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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1

III. The Second Proposition

III. The Second Proposition.

I take next my second Proposition: that Rome has refurbished, and paraded anew, every rusty tool she was fondly thought to have disused.

Is this then a fact, or is it not?

I must assume that it is denied; and therefore I cannot wholly pass by the work of proof. But I will state in the fewest possible words, and with references, a few propositions, all the holders of which have been condemned by the See of Rome during my own generation, and especially within the last twelve or fifteen years. And, in order that I may do nothing towards importing passion into what is matter of page 16 pure argument, I will avoid citing any of the fearfully energetic epithets in which the condemnations are sometimes clothed.

1. Those who maintain the Liberty of the Press. Encyclical Letter of Pope Gregory XVI., in 1831: and of Pope Pius IX., in 1864.

2. Or the liberty of conscience and of worship. Encyclical of Pius IX., December 8, 1864.

3. Or the liberty of speech. 'Syllabus' of March 18, 1861. Prop, lxxix. Encyclical of Pope Pius IX., December 8, 1864.

4. Or who contend that Papal judgments and decrees may, without sin, be disobeyed, or differed from, unless they treat of the rules (dogmata) of faith or morals. Ibid.

5. Or who assign to the State the power of defining the civil rights (jura) and province of the Church. 'Syllabus' of Pope Pius IX., March 8, 1861. Ibid. Prop. xix.

6. Or who hold that Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils have transgressed the limits of their power, and usurped the rights of princes. Ibid. Prop, xxiii.

(It must be borne in mind, that "Ecumenical Councils" here mean Roman Councils, not recognised by the rest of the Church. The Councils of the early Church did not interfere with the jurisdiction of the civil power.)

7. Or that the Church may not employ force. page 17 (Ecclesia vis inferendæ potestatem non habet.) 'Syllabus,' Prop. xxiv.

8. Or that power, not inherent in the office of the Episcopate, but granted to it by the civil authority, may be withdrawn from it at the discretion of that authority. Ibid. Prop. xxv.

9. Or that the civil immunity (immunitas) of the Church and its ministers, depends upon civil right. Ibid. Prop. xxx.

10. Or that in the conflict of laws civil and ecclesiastical, the civil law should prevail. Ibid. Prop. xlii.

11. Or that any method of instruction of youth, solely secular, may be approved. Ibid. Prop, xlviii.

12. Or that knowledge of things philosophical and civil, may and should decline to be guided by Divine and Ecclesiastical authority. Ibid. Prop. lvii.

13. Or that marriage is not in its essence a Sacrament. Ibid. Prop. lxvi.

14. Or that marriage, not sacramentally contracted, (si sacramentum excludatur) has a binding force. Ibid. Prop. Ixxiii.

15. Or that the abolition of the Temporal Power of the Popedom would be highly advantageous to the Church. Ibid. Prop. Ixxvi. Also lxx.

16. Or that any other religion than the Roman religion may be established by a State. Ibid. Prop, lxxvii.

17. Or that in "Countries called Catholic," the page 18 free exercise of other religions may laudably be allowed. 'Syllabus,' Prop, lxxviii.

18. Or that the Roman Pontiff ought to come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization. Ibid. Prop. lxxx. *

This list is now perhaps sufficiently extended, although I have as yet not touched the decrees of 1870. But, before quitting it, I must offer three observations on what it contains.

Firstly. I do not place all the Propositions in one and the same category; for there are a portion of them which, as far as I can judge, might, by the combined aid of favourable construction and vigorous explanation, be brought within bounds. And I hold that favourable construction of the terms used in controversies is the right general rule. But this can only be so, when construction is an open question. When the author of certain propositions claims, as in the case before us, a sole and unlimited power to interpret them in such manner and by such rules as he may from time to time think fit, the only defence for all others concerned is at once to judge for themselves, how much of unreason or of mischief the words, naturally understood, may contain.

Secondly. It may appear, upon a hasty perusal, that neither the infliction of penalty in life, limb,

* For the original passages from the Encyclical and Syllabus of Pins IX., see Appendix A.

page 19 liberty, or goods, on disobedient members of the Christian Church, nor the title to depose sovereigns, and release subjects from their allegiance, with all its revolting consequences, has been here reaffirmed. In terms, there is no mention of them; but in the substance of the propositions, I grieve to say, they are beyond doubt included. For it is notorious that they have been declared and decreed by "Rome," that is to say by Popes and Papal Councils; and the stringent condemnations of the Syllabus include all those who hold that Popes and Papal Councils (declared ecumenical) have transgressed the just limits of their power, or usurped the rights of princes. What have been their opinions and decrees about persecution I need hardly say; and indeed the right to employ physical force is even here undisguisedly claimed (No. 7).
Even while I am writing, I am reminded, from an unquestionable source, of the words of Pope Pius IX. himself on the deposing power. I add only a few italics; the words appear as given in a translation, without the original:—

"The present Pontiff used these words in replying to the address from the Academia of the Catholic Religion (July 21, 1873):—

"'There are many errors regarding the Infallibility: but the most malicious of all is that which includes, in that dogma, the right of deposing sovereigns, and declaring the people no longer bound by the obligation of fidelity. This right has now and again, in critical circumstances, been exercised by the Pontiffs: but it has nothing to do with Papal Infallibility. Its origin was not the infallibility, but the authority of the Pope. This page 20 authority, in accordance with public right, which was then vigorous, and with the acquiescence of all Christian nations, who reverenced in the Pope the supreme Judge of the Christian Commonwealth, extended so far as to pass judgment, even in civil affairs, on the acts of Princes and of Nations.'"*

Lastly. I must observe that these are not mere opinions of the Pope himself, nor even are they opinions which he might paternally recommend to the pious consideration of the faithful. With the promulgation of his opinions is unhappily combined, in the Encyclical Letter, which virtually, though not expressly, includes the whole, a command to all his spiritual children (from which command we the disobedient children are in no way excluded) to hold them.

"Itaque omnes et singulas pravas opiniones et doctrinas singillatim hisce literis commemoratas auctoritate nostra Apostolicâ reprobamus, proscribimus, atque damnamus; easque ab omnibus Catholicæ Ecclesiæ filiis, veluti reprobatas, proscriptas, atque damnatas omnino haberi volumus et mandamus." Encycl. Dec. 8, 1864.

And the decrees of 1870 will presently show us, what they establish as the binding force of the mandate thus conveyed to the Christian world.

* 'Civilization and the See of Rome.' By Lord Robert Montagu. Dublin, 1874. A Lecture delivered under the auspices of the Catholic Union of Ireland. I have a little misgiving about the version: but not of a nature to affect the substance.