Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'ment there is of this so little doubt, that concerning such as at 'this day are under the archbishops of Mayence, Cologne, and Treves, being both archbishops and princes of the Empire,-yea, 'such as live within the Pope's own civil territories, there is no cause why any should deny to yield them civil obedience in 'anything which they command, not repugnant to Christian piety; yea, even that civilly for such as are under them not 'to obey them, were but the part of seditious persons.'1 The tone of the Protestant historian and statesman, M. Guizot, in our day, is equally decided. Indeed, his defence of the papal temporalities is one of the ablest extant.

At this point, then, the following may be submitted to the judgment of the reader as probable propositions :

1. That the temporal sway of a Christian bishop is not in itself a thing necessarily immoral or irreligious.

2. That, this being the case, it must be fair to defend such rule, by all lawful means, against extraneous attacks.

3. That prayer offered to God for the continuance of what the suppliants deem to be, at least indirectly, a means of spiritual blessing, has that claim to respect which is due to its own exceeding sacredness, even from those who may think the object of such prayer a mistaken one.

4. That, nevertheless, the temporal government of any ruler, -king, emperor, bishop, president,-must be judged in and by itself as a temporal government, with reference to the ends and objects of such government: and that the same rules must be applicable to it as are applied to other governments by the general conscience of Christendom.

It is, of course, in connexion with the fourth and last of these propositions that differences between ourselves and Dr. Newman are most likely to emerge. Before proceeding further, we propose to supply a very brief epitome of his discourse.

The preacher, firstly, informs his audience that the subject of his address is fixed for him by the Roman Catholic bishop to whom he pays obedience (pp. 5, 6). He states, without claiming to prove it, the view of the Pontiff's spiritual office and position, taken by members of the Church of Rome in the present day (p. 9). He describes the obligations of his co-religionists to the Pope arising from a sense of duty, and from a sense of gratitude (p. 15). Then follow a few sentences on the excellence of the character displayed by Pius the Ninth, and the severity of his trials (p. 16). A second part of the Sermon is devoted to an account of the present crisis in Italy. It commences with a brief and brilliant sketch of the conversion of the barbarians in

1 Eccl. Pol. vii. 15, § 5. Hooker's spelling of the cities is 'Mentz, Colen, and Trevers.'

the earlier Middle Age (p. 17), of the rise and decay of episcopal temporalities; and then proceeds to point out that a large portion of the Pope's subjects now side with his enemies. A statement of their case, as they might be imagined to put it forth, is then given (p. 19), and a rejoinder follows (p. 20). Illustrations in favour of the preacher's views are sought from the history of the Israelites (p. 23). The stiff-necked character of the Roman people is next adduced; their contests with their sovereigns; the seventy years' secession to Avignon. S. Bernard is cited as a witness to the grievous faults of this nation 700 years ago (p. 24). The analogy of Israelitish history is again insisted on and continued (p. 28).

The preacher proceeds to argue for the happiness of small states, instancing Belgium, Holland, Switzerland. But the real question for the Roman people is (he maintains) one of spiritual life or death (p. 29); an assertion, however, which is followed by certain admissions to which we must subsequently call attention (p. 31). Then ensues a passage, powerful, eloquent, unexceptionable in itself, respecting the malice and injuries of Satan (p. 33). The duty of prayer is then urged; and the special object of prayer as regards the Pope is stated to be this: that the territory still his should not be violently taken from him (p. 36).

[ocr errors]

The two following pages describe, with much beauty, the spirit and temper in which all prayer should be offered (p. 38). The probability of the Pope retaining Rome is considered, and regarded as the more probable side of the alternative (p. 41). But the other side is also considered, calmly and without despondency (p. 43). A comparison between the Roman Catholics in Italy and in England is then made; and some eminently beautiful sentences lead to the conclusion that God will give the suppliants what they ask, or will give them something better.

[ocr errors]

We are deeply conscious that to comment upon such a subject, and especially when treated by such a person, is a serious and even a solemn task. Moreover, at the very outset, voices of this kind hover round us: You are Anglican, Protestant, insular, narrow-minded, incapable of understanding the depth and difficulty of the problems at issue.' We understand such language to mean that we ought simply to accept in this matter, without question, the teaching of Archbishop Manning, Dr. Newman, the late Dr. Faber, the Dublin reviewers, and Sir John Simeon.

Now, we cannot thus consent to abnegate what we believe to be our rights. Even supposing that the above-named Roman Catholic authors were all agreed (which is very far from being the case), we should still claim the right of trying to weigh the

evidence before us. Yet thus much we willingly concede, that it is best, under the circumstances, to appeal as little as possible to Anglican witnesses. We shall summon into court almost exclusively French, German, and Italian writers; and, speaking roughly, they may be classed as follows:

Firstly, we shall constantly appeal for facts to the Annuaire des deux Mondes. Having studied this repertory of information since its earliest issue, and having used opportunities of testing its value, we aver that, though often mistaken in its prophecies, it is extraordinarily accurate and trustworthy as regards facts. With it we shall conjoin two works easily accessible to the English reader-Dr. Döllinger's 'Die Kirche und die Kirchen,' and Farini's Lo Stato Romano.' The English translations of these two books will be employed.1 In the latter case, it is mainly on the documents therein cited that we shall rely; because, though many may differ from Farini's comments, no one has ever questiened the genuineness of these documents.

[ocr errors]

Secondly, we shall make use of papers contributed by various writers to the Revue des deux Mondes. Besides quoting volume and page, as will be done in the case of citations from the Annuaire, we shall have here, in each instance, the name of the writer.

Thirdly, we shall give extracts from, or accounts of, certain Italian publications named at the head of this article, written by Azeglio, Perfetti, Filalete (supposed to be Passaglia), and Bartolommeo.

If any fact is mis-stated by us, we shall be glad to correct the error in a future number of this Review. Our chief task will be that of laying before our readers statements drawn from the above-named sources, and of comparing them with the positions taken up in Dr. Newman's able discourse. And here, in ipso limine, we wish to proclaim our recognition of the comparatively temperate tone of his Sermon ; which, indeed, by the side of some publications of his English co-religionists, is moderation itself. Nevertheless, it seems to us calculated to leave on the mind an impression far different from that produced by the writings to which we have just referred.

There are in this discourse particular passages to which we must call attention as we proceed. But there are two or three general principles underlying the drift of Dr. Newman's argu

1 Döllinger. 1 vol. (London: Hurst and Blackett.) 1862. Translated by W. B. MacCabe. Of the account of the Roman States here given the Dublin Review complained; comparing the author, by way of blame, to Lingard; and calling him a Dryasdust, who simply stuck to facts! Well might a weekly publication term this language sublime and unconscious irony !' Farini. Translated by Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone. 4 vols. 1851.) Vol. IV. translated by a Lady, under the superintendenceof Mr. Gladstone. NO. CXXXV.-N.S.



ment, which ought to be noticed before we touch upon details. For these principles will be found, directly or indirectly, to colour our author's treatment of the entire question. We refer especially to (I.) Dr. Newman's language about the Reformation and the Reformers; (II.) his tone respecting the decay of certain institutions; (III.) the manner in which he seems to ignore the real difficulties attendant upon the clerical administration of those functions of government which are ordinarily entrusted to laymen; (IV.) his appeal to the excellence of the ruler's


I. The view of the Reformation supported by Dr. Newman will be fitly introduced by the following passages from the works of two great Roman Catholic theologians of Germany. The first relates to the grounds and causes of the Reformation; the second, to the motives by which Luther and Calvin were actuated.

'We must admit that the anxiety of the German nation to see the intolerable abuses and scandals in the Church removed was fully justified; and that it sprang from the better qualities of our people, and from their moral indignation at the desecration and corruption of holy things, which were degraded to selfish and hypocritical purposes. We do not refuse to admit that the great separation, and the storms and sufferings connected with it, were an awful judgment upon Catholic Christendom, which clergy and laity had but too well deserved-a judgment which has had an improving and salutary effect. The great intellectual conflict has purified the European atmosphere, has impelled the human mind on to new courses, and has promoted a rich scientific and literary life. We have also to acknowedge that in the Church the rust of abuses, and of a mechanical superstition, is always forming afresh; that the servants of the Church sometimes, through insolence and incapacity, and the people through ignorance, brutify the spiritual in religion, and so degrade, and deform, and misemploy it to their own injury. The right reforming spirit must therefore never depart from the Church, but, on the contrary, must periodically break out with renovating strength, and penetrate the conscience and the will of the clergy.'

[ocr errors]


'An obstacle, which makes the Lutheran view more pardonable, since it shows that it sprung out of a true Christian zeal. . . . The Reformers, in the excess of a pious zeal, rejected all exertion on the part of man. It would be in the highest degree unjust if we did not show that, according to the Lutheran system, the renovation of sinful man, the moral changein a word, sanctification-must attach to the confiding reception of the declaration of the forgiveness of sin. . . . Who knows not the brilliant description of faith in his [Luther's] preface to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans? . . . Here the Reformers were evidently misled by the most vague, most confused, yet withal honourable feelings. At all events, it is highly honourable to his [Calvin's] perspicacity, as well as to his Christian spirit, that he saw, or at least felt, that by means of mere learned investigation, the believer could obtain no satisfactory result.' 2


With these passages may be conjoined the expression of the

1 Döllinger, The Church and the Churches, pp. 17, 18.

2 Möhler, Symbolism (Eng. Tr.) vol. i. pp. 130-133, 159, 185, 208; and vol. ii. p. 208.

views of another Roman Catholic, the late King of Bavaria, as reported by Dr. Döllinger:

'As a sincere Christian, the King was convinced of the permanent future of Christianity, and therefore he could not think that the great division and warfare of the Christian confessions could hopelessly remain for all time, that noble intellects would always be uselessly employed in hurting one another. He thought that separation had, by God's permission, had its time, and must serve to higher purposes. This time, if it had not elapsed, was near its end, and he therefore believed that, in spite of all polemical bitterness, in spite of all intermingling of impure self-seeking, in spite of the political interests which were always making use of the division for their own objects, a day of reunion would come for Christian nations, the promise of one fold and one Shepherd would be fully accomplished. He saw that the future junction could not be expected in the form of a simple, unaided, mechanical reunion of the divided confessions. It was also clear to him that there could be no thought of a mere absorption of one Church by the other. He thought that a certain process of purification must be gone through on both sides, and it must be recognised that each of the two bodies, though in an unequal degree, had to receive good from the other, each had to purify itself from faults and one-sidedness by the help of the other, to fill up gaps in its religious and ecclesiastical life, to heal wounds; and neither could be expected to give up an actual good which it had proved in life and history. Under these conditions, sooner or later in the heart of Europe, in Germany, the process of reconciliation and union would go on.'1

Of such sentiments as these we have found but very little trace in Dr. Newman's publications, since he joined the Church of Rome. We do not know that he has ever, with Möhler, given the continental Reformers any credit for good intentions; or, with Döllinger, admitted that the desire for Reformation sprang 'from the better qualities of the German people.' We speak under correction; but, to all appearance, that great movement is, in Dr. Newman's judgment, simply evil. In the sermon before us it is the Protestant revolt' (p. 17); Protestantism, that bitter, energetic enemy of the Holy See' (p. 42). And again (p. 44), the violence of the Reformation . . . it has bred infidels to its confusion.'

[ocr errors]

It would carry us too far from our present subject to comment properly on these last words; to consider what amount of unbelief has arisen from the licence of Protestantism, and how much from the repression exercised by Rome. We should have to ask whether the infidels, only too sadly numerous and energetic, bred in those countries which accepted the Reformation, had proved worse than Diderot, than Voltaire, than Ernest Renan; all of whom were born and brought up in Roman Catholic France. And, as regards the success of that system of stern and cruel repression exercised before the Reformation, we would fain com

1 Guardian, June 8, 1864.

« PreviousContinue »