under the influence of a party, and desiring
to use the Council simply as a means of unduly exalting the power of the
Apostolic See, changing the ancient and genuine constitution of the
Church, and setting up a spiritual domination incompatible with Christian
liberty. Men do not scruple to apply party names to the head of the Church
and to the Episcopate, which hitherto we have been accustomed to hear only
from the lips of professed enemies of the Church. And they plainly avow
their suspicion that the Bishops will not be allowed full freedom of
deliberation, and will themselves be deficient in the knowledge and
straightforwardness requisite for the discharge of their duties in
Council. And they accordingly call in question the validity of the Council
and its decrees.”

Here in Rome the Bishops have to listen to these and similar observations
_usque ad nauseam_, which their adversaries use only to remind them of
this Pastoral. While denying before the world that the definition of
infallibility was the object of the Council, or was intended at all by the
holy Father, they at the same time wrote to Rome to deprecate it, being
perfectly well acquainted with the designs of the _Curia_, and
corresponded with friendly prelates on the means of averting it. And thus
the other party may now say to them, “You acknowledge yourselves that the
unity and strength of the Church is to be preferred to strict veracity,
and that in so sacred a cause some measure of deception is allowable.
Don’t choose then to be better than your neighbours. You have already
abandoned the ground of objective truth, and you may as well come over to
us altogether.” But the chief means of breaking the Opposition consists in
the Pope’s making the Bishops feel the full weight of his authority and
compromising himself yet more deeply.

The _Curia_ has succeeded in setting aside the attempted intervention of
the Governments, and the battle will have to be fought out, as is fitting,
by the Bishops themselves. In the mind of the majority it is already over;
the Deputation has issued a reply to the objections of the minority, which
deserves the most careful attention of the theological world. It contains
a flat denial of the force of historical evidence, and closes with a
repudiation of the necessity of moral unanimity.(101) This points out the
road which the loyal Bishops of the Opposition must follow.

_Postscript._—I have just heard that the definitive voting on the Little
Catechism, which was announced for to-day’s sitting, has not taken place.
The _Curia_ had discovered that the German and French Opposition Bishops
would vote _en masse_ against it. No regard had been paid to the
representations and objections of those who voted _juxta modum_ on May 4,
and accordingly this stronger resistance was foreseen, and the _Curia_
shrank from appealing to a new vote. Matters remain as the voting of May 4
left them, and it is hoped that before the next Solemn Session the
minority will be split up by a more important controversy.



FORTY-FIFTH LETTER.


_Rome, May 14, 1870._—The sitting of May 4 requires a more particular
mention which shall be added here. The reporter on the scheme of the
Catechism was Zwerger, Bishop of Seckau, who is a special favourite of the
_Curia_,—forming as he does with the Tyrolese Rudigier and Fessler the
little party of Austrian infallibilists,—a youthful and elegant prelate,
whose Latin is seasoned with such terms as _portraitus_, _præcautionibus_,
etc. He gave the consoling assurance that the new Catechism should be
compiled by a Commission of Bishops named by the Pope, so that it might be
“omnibus numeris absolutus.” He added that unfortunately he could not
introduce this masterpiece into his own diocese, but he would in principle
vote for it.

The question of the Catechism is of course closely connected with that of
infallibilism. For first the Catechism will quickly and strongly inoculate
the rising generation with the dogma, and secondly, as being a papal
text-book, it will familiarize all the young from an early age with the
notion, that in religion everything emanates from the Pope, depends on him
and refers to him. Thus every one will be taught that not only all rights,
as Boniface VIII. said, but all religious and moral truths, are drawn
forth by the Pope from the recesses of his own breast.

The notion is excellent, and does infinite honour to the Jesuits who
invented it. It is like the egg of Columbus. One cannot think at first how
it did not occur centuries ago to the astute members of the _Curia_. But
to begin with, it would have been impossible earlier to fit this
catechetical strait-waistcoat on such a Church as was the French; and then
again a sufficient motive was wanting, for it is four centuries since any
Pope thought of introducing new dogmas into the Church. The whole history
of the Church offers but three examples of it. The first was the attempt
of Gregory VII. and Innocent III. to alter the doctrine hitherto prevalent
on the relations of Church and State, and to substitute the new doctrine
of the Pope’s divine right to exercise temporal sovereignty over princes
and peoples. This did not succeed. The second instance was the attempt
made from the thirteenth century downwards by the _Curia_, and especially
by the Jesuits,—for which a long series of forgeries and fictions paved
the way,—to replace the primacy of the ancient Church by something totally
different, viz., an absolute monarchy, so as to destroy the power and
authority of the Episcopate, reduce the Bishops to mere delegates or
commissioners of the Pope, and erect him into the irresponsible master of
the whole Church and all its members, the sole source of all
ecclesiastical jurisdiction. This scheme too was wrecked on the
opposition, first of the great Councils, and afterwards of the French
Church. The third attempt, to make all Popes infallible and thus establish
the sole and universal monarchy of the Pope, is now going on. And as the
teaching of the Church has to be altered and enriched with new dogmas, the
Jesuits who inspire the Pope have quite rightly perceived that a Catechism
clothed with supreme authority, such as never previously existed, must be
introduced throughout the whole Catholic world. This undertaking promises
special advantages to the Jesuit Order, and so it has been brought before
the Council, and forced rapidly and unexpectedly to the vote. So little
had it been anticipated, that over 100 of the Bishops in Rome were absent.
Another attempt was made in this _Schema_ to get papal infallibility
accepted by a side-wind, by inserting a statement that the whole teaching
office of the Church resided in the primacy, to the exclusion of the
Bishops. It was felt at once that this would give the Pope a position and
authority incompatible with any other, even that of the Church herself,
and that the Bishops would entirely lose their judicial office in matters
of doctrine. Partly on account of this passage, and partly on general
grounds, 57 Bishops voted _Non placet_, among whom were Cardinals
Schwarzenberg and Rauscher, Archbishops Scherr and Deinlein, and Bishops
Dinkel and Hefele. It created a great sensation that Cardinal Mathieu,
Archbishop of Besançon, also voted against it. He has only lately returned
from his Easter visit to France, and is said now to belong decidedly to
the minority. Among the 24 Bishops who voted _juxta modum_, were the
Archbishops of Cologne and Salzburg, and the Bishop of Mayence. An
interval of two days was given them to put into shape the condition on
which they wanted to make their vote dependent. But we have already seen
that, when the time was come, the Legates preferred not calling for any
definitive vote.

Are we to infer from the collapse of so weighty and pregnant a question as
this of the Catechism that henceforth everything will be settled much
quicker? I cannot say. But as early as January 22 the Pope declared, in a
Brief addressed to M. de Ségur, that the delay in the proceedings of the
Council was due to the powers of Hell, for as it was to inflict on them
their inevitable death-blow, they wished to protract it as long as they
could. Pius is persuaded that, as soon as the Council produces its fruits,
all faults and vices will at once disappear from human society, and all
who are in error be led into the truth. That is expressly stated in the
Brief; and these are no mere phrases, such as the _Curia_ frequently
indulges in, but are uttered in sober earnest. Pius really holds his
infallibility to be the divinely ordained panacea for effecting a thorough
cure of mankind, who are now sick unto death. He is convinced that the
fount of unerring inspiration, which will henceforth flow incessantly from
the holy Father at Rome, will fructify all Christian lands like a
supernatural Nile stream, and overflow all human science for its
purification or its destruction. The Jesuits make the decrees, who are not
indeed themselves infallible, but whose compositions, directly the Pope
has signed his name to them, become inspired and free from every breath of
error.

The psychological enigma presented by Pius can only be solved by looking
steadily at the two root-ideas, which interpenetrate and supplement one
another in his mind. There is first his belief in the objective
infallibility of his 256 predecessors, and next his belief that he,
Mastai, has through continual invocation and worship of the Madonna
attained to an inspiration and divine illumination of which she is the
medium. This last privilege is in his eyes, as all about him know and
occasionally say, a purely personal one, which his predecessors did not
all experience. But it strengthens his faith in infallibilism, and—which
is the main point—he is certain by virtue of this infused illumination
that he is God’s chosen instrument for introducing the dogma. And this
higher certainty naturally leads him to regard the opposing Bishops as
unhappy men snared in the meshes of a fatal error, who rebel in their
sinful blindness against the counsel of God, and will be dragged at the
chariot-wheels of the triumphal car of the infallible Papacy in its
resistless progress, like boys hanging on behind, in spite of their
efforts to pull it back. And therefore sharp rebukes—_verbera
verborum_—must not be spared these episcopal opponents. Pius knows that
the German and American members of the party are infected by the
atmosphere of Protestantism, and the French by that of infidelity, so that
they are suffering at least under a violent heterodox influenza, and
require drastic remedies. But no one had imagined that all regard for
decency would be so completely laid aside, and that the Pope would so far
forget his high position as to actually descend into the arena, deal blows
with his own hand, and assail all disputants with bitter and insulting
words, as he has in fact done. He might have waited quietly till his
unconditional majority of 500 had voted the dogma, and then have
fulminated to his heart’s content the plenitude of anathemas and curses at
the still unbelieving “filii perditionis” and “iniquitatis alumni,” in the
forms that are stored up ready for use in the Roman Chancery. But he is
too impatient to wait for the decision, and exhausts all the weapons in
his quiver by anticipation. When the Bishops of the minority presented
their first remonstrance against the new dogma, he had it announced in his
journals that it was only from the lofty impartiality which became him
that he had not received their memorial, as neither had he received those
of the other party. But now this mask is dropped, and no means are omitted
for overreaching or intimidating the minority. It is confidently expected
that fear and discouragement will soon do their work in splitting up the
Opposition. Many of its members recoil in alarm from the position they
will be placed in by persevering to the last. It needs more than ordinary
episcopal courage, it needs a deep conscientiousness and faith firm as a
rock in the ultimate victory of the true doctrine of the ancient Church,
to confront in open fight the triple host of the _Curia_, the Jesuits and
the ultramontanes.

And now for the first time the excellence of the Council Hall is proved,
and the wise foresight of the _Curia_ in choosing it and adhering to it
with the firmness of old Romans in spite of all entreaties and
representations to the contrary. It is precisely adapted to the present
tactics of the majority. The Bishops will occupy a number of sittings with
speeches, generally read, seldom spoken, which four-fifths of their
auditors, as before, neither understand nor wish to understand. For the
majority know everything already, they are armed with a triple
breastplate, and have their short and powerful watchword, which renders
them invincible. Those who frequent infallibilist circles here may hear
St. Augustine’s saying quoted ten times a day, “Roma locuta est, causa
finita est,” or St. Ambrose’s “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia,” or that St.
Irenæus said every one must necessarily agree with the Roman Church. These
are mere fables; Augustine and Irenæus said nothing of the kind, but
something quite different; and while Ambrose did indeed use the words, it
was without the remotest reference to the Pope and his infallibility. But
the words are quoted in a hundred books and pamphlets, and are used like
theological revolvers which never miss fire. And then Mermillod will
repeat in the Council what he lately said in a sermon here about the
threefold manifestation of God in the crib of Bethlehem, in the Sacrament
of the Altar, and—in the Vatican. Pie of Poitiers will utter some of those
bold Oriental metaphors, which all France laughs at but which are gravely
received in the Council Hall. Manning will commend infallibility as the
one plank of safety for mankind who are sinking in the shipwreck of
scepticism, while he sings a pæan over the triumph of the dogma over
history. There will be room even for some flashes of genius from the
German infallibilists, the Tyrolese and the three Bavarians, if they can
resolve on opening their lips hitherto so firmly closed. And then the
African heat and sultry atmosphere, drying up the brain, which have
already begun to press on Rome like a leaden pall, will come in to
expedite the close. The majority will avail themselves of the right the
Pope has conferred on them to break off abruptly the discussion, in which
nothing has been discussed, and the Pope will appear in a Solemn Session,
in the full pomp of the earthly representative of Christ, to proclaim with
infallible certainty his own infallibility and that of all his
predecessors and successors, “approbante Concilio.” And thus will he enter
on his new empire of the world; for he will then for the first time be the
acknowledged master and sole teacher of mankind; before, he was only a
pretender. The Bishops will bow their heads reverently under a profound
sense of their own fallibility before the one divinely enlightened man,
and the world will go to sleep to wake next morning enriched and blessed
with the new and fundamental article of faith. The day of the promulgation
will be a great day of creation. “God said, Let there be light, and there
was light, and the evening and the morning were the first day” of the new
Church, after the old Church for 1869 years had been unable to ascertain
and formulize its chief article of faith. For the Popes were always
infallible; “the light appeared in the darkness, and the darkness
comprehended it not.” From the Pentecost of the blessed year 1870, as
Manning has prophesied, dates the age of the Holy Ghost, and the Church is
for the first time really complete. As the Pentecost of the year 33 was
the birthday of the ancient Church, so will the Pentecost of 1870 be the
birthday of the new and infinitely more enlightened Church. Nearly all
commentators now assume that the seven days of creation in Genesis are not
seven ordinary days, but signify a great period of the world’s history. It
cannot then be taken ill if the Church, instead of distinctly putting
forward her principal dogma on the first Pentecost, which would certainly
have been the most natural course, should have waited nineteen centuries
in the vain attempt to ascertain and formulate it, and have only now
hatched the egg in the year 1870.



FORTY-SIXTH LETTER.


_Rome, May 15, 1870._—Yesterday the discussion of the _Schema_ on the
Primacy began, _i.e._, speeches were delivered for and against
infallibility, for any regular discussion is of course impossible in the
Council Hall. The Hall is really more patient than the proverbially
patient paper, as long as the majority do not get excited. Things can be
said there which would not be allowed to be written, still less printed.
The names of 69 Bishops are inscribed to speak. Bishop Pie of Poitiers had
already the day before, as reporter of the Deputation, exceeded the
expectations generally formed of him. He had discovered a wholly new
argument, to which he gave utterance with evident self-complacency. The
Pope, he said, must be infallible, because Peter was crucified head
downwards. As the head bears the whole weight of the body, so the Pope, as
head, bears the whole Church; but he is infallible who bears, not he who
is borne.—_Q.E.D._ The Italians and Spaniards applauded enthusiastically.
On the 14th Cardinal Patrizzi spoke. The Pope, he observed, certainly
claims personal infallibility, but he does not therefore wish nor is he
obliged to separate himself from the Episcopate. Certainly not, thought
the minority, since we must all assent to that claim of the infallible, so
that he cannot separate himself from us Bishops or shake us off if he
wished it. Bishop Rivet of Dijon carried off the honours of the day among
the Opposition. Bishop Ranolder of Vesprim referred briefly but forcibly
to the dangers into which the new dogma would plunge the Hungarian Church.
Dreux Brézé, who followed worthily in the footsteps of Pie, was this time
eclipsed by a Sicilian prelate, who said that the Sicilians had a reason
peculiar to themselves for believing the infallibility of all the Popes.
It is well known that Peter preached in that island, where he found a
number of Christians; but when he told them that he was infallible, they
thought this article of faith, which they had never been taught, a strange
one. In order to get at the truth about it, they sent an embassy to the
Virgin Mary, to ask if she had heard of Peter’s infallibility, to which
she replied that she certainly remembered being present, when her Son
conferred this special prerogative on him. This testimony fully satisfied
the Sicilians, who have ever since preserved in their hearts faith in
infallibility. This speech was really delivered in the Council Hall on May
14. The Opposition Bishops see a proof of the insolent contempt of the
majority in their putting up such men as Pie and this Sicilian to speak
against them.

Sicily is truly the land where faith removes mountains, and Pius would
find himself among his most genuine spiritual children if he went to
Messina. There the letter is still preserved, which the Virgin Mary
addressed to the inhabitants and let fall from heaven, and the feast of
the _Sacra Lettera_ is annually observed with the full approval of the
Roman Congregation of Rites, when the excited populace shout in the
streets “Viva la Sacra Lettera.” The Jesuit Inchover has written a book to
prove its authenticity to demonstration.

A great many copies of the remarkable pamphlet _Ce qui se passe au
Concile_ have been secretly disseminated—the Government naturally wants to
suppress it—and it is eagerly read. I have learnt from a Frenchman that
Pius himself has read some pages, on which he observed, “C’est mal, c’est
très-mal, excessivement mal.” It is clear that the author has himself
collected his notices in Rome. If its revelations show how every usage of
former Councils has been reversed and all true freedom carefully
destroyed, a further evidence of this is supplied by the statement of the
official _Giornale di Roma_ about the departure of the Americans, where
the Bishops are plainly reminded that they are liable to arrest, and that
any of them who quit Rome without leave incur heavy censures. A German
Archbishop, who had an audience of the Pope to-day, took the opportunity
of speaking to him about the universal aversion and resistance of the
Germans to the infallibilist dogma. It made not the slightest impression.
Pius answered: “I know these Germans of old, who choose to know best about
everything; every one wants to be Bishop and Pope.” Yet it is notorious
that he does not understand a word of German, and has never been in
Germany or read a German book, even in a translation. But he reads
Veuillot and Margotti, and hears the Jesuits at least three times a week.
Meanwhile the Protest drawn up by Ketteler against the arbitrary change of
the order of business was presented on the 12th of March with 72
signatures. It contains, as I said before, the words: “We know well that
we shall receive no answer to this any more than to our former memorials.”

All German Catholics count here for half Protestants. A German must here
give special evidence of his orthodoxy, I do not say before he is trusted,
but before he is reckoned a Catholic at all by the side of Spaniards and
Italians. Above all is German theology in ill repute, and the mere word
“history” in the mouth of a German acts like a red handkerchief on certain
animals. The good times are gone by when Germany was considered the
classical land of obedience in comparison with France, so copious was the
influx of Peter’s pence, the Jesuits, on whom the chief hopes are centred,
have effected very little here except in Westphalia and the Tyrol.

It is hard for the Bishops, even after a five months’ experience, to
comprehend the rôle assigned them, and to understand that they have only
been summoned to receive commands, to obey, and to do service. It is a
saying current among the Monsignori that the Bishops are nothing but
servants of the Pope. “Just consider the monstrosity,” said one of the
youngest but most actively employed of the Cardinals to a French priest,
when the famous letter of censure addressed by the Pope to the Archbishop
of Paris appeared in the newspapers, “this Archbishop dares to speak of
rights which belong to him! What would you say if one of your lackeys were
to talk of his rights, when you gave him your orders?”



FORTY-SEVENTH LETTER.


_Rome, May 16, 1870._—The Bishops of the minority want to bind themselves
by subscribing an agreement to vote for no formula which contains the
personal infallibility of the Pope. A calculation emanating from them has
been shown me, according to which the strength of the Opposition is
undiminished, or rather increased. It enumerates 43 Germans and
Hungarians, 40 North Americans, 29 French, 4 Portuguese, and 10 Italians.
The number of Bishops from the United States who are considered to be
trustworthy is especially worthy of notice. They have been greatly
influenced by the recent publications of the Bishops, and particularly by
the excellent work of Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis. When they first
came to Rome they were nearly all inclined to the new dogma, but here
their eyes have been gradually opened. The insolent and despotic treatment
of the Bishops, the spectacle of adulation exhibited by persons who call
themselves successors of the Apostles, and the lamentable sophistry
employed in torturing historical facts—as _e.g._ the case of Honorius—all
this has gradually filled these Republicans with disgust and aversion, and
driven them to the opposite side. But clearly what has chiefly influenced
them has been the conviction produced by the controversy that, if they
take home with them the new dogma of the Pope’s political supremacy over
all States, they will be exposed to the contempt and hatred of all
educated America. And as many of them are Irishmen by birth, they have
been reminded that, as Alexander VI. gave the American peoples to Spain,
so Adrian IV. gave Ireland to the King of England and thereby brought
misery on the emerald isle.

The Bishops of the Opposition know how to appreciate the strength and
numerical preponderance of their rivals; they know too that, besides a
cool calculation and passive subjection to the commands of their “lord,” a
certain enthusiasm and confidence also prevail among their ranks. There
are first the numerous missionary Bishops and Vicars-Apostolic, who must
certainly vote as they are told, for they are entirely in the power of the
Propaganda, and Cardinal Barnabo is an inexorably strict master: the
Orientals have experienced that. And moreover the Bishops engaged in
converting the heathen say, “How conveniently the new dogma will simplify
and facilitate our work with Negroes, Kaffirs, New-Zealanders, etc.! We
have hitherto had to refer them to the Church, of whose nature and
authority we could only impress a dim conception on their minds with much
time and trouble. Henceforth we shall tell them that God inspires one man
in Rome with all truth, from whom all others receive it. That is short,
simple, and what a child can understand.”

But the main strength of the papal army consists in the 120 Bishops from
the kingdom of Italy with the the exception of 10, the 143 from the States
of the Church, and the 120 titular Bishops without subjects or dioceses,
most of them created by the present Pope, who represent nobody but
themselves, or rather him who has raised them from the dust and set mitres
on their heads. That makes altogether 373 Italians. This chosen band will
remain here patiently through the heat so unendurable to the Northern
Bishops, and the question has been already mooted in the Vatican, as I
hear from the mouth of one who is in its confidence, whether it would not
be best to protract the affair and defer the final voting till these
recalcitrant Northerners have obtained the permission which will be
readily accorded them to flee from the heat and fevers, after which the
Italian and Spanish prelates would vote the darling dogma with conspicuous
unanimity. The idea deserves to be preferred to another, which is also
under consideration. The Pope might issue a Bull defining that the moral
unanimity, which has been so much talked of, is not necessary for Councils
in voting articles of faith, and that a simple majority is sufficient. For
it is thought that most of the minority Bishops, especially the
inopportunists, would not dare to resist the new papal definition, and
would thus be compelled at last to succumb to the infallibilist decree. We
shall soon see. You may gather what the leaders of the minority think of
the situation from a remark of Cardinal Mathieu’s, “On veut jeter l’Église
dans l’abîme, nous y jeterons plutôt nos cadavres.”

The two Bavarian Bishops, Stahl and Leonrod, have thought fit after two
months to make a public demonstration of their assent to Bishop Räss’s
condemnation of Gratry. The explanation accepted here is that, after the
Bavarian note had been presented, the authorities wished the Bavarian
Bishops to make an adverse move on the conciliar chess-board; and as these
two prelates would not openly contradict their King, the expedient of a
very late adhesion to the effusions of the Bishop of Strasburg was chosen.

It is commonly assumed that all the Cardinals are infallibilists as a
matter of course, and the more so as this is at bottom the only doctrine
which may be said to have been exclusively invented and built up by men
who either were already or were soon about to become Cardinals. Still this
is not quite the case. Apart from the non-resident Cardinals, Rauscher,
Schwarzenberg and Mathieu, there are some among the residents who would
gladly be dispensed from voting for the new foundation article of faith on
which the whole edifice is henceforth to rest. But one of them said
to-day, “We shall ruin our position, lose all influence, and become the
mark of endless attacks. And as every one here has some weak and
vulnerable point in his past life, he dare not expose himself to these
fatal assaults on his character and honour from which there would be no
escape.” At the same time the Cardinal admitted that the whole College has
so lost its influence and become so insignificant, that for six months the
Pope has not once assembled them. Antonelli and a few favourites, with the
Jesuits of the _Civiltà_, are the people who now construct the history of
the world and the Church.



FORTY-EIGHTH LETTER.


_Rome, May 20, 1870._—The first week of the great debate is drawing to a
close. The Archbishops of Vienna, Prague, Gran, Paris, Antioch and Tuam
have spoken against the infallibilist definition. So much is gained; the
Catholic world knows that it is represented in Council, while the Court
party is robbed of some illusions about the strength of the resistance to
be looked for. The only fruit of its better knowledge as yet observable is
seen in an increased obstinacy and a greater insolence of tone. The
Commission has already declared by anticipation, in its reply to the
remarks of the Bishops against the dogma, that the denial of infallibility
is condemned under pain of censure, and scientific arguments are no longer
available. The giving out of this watchword does excellent service to the
majority, who are very shy of theological arguments and treat their
opponents as heretics. That far-famed courtesy, which has hitherto been an
ornament if not exactly a real excellence of Rome, has greatly diminished,
and the hypocrisy so long spun out has disappeared; it has become
necessary to recognise the broad gulf which divides parties. And this has
produced a tendency on the side of the Court and the majority to push
their claims to the extremest point, to play for high stakes, and hold out
no prospect of concessions beforehand. The minority is in their eyes not a
power to be negotiated with but a gang of insolent mutineers to be put
down. The mass of the majority have carried their leaders with them, and
only passion now prevails in that camp. But the harshness and roughness
the _Curia_ has thought it necessary to display has done more to
strengthen the Opposition than the changes and concessions already
pre-arranged will do to dissolve it. They have been suffered in this way
to gain a position which they might never have won if the _Curia_ had
exercised more foresight. Whether all the elements of the Opposition will
be found reliable, pure in their aims and loyal in their hearts, the
future will show. At present I only record the audacious policy of the
majority based on cunning calculations, as it has been evinced in the
early days of the discussion. But the majority naturally includes men of
different minds; there are some who would like to be well rid of the
affair, and others who would gladly discover a formula not looking like a
positive innovation which might satisfy opponents, while the great mass of
them want the blow to be struck so that, after crushing the Opposition
within the Council, they may annihilate it without the Council also. These
last have the upper hand in the majority, and will probably retain it till
the general debate is over and the doctrine itself and its definition come
to be discussed. They are led by cool, calculating heads, but consist for
the most part of the uneducated and unlearned mass of the episcopate who
have no independence, the people who during Strossmayer’s speech presented
the spectacle of a rabble of conspirators rather than an ordered assembly.
To keep them in the requisite state of exaltation the speeches must be
adapted to their intellectual level. And as they are more easily excited
than controlled they do not of course exhibit the majority in a favourable
light, and one may be prepared at any moment for the Council being
disgraced by an outbreak of their frenzy. Nothing more of the kind however
has happened yet.

At the head of the extreme party stands the close ally of the Jesuits, the
Archbishop of Westminster. He was the first to say out with the utmost
distinctness that infallibility belongs to the Pope alone and
independently of the Episcopate. The ultramontane speakers, Pie, Patrizzi
and Deschamps, have vied with one another in their endeavours to get this
extreme view of Manning’s accepted, which they themselves did not all
share before. The emancipation of the Pope from the entire Episcopate is
the very turning-point of the whole controversy, the object for which the
Council was put on the stage; infallibility tied to the consent of the
united or dispersed Episcopate nearly all the Bishops would accept, for
very few indeed clearly understand that even Councils depend on another
consent than that of the Episcopate. But such a definition of
infallibility would cost Rome the very thing she has laboured so much and
sinned so much to gain. It is a great advantage for the Opposition that in
this matter there are no formulas of compromise possible but such as are
manifestly perfidious and insincere.

On the 17th Deschamps, Archbishop of Mechlin, made perhaps the most
important, certainly the most remarkable, speech delivered in favour of
the _Constitutio_. He is considered the ablest speaker of his party, which
notoriously has no superabundance of good speakers, and is said to be a
superficial man who takes things easily. He not only committed himself to
the extremest section of the party, but denounced his opponents as bad
Christians not walking in the fear of God. The change of tone was much
remarked in him, as in the Bishop of Poitiers. Manning exhibits the same
change, who now maintains that all who do not submit to the majority might
well be excommunicated directly after the promulgation of the decree. Two
German Bishops, Greith and Hefele, spoke on the same day; and indeed in
this debate many weighty voices will be raised from every land where the
contest about the Church is being fought, to point to the practical
dangers involved in the circumstances of the case—a kind of argument Pius
is wont to put aside with a “Noli timere.” Greith of St. Gallen spoke for
Switzerland; as a learned theologian he declared himself against the
definition on scientific grounds, and as a Swiss Bishop on account of the
present circumstances of his country; for he is persuaded that his Swiss
brother bishops, with their zeal for the infallibilist decree, are simply
forging weapons against the Church for the Radicals. Bishop Hefele of
Rottenburg touched in the course of his speech on the affair of Honorius,
which must later on come into the discussion. Next day Hefele read
Cardinal Rauscher’s speech. But Cardinal Schwarzenberg’s address exceeded
all expectations and left a profound impression. Cardinal Donnet and the
Archbishop of Saragossa, who spoke in the name of the Deputation, did not
bring the defence any further or develop any new points of history,
and—which is more important—gave no further information about the plans
and hopes of the _Curia_ and the majority.

On Thursday the 19th Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, spoke, who for
twenty years has been the protagonist of Romanism in the British isles.
With sound tact he chose the most learned Bishop of the minority, Hefele,
for attack, and assailed not his speech but his publications. Yet he did
not attempt to refute him, but only to prove that he had contradicted
himself, since the account of Honorius given in his History of Councils is
different from that in his latest work. It is true that in the History,
where no doctrinal inferences were to be drawn, the theological
significance of the condemnation of Honorius does not receive the same
exhaustive appreciation and exposition as in the little tractate on the
question whether he was justly condemned for heresy. But there is no
difference of principle between the two works; in both Hefele says plainly
that Honorius was justly pronounced a heretic, even if he was no heretic
at heart. But when the two passages are separated from each other, it can
be made to look as though he had maintained in the former that Honorius
was really orthodox whereas he now declares that he was a heretic. But the
process could with equal reason be reversed, and the heresy of Honorius
shown to be affirmed in the History and his orthodoxy in the pamphlet. But
what use would even an orthodox Pope be for upholding the purity of the
Church’s doctrinal deposit, if he used heretical formulas to express his
own really true opinion?

None the less however was Cullen’s attack received with great
satisfaction, for the ruling powers know well enough on what the Bishop of
Rottenburg’s opposition is based, and think to subdue German
science—_i.e._, the devil himself—in his person. On the same day the
Patriarch Jussuf uttered words that deserve to be laid to heart on the
consequences such a dogmatic blunder would entail in the East—a
significant indication that the Orientals are not prepared to bend
obediently under the yoke of a decree aimed at their ritual and their
rights as well as their tradition. The Archbishop of Corfu answered him
next day. There is very little that can be properly called debating, for
the order of proceedings is better suited for academical addresses than
for real discussion; the practice of making prelates speak in their order
of precedence makes any honest interchange of blows impossible. But the
Greek coming forward to speak looked like a preconcerted answer to the
Armenian. The Archbishop of Corfu insisted that, so far from the dogma
rendering the reunion of the Greek Church more difficult, such a result
was inconceivable without it, nor could the dogma excite any suspicion,
because the Greeks found it in their tradition as well as their Fathers
and Councils, and envied the Latin Church her infallible Pope. In evidence
of this he cited the passages where the Pope’s primacy is recognised. The
great body of the Fathers listened to this with grave faces: it was only
following the style of their own theologians.

But three more important speakers had been heard before the Corfiote. The
first was Simor, primate of Hungary, who was chosen, as is well known,
into the Deputation on Faith and has shown himself a more zealous advocate
of its proposals and adherent of the _Curia_ than ever. The majority
believed that it possessed in him a master of Latin who could rival the
eloquent leader of the Opposition, and Simor justified his reputation as
an accomplished Latinist. But he spoke—assuredly to the no small disgust
and amazement of the majority—as an unequivocal opponent of the proposed
decree. And this implied that the whole Hungarian Episcopate would vote
against it. He was followed by a feeble old man whose speech fell flat
after that of the eloquent primate, and who could only be known to a few
of his hearers, though he holds an important place in the history of the
last generation. This was John MacHale, for the last thirty-five years
Archbishop of Tuam and formerly the most powerful prelate in Ireland, a
famous name in the days of O’Connell; but his political rôle has long been
played out, and he belongs to a bygone age and an obsolete school. For the
twenty years during which Cullen has been introducing Roman absolutism
into Ireland his influence has been on the decline, and while he was
expounding his antagonism to the definition to-day in a long and
complicated address, men said to themselves, “magni nominis umbra.” It was
the accumulated debt of twenty years he paid off to Cardinal Cullen. But
he can hardly be expected to have gained over any of his countrymen to the
Opposition besides the three or four of them who already belong to it.

MacHale was succeeded by the Archbishop of Paris, the most accomplished
and skilful, and therefore the most feared, of all the Opposition
prelates. Darboy was lately the most influential advocate of that system
of dallying and postponement which has so grievously injured the minority,
and was involved through his intimate alliance with the Tuileries in the
unhappy policy of his Government, so that he had become somewhat less
trusted and influential. So much greater was the impression produced by
his speech to-day, wherein he declared distinctly and repeatedly that a
dogmatic decree not accepted by the whole Episcopate could not have any
binding force. A suppressed murmur which ran through the ranks of the
majority as he spoke seems to herald coming storms.

So far the Opposition has made its voice clearly heard. That it has on its
side reason, Scripture and history signifies nothing for the moment; what
is important is that it makes its strength felt, that it has won over
waverers or doubters to its ranks, and that it has at last spoken plainly.
The position of parties and the question itself will take many new shapes,
when the separate chapters of the Constitution come on for discussion.



FORTY-NINTH LETTER.


_Rome, May 26, 1870._—The intellectual superiority of the Opposition has
made itself so sensibly felt in the course of the debate on infallibility
that they have visibly won in spirit and confidence, while a decrease of
the assurance of victory hitherto manifested by the majority is
observable. There is no sign yet of the breaking up of the Opposition or
the desertion of its members to the infallibilist camp. The Court party
had confidently reckoned on a considerable number of mere inopportunists
giving in and separating from the opponents of the actual doctrine of
infallibility, as soon as the dogma came to be discussed. The latter was
said to be a mere tiny fraction, who would eventually take fright at their
own impotence and come over. But as yet this hope has not been realized,
and there are many indications that it is not likely to be realized, for
the course of events and their experiences in Rome, as well as the
discussions, both oral and written, have converted inopportunists into
decided fallibilists. Cardinal Schwarzenberg has spoken with great power
and dignity, and even the most zealous adherents of the Roman dogma must
have been somewhat impressed by his declaration that its effect in Bohemia
would be to make the nation first schismatic and then gradually
Protestant. It at the same time illustrated the conduct of the Jesuits in
a way that will not be forgotten. When the Archbishop of Paris affirmed
that the much desired infallibilist decree was not one of the causes of
the Council, but its sole cause, every one felt what a bitter truth had
been uttered, and that the veil would thereby be torn away from that web
of untruths and dishonest reticences about the object of the synod, by
which the Bishops had been deceived and enticed as it were into a trap to
Rome. Veuillot indeed had openly said in his official organ at the end of
April, that to decree the new dogma was the principal and at bottom the
sole office of the Council. That was at the very time when about eighty
Bishops put out their strong protestation that they had come to Rome under
the erroneous impression, deliberately suggested by the _Curia_, that the
question of infallibility would not be brought before the Council; while
yet Cardoni had many months before, in the Commission on Faith, presented
by command of the Pope the report which has lately been printed, and the
whole Commission had agreed with him that papal infallibility should be
defined. That same Commission, with the Jesuit Perrone and Dr. Schwetz of
Vienna at its head, has now presented an address to the Pope urging the
definition of the new article of faith, without which those worthies think
they cannot exist any longer.

The infallibilist speaker who created most sensation was Cardinal Cullen,
Archbishop of Dublin. He gained the warm applause of his party by the
aggressive tone of his speech, in which he attacked especially Hefele and
Kenrick. He appealed to the testimony of MacHale to show that the mind of
Ireland has always been infallibilist—a glaring falsehood, as is proved by
the famous Declaration of the Irish Catholics in 1757 formally repudiating
the doctrine. And it made no slight impression, when the grey-haired
MacHale rose to repudiate the pretended belief in infallibility not merely
for himself but for Ireland. But it is certainly true that in former times
for more than a century the Irish people, like the Spanish, was victimized
to papal infallibility. Every Irishman or Spaniard, who knew the history
of his country, would recoil with horror from a theory which has borne
such poisonous fruit for both nations in the past and may be equally
injurious in the future. To acquaint the Catholic tenants in Ireland with
the infallible decisions of Popes about heresy and heretics would be
enough at once to increase ten-fold the agrarian crimes prevalent there,
and would be the surest means for reproducing such a massacre as occurred
there in 1641.

When Cullen replied to the Archbishop of St. Louis, “non est verum,” the
aged prelate requested leave of the Legates to defend himself briefly. It
was refused. Hefele was as little free to answer Cullen’s attack, and has
therefore had a pamphlet in his justification printed at Naples. A new
work by one of the most illustrious of the French Bishops is also expected
from Naples, designed to prove against the Jesuits of the _Civiltà_ the
necessity of moral unanimity for dogmatic decrees. Another Irishman,
Leahy, Archbishop of Cashel, said such absurd things in favour of the
Court dogma that his speech was considered a clear gain for the minority.

There are 89 speakers inscribed for the general debate, and not a third of
them have yet spoken. This opens out a prospect of the debate being spun
out to a great length, oppressive as the tropical heat is now become. The
_Curia_ still relies on the Northerners being tamed down. If only a good
many of them would emulate the example of the Bishop of Hildesheim, and go
away! The plan has often succeeded with English and Irish juries, of
locking them up, when they could not agree, till they found a true
verdict. But that won’t answer here. On the contrary the longer the debate
lasts, the more numerous the Opposition party becomes. At first many
Bishops thought they might fairly gratify the good and amiable Pius, who
won all hearts, even by making a new dogma, and give him the present he so
greatly longed for. But Pius has completely cured his former worshippers
of this disposition to make an article of faith “pour les beaux yeux du
Pape.” It has no doubt happened before that Italian Bishops have been
treated by the Pope like servants, hired for the day’s work and dismissed
again if they did not obey the orders of the _Curia_. One need only refer
to that parody on a synod, the fifth Lateran assembly, when Leo X.
propounded downright forgeries and untruths to his Italian Bishops, who
had to call themselves an Œcumenical Council, and dictated their votes.
But even there no one ventured to treat Transalpine Bishops—Germans,
French and Hungarians—with the insolent contempt now shown, to refuse even
a reply to their urgent petitions and representations, and to make them
drain the cup of humiliations and grievances to the very dregs. But the
great task to be achieved in the first months of the Council was the
kneading and manipulating the Bishops in all possible ways, so as to make
them feel the immeasurable gulf between the master and the servants, that
they might be more ready at last to sacrifice their episcopal dignity and
ancient rights on the altar of Roman supremacy. When once they have
assented to the infallibilist dogma, they neither can nor ought to be or
desire to be anything else but passive and unintelligent promulgators and
executors of papal commands and decrees on faith. That what is really
required of them is to abdicate their office as a teaching body and
themselves abolish their authority, Ketteler has lately declared without
reserve in the Congregation; and he is a man who has profited much by his
Roman schooling, though in a quite different sense from what his master
intended. The Roman system of drill does not succeed with Germans,
Hungarians and Americans.

A note received a fortnight ago from Paris by M. de Banneville, to be
communicated or read to Cardinal Antonelli, has created great excitement
here, owing to his studiously concealing it from his diplomatic
colleagues. Its substance is as follows: France renounces any further
interference with what is going on here, and contents herself henceforth
with taking note of the decisions of the Pope and the Council. The
Government has done its duty, as a friendly Catholic power, in seeking to
withdraw the Court of Rome from the perilous path on which it has entered.
The attempt has proved fruitless. The _Curia_ seems resolved to ruin
itself. France will maintain the attitude of a passive spectator, but
accepts the altered condition of things introduced by this declaration of
war on the part of the Roman Court. On the day of the definition the
Concordat ceases to be in force and the previous relation of Church and
State expires. The State separates itself from the Church and the French
troops leave Rome. Separation of Church and State means in France and
elsewhere that the budget of worship will be dropped, and the clergy must
be supported by the faithful. And here I may mention a fact which has come
to my knowledge on the best authority. When Count Daru was going to
despatch his famous memorial to the Holy See, he wished for an
interpolation in the Chamber on the attitude of the Government towards the
occurrences in Rome, and a friend of his applied on the subject to one of
the most celebrated orators of the Left, who declined, saying, “Rome fait
trop bien nos affaires pour qu’il soit de notre intérêt de lui créer des
embarras.” The contents of the note mentioned above are confirmed by the
words of a leading statesman at Paris, quoted by a Bishop who has lately
returned from thence, that for his own part he considered the separation
of Church and State in France inevitable. He had however assented to the
well-meant attempt of Count Daru to warn the Pope, and if possible deter
him from his short-sighted enterprise; but as that attempt had proved
futile, it remained to take advantage of the blunders of the _Curia_. So
enormous a spiritual power as the Court of Rome was aiming at was
incompatible with the possession of secular power, and accordingly the
French troops must be withdrawn from Rome, and matters left to take their
course.

Even now there is a wish discernible among Cardinals like di Pietro, Corsi
and Bilio, to discover some intermediate formula, while the party men,
like Manning, Pie, Cullen, and all who have been concerned in the
agitation and have staked their credit on its result, hold to the most
uncompromising form, as laid down in the existing programme. The latter
reckon on their overpowering preponderance of numbers, on the power of the
Pope, and the dread of ecclesiastical methods of coercion, such as
excommunication and the like, whereby all resistance will be certainly put
down. On the other hand, the Cardinals and members of the Papal Cabinet
just referred to prefer to set their hopes on the hazy views and yielding
temper of many Bishops of the minority, and think that an ambiguous
formula might serve at once to delude and divide them. Their watchword is
“conciliazione, un partito di conciliazione.” But all their ingenuity is
expended in the elaboration of a phrase which may contain in a somewhat
allegorical and obscure form the infallibility and universal monarchy of
the Pope. To this conciliatory section also belongs a man who understands
the greatness of the danger clearly enough, and who so lately uttered
words which have become notorious here: “This Pope began by destroying the
State, and now will close his career by destroying the Church too.” Yet
the speaker of these words does not scruple to use his high position and
influence for actively furthering the undertakings which must lead to the
catastrophe.

It is impossible for outsiders to form anything like an adequate
conception of the complication of views and plans and the multifarious
activity of the Roman _prelatura_. Things happen which must appear
incredible to every one who has heard of the proverbial skill and gift of
accurate calculation possessed by the ruling clergy here. Thus a member of
a powerful Order is sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by the Holy
Office on account of an occurrence in a nunnery here, the convent being at
the same time broken up and the nuns distributed over other convents. Yet
after scarcely two years’ imprisonment this man, who is unhappily a
German, is brought back here, and intrusted with the preparation of the
draft decrees for the Council, and now the Court trusts to its favourite
“segreto del S. Ufficio” for the cause of his sentence and of the
dissolution of the convent not coming to the ears of the Bishops, but in
vain. The matter has created too great a sensation, and the culprit is too
well known.

Meanwhile the minority are being plied with reasons, which are only
mentioned cursorily, or not at all, in the printed documents of the Court
and the majority. They are told that all their own interests depend on the
papal authority being preserved intact, and that the evils they fear from
the proclamation of the dogma cannot come into comparison with this common
interest. They are bidden to remember how far the Pope has already
committed himself in this matter; since John XXII.—more than 600 years
ago—no Pope has thrown the Brennus sword of his authority into the scale
to decide a question of doctrine, but Pius has cut himself off from all
possibility of retreat by his _Schema_, his conversations with many
Bishops, and his letters of encouragement and commendation to
infallibilist writers. He has declared, not once or twice but a hundred
times, that he knows and _feels_ his infallibility, and wills the Catholic
world to believe it. He might simply by a Bull condemn all who oppose it
as heretics, and how many of the Bishops would summon courage to resist
the Bull?

As yet these reasons, practical as they appear, have not produced much
effect. The Opposition grows visibly, and the speeches of its members have
produced an impression quite unexpected by themselves. The words of the
Melchite Patriarch, Jussuf, have kindled a flame among the Orientals too,
and there are Bishops who tell me they had not thought it possible for a
discourse in the Council Hall to produce so great a revolution of feeling.
But I will not conceal from you that you may find in Margotti’s _Unita_,
which draws its information from the highest authority, news in comparison
to which my statements must appear pure fables. He writes from here on the
18th of May, “The action of the Holy Ghost is beginning to be felt; the
Opposition diminishes daily. Cardoni has just issued his masterly work on
papal infallibility, and now every one comprehends that it is the sole
remedy and defence against the dominant pest of journalism and a free
press. We must have a Pope who, being himself infallible, can _daily_
teach, condemn and define, and whose utterances no Catholic ever dares to
doubt.”(102) So runs the statement in the _Unita_ of May 24. Inconceivable
blindness of past generations, who allowed whole centuries to pass without
needing or asking for a single papal definition! Henceforth the definition
wheel, which the Pope is to turn, is never to remain still for a
day—because of journalism.

Thus does civilisation increase the wants of men. Our forefathers had to
lead a joyless life without sugar, coffee, tea, alcohol and cigars, and
stood on so low a level of cultivation that they fancied they got on very
well without any infallible papal definition. But we, who are so
gloriously advanced, require besides bodily enjoyments many—if possible
very many—daily infallible definitions, and the Pope, out of sheer
inexhaustible goodness, is on the point of acceding to the earnest prayers
of 180 millions and opening the definition machine. Veuillot lately
declared it was high time that the fact of the Pope’s permanent divine
inspiration should be universally acknowledged; Margotti says that we want
not only this, but daily definitions.(103) In this noble rivalry of the
two Court journalists the Italian has evidently stolen a march on the
Frenchman.

In my former statistics the number of Americans was put too high and of
French too low. Only 23 Americans were lately calculated to belong to the
Opposition, to whom must be added 10 Orientals, 4 Portuguese, 10 Italians
and 5 Spaniards, making the whole minority over 120.



FIFTIETH LETTER.


_Rome, May 27, 1870._—New speakers are continually inscribing their names
for the debate on infallibility. And as only four can usually speak in one
sitting, it is impossible to foresee the end of the general debate, after
which the detailed discussion of the separate chapters is to follow. The
minority seem resolved at this second discussion to enter thoroughly for
the first time on the numerous separate points, exegetical, dogmatic and
historical, which offer themselves for consideration. If the majority and
the Legates allow this, the end will not be near reached by June 29; and
after that date residence in Rome is held to be intolerable and the
continuation of the Council impracticable. This last assumption I conceive
to be mistaken. The Pope can very easily go to Castel Gandolfo for his
summer holidays, while he leaves the Council to go on here. That it should
consist of hundreds of Bishops is quite unnecessary; former Popes have
known how to manage in such cases. Eugenius IV. had his Florentine Council
nominally continued, after the Bishops were all gone except a handful of
Italians; Leo X. was content with about sixty Italians at his so-called
fifth Lateran Council. What is to hinder Pius IX. from keeping on the
Council, after the Northern and distant Bishops are departed, with the
Bishops of his own States and the titular episcopate resident in Rome,
together with a host of Neapolitans and Sicilians? Some too would be sure
to remain of the leaders and zealots of the majority. But the Court party
can cut short the discussion and push matters to a vote whenever they
like. The order of business enables them to do so, but of course this
imperial policy will only be applied when the Pope gives the signal.

Nearly the whole sitting of May 25 was taken up by a speech of Manning’s,
who justified the expectations formed of him by assuring the Opposition
that they were all heretics _en masse_. But he left the question
undecided, whether they had already incurred the penalties of heresy
prescribed in the canon law. Ketteler’s speech made a precisely opposite
impression. Men were in a state of eager suspense as to what he would say,
for he was known to have passed through a mental conflict. Ten months ago,
in his publication on the Council which was then convoked, he had come
forward of his own accord as the advocate of papal infallibility; he had
come to Rome full of burning zeal and devotion for the Pope, though at
Fulda he had declared the new dogma to be inopportune. I omit the
intermediate steps of the process of disillusionizing and sobering he has
gone through. His speech has shown that, like many others, he has become
from an inopportunist a decided opponent of the dogma itself.

Such a change of mind based on a conscientious weighing of testimonies and
facts is inconceivable and incredible to a regular Roman. When some of the
Vicars Apostolic who are supported at the Pope’s cost signed the
representation against the definition, the indignation was universal among
the Monsignori and in the clerical world here. “Questi Vicari, che
mangiano il pane del Santo Padre!” they exclaimed in virtuous disgust.
That a poor Bishop, and one too who is maintained by the Pope, should yet
have a conscience and dare to follow it, is thought out of the question
here; and this view comes out with a certain _naïveté_. The anxiety of the
German Bishops about the new dogma perplexing so many Christians and
shaking or destroying the faith and adherence to the Church of many
thousands can hardly be mentioned here, so impatient are the Monsignori
and Cardinals at hearing of it. People here say, “That does not trouble us
the least; the Germans at best are but half Catholics, all deeply infected
with Protestantism; they have no Holy Office and have little respect for
the Index. Pure and firm faith is to be looked for among the Sicilians,
Neapolitans and Spaniards; and they are infallibilists to a man. And even
in Germany your women and rustics are sound. Why do you have so many
schools, and think every one must learn to read? Take example from us
where only one in ten can read, and all believe the more readily in the
infallible living book, the Pope. If thousands do really become
unbelievers, that is not worth speaking of in comparison with the
brilliant triumph of the Papacy now rendered infallible, and the
inestimable gain of putting an end to all controversy and uncertainty in
the Church for the future.” When I look at the careless security of the
majority, I could often fancy myself living in the year 1517. The view
about foreign countries and Churches prevalent here is just what Molière’s
Sganarelli expresses about physicians and patients: “Les veuves ne sont
jamais pour nous, et c’est toujours la faute de celui qui meurt.”

The finance minister has had the bad condition of the papal treasury
communicated to the Bishops; a standing annual deficit of 30 million
francs, and the Peter’s pence decreasing! Some new means of supply must be
discovered, and the extremest extension of ecclesiastical centralization
and papal absolutism has always been recognised at Rome as the most
productive source of revenue. Every one here believes that the new dogma
will prove very lucrative and draw money to Rome by a magnetic attraction.
It will make the Pope _de jure_ supreme lord and master of all Christian
lands and their resources. The ultramontane jurists and theologians have
long maintained that he can compel States as well as individuals to pay in
to him such sums as are required for Church purposes. And there is no more
urgent need for the Church now, than that an end should be put to the
deficit of the Roman Government. And if it should be impossible or
unadvisable to put in force these supreme monetary rights of the Papacy at
once, still, when the temporal supremacy of the Pope is made an article of
faith, Rome possesses the key which may be used at the right moment for
opening the coffers and money-bags. And therefore the opponents of the
dogma are regarded as enemies of the Roman State economy and the wealth of
the Roman clergy; and the variance between the two parties is embittered.

Meanwhile the Pope is never weary of carrying on his personal
solicitations for the votes of the Bishops; he has the right of being a
persevering beggar. But one hears less of conversions to the majority than
of men going over to the Opposition; and the effluences from the Tomb of
the Apostles close to the Council Hall, of which such great expectations
were formed, seem to act in the opposite direction.

A new system of tactics has been for some time adopted, in France
principally, and is now to be introduced into Germany. The clergy in the
dioceses of Opposition Bishops are to be seduced into signing addresses
expressing strongly their belief in papal infallibility and desire for its
speedy promulgation. This device has been pursued with great success
through means of the Paris nunciature and the _Univers_. The French parish
priests who, since the Concordat, have been removeable at the will of the
Bishops and have suffered sufficiently from their arbitrary caprice in
transferring or depriving them, see their only resource in the _Curia_,
and the notion has lately been disseminated among them that the
infallibilist dogma will procure their complete emancipation from
episcopal authority. Accordingly almost every number of the _Univers_
contains enthusiastic addresses, which might be tripled by making all the
nuns subscribe, as they would do with the greatest pleasure.

The plan which has proved so successful in France is to be adopted now in
Germany also. The nuncio at Munich reports that there is a swarm of
red-hot infallibilists there, and that the clergy are eagerly awaiting the
news of the definition; the diocesan organs of Munich and Augsburg,
together with the clerico-political daily papers, are quoted as
indubitable testimonies, and the Bishops of Cologne, Augsburg, Munich,
Mayence, etc., are told on high authority that they have nobody behind
them, and that their claim to represent the faith of their dioceses is in
contradiction with facts. There are indeed no numerously signed addresses
to show in Rome, but the daily papers give weighty evidence. Silence, it
is thought here, implies consent, the women and the rustics are certainly
for the Pope. The Pope says in his supreme self-satisfaction, “Scio
omnia.” He knows the true state of things beyond the Alps far better than
the Bishops; the Jesuits and their pupils and the nuncios take care of
that. Hugo Grotius says, with reference to Richelieu, “Butillerius Pater
et Josephus Capucinus negotia cruda accipiunt, cocta ad Cardinalem
deferunt.” So it is here, the Jesuits do what the Fathers Boutillier and
Joseph did in Paris. Pius receives only what is “cooked,” and twice
cooked, first in the Cologne and Munich kitchen and then in the Roman. The
German Bishops remember with some discomfort that they themselves sharply
rejected and censured every declaration of adhesion, and violently
suppressed the movement only just beginning.

The Cardinal General-Vicar has ordered public prayers for a fortnight by
the Pope’s command: the faithful are to invoke the Holy Ghost for the
Council, since the whole world presents so wretched an appearance
(_miserabile aspetto dell’ orbe_), and the longer the conflict (of the
Council) with the world increases, the more glorious will be the victory,
and then, it is said, will all nations behold miracles—which appears from
the context to mean that, considering the opposition of the world (and of
so many Bishops), the erection of the new article of faith must be
regarded as a miracle of divine omnipotence, but a miracle which will
certainly be wrought. Many interpret this to mean that people must be
prepared for a conciliar _coup d’état_. But as matters stand, it can
hardly be supposed that the Court party will let matters come to a _non
placet_ of at least 120 Bishops, nor would anything be gained by cutting
short the debate. In the last analysis the main ground of the dogma with
the majority always resolves itself into this—that the present Pope and
his predecessors for many years past have held themselves infallible. That
is the only ground on which the Dominicans, Jesuits and Cardinals have
interpolated it into the theology of the schools. Pius might certainly
define it in a Bull to the entire satisfaction of the majority, and
thereby put an end to the contention of the Bishops. An end? it may be
asked. Well, yes—the end of the beginning.



FIFTY-FIRST LETTER.


_Rome, June 2, 1870._—The debate drags on its weary length without any
turning. Of real discussion there is none, for very few of the prelates
can speak in Latin without preparation. As I have said before, academical
discourses are delivered, almost always without any reference to what has
immediately preceded. Only the majority have the right of reply allowed
them. If a Bishop is attacked or calumniated, he cannot answer till his
turn comes, which is often not for some weeks, as was Kenrick’s case; and
if he has spoken already, he cannot speak again in the same debate, and
cannot therefore defend himself at all, as occurred with Hefele. But the
members of the Deputation can speak whenever they choose; they interrupt
the order and interpose as often as seems necessary to them for defending
their proposals or weakening the force of an important speech on the other
side. Very often they break in on the course of proceedings quite
arbitrarily and without any connection with previous speakers. They have
the stenographic reports before their eyes, and thus know the exact words
of the speaker and can answer them while their opponents have no similar
advantage. That all this implies an iniquitous injustice and want of
freedom never occurs to the dominant party, who are on the contrary
astonished at the kindness and patience of the Pope in allowing an
opponent of his omnipotence and advocate of doctrines long since condemned
to use St. Peter’s as the theatre, and his Council as the occasion, of a
persevering attack on his dearest wishes, ideas and acts. They ask
themselves how long he will tolerate so strange a reversal of his plans
and views. It is certain that his excitement has reached fever heat, but
it has not yet been resolved to break off the debate, which is so far
remarkable, inasmuch as according to the opinion of the Court it can
neither have any practical results nor any character of sober reality. As
they did not regard it from the first as a means for establishing the
truth, it must now appear to them simply a hindrance in the way of the
truth already ascertained. For those who attack infallibility, and thus
utter error and blasphemy over the tomb of the Apostles, freedom of speech
can be no right in the opinion of the majority, but simply a favour
dependent on the pleasure of the deeply injured and offended chief. It is
characteristic of the present stage of the affair, that during this debate
there has been no disposition shown to interrupt the speakers of the
minority. Signs of discontent have been frequent enough, but no further
attempt to stop a speech by force.

There is still an immense and unprofitable number of speakers enrolled.
Above a hundred have sent in their names since the beginning, who might
easily have been debarred from doing so, and the tediousness of the
discussion is aggravated by the members of the Deputation, who lengthen it
out still further by their frequent and usually prolix interpositions.

The chief events of the last fortnight have been the speeches of Manning
and Valerga for the dogma, and of Ketteler, Conolly and Strossmayer
against it. The Bishop of Mayence spoke on Monday, May 23, when he
expressed his opinion more forcibly and gave more offence than any
previous speaker. He defended the constitution of the Church against the
Roman conspiracy, citing the arguments contained in the pamphlet he had
before distributed, and denounced against ecclesiastical centralization
the same penalty of revolution, incident to a centralized State, which, he
said, is already knocking at the doors. He gave his decisive adhesion to
those who demand unanimous consent, and declared that he had always held
the personal infallibility to be “opinio probabilissima,” but could find
no necessary certainty in it, neither “certitudo dogmatica” nor “veritas
dogmatizanda.”

One might think that a man who is so unclear about the logic of history
and the principles of morals belongs to the majority. However the
impression produced by Ketteler’s speech was favourable to the minority,
and all who have watched his attitude before the last four months,
especially at Fulda, must have recognised the decided advance in the line
taken by the Opposition. Many think the conversion is complete, and the
great wound of the Opposition—its containing members ready sooner or later
to turn renegades—finally closed. The Bishop of Mayence was at first
believed to be the author of the pamphlet he has distributed, but it was
not composed under his eye or under his influence, nor even at his
suggestion, and bears no trace of his mind. The general line is Maret’s,
but his leading idea, that in case of a conflict a Council is superior to
a Pope, does not occur in it. Ketteler must have acquired a great deal of
Roman experience and non-Roman development before he would denounce a
papal decree to his country and his diocese as uncatholic. But the advance
which he, like others, and more than many others, has already made, is
unquestionably a gain, and gives a peculiar force to his words. But it has
damaged and discredited the minority that so many Bishops are more careful
about the position and influence of the Church than about the purity of
doctrine.

I must return once more to Manning’s speech of May 25, as it was very
interesting and important. He asserted roundly that infallibility was
already really a doctrine of the Church, which could not be denied without
sin (_sine publico peccato mortali_) or proximate heresy (_proximâ
hæresi_), and therefore they did not want to make a new dogma but simply
to proclaim an existing one. In these bold but highly significant words
Manning pointed to what many better men choose to be blind to. He no
longer acknowledges the opponents of the doctrine as brothers in faith, as
members of one and the same Church, since they do not satisfy his
conditions of orthodoxy; his faith and theirs are not the same. He has
been the first to proclaim this great truth in Council, and it is time for
the minority to ask themselves, whether unity still really survives in the
sense hitherto maintained against Protestants, whether the foe is really
still outside and has not penetrated into the inmost sanctuary of the
Church, for the temple must be cleansed before the nations are converted.
The minority can no longer live in peace with Manning and his like, or
imagine that the contest does not threaten the very existence of the
Church. Manning has indeed said that he does not think the decree strong
enough. The Spaniards agree with him, and an open difference on this point
has arisen in the Deputation. The great majority would be glad to find a
formula less offensive to the Opposition, but Manning has the Pope on his
side, and gets him worked upon by certain sacristan-like natures, like the
Bishops of Carcassonne and Belley, who have won the special confidence of
Pius IX. through having a certain mental affinity with him. Manning’s
whole speech was an attempt to hinder concessions, and keep the _Curia_ to
the point of forcibly suppressing the minority. And it counts also for a
sign that the Pope is resolved to go all lengths. The fanatics would
prefer the Church being exposed to the danger of schism to modifying their
theory in the least particular, for the latter would be a humiliation for
themselves, while the other kindles a contest the end of which they feel
no doubt about. It is reckoned certain that of the Bishops who will vote
against the dogma, not all have the courage for a protest, and that of
those who do protest some will rather resign their sees than undertake the
contest with the _Curia_ under excommunication.

Manning’s argument for infallibility from the condition of England was
remarkable. It is unquestionably his chief motive, and what gives the
stamp of sincerity to his position, to make Catholicism more compact and
closely united in Protestant England. He hopes by means of the dogma to
suppress those differences of opinion which are a source of disturbance
and weakness, so that all will re-echo his words, uphold his theology in
the face of a disintegrating Protestantism, and his policy in the face of
political parties with the combined strength of five million men. He
conceives that the Christian element is more and more disappearing from
the Established Church and the sects of England, and sees a general
dissolution of belief which offers a future to Catholicism as the one
definite authority. But he maintained in the Council that the English
Catholics were in favour of infallibility, and that even Protestants
testified that it would strengthen his hands. That the leading English
theologian, Newman, has spoken so strongly against the definition he of
course did not say. It was only consistent with the bitter enmity between
the two to ignore it. Nor did he say that the English Bishops present at
the Council are equally divided—himself, Ullathorne, Chadwick and
Cornthwaite being infallibilists, against Errington, Clifford, Amherst,
and Vaughan, who are fallibilists. He read extracts from Protestant
papers, stating that papal infallibility is the logical outcome of
Catholicism; to such miserable weapons was he driven for defending his
cause. Clifford, who followed him, had an easy task in exposing these
misrepresentations and falsehoods. One point in his speech his hearers
missed: he said that the mischief the definition threatened the Church and
the mischief it had already done to the interests of religion in England,
might be gathered from the letter of an illustrious English statesman, for
the authority of which he could appeal to an Archbishop there present.
This Archbishop was Manning himself, and the allusion was to a letter
addressed to him by an English minister, saying in substance that in
England it was the most vehement Protestants, and those most notorious for
their hostility to the Catholic Church, who eagerly desired to see
infallibility and the Syllabus made into dogmas, and that the present
policy of Rome had so greatly increased the anti-Catholic feeling of the
country that every step taken by the Government to extend the rights of
Catholics and improve the social condition of Catholic Ireland met with
the most persistent opposition.

The Italian Valerga, titular Patriarch of Jerusalem, delivered on Tuesday,
May 31, a more spirited, piquant and insolent speech, which I will give a
report of in my next letter.

The great debate may last till the middle of June, when it is hoped that
the chapter on the primacy may be carried without difficulty, and the
special debate on infallibility be brought to a successful end before the
middle of July. But there is sure to be a lively and protracted discussion
on the primacy, which may easily exhaust the patience of the majority, for
the continuance of the present situation is a deep humiliation for the
Pope and _Curia_. The Opposition, whose existence at first was so boldly
denied, and of which there was originally only a germ in the Episcopate,
subsequently developed in Council through the clumsy tactics of Rome,
places the Roman See in an unwonted and what is thought an intolerable
light. What Pius IX. and the Jesuits reckoned on accomplishing, first in
three weeks, then in four months, at Easter, at Pentecost, on the feast of
St. Peter and St. Paul, by acclamation, by unanimous consent, is not done
yet and seems to recede further and further. The Roman people are losing
their reverence for the Pope, though they await the doctrine with
equanimity. They say, “Si cambia la Religione,” and laugh good-humouredly.
But I heard the words from the mouth of a Roman priest, “L’idola restera
al Vaticano, ma l’altare serà deserto.”

It is certain attempts will soon be made either to cut short the debate or
adjourn it and overcome the opposition by some compromise. Such an attempt
was made before by a Cardinal, but the Bishop of the minority to whom he
applied would not even look at the formula. Then the Dominicans conceived
a similar idea, but were answered that there were strong reasons not only
against the wording of particular forms, but against any reference to the
question. Such proposals are sure to be repeated in spite of Manning and
the fanatics. But the Opposition Bishops cannot entertain them separately
without breach of word to their colleagues, though it is always possible
that some formula or other may find friends and advocates among them.

The rupture with France is a decisive one. In the first place a Bishop
from the North of France has repeated here a conversation he had with a
leading statesman in Paris, who said that the attitude of Rome was
equivalent to a declaration of war against France, and that the Government
had done everything to withhold the _Curia_ from its perilous course, but
in vain. He himself opposed Count Daru’s policy, as he did not wish to
prevent what might lead to the separation of Church and State, but now he
thought they were free to carry out the separation, as Rome had made it
inevitable. The reciprocal obligations of the two Courts would cease, and
therefore the occupation of the Roman States by French troops, for the
spiritual power the Pope was aiming at was incompatible with secular
power. At the same time the French ambassador uttered similar warnings
here, and informed the Cardinal Secretary of State that he was ordered to
do nothing more to restrain the course of events. Antonelli is said to
have replied that he took the same view, but had not influence enough to
do anything. It is of course believed here that the present administration
in Paris is not strong or firm enough to carry out a policy which would be
more after the mind of Prince Napoleon than of the Emperor. But the
_Curia_ underrates the offence given to France by the quiet contempt with
which both Daru’s notes were treated.

Meanwhile the incense is being constantly swung before Pius, so that the
clouds of homage conceal the abyss to which he is drawing on the Church.
There is great agitation going on among the French as well as the Italian
clergy, with a view to securing their votes for infallibility and also
presents of money. Their expressions not seldom exceed in devotion to Pius
everything of the kind ever heard of before; and it seems as if the old
canon law sycophants had come back to life, who made no scruple of
designating the Pope God and Vice-God. Let us give two examples. One of
these true sons of the Church in Italy submits by anticipation to whatever
Pius chooses to define, whether with the approval of the Council or by his
own sole authority. Seven priests from Cuneo bring these verses—


    Parla, O Gran Pio,
    Cio che sona il tuo labbro,
    Non è voce mortal, voce è di Dio.


The international Committee of the minority thought it necessary that a
treatise should be expressly composed to discuss the weighty question of
moral unanimity being required for dogmatic decrees, and Dupanloup has
undertaken the task. He had a pamphlet on the subject printed at Naples
and laid before the Fathers. He first proves from history that this
condition was never wanting in any Councils which count as œcumenical, and
was distinctly recognised and maintained at Trent by the Pope himself. He
then examines the opinions of the chief theologians of all ages, including
St. Vincent of Lerins and St. Augustine, and Popes Leo I., Vigilius and
Gregory the Great, who all agree in making moral unanimity an
indispensable condition for a decree on faith. He proceeds to observe that
in matters of discipline and canon law a numerical majority is enough, as
decisions of that kind may be altered afterwards, but for a dogma there
must be moral unanimity of the Council and the Churches to whose faith it
bears witness, or else Catholicism would be annihilated. But great
theologians and theological schools of former ages opposed papal
infallibility, and it is opposed now by a large number of Bishops at the
Vatican Council representing great Churches and Catholic nations. A
Council is only then infallible when the assembled Bishops of the whole
Church bear witness to the faith inherited from the beginning. The
majority must therefore either convert the minority to their views by free
discussion or give up their design; were they to suppress the minority by
mere brute force of numbers, that would be unconciliar and unprecedented
in Church history. It is not mere probability but unquestionable certainty
that is required for defining a dogma, and a considerable number of
distinguished members of the Council have no such firm belief in papal
infallibility. To define it in spite of this would be to act as judges and
masters of faith, not as its depositaries and witnesses. A minority
denying a dogma which had been the perpetual belief of the Church would be
in the wrong, but not a minority repudiating the definition of a doctrine
which had never been held an article of faith. Even the Pope cannot by his
authority raise the decision of a mere majority to the dignity of a dogma,
for he only promulgates decrees on faith “sacro approbante Concilio,” and
without moral unanimity the Council has not approved. The words of the
Bishop of Orleans are directed principally against the _Civiltà_, which
has notoriously laboured to establish the opposite hypothesis, and he
asks, “Are we at a Council or not? If we are, the rules of Councils must
be observed, or else a great assembly of Bishops is reduced simply to
playing the part of a theatrical exhibition.”

Dupanloup goes on to remark on the storms and incalculable evils which the
definition of papal infallibility would bring on the Church and the
Papacy. He concludes with these words: “If ever moral unanimity was
requisite for a dogmatic decision, it is so at a Council like the Vatican,
where there are 276 Italian Bishops, of whom 143 belong to the States of
the Church; 43 Cardinals, of whom 23 are not Bishops or have no Sees; 120
Archbishops or Bishops _in partibus_, and 51 Abbots or Generals of
Orders—while the Bishops present from all Catholic countries of Europe,
exclusive of Italy, only number 265, so that the Patriarchs, Primates,
Archbishops, and diocesan Bishops of the whole world are outnumbered by
the diocesan Bishops of Italy alone.(104) At a Council so composed a mere
majority can never decide; and the less so when the personal intervention
of the Pope makes itself felt, when the freedom of the Bishops is so
seriously hampered, and in so many ways, when the question of
infallibility has been so unscrupulously and violently brought forward for
discussion by a mere sovereign act—a sort of _coup d’état_—when
consciences are tormented and a number of writings are issued which have
created a great sensation and give evidence of the anxiety of the
faithful, and when lastly the Bishops themselves let a cry escape from
their tortured hearts which the whole press re-echoes. Under such
circumstances it is impossible to settle the matter by a mere _coup_ of
the majority; and if it is done all kinds of mischief must be feared. Nor
is it I alone who say so; there are 100 Bishops who say, ‘An intolerable
burden would be laid on our consciences. We should fear that the
œcumenical character of the Council would be called in question, and
abundant materials supplied to the enemies of religion for assailing the
Holy See and the Council, and that it would be without authority in the
eyes of the Christian world, as having been no true and no free Council.
And in these troubled times no greater evil can well be conceived.’ ”



FIFTY-SECOND LETTER.


_Rome, June 3, 1870._—Valerga attacked the “Gallicans,” drawing a parallel
between the Pope and Christ, and between the Fallibilists and
Monothelites. As in Christ the human will co-existed with the divine, so
in the Pope may personal infallibility co-exist with moral sinfulness, and
to conclude from the former against the latter—to draw an argument from
scandals in papal history against the _privilegium inerrantiæ_—is
analogous to the error of the Monothelites, who denied the possibility of
a human will subject to sin co-existing with the divine will in the same
person. Never has the well-known spirit of the Roman _Curia_ shown itself
so openly and with such technical adroitness as in this carefully
elaborated and minute accusation against the Opposition. As Archbishop
Purcell of Cincinnati expressed it, it was “exemplum sophismatum artis ad
instar congestorum,” and great expectations might be formed of its
salutary effect on the French. Purcell answered shortly and pointedly that
the charge applied equally to the Council of Trent and the sixth, seventh,
and eighth Œcumenical Councils, and that he and his colleagues were
content to endure the patriarch’s anathema in such good company. Even
Bellarmine quotes a whole cloud of witnesses against infallibilism, and
neither he nor later writers had refuted them. It is a matter of
thankfulness to God that he has never suffered this opinion to gain
dogmatic authority. Purcell then cited clenching proofs of the public
erroneous teaching of Popes, and among them the history of the ordinations
and reordinations of Formosus and Sergius. The standpoint which he took as
a republican was interesting. He said that the Church was the freest
society in the world, and was loved as such by its American sons, for the
Americans abhorred every doctrine opposed to civil and spiritual freedom.
As kings existed for the good of the peoples, so Popes for the good of the
Church, and not _vice versâ_. Perhaps he was thinking of the words of the
absolutist Louis XIV., “La nation ne fait pas corps en France, elle réside
tout entière dans la personne du roi.” For “nation” put “Église,” and the
words describe precisely the papal system, as it is now intended to be
made exclusively dominant by means of the Council.

The most important speech in this sitting, and one of the most remarkable
theologically since the opening of the Council, was that of Conolly,
Archbishop of Halifax. Formerly an unhesitating adherent of personal
infallibility he had come here without having specially studied the
question, and under the full belief that the _Allgemeine Zeitung_ had
calumniated the Roman See in representing this dogma as the real object of
the Council. But when he found what was expected of him here, he
instituted a searching examination, and thoroughly sifted, as he said,
what the classical Roman theologians cite for their favourite doctrine. He
now frankly submitted to the Council the result of his studies,—that the
whole of Christian antiquity explains the stock passages of Scripture
alleged for papal infallibility in a different sense from the _Schema_,
and bears witness against the theory that the Pope alone, without the
Bishops or even in opposition to them (_etiam omnibus invitis et
contradicentibus_), is infallible. But what our Lord has not spoken, even
though it was certain metaphysically or physically, can never become the
basis of an article of faith, for faith comes by hearing, and hearing is
not by science, but by the words of Christ. It is the speciality of
Catholicism not to interpret passages of Scripture singly and by mere
critical exegesis, but in the light of tradition and in harmony with the
Fathers. To found a dogma on the rejection of the traditional
interpretation would be pure Protestantism. It is not therefore the words
of Scripture simply but the true sense, as revealed by God and attested by
the perpetual and unanimous consent of the Fathers, which all are pledged
by oath to follow, that must be called the real revelation of God. To cite
modern theologians, as Bellarmine does, is nothing to the purpose. I will
have nothing, he said, but the indubitable word of God made into a dogma.
The opinions of 10,000 theologians do not suffice me. And no theologian
should be quoted who lived after the Isidorian forgeries. But no single
passage of Fathers or Councils can be quoted from that earlier time of
genuine tradition, which affirms the Pope’s dogmatic independence of the
rest of the Episcopate. If there be any such, let it be shown; but there
is none, and innumerable and conclusive testimonies can be cited on the
other side. Even at the Apostolic Council at Jerusalem St. James proved
the teaching of Peter by the Prophets, and appealed to it because it
agreed with theirs and not on account of his authority. Conolly was ready
for his part to believe that no Pope could wilfully and knowingly become
heretical,—_i.e._, persistently hold out against all the rest of the
Church; but that did not prove papal infallibility, and to define it would
be to bring the Vatican Council into contradiction with the three Councils
which condemned Honorius, to narrow the gates of heaven, repel the East,
and proclaim not peace but war. To those who said, “Pereant populi sed
promulgetur dogma,” Conolly replied that the loss of one soul was serious
enough to outweigh all the advantages looked for from the new dogma. He
declared, against Manning, that no one was justified in calling an opinion
“proximate heresy” which the Church had not condemned as such; for it was
a duty to follow and not to anticipate her sentence. A Pope had said that
no one should censure a doctrine before the Holy See had spoken, and the
Penitentiary had declared in 1831 that the Gallican Articles were not
under any censure. He had worked thirty-three years among Protestants, and
could testify that what Manning affirmed was the reverse of the truth.

Conolly is a man who is on the whole in tolerable harmony with Roman
views, but who is therefore all the more resolved to vote against
infallibility. While he forbids the Gallican doctrine being taught in his
diocese, he protests here against the Roman. There is evidently a process
going on in his mind, which in so cultivated a theologian can have but one
result. He ended by declaring that he would accept the definition if the
Council proclaimed it, for he was convinced that God was among them. But
that merely meant that he was convinced the dogma would never be
proclaimed. On the strength of that conviction he was almost the first
speaker who briefly but decisively maintained the doctrine to be
untenable.

Yesterday, Thursday, Vancsa, Bishop of Fogarasch, of the Greek Rite,
quoted the testimonies of Greek Fathers against infallibility, and his
speech was thought a remarkable one. Dreux-Brézé of Moulins followed him,
and again had the misfortune immediately to precede Strossmayer. He
contended that, as the Pope is supreme teacher, and the French call him
“Souverain Pontife,” and he is the highest judge, he must be infallible.
As Vicar of Christ, he is also king, for Christ said to Pilate, “Thou
rightly callest me king,” and the royal title was affixed to the cross.
But if Christ was infallible as king, so is the Pope. He supported all
this by texts of Scripture, and spoke against the Fathers who accused the
Pope of despotism or maintained that the new dogma would be the formal
introduction of the grossest despotism. Without the Pope, who is
“Episcopus universalis,” and can seldom exercise his office on account of
the number of the faithful and of his labours, the Bishops have no
jurisdiction, and cannot even absolve without powers derived from him.
“Let us therefore go on,” he concluded, “to unity and agreement, and give
Cæsar what belongs to Cæsar, and the Pope what belongs to the Pope.”

Strossmayer followed him, and declared that papal infallibility was
against the constitution of the Church, the rights of the Bishops and
Councils, and the immutable rule of faith. He explained the constitution
of the Church according to the holy Fathers and especially St. Cyprian
(_De Unitate Ecclesiæ_), who did not hold their jurisdiction to be limited
to their dioceses, since by virtue of their character they often had to
exercise authority in the concerns of the universal Church, and were
obliged to do so, as, _e.g._, in Councils. This sharing of authority and
rights between the Pope and the Episcopate was evident from the
controversy between Pope Stephen and Cyprian in the third century about
the rebaptism of heretics, in which the latter did not the least admit any
personal and absolute infallibility bestowed on the Pope by our Lord. And
St. Augustine defended him on the ground that the question had not yet
been decided by a General Council, which shows that the sole authority in
matters of faith and morals was in his opinion a General Council, united
with its head.

Strossmayer took this opportunity of vindicating the French Church
admirably from the calumnies and attacks of the Patriarch of Jerusalem. He
complained indignantly of a Church which had come forth pure and
victorious from the bitterest persecution, and which boasted such great
martyrs and confessors, being slandered by the comparison of so-called
Gallicanism to Monothelitism, and of those great men being libelled who
during life had rendered such conspicuous services to the Church of God,
as well as their successors who had made wonderful and exceptional
sacrifices for the Church and the Holy See. Strossmayer blamed the
Patriarch’s vague and general statements about the constitution of the
Church, and advised him to bring arguments from positive tradition, which
were alone of any decisive force. He proceeded to insist on the power and
necessity of General Councils, especially in our days, and he proved the
necessity of their being frequently held from the conduct of the Apostles,
from the holy Fathers, and from the Councils of Constance and Trent. But
if once the personal infallibility of the Pope were defined, Councils
would become superfluous and useless, and the Bishops would be robbed of
their authority as witnesses and judges of faith. In the one way the
greatest injury would be done to the prosperity of the Church, and in the
other the rights of Bishops would be reduced to a mere assent, so that
they would hardly any longer be consultors and theologians; but this would
be clearly against the unchangeable constitution of the Church and the
usage of Councils, as for instance that of Chalcedon, where the Bishops
most unmistakeably exercised the office of judges as regarded the Letter
of Pope Leo. The Bishops could make no such concession without betraying
their authority, and casting a slur on their predecessors at the Council
of Trent, who are well known to have so emphatically vindicated their
freedom and rights, when the two words “proponentibus Legatis” were
inserted by the Legates against their will. And the speaker praised the
wisdom of the Council of Trent in resolving to abstain from deciding any
questions which might give occasion for discord or for prejudicing the
rights and freedom of the Bishops.

In the last part of his speech Strossmayer discussed the Catholic rule of
faith, which had been completely changed and violated by the comments of
the members of the Deputation of Faith on the _Schema_. The principle of
at least moral unanimity was, he said, a sacred one, corresponding to
precedent and pleasing to the faithful. There were whole volumes of the
holy Fathers extant on this principle, as of Irenæus, Tertullian,
Augustine and Vincent of Lerins, who in common with all others maintained
that there are three essential conditions for proving a divine tradition
and propounding an article of faith, antiquity, universality and
agreement. They all thought the tradition of the Roman Church a principal
river, whereby the whole earth was watered, but they regarded the
traditions of the other Churches also as tributaries by which the river
must be constantly fed, or it would in course of time be dried up. They
all ascribed the first authority to the witness of St. Peter’s successor,
but that authority was only manifested clearly to the Catholic world after
being reinforced by the consent of all the other Churches. This divine
rule would be completely overset by the personal infallibility of the
Pope, to the great injury of faith. If it is said that the definition is
earnestly desired by many, it must be replied that it is also desired by
the worst enemies of the Church, who openly say in writing and by word of
mouth that it is the best means for destroying the infallibility of the
Church. That fact alone would explain the alarm and anxiety of so many of
the most learned Fathers of the Council. Strossmayer dwelt in conclusion
on the danger that would result from the definition for the Southern
Sclaves and Catholic Croats, who lived side by side with eight million
persons out of the unity of the Church. Not only would the return of these
separated brethren be barred, but it might be feared that the Catholic
Croats would be driven out of the Church. He therefore always hoped, and
entreated the holy Father, that he would emulate the example of the
humility of St. Peter in his martyrdom, and of Christ who was exalted by
his Father because He had humbled Himself to the death of the Cross, and
magnanimously have the subject withdrawn.

The speech was listened to with great attention, and became the topic of
conversation in all circles at Rome, and even Bishops of the other party
paid a high tribute to it. As yet 24 Bishops have spoken against the dogma
and 35 for it,—most of the latter having no real dioceses.

Two interesting episodes have intervened. Last week the police refused the
Prince Bishop of Breslau his _visa_ for Naples, because he could show no
permission from the Presidents of the Council to go there. This implied
that the Fathers are civil as well as spiritual subjects of the Pope. The
Bishop, who was wearied out with the objectless proceedings in the Council
Hall, sent to Fessler, the Secretary of the Council, for the requisite
permission; Fessler replied that he could not give it, and referred him to
the President de Angelis, who tried to represent the whole affair as a
mistake. It had not been so ill meant, and at most only the departure of
the Orientals was intended to be prevented, he said, and he authorized
Fessler to instruct the police to give the permission. But that was the
most complete indorsing of what they had done, and proved that the Pope
meant to use his temporal power for managing the Council and controlling
the actions of the Fathers. On that account the departure of the Prince
Bishop had been hindered, and the whole affair involves the question of
ecclesiastical freedom and international right. Does a member of the
Council thereby lose or prejudice his rights as the subject of a foreign
state, or is the freedom of individual Bishops suspended while taking part
in it? So anxious is the Pope to give up nothing which may serve for
dominating the Council, that he restricts the Bishops in the most harmless
exercise of personal freedom, which at other times he would never have
thought of. I will not dwell on the insult in this procedure to the King
of Prussia, whose safe-conduct was no more respected than the Emperor
Sigismund’s at Constance, for a graver question is at stake,—that of
international right and freedom of the Council. Meanwhile they reckon on
Prussia taking no further notice of the affair, and the Prince Bishop has
given up his journey after these difficulties. France, too, has quietly
endured a series of insults, and so they hope not to have to abolish the
regulation or disavow the police.

Rome cannot admit the principle of international right in this case,
without giving up one of her own principles, the Inquisition, according to
whose laws foreigners can be arrested, imprisoned, and put to the
question. No secular tribunal limits its power, and every Bishop therefore
could in theory be brought before it. By papal law the Pope might at any
moment have Cardinal Schwarzenberg arrested, and if the right has become
inapplicable, that is due to the influence of foreign states and the
modern spirit, whose restraints on the full exercise of Church authority
it is the office of the Council to remove, as the Syllabus, Bull of
Censures, _Schema de Ecclesiâ_, etc., prove. According to Roman canon law,
freedom at the Council is inconceivable.

In a former letter I gave an inaccurate account of the Prince Bishop’s
conduct towards the priest Jentsch, at Liegnitz, being misled by
statements in the Roman newspapers.(105) The text of the explanation
accepted by the Bishop shows that no principle was conceded or denied, and
he said himself that he agreed in substance with Jentsch.

The arrival of Father Hötzl in Rome seemed for a time likely to produce
still more serious conflicts, for his affair looked as if it would oblige
the minority to give expression to their view of Döllinger’s teaching on
the necessity of general consent for the œcumenicity of a Council. Those
who had undertaken the instruction of Hötzl cared less for converting him
than for using the opportunity to provoke dissension among the minority.
He was told that an explanation, not a retractation, was all that was
demanded of him, and when the explanation he offered was found
unsatisfactory another was proposed to him on May 31. The crucial passage
in it was read and examined by leading bishops of the minority, whose
names were calculated to inspire complete confidence. Hötzl had some cause
to think he had saved honour and conscience, and responsibility to man and
God, when he sought the judgment of liberal German Bishops and resolved to
abide by it. But though they disliked the passage, they thought it
difficult to know how to save a man who had come to Rome in such childish
confidence, and did not feel justified under the circumstances in urging
him to go to extremities and sacrifice himself to their interests. It was
not their place to drive him to a breach with his Order or a loss of
personal liberty, at a time when they had not themselves publicly,
solemnly and decisively repudiated the doctrine imposed on him. Still less
did they want to compromise themselves or break up their harmony before
the time. And their hesitation may have led Father Hötzl into his mistake;
he was acting in concert with the minority when he signed.

I give only a brief preliminary notice of the most important points in
to-day’s sitting. After Dinkel, who spoke very well, and Domenec, Bishop
of Pittsburg, who was much interrupted, Maret made a longer speech, which
he delivered in a very loud voice, as deaf persons are apt to do. In the
course of it he declared that it would be called a vicious circle for the
less to give power to the greater, as would be done if the Council, which
was said to possess a lower authority, were to confer on the Pope—a higher
authority—the prerogative of infallibility. Thereupon Bilio struck in very
excitedly, crying out “Concilium nihil dat Papæ nec dare potest, sed
solummodo recognoscit, suffragia dat, et Sanctus Pater quod in Spiritu
Sancto ipsi placet decidit.”

In yesterday’s sitting a _postulatum_ for the close of the general debate
was prepared, which is said to have received 150 signatures. After Maret’s
speech it was at once produced and the close voted. Little more than 60
prelates have spoken, and above 40 were waiting their turn, amongst whom
were Haynald and other considerable persons. The continuation of the
debate had been reckoned upon and much was hoped from it; but now that the
example has once been set of using the well-known clause in the order of
business in the interests of one party, the step may be repeated in every
succeeding debate. The Opposition will be driven into greater firmness by
this occurrence, which they had foreshadowed in the half-threatening
formula at the end of their great Protest. The question is now forced upon
them, whether they were in earnest in what they then said.



FIFTY-THIRD LETTER.


_Rome, June 4, 1870._—The first impression made on the minority by the
violent closing of the general debate led many of them, in discussing it
directly after the sitting, to say they would take no further part in the
debates. A great meeting was arranged for to-day at Cardinal Rauscher’s to
decide the question. It was the largest international gathering of the
Opposition yet held, including nearly 80 Bishops, but was for that very
reason difficult to manage. Two possible courses were discussed—to remain
in Rome but take no further part in the debates, as not being free, and
vote at the end _non placet_ against the infallibilist _Schema_, or simply
to issue a protest against the injustice they had suffered, and continue
to take part in the proceedings. The former view was supported principally
by the Hungarians, North Americans, the leading French Bishops, and men
like Strossmayer, Simor, Haynald, Darboy, Dupanloup, Clifford, Conolly
(represented by proxy), and others. They insisted that words were of no
further avail, and they should show their sense of the want of freedom by
acts, so that, as far as in them lay, no decree should be carried which
had not been thoroughly discussed. In this way the œcumenicity of the
Council would be denied without coming as yet to a breach in Council or a
disturbance in the Church; for they could no longer recognise the Council
as legitimate, nor yet retire, for to retire would precipitate the most
extravagant decisions and lead to an open conflict. There were many
reasons why it could no longer be held legitimate, such as its
composition, the order of business, the pressure exercised on the Bishops
by the Pope personally or through his officials, the notorious design of
getting dogmas promulgated by a majority, etc. It would be simply a
degradation to give in any longer to such a farce. In Parliaments speeches
were not altogether useless, for if they could not influence votes they
enlightened public opinion, but at this so-called Council most of their
hearers were quite incapable from their standard of cultivation of
appreciating theological arguments, not to add that the moral standard of
many among them was such that, even if they were convinced, they would not
act on their convictions. And speeches, which were not made public, could
produce no effect out of doors. To debate under these circumstances would
only be to incur a large responsibility for the entire conduct of the
Council. But if the Opposition refrained from discussion and left the
field free to the majority, the differences among them would soon be made
manifest. The _Curia_ could hardly hold out against so serious a
demonstration, but if it remained obstinate, no further doubt would be
possible in the Church as to the opinion of the minority about the
Council.

On the other side it was urged that all which could be gained by such a
demonstration would be gained equally by a declaration showing how the
forcible closing of the general debate had undermined the foundations and
future authority of the Council. They owed it to the world to do more than
merely give reasons against the legitimacy of the Council; they must
debate and bring forward the objections to the infallibilist doctrine
itself, and thus give public testimony of their convictions. Most of the
Germans took this view, which many French Bishops readily acceded to, when
they observed that the Hungarian phalanx had been broken up. Perhaps other
and more subordinate motives helped to establish this opinion, but many of
its advocates are men of no decided resolution, and men who in reality
want only a semblance of resistance and are already secretly prepared to
yield at the last moment. It was thought strange that at this assembly,
which had been summoned to consult on the means of meeting the violent
_coup_ of the majority, a German Archbishop was present who had joined the
enemies of his party in subscribing the proposal for closing the debate
the day before.

The draft of the Protest finally adopted against this act of violence had
been brought to the meeting by Cardinal Rauscher, and bears marks of the
antagonistic elements it combines. Yet it contains one passage, which may
perhaps be appealed to hereafter, “Protestamur contra violationem nostri
juris.”(106)



FIFTY-FOURTH LETTER.


_Rome, June 6, 1870._—There have been indications for some time past that
the _dénouement_ was likely to be precipitated. The Pope himself declared
that it was impossible to keep the Bishops here in July. The great debate,
with 106 speakers inscribed, wearied every one, and the tropical heat
increases the exhaustion and disgust. But the minority maintained their
resolve to carry on the general debate to the end, while the majority
counted on its absorbing the discussion of the separate chapters of the
_Schema_, and accordingly Fessler announced that the speakers were at
liberty to treat of points which belonged properly to the special debate.
His party considered that, if the general and special debate were mixed up
in this way, they might insist at the end that the separate chapters
required no further discussion, since everything had been said already,
and so they might come sooner to the decision they so earnestly desired.
Very few speakers have attempted any theological argument—perhaps only
Conolly, Dinkel and Maret; and this made it easier to mix up the general
and special discussion, which again has helped to give a vague and
rambling character to the debate. It was clear that after 106 or more
speeches on the preliminary question, there were still five weary debates
to come on the preamble and each of the four chapters, so that, unless the
discussion was to be forcibly closed, it must either last on through the
whole summer, or a prorogation be allowed while the main question was
still unsettled. The first expedient seemed hardly practicable, and could
only be held out _in terrorem_, so that the Court really had to choose
between an act of arbitrary power or a prorogation of the Council, which
last would be equivalent to a great victory of the minority. There was no
want of attempts to get up an agitation for an adjournment. It seemed a
happy escape from grave embarrassments to those secular and untheological
counsellors of the Pope, who have given up the notion of infallibility,
and on the contrary are convinced that the definition involves the
separation of Church and State, the fall of the temporal power and the
loss of the accustomed resources of the Papacy. These men do not expect an
isle of Delos to rise out of the sea for the Pope when the States of the
Church are swallowed up, but they are excluded from any influence on the
Council. The more full the Pope is of the one grand subject of his
infallibility, the less will he listen to Antonelli, to whom the mysteries
in which he is not initiated are a nuisance, and who hates the line taken
by Manning and the French zealots and apostolic Janissaries, and would
like nothing better than an ambiguous formula leaving things just where
they are.

But as soon as the majority became aware that some of the more colourless
Bishops of the middle party were working for the prorogation of the
Council, they resolved to be beforehand with them. Their _postulatum_ for
closing the debate with its 150 signatures was got ready on Thursday the
2d, but was not meant to be presented till the Saturday. But the great
excitement at the close of Maret’s speech gave them the opportunity for
striking the blow on Friday, when the close of the general debate was
carried by a large majority. The order of business undoubtedly gave the
Presidents the right of putting it to the vote, and moreover they have
more than the letter of the law on their side. They might have urged that,
as the general and special debates were not kept separate, most of what
was now omitted might be supplied afterwards, and the Fathers who had
missed their turn would have five other opportunities of speaking. They
might have also alleged, in excuse of hurrying the proceedings, the
constantly growing impatience and disgust generally manifested in the
assembly, and the uselessness of all minute discussion of details. It is
enough to mention as indicative of the prevalent feeling of the majority,
that they received the Bishop of Pittsburg with derisive laughter when he
ascended the tribune, and that they muttered at every affectionate or
respectful allusion to the Pope by an Opposition speaker, “Et osculatus
est Illum.”(107) Under these circumstances Conolly omitted nearly half his
manuscript. The majority might have urged the further excuse that far more
of their own speakers than of their opponents were excluded by the close
of the debate. Some 27 of the latter had as yet spoken against 36
infallibilists, which however, considering that the minority are only a
fourth of the Council, tells in their favour.

But if we examine the matter more closely, the Opposition has lost all it
had left by the close of the general debate, viz., freedom of speech. It
has been sacrificed to the caprice of the majority, for the subsequent
debates may be closed in the same way: that on the primacy because it is
no new subject, and that on infallibility because the general debate
turned wholly upon it. So the Opposition had nothing left them but to
protest, unless they would summon courage for a decisive act. But their
protest is as feeble as the last; it is simply directed against the abuse
of an order of business they had already protested against, and then
themselves accepted by continuing to take part in the Council. A party
intoxicated with success cannot be restrained or conquered by these paper
demonstrations, nor even the sympathy of the Catholic world be gained; a
definite and firm principle is requisite for that. After all their
experiences it may be called a harmless amusement for the minority to
present protest after protest, with the certainty that they will be laid
by unnoticed and unanswered.

The French Bishops of the minority held a meeting on the 3rd, from which
they came away troubled and undecided. The Germans take the matter less
seriously. Their past presses heavily upon them. They had an opportunity,
when the second _regolamento_ was issued at the end of February, and again
at the Solemn Session at the end of April, of either getting their views
accepted or bringing the Council to an end. But they were not then strong
enough for that. Now at the eleventh hour a last though less favourable
opportunity is offered them. But at the international meeting at Cardinal
Rauscher’s last Saturday, their views were again set aside, for the
assemblage of the whole body of Opposition Bishops brought to light the
unpleasant fact of a gulf between the intellectual leaders and the mass of
the minority, which makes any real leadership impossible. And this is the
more lamentable, because the men who since the opening of the Council have
risen to so important a position were almost unanimous; for Hefele and
Rivet, Bishop of Dijon, were almost the only ones among them, except
Ketteler, who rejected the energetic measure of holding aloof from the
debates for the future and protesting by silence. It seems that Hefele
wanted to recognise the Council as still having some claim. The other
leaders succumbed, unwillingly and predicting evils, to the will of the
majority, who were satisfied with the protest drawn up by Rauscher.

But all is not yet lost, and the tactics actually adopted may perhaps in
skilful hands be made as effective as the rejected policy. Between
Pentecost and the feast of the Apostles from 80 to 90 speakers might make
their voices heard. If we consider that more than 100 speakers had
enrolled their names for the first and tolerably irregular debate, and
that 49 speeches were suppressed, it is clear that the great question of
the primacy and infallibility of the Pope would require a much longer time
for uninterrupted and complete discussion, and thus the adjournment would
remain as probable and as inevitable as before. The Court and the majority
would perhaps shrink from depriving the proceedings of all dignity, weight
and completeness by a fresh _coup d’église_, as such an attempt might
appear even to them too bold and dangerous in the special debate on the
principles of the Church. And if such an attempt was made, it would
perhaps exhaust at last even the patience of the patient Germans, and lead
them to muster all their forces for the last contest. One must admit that
if orthodox Catholicism is only to be saved by an adjournment of the
Council this is not much to the credit of the Church. But the reason why
so many prefer a prorogation to a decisive conflict is because they fear
that many present opponents of the doctrine might at last vote for its
definition and betray their consciences through fear of men, and that many
who vote against it and insist on the necessity of unanimity would
ultimately accept and teach a dogma false in itself and carried by
illegitimate means.

I will merely mention, in illustration of this, that it was lately thought
very necessary to distribute a _Disquisitio Moralis de Officio
Episcoporum_, discussing whether a Bishop does not greatly violate his
conscience by voting for a decree to define the personal and independent
infallibility of the Pope, without having any previous conviction of its
being a revealed doctrine always held and handed down in the Church as
such. The treatise is well written, but no such bitter irony against the
Episcopate is contained in the pasquinades, and it is obvious that the
author has not underrated their weakness from the fact that many Bishops
would vote differently if the voting was secret. There are some among them
too who doubt if papal absolutism and a power which kills out all
intellectual movement is not better than truth and purity of doctrine, and
if the responsibility of individual Bishops is not superseded by a decree
of the Pope, at least when issued “sacro approbante Concilio.”

To judge from to-day’s debate on the preamble, one would imagine the
Opposition neither knew how to speak nor how to keep silence. None but the
French, who have put down their names to speak, appear to have much desire
to take any further part in the discussion. Perhaps they think it
ludicrous to take any serious part in a debate which may be suddenly
broken off, and speak, as it were, with a halter round their necks. And
those who had thought the right plan was to keep silence henceforth were
the best speakers of the Opposition; they do not therefore fall readily
into a policy they disapproved. Their view is that, as the majority has
done its worst and the minority has not the spirit to follow the counsel
of its leaders, it is no longer worth while to fight against a result
which cannot be permanent.

This weak and vacillating attitude may possibly only be a momentary
consequence of the sudden commencement of a discussion which seemed
distant and for which they were unprepared. On the other hand the
confidence of the majority increases, and they announce the close of the
debate on Corpus Christi. If the minority remain as undecided as they were
at the Conference at Cardinal Rauscher’s, an unfavourable issue must be
feared, and this will be their own fault, for sacrificing their cause at
the very moment they have for six months been preparing for, through some
of them not choosing to be silent and the others not choosing to speak.

The main argument urged against taking further part in the discussion is
that the historical and traditional evidences against infallibility had
been prepared by men who lost their turn through the closing of the
general debate, and cannot be brought forward in the special debate which
is only about changes in the text of the decree. The majority have thereby
testified their refusal to listen, not to certain speakers, but to a
certain portion of the theological argument, and thus they prevent the
investigation of tradition which is so unwelcome to them. Only secondary
matters can be discussed now, while the main point is left untouched. To
many, and especially the Hungarians, this seemed a betraying of the cause.
The Hungarians absolutely refuse to take any further part in the debates,
for in their eyes the Council has already condemned itself, and they
cannot too soon publish their opinion to the world by recording their _non
placet_. They are therefore dissatisfied with the Germans, who prevented
stronger measures being adopted, and some of them—like Simor, who would
not go on attending the sittings—have even refused to sign the Protest to
the Pope, because it involves too much deference to the Council. There are
accordingly only 81 signatures, for the Archbishop of Cologne has also
refused to sign, but on grounds precisely opposite to those of the
Archbishop of Gran.

Meanwhile the Vicar-General here is organizing all sorts of demonstrations
for the happy result of the Council in the sense of the Court party. There
were to be three processions this week, and no pains were spared to induce
persons of rank, including ladies, to take part in them. In many cases the
attempt failed, for it is idle to deny that a large portion of the Roman
citizens of all ranks turn away with indifference and contempt from St.
Peter’s, and of course from all religion too.

The _Unita Cattolica_ predicts with triumphant confidence that God will
yield to their pious importunities (_Iddio obbedira_), the Holy Ghost will
fill the Council Hall, descend upon each of the Fathers and work the
miracle of making them all boldly confess the infallibilist doctrine. As
in the year 33 the people, who surrounded the house where the Pentecostal
miracle was wrought, asked, in amazement at the new tongues of the
Apostles, “Are these who speak Galileans?” so in 1870 they will hear the
Bishops and Cardinals proclaim papal infallibility and will ask
themselves, “Are not these the men who wrote as zealous Gallicans?” The
Spirit of God will work this “noisy miracle” (_strepitoso miracolo_).

A remarkable Petition has for some time been hawked about, begging the
Pope to promote St. Joseph to be General Protector of the Catholic Church.
Many have objected that it is unfair to disturb the “riposo di San
Giuseppe,” but the notion finds much favour in the Vatican.

It is impossible to foresee at this moment how the great decision will
turn out. The majority are evidently consolidating their plans, and the
argument may be heard among them that, if papal infallibility were an
error, the devil would not have stirred up the war which is being carried
on against it. But one may still always assume that 120 Bishops will say
_Non placet_, unless some miserable formula of compromise is hit upon. But
the real decision will be when the Pope determines to ignore these 120
opponents and proceed to the order of the day.



FIFTY-FIFTH LETTER.


_Rome, June 10, 1870._—If we look at the many minor subdivisions of the
two great parties and consider the individual differences even within that
narrower circle, it is impossible to form any approximately sure
conjecture about the immediate issue of the contest. All are agreed that
the definition must be attempted or the Council prorogued within the next
few weeks, and many Bishops are already preparing for departure. The
majority, with Manning at its head, insists on the dogma being defined,
however numerous and strong the minority may prove, as being the very way
to exhibit most clearly the power and right of the Pope to make a new
article of faith with only a fraction of the Council; and there can be no
doubt that the Pope inclines decidedly to this view himself. He is so
completely in the hands of the Jesuits that he will not listen to
counsellors like, _e.g._, Antonelli, who makes no secret in his
confidential intercourse of the fact that he has lost all influence in the
matter and has no opinion to give. The Pope’s feeling towards the
Opposition, and especially towards its leaders, grows more bitter every
day. Strossmayer he regards as the mere head of a sect (_caposetta_), and
he termed another German Cardinal and Archbishop the other day “quell’
asino.” The Jesuits make capital out of this disposition of Pius IX. for
effecting the ruin of all the men of the old school who yet remain to him
from his earlier and more liberal days, while he leaves no stone unturned
to win over wavering Bishops to the infallibilist side. He tried to work
on the Portuguese lately by a visit, on which a French prelate observed,
“On n’a plus de scrupules, ce qu’on fait pour gagner les voix, c’est un
horreur. Il n’y a jamais rieu eu de pareil dans l’Église.” The most urgent
next to Manning is Deschamps. He has proposed canons anathematizing all
those Bishops who claim a share for the Episcopate in the sovereign rights
of the Church—a measure expressly aimed at the Opposition and the views
professed by Maret both in his book and in the Council.

Meanwhile some differences have arisen among the majority, branching off
at last into what may be called a middle party. Even Pie of Poitiers is no
longer altogether in accord with Manning and Deschamps, and Fessler said
lately that a definition could not be carried against 80 dissentient
votes. This party disapproves Bilio’s treatment of Maret, which is
disowned by Cardinal de Luca, who in other respects often speaks openly
against Manning. Others, including Cardinals, say plainly in reference to
the minority Bishops that the Papacy is threatened with destruction. The
definition must, if possible, be prevented by proroguing the Council, and,
failing that, the difficulties must be evaded by an ambiguous formula. The
prelates who speak thus are too sober-minded not to perceive the political
dangers the new dogma would bring with it. They not only think the price
too high, but they dread being themselves reduced by the definition under
the intolerable dominion of the Jesuit party. They frequently confer with
members of the Opposition with the view of devising a compromise.

The French Opposition Bishops have lately had another meeting and resolved
to continue to take part in the debates. The little misunderstanding
between them and the Hungarians has quite disappeared, and several of the
latter—_e.g._, Simor—are said to be again disposed to speak. And it is
thought that many speeches, suppressed by the violent closing of the
general discussion, will be delivered at the supreme moment in the debate
on the fourth chapter of the _Schema_, which deals with infallibility.

The debate on the separate chapters has reached as far as the third
section “on the meaning and nature of the Roman primacy.” As twenty-six
speakers are inscribed the discussion may last to the middle of next
month, and then will immediately follow the debate on the fourth and most
important chapter, which a great number are likely to take part in, and
there will be no want of amendments. Conolly will propose the formula that
the Pope is infallible “as head of the Church teaching with him” (_tanquam
caput Ecclesiæ secum docentis_), while others, as Dupanloup and Rauscher,
will reproduce the formula of St. Antoninus of Florence, declaring the
Pope infallible when he follows the judgment of the Universal Church,
“utens consilio,” or “accipiens consilium Universalis Ecclesiæ.” This
amendment is said to have been seriously discussed in the sitting of the
Deputation on Faith on June 8, though it amounts to pure Gallicanism, for
Antoninus says plainly (about 1450), “In concernentibus fidem Concilium
est supra Papam.” It is certain that the Deputation will labour to make
some changes in the _Schema_ in view of the Opposition. Lastly, men like
Strossmayer press for an unambiguous denial of the personal infallibility
of the Pope.

The more recklessly the Court party are resolved to advance, and the less
they care for the destruction of the Church which must result from a
decree irregularly enacted, the more are the Opposition disturbed at this
prospect, and often made irresolute, but these are only passing moments of
temptation. “Conscience before everything,” said a German Bishop to me the
other day, who was weighed down by his gloomy views of the future of the
Church. Even men who are infallibilists at heart speak of the terrible
crisis in the Church, and think only God can save her. The most decided I
meet are the Hungarians.

In the present debates from four to five speeches are delivered at each
sitting. The most remarkable were those of Landriot and Dupanloup. The
Presidents are very ready to interrupt, as Bilio did when Verot, Bishop of
Savannah, was speaking on the preamble. Verot, who is a man of high
character but very singular, submitted and left the tribune, saying,
“Humiliter me subjicio.” This conduct might suggest to the Presidents that
the definition would be hastened by a second grand interruption.



FIFTY-SIXTY LETTER.


_Rome, June 11, 1870._—If the new article of faith is accepted and
proclaimed throughout the Catholic world, what will be its retrospective
force? On what decisions and doctrines of previous Popes will it set the
seal of infallibility? What amplifications and corrections of Catholic
theology will it involve? These questions are naturally raised here, not
indeed by the Bishops of the majority but by many of the Opposition; only
no one is in a position to give even an approximately accurate answer from
want of the necessary books, and the Court party reckoned on this “penuria
librorum,” which Cardinal Rauscher has already complained of. A German
theologian who had previously examined and studied the subject, undertook
to answer the anxious question of the Bishops, and I send you his
collection, which makes no claim to completeness, as a not unimportant
contribution to the history of the Council.

The Jesuit Schrader, who is the most considerable theologian of his Order
since Passaglia’s retirement, and who has been employed both before and
during the Council for drawing up the _Schemata_, on account of the
special confidence reposed in him by the Pope, has shown, in his great
work on _Roman Unity_,(108) that, as soon as papal infallibility resting
on divine guidance and inspiration is made into an article of faith, it
must by logical necessity include all public ordinances, decrees and
decisions of the Popes. For every one of these is indissolubly connected
with their teaching office, and contains, whatever be its particular
subject, a _doctrina veritatis_ either moral or religious. Papal
infallibility is not a robe of office which can be put on for certain
occasions and then laid aside again. The Pope is infallible, because he
is, in the fullest sense of the word, the representative of Christ on
earth, and like Christ he teaches and proclaims the truth by his acts as
well as his words; in short no public act or direction of his can be
conceived of as not having a doctrinal significance. And thus Catholic
theology and morality will be enriched by the new dogma with not a few
fresh articles of faith, which will then possess the same authority and
dignity as those already universally received as such.

There are indeed former papal decisions which, in becoming themselves
infallible through the proclamation of infallibility, will in turn cover
and guarantee the infallible character of the collective Constitutions of
all Popes. The first of these decisions is the statement of Leo X. in his
Bull of 1520 against Luther, “It is clear as the noonday sun that the
Popes, my predecessors, have never erred in their canons or
constitutions.” The second is the declaration of Pius IX. in his Syllabus,
“The Popes have never exceeded the limits of their power.” This assertion
too will become an infallible dogma, and history must succumb and adapt
itself to the dogma. Let us however specify some of the new articles of
faith thus declared to be infallible.

1. According to the teaching of the Church, the validity of the
sacraments, and especially of ordination, depends on the use of the right
form and matter. The whole Church for a thousand years regarded the
imposition of the Bishop’s hands as the divinely ordained matter of
priestly ordination. But Eugenius IV., in his dogmatic decree, decided
that the delivery of the Eucharistic vessels is the matter of the
sacrament of Orders, and the words used in their delivery the form.(109)
If the doctrine of this decree, solemnly issued by the Pope _ex cathedrâ_
and in the name of the Council of Florence—which however was no longer in
existence—was to be accepted as true and infallible, it would follow that
the Western Church for a thousand years, and the Greek Church up to this
day, had no validly ordained priests. Nay more, there would at this moment
be no validly ordained priest or Bishop in the Church at all, for there
would be no succession. And Eugenius gave an equally false definition of
the form of the sacraments of Penance and Confirmation.

2. According to the teaching of Innocent III., in the decretal _Novit_,
and other Popes after him, the Pope is able and is bound, whenever he
believes a question of sin to be involved, to interfere, first with
admonition and then with punishments. He can on this ground reverse any
judicial sentence, bring any cause before his own tribunal, summon any
sovereign before him, simply to answer for a grave sin or what he
considers such, annul his ordinances, and eventually excommunicate and
depose him.(110)

3. God has given to the Pope supreme jurisdiction over all kings and
princes, not only of Christendom but of the whole earth. The Pope has
plenary jurisdiction over the nations and kingdoms, he judges all and can
be judged by none in the world, according to Paul IV. in the Bull _Cum ex
Apostolatus Officio_, and Sixtus V. in the Bull _Inscrutabilis_. It is
also a doctrine of faith, to be received on pain of eternal damnation,
that the whole world is subject to the Pope even in temporal and political
matters, according to the Bull of Boniface VIII., _Unam Sanctam_. Boniface
adds that the Pope holds all rights “in scrinio pectoris sui.”

4. According to papal teaching, it is the will of God that the Popes
should rule and “govern,” not only the Church, but all secular matters and
literally the whole world. Thus Innocent III. says; “Dominus Petro non
solum universam Ecclesiam sed etiam sæculum reliquit gubernandum.”

5. According to papal teaching, as proclaimed by Gregory VII. at the Roman
Council of 1080, the Popes with the Fathers assembled in Council under
their presidency are not only able, by virtue of their power of binding
and loosing, to take away and bestow empires, kingdoms and princedoms, but
can take any man’s property from him or adjudge it to any one.(111)

6. According to papal teaching the Pope alone can remit all sins of all
men. Thus Innocent III. says in his letter to the Patriarch of
Constantinople.(112)

7. According to papal teaching the Pope is ruler by divine right of
Germany and Italy during the vacancy of the Imperial throne, because he
has received from God both powers, the spiritual and the temporal, in
their fulness (_jura terreni simul et cœlestis imperii_). So John XXII.
has declared in his Bull of 1317.(113) On account of this doctrine
millions of German and Italian Christians, from 1318 to 1348, were placed
under ban and interdict and deprived of the sacraments by the Popes.

8. The Pope by divine right can give whole nations into slavery on account
of some measure of their sovereign. Thus Clement V. and Julius II. dealt
with the Venetians on account of territorial quarrels, Gregory XI. with
the Florentines,(114) and Paul III. with the English on account of Henry
VIII.’s revolting from him.

9. The Pope can also give full authority to make slaves of a foreign
nation merely because they are not Catholics. Thus Nicolas V. in 1454
authorized King Alfonso of Portugal to appropriate the property of all
Mahometans and heathens of Western Africa, and to reduce them to perpetual
slavery.(115) Alexander VI. in 1493 gave similar rights to the Kings of
Spain over all inhabitants of America, when bestowing on them that quarter
of the world with all its peoples.(116)

10. According to papal teaching it is just and in consonance with the
Gospel to rob innocent populations, cities, regions, or countries _en
masse_, with the sole exception of the infants and the dying, of divine
service and sacraments, by an interdict, merely because the Sovereign or
Government of the country has violated a papal command or some right of
the Church. Innocent III., Innocent IV., Martin IV., Clement V., John
XXIV., Clement VI., and others have done so.

11. The Popes as God’s vicars on earth can make a present of whole
countries inhabited by non-Christian peoples, and hand over all rights of
sovereignty and property in them to any Christian prince they please.
Alexander V. did this in his Bull addressed to Ferdinand the Catholic and
Isabella, as he declares, “auctoritate omnipotentis Dei nobis in B. Petro
concessâ ac Vicariatûs Jesu Christi, quâ fungimur in terris.”(117)
Historically it may be said with perfect truth, that the peoples of the
southern and middle regions of America have been made the victims of the
theory of papal infallibility. The Spanish Church and nation, as well as
the sovereigns, have willingly received and maintained this doctrine,
because their claim both to Navarre and America rested solely upon it,
primarily on the Bulls of Alexander VI. and Julius II. With the Gallican
doctrine both claims would fall through. Alexander had empowered the
Spaniards to make the Indians slaves. All Spanish theologians appeal with
Las Casas to “el divino poder del Papa,” as he calls it, as the basis of
the Spanish dominion in America, and no one dared to call in question the
divine right of the infallible vicar of God, by virtue whereof he had
given over millions of Indians to slavery, and thereby to extermination;
within eighty years whole countries were depopulated.

12. It is just and consonant with the Gospel to burn to death as heretics
those who appeal from the sentence of the Pope to a General Council. So
Leo X. declares in his Bull of 1517, _Pastor Æternus_ (issued in the fifth
Lateran Synod).

13. Leo X. declared in another Bull, _Supernæ Dispositionis_, also
published in the Lateran Synod, that all clerics are wholly exempt by
divine right from all civil jurisdiction, and therefore not bound in
conscience by the civil law.(118)

14. According to the teaching of the Church, every Christian is bound
before God to do penance for his sins by ascetic exercises of abstinence,
self-denial and almsgiving. On Church principles no one can dispense from
this obligation, because it rests on divine ordinance. But the Popes teach
that it may be relaxed or superseded by means of plenary or particular
indulgences granted by themselves. They teach that to take part in a war
against enemies of the Holy See and in the extermination of heretics is an
effectual means for gaining pardon of sins, and a complete substitute for
all works of penance. Thus did Paschal II. instruct Count Robert of
Flanders in 1102, that for him and his warriors the surest means of
obtaining forgiveness of sins and heaven was to make war upon the clergy
of Liége and all adherents of the German Emperor, Henry IV.(119) Innocent
III. charged King Philip Augustus of France with the conquest of England,
after he had deposed King John, as a means for obtaining remission of
sin.(120) Martin IV. again impelled the French in 1283 to make war on the
Aragonese by the promise of plenary remission of their sins.(121) And
whenever there was a war to be undertaken in the territorial interests of
the Holy See, or for the extermination of heretics, the Popes urged men to
take part in it as the surest and most effectual means for cleansing them
from all their sins and attaining eternal happiness.

15. The Inquisition, both Spanish and Italian, is so pure a product of
papal teaching on faith and morals, that there never was an Inquisitor who
did not exercise his office by virtue of Papal authority and in the Pope’s
name, or whose power the Pope could not at any moment he chose have wholly
or partially withdrawn. All essential laws and regulations of the
Inquisition—the accused being deprived of any advocate to defend him, the
admission of infamous and perjured witnesses, the frequent application of
the torture, the obliging the civil magistrates to carry out capital
sentences of the Inquisitors, the prohibition to spare the life of any
lapsed heretic even on his conversion—all this emanates from the direct
and personal legislation of the Popes, and has always been confirmed by
their successors.

16. Gregory IX., Innocent IV., and Alexander IV. teach that it is in
accordance with the principles of morality and the Gospel to condemn a
heretic seized by the Inquisition, who has recanted, to lifelong
imprisonment.(122)

17. Alexander IV. teaches that it is lawful for the Pope to have the goods
of those condemned for heresy sold by his inquisitors, and to take the
proceeds for himself.(123)

18. Innocent III., Alexander IV., and Boniface VIII. teach that it is just
and consonant with the Gospel to deprive the sons and daughters of
heretics, though themselves Catholics, of their hereditary property. But
if the sons themselves accuse their parents and get them burnt, then their
inherited property, according to papal doctrine, is exempt from
confiscation.

19. According to papal teaching torture is an institution thoroughly in
harmony with morality and the spirit of the Gospel, and should be employed
particularly against those accused of heresy. Thus Innocent IV. and many
later Popes have directed, and Paul IV. ordered the rack to be very
extensively used.

20. It is especially just and Christian, according to the teaching and
regulation of Pius V. in 1569, to torture persons who have confessed or
been convicted of heresy, in order to make them give up their
accomplices.(124)

21. This same canonized Pope has ordered in a Bull that even the sons of a
man who has once offended an inquisitor should be punished with infamy and
confiscation of their goods.

22. There is a whole string of papal decrees declaring it a duty of
conscience for every Christian to denounce even his nearest relations to
the Inquisition, and give them up to prison, torture and death, if he
perceives any trace of heretical opinions or of anything forbidden by the
Church in them.(125)

23. The same Popes have declared it to be just and evangelical, and have
ordered, that a relapsed heretic, even if he recants, should be put to
death.(126) They have further declared it to be moral and Christian-like
that in trials for heresy witnesses should be admitted to accuse or give
evidence against the accused, whose testimony would not be admitted in any
other court on account of their former crimes or their infamy.(127)

24. According to papal teaching it is just and Christian forcibly to
deprive heretics of their children, in order to bring them up Catholics.
Thus Innocent XII., by a sentence of the Holy Office at Rome, pronounced
null and void the edict of Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy in 1694 ordering
their children, who had been forcibly taken from them, to be restored to
the unfortunate and cruelly persecuted Waldenses under his
government.(128)

25. The Popes teach that a sentence once pronounced for heresy can never
be mitigated, nor pardon ever granted to any one sentenced to death or
perpetual imprisonment for heresy. Thus Innocent IV. rules in his Bull _Ad
Exstirpanda_.(129)

26. Up to 1555 it was the teaching of the Popes that only those should be
burnt who persisted obstinately in maintaining a doctrine condemned by the
Church, and those who had relapsed after recanting into the same or some
other heresy. But in that year Paul IV. established the new principle that
certain doctrines, if only just put forward and at once retracted, should
be punished with death. Thus whoever rejected any ecclesiastical
definition on the Trinity, or denied the perpetual virginity of Mary and
maintained that the scriptural language about “brothers of Jesus” was to
be taken literally of children of Mary, was to be classed with the
“relapsed” and to be executed, even though he recanted.

27. Up to 1751, theologians, especially Italians, who defended trials for
witchcraft and the reality of an express compact with Satan, together with
the various preternatural crimes wrought thereby and the carnal
intercourse of men and demons (_incubi et succubi_), used to appeal to the
infallible authority of the Popes, the Bulls of Innocent VIII., Sixtus V.,
Gregory XV. and several more besides, in which these things are affirmed
and assumed and the due penalties prescribed for them.(130)

28. If an oath that has been taken is prejudicial to the interests of the
Church (_e.g._, in money matters), it must be broken. So teaches Innocent
III.(131)

29. The Popes can dispense at their pleasure oaths of allegiance taken by
a people to their King, as Gregory VII., Alexander III., Innocent III.,
and many others have done.

30. They can also absolve a sovereign from the treaties he has sworn to
observe or from his oath to the Constitution of his country, or give full
power to his confessor to absolve him from any oath he finds it
inconvenient to keep. Such a plenary power Clement VI. gave to King John
of France and his successors.(132) Thus Clement VII. absolved the Emperor
Charles V. from his oath restricting his absolutism over popular rights in
Belgium, and again from his oath not to banish the Moriscos from their
home. And Paul IV. announced to the Emperors Charles and Ferdinand that he
dispensed their oath to observe the Augsburg religious peace.(133)

31. In 1648 a prospect of toleration was held out to the sorely oppressed
Catholics of England and Ireland, if they would sign a renunciation of the
following principles, (α) The Pope can dispense any one from obedience to
the existing Government; (β) The Pope can absolve from an oath taken to a
heretic; (γ) Those who have been condemned as heretics by the Pope may at
his command, or with his dispensation, be put to death or otherwise
injured. This renunciation was signed by fifty-nine English noblemen and
several ecclesiastics, but Pope Innocent X. declared that all who had
signed it had incurred the penalties denounced against those who deny
papal authority, _i.e._, excommunication, etc. And so the penal laws
against Catholics remained in force for another century. Paul V. had
previously condemned the oath of allegiance prescribed by James I. for the
English Catholics, and the execution of a considerable number of them was
the result.(134)

32. The Popes teach that they can absolve men from any vow made to God or
empower others to do so, and can even give them powers prospectively for
dispensing vows to be made hereafter. And thus they have empowered royal
confessors to absolve kings from any future vow they may find reason to
repent of.(135)

33. The Popes have declared, by granting indulgences, that their
jurisdiction extends over Purgatory also, and that it depends on them to
deliver the dead who are there and transfer them into heaven. Thus Julius
II. bestowed on the Order of Knights of St. George, restored by the
Emperor Maximilian, the privilege that, on assuming the habit of the
Order, the Knights “confessi et contriti, a pœnâ et a culpâ et a carcere
Purgatorii et pœnis ejusdem mox et penitus absoluti et quittandi esse
debeant, planè et liberè Paradisum et regnum intraturi.”(136) Then or
shortly before (1500) the doctrine was first propounded in Rome, that the
Popes could attach to certain altars by special privileges the power of
delivering one or more souls from Purgatory.

34. The Pope can dissolve a marriage by placing one of the parties under
the greater excommunication, and thus declaring him a heathen and infidel.
Urban V. did this in 1363, when he excommunicated Bernabó Visconti, Duke
of Milan, depriving him and all his children of all their rights and
property and absolving his subjects from their allegiance to him, and at
the same time pronouncing his wife free to marry again: “Uxorem ejus uti
Christianam a vinculo matrimonii cum hæretico et infideli liberavit.”(137)

35. Innocent III. had paved the way for this by establishing the doctrine
that the bond between a Bishop and his diocese is stronger than the
marriage bond between man and wife, and therefore as indissoluble by man
as the latter, and that God alone could dissolve it, and the Pope as God’s
vicegerent.(138) It followed that the Pope, and he alone, could also
dissolve a validly contracted marriage.

36. According to papal teaching it is praiseworthy and Christian for a
man, who has promised a woman with an oath to marry her, to deceive her by
a sham marriage, and then break the bond and retire into a monastery. This
recommendation (to commit an act of treachery at once and of sacrilege)
was given by Alexander III. in 1172, and it has been incorporated in the
code of canon law drawn up by command of the Popes.(139)

37. The Popes teach that anyone attending a service celebrated by a
married priest commits sacrilege, because the blessing he gives turns to a
curse. So Gregory VII. teaches, in direct contradiction to the doctrine of
the ancient Church, and even to modern theology.(140) The notion has long
since been exploded.(141)

38. The Popes teach that they have the power of rewarding services done to
themselves with a higher degree of eternal beatitude. Thus Nicolas V.
promised all who should take up arms against Amadeus of Savoy (the
antipope Felix) and his adherents, not only remission of all their sins,
but an increase of heavenly happiness, and gave his lands and property at
the same time to the King of France.(142)

39. The Popes teach that it is false and damnable to maintain that a
Christian ought not to abstain from doing his duty from fear of an unjust
excommunication. Clement XI. declares the contrary to be true in his Bull
_Unigenitus_, prop. 91.

40. Those who die wearing the Carmelite scapular have papal assurance,
resting on a revelation granted to John XXII., that they will be delivered
on the next Saturday after their death by the Virgin Mary from Purgatory
and conveyed straight to heaven. So says the Bull _Sabbathina_, confirmed
by Alexander V., Clement VII., Pius V., Gregory XIII., and Paul V., by the
last after long and careful examination, and with indulgences attached to
it.(143)

41. According to papal decisions it is an excess of extravagance and
folly, and a detestable innovation, to translate the Roman missal into the
vernacular. It is to violate and trample under foot the majesty of the
ritual composed in Latin words, to expose the dignity of the holy
mysteries to the gaze of the rabble, to produce disobedience, audacity,
insolence, sedition and many other evils. The authors of such translations
are “sons of perdition.” Alexander III. says this _totidem verbis_ in his
Brief of Jan. 12, 1661.(144) Nevertheless the translated missal is in
general circulation in France, England and Germany, and is daily used by
all the most pious persons.

42. To receive interest on invested money is a grievous sin according to
papal teaching, and any one who has done so is bound to make restitution.
Papal legislation makes it, under the name of usury, an ecclesiastical
offence to be judged by the spiritual tribunals. The principle established
by the Popes was, that it is unlawful and sinful to ask for any
compensation for the use of capital lent out. And under the head of usury,
which was strictly forbidden, was included anything whatever received by
the lender in compensation for his capital, every kind of interest,
commercial business and the like. Thus Clement V. pronounced it heresy to
defend taking interest, and liable to the penalties of the papal law
against heresy.(145) His successors, Pius V., Sixtus V., and especially
Benedict XIV., adhered to this condemnation of all taking of interest. The
results were that real usury was greatly advanced thereby, that all sorts
of evasions and illusory contracts came into actual use, that the wealth
of whole countries was damaged, and commercial greatness, banished from
Catholic countries, became the monopoly of Protestant countries.(146)



FIFTY-SEVENTH LETTER.


_Rome, June 18, 1870._—The great merits of Cardoni are at length to
receive their fitting reward. He has hitherto been only Archbishop of
Nisibis, a city that has long ceased to exist; he has now become keeper of
the archives of the Roman Church. He was the principal person intrusted
last year with the grand mystery of the fabrication of the new dogma,
which required for its success the strictest secrecy; the Bishops, with
the exception of course of the initiated, were to be drawn to Rome
unprepared and innocent of the design and then to be taken by surprise.
Had the real object of the Council become known in the spring of 1869, it
might easily have proved a complete failure. It was therefore intrusted to
Cardoni’s experienced hands, who managed matters so well in the Commission
that the Bishops were kept in the dark, and his lucubrations on
infallibility were first printed in April,—it is said after being
considerably altered by the Jesuits. The reward of Cardoni is a punishment
for Theiner, who has to suffer for his Life of Clement XIV. and for
communicating to some of the Bishops a paper on the order of business at
Trent. The archives are now closed to him, and he has had to surrender the
keys to Cardoni, though he nominally retains his office. Every German
scholar knows that Theiner, after coming to Rome, became extremely
reserved in his communications and very cautious in his own publications,
always suppressing whatever might excite displeasure there, and throw a
slur on the Roman authorities. It was much easier under his predecessor
Marini—as German and French scholars, such as Pertz, Raumer and Cherrier,
and the British Museum can testify—to get a sight of documents or even
transcripts, of course for a good remuneration. Theiner, who was
inaccessible to bribery, knew that he had an abundance of enemies and
jealous rivals watching him, and carefully guarded against giving them any
handle against him. But the original sin of his German origin clung to
him; he was not a Reisach and could not Italianize himself. There is great
joy in the Gesù, the German College, and the offices of the _Civiltà_!

Theiner’s great offence is his letting certain Bishops, viz., Hefele and
Strossmayer, see the account of the order of business at the Council of
Trent, showing the striking difference between that and the present
regulations and the greater freedom of the Tridentine synod. But Hefele
had seen the Tridentine Acts in the spring of 1869, and knew about it
without Theiner’s help.

Meanwhile there is no abatement of the bitter exasperation in the highest
circles. The three chief organs of the Court—the _Civiltà_, the _Unità_
and the _Univers_—have evidently received orders to vie with each other in
their descriptions of the “Liberal Catholics” as the most abandoned and
dangerous of men. For the moment nobody is more abominated than a Catholic
who is opposed to infallibility and unwilling to see the teaching of the
Church brought into contradiction with the laws of his country, which is
what they mean by a Liberal Catholic; such persons are worse than
Freemasons. The _Civiltà_ says they are more dangerous to “the cause of
God” than atheists, and have already proved so. We know how his
confessors, La Chaise and Le Tellier, explained to Louis XIV. that a
Jansenist is worse and more dangerous than an atheist.

In convents and girls’ schools the new article of faith is already strong
enough to work miracles. The _Univers_ relates “a miraculous cure wrought
through an act of faith in the infallibility of the Vicar of Christ,” at
Vienna on May 24. But that is little in comparison with the greater and
more difficult miracles which the dogma will have to accomplish. If the
English proverb is true, there is nothing more stubborn than facts; to
remove them from history or change their nature will be harder than to
move mountains. Here in Rome we are daily assured that the dogma has
conquered history, but these anticipated conquests will have to be fought
out, at least everywhere north of the Alps, and cannot be won without
great miracles. But the Jesuits have never of course been without their
thaumaturgists, and they have been able to accomplish the impossible even
in the historical domain.

The Pope seems peculiarly annoyed at some of the English Bishops opposing
infallibility, probably because Manning had told him that the English
above all others reverenced him as the organ of the Holy Ghost. He lately
broke out into most bitter reproaches against Bishop Clifford of Clifton,
before an assemblage of Frenchmen, most of whom did not even know him by
name, and accused him of low ambition, saying that he knew “ex certâ
scientiâ” the only reason why Clifford would not believe in his
infallibility was because he had not made him Archbishop of Westminster.
Yet there is perhaps no member of the Council whom every one credits with
so entire an absence of any ambitious thought. The spectacle of such
conduct on the part of the man, who for twenty-four years has held the
highest earthly dignity, produces a painful feeling in some, and contempt
in others.

It is indeed disgusting to see the Court party compelling men, most of
them aged, to remain here to the great injury of their health at a season
when all who are able to do so leave Rome, although many of them are
accustomed to a different climate and feel sick and exhausted. They are
treated like prisoners, and not even allowed a holiday without special
leave. No such egotistic and unscrupulous absolutism, as what now prevails
here, has been seen in the Christian world since the days of the first
Napoleon. If there were any persons here besides courtiers who could
advise the Pope, as friends, they would have to tell him that his credit
before the world demanded that an end should be put to this state of
torture, and the Bishops be allowed to depart, many of whom are already
dead. But, as was observed before, even Antonelli does not conceal his
impotence as regards the Council, and as to others, it may suffice to
acquaint Transalpine readers with one detail of Roman Court etiquette. If
the Pope sneezes, the attendant prelate must immediately fall on his
knees, and cry “Evviva!” in that position. Every man is at last what his
_entourage_ has made him, and Pius has for twenty-four years had every one
kneeling before him, and has been daily overwhelmed with adorations and
acts of homage, the effect of which may be read in Suetonius’ biographies
of the Emperors.

The affair of the Prince Bishop of Breslau, who was not allowed to leave
Rome, has been arranged, by Cardinal Antonelli ordering an apology to be
made. The regulations about refusing visas were only meant for the
Orientals, who are certainly detained in Rome against their will, but in
extending the same treatment to German prelates the police had exceeded
their instructions and must be severely punished. Förster answered that he
did not wish this, and that Cardinal de Angelis in his note had fully
approved their conduct. Meanwhile the same thing has been repeated: the
visa was refused to the suffragan Bishop of Erlau in Hungary, who wanted
to go to Naples, because he had received no permission from the Secretary,
Bishop Fessler.

The Franciscan, Hötzl, has made an explanation satisfactory to the
authorities, and is now again received into favour, but he is to stay here
for the festival of June 29, on which day, as Pius was at least convinced
a week ago, the proclamation of the new dogma with all imaginable pomp
will take place. We live in very humane times, and so the good Father from
Munich has suffered no worse martyrdom than the heat. He has been
instructed, the _genius loci_ has done its work, his Spanish General has
simply reminded him of certain rules of the Order—and so his conversion
has been very quickly, easily and happily accomplished. He was not even
threatened, I believe, with the Inquisition, and even there he would not
have fared as ill as Galileo in 1633.

You must allow me, before relating the events of the last few days in the
Council Hall, to recur to the occurrences of June 3, which I am now better
acquainted with, and which have proved to be sufficiently important and
eventful to deserve more detailed mention.

On the motion of Cardinal Bonnechose, who belongs to the middle party,
Cardinal de Angelis had asked the Pope, directly after the session of June
2, whether he would not permit the prorogation of the Council, in view of
the intolerable heat and the too long absence already of so many Bishops
from their dioceses. The reply was a decided negative; there should be no
adjournment till the infallibilist _Schema_ was disposed of. That was a
hint to the majority, which they used next day, as the wish to cut short
the debates had been loudly expressed for some days previously.

On the same day the Bishop of Pittsburg in North America spoke against
infallibility and defended the Catholics of his country, who had hitherto
known nothing of this doctrine, but were yet genuine Catholics in life and
practice and not in name only, like the Italians. Capalti immediately
attacked him and imposed silence. Bishop Dinkel of Augsburg followed.
Senestrey, Bishop of Ratisbon, in the previous sitting had assured the
prelates, who listened eagerly, that all Germany, so far as it was
Catholic, thought as he did, and that every one was deeply penetrated with
reverence for the infallible Pope, while it was a mere invention of
certain evil-minded persons that there were those in Germany who doubted
this divine prerogative of the Vicar of God. The astonishment was great;
they had heard so often that the aversion to the new dogma was most deeply
rooted and most widely spread in Germany. Dinkel pointedly contradicted
his colleague, and warned them against being misled by such tricks. He won
great commendation, and his Biblical comments were also found to be well
grounded and to the purpose.

Bishop Maret of Sura next ascended the tribune. He like others has made
advances since being in the Roman school. If he had to write his work on
the Pope and Council now, he would take a far more decided and bolder
line. It was not without reason that he pointedly distinguished the two
things, papal infallibility based and dependent on episcopal consent, and
the personal infallibility of the Pope deciding alone, as the real subject
of the controversy; for during the last few days there have been Bishops
who excused their adhesion to the majority on the pretext that they only
found the former kind of infallibility in the _Schema_. Maret then showed
in what a labyrinth the majority was on the point of involving the
Council. Either the Council was to give the Pope an infallibility he did
not yet possess, in which case the donor was higher than the receiver by
divine and therefore inalienable rights; or the Pope was to give himself
an infallibility he had not hitherto possessed, in which case he could
change the divine constitution of the Church by his own plenary power; and
if so why summon a Council and ask its vote? There Bilio angrily
interrupted him, exclaiming to one of the most learned and respected men
of the French clergy, the president of the Paris Theological Faculty, “Tu
non nôsti prima rudimenta fidei.” And then he gave the explanation I
mentioned before, that it did not belong to the Council to bear witness,
to judge and to decide, but only to acknowledge the truth and give its
vote, and then to leave the Pope to define what he chose by the
inspiration of the Holy Ghost. There could be no talk here of majority or
minority, but only of the Council. The majority applauded. Maret remained
quiet, and asked without changing countenance, after this effusion of
Bilio’s was at an end, “Licitumne est ac liberum continuare sermonem.”
Then all was silence, and he was able to finish his speech without further
interruption.

Hereupon followed the violent closing of the discussion by a decree of the
majority. The euphemistic language in which the _Giornale di Roma_
announced it next day was remarkable:—“Fù _terminata_ la discussione
generale intorno alla materia di fede, che cominciata con la Congregazione
del 14 Maggio, era stata proseguita per tutte le adunanze tenute nel
suddetto spazio di tempo, nelle quali ebbero parlato in proposito 65
padri,” etc.—such an obituary announcement as those which used to be put
into the Russian newspapers on the death of a Czar, and which led
Talleyrand to say, “Il serait enfin temps que les Empereurs de Russie
changeassent de maladie.”

At the international meeting at Cardinal Rauscher’s on the 4th, when about
100 Bishops were present, some of the bolder and more vigorous of them
thought they ought to show by observing complete silence that there was no
freedom at the Council. This view, as was said before, did not prevail;
and the alternative of a protest was again adopted. On June 6, when the
special debate began, Bishop Verot of Savannah in Georgia was the speaker
who incurred the peculiar displeasure of the Court party, and was
maltreated by Bilio. He objected to the words of the preamble “juxta
communem et universalem doctrinam,” as not being true, because the
doctrine referred to was not universal or everywhere received, but was
only the doctrine of the so-called ultramontane school. At this murmurs
arose, and Verot remarked that a previous speaker—Valerga—had been quietly
listened to while he talked for an hour and a half about the Gallican
school, and compared them with the Monothelite heretics; it was only fair
therefore to let him call the other school by its name. Hereupon Bilio,
who has assumed the rôle of _ex officio_ blusterer and terrorist,
interposed in his manner of a brawling monk, saying this topic had nothing
to do with the preamble, and could be introduced afterwards in the
discussion on the four chapters.

Bishop Pie of Poitiers had proposed to his colleagues on the Commission
_de Fide_ to put the article on infallibility, which was too crudely
worded, into a shape which all could accept, to which Manning and Dechamps
replied that it could not be improved upon, and they would allow not the
slightest change. And as they had a majority in the Commission, Pie’s wish
was strangled before its birth.

There is no want of restless activity and agitation in favour of
infallibility. The processions to obtain the gift of infallibility from
the Holy Virgin and the numerous Saints, whose bones and relics fill the
Roman Churches, march with sonorous devotion through the streets; the lazy
and lukewarm are urged not to remain idle at so important a time, and
there is no lack of intimations of the real profits which the dogma must
yield to the city. The Bishops of the minority must have had marble hearts
if they had continued proof against so many fervent prayers for their
conversion, and wished still to defend their Gallican citadel in spite of
the general assault upon it. The Roman parish priests have already
presented an address in favour of the dogma, but not—as I hear—till after
the opposition among them had been put down by the highest authority. And
now an urgent admonition has been addressed to the University Professors
either to signify their desire for the definition or resign their offices.
All who receive salaries here have long been accustomed to the soft
pressure put upon them from above, and are hastening, with a correct
appreciation of the importance of the wish of the authorities, to follow
lead. In the last few days we have had an address from 40 Chamberlains of
the Fathers of the Council who “prostrate at the Pope’s most sacred feet
earnestly desire to have the opportunity of sharing the wholesome fruits
(_saluberrimi frutti_) of infallibility and the exultation felt by all
true believers at the decree.” The text of the address is given in the
_Unita Cattolica_.

Meanwhile the chief Pontiff himself speaks in most emphatic terms. The
_Tedeschi_, notwithstanding Senestrey’s assurances, are in bad odour here.
A letter of the Papal Secretary in the _Univers_ of June 2 describes the
Opposition Bishops as _amateurs de nouveautés dangereuses_, and I
understand that in a letter to Chigi, the nuncio at Paris, the Pope speaks
of his infallibility as “that pious doctrine, which for so many centuries
nobody questioned.” This expression is peculiarly suggestive. That the
Pope uses it in good faith is certain, and that he has not gained his
conviction by any study of his own is equally certain. He has been deluded
by this monstrous lie, which no single even half-educated infallibilist
will make himself responsible for, and thus has been driven into his
perilous course. No one, who has but glanced at the official Roman
historians, such as Baronius or Orsi or Saccarelli, can possibly maintain
seriously that there has been no doubt for centuries about papal
infallibility. This saying lifts the veil and affords us a glance into the
workshop, where the Pandora’s basket was fabricated which has now been
opened before our eyes. Future theologians will know how to appreciate
that weighty saying, “no one for many centuries,” and I for my part would
say, like Gratiano to Shylock, “I thank thee for teaching me that word.”

Cardinal Schwarzenberg, who spoke on the 7th against the second chapter,
was not, I think, interrupted, as was however the Bishop of Biella,
Losanna, on the pretext that he did not keep to the subject. The old man
is a doubly unpleasant phenomenon to the Court party, both from his
boldness and clearness of view, and as being a living proof that even an
Italian may be a decided opponent of infallibilism. At the international
meeting at Cardinal Rauscher’s on the 8th it was determined that the third
chapter was to be especially attacked in the speeches.

This third chapter deals with matters of very pregnant import. It binds
the Bishops to the acknowledgment that all men are immediately and
directly under the Pope, which means that the so-called papal system is to
be made exclusively dominant in the Church, in place of the old episcopal
system, or in other words is to displace the latter, as it existed in the
ancient Church, altogether. Bishops remain only as Papal Commissaries,
possessed of so much power as the Pope finds good to leave them, and
exercising such authority only as he does not directly exercise himself;
there is no longer any episcopate, and thus one grade of the hierarchy is
abolished. The persons bearing the name of Bishops are wholly different
from the old and real Bishops; they have nothing more to do with the
higher teaching office (_magisterium_), and have no authority or sphere of
their own, but only delegated functions and powers, which the Pope or any
one appointed by him can encroach upon at pleasure. Even this is not
enough for Archbishop Dechamps of Mechlin, who has now proposed four
canons anathematizing all defenders of the episcopal system; this has
roused the suspicions even of several Bishops of the majority. These four
canons are so significant an illustration of the aims of the party that
they deserve to be put on record here:—

(1.) “Si quis dixerit Romanum Pontificem habere quidem in Ecclesia
primatum jurisdictionis, non vero etiam supremam potestatem docendi,
regendi et gubernandi Ecclesiam, perinde ac si primatus jurisdictionis ab
illâ supremâ, potestate distingui posset—anathema sit.

(2.) “Si quis dixerit talem potestatem Romani Pontificis non esse plenam,
sed divisam inter S. Pontificem et episcopos, quasi episcopi a Spiritu S.
positi ad Ecclesiam Dei docendam et regendam sub unico summo pastore etiam
divinitus vocati fuerint, ut in supremâ potestate totius Ecclesiæ capitis
participent—anathema sit.

(3.) “Si quis dixerit supremam in Ecclesia potestatem non residere in
universæ Ecclesiæ capite, sed in episcoporum pluralitate—anathema sit.

(4.) “Si quis dixerit Romano Pontifici datam quidem esse plenam potestatem
regendi et gubernandi, non autem etiam plenam potestatem docendi
universalem Ecclesiam, fideles et pastores—anathema sit.”



FIFTY-EIGHTH LETTER.


_Rome, June 21, 1870._—What I have to communicate in this letter is so
important, that I find it desirable to take it out of the historical order
of events and let it precede the detailed account of what occurred between
June 8 and 17.

A circumstance occurred on Saturday, which has kept all who are interested
about the Council in breathless suspense ever since. Nothing in fact could
be more unexpected than that, at the moment when the Opposition, though
still maintaining the contest from a sense of conscientious duty, almost
despairs of success, a fresh ally should join its ranks in the person of a
Roman Cardinal, whose accession is the more valuable because he does not
only speak in his own name, but has concerted his speech with the fifteen
Bishops of his Order. In fact I hear his speech spoken of in many quarters
as the most important and unexpected event in the Council. It must not of
course be supposed that Guidi’s spirited speech represents adequately the
tendencies of the Opposition, but still it must be affirmed that it
involves a complete, and as we believe irreconcilable, breach with the
majority. In order to enable people to appreciate the full weight of the
speech it is of some importance to premise a brief account of the speaker.

Cardinal Guidi has belonged, almost ever since his entering the Dominican
Order, to the convent of the Minerva. For a long time he belonged to the
theological professoriate connected with the convent, and enjoyed, as
such, the well-earned reputation of great learning and strict orthodoxy.
When eleven years ago Pius IX. wished to send thoroughly trustworthy and
learned Roman theologians to the University of Vienna, to inculcate
genuine Roman science and views on the young clergy, his eye fell on
Father Guidi. After working there for some years he returned to Rome,
having been meanwhile appointed Cardinal, and was soon afterwards made
Archbishop of Bologna; and as the Italian Government promised to place no
impediment in the way of his residing there, he actually betook himself to
his See. But he soon found that it was not the place for him. The
Dominican Order had seriously compromised itself in the notorious Mortara
affair, and accordingly the Bolognese rabble broke out repeatedly into the
most deplorable demonstrations against the new Archbishop as a member of
the hated Order. He therefore returned to Rome, and administered his
diocese from hence. And here he was one of the Pope’s favourites, only
during the last year he has lost favour through his freedom of speech.
Since then he has been prosecuting his theological studies in retirement,
and it was pretty well known what he thought about the personal
infallibility of the Pope. Several months ago he had assembled the
Dominican Bishops at the Minerva about this affair. His view prevailed,
and when Father Jandel, the General imposed on the Order by the Pope and
reluctantly accepted, tried to put a pressure on them, they replied that
they were Bishops, and were bound, as such, to consult their consciences
when called to act as judges of faith. Then began a notable agitation in
the Order, which was already divided into two camps. One arbitrary act
followed another. A so-called academy of St. Thomas was opened, and hardly
had the President taken his seat, when he made a long speech, expounding
the doctrine of St. Thomas and the Order on papal infallibility in the
most tactless and violent manner to his episcopal audience. A Dominican
Bishop delighted the Pope by getting up an infallibilist address among his
episcopal colleagues. Then followed a series of writings defending St.
Thomas against _Janus_. A member of the Order was forbidden by the
General, Jandel, “to speak either publicly or privately about
infallibility,” and the _Civiltà Cattolica_ of June 18 praised the General
for prefixing to the infallibilist writing of a Dominican the approbation
that in the Dominican Order papal infallibility has always been held as a
Catholic truth.

Under these circumstances people were the less prepared to find Cardinal
Guidi, in contrast with his numerous sympathizers in the College of
Cardinals, venturing boldly on a step which must embitter his whole
existence at Rome. The very first sentence of his momentous speech must
have concentrated the anger of the majority on a Cardinal, as they
thought, so confused and oblivious of his duty. Guidi began by affirming
that the separate and personal infallibility of the Pope, as stated in the
amended chapter of the _Schema_, was wholly unknown in the Church up to
the fourteenth century inclusive. Proofs for it are vainly sought in
Scripture and Tradition. The whole question, he added, reduces itself to
the point whether the Pope has defined even one dogma alone and without
the co-operation of the Church. No man could claim divine inspiration
(_doctrina infusa_). An act might be infallible, a person never. But every
infallible act had always proceeded from the Church herself only, either
“per consilium Ecclesiæ sparsæ,” or “per Concilium.” To know “quid ubique
credatur, si omnes Ecclesiæ cum Romanâ Ecclesiâ concordent,” information
is indispensably required. After this examination the Pope sanctions
doctrine “finaliter,” as St. Thomas says, and only so can it be rightly
said “Omnes per Papam docent.” He then showed from the works of the
Jesuits Bellarmine and Perrone, “in definendis dogmatibus Papas nunquam ex
se solis egisse, nunquam hæresim per se solos condemnâsse.” As Guidi
uttered these words the majority began to make a tumult under the lead of
the Italian Spaccapietra, Bishop of Smyrna. The Cardinal saw he could not
continue his speech. One bishop cried “birbante” (scoundrel) and another
“brigantino.” But Guidi did not let himself be put out of countenance; he
answered with astonishing firmness and calmness that he had a right to be
heard, and that no one had given to the Bishops the right of the
Presidents. “However, the time will come yet for saying your _Placet_ or
your _Non placet_, and then every one will be free to vote according to
his conscience.” Here for the first time his speech was interrupted by
loud applause, and the words “Optime, optime” resounded from every side
among the Opposition Bishops. Manning was asked by one of them, who stood
near him, “Etes-vous d’accord, Monsigneur?” He replied, “Le Cardinal est
une tête confuse.” On this a high-spirited Bishop could not refrain from
observing to the powerful Archbishop of Westminster, “C’est bien votre
tête, Monseigneur, qui est confuse et plus qu’à moitié Protestante.”

After this pretty long interruption Guidi went on to require a change in
the chapter on infallibility “ut clare appareat Papam agere
consentientibus episcopis et illis occasione errorum qui sparguntur
petentibus, factâ inquisitione in aliis Ecclesiis, præmisso maturo examine
et judicio et consiliis fratrum aut collecto Concilio.” This was the true
doctrine of St. Thomas; “finaliter” implied something to precede, and the
words “supremus magister et judex” pre-suppose other “magistri” and
“tribunalia.” He concluded by proposing these canons:—

(1.) “Si quis dixerit decreta seu constitutiones a Petri successore
editas, continentes quandam fidei vel morum veritatem Ecclesiæ universæ ab
ipso pro supremâ suâ et apostolicâ auctoritate propositas non esse
extemplo omnimodo venerandas et toto corde credendas vel posse
reformari—anathema sit.

(2.) “Si quis dixerit Pontificem, cum talia edit decreta, posse agere
arbitrio et ex se solo non autem ex consilio episcoporum traditionem
Ecclesiarum exhibentium—anathema sit.”

On sitting down he gave his manuscript to the Secretary, and was soon
surrounded by the leaders of the Opposition, some of whom complimented him
on his speech, while others expressed their admiration of his courage in
resisting the attempts to interrupt him. When a learned Italian Bishop
asked Valerga, Patriarch of Jerusalem, what he thought of this speech, he
replied audibly with the pun, “Si e squidato,” and on his interrogator
rejoining that anyhow the speech contained nothing but the truth, Valerga
let slip an expression very characteristic of himself and his party, “Si,
ma non convien sempre dir la verità.”

After this speech a large number of Bishops left the Council Hall, and
excited groups of prelates might be seen standing about in all directions.
Cardinals Bonnechose and Cullen addressed their very pointless speeches to
empty benches. Both pleaded for the proclamation of the fourth chapter, as
it stood. Bonnechose, from whom Ginoulhiac and others had expected a very
moderate speech, proved that he had completely gone over into Manning’s
camp, which cannot surprise any one in the case of a man who himself made
no secret of his having no clear views on the question. Cullen destroyed
by his last speech the impression made by the first, which had been
admired, not for its contents but for its strictly parliamentary form.

Cardinal Guidi’s courageous speech was destined soon to bear its fruits.
The Pope—the dearest object of whose heart is the perfect freedom of the
Council, as the official journal stated the other day—sent for him at
once, and next day boasted to several Cardinals of having energetically
rebuked their undutiful colleague for his heresy and ingratitude, and
threatened him with being called on to renew his profession of faith. But
the Cardinal may consider himself indemnified for these hard words of the
Pope by the homage he received the day after his speech from almost the
whole body of the Opposition Bishops who came to visit him. And he knows
that the best of them were even worse treated by his Holiness than
himself, where it was possible.



FIFTY-NINTH LETTER.


_Rome, June 22, 1870._—On the 13th the votes were taken on the changes
proposed in the preamble, and taken by rising and sitting down.(147)
Instead of “Vis et salus Ecclesiæ ab eo (Papâ) dependet” was proposed “Vis
et soliditas in eo (Papâ) consistit.” The majority seem to have thought
that stronger. The debate began with the speech of the Irish Archbishop of
Cashel, a member of the Commission. It is precisely in our days, he said,
that it is so necessary for the Pope to have absolute and irresponsible
authority, for therein lies the one safeguard, first, against the
encroachments of Liberalism; secondly, against the Radical and anti-Church
policy of the Governments; thirdly, against the poisonous and unbridled
influence of journalism; and fourthly, the absolute Pope can alone meet
the ecclesiastical and national enterprises of Russia or subdue the
political sects and ward off the Revolution which is impending everywhere.
In short, human society requires a deliverer, and this deliverer must be
omnipotent and infallible. So it is said in the Commission, and the Irish
prelate, who was specially alarmed by Fenianism, spoke in its name. As
soon as the Pope with the assent of the Council—or indeed without it—has
ruled his own omnipotence and infallibility, the deliverance of mankind is
accomplished.

The French Benedictine, Cardinal Pitra, undertook to lift the assembly out
of this cloudy region back to the firm ground of facts, viz., the facts
disclosed by himself. He expatiated on the collection of canons in the
Greek Church, saying that those relating to the Roman See had been
falsified, and the Russian Church was above all implicated in this system
of forgery, which had brought things to such a pass that there was no
authentic collection of canons in the Oriental Church. This was probably
intended to serve as a diversion, for the enormous fabrications in favour
of papal omnipotence, which were carried on for centuries and are
incorporated in the codes of canon law, had been frequently before
referred to in a very suspicious manner in the Council. Even the Bishop of
Saluzzo, who is almost a thorough-going Roman absolutist, had called the
collection of canons (Gratian’s, etc.) an Augean stable. Pitra went on to
indulge in an uncommonly fervid philippic against the Machiavellian and
persecuting Russia. But he forgot to say one thing, viz., that in no
country would the impending decrees be received with such satisfaction as
in Russia, nowhere would they give greater pleasure than in that great
Northern State which considers itself the happy heir of Rome in the East.
So much must be known even in Rome, that on the day the dogma is
promulgated all the bells in Mohilew, Wilna, Minsk, etc., will resound to
ring the knell of Rome. Pitra was followed by Ramirez y Vasquez, Bishop of
Badajoz. He maintained in the style and tone of Don Gerundio de Canpazes,
the doctrine that the Pope is Christ in the Church, the continuation of
the Incarnation of the Son of God, whence to him belongs the same extent
of power as to Christ Himself when visibly on earth. Maret had announced
his intention of speaking, with the view of combating the four anathemas
of Dechamps, which were so manifestly directed against his book. But
Dechamps, on learning this, told the Bishop of Sura that, if he would keep
silence, he would withdraw his anathemas, and excused himself by alleging
his zeal for the new dogma, assuring Maret that he had a good heart and
meant no harm. So Maret renounced his design of speaking.

On the 14th, Haynald, in spite of his bodily suffering, delivered a long
polemical speech against the majority, and maintained his reputation of
being the best Latin speaker after Strossmayer. Jussuf, the Melchite
Patriarch of Antioch, came next with an apology for the Oriental Churches
and their liberties. He pointed out in earnest words the danger of their
defection, if the present design of taking away their ancient rights was
carried out. He produced letters from his home telling him that he had
better not return at all than bring back from Rome decrees curtailing
their ecclesiastical liberties. And if the Pope chose to send back another
Patriarch instead of him, they might be very sure he would not be
received. Bishop Krementz of Ermeland observed that Holy Scripture made,
not Peter, or as is here understood the Pope, the foundation of the
Church, but Christ, and then as secondary foundation the Apostles and
Prophets. Only after these and in dependence on them could this
designation be applied to the See of Rome.

It had indeed been already observed among the minority how monstrous it
was to make the Pope “the principle of unity in the Church,” as the
_Schema_ puts it, and that the ancient Fathers speak indeed of an
“exordium unitatis” established in the person of Peter, but had never
called him, and still less the Bishop of Rome, the principle of
ecclesiastical unity, which would be logically inconceivable. In the
voting, which was again taken by rising and sitting down, the little band
of dissentients disappeared before the consentient mass, and the
expression “principium unitatis,” opposed as it is both to logic and
tradition, was accepted. Before the voting Bishop Gallo of Avellino had
uttered in the name of the Commission some Neapolitan mysticism about Adam
and Eve and the mysteries already revealed in Adam and Eve of the Church
resting on the Pope.

Cardinal Mathieu was the first speaker on the fourth chapter on
infallibility. His long and powerful speech was mainly directed against
Valerga, who had outraged the French by his attack on the “Gallican
errors.” It was a well-delivered panegyric on the French nation, which had
shed the blood of her sons to restore Rome to the Pope, and without whose
troops at Civita Vecchia the Council could not remain in Rome. The only
doubt is whether this Valerga is worth as much notice as the French have
accorded to him. After Mathieu Cardinal Rauscher spoke. His speech was
very inaudible owing to the nature of the Council Hall, but was clear and
well grounded, and showed how the acceptance of a personal infallibility,
by virtue of which every utterance of a Pope must be believed by all
Christians under pain of eternal damnation, is equally at issue with facts
and with the former tradition of the Church, and must have a fatal effect
in the future. He referred to Vigilius, Honorius, the reordinations of
Sergius and Stephen, and the contradiction between Nicolas III. and John
XXII., and commended the formula of Antoninus requiring the consent of the
Church as a condition. He could never assent to the _Schema_ without
mortal sin. “We knew all that from your pamphlet,” said Dechamps while he
was speaking. “But you have never refuted it,” replied Rauscher.

Cardinal Pitra was to have followed, but he was unwell, and the sitting
was broken off. The Presidents had issued an instruction that no one
should speak out of his turn, and if prevented on the regular day should
lose his right altogether. The rule in this case affected the zealous
infallibilist Pitra, and accordingly the Bishops were dismissed before the
usual hour.

The two next days, the 17th and 18th, were festivals, and there was no
sitting held. As there are already 75 speakers enrolled for the fourth
chapter, the promulgation obviously cannot take place on June 29, and the
Council will last on into July. There is indeed a simple means of
gratifying the desire of the Pope and curtailing the pains of the Bishops,
who are now absolutely tortured by the heat: the majority can any day cut
short the special debate, as they have already cut short the general
discussion. It may of course be objected that this procedure, of depriving
the Bishops of their right of speaking and violently imposing silence upon
them, overthrows the nature of a Church Council, where every Bishop is
meant to bear witness not only to his own belief, but to the tradition of
his country and the faith of his diocese. If the Bishops are deprived of
this right—and that too where so momentous a question is at issue and
there is such diversity of opinion—the freedom essential to a Council is
wanting.

The Pope becomes more lavish of his admonitions and instructions every
day. In the last Papal _Capella_ Patrizzi assured him the faithful were
impatiently awaiting the proclamation of infallibility, whereon Pius, in
presence of several Bishops of the minority, replied that there were three
classes of opponents of the dogma, _first_, the gross ignoramuses, who did
not know what it meant; _secondly_, the slaves of princes, he said “of
Cæsar,” referring both to Vienna and Paris; _thirdly_, the cowards, who
feared the judgment of this evil world. But he prayed for their
enlightenment and conversion.(148) This was of course applied here
universally to the Bishops of the Opposition. Moreover the Pope had just
before had a letter written to certain canons of Besançon, saying that all
the objections raised now had been triumphantly refuted a hundred times
over, and that as to appealing to the results of historical criticism and
the examination of texts, viz., to the huge mass of deliberate
falsifications and forgeries, these were “des anciens sophismes ou
mensonges contraires aux prérogatives du St. Siége.” The remark touches
Rauscher, Schwarzenberg, Dupanloup, Hefele, Maret, Kenrick, Ketteler (in
the pamphlet he circulated), and some thirty more. There is much dispute
here as to the paternity of those views which Pius emits both orally and
in writing. Has he got them from the _Civiltà_, or are the Jesuit writers
of that journal only the pupils of the Pope, who has received this
information “by infused science” from the Virgin Mary? On that point
opinions differ. The majority, who are quite aware that every one would
think it a joke to call Giovanni Maria Mastai a learned theologian, hold
to the latter view, and to the well-known picture painted by the Pope’s
own order, where the “actus infusionis” is represented to the eye. Their
favourite watchword is that every one who does not accept the decree is,
or in a few days will be, a heretic and enemy of the Church; his _non
placet_ consummates his separation from her, and hence Manning has already
proposed that each of these Bishops should have his excommunication handed
him with his railway-ticket when he leaves Rome. Livy says, “Hæc natura
multitudinis est, aut servit humiliter aut superbe dominatur;” the
“multitude” in the Hall combines both characteristics.

On June 18 the Pope observed a German priest among those admitted to an
audience, and asked who he was, when he replied that he was secretary to a
Bishop, who is well known for his learning and his fallibilist views. Pius
turned away with an exclamation of disgust. Of another very eminent
dignitary of similar views he is wont to say in the bitterest terms, that
his opinions are prompted solely by personal enmity to himself.

The majority are said to be very impatient, so that many anticipate the
violent closing of the debate on Saturday, the 25th. And the greater
number of the intending speakers on the fourth chapter, now increased to a
hundred, belong to the Court party, who might say that they are only
willingly renouncing the pleasure of hearing their own ideas put forward.
But then the speeches of Darboy, Place (of Marseilles), Maret, Clifford,
Schwarzenberg, Simor, Dupanloup, and Haynald would also be suppressed.
Hefele was the first to put down his name, as he was not allowed at the
time to answer the fierce attack of Cullen. On his inquiring after some
days when his turn would come, he was told that he was the fifty-first in
order, as all who came before him in age and rank must speak before he
could be permitted to open his mouth. A little later he was told he came
seventy-first, so that his hope of being able to vindicate himself in the
Council is almost at an end. Meanwhile he has had a brief reply to the
attack of a Frenchman, de la Margerie, printed at Naples.

The minority have resolved to send a deputation to the Pope to petition
for the adjournment of the Council, since it is horrible to detain so many
aged men, many of whom are sick, by violence in this unhealthy city. They
will of course meet with a positive refusal, for the Jesuits and the holy
Virgin, who is always appealed to, are for carrying out the compulsory
system to the last. But you may judge how the heat and the moral and
physical miasmas are working on the Bishops from the fact that there are
now only five or six on a bench where thirty Bishops used to sit, though
most of the others are in Rome or the neighbourhood. Indeed they are kept
prisoners here, and Antonelli said recently to a diplomatist, “Si quelque
Evêque veut faire une partie de campagne (like Förster) la police n’a rien
à y voir, mais s’il voulait quitter le Concile, alors ce serait
différent,” so that every foreign Bishop lives here under the inspection
of the police, who are to take care that he does not escape. This
statement seemed to the diplomat to whom it was made so seriously to
affect the sovereign rights of his Government, that he at once reported
it.

The Roman logic, as may be seen from the _Civiltà_, is simply this: the
Council is what it is through the Pope alone; without him it can do
nothing and is an empty shadow. Freedom of the Council therefore means
freedom of the Pope: if he is free, it is free. You may infer what
reception will be accorded in the Vatican to the petition just resolved
upon for a secret voting on the Papal _Schema_. There could be no more
eloquent testimony to the real state of things and the estimate formed of
the freedom of the Council, for it is dictated by the knowledge that a
secret ballot would give a very considerable number of negative votes, at
least 200, if the private expressions of opinion of the Bishops may be
relied upon, while no one here ventures to hope for more than 110 or 115
_non placets_ in a public voting. There are certainly some hundred, even
of the Papal boarders, who would say _Non placet_, if their votes were
sheltered by secrecy. Neither the Catholic nor the non-Catholic public has
any idea of the extent to which a Bishop in the present day is dependent
on Rome, and how difficult or impossible the administration of his office
would be made for him by the disfavour of Rome. The worst off of all are
the Bishops under Propaganda, who have simply no rights. For them to speak
of freedom, after the Pope has announced his wish, would be ludicrous, and
to this category belong not only all the Oriental and Missionary Bishops,
but the American and English also. And even for the Bishops of the older
Sees, who are under the _Congregatio Episcoporum et Regularium_, and are
protected by the common law or by Concordats, the practice of the _Curia_
is a field full of man-traps, a belt studded with nails, which only needs
to be drawn in by curialistic hands to make the nails pierce the body of
the obnoxious Bishop. As things now are here, and after Pius has gone
further than any Pope for centuries in glaring partisanship and open
threats of enmity against all dissentients, secret voting must appear the
only possible means of securing even a shadow of freedom for the decrees
of the Council. If the voting is public, the word freedom, as used of the
Council, could only be regarded as a mockery. And it is very well known
here that the Pope’s _entourage_ do everything in their power to maintain
him in his belief that the Opposition will melt away at last like snow
before the sun, and hardly four negative votes will remain.

Last year the theologians summoned for the preliminary work were sent home
at the beginning of June, and scarcely one or two even of the directing
Commission of Cardinals stayed longer in Rome. Now the 15th or 20th of
July is spoken of as the day for the promulgation, and if it should be a
little earlier there will still be many of the prelates who will return
from Rome ill and with their constitutions permanently shattered. The
ancients found the word “amor” reversed in the name of the eternal city
(_Roma_), and the Bishops are daily reminded of it. Meanwhile the
brilliant recompense of Cardoni’s services has rekindled the hopes of the
majority; there are fifteen or sixteen vacant Hats, which will be given to
those who have deserved best of the new dogma. The merits of the Italians
are not conspicuous; they have most of them done moles’ work, chiefly as
spies, for that business is conducted here to an extent almost unheard of
in Europe. Valerga is of course an exception, who has excelled all the
Italians as a speaker. After him, Mgr. Nardi has so greatly distinguished
himself by his active zeal that a red Hat would seem a fitting ornament of
his head, but then there are very suspicious circumstances, only too
notorious in Rome. The men who have done and will do the most important
services, who are indeed the modern Atlases to carry the main weight of
the new dogma on their lusty shoulders, are of course the Jesuits. Pius is
penetrated with the feeling that their services are above all praise and
recompense. A Jesuit cannot be rewarded with titles and colours and
dresses, but he can receive a Cardinal’s Hat. The names of Toletus,
Bellarmine, Pallavicini, de Lugo, recall grand memories. Not long before
its dissolution in 1736, three of the Order were in the Sacred College
together—Tolomei, Eienfuegos and Salerno. That might happen again, and the
College would gain in capacity and working power. As Kleutgen cannot be
thought of, on account of his trial before the Inquisition, and Perrone is
too old, the next candidates would be Curci, Schrader and Franzelin.
Father Piccirillo, from his intimate relations to the highest personage,
would possess the first reversionary claim, and his services have been
rewarded in a manner greatly desired and long aimed at by his Order, for
he has received the permission, unprecedented in the history of Rome, to
go alone into the secret archives and there work. Such an event would at
other times have been regarded at Rome as a downfall of the heavens or a
sign of the last judgment, and even now it has produced perplexity and
amazement in genuine Roman circles. For every one who passes the threshold
of the chamber of archives incurs _ipso facto_ excommunication. So the
Order is firmly seated in this unapproachable sanctuary. There is no fear
of indiscreet publications. Piccirillo, far from publishing anything, will
excel in mere negative activity.

Among foreign candidates for the Cardinalate Manning stands out as a star
of the first rank in the Roman firmament. He may claim some paternity of
the great idea of at last treating the apotheosis of the Papacy seriously,
and he long ago suggested to Darboy how nice it would be for the two chief
capitals of Europe, London and Paris, each to have its Cardinal, which
could be best brought about by furthering the infallibilist definition.
But Darboy would hear nothing of it. Next to Manning comes Dechamps of
Mechlin; but as the Pope has named him primate, which is indeed a mere
title, he is thought here to have had his reward. Spalding, who has
deserved so well of Rome, would of course create a great sensation in the
United States by the red hat, which has never yet been seen there. Among
the French, Dreux-Brézé of Moulins and Pie of Poitiers come first in
order. There is great difficulty about Simor, the ill-advised and
ungrateful son who had the Cardinalate, so to speak, in his pocket, and is
now causing such distress to the lofty giver. How fortunate, say the Court
party, that d’Andrea is no longer alive. Rauscher, Schwarzenburg, Guidi,
d’Andrea, Simor—that would be too much. But now for the Germans! There it
is difficult to select; all the faithful ones must be rewarded, who have
literally sweated and are sweating daily in the interest of the good
cause—Fessler, Martin, Senestrey, and then Stahl, Leonrod, Rudigier and
the Tyrolese Gasser and Riccabona. The Tyrol has had no Cardinal since
Nicolas of Cusa (Bishop of Brixen) and Madrucci (Bishop of Trent), and
there most especially would the return of a countryman with a red hat be
kept as a national festival.

Margotti has had a denial inserted in the _Univers_ of the fact that a
Sicilian Bishop related the story of St. Peter and the Virgin Mary in the
Council Hall. On this I have merely to remark that it was told me the same
evening by three Bishops, none of whom heard it from one of the others,
and the speaker was Natoli, Archbishop of Messina. We know what Margotti’s
assertions and denials are worth.



SIXTIETH LETTER.


_Rome, June 23, 1870._—On reading the last document emanating from the
Council, composed by the most distinguished of the American Bishops, an
inexpressible feeling of astonishment comes over me, as often before, at
the new and unprecedented spectacle so boldly offered to the startled
world, and I again recognise the necessity of accounting to myself for the
condition of the Catholic Church which has made this possible, and
remembering that the position of the Papacy in the modern Church for some
time past has been hardly less novel and strange than this present
infallibilist Council.

The two great events of modern history, the Reformation and the
Revolution, have made the Papacy what it is,—the Reformation by forcibly
driving the Catholic half of Christendom into centralization, the
Revolution by removing the last remaining independent powers within the
Church, viz., the Gallican Church with the Sorbonne and Parliament. So it
came to pass that with the Restoration the Church was surrendered to the
discretion of the Papacy, just as at the same time the Roman States, by
the withdrawal of all provincial and corporate independence, became a
uniform and absolute monarchy. The very spirit of the nineteenth century,
without much help from Rome, contributed to the consolidation and
strengthening of this new system. The re-awakening and growth of distinct
Church feeling in powerful classes of the educated nations, the legitimist
ideas of the ruling classes of Europe, and later on the combined Catholic
and Liberal interest of the struggle against hostile bureaucracies and the
antipathy of parliamentary majorities—principles of reaction and
principles of freedom all alike in turn subserved the cause of the Church,
_i.e._, the Papacy. For although Papacy and Church were still not wholly
identified in fact, to say nothing of right, the times did not suggest the
need for distinguishing between them.

There was opportunity given, one might suppose, for a great display of
activity. A fresh creative spirit passed here and there through the new
world of the nineteenth century, and not least through the Catholic
portion of it, which produced in individuals many fair flowers of art and
science, and also of practical piety. It was enough to catch the
inspiration, in the sense of the age and of the eternal needs of mankind,
and as the wilderness blossoms under the hand of a gardener, there grew
out of the ruins of the Revolution a new era of rich Christian life. But
the destiny of Catholicism was to be the reverse. There was indeed then,
and is now, urgent need of an immense deal to be done in the Church; to
carry on the daily ecclesiastical administration by no means satisfied the
requirements of the age, but the Church herself needed and needs
reform—reform everywhere from the outer rind to the marrow. But reform,
whether in Church or State, generally results from the struggle of rival
forces. And the only power surviving in the Church possessed neither the
capacity nor the inclination for acts of world-wide import; it seemed to
have no sense but for the maintenance and extension of its own dominion.
Such Catholic works as the nineteenth century has produced did not emanate
from Rome, and were little if at all helped on by her. On the contrary,
Rome put a restraint on everything which did not serve directly as an
instrument of her power. Every germ of relative independence seemed to be
viewed with distrust. Here and there the intellectual labour of a lifetime
of Catholic study was simply extinguished. The youth of talent turned from
a path which led only to unfruitful conflicts. The once promising
seed-plot of original Catholic production became dry, and even the noblest
creation of the century, the female orders for nursing the sick, are said
by those best informed to show symptoms of decay. There was stillness.
From Rome one only heard a monologue. The Bishops’ Pastorals were its
echo, or were so long-winded and verbose that the simple and noble
language of the pronunciamento issued by the newly elected Bishop of
Rottenburg was quite a phenomenon. Men boasted of the Catholic unity,
which had never been so palpable and so undisturbed as in these latter
days, but it was a unity of sleep over the grave of intellectual and all
higher ecclesiastical life.

Who will bring us deliverance? asked every one who looked at things
independently of the mere force of habit with a clear eye. The answer was
that there was no longer any independent power anywhere but in the centre,
and therefore deliverance could only come from thence; the lever could
only be applied in Rome, and nobody but a future Pope was in a position to
do this.

How peculiarly are things disposed! In Rome they had all they could
desire. There has never been a time when Catholic Christendom lay so
submissively at the Pope’s feet. In fact he possessed practically the
prerogative of infallibility, for no one contradicted whatever he might
say. The Bishops were disused to learning; there was hardly among them a
theologian of note, and therefore they had no spirit for theological
convictions of their own. It seemed to be the office of their lives to
re-echo the Roman oracles. The daring project of defining the Immaculate
Conception met with hardly any serious opposition, though many Bishops
could not conceal from themselves that the faith of antiquity and the
belief of their own dioceses knew nothing of the new dogma. And then in
the Encyclical and Syllabus came a perfect flood of irrational and
unchristian propositions. What did the Bishops of Christendom, the judges
of faith, do? Some put a more rational interpretation on it, the others
took it all for granted as it stood; everywhere the new articles of faith
and morality were received as though all were in the most regular order.
That was in fact a situation without any precedent, and there was nothing
left to wish for but its continuance for ever. The talisman to secure this
continuance was discovered in the tenet of papal infallibility, and to
make this into a dogma and foundation-principle of the Church has been the
grand object to which the thoughts and measures of the last ten years have
been directed.

Even this last point might perhaps have been attained by adhering to the
practice which has prevailed hitherto of quietly collecting the votes of
the _Ecclesia dispersa_, and passing over the isolated opponents still
left to the order of the day. Why was the perilous plan of a General
Council adopted instead of this? Perhaps with the view of extruding and
getting rid of for the future all the doubt still attaching to the assent
of the Church dispersed; certainly in the full confidence, after all that
had occurred previously, that there was absolutely no demand the Bishops
would dare to refuse. The authorities felt in the position,
ecclesiastically speaking, of being able to challenge the Holy Ghost
Himself to say if He would refuse to set His seal to the deformation of
the Church.

All the world knows how the Vatican Council has been managed. It was as if
they wished to keep the Holy Ghost a prisoner, with eyes and ears
bandaged. But things did not go as they wished. On the contrary this
extreme step of the _Curia_ roused a reaction, which seems likely to lead
to a revolution that will take its place in history and introduce a
complete change in the future. Certainly the deliverance is coming from
the centre, but not as was thought and desired, not in peace but in storm,
not as a gift of the highest human wisdom but as a nemesis. For it is an
old law, equally prevalent throughout the Christian and Heathen world,
that pride will always bring its punishment.

We are already in the third stage of this movement. First came, quite
unexpectedly, protests against infallibility from the lay world, instead
of the accustomed clouds of incense, and then still more unexpectedly the
military obedience of the clergy was broken through by the most decided
intimations of conscientious sincerity and scientific conviction; and now
even the princes of the Church are putting themselves at the head of the
Opposition. There is still some difference between the Church dispersed
and a great assembly, many as are the restrictions imposed here by fraud
and violence on the free expression of opinion. The man of knowledge and
character, who would there remain alone and isolated, gains tenfold power
and energy here. Consciences are aroused. Many a Bishop who left home with
his head wholly or half involved in the haze of Jesuit doctrine, receives
the impulse here to unprejudiced study and is irresistibly driven to the
side of right and truth. Besides, it is no small thing to have seen the
state of things at Rome for six months with one’s own eyes.

We shall do well not to raise our expectations too high. The spirit of
slavery, which has become ingrained in one generation after another,
cannot be scared away in weeks and months from men’s minds and the conduct
of affairs. So much the more noteworthy is every increase of outward or
inward strength in the struggling minority at the Council. And so I return
to the work already mentioned, to remark that its contents justify us in
reckoning the author, the venerable Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, with
Strossmayer, Hefele, Dupanloup, Darboy, Schwarzenberg, and Rauscher among
the heads of the Opposition.

It is only matter of course that much which has often been said before
should be repeated here, which we may pass over, without however omitting
to notice the impression which the plain and practical nature of the
treatise is calculated to produce. What concerns us more nearly is the
distinctness and firmness with which the present claims of the _Curia_ are
repudiated, as, _e.g._, in pointing out the injury to episcopal rights
involved in the desired definition. “The Bishops,” says the author, “have
always been held judges of faith. But assuming that the Pope alone is
infallible, the Bishops may indeed assent to his judgments, but cannot
exercise any real judicial office, and thus lose a right inherent in the
episcopal office. But this right they are in no position to resign,
however much they might wish it, for its connection with the episcopal
office rests on the institution of the Saviour.” In another passage he
says, “Appeal is made to the number of theologians, who in the course of
ages have defended infallibility. But that does not make it an article of
faith. Divine Providence does not permit such opinions, when they have no
true ground or do not agree with the records of revelation, to become
articles of faith. It has been a view held for centuries that Christ gave
Peter and his successors supreme authority in secular affairs also. But
there is no one in our own day who does not reject and deplore it and seek
for an excuse for it in the circumstances of the age, except the Roman
clergy, in whose _Proprium Officium S. __ Zachariæ_ we read the other day,
that the Pope by his apostolic authority transferred the sovereignty over
the Franks from Childeric to Pepin. And yet the Popes have ventured to
make this usurped authority, so far as in them lay, into an article of
faith.” Then follows a reference to the Bull _Unam Sanctam_, and the
similar statements of Bellarmine and Suarez. “On the other hand,” Kenrick
proceeds, “we find at this Council some Bishops, of whom the present
writer is one, who have published and solemnly sworn to a declaration that
the Pope, at least in England, possesses no such power. This example might
teach those who are pressing for the definition of papal infallibility,
that even the most solemn papal decree, and though issued like that of
Boniface VIII. at a Synod, is null and void if it be not grounded on God’s
word in Scripture and Tradition. ‘Commenta delet dies, judicia naturæ
confirmat.’ ”

We may recognise in the tone of these remarks, with all their moderation,
an advance on the part of the Opposition to greater freedom and
distinctness of speech. And this impression is still more confirmed by
Kenrick’s judgment on the well-known proceedings in and out of Council.
“There is yet another argument used,” he says, “which I can only refer to
with reluctance. It is urged that papal infallibility is so vehemently
attacked by its opponents that, if it is not now declared to be an article
of faith, it is virtually admitted to have no foundation, and surrendered
to the daily increasing violence of its assailants without protection.
Those who so argue forget that they are themselves responsible for having
occasioned this deplorable controversy, by announcing to the astonished
world that at the Vatican Council two new dogmas would be proposed to the
faithful, papal infallibility and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin,
and in a similar spirit publishing works in England and the United States
on the Pope’s authority, with a view of preparing men’s minds for the
acceptance of these dogmas. In view of this temerity, which has not only
not been rebuked but has even been defended in Bishops’ Pastorals, and
with a clear perception of the unhappy consequences that must follow from
it, men, who deserve eternal remembrance and will obtain praise of God,
have lifted up their voice to remind the faithful that in matters of faith
no innovation is allowed, that papal infallibility as distinct from the
infallibility of the Church has no evidence of Scripture and Tradition,
and that the office of Councils is to investigate and not to carry decrees
by acclamation. And just because they speak the truth openly, these men
are reproached with stirring up the people by the very persons who would
eventually have interpreted their silence as assent and have used it as
ground for carrying out their own designs. Then again it is urged upon
good people that something must be done under the circumstances for
maintaining the honour of the Papacy, forgetting that Bishops should have
not circumstances but the truth before their eyes, and that it is as
little competent to the successors of the Apostles as to the Apostles
themselves to do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”

In another passage, after dwelling on the preponderance of the Italian
prelates he proceeds, “If they wish to give the decrees of the Council the
character of the testimony of the whole of Christendom, without altering
the inequality of numbers of the representatives of different nations,
there is the precedent of the plan adopted at the Council of Constance
with the happiest results, viz., taking the votes by nations or languages
and not by heads. And this method would secure the speedier and better
settlement of the matters under discussion, for the Bishops of the same
tongue or nation know the needs of their Churches better and would
understand how to meet them; moreover they could express their views more
readily in their mother tongue than is possible in the General
Congregation where Latin is obliged to be spoken, which they have perhaps
lost their familiarity with through the long course of an active life, so
that they have either to keep silent or to speak under difficulties. And
by this means a discussion and searching examination would become
practicable, which must necessarily take place at a Council, but which is
wanting at the Vatican Council. There is indeed abundant opportunity for
making speeches, but the great number of Fathers and the order of business
imposed on the Council cuts off all opportunity for submitting any point
to a close examination by regular debate with one speaker answering
another. Five months have already passed since the opening of the Council,
with what result need not be said here. Meanwhile the question of the new
definition has roused a great excitement throughout the Christian world,
which is still on the increase; some desire the definition, others
emphatically repudiate it. Bishops have entered the lists against Bishops,
priests have written against their own and against other chief pastors,
and won commendation from the supreme authority for doing so. The journals
of both parties, with their not always true reports or at least crooked
reasonings, keep the whole world in a state of agitated suspense as to
what is coming. May one say to what all this will lead and what will be
the end of this violent tempest which has so suddenly risen in a clear sky
and seems likely to produce much mischief? They are certainly deceived who
fancy that the promulgation of the new dogma will at once lay the waves;
the contrary is far likelier. Those who would obey the decrees of the
Council will find themselves in a most difficult position. The civil
Governments will treat them, not without some plausible grounds, as less
trustworthy subjects. The enemies of the Church will throw in their teeth
the errors said to have been taught by the Popes or sanctioned by their
conduct, and will laugh to scorn the only possible answer—that they did
not promulgate these errors as Popes but as individual Bishops of Rome.
And then the scandalous Church history records of certain Popes will be
urged as so many proofs of the internal discrepancy of Catholic belief,
for men do not distinguish between infallibility and impeccability, which
appear to them inseparably connected.”

What Kenrick thinks the Opposition ought to do is not expressly stated,
but may be gathered from his language. He says indeed that “whoever does
not submit to the decisions of an Œcumenical Council does not deserve the
name of Catholic,” but he adds, “if the indispensable conditions have been
observed in holding the Council.” And he makes moral unanimity one of
these conditions. He does not allow the crude conception which seems to
prevail among the majority, that a Council has simply to vote and then the
world must reverence the result as the dictate of the Holy Ghost. The
infallibility of Councils is to him no miraculous work of inspiration, but
a simple result of the constitution the Church received from her Founder,
whose assistance will never fail her, if she remains true to Scripture and
Tradition and the agreement of the various particular Churches.

Kenrick and all the Bishops who hold firmly with him may meet the
impending decision in quietness and confidence, for the defeat of their
opponents is certain, whether they persist and define and promulgate the
new dogma, or retreat at the last moment. In the former case deliverance
will come through a catastrophe whose consequences defy all calculation.
And yet even in Rome there do not lack pious minds which, undisturbed by
these terrible dangers, desire to see the insolent enterprise carried
through, in the belief that the prevalent corruption can only be overcome
by a life and death struggle. “Quod medicina non sanat, ferrum sanat.”



SIXTY-FIRST LETTER.


_Rome, June 24, 1870._—Rome is just now like an episcopal lazar-house, so
great is the number of the prelates who are sick and suffering and
confined to their bed or their chamber. And still greater is the number of
those who feel worn out and impatiently long to be gone. But there are
persons here who calculate thus—that the Italians, Spaniards and South
Americans are accustomed to the heat, and bear it very well, and as to the
Germans, French and North Americans—“vile damnum si interierint.”

Guidi’s speech still occupies men’s minds, and forms the topic of
conversation in conciliar circles. Men are astonished at the courage of a
Cardinal in daring so directly to contradict the Pope. While Pius has word
written to Paris that “for many centuries no one doubted the Pope’s
infallibility,” Guidi declares it to be an invention of the fifteenth
century.

The following account of the dialogue between the Pope and the Cardinal is
current at Rome, and it seems to rest on the authority of Pius himself,
who is notoriously fond of telling every one he meets how he has lectured
this or that dignitary:—

Guidi, on being summoned by the Pope directly after his speech, was
greeted with the words, “You are my enemy, you are the coryphæus of my
opponents, ungrateful towards my person; you have propounded heretical
doctrine.” _Guidi._—“My speech is in the hands of the Presidents, if your
Holiness will read it, and detect what is supposed to be heretical in it.
I gave it at once to the under-secretary (_sottosecretario_) that people
might not be able to say anything had been interpolated into it.” _The
Pope._—“You have given great offence to the majority of the Council; all
five Presidents are against you and are displeased.” _Guidi._—“Some
material error may have escaped me, but certainly not a formal one: I have
simply stated the doctrine of tradition and of St. Thomas.” _The
Pope._—“_La tradizione son’ io—vi farò far nuovamente la professione di
fede._” _Guidi._—“I am and remain subject to the authority of the Holy
See, but I ventured to discuss a question not yet made an article of
faith; if your Holiness decides it to be such in a Constitution, I shall
certainly not dare to oppose it.” _The Pope._—“The value of your speech
may be measured by those whom it has pleased. Who has been eager to
testify to you his joy? That Bishop Strossmayer who is my personal enemy
has embraced you; you are in collusion with him.” _Guidi._—“I don’t know
him, and have never before spoken to him.” _The Pope._—“It is clear you
have spoken so as to please the world, the Liberals, the Revolution, and
the Government of Florence.” _Guidi._—“Holy Father, have the goodness to
have my speech given you.”

The same afternoon a Spanish Bishop belonging to the extremest
Infallibilists said, “Absque dubio facies Concilii est immutata. Oportet
huic sermoni serio studere.” When Guidi asked how the Cardinals had taken
his speech, Mathieu replied, “Cum seriâ silentiosâ approbatione,” on which
Guidi observed, “Sunt quidam qui idem mecum sentiunt, sed deest illis
animi fortitudo.”

“La tradizione son’ io”—it would be impossible to give a briefer, more
pregnant or more epigrammatic description of the whole system which is now
to be made dominant than is contained in those few words. All the members
of the _Civiltà_, the thick volumes of Schrader, Weninger and the Jesuits
of Laach are outdone by this clear and simple utterance. Pius will take
rank in history with the men who have known how by a happy inspiration to
throw a great thought into the most adequate form of words, which
impresses it for ever indelibly on the memory. The formula is worthy to be
classed with the equally pregnant saying of Boniface VIII., “The Pope
holds all rights locked up in his breast.” It is bruited about here from
mouth to mouth, and the analogy of Louis XIV., which inevitably occurs to
everybody, reaches even further. Every day since I have witnessed the
drama being enacted here, has the saying suggested itself to me,
“L’Église, c’est moi.” Any one who would form a judgment of the state of
things here should be recommended above all to read a work like, _e.g._,
Lemontey’s _Essai sur l’établissement monarchique de Louis __XIV._, or the
instructions of the King for the Dauphin. One sees there how absolute
sovereignty, the intoxicating sense of irresponsible power—and spiritual
absolutism is far more overpowering than political—leads almost of
necessity to the notion of infallibility and divine enlightenment. Louis
XIV. says seriously and drily to his son, “As God’s representative we have
part in the divine knowledge as well as the divine authority.”(149) And he
warns him that all his own errors had arisen from his too great modesty in
giving ear to extraneous advisers. For eight hundred years the question
has been disputed, why the Popes are so short-lived, and the phenomenon
has been ascribed to a special divine dispensation which removes them
betimes, that they may not be morally poisoned by too long enjoyment of
their dignity—“ne malitia mutaret intellectum.”

The minority perceive, on a calmer consideration, that the two canons
proposed by Guidi would not provide sufficient security for the episcopate
taking part in the teaching office of the Church according to the
integrity of her constitution. The second indeed, like a well-aimed arrow,
hits the mark. It calls the thing by its right name, and anathematizes the
purely personal infallibility of the Pope, independent of the consent of
the Church and resting on direct divine inspiration, as a heresy, which it
unquestionably is in the eyes of every theologian who knows anything of
the Church and her tradition; but then, after the Pope has so openly and
expressly committed himself to precisely this view of the Church, it is
thought impossible here in Rome, and close to the Vatican, to throw an
anathema in his face. And besides the expression in the first canon, that
the consentient “consilium Ecclesiæ” is requisite for an infallible papal
utterance, is open to the same charge of vagueness as the notorious and
much-abused _ex cathedrâ_, and could as easily be explained away into the
mere arbitrary caprice of the Pope. It would always rest with him in the
last resort to maintain “ex certâ scientiâ” that the “consilium Ecclesiæ”
agreed with his own judgment.

A remodelling of the fourth canon has been undertaken, but the new formula
is not known. It is however much talked of among the Bishops, and the
general view is that it remains substantially unchanged, and still
contains the personal infallibility of the Pope independently of the
Church. Manning had said that the utmost regard that was possible should
be paid to the views of the Opposition in the alteration of the chapter.
And so those Bishops still hope for the accomplishment of their desires
who, like Ketteler and Melchers, entreat that only one, however sterile,
verbal concession may be made, so as to give them a bridge on which to
pass over the gulf safely into the camp of the majority.

I lately heard a Roman layman say that what most surprised him among the
many wonderful things he had seen here was the contempt for the Catholic
Church which prevails here. For that contempt could not be more
emphatically expressed than by the Pope appropriating to himself what
according to the ancient doctrine belongs to her, and declaring himself
the sole and exclusive organ of the Holy Ghost. It is the same here
universally; when one talks with a Roman, the _Curia_, the Pope, is
everything, and the Church nothing but the “contribuens plebs.” My
informant thought it was easy enough to understand the view of born
Romans, but difficult to give any rational account of the attitude of the
episcopal majority, for it must be clear to every one of them that the
promulgation of the new dogma would destroy irrevocably all episcopal
independence of Rome, and strip the nimbus from the brow of the Bishop who
is a successor of the Apostles. I observed to him that in Romance
countries this primitive idea of the episcopate had long since vanished,
as he might easily convince himself by asking the next Italian peasant or
shopkeeper he met what was his notion of a Bishop. And five-sixths of the
majority belong to these countries,

In the Congregation of June 20 the Deputation put up one of its members,
Bishop d’Avanzo of Calvi and Teano, to speak. For there was urgent need of
promptly meeting the great scandal given by Guidi, and deterring any
Cardinal who might be so disposed from following his example. The speaker
allowed that in dogmatic decrees the tradition of the Church must be
consulted and the Holy Ghost invoked, but how this was to be done was left
to the judgment of the Pope, By his second canon Guidi passed over “ad
aliena non Catholica castra,” exceeded all Gallicans and wanted—he, an
Italian, a Dominican and a Cardinal—to canonize Gallicanism. A shudder ran
through the ranks of all the Italians who live between Ferrara and Malta,
but they remembered for their comfort that the unworthy son of the
peninsula had been for some years professor at Vienna, and it was obvious
that the German malaria he had caught there was the cause of this
matricidal heresy.

Guidi had said that the admonition to Peter to confirm his brethren
pre-supposed something to be confirmed, _i.e._, that the Pope only
confirmed the doctrine already maintained by the Bishops. To this d’Avanzo
answered that it was utterly uncatholic, and one must rather begin from
above and not from below, and ascribe the authorship and initiation of
doctrine to the Pope, who was immediately inspired by the Holy Ghost;
“causa princeps infallibilitatis est assistentia Spiritûs Sancti.” And
here followed a statement that must be given word for word: “Supervacaneum
est omne additamentum, nulla emendatio in decreto et canone schematis
acceptatur; nulla conditio, nulla limitatio admittetur per deputationem;
inutilis est igitur omnis labor? ‘Animalis homo non percipit quod de cœlo
est.’ ”(150) To say the definition was inopportune was merely pandering to
the corrupt portion of society, and especially to the tribe of Government
officials. The speaker added emphatically: “Satis fit servis Satanæ, qui
sunt gubernantes, negantes ordinem supernaturalem—ergo Decretum est
opportunum. In Pontifice Spiritus Domini vivit et agit, Pontifex ergo hôc
Spiritu agente errare non potest.” It became known at once in the Council
that this declaration, which annihilated so many hopes, had been made in
the name and by special command of the Pope, and that “the animal man”
meant the Opposition.

The two next speakers were the titular Patriarchs Ballerini and Valerga.
The first said with notable frankness, “Were we to let personal
infallibility drop, we should destroy the obedience due to the Pope and
exalt ourselves against God Himself.” In other words, the Vice-God orders
us to declare him infallible, and of course we obey implicitly.

Valerga’s appearance was the beginning of a comedy, which was repeated in
subsequent sittings. He wanted to prove papal infallibility by inferences
from the Florentine decree, which was received by all; but he was twice
interrupted by the Presidents for not keeping to the question. He
thereupon left the tribune, not without remarks being made by Opposition
Bishops that they saw this treatment was not reserved for them only. The
same thing happened on June 22 to Bishop Apuzzo of Sorrento and Archbishop
Spaccapietra. On the 20th, towards the end of the debate, Archbishop
MacHale of Tuam in Ireland spoke with great severity against the decree,
the fatal consequences of which he seems to appreciate better than most of
his Irish colleagues. Bishop Apuzzo reminded the Hungarians that they once
had a primate (Szelepcsenyi, a pupil of the Jesuits) who had summoned a
synod to condemn the Gallican Articles of 1682, and that quite recently a
Provincial Synod at Colocza had used language of very infallibilist sound.
Haynald took part in that Synod, and he, as well as Rauscher, to whom the
same reproach was addressed, had already observed that it would not do to
put a strictly logical interpretation on mere complimentary phrases. In
the course of his speech Apuzzo became still more abusive. “Those are the
sons of Satan,” he exclaimed at last, “who say the Bishops are judges in
the Church. No! we are but poor sinners.” At the same time he proposed a
supplement still more peremptory than the chapter. Spaccapietra came to
grief in Church history, which is more grossly mishandled at Rome and in
the Council Hall, when it is appealed to at all, than anywhere else. This
time St. Polycarp’s yielding to the Pope about the observance of Easter—he
notoriously did just the reverse—was to serve as an example to the
Opposition. When the speaker went on to utter fierce invectives against
Cardinal Guidi, he was interrupted. He declared he had only something to
say against the schismatics, but the President closed his mouth in
theatrical fashion saying, “Cedat verbum tintinnabulo.” So he left the
rostrum.

Men breathed more freely when, after these hollow declamations, two
British Bishops brought the clear practical sense of their race and
country to bear on the question and the previous discussion of it. The
first of them, Archbishop Errington, who was formerly Cardinal Wiseman’s
coadjutor but soon got out of favour at Rome, pointedly characterized the
vicious nature of the whole transaction; there were speeches on both
sides, one affirming, another denying, and no one could feel that he had
refuted anything or advanced his cause the least by his words. The
Deputation alone had the privilege of referring to the speeches and
examining them, and it belonged to the majority, not to the Council; “how
it was formed, we know.” As a tribunal the Council was bound to institute
a calm and searching investigation of facts, tradition and testimonies,
and for this only one means was available, which was employed at the
former great Councils including the Tridentine, to form deputations from
both parties for earnest conference, where scientific examination might
take the place of rhetorical harangues—from both parties, for it was idle
with Bilio to bid them ignore the existence of two parties. “Modo in hôc
Concilio fit aliter et illud ineptissime,” he concluded, and he proposed
the formula, “Magisterium universalis Ecclesiæ est infallibile.”

The next speech, of Vitelleschi, who is Archbishop of Osimo but has never
been in his diocese, though it is so near, left no impression; it was an
exhortation to vote infallibility unanimously. And then followed
Archbishop Conolly of Halifax with a speech such as has seldom been heard
here. “Thrice,” he said, “have I asked for proof from Scripture according
to its authentic interpretation, from Tradition and from Councils, that
the Bishops of the Catholic Church ought to be excluded from the
definition of dogmas; but my request has not been complied with, and now I
adjure you, like the blind man on the way to Jericho, to give us sight
that we may believe. Hitherto we have recognised the strongest motive for
the credibility of Catholic doctrine in the general consent of the Church
notified through the collective episcopate; this has been our shield
against all external assailants, and by this powerful magnet we have drawn
hundreds of thousands into the Church. Is this our invincible weapon of
attack and defence now to be broken and trampled under foot, and the
thousand-headed episcopate with the millions of faithful at its back to
shrink into the voice and witness of a single man? Let the Deputation
prove to us that it has really been always the belief of the Church that
the Pope is everything and the Bishops nothing. The Council of Jerusalem
did not adopt the formula of Peter but of John, who spoke before him, and
in the Apostles’ Creed we do not say ‘Credo in Petrum et successores
ejus,’ but ‘Credo in unam Ecclesiam Catholicam.’ We Bishops have no right
to renounce for ourselves and our successors the hereditary and original
rights of the episcopate, to renounce the promise of Christ, ‘I am with
you to the end of the world.’ But now they want to reduce us to nullities,
to tear the noblest jewel from our pontifical breastplate, to deprive us
of the highest prerogative of our office, and to transform the whole
Church and the Bishops with it into a rabble of blind men, among whom is
one alone who sees, so that they must shut their eyes and believe whatever
he tells them.”

Was it confidence of victory that moved the Legates to allow the bold and
free-minded American, who spoke with the full weight of a deep and
laboriously attained conviction, to bring these earnest words to a close
without interruption, after they had recently reduced three of their own
speakers in succession to silence? I know not. It was the unenviable lot
of the Archbishop of Granada, Monzon y Martins Benvenuto, to follow
Conolly. No one expects at this Council ideas or facts from a Spaniard,
but merely bombast and abject protestations of homage. Since they no
longer have Queen Isabella and the throne has been vacant, these prelates
have transferred their undivided devotion to the Pope, and among the
reptiles here they are the most cringing after the Neapolitans. Monzon
said he thirsted for new dogmas, and the infallibility of the Pope did not
satisfy him; he earnestly desired a second dogma, viz., the divine and
inviolable nature of the States of the Church.

It was reported two days ago that Cardinal Morichini, who formerly as
nuncio breathed some German air, intends to speak in Guidi’s sense, but
since the scene between the Pope and Guidi has become known, it is
generally thought that no Cardinal will be so foolhardy as to express any
other opinion in Council than that of the inspired Pope. Meanwhile there
are new speakers enrolled, among whom are Haynald, Strossmayer, the
Bishops of Dijon, Constantine, Tarentaise, etc. The number considerably
exceeds a hundred, but Errington has only too much reason for saying the
debates are like a boy riding a rocking-horse—movement without advance.

You may imagine what capital the Jesuits make out of the speech of the
Dominican Guidi. They are the supreme and thoroughly devoted body-guard of
the Roman See, and can alone be implicitly trusted. And in fact nobody
thinks it possible that a Jesuit should speak in Council like Guidi, as
neither does any one here credit a Jesuit with sincere conviction of what
he says; it is always known beforehand what he will say on any question,
viz., what the Order considers for its interest and imposes as a corporate
doctrine on its individual members. The sons of Ignatius remember now that
the Dominicans have never been trustworthy. As early as 1303 the French
appeal from Pope Boniface VIII. to a General Council was supported by 130
Dominicans at Paris, and at the Councils of Constance and Basle they took
the most active part in the measures against papal omnipotence and in
framing the mischievous canons of the fourth and fifth sessions of
Constance; they joined Savonarola in opposing Alexander VI. and preferred
being burned to submitting. And again they gave powerful aid in France to
the establishment of the Gallican doctrine. And what, say the Jesuits, is
the great Church history of the Dominican Natalis Alexander but an arsenal
from which to this day the opponents of infallibility get their weapons?

Preparations are already being made for the festivities which are to
accompany the promulgation of the new dogma. The Romans—the native
population—cannot understand why a part of the Bishops resist it so
stoutly, and no less mysterious to them is the fiery zeal of foreigners,
especially Frenchmen, in its favour. Their view is that infallibility, as
being likely to bring large sums of money into Rome, is certainly a
profitable and praiseworthy affair, and they are accordingly ready for
noisy demonstrations of joy. Plenty of sky-rockets will go up, there will
be illuminations, the pillars of the churches will be clothed in red
damask according to the local usage, and numberless wax-candles will be
burnt. Some enthusiasts think the fountain of Trevi will that day flow
with wine instead of water, and it is hoped that at nightfall a
transparency of the famous picture painted by the Pope’s command to
represent his infallibility will be shown to the faithful people. And next
time the French Veuillotists choose to cry in the streets “Long live the
infallible Pope!” some Romans will join the cry.

The festivities will absorb large sums of money, and the financiers are
not without anxiety; for however lucrative the new dogma may prove by and
bye, for the moment it is an unproductive capital, and the annual deficit
of thirty million franks cannot be covered by promises of future
prosperity. It has now been determined, since the huge bankruptcy of
Langrand-Dumonceaux, who had been named a Roman Count, has created some
alarm, to take in the Rhenish and Westphalian nobility with the
ecclesiastical unions there as sureties, and thus to negotiate a loan of
twenty million franks “al pari.” The noble presidents of the unions are
said to have already signified their willingness.

The rewards of those for whom there are no Cardinal’s hats are already
under consideration. It is said that about a hundred Bishops will be named
“assistants at the Pontifical Throne” in recognition of their services.
Others will be made “protonotarii apostolici,” most of them only
“protonotarii sopranumerarii non participanti.” Several priests especially
zealous for the good cause will be made titular Bishops, and others
“prelati domestici” and “monsignori,” or “camerieri segreti,” etc. Then
there are the distinctions by means of colours, and soon we shall be able
to measure a man’s zeal for the new dogma at the first glance by seeing
whether he wears the “abito paonazzo” or violet or scarlet. And there are
exceptional decorations for use in church kept in reserve, like what the
Archbishop of Algiers had given him.

The attitude of Ketteler creates astonishment and is studied as a riddle
to which no solution can be found. The Pope said to-day, “Io non capisco,
cosa vuole quel Ketteler, che un giorno distribuisce delle brochure contro
di me e contro della mia infallibilità, e che il giorno dopo scrive nei
giornali che sia pieno di devozione per me, e che crede alla mia
infallibilità, pare che sia proprio mezzo,” and thereupon he made a
gesture indicating that the Bishop of Mayence was not quite right in his
head.

In fact Ketteler is the only man here who perplexes a reporter or
historian. He has a work printed and distributed, in which infallibility
is declared to be an unscriptural and unecclesiastical doctrine, and he
says in his attack on me that according to his view Scripture and
Tradition (_i.e._, the two only sources for the Church’s faith) do not
justify its dogmatic definition. Yet he affirms that he was always an
infallibilist believer and will soon be more so than ever. It is difficult
to report on the performances of a theological gymnast who seems rather to
balance himself in mid air than to have firm ground under his feet. Here
it is thought that he follows the counsel of his powerful patrons in the
German College and the Gesù, who have made him understand that the new
dogma will certainly be proclaimed, and that he would do well to change as
speedily as he can from an inopportunist to a zealous advocate and
executor of the decree. He has lately been reproached by an influential
theologian (Gass) with making his own Church worse than it is by his
doctrine that the Catholic Church knows of no duty of obedience against
conscience. It will certainly never occur to me, now or at any future
time, to have recourse to the conscience of Bishop Ketteler; that would
indeed be the last refuge one would fly to!



SIXTY-SECOND LETTER.


_Rome, June 30, 1870._—In the middle ages ecclesiastical controversies
were decided by the ordeal of the cross. The representatives of both
parties placed themselves before a large cross, with their arms stretched
out in the form of a cross, and he whose arms first sank, or who fell
exhausted to the ground, was conquered. The heat and the Roman fever have
replaced this ordeal at the Council. The process which is to test the
result has been going on for six weeks, and the majority will evidently
come out of it with flying colours. It is composed chiefly of Italians and
Spaniards of both hemispheres, who can bear such things much better than
northerners, and as it is four times as numerous as the minority, gaps
made in its ranks by sickness and death are soon filled up, and the
phalanx remains firmly closed, while the Opposition receives the news of
the sickness or departure of one of its members as heralding its growing
discouragement and final defeat. How well the authorities understand the
inestimable value of this new ally, the heat and mephitic exhalations, is
shown by the laconic but significant words of the papal journalist,
Veuillot, in his 125th Letter on the Council, “Et si la définition ne peut
mûrir qu’au soleil, eh bien, on grillera.” As before, so now again Roman
orthodoxy seems to have called fire to its aid, and for Bishops, who do
not wish to be roasted according to Veuillot’s wish, flight is the only
alternative.

Cardinal Guidi has received the most peremptory orders from the Pope to
make a formal retractation of his speech in Council. The form and occasion
of making it he may arrange with the Legates. He has already had an
interview with Bilio. The Pope has forbidden him to receive visits, that
he may be free to consider without distraction the greatness of his error.
Solitary confinement is adopted in the penal legislation of other
countries too as an efficient instrument of reformation. Guidi has told
the Presidents that he is ready to give an explanation of his speech in a
public sitting, if they will announce beforehand that he does so by the
Pope’s desire; but he can make no retractation. Jandel, the Dominican
General, intends now to deliver a speech in refutation of Guidi’s theory,
which has been composed for him in the Gesù. Many think that Guidi will be
deterred from letting things come to extremities by the terrible example
of Cardinal Andrea, who was worried to death. A Cardinal, who lives out of
the Roman States, may maintain a certain independence or even opposition,
as the precedent of Cardinal Noailles shows, but in Rome this is
impossible. As Archbishop of Bologna Guidi would be under the protection
of the Italian Government, but thither he will never be allowed to return.

Heat, fever and intrigues—this is a brief description of the state of
Rome, as regards the Council. The heat and pestilential miasmas are
unendurable for foreigners from the north; already six French and four
American Bishops have been obliged to save their lives by departure, and
of those who stay in Rome a third are unable from their bodily ailments to
attend the sittings. A Petition to the Pope is now in course of signature
praying for a prorogation, on account of the danger to the lives of many
foreign and aged prelates at this season of the year. I give you the text,
but will observe that I hear most refuse to sign, some thinking the case a
hopeless one, others of very ill repute in the Vatican fearing their
adherence would only make it more so. The Petition runs thus—

“Beatissime Pater! Episcopi infrascripti, tam proprio quam aliorum
permultorum Patrum nomine a benignitate S. V. reverenter, fiducialiter et
enixe expostulant, ut ea, quæ sequuntur, paterne dignetur excipere:

“Ad Patres in Concilio Lateranensi v. sedentes hoc habebat, die XVII.
Junii, Leo X. Papa ‘Quia jam temporis dispositione ... concedimus’
simulque Concilium Pontifex ad tempus autumnale prorogabat.—Pejor certe
inpræsentiarum conditio nostra est. Calor æstivus, jam desinente mense
Junio, nimius est, et de die in diem intolerabilior crescit; unde RR.
Patrum, inter quos tot seniores sunt, annorum pondere pressi, et laboribus
confecti, valetudo graviter periclitatur.—Timentur inprimis febres, quibus
magis obnoxii sunt extranei hujusce temperiei regionis non assuefacti.

“Quidquid vero tentaverit et feliciter perfecerit liberalitas S. V., ut
non paucis episcopis hospitia bona præberentur, plerique tamen relegati
sunt in habitationes nimis augustas, sine aëre, calidissimas omninoque
insalubres. Unde jam plures episcopi ob infirmitatem corporis abire coacti
sunt, multi etiam Romæ infirmantur et Concilio adesse nequeunt, ut patet
ex tot sedibus quæ in aulâ conciliari vacuæ apparent.

“Antequam igitur magis ac magis creverit ægrotorum numerus, quorum plures
periculo hic occumbendi exponerentur, instantissime postulamus, B. Pater,
ut S. V. aliquam Concilii suspensionem, quæ post festum S. Petri
convenienter inciperet, concedere dignetur.

“Etenim, B. Pater, cum centum et viginti episcopi nomen suum dederint, ut
in tanti momenti quæstione audiantur, evidens est, discussionem non posse
intra paucos dies præcipitari, nisi magno rerum ac pacis religiosæ
dispendio. Multo magis congruum esset atque necessarium brevem aliquam, ob
ingruentes gravissimos æstatis calores, Concilio suspensionem dari.

“Nova vero Synodi periodus ad primam diem mensis Octobris forsitan
indicari posset.

“S. V., si hoc, ut fidenter speramus, concesserit, gratissimos sensus
nobis populisque nostris excitabit, utpote quæ gravissimæ omnium
necessitati consuluerit.

“Pedes S. V. devote osculantes nosmet dicimus S. V. humillimos et
obsequentissimos famulos in Christo filios.”

Attempts have already been made by word of mouth to secure some compassion
from the Pope for the severe sufferings of the Bishops, but wholly in
vain. His comments on the members of the minority, if rightly reported
here, are so irritable and bitter that I scruple to mention them. But I
must relate what occurred to-day at a farewell audience given to some
Maltese Knights, who had come to exercise their privilege of keeping guard
at an Œcumenical Council. The Pope first turned to an English member of
the Order and wished him success in the scheme for introducing it into
England, and then expressed his sympathy for that nation in his confident
expectation of the speedy and innumerable conversions promised by Manning,
adding the remark that the Italians were somewhat volatile. And the
mildness of the expression, compared with former ebullitions of anger,
proved that the infallibilist line of the Italian Bishops had covered in
his eyes the political sins of the nation. But then he turned to the
Germans, who were present in the greatest number, with the words, “I piu
cattivi sono i Tedeschi, sono i piu cattivi di tutti, lo spirito Tedesco a
guastato tutto.” Even that was not enough, but a Bohemian knight who was
present had to listen to a stream of invectives against the conduct of
Cardinal Schwarzenberg, which made a very unpleasant impression on him. As
a French Bishop said to me to-day, it is a humiliating spectacle to see a
man who, at the very moment when he is assimilating his office to the
Godhead, recklessly displays the little weaknesses and passions which
people are generally ashamed to expose to view.

It was clearly shown in the Congregations of 23d and 25th June that the
majority only continue to tolerate the speeches of the Opposition as an
almost unendurable nuisance. Loud murmurs alternated with the ringing of
the Presidents’ bell. When Bishop Losanna of Biella, the senior of the
Council, was speaking against burdening the Christian world with the new
dogma, the Legate tried to ring him down. He entreated that at least out
of regard for his advanced age they would let him finish the little he
still had to say. In vain. The Legate went on ringing and the Bishop
speaking, so that the assembly for some time was regaled with a duet
between a bell and an—of course inaudible—human voice.

In the Congregation of the 23d Bishop Landriot of Rheims made a long
speech in the interests of mediation and mutual concessions, which showed
careful study, but was received with every sign of displeasure by the
majority: he also proposed what Errington had wanted, that a Commission
formed from both parties should examine the whole tradition on the subject
and report the result to the Council. At this cries of “Oho, oho!” rose
from the majority. Discouraged and intimidated the Archbishop concluded
with the declaration that, if the Pope pleased to confirm the _Schema_, he
submitted by anticipation, at which the faces which had grown black
brightened up again and the apology for the French Church which he ended
with was condoned.

The most remarkable speeches in the sitting of 25th June were those of the
Bishop Legate of Trieste and Ketteler of Mayence. The first had the
courage to say plainly that the manipulation of Scripture texts, which
were pressed into the service of the new dogma in glaring contradiction to
the authentic interpretation of the Church, was a sin. Ketteler’s speech
created the greatest sensation from its decided tone, and its not
betraying the contradiction in which he seems to find himself involved
after his public declarations in Germany. I must indeed reckon on my
report again displeasing and angering him, for this “mobile ingegno usato
ad amar e a disamar in un punto” is wont to take it very ill if his bold
transitions do not leave the same impression on others which floats before
his own memory. But I will fulfil my duty as historian of the Council in
spite of this. Ketteler urged that nobody had alleged any clear evidence
for a personal and separate infallibility of the Pope being really
contained in Scripture, Tradition and the consciousness of all Churches;
it was only the opinion of a certain school—“placita cujusdam scholæ” he
repeated several times emphatically. The Pope certainly had the right of
proscribing doctrines which contradicted the dogmas already decided by the
Church, but by no means the totally different right of formulating a new
dogma without the consent of the episcopate. It was the greatest absurdity
to believe or say “Pontificem in pectoris sui scrinio omnem traditionem
repositam et infusam habere.” At these words murmurs arose in the
assembly; all had shortly before heard and repeated to one another the
Pope’s assertion, “La tradizione son’ io.” Then Ketteler attacked the
theory of Cardinal Cajetan, the well-known first opponent of Luther, that
Peter alone among the Apostles had a “potestas ordinaria” to be
transmitted to his successors, while the “potestas specialis” conferred by
Christ on the rest expired at their death, so that the Bishops are not
successors of the Apostles but derive all their authority from the Pope.
This mischievous system had been adopted by a certain school, and the
_Schema_ before them was drawn up in accordance with it and in
contradiction to all Catholic tradition. It placed the Bishops in the same
relation to the Pope as priests occupied towards Bishops, which was
unheard of. He protested against the whole system, and desired that in
every dogmatic decree Holy Scripture and Tradition should be taken full
account of: the Pope needed the co-operation of the Bishops as
representatives of tradition. It was utterly wrong to believe that the
_depositum fidei_ was committed to the Pope alone.

If the force and clearness of Ketteler’s speech evoked deep and serious
reflection, an amusing episode occurred at the close of the sitting. The
Irish Bishop Keane of Cloyne ascended the tribune. There is a story told
of a German city whose sapient councillors carried the sunlight out of the
street in sacks to light their town-hall, which had no windows; and so
Keane informed his hearers that St. Peter brought the whole body of
tradition with him to Rome well stored up; here and here alone it was
still kept, and every Pope took what was required from the stock which he
possessed as a whole genuine and entire.

Those who wish to prosecute psychological and ethical studies should come
to Rome. Here they may observe how the three great powers of the world, as
St. Augustine calls them, “Errores, amores, terrores,” work together in
full harmony and activity; the last especially will aid the victory of the
first—for how long He only knows who rules the destiny of man.



SIXTY-THIRD LETTER.


_Rome, July 2, 1870._—The Pope’s reported answer to those who spoke to him
of the sufferings of the Bishops and their danger of death, and the
consequent need for proroguing the Council, is passing from mouth to
mouth. I should consider it a sin to publish it. Were it true, one would
have to treat the man who could so speak as the Orsini treated Boniface
viii. in his last days. If it is not true, it is very remarkable that the
Romans have no hesitation in circulating it and really credit their Pope
with it. This and the disdain bordering on simple contempt with which the
Romans look down on the Bishops are among the indelible impressions they
will take back with them over the Alps.

In the sitting of 28th June Bishop Vitali of Ferentino in the Roman States
first inveighed against the long speeches of the Bishops, and then broke
into a dithyrambic panegyric on his master, the Pope, who, like the
Emperor Titus, was the “deliciæ orbis terrarum.” He was somewhat abruptly
interrupted by the Legates in the middle of his rhapsody. Ginoulhiac,
Archbishop of Lyons, who is the most learned member of the French
episcopate after Maret, next delivered an ably and carefully composed
speech, which was not interrupted. He appealed to the words and example of
former Popes who had acknowledged—like _e.g._, Celestine I. in 430—that
they were not masters of the faith but only guardians of the traditional
doctrine, and that not singly but in unison with all Churches and their
Bishops, as was clearly expressed in the decree. Pius VI., strong as was
the pressure put upon him by France, delayed a long time the issue of the
decree against the civil Constitution of the clergy of 1790, because, as
he wrote to the King, the Pope must first conscientiously ascertain how
the faithful will receive his decision. But a large section of Catholics
were not at all disposed to receive this _Schema_, and the decree would
evidently evoke the bitterest hostility to the Church where it did not
already exist, and immensely increase it where it did. Pius VI. then said
that, if the Roman See, the centre of the Church, lost its authority
through exaggerating its claims, all was lost. Pius IX. should take care
that this doctrine did not become a snare to innumerable Catholics. He
concluded by commending the formula of St. Antoninus, which requires the
consent of the episcopate.

In the sitting of 30th June a member of the almost extinct third party
among the French, Sergent, Bishop of Quimper or Cornouailles, came
forward. He proposed adding to the _Schema_, which might then be accepted,
words requiring the co-operation for decisions on faith of the “episcopi,
sive dispersi sive in Concilio congregati.” But he insisted on the
superiority of the Pope to a Council according to the decree of Leo.
X.,—or, as he said, the fifth Lateran Council, and defended the order of
business imposed on this Council by Pius IX. But here he touched on a very
sore place; the Bishops sit here under the continual conviction of having
their hands tied in an illegitimate and tyrannical fashion, and knowing
that the order of business is in direct contradiction to the independence
of the ancient Councils. The Legates must have felt that the Opposition
would say, “Hæc excusatio est accusatio,” and that it would give the
requisite handle for again renewing their written protests by word of
mouth now at the decisive moment. Sergent was therefore called to order.

After the Bishop of Aversa, who spoke as an ordinary infallibilist, Bishop
Martin of Paderborn came forward and created a sensation. A German
infallibilist, like Martin, who was not kneaded and dressed in the Jesuit
school, is an interesting and curious phenomenon of itself, and produces
somewhat the same impression as an European who voluntarily lives among
savages and adopts their language and customs. But Bishop Martin’s
appearance was remarkable on other grounds also. It was long since any one
had been heard in the Council who spoke in so angry a tone and with such
noise and visible endeavour to supplement his stammering utterance by the
action of hands and feet. It was a difficult labour that Martin achieved,
like a singer drowning his own voice, and doubly meritorious in these
melting days. And here I may make a remark that should have been made
before: the Hall has really gained lately in acoustic qualities, from
having an awning stretched over it which acts as a sounding-board.

Martin shouted into the Hall that the personal infallibility of every Pope
was inseparable from the primacy, for the Pope was the supreme legislator,
and therefore he must of necessity be divinely preserved from all error.
The Bishops of the minority were amazed at this statement, for none of
them had expected a German Bishop to declare the whole code of the
Inquisition, as promulgated by the Popes from Innocent III. to Paul V.,
infallible and inspired. But there was still better behind. Two German
witnesses for infallibility were cited, Dr. Luther, on account of his
letter to the Pope in 1518, and Dr. Pichler of 1870. Up to 1763 all
Germans were stanch infallibilists, but then Febronianism came in and for
a time obscured this light of pure doctrine, which had previously shone so
bright in Catholic Germany. But an orthodox reaction had followed, thanks
to the excellent catechism of the Jesuit Deharbe, the Provincial Synod of
Cologne and several Pastorals. Martin then referred to Döllinger, and
reproached him with having in his earlier works—which were not
named—taught papal infallibility, whereas he now assailed it. The Bishop,
who is a member of the Deputation, then proposed a formula he had devised,
“Traditioni inhærentes docemus Pontificem, cum universalem Ecclesiam
docet, vi divinæ assistentiæ errare non posse.” But that was not enough,
without smiting down the opponents of the doctrine by a solemn anathema,
as follows, “Si quis dixerit non nisi accedente consensu Episcoporum
Romanum Pontificem errare non posse, anathema sit.” He moreover agreed
with Spalding and Dechamps that parish priests and others having cure of
souls should be required by a special admonition addressed to them to
impress this doctrine of infallibility on their people often and
emphatically from the pulpit.

The speech was delivered in the tone and manner of a confessor dealing
with a hardened sinner in his last moments, and the Germans, from whose
ranks the speaker had issued,—men like Rauscher, Haynald, Strossmayer,
Hefele—sat shamefaced with their eyes on the ground, while the delight of
the Italians and Spaniards could be read on their countenances at this
humiliation of the nation which prides itself on the superior culture of
its clergy. But they were surprised at Martin’s concluding declaration
that no doubt in Germany great dangers for the Church would follow from
the promulgation of the doctrine. It was mentioned in the Council Hall
that, in a widely circulated school-book which had passed through eleven
or twelve editions, Martin had taught the exact reverse of the doctrine he
now so noisily and peremptorily maintained; but then it was observed in
excuse for him that the heterodoxies of this book, though it bore his
name, were no fault of his, as he had simply transcribed it from the
papers of the late Professor Diekhoff, which were left in his charge.



SIXTY-FOURTH LETTER.


_Rome, July 5, 1870._—Rome is an excellent school for Bishops; a course of
seven months at the Council produces wonderful results. One illusion after
another is laid aside and an insight gained into the working of the huge
machine and the forces that put it in motion, and the Bishops learn at
last, though it be laboriously and not without tears, why they were
summoned and what services alone are demanded of them. The historian
Pachymeres relates that, when the people of Constantinople demanded a
Council in 1282 in order to judge the unionist Patriarch, Bekkus, Bishop
Theoktistus of Adrianople said that they treated Bishops like wooden spits
on which Bekkus might be roasted, and which might then be thrown into the
fire.(151) A very similar feeling has come over many Bishops here; they
know that if they say _Non placet_ at last, they will be cast into the
fire, after they have helped by their reluctant practical recognition of
both the first and second order of business—destructive as both are to all
real freedom—to forge the new spiritual yoke. And then they find their
schoolroom a very narrow and uncomfortable one, and have at last
discovered that it looks very like a prison cell.

It is but a game of moves and counter-moves as on a chessboard, only that
no one dares to incur the penalty of high treason by saying “Check to the
king,” or lifting a finger for such an audacious move. The minority were
so confounded and irritated by the abrupt closing of the general debate,
because they hoped to prolong it till prorogation became inevitable. For
nobody doubted in April and May that this would follow at the end of June,
and the notion was sedulously fostered by the official staff of the
Council—the Legates and Secretary Fessler—and by the Pope himself. It is
not long since Pius said to a French Bishop, “It would be barbarity on my
part to want to keep the Bishops here in July.” And thus the Opposition,
whenever they were shaken and disturbed by some violent act, let matters
be hushed up and never gave any practical effect to their protests and
complaints. But now the Court party say that it would indeed be tyrannical
cruelty to keep us here, under ordinary circumstances, imprisoned in this
furnace full of fevers, but it is justified by the abnormal situation. The
grand and saving act of the infallibilist definition, which is to quicken
the whole Church with new powers of life and introduce the golden age of
absolute ecclesiastical dominion, cannot any longer be held in suspense.
“You surely will not wish,” said Cardinal de Angelis to a Bishop who was
urging the necessity of a prorogation, “that the Pope, after spending so
many thousand scudi on the Bishops, should now be left alone in the
Vatican without any recompense.” And Antonelli thinks the Bishops have
only themselves to blame for their present suffering condition; why have
they wasted so much time in speeches?

Since that shocking saying of the Pope’s, which I referred to in my last
letter, has became known here, the Bishops have abandoned as hopeless the
design of making a direct appeal to him for the prorogation of the Council
on the score of the health and lives of its members. And this conviction
has been further strengthened by the insolence of the Court theologian,
Louis Veuillot. “Let yourselves be roasted, since it is only through this
fiery ordeal that the precious wine of infallibility can be matured,” he
exclaims to them, and they know now that they are inside a door over which
the inscription is written


    “Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’ intrate.”


And now there is a new cause of alarm. It is said—perhaps the report is
spread on purpose—that at last no Bishop will be allowed to depart till he
has signed a bond laid before him declaring his entire and unconditional
submission. We actually hear that, by a recent decision, leave of absence
is only to be given to the Bishops in case of serious illness, that is,
when they are no longer equal to the journey. Several prelates therefore
have already inquired of the ambassadors of their Governments, what means
of protection they could afford them in case of such violence being
exercised. The ambassadors will be obliged to write home for further
instructions, as it seems no such case had been foreseen as possible to
occur. But so many astonishing and seemingly impossible things have
happened during the last seven months that such an act would no longer
excite even any particular surprise.

Guidi still appears in Council and shows himself in his votes an
independent thinker and by no means a humiliated or broken man, but in his
convent he is guarded like a prisoner and constantly urged by threats and
persuasions to recant. When a remark was made to the Pope about his harsh
treatment of this man, who still as Cardinal shares the numerous
privileges of his order, he is reported to have said, “I summoned him, not
as Cardinal, but as brother Guidi, whom I lifted out of the dust.” Guidi
had drawn great displeasure on himself before by joining Cardinals Corsi
and Riario Sforza in making representations to the Pope against the
alteration introduced by his order in the sequence of the subjects for
discussion, by which means the infallibilist _Schema_ was interpolated
before its time. He lived in the Minerva with certain Bishops of his
Order, Milella, Pastero, Alcazar and Manucillo, and their mutual
conferences led to the matured conviction that the personal infallibility
of the Pope is a novel doctrine, of late invention and unknown even to the
great Thomas and the Thomist school, chiefly introduced in substance by
the Jesuits. Guidi appeals to the fact that years ago he has taught this
at Vienna, as was or easily might have been known. If he keeps firm, and
Cardinal Silvestri, who often votes with the Opposition, joins their side
in good earnest—five dissentient Cardinals, including Mathieu, Rauscher
and Schwarzenberg—more Italian Bishops than the Court would like, may say
_Non placet_. It is already remarked that they earnestly inquire among
themselves whether the German and French minority are likely to remain
firm at the decisive moment and not melt away, in which case they would be
ready to vote with them. You may imagine how intensely Guidi is hated
here. For the moment he might make O’Connell’s boast his own when he said
he was “the best abused man in the British Empire.” What Persius said is
equally true of the clerical “turba Remi” now,—“sequitur fortunam ut
semper, et odit damnatos.” I may mention in illustration of the view
prevalent among the majority, that Manning the other day told one of the
most illustrious Bishops of the minority he had no further business in the
Catholic Church and had better leave it. Even in the Council Hall Bishop
Gastaldi of Saluzzo exclaimed to the minority that they were already
blotted out of the book of life.

The internal history of the minority since the end of June consists mainly
of their endeavours to avert the departure of the timid and home-sick and
those attacked by fever. Hitherto leave has been given them readily enough
when asked, but it is said this will not be so for the future. The Prince
Bishop of Breslau, Förster, was urgently entreated to remain, and he
seemed to be persuaded, but now he is gone,(152) and so are Purcell of
Cincinnati, Vancsa, Archbishop of Fogaras, Greith of St. Gall, and
others—a serious loss under present circumstances. The feeling of
self-preservation at last overpowers every other; and what answer can be
given to a man who says, when required to stay and help to save the truth,
“If I am ill in bed with fever on the critical day, my vote is lost”?
Moreover the burning atmosphere peculiar to Rome, impregnated with
exhalations from the Pontine marshes, oppresses and enervates mind as well
as body and cripples the energy of the will.

So on the 1st July an understanding was arrived at among the Opposition
Bishops. It was felt more and more clearly that to go on with the speeches
was a sterile and dreary business. For one solid and thoughtful speech
from, _e.g._, Darboy, Strossmayer, Haynald, Guidi, Dupanloup, Ginoulhiac,
Ketteler or Maret, one had to listen for long hours to the effusions of
Spanish, Sicilian and Calabrian infallibilists, and the speeches of this
party sound as if their authors had first studied the dedicatory epistles
to the Popes which the Jesuits prefix to their works, and strung together
the sonorous phrases contained in them. Moreover the conduct of the
Legates had become palpable partisanship. For several days they offered
demonstrative thanks to every speaker who gave up his turn; the bitterest
attacks of the majority on their opponents passed unrebuked, and the
murmurs and signs of impatience whenever infallibility was called in
question grew more and more pronounced. It became evident that there was
nothing really to be gained by prolonging the speeches, when all hope of
getting the Council prorogued had to be abandoned.

At the sitting of July 2 the affair was to have been brought to a
settlement. The minority had sketched out a notice in the Council Hall,
stating that all speakers on their side withdrew, and handed it to
Cardinal Mathieu to communicate to the French, but they declined to accept
it, saying every one should be free to decide for himself. And so, on that
day, out of twenty-two Fathers only four spoke, including Meignan of
Chalons and Ramadie of Perpignan.

But it soon became irresistibly evident to both parties that it was
advisable for them to put an end to the oratorical exercises. The Legates
had frequently used the formula of the Index when a speaker gave up his
turn, saying, “laudabiliter orationi renunciavit,” or “magnas ipsi agimus
gratias.” The majority had two reasons for wanting the speeches to go
on—first the wish of particular individuals to signalize themselves and
lay up a stock of merits deserving reward; and secondly, that the Northern
Bishops might succumb to the rays of the July sun, as Homer’s Achæans sunk
under the arrows of Apollo. But they were made to understand that the Pope
would account their simple “_Placet_, sans phrase” a sufficient service,
and reward it according to their wish.

Moreover they felt secure about the eventual attitude of the minority, or
at least a considerable portion of them, for it was known that two German
Bishops had said, “We shall resist to the last moment, but then we shall
submit, for we don’t wish to cause a schism.” This gave great joy to the
Court party. I heard a monsignore say, “These are our best friends, more
so than those who already vote for and with us, for their coming over at
the critical moment can only be ascribed to the triumphant and
irresistible power of the Holy Ghost poured out through the Pope upon the
Council; each of them is a Saul converted into a Paul, who has found his
Damascus here at Rome, and becomes a living trophy of the vice-godship of
the Pope and the legitimacy and œcumenicity of this Council. We can desire
nothing better for our cause than these late and sudden conversions.” And
thus at last an understanding satisfactory to all parties was come to; on
July 4 all the speakers enrolled withdrew, only reserving their right of
presenting their observations in writing to the Deputation.



SIXTY-FIFTH LETTER.


_Rome, July 7, 1870._—I must go back a few days and tell you something
more of the speeches made since St. Peter’s Day. It is for the interest of
the contemporary world and of posterity that the Roman system of hushing
up and deathlike silence should not be fully carried out, and that it
should be known what truths have been uttered and what grounds alleged
against the fatal decision of the majority and rejected by them.

Soon after Bishop Martin a man spoke who had gained the highest respect
from all quarters, Verot, Bishop of Savannah, a really apostolical
character, compared in America with St. Francis of Sales. On a former
occasion, on June 15, he had pointedly criticised the conduct of the Court
party and the attempt to surrender all that yet remains of the ancient
constitution of the Church to a centralized papal absolutism. “If,” he
said, “the Pope wants to possess and exercise a direct and immediate
jurisdiction in my diocese, only let him come over to America himself, and
bring with him plenty of the priests who are so abundant here to my
country where there are so few; gladly will I attend him servant and
observe how he, riding about in my huge diocese, judges and arranges
everything on the spot.” And, as some Bishops of the majority had given
out the favourite Roman watchword, that historical facts must yield to the
clearness and _a priori_ certainty of doctrine, Verot replied briefly, “To
me an ounce of historical facts outweighs a thousand pounds of your
theories.” This time he was not interrupted, as he had always been
before,—by most no doubt not understood. Maret too, in the sitting of July
1, attacked the projected absolutism which the Church was now to be
saddled with. In the political world, he said, it is done away with and
disappears more and more under a common feeling of repugnance, and now it
is for the first time to be confirmed in the Church, and Christians, “the
children of heavenly freedom,” are to be reduced, after the protection
afforded by the consent of the episcopate is abolished, to spiritual
slavery, and forced into blind subjection to the dictates of a single man.
He said this in more courteous language than this brief epitome gives
scope for.

Among the most important speeches was that which followed, of Bishop David
of Saint Brieuc in Bretagne. It was one of the speeches of a kind I said
in an early letter would not be tolerated, the result has refuted me. The
Bishop said that the proposed article of faith was first invented in the
fifteenth century, when a new form, different from that ordained by
Christ, was given to the Church, at the expense of the inalienable rights
both of the Bishops and the faithful. If the hypothesis of papal
infallibility really belonged to the deposit of faith, it must have been
defined and universally acknowledged in the earliest ages, as it would
evidently be a fundamental doctrine indispensable for the whole Church.
The parallel drawn between this and the lately defined and previously
undetermined and open doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is quite
irrelevant. It is clearly evident, he added, that this new attempt to
exalt the Papacy will produce the same disturbance as the earlier one in
the sixteenth century. A sign of it is the sudden and rapidly growing
alienation of the French clergy from their Bishops, which is instigated
from a distance. Passing on to a vindication of the much abused Gallican
doctrine, he showed that the former Popes themselves declared it to be
allowable and only reprobated the attempt to make it into a special and
separate rule of faith for the French Church alone.

The Spanish Bishop of Cuenca, Payà-y-Rico, followed, and began by
affirming in the bragging and bombastic style of his country, that in
Spain the infallibilist doctrine had always prevailed. This was a glaring
falsehood; it would have been enough to cite against him the names of
Tostado, Escobar, Victoria, and others, the Spanish Bishops and
theologians at Trent, and the fact that the Inquisition first made the
doctrine dominant in Spain. But immediate replies are not permitted in the
Council Hall, and the majority were so charmed with his disclosures that
they loudly applauded him. Encouraged by this he turned round upon the
Opposition, observing that a short interval was still allowed them to come
over to the majority, and that, unless they made a good use of it, their
only choice lay between a subsequent meritorious submission or
condemnation for heresy.

The minority, who meet daily either in national or international
conferences, were engaged in drawing up a formula requiring the consent of
the episcopate as indispensable, but soon gave this up and resolved to
abstain from any demonstration, as they could gain nothing by it. Several
thought this would compel the majority, if they really wanted to gain the
concurrence of the Opposition, to make proposals on their side for some
tolerable formula. But at present that is highly improbable.

In the sitting of July 5, where the only business was to vote on the third
chapter, in consequence of the general withdrawal of the speakers, an
unexpected occurrence intervened. Some days before Bishop Martin of
Paderborn had proposed in his own name and that of some of his colleagues
that in a Supplement, designated as a _monitum_, the doctrinal authority
of the Bishops should be mentioned, but only incidentally and in a sense
compatible with the Pope’s prerogative of personal infallibility. When the
Pope heard of this, he was much displeased, and peremptorily ordered that
a canon should be laid before the Council for acceptance enouncing
emphatically and under anathema the papal omnipotence over the whole
Church. The Deputation had already had the third canon printed and
distributed in the following amended form:—“Si quis dixerit, Romani
Pontificis Primatum esse tantum officium inspectionis et directionis et
supremam ipsius potestatem jurisdictionis in universam Ecclesiam non esse
plenam, sed tantum extraordinariam et mediatam—anathema sit.” But in order
to carry out the Pope’s command, the Bishop of Rovigo, as a member of the
Deputation, read the canon in a more stringent form, which in fact left
the extremest absolutist nothing to desire, but which was not in the
printed text and was either not heard or not understood by the greater
part of the Bishops, while yet it was to be voted on on the spot—in
contradiction to the distinct directions of the order of business. This
more stringent version of the canon runs thus:—

“Si quis dixerit, Romanum Pontificem habere tantummodo officium
inspectionis vel directionis, non autem plenam et supremam potestatem
jurisdictionis in universam Ecclesiam, tum in rebus, quæ ad fidem et
mores, tum quæ ad disciplinam et regimen Ecclesiæ per totum orbem diffusæ
pertinent; aut eum habere tantum potiores partes, non vero totam
plenitudinem hujus supremæ potestatis; aut hanc ejus potestatem non esse
ordinariam et immediatam sive in omnes ac singulas Ecclesias, sive in
omnes et singulos pastores et fideles—anathema sit.”

A more shameless outwitting of a Council has never been attempted.
Archbishop Darboy at once rose and protested against this juggling
manœuvre, and the Legates were obliged, humiliating as it was for them, to
let the matter drop for the present; but the addition will be brought
forward again in a few days.

A proof has lately forced itself on my attention of the confusion of mind
habitual to many of the Bishops of the majority. I asked one of them, who
had expressed his surprise that so much fuss was made about this one
dogma, whether he had formed any clear conception of its retrospective
force and examined all the papal decisions, from Siricius in 385 to the
Syllabus of 1864, which would be made by the infallibilist dogma into
articles of faith. And it came out that this pastor of above a hundred
thousand souls imagined that every Pope would be declared infallible, not
for the past but for the future only!(153) But he was somewhat perplexed
when I mentioned to him on the spur of the moment merely a couple of papal
maxims on moral theology, which were now to be stamped with the seal of
divinely inspired truths.

On Saturday the 9th the special voting is to take place on the emendation
just mentioned of the third chapter of the third canon in the interests of
papal absolutism, and on the same day or Monday the whole of the third
chapter and the amendments on the fourth are to be voted on; on Wednesday,
the 13th, the votes are to be taken on the whole _Schema_ “en bloc.” As
yet the Opposition can still be reckoned at 97, exclusive of Guidi and the
Dominican Bishops, who may not improbably come to its aid at the critical
moment.

One of the witticisms circulating here, for which the Council affords
matter to genuine Romans, is the following, that in the sitting of July 4
there was a great uproar among the Bishops, they were all set by the ears
and the Pope himself ran away, and why all this? “E perchè tutta questa
cagniara? perchè il Papa vuole esser _impeccabile_, e i vescovi non lo
vogliono.”



SIXTY-SIXTH LETTER.


_Rome, July 14, 1870._—I must again interrupt my narrative of the
occurrences and speeches between June 5 and 10 to communicate the details
of the great event of the session of July 13—an event which has falsified
all expectations on both sides, and created a sensation and astonishment
in Rome which it will take people some time to recover from. Even beyond
the Alps, in spite of the all-absorbing question of the war, it will rouse
interest and joyful surprise. In the last few days before the critical
morning of the 13th there was much discussion among the Bishops of the
various nations as to whether they should vote a simple “No” or a
conditional “Yes,”—a _Non placet_ or a _Placet juxta modum_. It was not
merely the fourth chapter that was in question, which deals with
infallibility, but the whole _Schema_ on the Papacy, which contains also
the much-decried third canon of the third chapter, establishing for the
first time the theory of the universal episcopate of the Pope, the very
theory Pope Gregory the Great characterized as an abomination and a
blasphemy. It was known that the Bishops who are mere dilettantis in
theology—and their number is legion, as is natural under the present
system of episcopal appointments—would greatly prefer voting _juxta
modum_, _i.e._, with a conditioned “Yes.” That would always leave them
free to reserve their further decision till the public voting “coram
Sanctissimo” (as the Pope is here called), when only a direct “Yes” or
“No” can be voted. Each of them could present in writing the conditions or
wishes on which he desired to make his _Placet_ dependent, and then say
“Yes” or “No” according to his pleasure in the Solemn Session, if his
suggestions were disregarded—“Yes,” if he wished to direct the lightning
flashes of the angry Jupiter to other heads than his own; “No,” if he
could summon manliness and courage enough at the last moment. The Court
party and the majority had neglected no means of impressing on the
recalcitrants the uselessness of their negative votes and the personal
disadvantages to themselves. Every one was told, “It is determined
irrevocably to take no account of your ‘No,’ and to go on to the
promulgation of the dogma. Supported by at least 500 favourable votes, and
throwing the surplus weight of his own vote into the scale, the Pope, on
the 17th or 24th July, will walk over your heads amid the presumed
acclamations of the whole Catholic world; and how lamentable and hopeless
a situation will yours be then! You are then heretics, who have incurred
the terrible penalties of the canon law; you have surrendered at
discretion, bound hand and foot, to the mercy of the deeply injured Pope.
Consider, ‘Quid sum miser tunc dicturus, quem patronum rogaturus?’ ”

Thus they were worked on individually. And more drastic methods were
employed as well. It was asserted that two documents had already been
drawn up in the Vatican, which every Bishop would be compelled to sign
before being allowed to leave Rome; the one a profession of faith
comprising the new article of infallibility, and the other an attestation
of the perfect freedom of the Council throughout its whole course. Whoever
refused to sign either would thereby at once incur papal censures. “We
shall thus have,” they were told, “your _Non placet_ and your ‘free’
acknowledgment under your hand of the article of faith you denied a few
days before, and shall show it to the world. Do you wish then morally to
annihilate yourselves in public opinion?”

As the Bishops who are resolved to give a negative vote knew well the more
timorous temper of many of their colleagues, who were half-ready to be
persuaded and half-ready to succumb, and remembered the Scriptural saying
that “a high priest must have compassion on our infirmities,” some of them
drew up a formula stating the basis on which the timid might vote _Placet
juxta modum_. In the preamble of the _Schema_ the word “principium” was to
be exchanged for “exordium,” and instead of “vis et virtus in eo (Papâ)
consistit,” was to be put “præcipue in eo consistit;” the third canon of
the third chapter was to be wholly omitted, and the word “episcopalis”
left out of the chapter, and lastly, the formula of St. Antoninus was to
be substituted for the fourth chapter. The proposed document ends with
“Secus in Solemni Sessione dicturus sum, _Non placet_.”

On July 12 the Bishops of the minority held the most largely attended
international conference which has yet taken place; about 70 were present.
Three prelates, two German and one French—Ketteler, Melchers and
Archbishop Landriot of Rheims—proposed that all should vote _Placet juxta
modum_, but at the same time hand in a precise and decided formulas the
condition of their assent, with a declaration that, if their demands were
rejected or inadequately complied with, they should be obliged to vote
_Non placet_ in the Solemn Session. This would have substantially secured
the complete victory of the majority and the _Curia_. Every one would have
naturally said, “Your ‘Yes,’ however conditioned, can only bear the sense
that in the main point you agree with the _Schema_, and that main point
lies in the two new and great articles of faith, which hang together and
must shape the future of the Church, the universal episcopate of the Pope
and his infallibility. By saying _Placet_ you affirm these two new dogmas,
and after that it will matter little what particular collateral wishes or
conditions you may choose to add. Whether they are acceded to or not, you
must in consistency say ‘Yes’ on the great day of the public profession,
when only a simple affirmative or negative vote can be given.”

The three Cardinals, the two primates Simor and Ginoulhiac, Strossmayer
and others, spoke out repeatedly and emphatically against this mischievous
proposal which would at the last moment have frustrated all their hopes,
and annihilated the results of seven months’ sufferings and labours. A
decisive impression was produced by the remark of the Archbishop of Milan,
that there were many infallibilists who on various grounds would vote
conditionally, and this peculiar kind of vote, which was better adapted to
courtiers than Bishops, had better be left to them. “The only befitting
course for us,” he said, “who are convinced of the falsehood of the
doctrine, is to say ‘No.’ ” This was unanimously accepted. Tarnoczy, who
for some time back has withdrawn from his German and Hungarian colleagues,
and votes regularly with the majority, was not present. Cardinal
Schwarzenberg said he should be glad if one of the Cardinals voted _Non
placet_ before him, but if this did not happen he should be the first, and
should count it a distinction to stand at the head of this noble band.

It was remarkable how generally the view prevailed that scarcely ten
opposing votes would really be given when the time came. No means were
spared, by rumours and inventions, to spread terror and despair among the
ranks of the Opposition. Thus the report was circulated in foreign
journals—where you will have read it—as well as here, that a “sauve qui
peut,” and “débandade” had become the watchword of the Opposition, and not
thirty would be left on the day for voting. We see now that this was all
pure invention. Even Förster’s departure, which I reported myself, had not
taken place; only Greith had gone. When Darboy had an audience of the Pope
the day before the voting, and said that there was a considerable number
of Bishops who would join him in saying _Non placet_, the Pope replied,
“Perhaps many will vote _juxta modum_, but certainly not above ten _Non
placet_.” For some time past Pius has notoriously known everything with
absolute certainty, even the temper of distant countries. The formulas put
into the Pope’s mouth by the Roman Chancery, “proprio motu” and “ex certâ
scientiâ,” have been transmuted by the habit of twenty-four years into
actual flesh and blood with him.

At the beginning of the sitting the news had spread among the majority
that the negative votes would be much more numerous than had been supposed
on the evening before. On this Dechamps of Mechlin went to the heads of
the Opposition and entreated them with humble gestures and whining voice
to vote _juxta modum_, saying there was really some disposition with the
authorities to insert the “consensus” and “testimonium Ecclesiarum” into
the fourth chapter. The trick was too barefaced to succeed, and sharp
words were spoken on the other side. One of the Bishops said to the new
primate, “C’est une impudence sans exemple,” and Darboy called the
attention of the three Cardinals to this treacherous attempt at the last
moment to divide and perplex the Opposition. Now began the voting “sub
secreto,” as it was again called, and the sub-secretary Jacobini read the
names of the Fathers from the pulpit. And then a wholly unexpected
phenomenon came to light: out of 600 Fathers present in Rome—there were
764 in January—only 520 had appeared, and it was at once known that very
many of the absentees had stayed away from dislike to the _Schema_, and to
avoid the disagreeable consequences of a negative vote.

The line taken by the Orientals in the voting excites surprise here. The
Propaganda has spared no means of exercising a strict supervision and
control over them, and yet the upshot is that the most influential of them
have voted _Non placet_, some _juxta modum_, and others have absented
themselves. In fact all the real Eastern Bishops—_i.e._, those who
represent dioceses—have voted against the dogma. Every one acquainted with
the state of things in Asia foresees that the promulgation of the dogma,
which will follow in spite of this, will lead to the definitive separation
of the Uniate Churches in the East. But that makes not the slightest
impression on the Pope and the Jesuits.

When the names of the _juxta modum_ voters were read out, the President
said “quorum, quantum possible erit, habebitur ratio.” That sounded like
open mockery: it meant, “We (the Deputation) have already settled among
ourselves what is impossible, viz., making the co-operation of the
episcopate a condition, but still there are some possible things. If,
_e.g._, any Bishops wish to have ‘inerrantia’ substituted for
‘infallibilitas,’ perhaps they may be gratified.” But even concessions of
that sort are doubtful, for one cannot give the lie to Bishop Gasser of
Brixen, who has distinctly declared that “nec verbum addetur nec verbum
demetur amplius.”

Among the conditional voters are Dreux-Brézé, certainly only because the
decree is not strong enough for him. The whole Hungarian Episcopate
remained firm in its opposition. The Austrians know now why Rudigier and
Fessler were given them as Bishops. I send you with this the authentic
list of the Fathers who did not vote with a simple _Placet_. It shows that
it was just the Bishops of capital cities, as well as North American,
Irish, English, and beyond expectation many North Italian prelates, who
voted against the dogma. Only one, strictly speaking, was wholly false to
his professions, the Bishop of Porto Rico.

The Pope is still sure that at the last critical moment a divine miracle
will enlighten the benighted minds of the opponents and suddenly reverse
their sentiments. The Holy Ghost will and must do this. Pius seems to have
clear assurances on that point. He had lately a remarkable conversation
about it with a French Bishop, whom he had never seen before. As he
regards every opponent of the dogma as his personal enemy, he received him
as such and reproached him with being Cæsar’s friend instead of the
Pope’s; the Bishop replied that his white hairs testified to his having
nothing to fear or hope for, but simply to follow his conscience, which
constrained him with many of his colleagues to vote against the new dogma.
“No,” exclaimed Pius, “you will not vote against it; the Holy Ghost at the
decisive hour will irresistibly enlighten you, and you will all say
_Placet_.”

When the French Government in 1733 had the cemetery of La Chaise
surrounded with soldiers, to stop the miraculous cures at the grave of the
Abbé Paris, the inscription was found one morning over the entrance—


    De par le roi défense à Dieu,
    De faire miracle en ce lieu.


On the 17th or 24th July 1870 there might be written over the entrance of
the Council Hall—


    De par le Pape ordre au bon Dieu
    De faire miracle en ce lieu.


The echo of the Vatican, Veuillot’s _Univers_, has just been accusing the
Bishops of the minority of ruining the papal treasury by prolonging the
debates on infallibility through their opposition, and thus obliging the
Pope to go on supporting his 300 episcopal foster sons, and buy his
infallibility late and at a high price, when it ought to have been cast
into his lap by spontaneous acclamation at the first. A physician has now
been discovered for the treasury which has sickened under the
infallibility affair. Rothschild is said to have been here and concluded a
loan of forty million franks. As the deficit only amounts to thirty
million, there remain ten million for fireworks, illuminations and
church-decorations, the journey-money of trusty Bishops, and the like. But
now the war is impending, and with it the withdrawal of Peter’s pence and
perhaps still worse.(154)

The following voted _Non-placet_:—1. _Prague_, Cardinal Prince-Archbishop
Schwarzenberg; 2. _Besançon_, Cardinal Archbishop Mathieu; 3. _Vienna_,
Cardinal Prince-Archbishop Rauscher; 4. _Antioch_, Patriarch Jussuf, of
the Melchite Rite; 5. _Babylon_, Patriarch Audu, of the Chaldean Rite; 6.
_Gran_, Archbishop and Primate of Hungary, Simor; 7. _Lyons_, Archbishop
Ginoulhiac; 8. _Tuam_, Archbishop MacHale; 9. _Olmütz_, Prince-Archbishop
Fürstenberg; 10. _Trabezund_, Bishop Ghiureghian, of the Armenian Rite;
11. _Munich_, Archbishop Scherr; 12. _Bamberg_, Archbishop Deinlein; 13.
_Seert_, Bishop Bar-Tatar, of the Chaldean Rite; 14. _Halifax_, Archbishop
Conolly, of the Capuchin Order; 15. _Lemberg_, Archbishop Wierzcheyski, of
the Latin Rite; 16. _Paris_, Archbishop Darboy; 17. _Kalocsa_, Archbishop
Haynald; 18. _Milan_, Archbishop Nazari di Calabiana; 19. _Tyre_,
Archbishop Kauam, of the Melchite Rite; 20. _Biella_ (_Italy_), Bishop
Losanna; 21. _Autun_, Bishop Marguerye; 22. _Ivrea_ (_Piedmont_), Bishop
Moreno; 23. _Dijon_, Bishop Rivet; 24. _Metz_, Bishop Dupont des Loges;
25. _Iglesias_ (_Sardinia_), Bishop Montixi; 26. _Acquapendente_ (formerly
in the Roman States), Bishop Pellei; 27. _Trieste_, Bishop Legat; 28.
_Orleans_, Bishop Dupanloup; 29. _Vezprim_, Bishop Ranolder; 30.
_Mayence_, Bishop Ketteler; 31. _Bosnia_ and _Syrmia_, Bishop Strossmayer;
32. _Budweis_, Bishop Jirsik; 33. _Breslau_, Prince-Bishop Förster; 34.
_Kerry_, Bishop Moriarty; 35. _Leontopolis, in partibus_, Bishop Forwerk,
Apostolic Vicar of Saxony; 36. _Plymouth_, Bishop Vaughan; 37. _Clifton_,
Bishop Clifford; 38. _Nice_, Bishop Sola; 39. _Parenzo_ and _Pola_, Bishop
Dobrilla; 40. _Kreutz_ (_in Croatia_), Bishop Smiciklas, of the Ruthenian
Rite; 41. _Augsburgh_, Bishop Dinkel; 42. _Gurk_, Bishop Wiery; 43.
_Caltanisetta_ (_Sicily_), Bishop Guttadauro di Reburdone; 44. _Vacz_ (_in
Hungary_), Bishop Peitler; 45. _Marianne_ (_Syria_), —— of the Melchite
Rite; 46. _Chatham_, Bishop Rogers; 47. _Csanad_ and _Temesvar_, Bishop
Bonnaz; 48. _Pittsburg_, Bishop Domenec; 49. _Luzonia_, Bishop Colet; 50.
_Sura, in partibus_, Bishop Maret; 51. _St. Brieuc_, Bishop David; 52.
_Trèves_, Bishop Eberhard; 53. _Coutance_, Bishop Bravard; 54. _Lavant_,
Bishop Stepischnigg; 55. _Soissons_, Bishop Dours; 56. _Akra_, Bishop
Mellus, of the Chaldean Rite; 57. _Siebenbürgen_, Bishop Fogarasz; 58.
_Châlons_, Bishop Meignan; 59. _Valence_, Bishop Gueullette; 60.
_Perpignan_, Bishop Ramadié; 61. _Paleopolis, in partibus_, Bishop
Mariassy (_Hungary_); 62. _Petricola_ or _Little Rock_ (_United States_),
Bishop Fitzgerald; 63. _Marseilles_, Bishop Place; 64. _Cahors_, Bishop
Grimardias; 65. _Osnaburgh_, Bishop Beckmann; 66. _Szathmar_ (_Hungary_),
Bishop Virò de Keydi Polany; 67. _Munkacs_, Bishop Pankovics, of the
Ruthenian Rite; 68. _Bayeux_, Bishop Hugonin; 69. _Raab_, Bishop ——; 70.
_La Rochelle_, Bishop Benedetto; 71. _Nancy_, Bishop Foullon; 72.
_Constantine_ (_Algiers_), Bishop de las Cases; 73. _Oran_ (_Algiers_),
Bishop Callot; 74. _Gap_, Bishop Guilbert; 75. _Ermeland_, Bishop
Crementz; 76. _Rochester_, Bishop MacQuaid; 77. _Louisville_, Bishop
Kenrick; 78. _Cassovia_, Bishop Perger (Hungary); 79. _Agathopolis_,
Bishop Namszanowski, Provost of the Prussian Army in Berlin; 80.
_Montreal_ (_Canada_), Bishop Bourget; 81. _Grosswardein_, Bishop
Lipovniczky; 82. _Fünfkirchen_, Bishop Kovacs; 83. _Steinamanger_, Bishop
Szenczy; 84. _Rottenburg_, Bishop Hefele; 85. _Ajaccio_, Bishop Sante
Casanelli d’Istria, and three more whose names were omitted in the
official catalogue.

There voted _Placet juxta modum_:—1. De Silvestri, Cardinal-Priest; 2.
Trevisanato, Cardinal Patriarch of Venice; 3. Guidi, Cardinal Archbishop
of Bologna; 4. _Salsburg_, Archbishop and Primate Tarnoczy; 5. _Oregon
City_, Archbishop Blanchet; 6. _Nisibis, in partibus_, Archbishop Tizzani;
7. _Tyre and Sidon_, Archbishop Bostani, Maronite; 8. _Manila_, Archbishop
Melithon-Martinez; 9. _Granada_, Archbishop Monzon y Martins; 10.
_Avignon_, Archbishop Dubrevil; 11. _New York_, Archbishop MacCloskey; 12.
_Cologne_, Archbishop Melchers; 13. _Melitene, in partibus_, Archbishop
Mérode; 14. _Rheims_, Archbishop Landriot; 15. _Sens_, Archbishop
Bernardou; 16. _Burgos_, Archbishop Yusto; 17. _Ventimiglia_ (_Italy_),
Bishop Biale; 18. _Columbica_, _in partibus_, Bishop Verolles, Apostolic
Vicar in Leao-Tung (China); 19. _Canopo_, _in partibus_, Bishop Besi; 20.
_Sira_, Bishop Alberti, Apostolic Delegate in Greece; 21. _Zenopolis_, _in
partibus_, Bishop Moccagatta, Apostolic Vicar in Xan-Tung; 22. _Lipari_,
Bishop Ideo; 23. _Birmingham_, Bishop Ullathorne; 24. _Vancouver_, Bishop
Demers; 25. _Mileto_, Bishop Mincione; 26. _Moulins_, Bishop Dreux-Brézé;
27. _Gezira_, Bishop Hindi, of the Chaldean Rite; 28. _Hadrianopolis, in
partibus_, Bishop De la Place, Apostolic Vicar in Tsche-Kiang; 29.
_Tarnovia_, Bishop Pukalski (Galicia); 30. _Chartres_, Bishop Regnault;
31. _Urgel_, Bishop Caixal y Estrade; 32. _Monterey_, Bishop Amat; 33.
_Tanes_, _in partibus_, Bishop Salzano, Dominican; 34. _Newcastle_, Bishop
Chadwick; 35. _Lacedonia_, Bishop Majorsini; 36. _Todi_, Bishop Rosati;
37. _Avellino_, Bishop Gallo; 38. _Amelia_, Bishop Pace; 39. _Nola_,
Bishop Formisano; 40. _Imola_, Bishop Moretti; 41. _Zamora_, Bishop Condé
y Corral; 42. _Avila_, Bishop Blanco, Dominican; 43. _Savannah_, Bishop
Verot; 44. _Cuenca_, Bishop Payà y Rico; 45. _Cajazzo_, Bishop Riccio; 46.
_Teramo_, Bishop Milella, Dominican; 47. _Nocera_, Bishop Pettinari; 48.
_St. Christophori_, Bishop De Urguinaona; 49. _Clariopolis_, _in
partibus_, Bsciai, Apostolic Vicar in Egypt, of the Coptic Rite; 50.
_Erzeroum_, Bishop Melchisedechian, of the Armenian Rite; 51. _Monte
Fiascone_, Bishop Bovieri; 52. _Savona_, Bishop Cerruti; 53. _Agathonica_,
_in partibus_, Bishop Pagnucci; 54. _Ascalon_, _in partibus_, Bishop
Meurin, Society of Jesus; 55. _Dionysia_, _in partibus_, Bishop Gentili;
56. _Cattaro_, Bishop Marchich; 57. _Serena_, Bishop Orrego; 58. Mardin,
Bishop of the Chaldean Rite; 59. _Tiberias_, _in partibus_, Bishop
Valeschi; 60. Guardi, General of the Ministers of the Sick; 61. The Abbot
of the Camaldolese in Etruria.

The following abstained from voting, though in Rome at the
time:—_Cardinals_: 1. Mattei, 2. Orfei, 3. Quaglia, 4. Hohenlohe, 5.
Berardi, 6. Antonelli, 7. Grassellini; 8. The Patriarch Harcus of Antioch,
of the Syrian Rite; 9. The Archbishop and Primate Salomone of Salerno; 10.
The Maronite Archbishop Aun of Beirout; 11, 12. Two other Archbishops; 13.
_Aleppo_, Archbishop Matar, of the Maronite Rite; 14. _Venezuela_,
Archbishop Guevara; 15. _Utrecht_, Archbishop Zwysen; 16. _Tours_,
Archbishop Guibert; 17. _Rodi_, _in partibus_, Archbishop Pace-Forno,
Bishop of Malta; 18. _Mardin_, Archbishop Nasarian, of the Armenian Rite;
19. _Alby_, Archbishop Lyonnet; 20. Iconium, _in partibus_, Archbishop
Puecher Passavalli; 21. _Guadalaxara_, Archbishop Loya; 22. _Amida_,
Archbishop Bahtiarian, of the Armenian Rite; 23. _Tournay_, Bishop Labis;
24. _Terni_, Bishop Severa; 25. _Veglia_, Bishop Vitezich; 26. _Almira_,
_in partibus_, Bishop Carli, Capuchin; 27. _Montauban_, Bishop Doney; 28.
_Cava_, Bishop Fertilla; 29. _Curia_, _in partibus_, Bishop Grioglio; 30.
_Segni_ (Papal State), Bishop Ricci; 31. _Paphos_, _in partibus_, Bishop
Alcazar, Dominican Vicar Apostolic; 32. _Vicenza_, Bishop Varina; 33.
_Salford_, Bishop Turner; 34. _Catanzaro_, Bishop de Franco; 35.
_Bergamo_, Bishop Speranza; 36. _Savannah_, —; 37. _St. Angelo in
Lombardy_, Bishop Fanelli; 38. _Dromore_, Bishop Leahy, Dominican; 39.
_Glarus_, —; 40. _Birta_, _in partibus_, Bishop Pinsoneault; 41. _Fernes_,
Bishop Furlong; 42. _Anagni_, Bishop Pagliari; 43. _Siguenza_, Bishop
Benavides; 44. _Ceramo_, _in partibus_, Bishop Jeancard, Suffragan of
Marseilles; 45. _Polemonia_, _in partibus_, Bishop Pinchon; 46. _Lipari_,
Bishop Athanasio; 47. _Apamea_, Archbishop Ata, of the Melchite Rite; 48.
_Mindus_, _in partibus_, Bishop Papardo del Parco; 49. _Bursa_, Bishop
Tilkian, of the Armenian Rite; 50. _Astorga_, Bishop Arguelles y Miranda;
51. _Comacchio_, Bishop Spoglia; 52. _Charlottetown_, Bishop MacIntyre;
53. _Vallis Pratensis_, — (?); 54. _Lamego_, Bishop de Vasconcellos
Periera de Mello; 55. _Montpellier_, Bishop Curtier; 56. _Barcelona_,
Bishop Monserrat y Navarro; 57. _Amatunto_, _in partibus_, Bishop Galezki,
Apostolic Vicar in Cracow; 58. _Kilmore_, Bishop Conaty; 59. _Priene_, _in
partibus_, Bishop Cosi; 60. _Tuy_, Bishop Garcia y Anton; 61. _Puno_,
Bishop Huerta; 62. _Adelaide_, Bishop Shiel; 63. _Albany_ (_America_),
Bishop Conroy; 64. _Concordia_, Bishop Frangipani; 65. _St. Hyacinth_,
Bishop Laroque; 66. _Dubuque_, Bishop Hennessy; 67. _Vannes_, Bishop
Becel; 68. _Goulburn_, Bishop Lannigan; 69. _St. Germani bei Monte
Cassino_, — (?); 70. _Verdun_, Bishop Hacquard; 71. _Egéa_, _in partibus_,
Bishop Reynaud; 72. _St. Giov. di Cuyo_, Bishop Achaval; 73. _Cirene_, _in
partibus_, Bishop Canzi; 74. _Rodiopolis_, _in partibus_, Bishop Tosi; 75.
_Buffalo_, Bishop Ryan; 76. _Adramyttium_, _in partibus_, Bishop Gibbons;
77. _Coria_, Bishop Nuñez; 78. _Heliopolis_, Bishop Nasser, of the
Melchite Rite; 79. _Titopolis_, _in partibus_, — (?); 80, 81. Abbates
nullius; 82, 83. Burchall, President of the Benedictine Congregation in
England; 84. The Abbot of Janow, Apostolic Administrator in Russia; 85.
Montis Coronæ; 86-91. These names could not be announced on account of the
great confusion.



SIXTY-SEVENTH LETTER.


_Rome, July 16, 1870._—As I had to report in my last letter, the attempt
of the Legates and the Deputation to outwit and catch the minority by a
violation of their own order of business had all but succeeded. Darboy and
Strossmayer frustrated this plot, on which it is literally true that the
fate of the Church was staked. For the third canon of the third chapter
had been brought forward in so enlarged and altered a form, that it
involved in substance the abolition of the entire episcopate, as an
integral constituent of the Christian Church, and substituted for it the
papal “totality,” as the theologians of the seventeenth century called it;
_i.e._, the theory that in the whole Church there is one sole individual
who is in exclusive possession of all plenary powers and all
ecclesiastical rights. The weight and importance of the doctrine thereby
designed to be for the first time imposed on the Church cannot even be
made intelligible in a few words. Most readers are naturally unaware of
the sense attached in canon law and the language of the _Curia_ to the
words, “potestas immediata et ordinaria.” Well! they mean that all
Christians, whether laymen or clerics, are personally subjects, body and
soul, of their lord and master, the Pope, who can impose on them without
restriction whatever commands seem good to him. There are, besides the
Pope, who exercises immediate authority by virtue of his universal
episcopate, papal commissaries in the separate dioceses, who call
themselves Bishops, and are so named by the Roman Chancery. They exercise
the powers delegated to them by the one true and universal Bishop, and
carry out the particular orders they receive from Rome. According to this
view the whole Church has, properly speaking, no other right or law or
order but the pleasure of the reigning Pope. This is the most perfect form
of absolutism ever yet excogitated in any man’s brains.

The order of business prohibits any alteration in the text of the decrees
being voted upon without previous discussion in Council. That however was
now attempted, and the violation of the order of business by the Legates
themselves was so flagrant, the design of fraud so palpable, that the
incident continued to be the subject of general conversation up to the
12th July. When the plot had miscarried, it was alleged in excuse that the
previous discussion had been forgotten!—forgotten precisely in the case of
the most important article yet brought forward, and of a change of such
immeasurable weight that one may truly say no discussion of equal weight
and influence has been passed in any Council during 1800 years. The affair
of course made a great sensation. The words “deceit” and “lying” were used
more than once in the national meetings of the Opposition Bishops, and it
was urged that the whole Deputation _de Fide_ were accomplices of the
Legates in this unworthy trick, and that the Bishops were being compelled
in a truly revolting manner to vote on alterations of the most
comprehensive kind, which had only been communicated to them the day
before. A short memorandum was issued by the French Bishops, which
recommended that this opportunity should be seized for leaving Rome. It
runs as follows:—

“(1). L’heure de la Providence a sonné: le moment décisif de sauver
l’Église est arrivé. (2.) Par les additiones faites au III. canon du 3me
chap. la Commission _de Fide_ a violé le règlement qui ne permet
l’introduction d’aucun amendement sans discussion conciliaire. (3.)
L’addition subreptice est d’une importance incalculable; c’est le
changement de la constitution de l’Église, la monarchie pure, absolue,
indivisible du Pape, l’abolition de la judicature et de la co-souveraineté
des évêques, l’affirmation et la définition anticipée de l’infaillibilité
separée et personnelle. (4.) Le devoir et l’honneur ne permettent pas de
voter sans discussion ce canon, qui contient une immense révolution. La
discussion pourrait et devrait durer six mois, parce qu’il s’agit de la
question capitale, la constitution même de la souveraineté dans l’Église.
(5.) Cette discussion est impossible à cause des fatigues extrêmes de la
saison et des dispositions de la majorité. (6.) Une seule chose, digne et
honorable, reste à faire: Demander immédiatement la prorogation du Concile
au mois d’Octobre, et présenter une declaration, ou seraient énumérées
toutes les protestations déjà faites, et où la dernière violation du
règlement, le mépris de la dignité et de la liberté des évêques seraient
mis en lumière. Annoncer en même temps un départ, qui ne peut plus être
différé. (7.) Par le départ ainsi motivé d’un nombre considérable
d’évêques de toutes les nations, l’œcuménicité du Concile cesserait et
tous les actes, qu’il pourrait faire ensuite, seraient d’une autorité
nulle. (8.) Le courage et le dévouement de la minorité auraient, dans le
monde, un retentissement immense. Le Concile se réunirait au mois
d’Octobre dans des conditions infiniment meilleures. Toutes les questions,
à peine ébauchées, pourraient être reprises, traitées avec dignité et
liberté. L’Église et l’ordre moral du monde seraient sauvés.”

But the majority of the Opposition did not assent to this; they resolved
to present another Protest, which the Court party might apply, like its
predecessors, “ad piper et quidquid chartis amicitur ineptis.” It was
drawn up by Bishop Dinkel of Augsburgh, and signed, so far as I know, by
all of them.

On the evening of the 9th July a proposal of a new formula of
infallibility was distributed to the Bishops; it was apparently designed
to split up the Opposition, and was broad, declamatory, full of
quotations, and lavish of assurances that the Roman See has always
administered its supreme teaching office in the most excellent manner and
proclaimed nothing but truth. Now, it was added, since there has been a
great deal of contradition, it is necessary to define that its _ex
cathedrâ_ decisions are infallible, and its decrees on faith and morals
irreformable by virtue of the divine promise given to it. This new
production was discussed in the French and German conferences and
rejected, although one of the most influential German Bishops, Ketteler,
had taken it under his protection. He assured them that the Deputation had
unanimously resolved that no change or concession by a hair’s-breadth
should be allowed in this form of words, for to deny papal infallibility
involved a denial of the primacy altogether.

Meanwhile the Jesuit Franzelin had received orders from the highest
authority to revise afresh the formula adopted by the Deputation, with
which Schrader is said to be very ill satisfied.

In the sitting of July 11, first the Bishop of Trevisa, as a member of the
Deputation, defended the notorious decree in the third canon of the third
chapter, which is to revolutionize the whole constitution of the Church in
the sense of papal absolutism. Then the votes were taken, by rising and
sitting down, on the weightiest and most pregnant article that has been
laid before any Council for 600 years, and the uncertainty in this method
of voting, wholly unprecedented in Church history, was so great that
according to the majority only 50 or 60 voted against it, while the
minority reckon between 90 and 100 adverse votes.

Then Bishop Gasser of Brixen made a speech three hours long in the name of
the Deputation on the infallibility decree, which in its new form—and this
he declared to be the _ultimatum_—had been enriched with an anathema
against those who “contradicere præsumpserint.” Gasser was unwilling to be
left behind by Manning, Dechamps, Dreux-Brézé and the Spaniards. He
vindicated the doctrines of Cardinal Cajetan against Ketteler.

Meanwhile Cardinal Guidi had been so powerfully belaboured, that it had
frightened him, and he now voted for the third chapter with the majority.
The process which had been found so effective in France, of raising their
diocesan clergy against fallibilist Bishops, had been applied to him too
by means of agents sent to Bologna. The apostasy of Archbishop Tarnoczy of
Salzburg, who also voted with the majority, excited grief but no surprise.
While the occupant of one of the oldest Sees of Germany, the successor of
Arno, Pilgrim and Colloredo, flung away his own rights and those of his
successors like so many hollow nutshells, even Cardinal Silvestri voted
against the third chapter and the anathema attached to the fourth.

The result of the 13th July has acted like an earthquake, shaking and
confusing for the moment men’s heads and plans of operation. Even if half
the voters _juxta modum_ are abstracted, as belonging to the majority,
there remain 31 votes among them in favour of essential changes in the
fourth chapter, changes which the Deputation has declared to be absolutely
inadmissible, and which, if admitted, would offend one section of the
majority. This last consequence would not of course matter at all; a
single word from the Pope would set it aside at once, for it is
self-evident that no Bishop who is convinced of his unconditional
inerrancy could hesitate for a moment to vote for a decree sanctioned by
him. Still the perplexity is great. If the decree, as voted by the
majority, is brought forward at the public session, some 120 negative
votes may be expected. But the Pope is resolved to become infallible
“senza conditione,” as he says.

It is now often said that on the day of the Solemn Session the Holy Ghost
will yet most assuredly work a wonderful miracle and convert the
Opposition so suddenly that, although they had entered the Council Hall
resolved to say “No,” they will say “Yes.” Some, including Antonelli, vote
for conciliatory measures and concessions, which however the Deputation on
Faith declares to be impossible. The other very numerous party says on the
contrary that the unexpected force and extent of the opposition to so
fundamental a dogma makes an anathema all the more necessary. A new plan
of operations has now been hit upon, which is greatly favoured by the
recent deaths. The grand Session for proclaiming the dogma had been fixed
for the 17th, and many among the minority were with great difficulty
persuaded to remain till that critical day. But now the 25th is talked
of.(155) At the same time the report is circulated and confirmed by
Antonelli, that there will be no prorogation even at the end of July or
beginning of August, but the Council will continue, though many Bishops,
on requesting leave, will be permitted to depart. It is urgently
necessary, according to Antonelli, to settle the questions about the
Oriental Rite. Yet for centuries the Court of Rome has not troubled any
Council with these affairs, but settled and regulated them by itself, as
is testified by a whole series of papal decrees. And after infallibility
is proclaimed, it is utterly superfluous to keep hundreds of foreign
Bishops here on that account. But it is known that the new dogma will lead
to the separation of the Orientals, and so their Bishops are to be kept
here longer as hostages, and the name of the Council is to supply the
pretext. And it is hoped that the French and German Bishops will the more
certainly ask leave and go home, so that the Opposition may be reduced to
a small handful. The Pope himself appears greatly to desire this, as was
at once inferred from his remark that the Archbishop of Paris is staying
on a long time.

Five Bishops, including Förster of Breslau, actually took their departure
on the 14th.



SIXTY-EIGHTH LETTER.


_Rome, July 17, 1870._—All the Bishops of the minority have left Rome,
after presenting a statement of their attitude towards the decrees on the
Papacy. They made a last attempt, immediately before going, to move the
Pope at least not to hurry on the affair but to grant some respite by
proroguing the Council. At twelve o’clock to-day he received a deputation
headed by Darboy and Simor. Darboy, who spoke first, represented to him
the great and manifold dangers the definition would unquestionably give
rise to for the whole Church. Hitherto Pius had met all suggestions of
scruple by appealing to his “I am Tradition”—his already assured
infallibility. This time he did not do so. He fell back on the ground of
its being “too late.” Matters had gone too far, and the whole Christian
world was now too much occupied and too powerfully excited about the
question. Besides, the Council had already passed a decree by a
considerable majority, and he was therefore in no position to put a check
on the Council, which was now in full swing and urgently pressing for a
final decision on this question. The promulgation of the decree of the
majority will accordingly follow to-morrow.

The Orientals have subscribed the declaration of the minority. Two German
Bishops only, Melchers and Ketteler, have withheld their signature and
presented a separate declaration of their own to the Pope. The manifesto
of the minority runs thus:—

“_Beatissime Pater!_

“In Congregatione generali die 13 h. m. habitâ, dedimus suffragia nostra
super schemate primæ Constitutionis dogmaticæ de Ecclesiâ Christi.

“Notum est Sanctitati Vestræ 88 Patres fuisse, qui, conscientiâ urgente et
amore Sanctæ Ecclesiæ permoti, suffragium suum per verba _non placet_
emiserunt; 62 alios, qui suffragati sunt per verba _placet juxta modum_,
denique 70 circiter qui a congregatione abfuerunt atque a suffragio
emittendo abstinuerunt. His accedunt et alii, qui, infirmitatibus aut
aliis gravioribus rationibus ducti, ad suas diœceses reversi sunt.

“Hâc ratione Sanctitati Vestræ et toto mundo suffragia nostra nota atque
manifesta fuere, patuitque quam multis episcopis sententia nostra
probatur, atque hoc modo munus officiumque quod nobis incumbit
persolvimus.

“Ab eo inde tempore nihil prorsus evenit quod sententiam nostram mutaret,
quin imo multa eaque gravissima acciderunt, quæ nos in proposito nostro
confirmaverunt. Atque ideo nostra jam edita suffragia nos renovare ac
confirmare declaramus.

“Confirmantes itaque per hanc scripturam suffragia nostra a Sessione
publicâ die 18 h. m. habendâ abesse constituimus. Pietas enim filialis ac
reverentia quæ missos nostros nuperrime ad pedes Sanctitatis Vestræ
adduxere, non sinunt nos in causâ Sanctitatis Vestræ personam adeo proxime
concernente palam et in facie patris dicere _non placet_.

“Et aliunde suffragia in Solenni Sessione edenda repeterent dumtaxat
suffragia in generali Congregatione deprompta.

“Redimus itaque sine morâ ad greges nostros, quibus post tam longam
absentiam ob belli timores et præsertim summas eorum spirituales
indigentias summopere necessarii sumus; dolentes, quod, ob tristia in
quibus versamur rerum adjuncta etiam conscientiarum pacem et
tranquillitatem turbatam inter fideles nostros reperturi simus.

“Interea Ecclesiam Dei et Sanctitatem Vestram, cui intemeratam fidem et
obedientiam profitemur, D. N. J. C. gratiæ et præsidio toto corde
commendantes sumus Sanctitatis Vestræ

“devotissimi et obedientissimi filii.

“ROMÆ, _17 Jul. 1870_.”



SIXTY-NINTH LETTER.


_Rome, July 19, 1870._—On the evening of the 15th a deputation of the
Bishops of the minority waited on the Pope, consisting of Simor, Primate
of Hungary, Archbishops Ginoulhiac, Darboy and Scherr (of Munich),
Ketteler and Rivet, Bishop of Dijon. After waiting an hour they were
admitted at 9 o’clock in the evening. What they tried to obtain was in
fact much less than the Opposition had hitherto aimed at: they only asked
for the withdrawal of the addition to the third chapter, which assigns to
the Pope the exclusive possession of all ecclesiastical powers, and the
insertion in the fourth chapter of a clause limiting his infallibility to
those decisions which he pronounces “innixus testimonio Ecclesiarum.” Pius
gave an answer which will sound in Germany like a maliciously invented
fable,—“Je ferai mon possible, mes chers fils, mais je n’ai pas encore lu
le Schéma; je ne sais pas ce qu’il contient.” And he then requested
Darboy, who had acted as spokesman, to give him the petition of the
minority in writing. He promised to do so, and added, not without irony,
that he would take the liberty of sending with it to his Holiness the
_Schema_, which the Deputation on Faith and the Legates had with such
culpable levity omitted to lay before him, when it wanted only two days to
the promulgation of the dogma, thereby exposing him to the peril of having
to proclaim a decree he was ignorant of. This Darboy did, and in a second
letter to the Deputation severely censured their negligence in not even
having communicated the _Schema_ to the chief personage, the Pope.

Pius added further, whether ironically or in earnest I know not, that if
only the minority would increase their 88 votes to 100, he would see what
could be done. He concluded by assuring them it was notorious that the
whole Church had always taught the unconditional infallibility of the
Pope. Bishop Ketteler then came forward, flung himself on his knees before
the Pope, and entreated for several minutes that the Father of the
Catholic world would make some concession to restore peace and her lost
unity to the Church and the episcopate. It was a peculiar spectacle to
witness these two men, of kindred and yet widely diverse nature, in such
an attitude, the one prostrate on the ground before the other. Pius is
“totus teres atque rotundus,” firm and immoveable, smooth and hard as
marble, infinitely self-satisfied intellectually, mindless and ignorant,
without any understanding of the mental conditions and needs of mankind,
without any notion of the character of foreign nations, but as credulous
as a nun, and above all penetrated through and through with reverence for
his own person as the organ of the Holy Ghost, and therefore an absolutist
from head to heel, and filled with the thought, “I and none beside me.” He
knows and believes that the holy Virgin, with whom he is on the most
intimate terms, will indemnify him for the loss of land and subjects by
means of the infallibility doctrine and the restoration of the papal
dominion over states and peoples as well as over Churches. He also
believes firmly in the miraculous emanations from the sepulchre of St.
Peter. At the feet of this man the German Bishop flung himself, “ipso Papâ
papalior,” a zealot for the ideal greatness and unapproachable dignity of
the Papacy, and at the same time inspired by the aristocratic feeling of a
Westphalian nobleman and the hierarchical self-consciousness of a Bishop
and successor of the ancient chancellor of the Empire, while yet he is
surrounded by the intellectual atmosphere of Germany, and with all his
firmness of belief is sickly with the pallor of thought, and inwardly
struggling with the terrible misgiving that after all historical facts are
right, and that the ship of the _Curia_, though for the moment it proudly
rides the waves with its sails swelled by a favourable wind, will be
wrecked on that rock at last.

The prostration of the Bishop of Mayence seemed to make some impression on
Pius. He dismissed the deputation in a hopeful temper. It was of short
duration. For directly the report got about that the Pope was yielding,
Manning and Senestrey (_de grands effets par de petites causes_) went to
the Pope and assured him that all was now ripe, and the great majority
enthusiastically set on the most absolute and uncompromising form of the
infallibilist theory, and at the same time frightened him by the warning
that, if he made any concession, he would be disgraced in history as a
second Honorius. That was enough to stifle any thought of moderation that
might have been awakened in his soul.

The sitting of July 16 was held to consider the proposals of those who had
voted _juxta modum_. The Legates had promised to pay as much consideration
as was possible to their wishes, and they redeemed their pledge by
striking out one passage and inserting another. The majority decided, on
the motion of certain Spaniards, which was adopted by the Deputation on
Faith, to strike out the words at the opening of the fourth chapter,
saying the Pope will define nothing “nisi quod antiquitus tenet cum
cæteris Ecclesiis Apostolica Sedes.” This was felt to impose too narrow
limits on the Pope’s infallibility and arbitrary power of defining. And as
the minority had the day before expressed to the Pope their special desire
that the consent of the Church should be laid down as a requisite
condition of doctrinal definitions, it was now resolved, in direct
contradiction to their wishes, again on the motion of Spanish Bishops, not
only to leave the words “definitiones Pontificis ex sese seu per sese esse
irreformabiles,” but to add to them “non autem ex consensu Ecclesiæ.” And
thus the infallibilist decree, as it is now to be received under anathema
by the Catholic world, is an eminently Spanish production, as is fitting
for a doctrine which was born and reared under the shadow of the
Inquisition.

In the last sitting of the Congregation three Bishops of the Deputation on
Faith spoke, the Neapolitan D’Avanzo, Bishop of Calvi and Teano, Zinelli,
Bishop of Rovigo, the author of the notorious addition to the third
chapter of the third canon, and Gasser, Bishop of Brixen. D’Avanzo was
jocose: “As,” said he, “the angel bade the Apostle John swallow a book,
telling him it would make his belly bitter but taste sweet as honey in his
mouth, so must we Bishops swallow this infallibilist _Schema_, and I have
done so already. It will no doubt give many of us a stomach-ache, but we
must act as if we had honey in our mouths.” Gasser, who as a speaker is
“se ipse amans sine rivali,” to quote Cicero’s saying about Pompey, made a
speech of endless length, exhausting the patience of his hearers; but
there was some gold mixed with all this dross. Such was his declaration
that Councils had hitherto been useful only for people of unsound faith,
who did not chose to believe the Pope’s _ipse dixit_, which every good
Christian had always believed. But now “quid credendum sit unice ab
arbitrio Pontificis in posterum dependebit.” On this a well-known
Hungarian Bishop could not refrain from observing to his neighbour, “Si
etiam infallibilitas Pontificis contenta esset in Sacrâ Scripturâ magis
compromitti non posset quam hoc levissimo ac ineptissimo sermone, quo
auditores ex integro jam lassos ad vomitum movit et martyres reddidit.”

An amusing scene occurred at the close of this sitting, the last attended
by the Bishops of the minority. A printed address was read out and
distributed to the Fathers, in which the Legates complained in the
strongest language of certain works describing the course of the Council.
Two were named and characterized as “calumnious,” both published at Paris.
The one, by Gaillard, was _Ce qui se passe au Concile_; the other was by a
man distinguished alike for intellect, eloquence and learning, a member of
the Council, who has had almost unique opportunities of seeing through the
whole business. It is the work I have before mentioned, _La Dernière Heure
du Concile_, in which the personal intervention of the Pope and the
pressure brought to bear by him are forcibly depicted in strict accordance
with truth. This pamphlet had already created a great sensation, and when
the Legates called on the Bishops to join them in condemning it, the
Italians and Spaniards, who—being for the most part ignorant of French—had
not read it, immediately shouted out “Nos condemnamus.” “We do not,” cried
the Bishops of the minority. Two copies of the address were then handed to
each of them, one of which they were ordered to return with their names
subscribed. The result was not successful; Haynald told the Legates, in
the name of the Hungarian Bishops, that they had better first translate
_La Dernière Heure_ into Latin, and then he and his colleagues would see
whether it was really as bad as the Cardinals maintained.

All the Bishops from South and Central Italy who could be whipped up, or
who had previously obtained leave of absence on account of illness or age,
were peremptorily recalled for the Solemn Session of July 18. Of the
Cardinals, Hohenlohe was absent. The rest appeared, including Antonelli,
but only three, Patrizzi, Bonaparte and Pambianco, threw a certain
spontaneity and energy of voice and manner into their _Placet_ by standing
up to deliver it. Guidi was the one most observed; he sat there with an
oppressed and abstracted air, and his scarcely audible _Placet_ escaped
with difficulty from his lips. The two negative voters were Bishops Riccio
of Cajazzo and Fitzgerald of Little Rock. When the Monsignore who was
repeating the names and votes had credited one of them with a _Placet_ out
of his own head, the Bishop shouted in a stentorian voice, “No; _Non
placet_!”

As all the Bishops of the Opposition but two stayed away, and an _abest_
was the answer to every name of the slightest note that was called, the
Holy Ghost had no opportunity for working a miracle of conversion, and all
went prosaically and smoothly as the wheels of a watch, without any
sensation. Each of the stipendiaries has discharged his obligation, and
the Pope and Monsignori find that the Council has cost large sums, but
think the money is well spent and will bring in abundant interest. The
most remarkable case of desertion was that of Bishop Landriot of Rheims.
Not one of the Bishops had been so open-mouthed, or had announced his
fallibilist opinions with such copious flow of words to everybody he came
across. He now says, like Talleyrand, that he has only deserted before the
rest. Clerical Rome, so far as I can yet make out, is not in any very
exalted state of enthusiasm; that is prevented by the political
conjunctures, which give Antonelli and Berardi a good deal to think about.
De Banneville has indeed given the most consoling assurances to Antonelli;
the 5000 French troops at Civita Vecchia, who had received orders to hold
themselves ready for recall to France, are to be at once replaced by 5000
more—recruits it is believed. Paris wishes just now to be on the best
terms with Rome, who may well prove a useful ally in what the _Monde_ has
already designated a religious war against Protestantism. Meanwhile they
are pleased at the Vatican to have erected their _rocher de bronze_
beforehand. The Bishops have—ostensibly of their own free will—abdicated
in favour of the monarch, to receive back from him so many rights and
commissions as he may think good to delegate to them. The revolution in
the Church is accomplished “to enrich _one_ among all.” Pius himself is
more than content; his supreme desire, the crown of his life and work, is
attained.

During the voting and promulgation a storm burst over Rome, and made the
Council Hall so dark that the Pope could not read the decree of his
infallibility without having a candle brought. It was read to an
accompaniment of thunder and lightning. Some of the Bishops said that
heaven thereby signified its condemnation of Gallicanism, while others
thought Pius was receiving a divine attestation, as the new Moses who
proclaimed the Law of God, like the old one, amid thunder and lightning.
It is remarkable that the days of the opening and closing of this Council
were the two darkest and most depressing Rome has witnessed during the
eight months of its session. It rained without intermission, so that the
promised illumination was partly given up and partly proved a lamentable
failure. There were few but monks, nuns and Zouaves, during the session in
the very empty-looking church. When the Pope at last proclaimed himself
the infallible and absolute ruler of all the baptized “with the
approbation of the holy Council,” some bravos shouted, several persons
clapped, and the nuns cried in tones of tender rapture, “Papa mio!” That
was the only semblance of a demonstration. If any spark of enthusiasm
really glimmered in the souls of the Romans, it was quenched by the
downpour of rain. The keen-witted Roman, who is accustomed to speak of
this Pope with a certain good-humoured irony, as a sort of comic
personality, thinks there is no harm in gratifying the wish of the old man
who has set his heart on this infallibility; that will hurt nobody. All
the most important members of the diplomatic bodies stayed away, in
obedience to the instructions of their governments. Neither the
ambassadors of Austria, France, Prussia or Bavaria were present. The
Belgian and Dutch consuls and an agent of some South American Republic
attended. The decrees of July 18, establishing under anathema the two new
dogmas, are the following:—

“(_a._) Si quis itaque dixerit, Romanum Pontificem habere tantummodo
officium inspectionis vel directionis, non autem plenam et supremam
potestatem jurisdictionis in universam Ecclesiam, non solum in rebus, quæ
ad fidem et mores, sed etiam quæ ad disciplinam et regimen Ecclesiæ per
totum orbem diffusæ pertinent; aut eum habere tantum potiores partes, non
vero totam plenitudinem hujus supremæ potestatis, aut hanc ejus potestatem
non esse ordinariam et immediatam sive in omnes ac singulas Ecclesias sive
in omnes et singulos Pastores et fideles—anathema sit.

“(_b._) Sacro approbante Concilio docemus et divinitus revelatum dogma
esse definimus: Romanum Pontificem, cum ex cathedrâ loquitur, id est, cum
omnium Christianorum Pastoris et Doctoris munere fungens, pro supremâ suâ
apostolicâ auctoritate doctrinam de fide vel moribus ab universâ Ecclesiâ
tenendam definit, per assistentiam divinam, ipsi in beato Petro promissam,
eâ infallibilitate pollere, quâ divinus Redemptor Ecclesiam suam in
definiendâ doctrinâ de fide vel moribus instructam esse voluit; ideoque
ejusmodo _Romani Pontificis definitiones esse ex sese, non autem __ ex
consensu Ecclesiæ irreformabiles_. Si quis autem huic Nostræ definitioni
contradicere, quod Deus avertat, præsumpserit—anathema sit.”

In the work against infallibility circulated here by the Bishop of Mayence
occurs the following passage: “Will it not seem to all nations that the
authority of all Bishops is suppressed and sentenced to death, only in
order to erect on such vast and manifold ruins the unlimited authority of
the one Roman Pope?” When these lines were written, the Bishop and his
theologian had no notion, or at least no knowledge, of the third anathema
of the third chapter, which was afterwards made still more rigorous. They
were only thinking of infallibility, but what would they have said, had
they known that the Bishops would be required to subscribe to the
abolition of the episcopate and the transference of all conceivable
ecclesiastical powers and rights over the 180 million of Catholics in
principle and in detail to the Pope alone, as a new article of faith
imposed under anathema? And yet this is what happened on the 13th and 18th
July 1870. That the ordinary and immediate jurisdiction of the Bishops
still survives, is indeed affirmed in the decree, but the affirmation is
contrary to fact. It would be in inevitable collision with the constantly
encroaching jurisdiction of the Pope; the earthen vessel dashed against
the iron.

The Jewish general and historian, Josephus, relates how he was shut up
with forty companions in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and summoned to
surrender by the Romans. They resolved to die first. The Bishops are not
offered this alternative, but threatened with both at once. They are
bidden to submit and then kill themselves, to subscribe the decree of the
majority, and thereby sign the sentence which degrades and annihilates
them, under pain of incurring anathema. That is the demand. The situation
is an unprecedented one. And what of the 532 real or titular Bishops who
have made the 13th and 18th July “dies nefasti” for the Church, and
renounced so many rights and duties for themselves and their successors,
like a cast-off garment? Perhaps it lightens their hearts and is a
pleasant feeling to them to be able to say, “Thank God, I need not trouble
myself any more about doctrine, tradition, or dogma; henceforth the one
infallible oracle in the Vatican will attend to all that, and he again
will devolve the burden on the lusty shoulders of the Jesuits, as he has
done before. And how sweet and convenient it is to be a mere executor of
papal decrees, while one’s episcopal income remains untouched, and to be
able to cover one’s-self with the Medusa shield of a papal order in every
difficulty, and every conflict with clergy, people or governments!” I
heard a Bishop of this party say the other day, “Now first begin the
golden days of the episcopate.”

It is reported that on the very day after the promulgation several Bishops
experienced a certain reaction of sobriety, a feeling like what German
students are wont to attribute to cats, and inquired of the high
dogma-fabricating parties, the Legates and some members of the Deputation,
whether they were really bound to believe, confess and teach all that is
contained in the Syllabus, the Bull _Unam Sanctam_, etc., as _e.g._, the
subjection of the secular powers to the Pope, the Church’s power of
inflicting bodily punishment with Pius who reigns gloriously, the burning
of heretics with Leo X., _et id genus omne_. They are said to have been
answered with a well-known Roman proverb, “Toto devorato bove, turpe est
in caudâ deficere”—“You have swallowed the whole ox of papal
infallibility, and the last Spanish addition with it, and you need not
strain at the tail, _i.e._, the consequences; that indeed is the best part
of this ox.”

The Bishops of the minority agreed before leaving Rome that they would
none of them act alone and independently, in such further steps as would
have to be taken concerning the decrees of the majority, but would all
continue to correspond and act in concert. Meanwhile the Council has not
been prorogued, but leave of absence is given to Bishops who can allege
urgent reasons up to November 15. Perhaps in the interval the builders of
the new Jesuit-Papal Zion, who stay behind, will prepare many a surprise
for the Catholic world.

Future historians will begin a new period of Church history with July 18,
1870, as with October 31, 1517.

Are we really at the end of the drama? It appears so. On the same spot
where, 1856 years ago, the first monarch of the world, Augustus, bade the
attendants on his death-bed clap their hands in token of the rôle being
well played out to the end, the Roman courtiers on July 18 have saluted by
clapping of hands the first man proclaimed infallible monarch of the world
by 532 spiritual satraps. The eight months’ campaign has terminated in the
preliminary closing act of July 18; the absolute Papacy celebrates its
financially dear-bought, but otherwise easily obtained, triumph over the
Church, which now lies defenceless at the feet of the Italians. It only
remains to follow up the anathematized enemy, the Bishops of the minority,
into their lurking-places, and compel each man of them to bend under the
Caudine yoke amid the scornful laughter of his colleagues of the majority.
Anathemas, the “ultima ratio” of Rome, have already been discharged at the
fugitives, and every such shot of the Infallible is itself infallible.



APPENDIX I.


    SPEECH OF DARBOY, ARCHBISHOP OF PARIS, DELIVERED MAY 20, ON THE
    _Constitutio Dogmatica de Ecclesiâ_.


There seem to me to be three points to be considered in reference to this
_Schema_: its origin, its contents and scope, and its practical results.

And first as regards its origin and presentation to the Council at this
time, it is enough to mention two facts, from which it may be judged
whether the affair has been conducted regularly and in accordance with the
dignity and rights of this venerable assembly.

It is certain that the fourth chapter, dealing with the infallibility of
the Pope, is the turning-point of the whole _Schema_. For whatever is
brought forward in the former chapters about the power and origin of the
primacy in Peter and its continuance in the Popes, about which there is no
difference among us,—and certainly in the first and second chapters this
seems to exceed the right measure—is unmistakeably connected with the
infallibility in the fourth chapter. So entirely is this infallibility the
grand object of the Vatican Council, that some have indiscreetly asserted
it is in a sense the sole object. And with reason, for the fabrication of
such a dogma must always remain the weightiest act of an Œcumenical
Council; and moreover the other questions to be dealt with are either of
far less importance, or have long since been settled and only require
revision, as, _e.g._, questions about the being and attributes of God, the
reality and need of revelation, the duty of faith, and the relation of
faith to reason. Yet this serious question of infallibility was neither
indicated in the Bull convoking the Council nor in the other public
announcements referring to it, and with good reason, because on the one
hand the Catholic world had no desire for a settlement of this question,
nor was there any other ground producible for meddling with what had
always hitherto been a subject of free inquiry among theologians, and on
the other hand there are many and grave evils, partly endangering the
salvation of souls, which the Pope out of his care and affection has
thought it more needful to deal with.

It is certain that the first stirring of this question came from without,
from religious and secular journalists, and that too in an impertinent
manner, against all ecclesiastical and traditional precedent and all rules
of hierarchical order and usage, by seeking to put a pressure on the
conscience of the Bishops through demagogic agitation, and to intimidate
them with the prospect of intrigues in their dioceses which would make the
government of them impossible. Nay, matters have come to such a pass that
the Fathers of the Council, however piously and courageously they may be
simply following their conscience, are accused of having paid an improper
deference to party opinion, by promoting the introduction of the
infallibility question in consequence of these violent agitations, and all
of us appear to have lost something of dignity and freedom through the
tumult raised before the doors of the Council-chamber. And such a
judgment, which is in the highest degree mischievous and injurious to our
honour, can hardly be endured without damage and disgrace to this
venerable assembly, an assembly which must act independently and not under
pressure from without, which must not only be, but appear to be, free.

It is further certain that the question brought before us to-day has been
introduced against the natural and logical order of the subjects in hand,
and thereby the cause itself is prejudiced. The rest of the _Schema de
Fide_ ought first to have been submitted to our consideration, on which we
have already debated and have the arguments of both sides so fresh in our
memory that the final discussion would have been all the easier. Then
again the _Schema de Ecclesiâ_ begins quite incorrectly with the primacy.
Neither its first compilers nor any theologians before now were of opinion
that the treatise on the Church should begin with that. And furthermore,
our studies have been directed to the questions intended to come on for
consideration according to the order originally announced.

And lastly, it is certain that the precipitate introduction of the
question of infallibility by reversing the original order has contributed
to the injury rather than the honour of the Holy See. For as, according to
the Bull _Multiplices inter_, motions are to be sent in to a special
Congregation, which then reports to the Pope, who either accepts or
rejects its decisions, it follows that the authors of this motion have
compelled the Holy Father to make a decision in his own case and in
reference to a personal prerogative, and have thereby—no doubt
unintentionally—failed to show a fitting regard for his high position, if
they have not rather directly injured it.

If I am right on all these points—and such appears to be the case—it is
impossible to discuss and decide upon the question of infallibility, thus
originating and thus introduced, without paving the way for the insults of
unbelievers and the reproaches which threaten the moral authority of this
Council. And this should the more carefully be avoided, because writings
and reports directed against the power and legitimacy of the Council are
already current and widely circulated, so that it seems more likely to sow
the seeds of contradiction and disunion among Christians than to quiet
men’s minds and lead to peace. If I may venture to add a practical remark
to this portion of my speech, I should say that some have with good reason
declared this question to be inopportune, and that there would be equally
good reason for abstaining from any decision, even if the discussion of it
were opportune.

On the contents and tendency of the _Schema_ I shall make only a few
observations.

The _Schema_ does not deal with the infallibility of the Church, which we
all believe, and which has been proved for twenty centuries, but lays down
as an article of faith that the Pope is, alone and of himself, infallible,
and that he possesses this privilege of inerrancy in all matters to which
the infallibility of the Church herself extends. It must be well
understood that the _Schema_ does not refer to that universally admitted
infallibility, which is the invincible and inviolable strength of dogmatic
decrees and decisions binding alike on all the faithful and all their
pastors, and which reposes wholly and solely on the agreement of the
Bishops in union with the Pope, but that it refers—though this is not
expressly stated—to the personal, absolute and exclusive infallibility of
the Pope. On the former kind of infallibility—that of the Church—complete
harmony prevails among us, and there is therefore no ground for any
discussion, whence it follows that it is the second kind of infallibility
which is in question here. To deny this would be to disguise and distort
the doctrine and spirit of the _Schema_. And moreover, the Pope’s personal
infallibility is not maintained there as a mere opinion or commendable
doctrine, but as a dogma of faith. Hitherto the opportuneness and
admissibility of entertaining this question has been disputed at the
Council; that dispute is now closed by the Pope’s decision that the matter
can no longer be passed over in silence, and we have now to consider
whether it is or is not opportune to declare the personal infallibility of
the Pope a dogma.

To deal rightly with this subject and come to a decision, it is requisite
that the formula or definition of the doctrine should be laid before us,
that it should be proved by sure and unquestionable evidence, and finally,
that it should be accepted with moral unanimity.

There is the greatest difficulty in fixing the form or definition of the
doctrine, as is shown by the example of those who first composed and then
revised the _Schema_, and who seem to have expended much—perhaps
fruitless—labour upon it; for they indulge in ambiguous expressions which
open the door to endless controversies. What is meant by “exercising the
office of the supreme teacher of Christendom”? What are the external
conditions of its exercise? When is it certain that the Pope has exercised
it? The compilers of the _Schema_ think of course that this is as clear
as, _e.g._, the œcumenicity of a Council. But they thereby contradict
themselves, for a Council is only then held œcumenical by the body of the
faithful scattered over the world when the Bishops are morally unanimous,
and therefore infallibility would still depend on the consent of the
episcopate if the same principle is to be applied to papal decrees. The
authors of the _Schema_ either eliminate this consent or they do not. In
the former case they are introducing an innovation, and an innovation
which is unprecedented and intolerable; in the latter case they are only
expressing an old and universally received view and fighting a man of
straw. But in no case can they pass over in silence the necessity or
needlessness of the consent of the episcopate, for that would be to infuse
doubts into the faithful and throw fresh difficulties in their way in a
question of such vast importance and all that at present hinges on it.

The compilers only define the subject-matter of papal infallibility by
saying that it is identical with the infallibility of the Church. But that
explanation is inadequate until the Council has defined the infallibility
of the Church. Hence it is clearly a logical fallacy to prefix the
_Schema_ on the Primacy to that on the Church. Of the infallibility of the
Church we know that it always acts within the proper limits of its
subject-matter, both because the common consent of the Bishops is
necessary and because the Church is holy and cannot sin, while the
compilers of this _Schema_ on papal infallibility on the one hand,
according to their own statement, exclude the consent of the Bishops, and
on the other hand have not undertaken to prove that every Pope is holy and
cannot sin.(156)

But if a form of definition was really discovered, it would have to be
confirmed by solid and certain proofs. It would have to be shown that this
doctrine of personal infallibility is contained in holy Scripture, as it
has been always interpreted, and in the tradition of all centuries, that
it has the moral assent not merely of some but of all Fathers, Doctors,
Bishops and Theologians, and that it is in perfect harmony with all
decisions and acts of the General Councils, and therefore with the decrees
of the fourth and fifth sessions of the Council of Constance—for even
supposing they were not œcumenical, which I do not admit, they would show
the mind and common opinion of the theologians and Bishops.(157) It would
further have to be proved that this doctrine is neither contradicted by
historical facts nor by any acts of the Popes themselves, and lastly that
it belongs to that class of truths which the Council and Pope in union can
decide upon, as having been acknowledged for revealed truth always,
everywhere and by all.

All this our _Schema_ omits. But when the question is of defining a dogma,
the Fathers must have sufficient evidence laid before them and time
allowed them for weighing it. As it is, neither the original nor the
revised draft of the _Schema_ supply such arguments as might illustrate
the matter and clear up all doubts, and as little is sufficient time
allowed—as is generally notorious—for unravelling this complicated
question, solving its difficulties and acquiring the necessary information
about it. In such a matter, where a burden is to be laid on the conscience
of the faithful, a hasty decision pronounced without absolute certainty is
dangerous, while there is no danger in a fuller discussion and in not
deciding till it can be done with complete certainty of conscience.

It would finally be necessary that the doctrine of the personal and
independent infallibility of the Pope, after being clearly expressed and
certainly proved, should be accepted by the Fathers with moral unanimity;
for otherwise we must fear that the definition would be regarded as a
papal constitution and not a decree of a Council.(158) It is a duty to
impose a truth of faith on all Christians, but this difficult and sacred
right can only be exercised by the Bishops with the greatest caution. And
therefore the Fathers of Trent, as you all know, whatever sophistical
objections may be raised, did not pass their decrees on dogmatic questions
by numerical majorities, but with moral unanimity. I content myself now
with referring to the perplexity of conscience among the faithful, which
must arise from passing this dogma over the heads of the minority, and
thus giving a handle for questioning the validity and authority of this
Council.

Two leading remarks may suffice on the practical consequences of the
dogma, for the only object of bringing forward the personal infallibility
as an article of faith is to make the unity of the Church more compact and
the central authority stronger, and thus to supply an efficient remedy for
all abuses.

As regards unity and central authority, I must first make the general
observation that they exist and must be preserved, not however in that
shape which we may fancy or which approves itself to our reason, but as
Jesus Christ our Lord ordained and as our fathers have maintained it. For
it is no business of ours to arrange the Church according to our good
pleasure and to alter the foundation of the work of God. The necessary
unity in faith and that of the common central authority under fatherly
guidance exists and has always existed among Catholics, or else one would
have to say that there had been some essential defect in the Church of the
past, which all will certainly deny.

The unity of doctrine and Church communion and the central authority of
the Pope remain then unshaken, as they always flourished and flourish
still without any dogmatic definition of infallibility.

Let it not be said that this unity will hereafter be closer when the
central authority is stronger, for this inference is fallacious. Mere
unity is not enough, but we must have that unity and that measure of it
which the nature and scope of the thing, as well as the law and the
necessity of life, demand. Else the thing itself might lamentably perish
by being forced into too rigid an unity, from its inward vitality being
cramped, disturbed and broken through the external pressure. Thus even in
civil matters the unity of freemen, who act for themselves under the law,
is indeed looser but more honourable than the unity of slaves tormented
under an arbitrary tyranny. Permit us to retain that unity which belongs
to us by the ordinance of Christ, and that means of unity—viz., the
central authority of the Pope—which our forefathers acknowledged and
honoured, who neither separated the Bishops from the Pope nor the Pope
from the Bishops. Let us loyally hold fast to the ancient rule of faith
and the statutes of the Fathers, and the more so since the proposed
definition is open to many grave objections.

And again we can hardly doubt that this expedient would be powerless for
healing the evils of our time, and it must be feared would rather tend to
the injury of many. The matter must not be regarded only from a
theological standpoint, but also in its bearings on civil society. For we
in this place are not mere head-sacristans or superiors of a monastery,
but men called to share with the Pope his care for the whole Church; allow
us therefore to take the state of the world into our prudent
consideration.

Will personal and independent infallibility serve to rouse from their
grave those perished Churches on the African coast, or to wake the
slumbers of the East, which once bloomed with such flowers of intellect
and virtue? Will it be easier for our brethren, the Vicars-Apostolic, to
bring the heathen, Mahometans, and schismatics to the Catholic faith, if
they preach the doctrine of the Pope’s sole infallibility? Or will the
proposed definition perhaps infuse spirit and strength into Protestants
and other heretics to return to the Roman Church and lay aside all
prejudices and hatred against it? And now, first, for Europe! I say it
with pain,—the Church is everywhere under ban. She is excluded from those
congresses where nations discuss war and peace, and where once the
authority of the Holy See was so powerful, whereas now it is bidden not
even to proclaim its views. The Church is shut out in several European
countries from the Chambers, and if some prelates or clergymen here and
there belong to them, this appears a rare occurrence. The Church is shut
out from the school, where grievous errors advance unchecked; from
legislation, which manifests a secular and therefore irreligious tendency;
and lastly, from the family, where civil marriage corrupts morals. All
those who preside over the public affairs of Europe avoid us or hold us in
check.

And what sort of remedy do you offer the world, which is diseased with so
many uncertainties about the Church? On all those who are seeking to shake
off from their indocile shoulders even the burdens imposed on them from of
old and reverently accepted by their fathers, you would now lay a new, and
therefore difficult and odious, burden. All those who are of weak faith
are to be crushed by a new and inopportune dogma, a doctrine never
hitherto defined, and which, without any amends being made for the
injurious manner of its introduction, is to be defined by a Council of
which many say that its freedom is insufficiently attested. And yet you
hope to remedy everything by this definition of personal and exclusive
infallibility, to strengthen the faith and improve the morals of all. Your
hopes are vain. The world either remains sick or perishes, not from
ignorance of the truth and its teachers, but because it avoids it and will
not accept its guidance. But if it now rejects the truth, when proclaimed
by the whole teaching body of the Church, the 800 Bishops dispersed over
the world and infallible in union with the Pope, how much more will it do
so, when the truth is proclaimed by one single infallible teacher, who has
only just been declared infallible? For an authority to be strong and
effective, it is not enough for it to be claimed; it must also be
accepted. And thus it is not enough to declare that the Pope is
infallible, personally and apart from the Bishops, but he must be
acknowledged as such by all, if his office is to be a reality. What is the
use, _e.g._, of an anathema, if the authority which pronounces it is not
respected? The Syllabus circulated through Europe, but what evils could it
cure even where it was received as an infallible oracle? There were only
two large countries where religion ruled, not in fact but _de
jure_—Austria and Spain. In both of them this Catholic order fell to the
ground though commanded by the infallible authority; perhaps indeed in
Austria on that very account.

Let us take things as they are. Not only will the independent
infallibility of the Pope not destroy these prejudices and objections
which draw away so many from the faith, but it will increase and intensify
them. There are many who in heart are not alienated from the Catholic
Church, but who yet think of what they term a separation of Church and
State. It is certain that several of the leaders of public opinion are on
this side, and will take occasion from the proposed definition to effect
their object. The example of France will soon be copied more or less all
over Europe, and to the greatest injury of the clergy and the Church
herself. The compilers of the _Schema_, whether they desire it or not, are
introducing a new era of mischief, if the subject-matter of papal
infallibility is not accurately defined, or if it can be supposed that
under the head of morals the Pope will give decisions on the civil and
political acts of sovereigns and nations, laws and rights, to which a
public authority will be attributed.(159) Every one of any political
cultivation knows what seeds of discord are contained in our _Schema_, and
to what perils it exposes even the temporal power of the Holy See.

To explain this more minutely in detail would take too long and might be
indiscreet, for were I to say all, I might easily bring forward things it
is more prudent to suppress. However, I have delivered my conscience, so
far as is allowed me, and so let my words be taken in good part. I know
well that everything in the world has its difficulties, and one must not
always shrink from action because greater evil may follow. But I put the
matter before the reverend fathers, not that they may instantly conform to
my opinion, but in order that they may give a full and ripe consideration
to the arguments of all parties. I know too that we must not childishly
quail before public opinion, but neither should we obstinately resist it;
it is wiser and more prudent often to reconcile one’s-self with it, and in
every case to take it into account. I know, lastly, that the Church needs
no arm of flesh, yet she does not reject the approval and aid of civil
society, and did not, I think, look back with regret from the time of
Constantine to the time of Nero. So much for the practical consequences of
the _Schema_.

Finally, my desire is (1.) that the _Schema_ should be deferred for a
later discussion, because it has not been introduced into the Council in a
sufficiently worthy manner; (2.) that it should meanwhile be revised, and
the limits of infallibility more accurately marked out, so as to leave no
handle for future sophistries and attacks; (3.) but, best of all, that the
question of infallibility should be let drop altogether on account of its
manifold inconveniences.



APPENDIX II.


LETTERS ON THE COUNCIL FROM FRENCH BISHOPS.(160)



I.


Votre judicieuse dissertation est pleine de sens et de la meilleure
critique; mais c’est bien de cela qu’il s’agit aujourd’hui! On veut se
tromper et tromper; le reste importe peu. Ce qui importe le plus, ce qui
nous sauvera, je l’espère, mieux que toutes discussions avec des gens de
mauvaise foi ou de parti pris, c’est d’établir des bases incontestables et
de faire que la saine opinion publique soutienne les vrais intérêts de
l’Église.

1. Le Gallicanisme n’est pas une doctrine, pas même une opinion, c’est une
simple négation de prétentions nées au onzième siècle, et une résistance à
ces prétentions, au nom de la tradition ancienne et constante des Églises.
L’ultramontanisme, au contraire, est une doctrine, une opinion qui est
venue s’entre sur le vieux tronc et qui a poussé des jets de croyances
positives. Muselée au Concile de Florence, écartée au Concile de Trente,
cette opinion reparaît furieuse au Concile du Vatican.

2. Le Gallicanisme est improprement nommé. Son _veto_ appartient à toutes
les nations Catholiques. L’Espagne en soutenait la force antique, Saint
François de Sales en vengeait les droits au nom des privileges de la
maison de Savoie, et aujourd’hui, nous autres Français, nous l’avons
trouvé faible chez nous, en comparaison de sa vitalité en Allemagne, en
Autriche, en Hongrie, en Portugal, en Amérique, et jusqu’au fond de
l’Orient.

3. Notre faiblesse, en ce moment, ne vient ni des Écritures, ni de la
tradition des Pères, ni des monumens des Conciles Généraux et de
l’histoire. Elle vient de notre défaut de liberté, qui est radical. Une
minorité imposante qui représente la foi de plus de 100 millions de
Catholiques, c’est-à-dire de presque la moitié de l’Eglise universelle,
est écrasée par le joug imposé de règlemens restrictifs et contraires aux
traditions conciliaires. Par des députations que nous n’avons pas
réellement choisies et qui osent introduire dans le texte discuté des
paragraphes non discutés, par une commission pour les interpellations
imposée par l’autorité; par le défaut absolu de discussion, réplique,
objection, interpellation; par des journaux que l’on encourage pour la
traquer, pour soulever contre elle le clergé des diocèses; par les
nonciatures qui viennent à la rescousse, quand les journaux ne suffisent
pas pour tout bouleverser, c’est-à-dire pour ériger en témoins de la foi
les prêtres contre les évêques, et ne plus laisser à ces juges divins que
le rôle de députés du clergé secondaire avec mandat impératif, et blâme si
on ne répond pas au mandat. La minorité est écrasée surtout par tout le
poids de la suprême autorité qui fait peser sur elle les éloges et
encouragemens qu’elle adresse, _par brefs_, aux prêtres, et par toutes les
manifestations à Dom Guéranger contre M. de Montalembert et autres.

4. La majorité n’est pas libre; car elle se produit par un appoint
considérable de prélats qui ne sauraient être témoins de la foi d’Églises
naissantes ou mourantes. Or, cet appoint, qui se compose du chiffre énorme
de tous les vicaires apostoliques, du chiffre relativement trop fort des
évêques Italiens et des États Pontificaux, cet appoint n’est pas libre.
C’est une armée toute faite, toute acquise, endoctrinée, enrégimentée,
disciplinée, que l’on menace, si elle bronche, de la famine ou de la
_disponibilité_, et l’on a été jusqu’à donner de l’argent pour ramener
quelques transfuges. Donc, il est évident qu’il n’y a pas de liberté
suffisante.—La conclusion ultérieure est qu’il n’y a pas _œcuménicité
nette et plausible_. Et ceci n’infirme en rien les vrais principes:
l’Église est et reste infaillible dans les Conciles Généraux; seulement il
faut que les conciles présentent tous les caractères d’œcuménicité;
convocation légitime, liberté pleine pour les jugemens, confirmation par
le Pape. Si une seule de ces conditions manque, tout peut être révoqué en
doute. On a eu le Brigandage d’Ephèse, ce qui n’a pas empêché d’avoir eu
ensuite un vrai Concile de ce nom. On pourrait avoir _Ludibrium
Vaticanum_; ce qui n’empêcherait pas de tout réparer dans de nouvelles et
sérieuses assises....

Vous pourrez répandre ces réflexions, je crois que le grand remède
aujourd’hui nous doit venir du dehors ...



II.


Je n’ai point parle une seule fois, je ne parlerai pas davantage dans la
suite. Je n’aime ni les gens qui posent, ni les choses complétement
inutiles. _J’agis_ depuis quatre mois, et je crois avoir rendu quelques
services par ce moyen qui en dépit de toutes les entraves, nous a donné
trois représentations, une commission internationale, des commissions de
nations et 137 signataires(161) qui succomberont avec honneur et horions,
si l’on continue à nous traiter aussi mal.

Je crois inutiles tous efforts pour résister à l’aveuglement de l’orgueil
moyen-âge, toutes Notes diplomatiques, toutes menaces qui ne sauraient
aboutir, et dont je déplorerais le premier l’exécution, si elle était
possible. Le remède n’est pas là; on se jouera de tout, et on ira
triomphalement aux abîmes.

Quand on a affaire à des gens qui ne craignent qu’une chose, il faut se
servir de cette chose,—c’est-à-dire de l’opinion publique.

Il faut par ce moyen établir ce qui est vrai—point d’autorité parceque
point de liberté. Le défaut de liberté. Le défaut de liberté, gros comme
des montagnes, crève les yeux; il repose sur des faits notoires,
appréciables pour tous, et sa constatation publique est la seule planche
de salut dans la tourmente inouïe que subit l’Église.

A notre arrivée, tout était fait sans nous. Toutes les mailles du réseau
étaient serrées, et les jésuites qui out monté le traquenard ne doutaient
pas un instant que nous y serions pris. Ils voulaient nous faire poser par
enchantement la pierre angulaire de leur fronton, et se seraient charges
ensuite, sans nous, de bâtir le portail de leur édifice en un clin d’œil.

Nous avons donc trouvé un règlement tout fait,—c’est-à-dire des menottes.
Pour faire droit à nos plaintes, on a serré de plus belle, et nous
jouissons de l’ancien brodequin que Louis XVI. a supprimé. Pour être vrai,
il faut dire que les tourmenteurs out fait la chose avec toute la grâce
imaginable. Nous avons trouvé une majorité toute faite, très compacte,
plus que suffisante en nombre, parfaitement disciplinée et qui a reçu au
besoin instructions, injonctions, menaces, prison, argent. Le système des
candidatures officielles est distancé de 100 kilomètres.

Une commission, la plus utile, celle où l’on peut adresser ses
réclamations, a été créée et imposée d’office.

Mais il faut dire à sa louange qu’elle ne fonctionne pas, parce qu’elle ne
répond jamais ou qu’elle ne repond qu’aux membres de la majorité. Nous
avons été libres de nommer les autres commissions, c’est-à-dire que la
majorité fictive a pu les créer à l’aide de listes dressées et
lithographiées.

Restait la parole; mais à quelles conditions? Défense de répliquer un mot,
de discuter, d’éclairer. Si on voulait parler, il fallait se faire
inscrire, et le lendemain, ou deux jours après, quand tout était refroidi,
on pouvait venir ennuyer l’assemblée par un discours. Défense alors de
sortir du thème donné aux écoliers (excepté pour MM. de la majorité) et
quand on a tenté de parler de liberté, de règlement, de commission,
d’acoustique, de décentralisation, de désitalianisation, on a vu se
produire les scènes tumultueuses qui ont démoli les Cardinaux Rauscher et
Schwarzenberg, les Évêques de Colocza, de Bosnie, d’Halifax, tandis qu’on
trouvait bon que Moulins, Belley et d’autres introduisissent de force la
grande question à propos de la vie des clercs.

La pauvre petite minorité est en butte aux injures, aux calomnies, et
traquée par la _Civiltà_, _l’Univers_, _le Monde_, _l’Union_,
_l’Osservatore_ et _la Correspondance de Rome_. Ces journaux sont
autorisés et encouragés. Ils soulèvent contre nous le clergé de nos
diocèses, et ce clergé applaudi. Un de nous a osé écrire contre son
collègue, est il n’a pas reçu un blâme officiel.

Mais voici ce qui achève d’opprimer notre liberté: elle est écrasée de
tout le poids du respect que nous portons à notre chef.

La question est pendante; elle n’est pas même à l’ordre du jour, les juges
de droit divin sont réunis et attendent pour la traiter. Or, en pleines
assises, le chef se sert de sa haute et divine autorité pour blâmer devant
les prêtres qui lui sont présentés _leurs_ évêques _mineurs_. Il fait
l’éloge funèbre de M. de Montalembert devant 400 personnes; il écrit à Dom
Guéranger, à l’Abbé de Cabrières de Nîmes, qui s’est dressé devant
l’Évêque d’Orléans, aux diocèses dont les prêtres font des Adresses pour
forcer la main à _leurs mandataires_; et il fait tout cela en termes tels
que _la Gazette du Midi_ et _tutti quanti_ déclarent qu’il n’est plus
permis ni aux évêques ni à personne de soutenir le contraire; et on
appelle cela de la liberté!

On nous menace de passer par-dessus une minorité imposante, contrairement
à toute la tradition, de fouler aux pieds la règle suprême de saint
Vincent de Lerins: _Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus_. On prêche
que l’unanimité morale n’est pas nécessaire, que le chef est maître de
tout, et que nous devons rendre des services et non point des sentences,
faire de l’affection quand il s’agit de la foi. Voilà notre liberté! Un
Cardinal me disait pour conclusion: “Mon cher, nous allons aux abîmes.”

Tout cela est capable d’ébranler les faibles, de désagréger ce qui tient à
si peu.

Je crois vous avoir peint la position ce qu’elle est. Priez pour nous,
faites valoir la chose, parce qu’elle est _vraie_, parce que je crois
servir l’Eglise en vous la révélant.

Après mes souffrances de cet hiver, je ne pense pas pouvoir affronter les
chaleurs.... D’ailleurs, Dieu seul peut nous sauver.



APPENDIX III.


DIFFICULTÉS DE LA SITUATION A ROME.(162)



I.


La question de l’infaillibilité pontificale, devenue, contre l’attente
universelle, l’objet capital du Concile du Vatican depuis son ouverture,
ne semble pas toucher encore à une solution immédiate. Cette grave
question qui devait, au dire de certains hommes, être définie par
acclamation dès les premières séances du Concile, puis le jour de
l’Epiphanie, puis, après de courts débats, pour la fête de Saint Joseph ou
le 25 Mars jour de l’Annonciation; différée de jour en jour à raison des
énormes difficultés qu’elle rencontre, à la grande surprise des partisans
de l’infaillibilité, doit enfin, nous dit-on, être, sans nouveau délai,
résolue solennellement le 29 Juin, jour de la fête du Prince des Apôtres.
Si telle est véritablement la pensée des Présidents du Concile, il semble
difficile qu’elle puisse se réaliser. Quelques jours seulement nous
séparent de cette solennité, et près de cent orateurs sont inscrits pour
traiter cette question devant le Concile. Dans cette situation, il faut
qu’on choisisse entre trois partis: ou supprimer toute discussion, ou
proroger le Concile, ou exiger qu’il poursuive ses travaux jusqu’à ce
qu’enfin toutes les difficultés soient pleinement éclaircies, et que tous
les Pères puissent donner leur suffrage en parfaite connaissance de cause.

Supprimer, ou du moins restreindre la discussion de telle sorte que la
conscience d’un nombre considérable de Pères qui sentent vivement toute la
gravité de la question et les difficultés de tout genre dont elle est
hérissée, ne soit pas pleinement satisfaite, ce serait violer toutes les
règles des délibérations conciliares que nous voyons de siècle en siècle
pratiquées avec la liberté et la maturité la plus complète. Rien ne
saurait dispenser d’un examen approfondi, lorsqu’il s’agit d’imposer un
dogme nouveau à la croyance des fidèles; et, au dire des théologiens,
toute définition rendue sans une discussion préalable qui porte jusqu’à
l’évidence le caractère de doctrine révélée dans le point mis en
délibération, demeure par cela même frappée de nullité. Il suffit de
parcourir rapidement les actes des Conciles Œcuméniques pour se convaincre
des patientes recherches, de la sage lenteur qu’ils out apportées à leurs
délibérations; et il est incontestable que les questions à résoudre dans
ces grandes assemblées étaient loin de présenter les difficultés qui se
rencontrent dans celle qui s’agite en ce moment. Le monde Chrétien
n’ignore pas cela, et il ne verrait pas d’un œil indifférent un jugement
solennel, en une matière qui touche à la constitution même de l’Eglise,
prononcé à la hâte et par un coup de majorité.

Sans doute ceux qui tiennent dans leurs mains la direction du Concile, se
persuadent que la question est depuis longtemps assez discutée pour qu’on
sache à quoi s’en tenir sans de plus amples recherches; et, parce qu’à
leurs yeux l’infaillibilité du Pape est une vérité, ils regardent toute
nouvelle discussion comme une pure formalité que rien ne commande
impérieusement. Mais par cela même que la question est discutée depuis
plusieurs siècles, et que l’on discute encore avec science, érudition et
bonne foi, il faut conclure évidemment que la lumière n’est pas encore
faite à ce point qu’on puisse dire que telle est incontestablement la
tradition antique et universelle.

Si à leurs yeux l’infaillibilité du Pape est une vérité certainement
révélée, et qu’ils tiennent à précipiter la définition par égard pour
certaines impatiences, ils ont un moyen bien simple de les satisfaire,
sans commettre une violation des lois conciliaires. Dans le système
ultramontain, le Pape étant infaillible, et, du consentement de tous les
catholiques, l’Église universelle ne pouvant jamais accepter l’erreur et y
adhérer, toute définition _ex cathedrâ_ sera immanquablement suivie de
l’assentiment de tout le corps de l’Église. Pie IX., assure-t-on, est
profondément convaincu de son infaillibilité comme Pontife suprême. Eh
bien! de deux choses l’une: ou il faut que le concile agisse en concile,
et par conséquent avec circonspection, pesant avec une attention
scrupuleuse les raisons graves, les faits, les textes allégués de part et
d’autre; ou le Pape, en vertu de son autorité apostolique, par un acte des
plus solennels, doit trancher toutes les difficultés et définir lui-même
le dogme de cette infaillibilité qu’il croit être un apanage essentiel de
la dignité suprême dont il est revêtu. Pourquoi ne pas tenter cette
expérience? Si l’Église adhère à sa décision, son infaillibilité est très
canoniquement établie: si elle n’adhère pas, il est évident qu’il ne peut
prétendre à ce privilège. La question est alors définitivement établie, et
toute dispute cesse. Jusqu’ici, aucune décision nette, précise et
solennelle sur ce point n’a été donnée; hésiter sur l’emploi de ce moyen,
ne serait-ce pas douter de cette infaillibilité? Et si, en l’écartant on
veut que le Concile prenne lui-même la responsabilité d’une définition
dogmatique, il est alors de toute convenance, de toute justice, de toute
nécessité qu’il ne prononce qu’après l’examen le plus approfondi.

L’état des esprits dans le Concile et hors du Concile, les discours
prononcés, les écrits nombreux publiés de part et d’autre, prouvent
évidemment, aux yeux de quiconque juge sans parti pris et avec une
parfaite impartialité, que la question, depuis 1682, pour ne pas remonter
plus haut, n’a pas encore fait un seul pas; elle en est toujours au même
point. L’étude la plus attentive de la Tradition n’a pas donné de
nouvelles lumières à ceux qui sont capables de ces études, et sans doute
l’état de la question dans cette sphère mérite une attention tout
exceptionnelle, et bien différente de celle que prétend attirer sur soi un
enthousiasme factice ou irréfléchi.



II.


La prorogation du Concile serait done la mesure la plus rationelle et la
plus prudente. Mais les impatiences provoquées, enflammées de plus en plus
par toute sorte de manœuvres, comment les contenir? Ces feuilles, ces
écrits, cette propagande pieuse, qui les excitaient par la promesse d’une
satisfaction prochaine, tout cela ne va-t-il pas devenir l’objet d’un
mépris universel, pour avoir leurré si longtemps les âmes honnêtes et
religieuses d’une espérance si lente à se réaliser? Mais que faire! Telle
est la difficulté de la situation qu’on a si imprudemment créée. S’il faut
que le Concile décide, il ne reste plus qu’à le proroger, pour qu’il
puisse un peu plus tard reprendre ses travaux avec toute la patience et la
liberté d’esprit qu’ils réclament: ou bien il faut qu’il les poursuive
actuellement sans désemparer, jusqu’à ce qu’enfin tout soit mûr pour le
jugement à prononcer.

Mais ici deux tristes réflexions se présentent à l’esprit. D’abord, quelle
rigueur,—le mot n’est pas excessif, et on l’a entendu sortir de la bouche
de bonnes femmes Romaines, au moment où les vénérables Pères faisaient
cortège au Sauveur du monde porté en triomphe à la procession solennelle
de la Fête-Dieu;—quelle rigueur ne serait-ce pas de retenir plus
longtemps, dans cette saison de chaleurs accablantes, sous un climat que
les Romains eux-mêmes se hâtent de fuir à cette époque de l’année, des
vieillards épuisés par l’âge, par les infirmités, par les fatigues de tout
genre, fatigues du corps, fatigues de l’esprit, angoisses de l’âme en
présence des plus terribles dangers pour leurs troupeaux particuliers,
pour l’Église universelle, pour la société tout entière; des vieillards
qui sentent le poids énorme de cette responsabilité, qui entendent tous
les jours la voix de l’opinion publique, et la voix plus puissante et plus
pénétrante de la religion alarmée; des vieillards, parmi lesquels
plusieurs ont déjà succombé, plusieurs autres sont atteints de maladie,
tous sont privés de l’air vivifiant du pays natal, des soins particuliers
que ne sauraient donner des mains étrangères, des consolations qu’un
pasteur fidèle trouve toujours au milieu d’un peuple qui l’aime.

Les séances en Congrégation Générale, continuées presque tous les jours
sans interruption, durent, depuis huit heures et demie du matin jusqu’à
une heure de l’après-midi. Le devoir de la prière, la récitation de
l’office canonial, la méditation des matières à discuter, la préparation
des discours à prononcer, rien de tout cela ne peut être suspendu. Des
jeunes gens robustes ne résisteraient pas longtemps à ce travail si
multiplié, si continu, à l’effort d’une attention soutenue pendant les
longues heures des séances conciliaires sur des questions qui ne pèsent
pas uniquement sur la pensée, mais aussi et plus encore sur la conscience,
et enfin à l’action accablante des fortes chaleurs, dont l’intensité, par
l’agglomeration de six cents prélats, redouble sans mesure dans une salle
d’ailleurs extrêmement incommode sous tous les rapports. On entend les
plus vigoureux de corps et d’esprit déclarer qu’ils sont à bout de forces.
Et l’on persisterait encore à les retenir!

Mais il y aurait encore là quelque chose de plus grave. Retenir les
évêques jusqu’à ce qu’une définition de l’infaillibilité pontificale ait
pu être rendue après une discussion parfaitement libre, et aussi longue
qu’on doit l’augurer du nombre des orateurs inscrits et des questions
graves et nombreuses qui se rattachent à cette définition, c’est leur
dire: évêques, il faut vous résoudre à mourir ou à bâcler en toute hâte un
jugement duquel dépendent les destinées de l’Église et du monde. Oui,
mourez, accablées par l’ennui, la fatigue, le climat dévorant, l’âge et
les infirmités; ou, si vous tenez à vivre encore, foulez aux pieds les
règles les plus sacrées des conciles, sacrifiez votre conscience, et avec
la vôtre celle de plusieurs millions d’âmes!

Sous le rapport de la liberté de discussion, bien des choses dans le
Concile du Vatican ne ressemblent pas aux anciens Conciles Généraux,
toujours vénérés dans l’Église. Au dedans, au dehors, un parti a exercé
sur les Pères une pression toujours croissante. Au dedans, des règlements
mal faits, des interruptions sans cause, dont le résultat inévitable était
de décourager les hommes les plus fermes, et d’empêcher ou d’affaiblir la
manifestation de la vérité; une certaine fraction de l’assemblée,
turbulente, impétueuse, arrêtant par des murmures les prélats les plus
vénérables dont la doctrine ne se pliait pas à ses idées; les présidents
fermant les yeux sur ces faits et n’ayant de sévérités que pour les
adversaires de l’infaillibilité; la discussion brusquement arrêtée au gré
de ceux qu’elle déconcertait. Au dehors, des journalistes qui ne cessaient
de prodiguer l’insulte aux évêques contraires à leurs opinions.

Rome est tout émue d’un fait récent concernant l’un des membres les plus
éminents du Concile, le Cardinal Guidi, Archevêque de Bologne,
précédemment religieux Dominicain, et très célèbre professeur de théologie
dans la capitale du monde Chrétien. Il avait parlé dans le Concile sur la
question de l’infaillibilité, exigeant pour celle des définitions
pontificales le concours de l’épiscopat. Le jour même, il est mandé et
admonesté du ton le plus sévère. “Saint-Père, a répondu le cardinal, j’ai
dit aujourd’hui ce que j’ai enseigné au grand jour pendant plusieurs
années à votre collège de la Minerve, sans que jamais personne ait trouvé
cet enseignement repréhensible. L’orthodoxie de mon enseignement avait dû
être attestée à votre Sainteté lorsqu’elle daigna me choisir pour aller à
Vienne combattre certains docteurs allemands dont les principes
ébranlaient les fondements de la foi catholique. Que mon discours
d’aujourd’hui soit soumis à l’examen d’une commission de théologiens; je
ne redoute pas ce jugement.” Des paroles menaçantes pour le cardinal ont
terminé cet entretien. Le matin, après la séance, un prélat domestique
disait dans la salle même du Concile: après un pareil discours, le
cardinal devrait etre enfermé pendant dix jours dans un couvent pour y
vaquer aux exercices spirituels.

La puissance absolue du Pape, son opinion visible, le pouvoir arbitraire
qu’exercent les présidents, la pétulance de certains prélats, trop
notoirement passionnés et violents; tout cela pèse sensiblement sur les
membres les plus sages de l’assemblée qui ne peuvent s’empêcher de s’en
plaindre avec tristesse dans des entretiens intimes. Faut-il s’étonner que
plusieurs, le fait est très certain, expriment le désir d’un vote secret,
s’il était possible?

C’est avec une douleur profonde que nous racontons toutes ces choses. Mais
la situation de l’Église en ce moment est telle qu’on ne peut se dispenser
de parler. Au Concile du Vatican se traite une question de l’ordre le plus
élevé Chacun a le droit de savoir comment est conduit ce grand procès, qui
est le procès de tous. Il s’agit de la paix du monde, il s’agit aussi de
choses qui sont au-dessus de tous les intérêts périssables, de la foi, de
la conscience et du salut éternel des âmes.



APPENDIX IV.


LETTER OF A FRENCH BISHOP TO COUNT DARU.

On sait à Rome que vous aviez l’intention de rédiger une note ou un
memorandum qui devrait être appuyé par les puissances.

Si vous agissez, vous serez appuyés. Ici les diplomates se plaignent de
votre inaction.

Mais il faut agir immédiatement, on veut introduire l’infaillibilité après
Pâques.

Vous ne pouvez rien faire par le M. de Banneville. Ses collègues ne le
comptent pour rien, sinon pour un obstacle.

Il ne faut pas vous mettre exclusivement sur le terrain des canons des
Ecclesia. On vous répondrait, soit en supprimant les Canons auxquels vous
vous opposez; soit en disant que cela ne vous touche pas, à cause du
concordat; soit, enfin, en les expliquant dans un sens qui vous paraîtra
satisfaisant, quitte à décréter après tous les Canons, tous les Syllabus
qu’ils voudront, et les plus formidables. Mais il y a un terrain où vous
êtes invincibles, et sur lequel les puissances vous suivent. C’est celui
de la liberté du Concile et du droit publique de l’Église, sous la
protection duquel vos évêques sont venus à Rome.

Cette liberté n’existe plus. Ce droit est violé sur un point que plus de
100 évêques ont déclaré de la dernière importance.

Leur protestation vous donne un point de départ et des arguments
invincibles.

Ces évêques déclarent que le Règlement est contraire à la loi de l’Église
sur le point décisif de la Majorité. Car ce droit, depuis Nicée jusqu’à
Trente, déclare que la règle indisputable et certaine pour les définitions
dogmatiques c’est l’unanimité morale, et non la majorité.

Un nombre immense de faits confirme leur protestation:

Les scènes de violence faites à Haynald et à Strossmayer.—Les Présidents
n’ont pas cherché à protéger leur droit et liberté de parole, tout au
contraire.

La précipitation de la discussion par les Présidents.

Le Schema de Fide, 4 chapitres, 20 pages, canons avec anathèmes, a été
distribué 24 heures seulement avant l’ouverture de la discussion, on a
voté sur 47 amendements en 5 quarts d’heure.

Le lendemain de là scène avec Strossmayer, on a lu un _Monitum_, non pas
pour admonéter les interrupteurs, mais pour recommander aux orateurs de se
presser, de peur qu’ils n’ennuyent l’assemblée, et n’en provoquent des
manifestations.

Ce _Monitum_ est une provocation aux interruptions. Quelquefois un évêque
est reçu avec des murmures avant de commencer.

Les demandes de la Minorité:

D’une salle où on puisse les entendre.

De bureaux, pour les discussions préliminaires, qui enverraient des
Commissaires à la Députation.

De la liberté d’imprimer leurs discours et mémoires pour les distribuer
parmi les pères.

Que les auteurs d’amendements puissent les expliquer et les défendre dans
la Commission, et puissent avoir le droit de répondre dans les
discussions.

D’un procès-verbal des séances.

Sur la majorité et l’unanimité.

Toutes ces demandes sont restées sans réponse et sans effet.

La pression exercée sur les Orientaux.

La scène faite au Patriarche Chaldéen.

L’emprisonnement intimé à l’Archévêque d’Antioche et au chef de sa
communauté.

L’arrestation et les coups donnés au prêtre, secrétaire de l’Arch. de
Diarbelair.

Les menaces aux Melchites, Maronites, et Chaldéens.

Le langage tenu par le pape lui même. Les cas de Montalembert et de
Falloux.

Les lettres du pape à Guéranger, Cabrières, etc., traitant les Évêques de
l’Opposition en ennemis.

Les allocutions publiques roulant presque toutes sur l’Infaillibilité.

Les cadeaux faits aux Vicaires Apostoliques en les priant de ne pas
l’abandonner.

Attitude de la presse approuvée par le Vatican, exploitant ces lettres, et
appelant les évêques à se retracter, en les dénonçant à leur clergé.

Même le journal officiel de Rome traitant la minorité d’alliés des
Franc-maçons. Après tout cela, il n’y a pas de liberté au Concile.

L’ambassadeur que vous enverrez en recevra des preuves péremptoires. Les
autres puissances sont déjà plus avancées que la France: la Prusse, la
Hongrie, même la Turquie.

A nom de l’ordre publique menacé par l’inévitable refus de reconnaître ce
Concile. Au nom de votre droit, ayant rendu possible la réunion du
Concile, de protéger la liberté de vos évêques.

Dire—

“Ce Concile ne peut pas continuer dans les conditions actuelles.

“Nous protestons dès à présent contre la Non-liberté manifeste du Concile.

“Achevez ce que vous avez déjà commencé.

“Il y a des points sur lesquels vous pouvez espérer l’unanimité morale,
sans violation de liberté.

“Tenez une session publique sur les _Schema de Fide_ et de Discipline
assez pour sauver votre honneur.

“Et prorogez une assemblée qui, aux yeux des évêques et du monde, ne
possède plus ces conditions d’ordre et de liberté sans lesquelles ce n’est
pas un Concile.

“Nous désirons que nos évêques retournent dans leurs diocèses jusqu’à ce
que les conditions soient plus favorables pour la célébration d’un
Concile.”



APPENDIX V.


PROTESTATION CONTRE LE PROJET DE PRÉCIPITER LA DISCUSSION.

(_Presented early in May._)

Permettez, Monseigneur, que je proteste ici contre un tel projet, s’il
existe, et que je consigne entre vos mains ma protestation. Saisir ainsi,
irrégulièrement et violemment, le Concile de cette question, c’est
absolument impossible.

Cette discussion immédiate de l’Infaillibilité Pontificale, avant toutes
les autres questions qui la doivent nécessairement précéder, ce
renversement de l’ordre et de la marche régulière du Concile, cette
précipitation passionnée dans l’affaire la plus délicate, et qui par sa
nature et ses difficultés, exige le plus de maturité et de calme, tout
cela serait non seulement illogique et absurde, inconcevable, mais encore
trahirait trop ouvertement aux yeux du monde entier, chez ceux qui
imaginent de tels procédés, le dessein de peser sur le Concile, et pour
dire le vrai mot, serait absolument contraire à la liberté des évêques.

Comment une telle question, sous-introduite tout à coup dans un chapitre
annexé à un grand _Schema_, le dessein de ceux qui nous ont été soumis,
passerait avant tous les schemata déjà étudiés, avant toutes les autres
questions déjà discutées, et non encore résolues par le Concile.

Des questions fondamentales, essentiellement préliminaires à toutes les
autres; Dieu, sa personnalité, sa providence, Jésus-Christ, sa divinité,
sa redemption, sa grâce, l’Église, on laisserait tout celà de coté pour se
précipiter sur cette question, dont nous n’avions entendu parler avant le
Concile presque qu’à des Journalistes, dont la bulle de convocation ne
parlait pas, dont le _Schema_ sur l’Église lui-même ne disait pas un seul
mot.

Et l’examen de cette nouvelle question, si compliquée, cette discussion,
si nécessaire, cette définition si grave, tout cela se ferait à la hâte,
violemment, au pied levé. On ne nous laisserait ni le temps ni la liberté
d’étudier un point si important de doctrine avec gravité et à fond, comme
il doit l’être. Car aucun évêque ne peut, sans blesser gravement sa
conscience, déclarer de foi, sous peine de damnation éternelle, un point
de doctrine de la révélation duquel il n’est pas absolument certain. Ce
serait, Monseigneur, dans le monde entier, une stupeur et un scandale. Ce
serait de plus autoriser trop manifestement les calomnies de ceux qui
disent que dans la convocation du Concile, il y a eu une arrière pensée,
et que cette question qui n’était pas l’objet du Concile, au fond devait
être tout le Concile. Ceux qui poussent à de tels excès oublient
clairement toute prudence: il y a un bon sens et une bonne foi publique
qu’on ne blesse pas impunément.

Sans doute on peut passer par dessus toutes les recriminations des ennemis
de l’Église; mais il y a des difficultés avec lesquelles il faut
nécessairement compter. Eh bien! Éminence, si les choses venaient à se
passer de la sorte, je le dis avec toute la conviction de mon âme, il y
aurait lieu de craindre que des doutes graves ne s’élèvent touchant la
vérité même et la liberté de ce Concile du Vatican.

Que les choses se passent ainsi, on le peut, si on le veut: on peut tout,
contre la raison et le droit, avec la force du nombre.

Mais c’est lendemain, Éminence, que commenceraient pour vous et pour
l’Église les difficultés.

Par un procédé aussi contraire à l’ordre régulier des choses, à la marche
essentielle des assemblées d’évêques qui ont été de vrais Conciles, vous
susciteriez incontestablement une lutte dans l’Église et les consciences
sur la question de l’issue œcuménique de notre assemblée: c’est à dire,
tout ce qu’on peut imaginer aujourd’hui de plus désastreux.

Ceux qui essayent d’engager le Pape dans cette voie, en l’abusant et le
trompant, sont bien coupables. Mais je ne doute pas que la sagesse du
Saint-Père ne déjoue toutes ces menées.



ADVERTISEMENT.


Third Edition, Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d.

_The Pope and the Council._

By Janus.

_Authorized Translation From The German._

Opinions of the Press.

“Had the book been, as its title might at first seem to imply, merely a
Zeitschrift evoked by the exigencies of the present controversy, we should
not have noticed it here. It is because it has an independent and
permanent interest for the historical and theological student, quite apart
from its bearing on the controversies of the day, and contains a great
deal of what, to the immense majority of English, if not also of German
readers, will be entirely new matter, grouped round a common centre-point
which gives unity and coherence to the whole, that it falls strictly
within the province of this journal.”—ACADEMY, _October 9_.

“In this volume the main idea of the writers, the long fatal growth of the
principles which are now about to develop into the dogma of the Pope’s
personal and exclusive infallibility, is traced in full detail, with a
learning which would be conspicuous in any of the divided branches of the
Church, with a plain-speaking which few Roman Catholics have been able to
afford, and with a sobriety and absence of exaggeration not common among
Protestants.”—GUARDIAN, _October 13_.

“A profound and learned treatise, evidently the work of one of the first
theologians of the day, discussing with the scientific fulness and
precision proper to German investigation, the great doctrinal questions
expected to come before the Council, and especially the proposed dogma of
Papal Infallibility. There is probably no work in existence that contains
at all, still less within so narrow a compass, so complete a record of the
origin and growth of the infallibilist theory, and of all the facts of
Church history bearing upon it, and that too in a form so clear and
concise as to put the argument within the reach of any reader of ordinary
intelligence, while the scrupulous accuracy of the writer, and his
constant reference to the original authorities for every statement liable
to be disputed, makes the monograph as a whole a perfect storehouse of
valuable information for the historical or theological student.”—SATURDAY
REVIEW, _October 16_.

“It affords an opportunity for persons in this country to learn, on the
most direct authority, how the grave questions which just now agitate the
Church are regarded by members of a school within her pale, who profess to
yield to none in their loyal devotion to Catholic truth, but are unable to
identify its interests with the advance of Ultramontanism. Its aim is to
show that the object in chief of the coming Council is to elect Papal
Infallibility into an article—and therefore inevitably a cardinal
article—of the Catholic Faith. It purports to investigate by the light of
history this and other questions which are to be decided at the Council,
as well as to serve as a contribution to ecclesiastical history.”—MORNING
POST, _October 20_.

“The concluding words of the volume, coming as they evidently do from a
great leader of thought among German Catholics, are so startling and
suggestive that we give the passage as it stands, while exhorting our
readers to lose no time in procuring and carefully perusing the whole
volume for themselves.”—CHURCH HERALD, _October 20_.

“It is our intention to deal with this book hereafter as it deserves, for
we have reason to believe, we will not say to know, lest we should imitate
the vicious example of Janus, that the work is a fabrication of English
and German hands. Its name has been well chosen; Janus had two faces,
which nationally may mean English and German, but in morals signifies a
character not highly estimable for truth.”—TABLET, _October 16_.

“This extraordinary work should be read by the millions of Protestant
England, as the ablest and most authentic exposure of the ecclesiastical
and political despotism of Popery which exists in any language or any
country.”—ROCK, _October 20_.

“We feel, as we have already said, that it is hardly possible in a review
to give an adequate idea of the volume before us, considered merely as a
storehouse of facts on the Roman controversy, a value enhanced by the
circumstance that it is written by earnest but sorrowing members of that
Church, who desire, by its publication, to avert the progress of
corruption and to save the Church from the blundering threatened by the
action of the Council. We had marked many passages for extract in the
course of our own examination. Space, however, forbids our indulging
ourselves. We regret this the less because we feel assured that the book
which we have so imperfectly noticed will soon be in the hands of most
persons interested in the question which is debated.”—JOHN BULL, _October
23_.

“It is of great importance at such a crisis that the public mind should be
thoroughly informed as to the points on which the judgment of the Council
is to be asked, or, to speak more correctly, as to the monstrous claims of
the Papacy to which it is expected to give its formal submission.
Especially is it desirable to understand clearly the exact position
occupied by the ‘Liberal Catholics,’ men who are not prepared to forsake
their Church nor to declare war against all progress, and who, despite
many discouragements, still cling to the belief that it is possible to
find some mode of reconciliation between ‘Catholic’ principles and modern
ideas, and who resent such fanatical outbursts as that of Archbishop
Manning even more bitterly than Protestants themselves. We attach,
therefore, great value to a little volume just issued on the ‘Pope and the
Council,’ by Janus, which contains a more complete statement of the whole
case than we have anywhere met with.”—NONCONFORMIST, _October 27_.

“Beginning with a sketch of the errors and contradictions of the Popes,
and of the position which, as a matter of history, they held in the early
Church, the book proceeds to describe the three great forgeries by which
the Papal claims were upheld—the Isidorian decretals, the donation of
Constantine, and the decretum of Gratian. The last subject ought to be
carefully studied by all who wish to understand the frightful tyranny of a
complicated system of laws, devised not for the protection of a people,
but as instruments for grinding them to subjection. Then, after an
historical outline of the general growth of the Papal power in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries, the writers enter upon the peculiarly episcopal
and clerical question, pointing out how marvellously every little change
worked in one direction, invariably tending to throw the rule of the
Church into the power of Rome; and how the growth of new institutions,
like the monastic orders and the Inquisition, gradually withdrew the
conduct of affairs from the Bishops of the Church in general, and
consolidated the Papal influence. For all this, however, unless we could
satisfy ourselves with a mere magnified table of contents, the reader must
be referred to the book itself, in which he will find the interest
sustained without flagging to the end.”—PALL MALL GAZETTE, _October 29_.

“It is very able, learned, compact, and conclusive. The subject of Papal
Infallibility is admirably treated, with a thorough mastery of Church
history. We commend it to the perusal of all who take an interest in the
progress of ecclesiastical questions, and wish to become more nearly
acquainted with the Romish Church, its doings, pretensions,
decrees—especially with the conduct of its successive heads. It is a
perfect storehouse of facts brought together with telling effect. Let the
voice of these German Catholics be listened to by enlightened Englishmen
of all creeds, and they will be in no danger of ensnarement from the
plausible rhetoric of Ultramontanism, whose principles are opposed to our
free institutions—to the glory and strength of England.”—ATHENÆUM,
_October 30_.

“In France, in Holland, and in Germany, there has already appeared a
multitude of disquisitions on this subject. Among these several are the
acknowledged compositions of men of high standing in the Roman Catholic
world,—men admittedly entitled to speak with the authority that must
attach to established reputation: but not one of them has hitherto
produced a work more likely to create a deep impression than the anonymous
German publications at the head of this notice. It is not a piece of
merely polemical writing, it is a treatise dealing with a large subject in
an impressive though partisan manner—a treatise grave in tone, solid in
matter, and bristling with forcible and novel illustrations.”—SPECTATOR,
_November 6_.

“It is, as all our readers know, a history of how the Papal claims have
grown from their modest germs in the _fifth_, down to their full
development in the _sixteenth_ century. This history, too, is accompanied
by a corresponding exhibition of the inconsistency of these claims with
actual facts. But the work is done with such elaborate care, and with such
a well-marshalled and complete view of the historical facts of the case,
that it may well be bought and read irrespective of the circumstances
which have called it forth. It is a full, able, and learned bill of
indictment against Popery proper.”—LITERARY CHURCHMAN, _November 13_.

“This book, characterized by great ability, singular grasp, and
scholarship, demonstrates, with proof infallible, that the Ultramontane
doctrine of the Pope’s infallibility is the centre of an arch based upon
error, raised by cunning craft, settled and cemented by shameless
treachery. And this most damaging exposure of Popery proceeds from divines
calling themselves ‘faithful Catholics.’ No Ultramontane is able to sneer
at the scholarship of the book; nor can they take off the edge of its
blows by ascribing it to the malice of Protestants.”—RECORD, _November
17_.

“Yet on this and other documents of the same kind, the whole fabric of
Papal power and assumption has been built up. The forged donations of
Constantine, Pepin, and Charlemagne are the title-deeds by which its
possessions are held, and the _Liber Pontificalis_, and Isidorian
decretals, are the authorities on which it rests for the assertion of a
power inconsistent alike with the rights of God and the liberties of man.
We know of no book in which the whole process is exposed with the same
completeness and in the same brief compass, and we commend it to our
readers as one from which they will derive an amount of valuable
information for which otherwise they might search in vain.”—ENGLISH
INDEPENDENT, _November 18_.

“The book before us is making England and Germany ring with valiant and
wise words of warning, which ought to make the representative of St. Peter
weep tears of honest grief over past and present, the crooked policy of
the one and the headstrong ambition of the other. As a rule, we may say
that anti-Papal literature is of the lowest grade of literary merit,
filled with illogical and inconclusive reasoning, and characterized by
ignorance, bigotry, and cant. The present work is a splendid exception,
severe in tone, but not unduly so, clear in statement, and unsparing in
its dissection of the contradictions involved in modern Ultramontane