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To these five sentences, as I have said, the Bishop calls the special attention of his readers; on these he rests as a sufficient proof of his claim. In the first sentence there are four errors, so plain that we need not declare them to our Catholic readers; in the second sentence, likewise, there are four errors, not less glaring; in the third sentence, four errors again; in the fourth, there are two erroneous statements; and in the fifth, the Bishop indulges once more in his favorite practice of making one poor sentence bear the burden of four misstatements regarding the practice of the Church. So that we have in these five sentences eighteen errors-errors that need no captiousness to detect them; errors that are explicitly confuted by the authoritative sources from which Bishop Doane assures us he has drawn his information. Most of our readers will have difficulty in reconciling such an achievement with good faith; their difficulty will not be lessened when they turn their attention to other features of the Bishop's argument, and note how continually and unblushingly he brings forward charges which he does not substantiate, and for which no warrant of any kind can be discovered in the teaching or practice of the Church.
Eighteen errors in five sentences dispose forever of any pretension of Bishop Doane to be considered a capable witness when the doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church are under discussion; and he cannot even allege in his own behalf that the passage so grievously burdened with misstatement stands alone. There are others equally offensive to truth and justice. One such is the paragraph in which much is made of the conjugal adventures of Henry VIII. and of the marriages of Napoleon, in order to discountenance the Church and demonstrate the laxity of her discipline in regard to divorce and remarriage.
Taking up first the case of Henry VIII., the Bishop declares: “It seems to me unmistakably clear that he (Henry VIII.) used as a means for gratifying his passions the ecclesiastical system under which he had been trained, and with which he was perfectly familiar.” This would signify to an innocent reader that as Henry was trained as a Roman Catholic, and was familiar with the system of the Catholic Church, it must be the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical system that he used as a means for gratifying his passions. It would not signify the real facts of the case, viz., that Henry, who, it is true, was brought up a Catholic and was familiar with the doctrines and practice of the Catholic Church, found it necessary to cease to be a Catholic when he desired to gratify his passion by a union with Anne Boleyn. It would not convey the idea that the Pope refused to annul the marriage between Henry and Catharine, that the Pope forbade Henry, under pain of excommunication, to attempt marriage with Anne, and that, when the complaisant Cranmer pronounced Catharine's marriage invalid, Pope Clement VII. declared "that the marriage between the aforesaid Catharine and Henry, sovereigns of England, had been and is valid and canonical, and has had and has a right to obtain its due effects, and that the aforesaid Henry, King of England, is bound and was and shall be under obligation to cohabit with the said Queen Catharine, his legitimate spouse." The historical record of Henry's matrimonial transactions shows that to secure countenance for them he had to create an ecclesiastical system of his own, which was not at all what we understand by the Roman system, a system that was at war with Rome on many issues, but particularly on the matter of Henry's marriages. It is hardly honest to blame the Holy See for crimes that it reprobated. Precisely because Henry could not use for his questionable purposes the ecclesiastical system in which he had been trained, he broke away from that system and set up the church to which, I believe, Bishop Doane's church must trace its origin.
Here is the account of Henry's case, as given by a nonCatholic historian, Makower, in his Constitutional History of the Church of England, pp. 49 and 53:
By the king's wish, the Pope had commissioned Campeggio and Wolsey to determine the issue in England. But, on Catharine's appeal, he revoked the case to Rome, and on July 23, 1529, the two Cardinals adjourned the court. From that time, the Pope adopted an attitude of decided refusal. In spite of the fact that the Pope had reserved decision to himself, the question of the king's divorce was tried before Cranmer as judge of the archiepiscopal court. Cranmer, on May 23, 1533, pronounced the marriage null and void. Anne Boleyn, whom the king had married privately some months before, was now crowned. The Pope's answer was to give his own verdict, and to declare the marriage of Henry and Catharine valid, March 23, 1534. For a fuller understanding of the case we should also know that the Pope's sentence was preceded by three letters, one of 1530, in which any other marriage was interdicted while proceedings in the case of Catharine were pending; another of 1532, in which the Pope expostulated with Henry, pronounced any marriage with Anne null and void, and threatened excommunication; and a final remonstrance addressed to the polygamous head of the English Church in 1533.
The Bishop continues :
His (Henry's) original marriage to Catharine was a violation not only of the law of the Church, but of the law of God, because she was his brother's widow.
Now, here are two assertions, first, that this marriage was a violation of the law of the Church, and, secondly, that it was a violation of the law of God.
The first statement is disproved by a remark of the Bishop himself in the sentence of which the above quotation is a part. He says that "the Pope had dispensed with the law and allowed the marriage.” The marriage therefore was not a vio. lation of the law of the Church, since the dispensation had made the law inoperative in this case. The law of the Church, by the way, is that such marriages are unlawful unless a dispensation is obtained.
The second statement supposes that the law forbidding such marriages is really divine, which many persons think open to very serious controversy. Gury, whom Bishop Doane says he has consulted, says that the impediment in such cases is a purely ecclesiastical law. However, on this point, while I believe that Gury is right, and while I know that the Bishop does not represent the unanimous opinion of his own church, I do not care or need to dwell. The important fact is that Catharine's first husband was dead when she married Henry VIII.
The next curious statement is that in spite of Henry's own “protest that the marriage was not lawful, and of opposition both public and private, they were, so to speak, married.”
The marriage was lawful in view of the Papal dispensation, and Henry's opposition, which was really the only essential circumstance in the case, can be appreciated when we remem. ber that within six weeks after his father's death, the young king hastened to take Catharine to wise.
And then, says the Bishop, because of a flaw in the dispensation, or because it was held that the Pope could not dispense with the law of God, the marriage was declared null and void, not by the Pope, but by the Church, along strictly
Roman lines. No information could be more misleading than this last. Neither the Pope, nor the Church, of which the Pope was the head, declared the marriage null and void. The use of the designation “the Church,” would certainly lead a reader to imagine that, while the Pope personally had nothing to do with the case, his Church was responsible. To tell the truth in this matter, it is necessary to say that the Pope solemnly declared the marriage perfectly valid, and that the Church which issued the decree of nullity was not the Roman but the Anglican Church, which had severed the bond of Roman obedience, and evidenced its separation by pronouncing in a matter which the Pope had reserved to himself. Nor was the Anglican declaration along strictly Roman lines. For, as has just been stated, the Pope had forbidden any merely local or national tribunal to pronounce in this case, and had ordered those interested to await the judgment of the Holy See. No decision, therefore, could be given along strictly Roman lines, unless it were given by the Pope himself. Moreover, in virtue of ancient usage, the matrimonial cases of princes are to be decided only by Papal authority; an inferior tribunal, even acting by Pontifical delegation, must not go counter to the will of the Vicar of Christ. Hence, we can easily judge whether the sentence of Cranmer, given by an unauthorized local tribunal, at war with Rome and openly contradicting the will of Rome, was “along strictly Roman lines.”
So, also, when the Bishop immediately afterwards declares that Henry's “marriage with Jane Seymour was made possible by a dispensation, Roman though not from Rome, before he beheaded Anne Boleyn,” he is leading his readers astray. Henry had a church of his own by this time, a church which was not Roman, and it was this church, and not the Roman Church, which gave the dispensation that made possible his marriage with Jane Seymour. It was an Anglican, or if the Bishop prefers, an Episcopal dispensation; it was certainly not Roman. Rome would never have granted it.
Similarly incorrect is the assertion that Henry “married
Catharine Howard because, by a dispensation strictly along Roman lines, his marriage with Anne of Cleves was declared null and void, on the ground that he had never given his inward consent." Does the Bishop not know that the rupture with Rome prevented the obtaining of a dispensation from the Pope? Does he not realize that, since the dispensation in such a case would have to come from the Pope, it is difficult to see how an Anglican tribunal, proceeding in violation of Roman Canon law and in rebellion to the head of the Roman Church, can be said to act “along strictly Roman lines ?” The fact is that it did not so act, but followed a course of action that, pleasing as it was to Henry VIII., could not but be reprobated by the Pope.
If the Bishop desired to be candid in this matter, he should have informed us that the Roman Church, acting through its head, had decreed the validity of Henry's first marriage, that an opportunity was never given to Rome to speak in the later matrimonial ventures of Henry VIII., but, inasmuch as Rome declared his union with Anne Boleyn to be adulterous, and adhered to that declaration at the cost of the loss of England to the Papacy, we can readily fancy how unlikely it would have been to follow the course adopted by the Anglican bishops.
However, Bishop Doane foresees and answers the objection that the Pope did not grant this dispensation, i. e., the one which enabled Henry to marry Catharine Howard. His answer is, that "it must be remembered that in those days, l'Église c'est moi' had not been pronounced, and the secret of the possibility of these performances lay in what I have called the innumerable grounds of dispensation and countless definitions of prenuptial impediments.”
His answer then is two-fold. He says in the first place that, because no one had said “l'Église c'est moi,” it was possible for Henry to get this dispensation from the Church without getting it from the Pope. The fact is, the possibility of the dispensation was really owing to the declaration made by Henry VIII. : “l'Église c'est moi.” The Church, the Catho. lic Church, was Papal. That Church Henry had forsworn. He had set up another of which he could truly say: "l'Église c'est moi”; since it was a church which he had created, which he could control, and which did his bidding only too servilely in the affair of his marriage with Catharine Howard.