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Cardinals inquired what the place was worth; the Venetian ambassador was on the look out for instructions; the canons of S. Jerome of the Illyrians in the city said that it was a shame to appoint any man not acquainted with the language. Several candidates were in the field : for to be Metropolitan and Primate of all Dalmatia was something, though the See, tossed about as it had been from Constantinople to Hungary, from Naples to Bosnia, from the Ban of Croatia to the Doge of Venice, was worth comparatively little. In a few days, Cardinal Cinthio was waited on by the Bishop of Segna;' his name, Mark Antony de Dominis. He had the votes of the Chapter in his favour; an Illyrian by birth, he could speak the language fluently; the Serene Republic was not averse; he would endeavour to do his duty, if promoted, and he hoped for his Illustrious Reverence's? protection. He was introduced to the Pope, and the Consistorial Acts tell us that, on the 15th of November, M. Antony was absolved from his bond to the Church of Segna, and translated to Spalato.
Before this, however, it began to be whispered that the Archbishop had some singular views. He was bent on residence and hard work. He had certain uncomfortable notions on the immediate derivation of episcopal authority from Christ, and he absolutely declared his intention of preaching every day of the ensuing Lent to his people. The thing was really outré ; no body ever did so now; he might preach, after celebrating pontifically, now and then if he liked, but a daily sermon was impossible. • Why so?' inquired De Dominis. "Chrysostom and Gregory could do it; why not I?''But no one knows in what vestments you ought to preach,' they persisted. •Then I will find out,' was the rejoinder. And accordingy, The * Sacred Congregation of Rites replied, that he must preach in his ordinary and every day habit, in rochet and mozzetta, with stole, unless he has celebrated High Mass previously, in which case the form of the ceremonial is to be observed; and thus it declared Nov. 13, 1602.'
De Dominis did not, however, get his see without having a pension assigned thereon of five hundred ducats to his competitor Andreucci, who soon after was made Bishop of Tragurium, and so one of the suffragans of Spalato. News presently came to Rome of a furious quarrel between these two. The Archbishop refused to pay the pension for a year of pestilence,
1 The reader will find Segna, or Zengh, in Austrian Croatia, in lat. 45°, and must not confound the Episcopus Seniensis with the Ep. Senensis, (Sienna,) or Signinus, (Segni in the Campagna.) De Dominis's doings at Zengh are supplied by Farlati, Illyr. Sacr. iv. 137.
? The title of Eminence was first given by Urban VIII.
the Bishop insisted on all. De Dominis found himself suspended from his functions by the Auditor of the Apostolic Chamber, and this occurred on two different occasions from the same cause. Sequestration from the Pastoral Office gave more time for study, and no doubt the foundations of the De Republica Ecclesiastica were laid in that retirement. • Here am I, reasoned De Dominis, 'a Primate, in a country where Pastoral
superintendence is, if anywhere, essential, suspended on ac• count of a debt which was at first made so in violation of the canons,--and is now enforced in spite of facts. And yet we
talk of the equality of Bishops, and claim to hold discipline “unchanged from primitive times!' And who shall say that he did not reason aright? Granted that De Dominis was somewhat of an archæologist, had he not provocation enough in a piece of oppression which endangered the souls of his flock, to confirm him in his primitivism? And when shortly afterwards, he issued twenty-two constitutions for his Diocese, and the Sacred Congregation either absolutely, or partially, annulled eighteen, must he not have contrasted his own situation with that of the earlier Bishops, whose names were as his household words?
Soon after, Andreucci and his Metropolitan had another contest, which (whoever was right on the point disputed, the condemnation of some clerks by the former, and their absolution by the latter), brings out the early system of true metropolitical powers as strongly held by the Primate, and brings out, also, a great deal of unseemly violence on the part of both. . Saul, Saul,' _thus the Archbishop commences,
• Why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Have you not yet lost your military spirit,—though by a leap you passed from the sword to the pastoral staff? Away, my brother, away with earthly conversation,-and now at length casting aside the warfare of this world, enrol yourself after a far different sort in the armies of Christ. Put on the manners, the arms, the spirit that become a soldier, nay, rather, a general and præfect of Christ. If it seem intolerable to you that you are in subjection to me, seek another see; and that not any other, but the Supreme and Apostolic, if you would pay obedience to none. Confound not, iny brother, I pray you, the order of Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.''
All through one sees the character of the man: resolute and, indeed, overbearing in defence of a principle; naturally falling back on early examples, and living more in primitive times than his own; disposed to make no allowance for the altered condition of his own church, and abhorring developement. Having occasion to rebuild the choir of his cathedral, he reintroduced
1 Farlati, Illyric. Sacr. tom. iii. p. 489.
the synthronus: and being blamed for raising himself higher than the altar, he met the objection by raising over the latter a most ponderous ciborium.
He soon gave another proof of his wish to return to primitive use. The Clergy of Spalato were in a very corrupt state; and a fresh element of difficulty was to be found in the use of the two languages, Latin and Illyrico-Slavonic. A priest only acquainted with the former was perhaps sent into a parish where the latter was employed; or vice versa. Now, it needed not De Dominis's reading to be aware that, in early times, no one was admitted into the lists of the clergy without having the voice of the people in favour of his general good character and fitness for the office. But even the Archbishop dared not venture on this ; he, therefore, cast about for an expedient that might reconcile primitive strictness and modern laxity. At last he hit on the plan that all candidates for Holy Orders should undergo an examination before the Chapter,—and that on its result a ballot should be taken. This seemed to produce good effects; but, in two years, the Archbishop proceeded much further. He now ordered that all the priests, (we suppose of the city, not of the Diocese) should be discussed' by the Chapter on occasion of every ordination, and that such as were thought unworthy of their office should be suspended. This, it need not be said, is as much opposed to primitive as to ultramontane custom. Hence curious records in the Chapter Acts. For example:
And so the clerk, Gregory de Benedictis, was first discussed ; and he had all the votes, namely fourteen, in his favour, and none against him. Francis Orsillo had, in like manner, all the votes in his favour, and none against him. Innocent Chahich had thirteen votes against him, and one in his favour. The said Innocent was excluded from the Clergy. Francis Manoli had twelve votes in his favour, and two against him, &c.'
It is only wonderful that the excluded Clergy did not appeal to Rome.
In the meantime, De Dominis was wearied out with the usurpations and encroachments of the Apostolic See, and meditated the bold step of leaving his post, and throwing off her jurisdiction. That he did not act hastily, though he might have acted injudiciously, cannot be denied. His three enormous folios de Republică Ecclesiasticâ were published in 1617: and could hardly have been commenced later than 1607. In the meantime, his sermons, to which multitudes thronged, contained expressions, bolder and bolder, against Roman Supremacy, till at length a hearer exclaimed at the conclusion of one of his assertions on that subject, “You lie in your throat. It
was more than whispered that the Archbishop was a heretic; and that steps ought to be taken to procure his deposition. Let us see what was his own state of mind :
• From the Episcopate I was raised to the Archiepiscopate. Hence, a new and more urgent occasion of renewing my studies (of the Fathers as contradistinguished from later writers), and of labouring with greater zeal and energy in them. For when the troubles occasioned me by my suffragans, and, much more, the excessive power of the Roman Court, threw every metropolitical right into confusion, I found it necessary to investigate the root and origin of all ecclesiastical degrees, powers, offices, and dignities, -and especially of the Papacy. Then came the interdict of Venice. The books, written on behalf of Rome treated us, Bishops of the Venetian dominions, as rude and unlearned beasts. Hence, to finish my defence, and to come to the truth of the Venetian matter, a fresh occasion of new and more vigorous study. The sacred and ancient Canons, the orthodox Councils, the discipline of the Fathers, the former customs of the Church, all passed in review before me. I found in these, and these only, that for wbich I was looking, and far more than I had expected to find.
It was once an article of faith that the Universal Church, scattered throughout the world, is that Catholic Church of Christ, to which Christ Himself has promised His perpetual presence, and which Paul calls the pillar and ground of the truth; our present Romans have contracted this article, so that by the Catholic Church they understand the Roman Court, and in that, or rather in the Pope alone, the whole Spirit of Christ resides. And whatever has at any time been said in honour of the Catholic Church, they with the utmost force and injury, circumscribe to the Court of Rome.'1
A man who could thus think, and who was accustomed to speak out, must have found Spalato no safe place. Accordingly, towards the conclusion of 1615, he suddenly went to Venice, probably undetermined what future course to pursue.
In what immediately followed, some secret springs of action must have been involved, which it is now impossible to detect. Rome could not have been ignorant of De Dominis's sentiments. Yet we find him resigning his see to his kinsman, Sforza Ponzoni, and Paul V. confirming the deed: and yet the ex-prelate retained the title of Archbishop of Spalato in all his works. A touching epistle of his to the Spalatese is still extant, in which he maintains his attachment to the Catholic faith,—upbraids them with their cruel misapprehension of his teaching, and earnestly prays them to elect for their new Archbishop some one who should be acquainted with the Illyrian language.
At Venice, De Dominis became acquainted with the English ambassador; and hence Roman writers take occasion to reproach him with having sold his faith and soul for a pension; just as English writers accuse him of returning to Rome because
1 De Republicâ Christ. tom. i. § 8 of the unpaged Introduction.
his promotion was less than he had expected. Bitter words and cruel insinuations are, however, no proofs. Granted that Spalato was not an opulent See,-still its wealth was greater than anything which De Dominis could reasonably expect in a foreign country. Besides, with his learning and talents, to which such ample justice is done by his adversaries, to what might he not aspire? To any Venetian See,—to the Patriarchate' of Venice,-to a Cardinalate, -why not to the Papacy itself? And in England, too, with his known sentiments on the necessity of a Prelate speaking the language of his flock,how could he even wish for a Bishopric? No ;—doubtless the ambassador, aware that such a secession would bring great credit to his Church, sounded the Archbishop's mind, and framed his suggestions accordingly. De Dominis spoke of the Primitive Model. The very thing,' cries his Excellency, “to which we have reformed ourselves. Look-here, in the Canons and here, in the Rubrics,—and here, in the Ordinal,—we refer to it expressly.' The Archbishop spoke of the innovations of Rome. We reject them all,' cries the Ambassador. • No denial of the chalice-no shameless sale of indulgences—no reserves -no Annates—no Bishops by the grace of the Apostolic See
-no pallium-no interdicts.' De Dominis spoke of Sees in commendam, Bishops that had ten Cathedrals, and had never seen one; Cardinals that heaped up Canonries, and Deaneries, and Abbacies of distant lands. • All those corruptions gone too,' says his Excellency. Then as to the election of Bishops, how was that ? "By the Dean and Chapter,' replies the Ambassador, after invocation of the Holy Ghost; —the Recommendation and Præmunire being conveniently dropped. And 80, little by little, the mind of De Dominis seems to have been filled with visions of a Primitive National Church, holding the Catholic faith in its fullness, and yet rejecting all the novelties of the Roman Court. Two things more may be observed. The first, that a vernacular service would occasion no difficulty to the Archbishop, himself accustomed to the Illyric Missal and Breviary. The second, that, in close contact with the Eastern Church, a married Clergy would not shock his prejudices. He resolved, then, to fly to England. But this was not so easily done.
On the 23d of August, 1616, he received the agreement of the Pope to the election of Ponzoni, together with a pension of seven hundred ducats. The reason of this unusual favour to a suspected man must remain a mystery. At the beginning of September, he left Venice, giving out that it was his intention to visit the principal cities of Italy. By slow journeys he bent his course to the Grisons; and from Coire, in the middle of