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directly prescribed by the Popes. It is impossible that it could have been otherwise ; where a Church was, as in this case, subject to the ‘Propaganda.
The English Government was perfectly well aware of this, for they were in communication with the priesthood, and therefore must have known the necessity of referring everything to Rome. They did not therefore act so foolishly as Father Newman charges them with doing. They knew, of course, just as well as he does, that without the sanction of Rome any declarations on religious matters made by Roman Catholics would not be worth the paper they were written on; but they knew perfectly well (what the archives of the Vatican, if accessible, would show) that every step taken by the Roman Catholics was dictated by the Pontiffs.
All this was known to the English Government, but most probably they were not aware of the casuistry by which the Papacy can evade all responsibility for engagements. They did not know the difference between public and private bulls; bulls addressed to all the world, and bulls addressed to particular churches, and the twenty other distinctions brought to light by Father Newman. They did not know how easy it was for the Vatican to get rid of all engagements whatsoever, on the plea that contra utilitatem ecclesiasticam nil valet. But, putting aside for a moment the question of the British Government, what are we to say of the Papacy, when it is clear that, for the purpose of gaining political power in England, it sanctioned and directed its subject hierarchy in these countries in taking oaths and making professions which it firmly believed to be heretical, under the expectation that it would be able to avoid all responsibility for these proceedings by casuistical distinctions ?
The English Government, having fallen into the trap thus insidiously laid for it, the Papacy bided its time, and allowed twenty years to elapse before making any movement. It was necessary that the political power which it had acquired in England should consolidate itself: a premature movement might have caused so much indignation in England, that Catholic Emancipation might have been withdrawn, and the Papacy deprived of the nomination of members to the Parliament. When that danger seemed past the Papacy suddenly developed its plans. It created at a blow 'an Ultramontane hierarchy in England, and it imposed a Papal Legate on Ireland. From that moment Ultramontanism has been preached in these countries with unmitigated perseverance and vehemence; and the Gallicanism, to which emancipation was extended, has been denounced as the blackest of heresies, and at length formally condemned in the Vatican synod.
The Roman Catholics of England and Ireland have not been the real agents in these transactions : they have been the timid and unwilling tools of others. In fact, there must be a great confusion in their minds when they peruse the books on their shelves—the Roman Catholic controversial literature, catechisms, or dogmatic treatises of ten or twenty years standing—and compare them with the tenets now inculcated. So strong is the force of habit and early instruction, that it is said there are few Roman Catholics of mature years who would not, even now, reject the temporal power, the power of deposing kings, and absolving subjects from their allegiance, which they or their fathers rejected on oath. But as regards the Papal Infallibility, they are embarrassed and perplexed : they know that all their bishops used to deny on oath that it is an article of faith. They are aware that all the priesthood in Ireland were, till recently, taught out of a Maynooth class-book, which laid down and defended the following proposition :
It may with sound faith, and without any note of error or schism be denied, that the Roman Pontiff, even speaking ex Cathedra, has the gift of Infallibility.”
This, it may be remarked, was merely a restatement of the 4th Gallican article, drawn up by Bossuet. It can hardly be supposed that the Roman Catholics of these countries who were so long accustomed to receive with implicit faith this teaching—the teaching of the greater part of Europe till recently—can get rid at once (as if they were changing a coat for dinner) of tenets which till yesterday met them in every part of their literature. So absolutely is this the case, that those who had to write against Romanism twenty years since, can testify that they
· Newman, p. 36.
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.
§ 6. GALLICO-ULTRAMONTANISM.
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 : 1 Times, Nov. 17, 1874.