« НазадПродовжити »
divine guardian of the unity and perpetuity of the sacrament of matrimony, to declare under what circumstances the marriage contract can be validly performed. Her laws are not arbitrary, but are made to safeguard the welfare of the individual and of society.
A moment's reflection will convince a 'fair-minded man of the Church's wisdom in her impediments of consanguinity and affinity. She wishes to keep essentially distinct the love a man has for his wife, and the love he has for his kinsfolk, and consequently forbids his future marriage with one who, through the close ties of blood or marriage, happens to live under the same roof with his family. Besides she knows from experience that close intermarriage is frequently harmful to the mental and physical well-being of the children born of such unions.
When she prohibits the marriage of one baptized and one not baptized, * she is prompted solely by her great love for souls. She knows the evils caused by the husband being a practical pagan, and the wife a practical Christian. She as the representative of Christ is bound to prevent as far as possible this woman's apostasy, and to safeguard the faith of her children. How can true peace reign in a household, when a father maintains the right of race suicide, while the Catholic mother detests it with her whole heart, and believes, with St. Paul, that a woman is “saved through childbearing." +
But when Dr. McKim professes to see no practical difference between the annulments of such marriages, can it be that he is ignorant of the fact that when the necessary dispensation is granted by the bishop for such marriages, they are thereby validated, and hold till death? If a Catholic marry one unbaptized in presence of a minister or alderman, he has him. self to blame if he is living in concubinage. It is the penalty he incurs by deliberately violating the law of the divine society to which he belongs.
It' is false to state “that a powerful school of Roman theologians regard Protestant marriages as simple concubinage." If two baptized Protestants are married in England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, or these United States, their marriage is always recognized as valid, and no Catholic theologian would dream of styling it concubinage. It is true, of course, that the Tridentine law of clandestinity does apply to all babtized Christians in Belgium, Italy, Central and South America, etc. *
* Some Protestant Episcopalians consider such marriages "not invalid, although unlawful," Mortimer, Christian Faith and Practice, ii. 40, while others declare them in valid unless the necessary dispensation has been received, Percival, Digest of Theology, p. 160.
t 1. Tim. ii. 15.
This may seem a rather stern law, but it rests on the principle that baptism renders one a subject of the Church of God. The law was passed by the Council of Trent only to counteract the great evils of clandestine marriages. The principle is set forth by the early Fathers and writers. St. Ignatius says: “It becomes both men and women who marry to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to the Lord, and not alter their own lust.” † And Tertullian: “Accordingly, among us, secret marriages also—that is, marriages not first professed in presence of the Church-run the risk of being judged akin to adultery and fornication.”! To run this risk is one of the penalties of schism and heresy.
In a word, the diriment impediments are all based on the highest possible reverence paid by a divine Church to a divine sacrament, whereas divorce rests on an utter contempt for the sacramental character of marriage, and substitutes for the simultaneous polygamy of the pagan or mormon the successive polygamy which is just as heinous in God's sight. “Beware how you enter into so sacred a state,” says the Catholic Church, "for it is a union that holds till death.” “Do not worry," says the non-Catholic, "for if you find the bond irksome, you can easily be freed from the yoke."
Dr. McKim brings forward the annulment of Napoleon's marriage with Josephine, by an incompetent ecclesiastical tribunal, as proof of the Catholic Church's approval of the emperor's adulterous union with Marie Louise of Austria. Does the learned doctor forget the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage with Catharine of Aragon by an incompetent Archbishop of Canterbury, which gave rise to the Protestant Church of England. Let us quote the Protestant writer, Gairdner :
“On Good Friday, April 11, the new Archbishop of Canterbury (of course under secret orders) wrote to the King, humbly requesting to be allowed to determine his matrimonial cause in a court of his own. Needless to say, he received a com
* De Sponsalibus et Mat. De Becker, p. 121. + Epistle to Polycarp, Ch. v.
1 On Modesty, Ch. iv.
mission to do so. . . . On the 23d he gave sentence that the king's marriage was invalid. Then, by a like mockery of law and justice, he held a secret inquiry at Lambeth, on the 28th, as to the king's marriage with Anne Boleyn, which, of course, was found to be lawful. On what evidences he came to this conclusion, the world was not informed. ... On July it the Pope pronounced Henry excommunicated, and his divorce, and remarriage null." *
The facts in the Napoleon case are these: Napoleon was married to Josephine de Beauharnais March 9, 1796, by a civil ceremony only, which was invalid because of the Tridentine law of clandestinity, which required the marriage before the parish priest and two witnesses. On December 1, 1804, the day preceding the coronation, Josephine mentioned this fact to Pius VII, who had shared the common belief that she had been married according to the laws of the Church. Napoleon was greatly incensed at this, but was obliged to consent to the religious marriage, which was performed by Cardinal Fesch with the needed dispensation of the Pope. Metternich, the Austrian prime minister, asserted afterwards that Napoleon had never been sacramentally united to Josephine, but that was a diplomatic falsehood, to cover the shame of the Catholic Hapsburgs in allowing Marie Louise to live in an adulterous union. Prince Jerome Napoleon says: “Napoleon and Josephire, who had been only civilly married in the time of the Directory, were united religiously by Cardinal Fesch, in order to satisfy the scruples of Josephine, on the evening preceding the consecration, in the presence of Talleyrand and Berthier, in the Chapel of the Tuileries. I know this from the traditions of my family." +
The subservient French bishops who declared the diocesan officialty of Paris competent in the case, had no authority, and well knew that the Pope was the judge in the matrimonial cases of sovereigns. At this mock trial, Cardinal Fesch declared that he had received the necessary dispensation from the Pope, which should have settled the matter at once. Talleyrand, Berthier, and Duroc testified they had heard Napoleon say he only intended to go through a mock ceremony to please the Pope and Josephine. On the testimony of these naturally interested witnesses, who were acting under orders from their imperial master, this incompetent ecclesiastical court declared that the consent necessary to a valid marriage was lacking, although, as a matter of fact, they declared the marriage with Josephine null and void on account of the absence of the parish priest and the needed witnesses. They, an inferior court, declared that the general dispensation granted by the highest ecclesiastical court, the Pope, was not sufficient! Of course the metropolitan officialty confirmed this decision, and the final decision of the Lyons court was naturally favorable, the Archbishop being Cardinal Fesch.*
* A History of the English Church in the Sixteenth Century. Joseph Gairdner, pp. 141, 242. The First Divorce of Henry VIII. Mrs. Hope, p. 308 seq. + Napoleon and his Detractors.
CATHOLIC WORLD. Vol. II. p. 14.
Dr. McKim fails to state that Napoleon purposely saw to it that Pius VII. should not give sentence, although he was the only one competent to do so. He also fails to mention the fact that thirteen of the French cardinals absented themselves from the marriage, as a protest against this travesty of canon law. He also fails to mention that when Napoleon wished Pius VII. to annul the marriage of Napoleon's brother, Jerome, with Miss Patterson, of Baltimore, the Pontiff declared the marriage valid in the sight of God.
Napoleon did have a precedent in the case of Philip Augustus and his wife, Ingelberga. This valid marriage was also annulled by some subservient French court prelates, but it is well to recall the fact that two popes, Celestine III. and Innocent III. declared the marriage valid, even though all France had to be placed under an interdict to force the king to take back his lawful wife.t
As for Dr. McKim's insinuation that the homes of the Catholics of Mexico, South America, the Philippines, France, Spain, and Italy are not "purer and better than the average (Protestant) home in England and the United States," we will remind him that the ignorant days of old A. P. A.ism are over now, and that thinking men are not influenced in the slightest by the hearsay evidence of a certain unknown “gentleman of the highest character who lived in Rome thirty years,” or the ipse dixit of an ordinary Washington rector. Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur is a good old maxim. We might ask the learned doctor whether he or his friend ever read Rev. Mr. Seymour's Evenings with the Romanists. If so, we would recommend as an antidote to the poison, the discussion of the morality of the city of Rome as found in Father Young's book on this very question.*
* Divorce et Second Marriage de Napoleon. R. Duhr. | Alzog, Universal Church History, Vol. II., p. 577.
Dr. McKim declared that his aim in writing an open letter to Cardinal Gibbons was, “incidentally, to vindicate his Church's claim to be as conscientious and effective a guardian of the home and the sacredness of the family relation as any Church on earth.” We ask the doctor to ponder over the following words in one of his own Church papers, that go counter to his statement:
“We feel that the Church (the Protestant Episcopal) has seriously lowered the moral standard that she ought to hold up, so long as by canon she permits her marriage office to be used for the joining together of persons who are forbidden by that office itself to be married. Having prevented this, the Church will have stamped her disapproval upon such marriage. She will no longer be in complicity with those who unlawfully enter the marriage state. When her childien are turned away from her Church doors with the statement that they cannot twice be married with her sanction, until death has first separated husband from wife, she has given her warning to them not to venture into such a union.”.
It is needless to say that this writer's call to a “higher moral standard” was of no avail at the late General Convention, and in future, although some individual ministers, like the rector of Trinity, New York City, may refuse to perform what they deem adulterous marriages, the Protestant Episcopal Church, as a whole, sanctions them with a religious ceremony. Of course in this matter it is consistent with the teachings of Luther and Calvin, who denied the sacramental character of marriage.
Only one Church-the Church Catholic-dares teach clearly and authoritatively on this burning question of the day, and command her children, under the penalty of eternal loss, to be absolutely faithful to the words of the Savior : “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."
* Catholic and Protestant Countries Compared, p. 533, seq. Cf. Catholic World, October, 1869.
+ The Living Church, September 17, 1904, p. 678.