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be shown to be in whole or in part anti-Biblical, or anti-rational. On the other hand, a single contradiction in ex cathedra teaching would disprove infallibility.
As respects the bearing of New Testament history, a few words will suffice. Only a mind already steeped in theocratic dogma and hierarchical symbolism can find here any foundation for the infallible headship of the Pope. No official prerogative is assigned to Peter which is not assigned, in one place or another, to the remaining apostles. The sentences most expressive of Peter's eminence could be applied to Paul with equal or even greater emphasis. If Peter was a foundation on Jewish soil, Paul was a foundation in the broader field of the Gentile world. If Peter had a vocation to feed sheep and to strengthen brethren, Paul must be declared, in the light of recorded facts, to have had no less a vocation in either respect. The New Testament as a whole accords Peter no solitary eminence in the direction of the church. Moreover — what is specially to the point — the New Testament inakes not the slightest association between the apostle and the Roman bishop. It rivals the violence of Gnostic interpretation to make Peter figure for the Bishop of Rome on certain select occasions when words of honorable import were addressed to him. Why exclude a representative force from certain other words which have a different import? Christ said to Peter: “Get thee behind me, Satan ; ” also, “ Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Is it to be concluded from these sayings that each Roman bishop must be an incarnation of Satan, and, some time between supper and breakfast, must deny Christ three times? As well draw this inference as build a papal theory on the more complimentary sentences. The whole reference to Peter in behalf of Rome has every appearance of being a mere makeshift, a means of gratifying a growing ambition and of advancing a growing power. What made the Pope was the imperial associations of Rome. After he was made, or rather partly made, he endeavored to put on Peter's clothes. The papacy is simply the ecclesiastical counterpart of Roman imperialism. Does any one ask for the proof of this ? Let him look at the relative fortunes of the different patriarchal seats. Jerusalem, the mother of all the churches, held a subordinate place, and was the last to attain the patriarchal dignity, because of her inferior political importance. Antioch, after Jerusalem the first centre of Christianity, was overtopped by Alexandria. Her bishop had to yield the palm to the Bishop of Alexandria, because the political importance of the latter city was the greater. Constantinople, though long the site of an obscure bisbopric, when made the capital of the East soon overtopped Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria together in ecclesiastical honor. Her bishop, in fact, became the rival of the Roman bishop, and might have passed bim in the race for ecclesiastical monarchy, had not the latter been favored with a start of more than two centuries. It was Romulus, therefore, and the Cæsars, not Peter, who founded the papacy. The imperial associations of Rome gave to the Roman bishop a certain elevation at quite an early date. This caused that parties in trouble or in controversy should look to him as being a specially influential patron. Some, in order the more certainly to engage his services, were ready to use flattering words about his prerogatives. Such words are the main stock of Romish apologists. But they indicate nothing about the primitive constitution of the church ; their origin is well explained; they are offset in large part by sayings of a contrary tenor, as well as by the great fact that for centuries no legislative act of the church as a whole recognized in the Roman bishop any universal supremacy. Yea, the church as a whole has never given a genuine legislative sanction to the papal monarchy. The institution belongs properly only to Latin or Western Christendom, and even there, with all the aid derived from such enormous forgeries as the “ Pseudo-Isidore Decretals,” l it took many centuries for it to reach perfection, — not less than eighteen centuries to put on the capstone, the declaration of infallibility.
What has been said serves to clear the ground, and brings us now face to face with the most important part of our task. It was remarked that a single contradiction in the formal or ex cathedra teaching of the Popes would overthrow their infallibility. This the Romanist, no less than the Protestant, must allow. He must also admit that a single formal contradiction of scientific truth by an individual Pope would be fatal to the dogma of infallibility. We pass, then, to the great test cases which fall under the one or the other of these descriptions. Three are especially noteworthy.
The first is that of Pope Honorius, whose pontificate fell in the seventh century. It is a notorious fact that this Honorius was mixed up with the monothelite heresy, or the denial of a
1 Alzog confesses that the forgery hastened the subordination of the metropolitans and the provincial synods to the Popes ; in other words, that it quickened the growth of the papal monarchy. (Kirchengeschichte, $ 186.)
proper human will in Christ; that he wrote letters to Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in which he distinctly approved the monothelite formula ; that he was condemned, after his death, for thus supporting and advocating heresy. The extent of this condemnation was remarkable. It was repeated over and over again, and was concurred in by every species of ecumenical authority, as will be seen from the following summary:
After laying Sergius and others under anathema, the decree of the Ecumenical Council of 680 proceeds: “We have provided that together with these, Honorius, who was Pope of ancient Rome, should be cast out of God's holy Catholic Church and anathematized, because we have discovered, through the writings which he addressed to Sergius, that in all things he followed his view, and confirmed his impious dogmas.” The two following ecumenical councils, the seventh and eighth, repeated the anathema. Pope Leo II. confirmed the action of the Council of 680 in these unequivocal terms: “We equally anathematize the inventors of the new heresy, that is, Bishop Theodore of Pharan, Cyrus of Alexandria, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paulus, Petrus, waylayers rather than overseers of the church of Constantinople ; also Honorius, who has not illuminated this apostolic church with the doctrine of apostolic tradition, but by a profane betrayal has endeavored to subvert the immaculate faith.”i A whole line of popes, extending over no less an interval than three centuries, affixed also their signatures to the anathema. “In the · Liber Diurnus,'” says Hefele, “that is, the Book of Formularies of the Roman Curia (from the fifth to the eleventh century), is found the old formula for the pontifical oath, prescribed without doubt by Gregory II. (at the beginning of the eighth century), according to which every new Pope at his entrance upon his office is bound to give oath that he acknowledges the sixth ecumenical council, which laid an eternal anathema upon Sergius, Pyrrhus, etc., together with Honorius, because he gave encouragement to the depraved assertions of heretics." 2
On the ex cathedra character of the documents in which Honorius set forth his heresy, it is well to notice the comments of some of the most eminent exponents of Roman Catholic scholarship. Döllinger, at a time when his orthodoxy was unchallenged, and he was regarded as the peer of any man in the Romish Church in respect of historical erudition, declared that the heretical teaching of Honorius must be regarded as given ex cathedra, unless foregoing conciliar discussion be counted necessary to an ex cathedra decision. But, according to the Vatican decrees, such foregoing conciliar discussion cannot be counted a requisite to an ex cathedra decision. Thus, in the light of present definitions, the verdict of Döllinger leaves no qualification upon the ex cathedra character of the false teaching of Honorius.
1 Mansi, Hefele, Gieseler. 2 Conciliengeschichte, 2d ed., 1877, § 324.
Hefele's treatment of the case is equally deserving of attention. While he insinuates the charitable thought that Honorius was not at heart a heretic, he cannot deny the fact that he so expressed himself as in his highest official capacity to patronize heresy. In his “ Causa Honorii Papæ," written before the Vatican Council, he sums up the tenor of the Pope's epistles in this way: “ Honorius rejected the technical orthodox term of two energies, and declared the specific heretical term, one will, to be correct, and prescribed this twofold error as an article of faith to the church of Constantinople.” In the same treatise he pronounces for the ex cathedra character of the papal documents. Answering the objection that they were not formally addressed to the whole church, he says: “I do not know that a formal address to the whole church is absolutely necessary to an ex cathedra definition ; for in that case the famous dogmatic epistle of Leo I. to Flavian was not given er cathedra.” In his references to the subject subsequent to the Vatican Council, Hefele, if more careful to give prominence to the utmost allowance for Honorius that the facts may permit, does not depart essentially from his former position. He allows the faults which appear upon the surface of the epistles to Sergius, and declares explicitly for the ex cathedra character of those epistles. On the latter point, speaking of Pennachi as a prominent supporter of the affirmative, he says: “1, for my part, confess my agreement in this connection with Pennachi, since Honorius designed to give to the church of Constantinople immediately, and to the whole church implicitly, a prescription respecting doctrine and faith; and in his second letter employed the very expression, .Ceterum, quantum ad dogma ecclesiasticum pertinet, ... non unam vel duas operationes in mediatore Dei et bominum definire debemus.'” 1
1 Werner, himself a historian of considerable distinction, wrote, a few years before the Vatican Council : “For nearly a generation Döllinger has passed for the most learned theologian of Catholic Germany, and he belongs unquestionably among the foremost of the great spirits to whom the Catholic Church of the present can point.” (Geschichte der katholische Theologie, p. 470.)
2 Die Papst-Fabeln des Mittelalters, 1863.
That Hefele, a man who, after Döllinger, stands head and shoulders above all Roman Catholic historians of recent times, could not, even after the Vatican Council, persuade himself to deny the ex cathedra character of the heretical epistles of Honorius, is certainly a fact that ought to have great weight with an honest mind.
How do Romish infallibilists get over this case? There are only two expedients that can serve them at all, since the old one of denying the genuineness of the records is too far discredited to be made the refuge of any respectable disputant. The first of these is finesse, juggling with technicalities. But we submit that no amount of finesse will avail here. Suppose it should be admitted that the heretical decision of Honorius was not technically ex cathedra, the case would still be fatal, in the view of a practical and unbiased mind, to papal infallibility. Consider the extent of the condemnation published. That black sheet of anathemas, flung out over the breadth of centuries, unrelieved by a single ray, a single suggestion that the honor of the Roman see could be saved by the plea that Honorius had not sinned against the faith in his highest official capacity, - what does it prove? It proves that the church of that age, as represented by ecumenical councils and popes, did not recognize any ex cathedra infallibility in the Roman pontiff. It proves that the assumption of such infallibility was a later innovation ; that it contradicts accordingly the marks of valid tradition; and that, since it has nothing beside a traditionary basis, it has in reality no basis at all. The second expedient is embraced in a statement of Cardinal Manning. Speaking of the historical objection to papal infallibility, as based in particular upon the case of Honorius, he says: “The true and conclusive answer to this objection consists, not in detailed refutation of alleged difficulties, but in a principle of faith; namely, that whensoever any doctrine is contained in the divine tradition of the church, all difficulties from human history are excluded, as Tertullian lays down, by prescription.” 2 Historical difficulties ruled out by prescription! What is this but an invitation to history to keep out of sight if it cannot have the grace to be agreeable ? Perhaps it might be well for it to do thus. History is a very prosaic affair, and it may be fitting that it should humble
i Conciliengeschichte, 2d ed., $ 298. ? The Vatican Council and its Definitions.