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you intend to commit may be pardoned.' But it is to be most carefully noted that Luther himself never accused Tetzel of claiming to give an indemnity for future sins. Let the fair-minded reader examine Luther's famous XCV. Theses, and I shall be astonished if, even from their evidence, he does not arrive at the conclusion that Tetzel held and proclaimed the exact doctrine that the Church holds at this day. But we have also the CX. Antitheses in which Tetzel replies to him. They, at least, are plain enough. To adopt Janssen's summary,
Tetzel, in these propositions insists principally on the following points: that Indulgences do not forgive sin; that they only remit the temporal punishment of sin, and only when the sin has been repented of and confessed; that the doctrine of Indulgences does not in any way diminish the belief of the Catholic in the sole efficacy of the merits of Christ, since an Indulgence rather substitutes Christ's merits for man's expiation."4
This evidence, and the clear teaching of the Council of Constance, one hundred years before Luther was heard of, and of Pope Leo X. (1518), ought to be sufficient to show what the Catholic teaching was in Luther's time. Bishop Creighton, in his History of the Papacy, has lent the weight of his authority to the assertion that the Church has altered her doctrine on Indulgences since the time of the Reformation scandals. There were scandals; but there is really no evidence, except that of polemical non-Catholics, of any alteration of teaching. 15 On the other hand there is clear proof, in the Instructio Summaria issued in Saxony to the preachers of the Indulgence, that the true nature of such remissions was carefully explained to the people. Unfortunately, the admitted abuses, already spoken of, lent themselves to picturesque and racy description. People remember such phrases as Luther's 'coin chinking against the bottom of the money-box,' and Tyndale's quenching the fire of hell for three-halfpence.' But in spite of such misrepresentations, the faithful knew what Indulgences meant. Speaking especially of this country, Abbot Gasquet says: 'In the literature of the period' (that is, about A.D. 1500) . . . 'there is nothing to show that the nature of a pardon or Indulgence was not fully and commonly understood. There is no evidence that it was in any way interpreted as a remission of sin, still less that any one was foolish enough to regard it as permission to commit this or that offence against God.' 16
It is sometimes objected that the very words in which the grant of an Indulgence has at times been made-words which in more modern days have been carefully altered-show what was the theory
14 Quoted from the French translation, L'Allemagne et la Réforme, vol. ii. p. 79. 15 This question, and other matters connected with it, are well discussed by the Rev. F. Sydney Smith, in a brochure entitled Luther and Tetzel (Catholic Truth Society).
16 The Eve of the Reformation, p. 437.
of the mediaval Popes. Can you deny, we are asked, that Indulgences have been granted expressly a poenâ et culpâ? What does that mean, except from punishment and guilt'? Some writers of great authority, such as Pope Benedict XIV., have given it as their opinion that all Indulgences in which this phrasing is used are spurious." However that may be, there can be no doubt that it was a popular phrase from about the thirteenth century onwards. But it seems to be quite certain that all the theological writers who treat of it consistently explain it as including confession, and therefore not as meaning that an Indulgence forgives sins. Their teaching-I am speaking of writers between the thirteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth-is practically unanimous that indulgentia a poenâ et culpâ does not pretend to remit guilt, and that, in order to gain any Indulgence, the state of grace' (a Catholic expression for 'freedom from the guilt of sin') is absolutely necessary. They offer explanations of the phrase in question which vary to a certain extent, but they all agree in the points stated. We gather from them that it was not a form of words chosen by theologians, but rather a popular fashion of speaking, derived from some more full and formal legal expression. Many Catholic writers think-and I agree with them --that it is a condensed form of expressing the two points which the grant of a great Indulgence always contains-the remission of punishment (as explained) and the removal of reservation of jurisdiction in the confessional. To understand the latter point, it must be remembered that for an Indulgence confession is required. Now, in the Middle Ages, and to a certain extent at this day, there are a number of heinous descriptions of sin which an ordinary priest has no power over (in the confessional), but which the Bishop, or even the Pope, 'reserves' to his own jurisdiction. This is often very hard upon the penitent—and it is intended to be hard. But, at a jubilee, or great Indulgence, this reservation is generally taken off, so that any confessor can deal with any sins whatsoever. There seems to be little doubt that the expression a poenâ et culpâ was a stock phrase conveying in a condensed and convenient form what I have stated. And if it was ever used by a Pope, or if it is ever used again, this was, or will be, its significance.18
It is not my purpose, in this paper, to write a treatise on Indulgences. I have tried to give, in plain and simple words, a statement of the Catholic view-or, as we should call it, the Catholic faith. But it should be well understood by our non-Catholic friends that the doctrine of Indulgences, and the practical outcome of that doctrine, are not things that the Church at this present day in any
De Synodo Diocesand, xiii. 18, 7.
For a fuller treatment of this matter the reader may profitably consult the recently published Holy Year of Jubilee, by the Rev. Herbert Thurston (Sands & Co.).
way wishes to conceal or to apologise for. On the contrary, Catholics are convinced that the preaching and the practice of Indulgences are of the utmost profit to the souls of Christians, religiously, morally, and devotionally. They protect the true doctrine of sin and sin's remission. In our view, nothing can be more deadly or condemnable than the view that these souls of ours, with all their blindness and infirmity, are not capable of being restored, by the infusion of Christ's grace, to a regenerate and holy state, in which they become pleasing to God, not merely because He will not impute' their sinfulness, but because their sinfulness has turned to innocence. Nothing can be more fatal and destructive than the view that the acts of a soul, even after acceptance,' are still corrupt and deserving of damnation. Such teaching leads to the repudiation of the moral law; for why strive to do good when bad can be reputed good by only leaning on Christ? I do not believe that many non-Catholics go by any means so far as this. I admit that Calvin himself, all through the Institution, protests, although with poor reason, against such a practical inference. But, as he himself very strongly declares, others had no such hesitation. The doctrine of Indulgences keeps alive the grand truth that a soul may be holy and yet may be liable to punishment; may be in the state deserving of everlasting bliss, and yet not pure enough to be admitted at once; may be at peace in the Blood of Christ, and yet may feel itself bound to strive and suffer and use Christian ordinances to make more sure of admission to glory and of perseverance in grace. The doctrine of Indulgences keeps up faith in the world to come. The prevalent practice in the modern Christian world, such as we know it in these countries, is to live in and for this world, and to leave the question of the soul's lot in the next world to God.' A holy phrase! But if, as Catholics hold, God has made it known that contrition, amendment, Sacraments, and the spiritual jurisdiction of His Church will have enormous effect on the lot of the soul after death, then the ordinary use of such a phrase is really to seek safety in shutting one's eyes. Morally, the practice of Indulgences, as Catholics well know by experience, is to make the Christian heart more and more sensitive to the defilement of sin and more and more inclined to religious ways. We call Indulgencies a 'remission,' and so they are. But the conditions on which they are almost invariably granted make that remission really a substitution or commutation. An Indulgence is offered if a man prays, in such a place, for such and such a purpose; and it also presupposes all the spiritual activity that is implied in the Sacrament of Penance. So that it comes to this-that an Indulgence cannot be gained unless there is increased attention to God, lifting up of the heart to Him, and consequent nearness to Him. Nor is it any reply to say that all this spiritual emotion could occur, or be excited, without Popes, pardoners or jubilees. The visibility of the
Church, and the external ministry of the sacramental system, is, as we hold, part of Christ's ordinance. And it is apparently intended for a grand moral purpose. It is intended to deepen, to regulate, and to intensify interior religion. If we believe our Lord's word, the essence of the Christian spirit is a certain childlike docility. It is a simple fact that a man cannot be childlike unless he has practised himself in submitting to another man, and in conforming himself to an external ordinance which he has not established for himself. We all know that spiritual acts, such as worship, oblation, petition, and contrition, are apt to cease, to ebb like the tide of the sea, from the sand of our conscious nature, in the business and absorption of life. A command of authority, a fixed duty, a determined time, a defined exercise-all the manifestations of external ministry are so many calls and warnings, so much exhortation and stimulus, to the things we forget most easily. Moreover, no philosophical mind will deny that the external act intensifies the internal. To visit a church, to kneel, to receive Holy Communion, to bow the head under absolution, to follow the Sacrifice, to visit the tombs of the martyrs-such things put a certain pressure on the mind, will, and heart. Even ritualallowing for the variety of temperament, of nationality and of education-may be said to be, generally speaking, a Divinely ordained means for elevating the spirit of man towards his Creator. If the doctrine of Indulgences is liable to abuse, it shares in this respect with many of the most Divine and profitable ordinances that our Redeemer has left us. If the practice of that teaching has been abused, the Sovereign Pontiff and the Bishops, and the vast body of the clergy and laity are united in a firm determination to put down all such abuses, as far as human endeavour can do so. But the doctrine and the practice will go on. We are anxious that nonCatholics should understand our position, and when they do, it will certainly be found that their opposition and dislike are grounded not on the behaviour of the medieval pardoners, the rapacity of the German questors, or the incautious language of a preacher here and there, but really on differences and (as we hold) errors of their own which lie much deeper, and which affect the fundamental doctrines of the religion of Jesus Christ.
JOHN CUTHBERT HEDLEY.
NOTE ON THE PAPAL INDULGENCE
[By the Editor]
IN the November number of this Review (on page 824) the following passage appeared in an article signed by L. C. Morant':
• His Holiness has bestowed upon him' (Josef Mayer) ‘ a pardon not only for all his own sins, past and present and future, but also, with a truly lavish generosity, for those of all his children. It is with a face of genuine pride and wholesome satisfaction that this grey-bearded child of Rome shows to a few favoured visitors the slip of paper signed by the Pope which means so much to him and his.'
This statement was immediately and warmly challenged by Cardinal Vaughan and other Catholics. The Cardinal wrote as follows:
Dear Mr. Knowles,-Please read in Nineteenth Century, page 824, twelfth line from top of page, a shocking piece of ignorance or of malice. The thing is just simply impossible. Will you print a short contradiction of it, in your next issue?
HERBERT CARD. VAUGHAN.
I sent on the Cardinal's letter to 'L. C. Morant, Esq.', and wrote :'I assume you would not have made such a statement as you have done without a full and entire knowledge of the facts. May I ask you kindly to send me, at once and in detail, the proofs of it, that I transmit them to the Cardinal ? '
I received an answer from 'Lilian C. Morant,' (whom I then first learnt to be a lady), saying that she had not seen the document herself, but that a friend had done so, from whom she derived her information, and who now wrote to her, I cannot quite remember the words'!
She added that should the Indulgence granted to Josef Mayer prove, when literally translated, to be nothing more than a mere dispensation of the Church's censure she should, of course, be willing to make a very sincere apology to Cardinal Vaughan and myself.
I replied that I trusted, for her own sake as well as mine, she