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cordingly, that Perrone and others have recurred to Bellarmin's test of valid tradition and have laid down the

davit (Ibid. ii. 38). Teneamus ergo indeclinabilem fidei confessionem : Solus unus est qui sine peccato natus est in similitudine carnis peccati (Ibid. ii. 57). Ephrem the Syrian says, “Christ was born of a nature which had not been exempted from corruptions, and which needed to be purified by His visitation ” (Margarita Pretiosa). John of Damascus is equally clear as to the need of purification. “ After the consent of the Holy Virgin,” he says, “the Holy Ghost came upon her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, and purified her " (De Fid. Orth., iii. 2). Paschasius Radbertus formally excluded the notion of the immaculate conception by teaching, like many others, that Mary needed and received purification in the womb of her mother : At vero beata Maria, licet ipsa de carne peccati sit nata et procreata, ipsaque quamvis caro peccati fuerit, non tunc jam quando, præveniente Spiritus Sancti gratia, ab angelo præ omnibus mulieribus benedicta vocatur. Alioquin si non eodem Spiritu Sancto sanctificata est et emundata, quo modo caro ejus non caro peccati fuit ? . . . Sic et beata virgo Maria, nisi in utero matris sanctificata esset, minime nativitas ejus colenda esset. (De Partu Virg., lib. i.) Damiani corrects the impression, which might come from some rhetorical expressions of his, by this unequivocal sentence : Quandoquidem et ipse Dei mediator, et hominum, de peccatoribus originem duxit, et de fermentata massa sinceritatis azymam absque ulla vetustatis infectione suscepit ; imo, ut expressius dicam, ex ipsa carne virginis, quæ de peccato concepta est, caro sine peccato produit, quæ ultro etiam carnis peccata delevit. (Liber Gratissimus, xix.) Anselm of Canterbury indicates unmistakably his belief that the Virgin was conceived in sin : In peccatis concepit eam mater ejus, et cum originali peccato nata est, quoniam et ipsa in Adam peccavit in quo omnes peccaverunt (Cur Deus Homo, ii. 16). The tenor of Bernard's criticism upon the celebration of the feast of Mary's conception, as instituted by the canons of Lyons, shows with sufficient distinc. ness his conviction that the Virgin was not exempt from the common lot of the race as respects original sin. (Epist. clxxiv.) Thomas Aquinas denied the immaculate conception in these plain terms : Beata Virgo contraxit originale peccatum, sed ab eo fuit mundata, antequam ex utero nasceretur (Sum. Theol., iii. 27. 2). Bonaventura was equally definite. In his commentary on the Third Book of Sentences, he wrote: An caro Virginis sanctificata fuerit ante animationem ? Gloriæ Virginis caro

canon that what commands the general assent of the Church in the present must always have been at least implicitly believed by it, and so must rest back on apostolic teaching. A rule of this sort is convenient; but any one ought to see that it is transparent hypocrisy to pretend that tradition is a real authority where such a rule prevails. On this basis the simple fact that a thing is believed proves its historic right to be believed, and investigation is made a superfluous, if not an unholy task.


ante animationem non fuit sanctificata, cum sanctificatio per aliquod superadditum donum fieri debeat, quod non in carne, sed in anima recipi. tur. - An Anima beatæ Virginis sanctificata fuerit ante originalis peccati contractionem ? Quod gloriosæ Virginis sanctificatio fuerit post peccati originalis contractionem, pietati fidei magis consonat et sanctorum auctori. tati magis concordat. (Dist. iii. p. i. art. 1. q. 1 et 2, quoted by A. Stap, L'Immaculée Conception, 1869.) In fine, as noted above, it was the standard scholastic teaching till the time of Duns Scotus that Mary was conceived in original sin. Melchior Cano had the warrant of indubitable facts when he wrote in the sixteenth century : Sancti omnes, qui in ejus rei mentionem incidere, uno ore asseverarunt, beatam Virginem in peccato originali conceptam (Loci Theol., vii. 1). The authority of Duns Scotus, however, was decisive with the Franciscans, and an increasing party after his day advocated the immaculate conception. The Dominicans, indeed, kept up a stubborn opposition for centuries ; but when the Jesuits were added to the lists of the Immaculists, there was no obstacle sufficient to prevent the speculation of Duns Scotus from being enthroned.

How an honest and critical mind might despair of finding a suitable historic ground for the dogma proclaimed by Pius IX. was illustrated as late as 1870 by Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, who declared that he had never been able to find where the doctrine was taught, either in the Scrip. tures or in the writings of the fathers : Istam sententiam ad depositum fidei pertinere non nego; quam tamen inibi, quale illud Scriptura et Patrum scripta exhibent invenire nunquam potui ; nec unquam quemdam nactus sum, qui eam inibi contineri mihi ostendere possit. (Concio in Conc. Vat. Habenda at non Habita, p. 43.)

1 J. Perrone, De Immaculata B. V. Mariæ Conceptu, an Dogmatico Decreto definiri possit.

The appeal which has been made to the feast of Mary's conception is found entirely useless for the purpose in behalf of which it has been cited. The early Church had no such feast, - no feast even in honor of Mary's nativity, as appears from the testimony of Augustine that only the nativities of Christ and John the Baptist were celebrated by the Church in his day.1 Even in the twelfth century Bernard of Clairvaux stig. matized the feast of the conception as a superstitious innovation, for which pontifical authority was wanting. It is true that the feast may have obtained some recognition in Spain as early as the tenth century, and in the Greek Church as early as the eighth. But it is to be noted that what the Greeks celebrated was God's grace in granting a daughter to Anna and Joachim. In the liturgical books of the East the feast is named the Conception of Saint Anna. It commemorated therefore the fact of Mary's being conceived, and had no reference to her supposed exemption from original sin, any more than the contemporary feast of John the Baptist implied that he was immaculately conceived. Nor is it proved that the feast had any different significance in the West in the earlier period of its celebration there. Indeed, it was not made distinctly a feast of the immaculate conception till a much later date, so that Muratori in the eighteenth century could declare that its celebration might be continued, though it should be authoritatively proclaimed that Mary was not immaculately conceived.

The bull of Pius IX., besides quoting Scripture, alleging unbroken tradition, and appealing to the feast of the conception, says that the Church of Rome - that is,

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i Serm. ccxc. n. 2.

more especially, the Popes — has had nothing more at heart than to profess, sustain, propagate, and defend the doctrine of the immaculate conception. In this last statement the Pope, whose scanty learning was in general a poor safeguard against the arts of special pleaders, was as far from historic ground as in the foregoing specifications. In the list of Roman pontiffs, Sixtus IV., at the end of the fifteenth century, was the first conspicuous patron of the immaculate conception. Innocent III. had used language distinctly implying that Mary was conceived in original sin. Innocent V. expressed the same conclusion in the most direct and explicit terms.? Gregory XV. in 1622 declared, in response to a request for a decree in favor of the immaculate conception, that the Eternal Wisdom had not yet revealed this mystery to the Church, - nondum æterna sapientia ecclesiæ suæ tanti mysterii penetralia patefecit. The revelation, then, if we are to believe Gregory XV., must have come since his pontificate, or not at all. Possibly Pius IX. may have been favored, before the year 1854, with as unmistakable a revelation as that which Bernadette Soubirous received a little later, at the grotto of Lourdes, when the mysterious apparition, after repeated communications, finally declared her identity in the words," I am the Immaculate Conception."1 In this case, how.

1 Statim Spiritus Sanctus supervenit in eam ; prius quidem in eam venerat, cum in utero matris animam ejus ab originali peccato mundavit, sed et nunc supervenit in eam ut carnem ejus a fomite peccati mundaret, qua: tenus esset sine ruga prorsus et macula (Serm. in Solemnitate Purificat. Virginis, Opera, Migne, iv. 506). Contrasting Eve and Mary he says : Illa fuit sine culpa producta, sed produxit in culpam ; hæc autem fuit in culpa producta, sed sine culpa produxit (Serm. in Solem. Assumptionis Virginis).

? In III. Sent., dist. 3, quoted by Stap, L'Immaculée Conception, p. 13.

” ever, it would have been to his credit to have expressed his reliance upon the vision, and not to have published a bull which is a complete caricature of history.

The close relation of the new dogma to sentimental devotion is evinced by a great mass of utterances from popes, bishops, and priests, as well as by a series of popular demonstrations. The Middle Ages were in fact outdone. In the encyclical addressed by Pius IX. to the bishops in 1849, asking their opinion on the proposed definition of the immaculate conception, the Pope says: “You know very well, venerable brethren, that the whole of our confidence is placed in the most holy Virgin, since God has placed in Mary the fulness of all good, that accordingly we may know that if there is any hope in us, if any grace, if any salvation, it redounds to us from her, because such is His will who hath willed that we should have everything through Mary." The responses of many of the bishops were in a like vein. The Archbishop of Grenada wrote respecting the Virgin : “ She loves those who love her, and most abundantly builds up with graces, and disposes her servants to become the habitation and temple of her Blessed Son and the Holy Spirit. She was full of grace, that of her fulness all creatures may receive, and have a large shower of heavenly gifts infused into them. She is the mother of fair love, and fear, and knowledge, and holy hope, and in her is all grace of the way and of truth, all hope


1 Lasserre, Our Lady of Lourdes, p. 216. This part of the story is fully as convincing as the accounts of moving and blood-sweating images which were employed against the Reformers in the sixteenth century.

? Pusey's Version, Eirenicon, pp. 122, 123.

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