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were truly reported, he said in 1867 to the assembled bishops : “ In the encyclical of 1864, and in that which is called the Syllabus, I declared to the world the dangers which threaten society, and I condemned the falsehoods which assail its life. That act I now confirm in your presence, and I lay it again before you as the rule of your teaching."i Liberatore takes it as a matter of course that any one who accepts the Vatican decrees must give full assent to the condemnations of the Syllabus, as being the utterances of infallible lips.? Curci, while interested to moderate the force of the Syllabus, and claiming that it would be less of a fault to hold some of the propositions therein than others, inasmuch as the writings in which they were originally censured were of unequal weight, still concludes that “he would fall into error and be guilty of a certain offence against faith proper, who should pertinaciously adhere to one of the proscribed propositions.”3 Hergenröther, though allowing that not all the propositions in the Syllabus are condemned as specifically heretical, ranks them nevertheless among false and perverse opinions which “must not be held or maintained." 4 This we believe to be the least which any representative man in the Romish communion would dare to assert. It is certainly the least that could be claimed without coming into conflict with a declaration of Leo XIII. But practically what more could the extreme zealot desire ? Have Roman Catholics such consciences that an open door is left for anything which is branded as false or perverse, provided only it is not formally defined to be heretical? Are they justified in cultivating such consciences? If not, they can never harbor for a moment, in their character of Roman Catholics, one of the eighty propositions in the Syllabus. No more than Pius IX. can they, as consistent Roman Catholics, reconcile themselves with modern civilization.
i Manning, True Story of Vatican Council, p. 47.
Catholic Church and Christian State, i. 207. 6 He says, in his encyclical concerning the Christian Constitution of States, 1886 : “Pius IX., as opportunity offered, noted many false opin
Though the Vatican decrees make no formal mention of the Syllabus, they undoubtedly serve to strengthen its authority. They have a retroactive force, investing with the majesty of indubitable truth every ex cathedra utterance of the Popes on questions of faith and morals, and requiring reverent submission to every distinct requisition of theirs even in other matters, since their administrative authority allows of no appeal. From this standpoint it is easy to see that the Vatican decrees have a serious bearing upon the relation of ecclesiastical to civil authority. They shut out forever the possibility of any aristocratic or Gallican construction of papal decrees as opposed to the absolutist, and seal as authoritative such a manifesto as the bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII. It is true that this famous document had already received the concurrence of the Fifth Lateran Council. But the ecumenical character of this council, which was essentially a delegation of the Italian episcopate, has not been reckoned on all hands as indisions which had begun to be of great strength, and afterward ordered them to be collected together in order that in so great a complex of errors Catholics might have something which, without stumbling, they might follow."
putable. The Vatican Council served therefore by its decrees to place the Unam Sanctam in an unequivocal light. To one acknowledging those decrees it is undoubtedly authoritative ; for its ex cathedra character is allowed to be manifest. Now this bull, as was shown in the proper connection, reduces the civil power, in relation to the ecclesiastical, to complete servitude. This is acknowledged by some Roman Catholic writers who have the hardihood to say that this is the normal arrangement. Others, influenced by their environment and deprecating scandal, have attempted so to interpret the bull as to secure a less ultra conclusion. But their effort has only resulted in a strained and faulty logic. Manning's exposition, for example, amounts to little more than a juggle with the term spiritual. He thinks it worth while to argue that what Boniface VIII. claimed was spiritual not temporal authority, just as if it makes any difference what name is given to the authority which vaunts unqualified supremacy over the civil power and asserts the right to order at will how its sword shall be used. Hergenröther's procedure is not many degrees better. He is inclined to limit the infallibility of the bull to the concluding sentence, which is in the form of a definition. Now it is certainly a little mechanical to suppose the pontifical afflatus to fall short in one sentence and to be absolutely plenary in the next. More
i See Mediæval Church, pp. 339-341. It may be noticed that the bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, issued by Paul IV. in 1559, though it is in form rather disciplinary than dogmatic, implies the same assumptions as are dogmatically affirmed in the Unam Sanctam.
2 The Vatican Decrees in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance. 8 Catholic Church and Christian State, p. 31.
over, even if strict infallibility is not asserted for every clause in the body of the document, its essential tenor - which is the thing of moment - cannot be challenged without a most palpable ineptitude. For in the concluding definition Boniface speaks of subjection to the Roman pontiff as indispensable to salvation. What is the scope or kind of subjection which is meant? Evidently this question cannot be answered agreeably to the thought of the Pope except by reference to the foregoing part of the bull. To discard this reference is therefore just equivalent to saying that the definition of Boniface VIII. is authoritative and infallible only when taken in a sense different from that which he intended. Such makeshifts are failures. No honest escape has been found or can be found, in the light of the Vatican decrees, from the theoretical position that the civil power is anything more than an instrument subordinate to the spiritual sovereignty in the Pope. And from this it follows, of course, that civil allegiance is wholly secondary to that which is owed to the Roman pontiff. As a safeguard against interference with the former, the most that can be urged is the probable good behavior of the Popes. But this is a plea which does not carry full rational persuasion. Even as put by so ingenious a rhetorician as Newman, it leaves much to be desired.2 As pledge against future mistakes in administration he can offer nothing more satisfactory than a catalogue of enormous blunders in the papal doings of former times, and such a spirit in the present age as, on papal principles, must be regarded refractory, abnormal, and to be abolished at the earliest possible date by giving the rising generation a pure Ultramontane tuition. How utopian sounds the expectation that Popes will always deal wisely and righteously with civil governments and their subjects, when we are informed that various Popes have given themselves up to “ luxury and a pagan kind of Christianity”; or when we are confronted with such a chain of fallibility as appears in the following interrogatories : “ Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him ? Was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic churches ? or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius? And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII, when he had a medal struck in honor of the Bartholomew massacre ? or Paul IV. in his conduct towards Elizabeth ? or Sixtus V. when he blessed the Armada ? or Urban VIII. when he persecuted Galileo ?” Newman offers us here truly a poor basis of confidence in the future good conduct of Popes. Especially do we need a better guaranty against acts of arbitrariness and usurpation, if criticsm is to be hushed, as it has been in recent years, and nothing but the voice of servile subinission and intemperate adulation is to reach the ears of the Pope.
1 “We declare, say, and define that to be subject to the Roman pontiff is for every human being altogether necessary to salvation."
2 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.
As an indication of the manner in which a representative of Romish orthodoxy treats the relation of papal to civil authority, when writing in a congenial atmosphere, we may take the statements of Liberatore in the Civiltà Cattolica. With him there is no indulging of sidelong
1 We quote from the articles as collected under the title “ La Chiesa e lo Stato," 2d edit., 1872.