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of their Sovereign. In his very ignorance he nevertheless shews the abhorrence in which he holds a false oath. Whereas in the alternative of perjury or suffering, he recommends to the Catholics to suffer for ever under the penal laws, sooner than to take an oath which he deems erroneous. The same can be said of Burke, who calls it horrible impiety, to say that a Catholic who had sworn allegiance to George the Third, should abjure the same King if he became a Catholic. Under the change of re. ligion, he considers the oath taken to a Protestant King still binding, when he alters his creed. Of what advantage then Ghilini's letter can be to the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's cause, after the bustle it has occasioned, let the reader determine. This case of conscience proposed to an Italian, by a doating Prelate who, filled up a volume with minutiæ and trifling occurrences, concerns the Ca. tholics of Ireland as much as the question which Rabelais proposed to the logicians; whether a chimæra bouncing in a vacuum, could eat up the premises of a syllogism? * Numquid chimæra in vacuo, bombinans possit comedere, primas intentiones?
The Lord Bishop of Cloyne cries out with an air of triumph, who is the voucher to be set in opposition to the
Legate of the Pope? And I raise my voice in my turn. · Who is the Pope's Legate? A man who did not know the nature of the subject of his letter, to be set in opposition to the Catholic clergy of Ireland ? Or who is the Pope him. self, to be set in opposition to all ages acknowledging the right that Temporal Princes have to the allegiance of their subjects; whether those Princes were Trojans or Constantines ? Or who is the Lord Bishop of Cloyne, to be fabricating creeds for his neighbours ? Are not Catholic Prelates better and more competent vouchers of the Catholic doctrine, than a person reared out of their communion? He may alarm the ignorant with a letter which the Catholic Prelates condemned in the year 1775. If he attacks the Catholics on a fair ground, why does not he explain their genuine principles? Or does he intend to sport with com. mon sense, in erecting the decision of every doating Casuist, into an article of Catholic belief? If he does, I shall meet him on his own ground and swell his creed to an enormous bulk, by adding to it the reveries and extravagant opinions of those writers who attacked the church of Rome, and at the same time struck into those devious paths, in which the Lord Bishop of Cloyne must acknowledge that scripture was not their guide ; or if he acknowledges it, he must renounce his creed... .
The Lord Bishop of Cloyne has favoured the public with the Catholic Bishops' consecration oath: and from what mo. tive? To insinuate to the public, that the oath of allegiance they have taken to their Sovereign is not to be relied on, and consequently that they and their flocks are not to be trusted. I should imagine that common justice should have induced him, not to throw out such an injurious intimation, and that the Catholic Prelates are the most competent judges of the sense and meaning of an oath which thty take at their consecration.
The Lord Bishop of Cloyne has translated the entire oath at the close, and given the most obnoxious clauses of it in the twenty-third page of his pamphlet. Let us now examine the most obnoxious clauses of this oath. For as to visiting the thresholds of the Apostles every three years; I believe the Lord Bishop of Cloyne would not quarrel with his fellow Prelates whom his pamphlet is calculated to transport out of the kingdom.
I. "They promise to be faithful and obedient to Saint • Peter the Apostle, and to the Holy Roman Church, and
to their Lord the Pope, and his successors canonically, "entering.'
II. "The Roman Papacy and the royalties of Saint Peter, to assist the Pope and his successors, to retain and defend against every man.'
Ill. “The rights, honours, privileges and authority of the Holy Roman Church, and of their Lord the Pope, and his "successors aforesaid, to be careful to preserve, defend, enlarge, and promote.? ..
IV. 'Heretics, schismatics, and rebels, against their said. "Lord, and his successors aforesaid, they will, to the ut. : most of their power, prosecute and oppose.?
• V. Not to be concerned in any thing prejudicial to the Pope or Roman Church; but as far as they are able to pre. vent the same.' · Such are the obnoxious clauses of the Bishops' consecra. tion oath, in the midst of which is inserted in express words, a saving clause which speaks the dignity of Catholic Bishops, and reconciles their allegiance to their respective Sovereigns with the canonical obedience due to their head pastor. Salvo meo ordine-Saving my order. This clause does away every difficulty, and leaves the sceptre in the Prince's hands, whilst it leaves the censer in the hands of the Pontiff. • The oath then is but an oath of canonical obedience due from an inferior to a superior, in every church that acknowledges a Hierarchy. But an oath of allegiance is due to Temporal Princes alone; and doubtless the Bishops in the Pope's states can take both one and the other, for in those states they have no other Sovereign. · When then they bind themselves to preserve, defend, en. large and promote the rights, honours, privileges and autho. rity of the Roman Church and its Ponrift! Catholic Bi.' shops mean their just rights, their just honours, their just pri. vileges, and their just authority, which do not nor can extend to the overthrow of states, nor to the usurpation of the just and lawful rights, honours, privileges, and authority of others.
For an oath is not a tie of iniquity : an unjust oath taken to God himself is not binding; and an oath taken to one person to the prejudice of another is null and void. Hence the religious warrior in the Scripture, who in consequence of his oath offered up his daughter, offered to God a sacrilegious sacrifice. Herod, who bound himself by oath to give the young woman who danced in his presence, whatever she required, was guilty of murder in giving her the Prophet's head; and the Bishops would be guilty of robbery, treachery, and profanation, if they bound themselves by their consecration to dethrone their Sovereigns, plunder individuals, and disturb the peace and order of civil society, to defend, enlarge, and promote the royalties of Saint Peter, which are merely confined to a Spiritual. Supremacy, and extend to no superiority in temporals. Let the form of words be what it
their own pics of their ore Bishops are's to be laid on one gene.
may, the Bishops never take that oath in any sense injurious to Sovereigns, nor to civil society. The Sovereign Pontiff knows they do not: before they are consecrated, they must swear allegiance to their respective Sovereigns, who are as jealous of their privileges as any Protestant Monarchs.
Oaths and laws are liable to interpretation; and one genes ral rule prevails, that a greater stress is to be laid on the sense than on the words. The Bishops are not only the most competent judges of their own meanings, but moreover secure their own dignity, and the rights of their respective Soves reigns, by an express clause ; Salvo meo ordine, saving my order, as a Bishop who receives his jurisdiction and the right of determining on doctrinal matters by his consecration, and not as a vassal or vicegerent of the Pope. Salvo meo ordine, Saving my order, as a subject bound to give Cæsar his due, and to pay allegiance to the reigning powers in whose states I reside. Salvo meo ordine, Saving my order, as a Minister of the Gospel, who is to preach the word, and who takes his oath in no other sense, than to prosecute by arguments, and impugn by persuasion, reason and good example, those who are of a different persuasion, and are willing to be convinced. Any other prosecution or persecution, let the term be what it may, is inconsistent with humanity, much more with the order of a Christian Prelate, who takes not, who cannot take the oath in any other sense. He cannot take the sword out of the hands of the civil magistrates, nor injure any description of men who are under the protection of the state.
Does the Lord Bishop of Cloyne mean to hold up the Ca. tholic Prelates all over the world, as a set of perjurers? Are the Catholic Bishops in Germany, some of whom are Sove. reign Princes, with numbers of religious descriptions in their states, are they perjurers ?
This cavil at the Catholic Bishops' consecration oath, is but a dispute about words. They themselves know best in what sense they take it; and no Catholic Prelate on earth takes it in the sense which the Lord Bishop of Cloyne intimates to the public.
When the Practors of the Court of Arches are sworn into
though it is incum Jurisdiction of the concertain cases the
office, they bind themselves by oath, without any • Salvo or
reserving clause, nerer to impugn, diminish, or abridge the rights, liberties, or privileges of the church of Canterbury in manner whatever. Quoquo Modo.
Nunquam ad impugnationeni, diminutionem, vel læsionem juris, libertatis, vel privilegit Cantuuriensis, Ecclesiæ postulabo ; nec jus libertatem, vel privilegeiun ejusdem Ecclesiæ QUOQUO MODO, impugnabo, &c. (vide statuto de arcabus, Stratford.) -Yet Oughton in his ordo judiciorum, De causis testamentrus ; Titulus, 224, acknowledges that in certain cases they can decline the jurisdiction of the Court of Prerogative, though it is incumbent on them in such cases to proceed with the greatest and most delicate sincerity, in order not to incur the guilt of perjury, Notandum tamen est quod expedit procuratori negaati jurisdictionem curiæ prærogativce, bona ei optima fide alias committit perjurium.
It is well known, that the prerogative courts claim jurisdiction in many cases in which the courts of common law deny them jurisdiction ; yet it would be absurd to say that the Proctors of those prerogative courts are enemies to the laws of the realm, or perjure themselves in consequence of their oath, as it is absurd to imagine that Catholic Bishops äre by their profession hostile to the rights and privileges of their respective Sovereigns, or perjure themselves by taking an oath of Canonical obedience. In the Prelate's oath, there is an express saving clause. In the Proctor's bath there is no reserve, but such as justice and reason imply: all oáths must be reasonable and just. And in the interpretation of them, the intention of the swearers and of those to whom they are taken, and the sense in which both parties understand them, are to be strictly attended to. * The Lord Bishop of Cloyne then might with propriety have späred himself the trouble of alarming the public with the consecration oath of Catholic Prelates; especially as his own consecration oath is not favourable if literally taken for want of the dignified saying clause inserted in the oath of Catholic Bishops,