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had then only to encounter Gallican theology in these countries. The theology which they had to encounter, and the arguments which they employed to meet it, have no doubt been replaced by a new theology; but the old doctrine of Roman Catholicism in this country cannot have passed away.

Lord Acton, Lord Camoys, Mr. Petre, Mr. Archer Shee, and others have actually publicly avowed it; and in obedience to the statements on oath of their own hierarchy in former years, have rejected the tenets of Ultramontanism (even after the recent definition) as articles of Catholic faith. In so doing they are supported by the authority of the chief Roman Catholic controversialist, Bossuet; by that of the whole hierarchy of France; and by the concurrent sentiment of the greater part of Roman Catholic Christendom, till within a few years past. Moreover, it is perfectly clear that Gallican principles at this moment, notwithstanding all that has passed, are actually in the ascendant in the minds of the Roman Catholics of these and other countries, although they do not know it. But this is a point which demands consideration in another section.


The rejection of the Papal Infallibility and the Vatican decree by Roman Catholics of importance, was of course met by contradictory avowals on the part of the Ultramontane prelates, and their disciples. They protested their entire acceptance of the Vatican decree establishing the Papal infallibility, and denounced all Roman Catholics who took a different view of the question. It is curious to note the principles which were thus enunciated. Canon Oakeley says:

The fact is never to be lost sight of that the decree which invests the Pope with the attribute of personal infallibility, was itself the act of a general Council.1

Mr. C. Langdale replies to Lord Camoys :

The difference between us and our children is this, that they will believe it, because a Council of the Church has declared it to be an article of Catholic faith.?

Lord Herries declares that the Pope is Christ's Vicar upon Earth, and infallible; and then proceeds :

Times, Nov. 17, 1874.

2 Ibid.

The Vatican Council has declared it to be of faith'; and as such all Catholics accept it."

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Every Catholic was educated in the belief that the infallible authority of the Church resides in the bishops and prelates of the Church assembled in Council summoned by the Pope and presided over by him or his legate, and that all decrees passed by them, and sanctioned by Papal authority, are infallible. Such was the Vatican Council, fulfilling every condition requisite that it should be a general Council of the Church. . . . Why not, therefore, accept its decrees, as we have accepted those of Nice, Constantinople, and Ephesus ? ... Who

and that they should say that in 1870 the authority of the Church no longer resided in a general Council.?


Mr. Philipps de Lisle writes thus :

I heartily accept the decrees of the Council of the Vatican as the decrees of a legitimate Ecumenical Council of the Universal Church of Christ.'

The deliverances of the several Ultramontane bishops are entirely in harmony with these declarations. All concur in expressing entire belief in the Papal Infallibility, 'in obedience to the definition and decree of the Ecumenical Vatican Synod. Whoever refuses to yield submission to the decree of that synod is pronounced to be a heretic, and in precisely the same category as those who reject the definitions of the synods of Nice, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon.

This is all no doubt very excellent in its way, but it may be worth while to consider it more closely, and endeavour to draw out the reasoning which appears to pervade the statements of this numerous class of believers.

1 Ibid.

1 Times, Nor. 17, 1874.

3 Ibid., Nov. 23.

The particular doctrine under discussion is the Papal Infallibility.

Why is it necessary to believe this doctrine ?

They reply, it was not necessary to believe it before A.D. 1870. Up to that date some Roman Catholics denied it; others believed it. They were all equally members of the Catholic Church. There was no general tradition or agreement on the question ; nor were the declarations of Scripture so clear as to leave no possibility of doubt. In short it was an open question. But in 1870 all this was changed. A new power was brought to bear. An Ecumenical Council defined and declared that the Pope is infallible. That being so, all hesitation was at an end. A doctrine which was before questionable, instantly became an article of faith, because it had been decided by the supreme and infallible authority of a general synod.

The Popes had often declared their own infallibility; but it needed a higher authority, namely, that of the Church universal assembled in synod, in order to remove all uncertainty and establish the dogma.

This is the doctrine avowed throughout by the supporters of Papal infallibility at present. I can make few, if any, exceptions. It must be confessed that this mode of reasoning is most natural under the circumstances of the case.

It was

Infallibility is a gift which so closely approximates to Divine power, that men will not readily attribute it to their fellow-men without some strong authority for so doing. Again, self-assertion is felt to be insufficient in a case like this. The Pope might assert himself to be infallible as much as he pleased; but it by no means follows that the world at large would believe him. Therefore if he is to be generally believed infallible, there must be something more to prove it than his own statements. therefore very natural that an Ecumenical Council should be resorted to for the purpose of defining Papal infallibility ; because everyone believed in the infallibility of a General Council; whereas, that of the Pope was only a theological question. This being so, we see at once that the Roman Catholics in these countries assume as their basis the unquestionable infallibility of an Ecumenical Council; and in obedience to its decrees alone accept the infallibility of the Pope. In other words, the infallibility of the Pope rests on a superior authority (without which it would be a mere theological question), namely, that of the Ecumenical Synod. The authority of the Synod is greater than that of the Pope.

This line of reasoning shows how completely the Roman Catholics of these countries have retained the doctrinal belief of their forefathers, for the position which they take is simply that which was formerly taught by their priesthood, according to the Gallican article.

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