Page images
PDF
EPUB

in Arabic, God alone is God, and Mahomet is his Prophet! However, let us not attach too much importance to this little anecdote, but, as says our Jesuit author, apply the titles of the container to its contents—of the Papal seat, to the Pope himself. The rule of faith, then, according to the medal, will be, the word of the Pope. I confess, I thought that the rule of faith should rather be the Word of God. But there is no need to dwell upon this trifling usurpation ; we shall find in what remains of the picture many other enormities. Neither shall I draw attention to those Bishops, Archbishops, or Cardinals placed at the feet of the Holy See ; for nothing is more common than to see a man place others below him ; but what appears to me monstrous is, that this seat should be placed exactly above the altar-directly above the cross! Is, then, the throne of the Pope superior to the throne of Jesus Christ ?-Is the Pope more than God ? This medal would lead us so to believe ; for observe, that the light of the Holy Ghost, while it rests abundantly on the seat of the servant, scarcely reaches the cross of the Master ; observe, that the angels one furnished with the keys of paradise, another with the fisherman's ring, and a third kneeling in sign of adoration-surround, not the altar of the Lord, but the tiara of the Pope ; lastly, notice that the altar is on the earth, and the tiara in the heavens. It must be owned that here are extravagant pretensions ; so extravagant, that it is difficult to give credence to them. We shall, therefore, do well to rest charitably in doubt on the subject, and wait for enlightenment from the medals that follow.

We have seen the throne vacant, here it is filled. [Medal II.)

And by whom? By Martin V., whose likeness is on the reverse of this second medal. On our right we see three dignitaries of the Church, standing as mere spectators; in the centre, two Cardinals, in the act of placing the tiara on the head of the Sovereign whom they have just nominated ; and lastly, higher up, we read these words which explain the scene, Whom they create, they adore.The man who is kneeling acts out this principle, and himself adores the monarch whom the cardinals enthrone. Now, I see but two possible explanations : either these Cardinals make of the man Martin, a Pope, and then to adore a Pope is idolatry; or of the man Martin they make a god, and then it is blasphemy. Idolaters or blasphemers, take your choice.

In any case, the scene of the medal evidently occurs in a Church ; for on the left we perceive an altar and a cross. Here, then, without any risk, it may be said, that this man sits in the house of God, to be therein adored. Now, this fact had been foretold in the Bible ; for St. Paul speaks of one “who exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped ; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. ii. 4.) But how does the Apostle describe the man of whom he speaks, and whom the Pope realizes ? He calls him “the man of sin, the son of perdition !”

Let us return to the medals. We have seen the throne, and the monarch, let us now turn our attention to the crown. [Medal III.]

Observe the immense ocean, which three ships, freighted with human beings, are traversing-losing themselves in the horizon. It

is the grandest, the most beautiful scene in this vast universe ; and yet this scene fades away from our view under the cross of Jesus Christ. Golgotha commands the world ; the cross is there as a lighthouse, to warn the mariners of rocks and shoals, and direct them to the haven of safety. The three holes, which appear in the foot and the arms of the cross, eloquently preach Christ, who has died to efface our sins, Christ giving his life to save mankind. This, then, is the second thought suggested by this picture ; thus it is with reason that the cross commands the ocean and the universe.

But what do I see above the cross-emblem of the Divinity ? The tiara-emblem of the Papacy! The pontifical crown rises to the heavens, which deluge it with glory. The order of the ideas according to the medal then is this : the ocean commands the earth, the rock commands the ocean, the cross commands the rock, and the tiara commands the cross ! Above the land is the sea ; above the sea is the rock ; above the rock, the cross ; above the cross, the tiara ! The ocean surmounts the earth only; the rock surmounts both the earth and the ocean ; the cross surmounts not only the earth and the ocean, but the rock ; while the tiara alone surmounts the earth, the ocean, the rock, and the cross ! The cross is by turns dominant and subjected; the superb tiara suffers no domination! The crossemblem of Deity, subjects all to itself. except the tiara-emblem of the Pope ; but the tiara subjects all to itself, not excepting Jesus Christ! The ocean, to be sustained, has need of the terrestrial basin ; the rock is guarded by the waves ; the cross itself is supported by

the hill ; but notice the tiara : it rests on no person or thing ; it • sustains itself ! and if any thing touches it, it is the glory descending from the heavens.

Is there by this time enough to render evident the Papal pretensions ? Not yet. Then attend no longer to the symbols, but to the words written at full length around the tiara :

All kings shall obey him.Obey whom ? the tiara dominant, or the cross subjected ? To find the answer, imagine to yourself the little hat of Buonaparte placed on a terrestial globe, just over the spot representing France, and suppose you read these words above it, “ All kings shall obey him.To whom would you think obedience was promised, to France or to the Emperor ? And when this inscription surrounds the tiara placed above the cross, for whom, in that case, is obedience claimed ? I admit that there is in the Papal phrase an ambiguity-prudent, hypocritical, perhaps ; let us then interrogate history for him who thinks that the answer of the medal is not sufficiently clear. When Calixtus III. claimed as his own certain regal rights over Naples,-endeavoured to place his nephew on a throne,-snatched the crown from a monarch, by releasing his subjects from their oaths of allegiance,did this Pope, by so doing, appropriate kings to his own service, or to the service of the cross ? If any doubt still remains, it will be quickly dissipated by the Pope of Popes, Gregory VII., declaring “ that Pope is the only name in the world ; that the Pope may depose Emperors ; that all princes kiss his feet, and that he can be judged

by no one.” Lastly, Hildebrand, in his turn, illustrated his own words by his conduct, in leaving the Emperor, Henry IV., whom he had dethroned, exposed for three days and three nights in the courtyard of his palace, kneeling upon the hardened snow, with no other covering than his shirt'! Was it Jesus, lowly in heart, or a proud Pope, whom the first monarch in the universe thus obeyed ?

Yes, kings have obeyed the false god who reigned at "Rome ; and when these royal servants did not kiss his slipper with a sufficiently good grace, we shall see how their divine master made them feel his authority. · This hunting scene is explained by the inscription it bears : The meek pastor pursues none but wild beasts.” [Medal IV.] .

Why is Paul III. called a meek pastor ? « Because,” answers Bonnani, “ his natural clemency had human blood in horror, in such deep horror, that he was content to punish with mere imprisonment the most detestable criminals."

Who, then, are the wild beasts that so meek a pastor pursues ? Those men must be very guilty to deserve death at the hands of a Pope who inflicts no other punishment than imprisonment on the most detestable criminals ! Had they, like the Emperor Nero, set fire to the city of Rome ? or, like Pope Alexander VI., had they had the same woman for daughter, wife, and daughter-in-law ? No, these ferocious beasts were poor heretics, who dared to aspire after the liberty of thinking differently from the meek pastor: First, there was Peodiebrad, king of Bohemia, a beast ferocious enough to afford shelter to the persecuted Hussites : then there were the historians Platina, Lætus, and other writers, guilty of having published scientific books at the epoch, when Paul III, bad declared it sufficient to know how to read and write. Further, the Jesuit commentator, in order to eulogize this illiterate Pope, says, on the occasion of this very medal : “ That he was not one of those negligent pastors ; and that of this, the punishments inflicted upon the heretics of Pola, (they only put them to death,) the condemnation of the heresiarch Rockizanus, and that of George Peodiebrad are sufficient proofs !”

This, then, is the meekness of a Pope: the persecution of a king ; à massacre of learned men ; the butchery of a people, -all under pretext of heresy. If these were his tender mercies, what were his severities? But I had forgotten that Paul III. never acted with severity, and that his horror of blood was such, that he had not the heart to cause even robbers and assassins to be put to death!

O Papal benignity! ... .

Lastly, it must be granted that all this may yet be surpassed ; and we are going to see the proof of it in the last medal which we have to examine. Medal y.j.

The feast of Saint Bartholomew-that blood memorial which the successors of the Popes would themselves wish effaced from the memory of nations, is here found attributed to its real authors. If statesmen lent their aid to this deed of darkness, Churchmen had called them to it; if Charles IX. fired upon his people, priests had loaded his carbine. But a medal, engraved by the Popes themselves, is going to speak.

We see here a destroying angel-a sword in one hand, a cross in the other—sent to massacre the Huguenots, who have been surprised in the dead of the night. It would be impossible for the clergy to accept more fully the responsibility of this enormous crime. The angel here is not the emblem of the State, but of the Church, and the medal was not struck by King Charles IX., but by Pope Gregory XIII. It is then to this latter individual that the infamy belongs, from which he professes to derive glory. This his panegyrist admits, or rather he boasts of it, and in these terms :-“ Here is the massacre of the Calvinistic rebels called Huguenots ; a massacre censured by a great number of heretics, but approved of by many Catholic defenders ; a massacre which was met by the plaudits of Rome and Spain ; and by the complaints, the accusations, and the doleful groans of Germany, of England, and of Switzerland.”

See here, then,—for a crime the most appalling—the apology, written by a Jesuit and engraved by a Pope!.... But no reflections ; let us leave to Bonnani the task of describing the Pontifical joy. When, therefore, 25,000 innocent persons had been butchered in a few days, partly in Paris, partly in the provinces, and the agreeable news had reached the instigator of so many assassinations : “ This unhoped-for change,” says the Jesuit, “ filled the Pope and Italy with joy so much the more intense, as they had feared that they should see even the Peninsula itself infected with heresy. Immediately on receiving the news, the Pope went from the church of St. Mark to that of St. Louis with solemn pomp ; and having ordained a jubilee, he invited all Christian people to pray for the religion of France, and for the monarch of that realm. He employed George Vasari, at the Vatican, to pourtray the massacre of Coligny and his partisans, as a monument of religion avenged and heresy ruined. Feeling assured that the copious bleeding which had drawn so much corrupt blood from the unhealthy body of France, would be salutary to her, he congratulated the king by his legate, and counselled him to persist vigorously in the work he had undertaken, and not to compromise by mildness what he had so happily commenced by severe remedies.

" To shew that the massacre had been acccomplished by the help of God and under his Divine inspiration (divino consilio), he caused a medal to be struck, on which is seen an angel, armed with a sword and a cross, pursuing the rebels; an image which recalls to the mind both the white crosses with which they had marked the houses of the heretics, and those which the soldiers wore in their caps.”

With what infernal satisfaction the Jesuit depicts the diabolical glee of the Pope! With what delight they both of them see the blood flowing! But, once more, no commentary of our own ; let us listen for the last time to the atrocious calmness with which the Jesuit continues to explain the medal, “St. Jerome teaches us,” says he, “ that angels are the ministers of the Divine wrath, which in this case made use of the weapons of the King. It was thus that an angel of the Lord smote, during the night, 85,000 Assyrians encamped before Jerusalem. Besides, nothing is more ancient than the representation of angels. God commands, in his Law, both to make and preserve these holy images even in the sanctuary of the temple.

Exodus xxv. "Thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, which shall look one to another, in the two ends of the mercy seat.'”

But are we not restraining ourselves too long ? Must we, to be impartial, appear by our silence to approve the most dastardly cruelty cloaked by the most disgusting hypocrisy? No, at length we speak out, and give vent to our whole indignation.

Here, then, are the Popes; proud, idolatrous, ambitious, criminal ! No, I am mistaken ; ordinary crimimals excuse or deny their acts ; but the Popes boast of theirs and glory in them; they distinguish their assassins by the title of Destroying Angel, and believe themselves washed from the blood that has been poured out; they bless their ministers going forth as regicides: if they triumph, they will make kings of them, if they fail, they will make martyrs of them; and thus, perverting both the tongue and the conscience, they call virtue crime, and crime virtue, they merely term such atrocities holy severities, pious frauds, blessed crimes ; and that is all! Ah! ye whited sepulchres ; not thus acted the Divine Master whose name and titles you usurp; and there cannot be a keener censure of your conduct than the history of Jesus Christ. What is there in common between you and this Jesus—so meek, so humble, so pure, so holy? What resemblance between the Saviour wearing a crown of thorns burdened with drops of his own blood, and you wearing a tiara of three stages high, covered with diamonds ? What connexion between his “kingdom,” which he says “is not of this world,” and yours, whose aim is to extend itself over worldly gold and power? What analogy between Jesus refusing to be king, and you usurping crowns ? between Jesus transforming his disciples into servants, and you, of your creatures, making kings and princes? When you present your slipper to be kissed by a monarch, do you greatly resemble Jesus washing the feet of his disciples ? Reposing on the down of your palaces, do you well remember Him who had not where to lay his head? Ye “meek pastors," who eagerly pursue heretics to put them to death, have you taken as your pattern the “Good Shepherd” climbing the mountain to bring back upon his shoulders the wandering sheep? Jesus forgave the Samaritans; you massacre the Huguenots ! Jesus died for sinners; you cause the innocent to be put to death! Jesus, poor and humble, went about doing good; you, rich, haughty, and powerful, sow every where hatred, anathemas, and faggots !

But the Popes of our day, are they not better than those of former times ? Go and ask Ciocci-escaping from the dungeons of the inquisition; go visit the palaces of the Romagna transformed into state prisons; estimate, if you can, the number of mendicants and assassins of the Pontifical States; see the misery and ignorance of the most Catholic nation upon earth, the total absence of industry and commerce, the thinking men proscribed, the learned silenced, and the rest of the world receiving from the Pope for teachers, Jesuits ; for religion, relics ; for precepts, novenas; for salvation, masses ; for hope, purgatory !*

* These lines were traced before the accession of Pius IX. to the pontifical throne. The six months' reign of this model Pope have in no respect altered our

« PreviousContinue »