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THE NEWEST FASHIONS IN RELIGION.
THE VATICAN DECREES.–VATICANISM.-
SPEECHES OF THE POPE.
RIGHT HON. W. E. GLADSTONE, M.P.
COLLECTED EDITION, WITH A PREFACE.
If there has ever been, and if there still be, a question reaching far into the future, it is the question of Church Power, and of its monstrous exaggeration into Papal Power, such as it has now for the first time been accepted by the Latin Church in its corporate capacity; amidst the cold indifference or half-suppressed, ineffectual, murmurs of a multitude of its members, the brave and wise resistance of a portion as yet far smaller, and the apathy, amazement, or indignation of the world.
The vast moment and practical character of the subject form my excuse for republishing together the two Tracts respectively entitled “A Political Expostulation' and · Vaticanism,' and for adding to them, with the proper sanction, an article from the Quarterly Review' of January on the Speeches of Pope Pius IX. It has not been agreeable to deal so pointedly, as in this article, with any personal performances of the very aged and so widely venerated Pontiff. But those performances have been such as to open a new, strange and startling chapter of the general subject, and they require accordingly the searching notice of the world.
The interest attaching to the discussion has led to reprinting the Tracts in America and Australia, and to their translation into various languages. I regret, however, to find that, even at a moment when Ultramontanism bitterly complains of suffering restraint in certain countries, it has been thought worth while, where some, I hope untruly, suppose that system possesses an influence over the existing civil authority, to restrain the circulation of these not very formidable works. The gentleman who translated “The Vatican Decrees' into French, ap· prises me that, on the part of the Government of France, the Duc de Decazes has refused to allow the free sale of the Translation at the railway bookstalls, on the public highways, and in the kiosks. I hope that no similar restraint will be placed on the circulation of the recent translation into French of Monsignor Nardi's Italian answer to my work.
Upon surveying the immediate field of contest, I am thankful to record that many noble protests against a portentous mischief have been called forth. There has also been exhibited, in bad logic but in good faith, much halting at points situate between certain premisses and the undeniably just conclusion from them. Some degree of public attention has, I trust, been drawn not only to the tendency, but to the design, of Vaticanism to disturb civil society; and to proceed, when it may be requisite and practicable, to the issue of blood for the accomplishment of its aims. It has also been shown distinctly to the world, that a pretended Article of the Christian
Faith, namely the Decree of 1870 on Infallibility, may be denied with impunity in the Roman Church. The theological position of that church, brought about by its own suicidal acts, has been sketched with great learning and ability, in the work entitled “Results of the Expostulation, by Umbra Oxoniensis.' And Italy, which holds a position of the utmost importance in relation to this subject, appears to become increasingly aware that she cannot wisely treat the questions of Church and religion by the method of simple neglect.
The adverse comments on Vaticanism’have not been such as seem to call on me for specific notice. I shall, however, take advantage of this preface to offer a few corroborative remarks and statements.
I. The intention of those, who rule the ostensible rulers of the Roman Church, to disturb civil society will doubtless be developed in a variety of forms, as circumstances and seasons may serve, but at present it is nowhere more conspicuous than in regard to the law of marriage. In this intricate subject many doubtful questions may arise; but there can be no doubt as to the shameful outrages on morality and decency which are commended in the works of Perrone, and of which we have recently had within our own borders a signal example. I will very briefly sketch the leading facts of the case I refer to, but without indicating names, dates, or places, as they are not required for my purpose. More than thirty years ago, X, a male British