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They remind us of certain galleries in Italy, where the walls teem with fagots, stakes, gridirons, broiling martyrs, and a horrible array of distorted human anatomy, unrelieved by one sweet face or a single smiling landscape.

We have no disposition to palliate the horrid deeds of ancient churchmen, nor to disguise the lessons of history, but we think that, at this late day, ecclesiastical battles might be fought with other weapons than those the illustrious Molly Seagrim used when she drove her neighbors out of the sacred enclosure with thigh-bones, skulls and bits of old tombstone. History is only instructive when it is read in the light of philosophy. We cannot properly use its events as isolated facts, nor judge of the characters it presents us by the standards of modern opinion. Every age and nation must be viewed in its peculiar relations. Every age and nation has its own methods and its own ideas. The boy is not the man; the man of the ninth century is not the man of the nineteenth; and the etiquette of the court of Queen Victoria cannot be applied to the court of Queen Pomare. That which might have been good government, in one time and place, would be very bad government in another time and place, and a course of conduct which seems simply impudent and senile in Gregory XVI., may have been exalted and beneficial in Gregory VII.

These remarks, common-place as they are, have an important bearing upon the particular question before us-the temporal power of the Popes-which is commonly treated as if the tenth and eleventh centuries could be revived, and old Hildebrand-true son of fire as he was named-start again from the grave where he has rested nearly a thousand years. But this is a grave mistake. That power, as we shall show, is no longer a present terror, but a simple historical phenomenon. It had its origin in the inevitable circumstances and necessities of society, at a particular stage of its progress, and, having served its ends, sometimes salutary and sometimes quite otherwise, it has been dismissed by a kind Providence to the limbo of things not wanted on earth.

This proposition we now proceed very succinctly to illustrate, by refer ence to a few prominent historical facts, on the origin and culmination of the papal power:

1. The foundation of every temporal

or spiritual enormity, into which the Church was destined to run, was laid in the opinion, which early obtained, that Christ had founded an external institution, to be the medium of the new and divine life. It was not only an unavoidable inference from this, in logic, that such a body should be supreme in its moral authority, but it was also an unavoidable practical deduction that the administrators of its ordinances should become among the most wealthy and powerful personages in secular society.

2. The conversion of Constantine added prodigiously to the temporalities of the Church, but, most of all, by conferring judicial and civil jurisdiction upon the bishops. His successors pursued the same policy, with some exceptions, and anybody who will read the Theodosian and Justinian codes, will see that the clergy, long before the fifth century, were in the possession of large patrimonies, were joined in the civil and financial administration of the provinces, were judges in the courts allowed to decree temporal penalties, and often took part in the imperial councils.

3. In the distribution of ecclesiastical rank, following generally the political divisions of the Empire, the preeminence fell, of course, to the See of the imperial city, the foremost city of the world. Its local position, fortified by old renown and the traditions of St. Peter's special favor, made it a center of attraction and reverence to the faithful everywhere, but particularly to the churches among the barbarians, which its zeal had planted, and which were ever eager to testify their respect and submission to the venerable mother.

4. When the Empire was transferred to the East-an event that ought to have diminished the importance of the Roman Church-it happened that the distractions of the times turned that event into an occasion of its increasing power. The Emperors, absorbed in their eastern troubles, left the Church almost the only authority in the western provinces. Their representatives, the miserable exarchs, for the most part plunderers and despots, could not rival the priests in the affections of the people. As the imperial authority grew weaker, therefore, the authority of the Roman Bishop grew stronger. The senate, as well as the populace, came to regard him as their true head; so that

the Emperor, no longer able to control his affairs, and glad of the assistance of so eminent and influential a lieutenant, readily confirmed the powers which necessity, no less than general consent, had conferred.

5. When, finally, the Popes threw off the reins of the Emperors, and invited the King of the Franks to protect them from the savage incursions of the Lombards, it was clear that the Emperors were too weak to defend and retain the Italian provinces, and the exigency absolutely required an extraordinary intervention. The policy of Stephen II. and Adrian I., then, which gave great extension to the temporal sovereignity of the Popes, was quite inevitable under the circumstances. They stepped in to save society at a time when there was nobody else in a position, or having the will, to do so; and Pepin and Charlemagne, as the actual conquerors of the Lombards, when they confirmed, by solemn grants, the possessions of St. Peter, gave the only constitutional sanction, known to the laws of the epoch, to what was held by the more legitimate title of ability, virtue, service, and the tacit consent of the people.

6. In the midst of the turbulent and almost anarchical feudal society, the Pope appeared, not only as a Prince among princes, but as a Prince superior to all princes, by virtue of his peculiar ecclesiastical eminence. He was naturally resorted to as an umpire in the settlement of disputes, and large fiefs were added to his jurisdiction, either to propitiate his favor or as a reward for distinguished services. As the laws of the Roman empire, moreover, had been principally retained in the monarchies which succeeded it, all the immunities and privileges of the clergy were preserved, and even extended, and their intimate association with the temporal power enlarged.

7. The Holy See, at once the center of religion and learning, was also the only authority of any kind universally acknowledged. The Princes, at war perpetually amongst themselves, each in turn invoked its aid against the encroachments of his neighbors. They were all equally solicitous to secure its favor, even to the extent of consenting to do homage for their kingdoms, as if they were held from the Pope. were the Popes, whose conduct ex


hibited a singular mixture of zealous piety and worldly ambition, backward in accepting a vassalage tendered alike from motives of interest and devotion. In proof of the state of feeling, we may mention that, when the crusades came on, sovereigns and soldiers alike, regarding the Popes as the natural leaders of the great religious wars, often placed their persons and properties under their protection. Political affairs were arranged in the Pope's presence, treaties concluded, routes of march selected, and questions of precedence decided.

8. The right to depose princes, however, grew more directly out of the power of excommunication, which the Church had asserted from the earliest times. At first, this ban worked only a forfeiture of ecclesiastical rights, but after the sovereigns took the Church in hand, civil disabilities were attached to its infliction. The unhappy person who incurred it, was not only shut out of the assemblies of the faithful, and banished their society, but he was declared civilly dead, and his dignities, rights, and possessions, fell away from him, like leaves from a tree smitten by the lightning. All the legislation of the princes concurred in giving validity to ecclesiastical laws, and in confirming the jurisdiction of bishops by civic penalties. When the Popes, therefore, insisting upon the impartiality of God's judgments, which could make no distinction between peasant and prince, applied the same ban to sovereigns which they applied to serfs, they exercised a power to which the sovereigns themselves had consented, and whose legitimacy they never questioned as to its general grounds, and only as to the justice of its application in the particular case.

Thus, innumerable circumstances in the political relations, the external events, and the moral opinions of the time, prepared the way for those tremendous assertions of supreme temporal sovereignty, which were begun by Gregory VII., in his deposition of Henry, and continued with vigor, for two or three centuries, by his successors. They are circumstances which do not wholly acquit the Popes of the charge of usurpation, but which yet show that their conduct was not, as it is often represented to have been, utterly indefensible.

There was a color of law even for their most high-handed interferences, sanctioned as they were by the political constitution of the age, no less than by its prevailing religious convictions. But, without entering into the merits of the particular disputes between the Pope and the Emperors, from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, we are free to say, in behalf of the Church, that corrupt as its doctrines now seem to us, gross as were the departures of its ritual from the simplicity of Scripture, and extraordinary and arrogant as the temporal assumptions of its pontiffs appear in our wholly different state of society and sentiment, it represented the better cause in nearly all its mediaval political struggles. It curbed the otherwise unlimited ferocity of the princes; it was often a general peace-maker; it vindicated the principle of election, as against the hereditary principle; and it proclaimed the superiority of the moral order to a régime of mere brute materialism and arbitrary self-will. That it was also guilty of awful inconsistencies, no one can deny but a devotee of its universal infallibility.

Yet, as this system of conjoint spiritual and temporal authority had its rise in the circumstances of the time, so it had its fall in its own inherent weakness. Viewed absolutely, it was a violation of both reason and religion, and was only provisionally good. At the hight of its prevalence, then, it was already dissolving. Firstly, it could not escape reflecting minds, that every resort to force, direct or indirect, by a body professing a spiritual origin and genesis, was fundamentally inconsistent with its nature and end, and these minds must have been more or less openly at war with the policy of the Church. In the second place, the enormous wealth which flowed into its treasury, in consequence of its vast temporal sway, must have corrupted the clergy, and lost them the respect of the more severe and pure of their own order as well as that of the laics. And then, again, the possession of a great and almost uncontrolled power, degenerates inevitably into a two-fold source of abuses; firstly, in that it becomes a lure to all kinds of selfish and reckless ambition, and secondly, in that it gets impatient of resistance, and persecutes instead of persuading.

Accordingly, we see many examples of the operation of all these principles, before the opening of the fourteenth century, and which, indeed, kept pace with the growing domination of the hierarchy. Internal corruption and external outrage bred resistance, both within and without, and, when Boniface VIII. entered upon his contest with Philip le Bel, of France, he appeared to himself and to his friends to advance with all the strength of the great Gregory; but, in reality, the moral and popular support, which had been the strength of Gregory, had already collapsed. In the south of France, the infamous crusade against the Albigenses had detached a numerous and powerful body; similar disaffections had estranged the whole of Flanders; the thoughts which shortly after found vent in the immortal poem of Dante, the great father of Protestantism and the modern era, were fermenting in Italy; distant England was heaving with the birth of Wickliffe; and the cultivators of ancient learning, even, had, in the silence of the monasteries, begun to manifest an abated respect for a clergy whose vices were as conspicuous as they were disgraceful. Boniface was therefore virtually defeatted, and, in his defeat, the system itself, received a fatal blow. Like one who came after him, he might have exclaimed that both he and his system had ventured too far upon the sea of glory, and were left

"Weary and old with service, to the mercy

Of a rude stream, that must forever hide them."

That stream was the awakening life of Christendom, inside and outside of the Church, which, dissolving the Papacy into the great and damaging "western schism," gathered strength from the revival of literature, from the growth of the universities, from the republican experiments in Italy, from the Hussite rebellion, from the pragmatic sanctions of France, from the quickening activity of commerce, from the progress of maritime discovery, and the disclosures and inventions of science, until, finally, it broke over Europe, in a broad, full tide, as the Lutheran Reformation.

The Temporal Arm made, ever and anon, during the interval, spasmodic efforts to recover its ancient energy; but they were like the efforts of a serpent to strike, when its back is broken. For five centuries, now, its authority has

steadily declined—nor will it ever be revived. We should as soon think of seeing Europe invaded again by the Arabs, or the Christian nations joined once more in a crusade to Jerusalem, or the philosophers of the world returning to the study of alchemy-as of beholding the rejuvenescence of the middleage constitution of society, and of its foster brother, the old Roman court. Even the religious influence of the Church, by which alone its temporal pretensions can be sustained, will never become again what it was before the Reformation. It is true, as Mr. Macaulay, in his brilliant essay on Ranke's History of the Popes, has remarked, that the territorial division of Europe, between the Catholics and the Protestants, is the same now as it was towards the close of the sixteenth century,that the nations which were Catholic then, chiefly the Southern or Romanic, are Catholic still; and those which were Protestants then, chiefly the Northern or Teutonic nations, are Protestants still; while neither Catholic nor Protestant has made any substantial gains in the large debatable ground in the middle of Europe. But this is true only geographically, as Macaulay himself more than intimates; for while the physical frontiers of either camp have not advanced, their moral and intellectual advances respectively have been widely different. The leading Catholic nations, at the close of the sixteenth century, were Spain and Italy, and these have fallen into decay, whereas the leading Protestant nations, such as England and North Germany, have shot up prodigiously in every element of vigor. The nations which, before Luther, commanded the civilization of the world, were nations under the control of Rome, but the nations which now occupy that exalted position, pursue their ends without a thought of the Church. England, North Germany, and the United States, are openly Protestant; Russia, as the inheritor of Greek catholicity, is anti-Roman; while France, though nominally Catholic, is rather scientific than religious in her development, and is precisely the nation, under her renowned Gallic liberties, which most strenuously resists the papal predominance. Now, it is this.

superiority of the Protestant nations, in intelligence, activity, wealth, and freedom, which secures them forever from conquest, and which will, sooner or later, compel the Catholic nations to follow in their track. It is Protestantism which controls civilization and the future destiny of the world.

But, exclaim a thousand dissentient voices, in the face of this reasoning and all these facts, Romanism, by its own showing, remains forever unchangeable and unchanged. Its prelates and its official organs adhere as tenaciously to the temporal supremacy of the Pope now, as they did in the days of the Hohenstauffen and John Lackland; and, whenever and wherever they can, will hasten to enforce its claims.

Now, we deny the truth of this position, and we scout the inferences which are attached to it, to frighten us out of

our seven senses.

And, in the first place, we remark that this doctrine is not an established doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is simply a sententia in ecclesia-an unadjudicated question, without positive authority, and incumbent upon no one's faith. A Catholic may believe what he pleases on that subject, and yet be a good Catholic; he may utterly deny all manner of temporal allegiance to the Pope, and yet be a good Catholic: in short, the only allegiance expected of him, by the laws of the Church, is a belief of its dogmas, and a submission to its moral discipline.

In regard to the ground and extent of the Temporal Power of the Pope, two parties exist, and have long existed, in the Church. The first, the Ultramontane or theological party, contend that the Pope and Church have received, immediately from God, full power to govern the world, both in spirituals and temporals.* In its naked form, however, this theory, started by John of Salisbury, in the twelfth century, found but few advocates; but, about the close of the sixteenth, Bellarmin and other systematic writers modified it into this shape: that the Church has received from God, directly and immediately, no power over temporals, but over spirituals solely; yet this power includes, indirectly, the power of governing temporals when the good of re

* Gosselin, on the Power of the Popes, vol. i., p. 360.

ligion requires it, or in certain extraordinary cases, when it is rendered necessary for the salvation of souls. This is the sense in which the doctrine is held by most of the Ultramontanes, though some of them modify it still more, so as to restrict the right of the Church to a single right to declare the cases in which a sovereign has forfeited his authority, and subjects are absolved from their allegiance-as cases of conscience. But the Pope can use no direct means for enforcing this declaration, which can only be put in execution by the temporal order. Mr. Brownson, who is more obstreperous than anybody else in vindicating extreme opinions, denies that the Pope can interfere generally in the civil affairs of States, or resort directly to the strong arm. For that he must appeal to the civil authority. "The Pope," he says, "does not make the law under which the Prince holds, and can declare him deposed only when he has forfeited his rights by the law under which he still holds. The act of deposition is judicial, not legislative."

The old direct doctrine survives only with a few extravagant ninnies, but indirect Ultramontanism, as we have explained it, seems at present in the ascendant among the higher clergy and official organs of the Church. The Popes are supposed to incline to it privately, because it extends their prerogatives; yet the briefs of Pius VI. and Gregory XVI. are inconsistent with it. The college of cardinals, too, favors it, because every cardinal expects some time or other to be Pope: the Jesuits, we believe, swear to it, and a majority of other religious orders receive it, together with many of the Spanish and Italian bishops, some of the German and French, and the leading journals— such as the Civiltà Cattolica, at Rome, the Historische Politische Blätter, of Germany, the Univers in Paris, the Dublin Tablet, and Brownson's Quarterly.

The second party, on the other hand, the Gallic or legist party, hold that the spiritual and temporal powers are equally sovereign in their respective spheres, and independent of each other; and that the Popes and Councils which have interfered in the temporal affairs of States have done so, either under the human and constitutional laws of the epoch, or from an erroneous view of their duty. The Catholic clergy of France, in 1682,


in the famous Declarations, which are the basis of the Cisalpine doctrine, said, 'Kings and sovereigns are not subjected to any ecclesiastical power, by the order of God, in temporal things; and their subjects cannot be released from their obedience, nor absolved from their oath of allegiance." These declarations were eloquently defended by Bossuet. The six Catholic Universities, consulted by Pitt, in 1789-three Spanish, and three French-took this view, and earnestly declared that "neither the Cardinals, the Pope, nor even the Church herself, has any jurisdiction or power, by divine right, over the temporals of kings, sovereigns, or subjects," &c. The Irish committee, of 1792, made a similar deposition, in behalf of all the Catholics of Ireland, which was repeated before the House of Commons by all the Irish bishops in 1826. All the old Catholic families of England take this view, with a large number of the German and French bishops, and nearly all of those in the United States. As to the laity of the Church, they do not bother their brains much about the dispute; the more ignorant of them clinging to the Church because it has been their father's church, and the nursingmother of their superstitions; and the more enlightened, because they find, in its doctrines and ceremonies, a genuine solace for their religious feelings. We may regard the controversy, on the whole, then, as a kind of drawn battlesometimes one party is in the ascendant and sometimes the other-the Ultramontanes seeming to carry the victory always in numbers, and the Gallicans always in argument; but, whether the one or the other prevails, it need be no cause to us either of extravagant alarm or extravagant joy.

For, in the second place, we remark, that, whatever may be the state of opinion among Catholics, the claim of the Popes to temporal power is not at all formidable, in the present condition of the world. Churchmen may conceit what they please about the unchangeable nature of the Church, but the fact of reason and history is that it does change, with its changes of place, and the advancing aspects of society. It is no more now, what it was when the monk of Clugni caused the poor German Emperor to wait his insolent leisure three days in the cold, than the Knights Templars are now what they were then. It

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