When the Council opened, many bishops were bewildered and dispirited by the Bull Multiplices. They feared that a struggle could not be averted, as, even if no dogmatic question was raised, their rights were cancelled in a way that would make the Pope absolute in dogma. One of the Cardinals caused him to be informed that the Regulation would be resisted. But Pius IX. knew that in all that procession of 750 bishops one idea prevailed. Men whose word is powerful in the centres of civilisation, men who three months before were confronting martyrdom among barbarians, preachers at Notre Dame, professors from Germany, Republicans from Western America, men with every sort of training and every sort of experience, had come together as confident and as eager as the prelates of Rome itself, to hail the Pope infallible. Resistance was improbable, for it was hopeless. It was improbable that bishops who had refused no token of submission for twenty years would now combine to inflict dishonour on the Pope. In their address of 1867 they had confessed that he is the father and teacher of all Christians; that all the things he has spoken were spoken by St. Peter through him; that they would believe and teach all that he believed and taught. In 1854 they had allowed him to proclaim a dogma, which some of them dreaded and some opposed, but to which all submitted when he had decreed without the intervention of a Council. The recent display of opposition did not justify serious alarm. The Fulda bishops feared the consequences in Germany; but they affirmed that all were united, and that there would be no new dogma. They were perfectly informed of all that was being got ready in Rome. The words of their pastoral meant nothing if they did not mean that infallibility was no new dogma, and that all the bishops believed in it. Even the Bishop of Orleans avoided a direct attack on the doctrine, proclaimed his own devotion to the Pope, and promised that the Council would be a scene of concord. It was certain that any real attempt that might be made to prevent the definition could be overwhelmed by the preponderance of those bishops whom the modern constitution of the Church places in dependence on Rome.
The only bishops whose position made them capable of resisting were the Germans and the French; and all that Rome would have to contend with was the modern liberalism and decrepit Gallicanism of France, and the science of Germany. The Gallican school was nearly extinct; it had no footing in other countries, and it was essentially odious to the liberals. The most serious minds of the liberal party were conscious that Rome was as dangerous to ecclesiastical liberty as Paris. But, since the Syllabus made it impossible to pursue the liberal doctrines consistently without collision with Rome, they had ceased to be professed with a robust and earnest confidence, and the party was disorganised. They set up the pretence that the real adversary of their opinions was not the Pope, but a French newspaper; and they fought the King's troops in the King's name. When the Bishop of Orleans made his declaration, they fell back, and left him to mount the breach alone. Montalembert, the most vigorous spirit among them, became isolated from his former friends, and accused them, with increasing vehemence, of being traitors to their principles. During the last disheartening year of his life he turned away from the clergy of his country, which was sunk in Romanism, and felt that the real abode of his opinions was on the Rhine. It was only lately that the ideas of the Coblentz address, which had so deeply touched the sympathies of Montalembert, had spread widely in Germany. They had their seat in the universities; and their transit from the interior of lecture-rooms to the outer world was laborious and slow. The invasion of Roman doctrines had given vigour and popularity to those which opposed them, but the growing influence of the universities brought them into direct antagonism with the episcopate. The Austrian bishops were generally beyond its reach, and the German bishops were generally at war with it. In December, one of the most illustrious of them said: "We bishops are absorbed in our work, and are not scholars. We sadly need the help of those that are. It is to be hoped that the Council will raise only such questions as can be dealt with competently by practical experience and common sense." The force that Germany wields in theology was only partially represented in its episcopate.
At the opening of the Council the known opposition consisted of four men. Cardinal Schwarzenberg had not published his opinion, but he made it known as soon as he came to Rome. He brought with him a printed paper, entitled Desideria patribus Concilii oecumenici proponenda, in which he adopted the ideas of the divines and canonists who are the teachers of his Bohemian clergy. He entreated the Council not to multiply unnecessary articles of faith, and in particular to abstain from defining papal infallibility, which was beset with difficulties, and would make the foundations of faith to tremble even in the devoutest souls. He pointed out that the Index could not continue on its present footing, and urged that the Church should seek her strength in the cultivation of liberty and learning, not in privilege and coercion; that she should rely on popular institutions, and obtain popular support. He warmly advocated the system of autonomy that was springing up in Hungary. Unlike Schwarzenberg, Dupanloup, and Maret, the Archbishop of Paris had taken no hostile step in reference to the Council, but he was feared the most of all the men expected at Rome. The Pope had refused to make him a cardinal, and had written to him a letter of reproof such as has seldom been received by a bishop. It was felt that he was hostile, not episodically, to a single measure, but to the peculiar spirit of this pontificate. He had none of the conventional prejudices and assumed antipathies which are congenial to the hierarchical mind. He was without passion or pathos or affectation; and he had good sense, a perfect temper, and an intolerable wit. It was characteristic of him that he made the Syllabus an occasion to impress moderation on the Pope: "Your blame has power, O Vicar of Jesus Christ; but your blessing is more potent still. God has raised you to the apostolic See between the two halves of this century, that you may absolve the one and inaugurate the other. Be it yours to reconcile reason with faith, liberty with authority, politics with the Church. From the height of that triple majesty with which religion, age, and misfortune adorn you, all that you do and all that you say reaches far, to disconcert or to encourage the nations. Give them from your large priestly heart one word to amnesty the past, to reassure the present, and to open the horizons of the future."
The security into which many unsuspecting bishops had been lulled quickly disappeared; and they understood that they were in presence of a conspiracy which would succeed at once if they did not provide against acclamation, and must succeed at last if they allowed themselves to be caught in the toils of the Bull Multiplices. It was necessary to make sure that no decree should be passed without reasonable discussion, and to make a stand against the regulation. The first congregation, held on the 10th of December, was a scene of confusion; but it appeared that a bishop from the Turkish frontier had risen against the order of proceeding, and that the President had stopped him, saying that this was a matter decided by the Pope, and not submitted to the Council. The bishops perceived that they were in a snare. Some began to think of going home. Others argued that questions of Divine right were affected by the regulation, and that they were bound to stake the existence of the Council upon them. Many were more eager on this point of law than on the point of dogma, and were brought under the influence of the more clear-sighted men, with whom they would not have come in contact through any sympathy on the question of infallibility. The desire of protesting against the violation of privileges was an imperfect bond. The bishops had not yet learned to know each other; and they had so strongly impressed upon their flocks at home the idea that Rome ought to be trusted, that they were going to manifest the unity of the Church and to confound the insinuations of her enemies, that they were not quick to admit all the significance of the facts they found. Nothing vigorous was possible in a body of so loose a texture. The softer materials had to be eliminated, the stronger welded together by severe and constant pressure, before an opposition could be made capable of effective action. They signed protests that were of no effect. They petitioned; they did not resist.
It was seen how much Rome had gained by excluding the ambassadors; for this question of forms and regulations would have admitted the action of diplomacy. The idea of being represented at the Council was revived in France; and a weary negotiation began, which lasted several months, and accomplished nothing but delay. It was not till the policy of intervention had ignominiously failed, and till its failure had left the Roman court to cope with the bishops alone, that the real question was brought on for discussion. And as long as the chance remained that political considerations might keep infallibility out of the Council, the opposition abstained from declaring its real sentiments. Its union was precarious and delusive, but it lasted in this state long enough to enable secondary influences to do much towards supplying the place of principles.
While the protesting bishops were not committed against infallibility, it would have been possible to prevent resistance to the bull from becoming resistance to the dogma. The Bishop of Grenoble, who was reputed a good divine among his countrymen, was sounded in order to discover how far he would go; and it was ascertained that he admitted the doctrine substantially. At the same time, the friends of the Bishop of Orleans were insisting that he had questioned not the dogma but the definition; and Maret, in the defence of his book, declared that he attributed no infallibility to the episcopate apart from the Pope. If the bishops had been consulted separately, without the terror of a decree, it is probable that the number of those who absolutely rejected the doctrine would have been extremely small. There were many who had never thought seriously about it, or imagined that it was true in a pious sense, though not capable of proof in controversy. The possibility of an understanding seemed so near that the archbishop of Westminster, who held the Pope infallible apart from the episcopate, required that the words should be translated into French in the sense of independence, and not of exclusion. An ambiguous formula embodying the view common to both parties, or founded on mutual concession, would have done more for the liberty than the unity of opinion, and would not have strengthened the authority of the Pope. It was resolved to proceed with caution, putting in motion the strong machinery of Rome, and exhausting the advantages of organisation and foreknowledge.
The first act of the Council was to elect the Commission on Dogma. A proposal was made on very high authority that the list should be drawn up so as to represent the different opinions fairly, and to include some of the chief opponents. They would have been subjected to other influences than those which sustain party leaders; they would have been separated from their friends and brought into frequent contact with adversaries; they would have felt the strain of official responsibility; and the opposition would have been decapitated. If these sagacious counsels had been followed, the harvest of July might have been gathered in January, and the reaction that was excited in the long struggle that ensued might have been prevented. Cardinal de Angelis, who ostensibly managed the elections, and was advised by Archbishop Manning, preferred the opposite and more prudent course. He caused a lithographed list to be sent to all the bishops open to influence, from which every name was excluded that was not on the side of infallibility.
Meantime the bishops of several nations selected those among their countrymen whom they recommended as candidates. The Germans and Hungarians, above forty in number, assembled for this purpose under the presidency of Cardinal Schwarzenberg; and their meetings were continued, and became more and more important, as those who did not sympathise with the opposition dropped away. The French were divided into two groups, and met partly at Cardinal Mathieu's, partly at Cardinal Bonnechose's. A fusion was proposed, but was resisted, in the Roman interest, by Bonnechose. He consulted Cardinal Antonelli, and reported that the Pope disliked large meetings of bishops. Moreover, if all the French had met in one place, the opposition would have had the majority, and would have determined the choice of the candidates. They voted separately; and the Bonnechose list was represented to foreign bishops as the united choice of the French episcopate. The Mathieu group believed that this had been done fraudulently, and resolved to make their complaint to the Pope; but Cardinal Mathieu, seeing that a storm was rising, and that he would be called on to be the spokesman of his friends, hurried away to spend Christmas at Besancon. All the votes of his group were thrown away. Even the bishop of Grenoble, who had obtained twenty-nine votes at one meeting, and thirteen at the other, was excluded from the Commission. It was constituted as the managers of the election desired, and the first trial of strength appeared to have annihilated the opposition. The force under entire control of the court could be estimated from the number of votes cast blindly for candidates not put forward by their own countrymen, and unknown to others, who had therefore no recommendation but that of the official list. According to this test Rome could dispose of 550 votes.
The moment of this triumph was chosen for the production of an act already two months old, by which many ancient censures were revoked, and many were renewed. The legislation of the Middle Ages and of the sixteenth century appointed nearly two hundred cases by which excommunication was incurred ipso facto, without inquiry or sentence. They had generally fallen into oblivion, or were remembered as instances of former extravagance; but they had not been abrogated, and, as they were in part defensible, they were a trouble to timorous consciences. There was reason to expect that this question, which had often occupied the attention of the bishops, would be brought before the Council; and the demand for a reform could not have been withstood. The difficulty was anticipated by sweeping away as many censures as it was thought safe to abandon, and deciding, independently of the bishops, what must be retained. The Pope reserved to himself alone the faculty of absolving from the sin of harbouring or defending the members of any sect, of causing priests to be tried by secular courts, of violating asylum or alienating the real property of the Church. The prohibition of anonymous writing was restricted to works on theology, and the excommunication hitherto incurred by reading books which are on the Index was confined to readers of heretical books. This Constitution had no other immediate effect than to indicate the prevailing spirit, and to increase the difficulties of the partisans of Rome. The organ of the Archbishop of Cologne justified the last provision by saying, that it does not forbid the works of Jews, for Jews are not heretics; nor the heretical tracts and newspapers, for they are not books; nor listening to heretical books read aloud, for hearing is not reading.
At the same time, the serious work of the Council was begun. A long dogmatic decree was distributed, in which the special theological, biblical, and philosophical opinions of the school now dominant in Rome were proposed for ratification. It was so weak a composition that it was as severely criticised by the Romans as by the foreigners; and there were Germans whose attention was first called to its defects by an Italian cardinal. The disgust with which the text of the first decree was received had not been foreseen. No real discussion had been expected. The Council hall, admirable for occasions of ceremony, was extremely ill adapted for speaking, and nothing would induce the Pope to give it up. A public session was fixed for the 6th of January, and the election of Commissions was to last till Christmas. It was evident that nothing would be ready for the session, unless the decree was accepted without debate, or infallibility adopted by acclamation.
Before the Council had been assembled a fortnight, a store of discontent had accumulated which it would have been easy to avoid. Every act of the Pope, the Bull Multiplices, the declaration of censures, the text of the proposed decree, even the announcement that the Council should be dissolved in case of his death, had seemed an injury or an insult to the episcopate. These measures undid the favourable effect of the caution with which the bishops had been received. They did what the dislike of infallibility alone would not have done. They broke the spell of veneration for Pius IX. which fascinated the Catholic Episcopate. The jealousy with which he guarded his prerogative in the appointment of officers, and of the great Commission, the pressure during the elections, the prohibition of national meetings, the refusal to hold the debates in a hall where they could be heard, irritated and alarmed many bishops. They suspected that they had been summoned for the very purpose they had indignantly denied, to make the papacy more absolute by abdicating in favour of the official prelature of Rome. Confidence gave way to a great despondency, and a state of feeling was aroused which prepared the way for actual opposition when the time should come.
Before Christmas the Germans and the French were grouped nearly as they remained to the end. After the flight of Cardinal Mathieu, and the refusal of Cardinal Bonnechose to coalesce, the friends of the latter gravitated towards the Roman centre, and the friends of the former held their meetings at the house of the Archbishop of Paris. They became, with the Austro-German meeting under Cardinal Schwarzenberg, the strength and substance of the party that opposed the new dogma; but there was little intercourse between the two, and their exclusive nationality made them useless as a nucleus for the few scattered American, English, and Italian bishops whose sympathies were with them. To meet this object, and to centralise the deliberations, about a dozen of the leading men constituted an international meeting, which included the best talents, but also the most discordant views. They were too little united to act with vigour, and too few to exercise control. Some months later they increased their numbers. They were the brain but not the will of the opposition. Cardinal Rauscher presided. Rome honoured him as the author of the Austrian Concordat; but he feared that infallibility would bring destruction on his work, and he was the most constant, the most copious, and the most emphatic of its opponents.
When the debate opened, on the 28th of December, the idea of proclaiming the dogma by acclamation had not been abandoned. The Archbishop of Paris exacted a promise that it should not be attempted. But he was warned that the promise held good for the first day only, and that there was no engagement for the future. Then he made it known that one hundred bishops were ready, if a surprise was attempted, to depart from Rome, and to carry away the Council, as he said, in the soles of their shoes. The plan of carrying the measure by a sudden resolution was given up, and it was determined to introduce it with a demonstration of overwhelming effect. The debate on the dogmatic decree was begun by Cardinal Rauscher. The Archbishop of St. Louis spoke on the same day so briefly as not to reveal the force and the fire within him. The Archbishop of Halifax concluded a long speech by saying that the proposal laid before the Council was only fit to be put decorously under ground. Much praise was lavished on the bishops who had courage, knowledge, and Latin enough to address the assembled Fathers; and the Council rose instantly in dignity and in esteem when it was seen that there was to be real discussion. On the 30th, Rome was excited by the success of two speakers. One was the Bishop of Grenoble, the other was Strossmayer, the bishop from the Turkish frontier, who had again assailed the regulation, and had again been stopped by the presiding Cardinal. The fame of his spirit and eloquence began to spread over the city and over the world. The ideas that animated these men in their attack on the proposed measure were most clearly shown a few days later in the speech of a Swiss prelate. "What boots it," he exclaimed, "to condemn errors that have been long condemned, and tempt no Catholic? The false beliefs of mankind are beyond the reach of your decrees. The best defence of Catholicism is religious science. Give to the pursuit of sound learning every encouragement and the widest field; and prove by deeds as well as words that the progress of nations in liberty and light is the mission of the Church."
The tempest of criticism was weakly met; and the opponents established at once a superiority in debate. At the end of the first month nothing had been done; and the Session imprudently fixed for the 6th of January had to be filled up with tedious ceremonies. Everybody saw that there had been a great miscalculation. The Council was slipping out of the grasp of the Court, and the regulation was a manifest hindrance to the despatch of business. New resources were required.
A new president was appointed. Cardinal Reisach had died at the end of December without having been able to take his seat, and Cardinal De Luca had presided in his stead. De Angelis was now put into the place made vacant by the death of Reisach. He had suffered imprisonment at Turin, and the glory of his confessorship was enhanced by his services in the election of the Commissions. He was not suited otherwise to be the moderator of a great assembly; and the effect of his elevation was to dethrone the accomplished and astute De Luca, who had been found deficient in thoroughness, and to throw the management of the Council into the hands of the junior Presidents, Capalti and Bilio. Bilio was a Barnabite monk, innocent of court intrigues, a friend of the most enlightened scholars in Rome, and a favourite of the Pope. Cardinal Capalti had been distinguished as a canonist. Like Cardinal Bilio, he was not reckoned among men of the extreme party; and they were not always in harmony with their colleagues, De Angelis and Bizarri. But they did not waver when the policy they had to execute was not their own.
The first decree was withdrawn, and referred to the Commission on Doctrine. Another, on the duties of the episcopate, was substituted; and that again was followed by others, of which the most important was on the Catechism. While they were being discussed, a petition was prepared, demanding that the infallibility of the Pope should be made the object of a decree. The majority undertook to put a strain on the prudence or the reluctance of the Vatican. Their zeal in the cause was warmer than that of the official advisers. Among those who had the responsibility of conducting the spiritual and temporal government of the Pope, the belief was strong that his infallibility did not need defining, and that the definition could not be obtained without needless obstruction to other papal interests. Several Cardinals were inopportunists at first, and afterwards promoted intermediate and conciliatory proposals. But the business of the Council was not left to the ordinary advisers of the Pope, and they were visibly compelled and driven by those who represented the majority. At times this pressure was no doubt convenient. But there were also times when there was no collusion, and the majority really led the authorities. The initiative was not taken by the great mass whose zeal was stimulated by personal allegiance to the Pope. They added to the momentum, but the impulse came from men who were as independent as the chiefs of the opposition. The great Petition, supported by others pointing to the same end, was kept back for several weeks, and was presented at the end of January.
At that time the opposition had attained its full strength, and presented a counter-petition, praying that the question might not be introduced. It was written by Cardinal Rauscher, and was signed, with variations, by 137 bishops. To obtain that number the address avoided the doctrine itself, and spoke only of the difficulty and danger in defining it; so that this, their most imposing act, was a confession of inherent weakness, and a signal to the majority that they might force on the dogmatic discussion. The bishops stood on the negative. They showed no sense of their mission to renovate Catholicism; and it seemed that they would compound for the concession they wanted, by yielding in all other matters, even those which would be a practical substitute for infallibility. That this was not to be, that the forces needed for a great revival were really present, was made manifest by the speech of Strossmayer on the 24th of January, when he demanded the reformation of the Court of Rome, decentralisation in the government of the Church, and decennial Councils. That earnest spirit did not animate the bulk of the party. They were content to leave things as they were, to gain nothing if they lost nothing, to renounce all premature striving for reform if they could succeed in avoiding a doctrine which they were as unwilling to discuss as to define. The words of Ginoulhiac to Strossmayer, "You terrify me with your pitiless logic," expressed the inmost feelings of many who gloried in the grace and the splendour of his eloquence. No words were too strong for them if they prevented the necessity of action, and spared the bishops the distressing prospect of being brought to bay, and having to resist openly the wishes and the claims of Rome.
Infallibility never ceased to overshadow every step of the Council, but it had already given birth to a deeper question. The Church had less to fear from the violence of the majority than from the inertness of their opponents. No proclamation of false doctrines could be so great a disaster as the weakness of faith which would prove that the power of recovery, the vital force of Catholicism, was extinct in the episcopate. It was better to be overcome after openly attesting their belief than to strangle both discussion and definition, and to disperse without having uttered a single word that could reinstate the authorities of the Church in the respect of men. The future depended less on the outward struggle between two parties than on the process by which the stronger spirit within the minority leavened the mass. The opposition was as averse to the actual dogmatic discussion among themselves as in the Council. They feared an inquiry which would divide them. At first the bishops who understood and resolutely contemplated their real mission in the Council were exceedingly few. Their influence was strengthened by the force of events, by the incessant pressure of the majority, and by the action of literary opinion.
Early in December the Archbishop of Mechlin brought out a reply to the letter of the Bishop of Orleans, who immediately prepared a rejoinder, but could not obtain permission to print it in Rome. It appeared two months later at Naples. Whilst the minority were under the shock of this prohibition, Gratry published at Paris the first of four letters to the Archbishop of Mechlin, in which the case of Honorius was discussed with so much perspicuity and effect that the profane public was interested, and the pamphlets were read with avidity in Rome. They contained no new research, but they went deep into the causes which divided Catholics. Gratry showed that the Roman theory is still propped by fables which were innocent once, but have become deliberate untruths since the excuse of mediaeval ignorance was dispelled; and he declared that this school of lies was the cause of the weakness of the Church, and called on Catholics to look the scandal in the face, and cast out the religious forgers. His letters did much to clear the ground and to correct the confusion of ideas among the French. The bishop of St. Brieuc wrote that the exposure was an excellent service to religion, for the evil had gone so far that silence would be complicity. Gratry was no sooner approved by one bishop than he was condemned by a great number of others. He had brought home to his countrymen the question whether they could be accomplices of a dishonest system, or would fairly attempt to root it out.
While Gratry's letters were disturbing the French, Doellinger published some observations on the petition for infallibility, directing his attack clearly against the doctrine itself. During the excitement that ensued, he answered demonstrations of sympathy by saying that he had only defended the faith which was professed, substantially, by the majority of the episcopate in Germany. These words dropped like an acid on the German bishops. They were writhing to escape the dire necessity of a conflict with the Pope; and it was very painful to them to be called as compurgators by a man who was esteemed the foremost opponent of the Roman system, whose hand was suspected in everything that had been done against it, and who had written many things on the sovereign obligations of truth and faith which seemed an unmerciful satire on the tactics to which they clung. The notion that the bishops were opposing the dogma itself was founded on their address against the regulation; but the petition against the definition of infallibility was so worded as to avoid that inference, and had accordingly obtained nearly twice as many German and Hungarian signatures as the other. The Bishop of Mentz vehemently repudiated the supposition for himself, and invited his colleagues to do the same. Some followed his example, others refused; and it became apparent that the German opposition was divided, and included men who accepted the doctrines of Rome. The precarious alliance between incompatible elements was prevented from breaking up by the next act of the Papal Government.
The defects in the mode of carrying on the business of the Council were admitted on both sides. Two months had been lost; and the demand for a radical change was publicly made in behalf of the minority by a letter communicated to the Moniteur. On the 22nd of February a new regulation was introduced, with the avowed purpose of quickening progress. It gave the Presidents power to cut short any speech, and provided that debate might be cut short at any moment when the majority pleased. It also declared that the decrees should be carried by majority—id decernetur quod majori Patrum numero placuerit. The policy of leaving the decisive power in the hands of the Council itself had this advantage, that its exercise would not raise the question of liberty and coercion in the same way as the interference of authority. By the Bull Multiplices, no bishop could introduce any matter not approved by the Pope. By the new regulation he could not speak on any question before the Council, if the majority chose to close the discussion, or if the Presidents chose to abridge his speech. He could print nothing in Rome, and what was printed elsewhere was liable to be treated as contraband. His written observations on any measure were submitted to the Commission, without any security that they would be made known to the other bishops in their integrity. There was no longer an obstacle to the immediate definition of papal infallibility. The majority was omnipotent.
The minority could not accept this regulation without admitting that the Pope is infallible. Their thesis was, that his decrees are not free from the risk of error unless they express the universal belief of the episcopate. The idea that particular virtue attaches to a certain number of bishops, or that infallibility depends on a few votes more or less, was defended by nobody. If the act of a majority of bishops in the Council, possibly not representing a majority in the Church, is infallible, it derives its infallibility from the Pope. Nobody held that the Pope was bound to proclaim a dogma carried by a majority. The minority contested the principle of the new Regulation, and declared that a dogmatic decree required virtual unanimity. The chief protest was drawn up by a French bishop. Some of the Hungarians added a paragraph asserting that the authority and oecumenicity of the Council depended on the settlement of this question; and they proposed to add that they could not continue to act as though it were legitimate unless this point was given up. The author of the address declined this passage, urging that the time for actual menace was not yet come. From that day the minority agreed in rejecting as invalid any doctrine which should not be passed by unanimous consent. On this point the difference between the thorough and the simulated opposition was effaced, for Ginoulhiac and Ketteler were as positive as Kenrick or Hefele. But it was a point which Rome could not surrender without giving up its whole position. To wait for unanimity was to wait for ever, and to admit that a minority could prevent or nullify the dogmatic action of the papacy was to renounce infallibility. No alternative remained to the opposing bishops but to break up the Council. The most eminent among them accepted this conclusion, and stated it in a paper declaring that the absolute and indisputable law of the Church had been violated by the Regulation allowing articles of faith to be decreed on which the episcopate was not morally unanimous; and that the Council, no longer possessing in the eyes of the bishops and of the world the indispensable condition of liberty and legality, would be inevitably rejected. To avert a public scandal, and to save the honour of the Holy See, it was proposed that some unopposed decrees should be proclaimed in solemn session, and the Council immediately prorogued.
At the end of March a breach seemed unavoidable. The first part of the dogmatic decree had come back from the Commission so profoundly altered that it was generally accepted by the bishops, but with a crudely expressed sentence in the preamble, which was intended to rebuke the notion of the reunion of Protestant Churches. Several bishops looked upon this passage as an uncalled-for insult to Protestants, and wished it changed; but there was danger that if they then joined in voting the decree they would commit themselves to the lawfulness of the Regulation against which they had protested. On the 22nd of March Strossmayer raised both questions. He said that it was neither just nor charitable to impute the progress of religious error to the Protestants. The germ of modern unbelief existed among the Catholics before the Reformation, and afterwards bore its worst fruits in Catholic countries. Many of the ablest defenders of Christian truth were Protestants, and the day of reconciliation would have come already but for the violence and uncharitableness of the Catholics. These words were greeted with execrations, and the remainder of the speech was delivered in the midst of a furious tumult. At length, when Strossmayer declared that the Council had forfeited its authority by the rule which abolished the necessity of unanimity, the Presidents and the multitude refused to let him go on. On the following day he drew up a protest, declaring that he could not acknowledge the validity of the Council if dogmas were to be decided by a majority, and sent it to the Presidents after it had been approved at the meeting of the Germans, and by bishops of other nations. The preamble was withdrawn, and another was inserted in its place, which had been written in great haste by the German Jesuit Kleutgen, and was received with general applause. Several of the Jesuits obtained credit for the ability and moderation with which the decree was drawn up. It was no less than a victory over extreme counsels. A unanimous vote was insured for the public session of 24th April; and harmony was restored. But the text proposed originally in the Pope's name had undergone so many changes as to make it appear that his intentions had been thwarted. There was a supplement to the decree, which the bishops had understood would be withdrawn, in order that the festive concord and good feeling might not be disturbed. They were informed at the last moment that it would be put to the vote, as its withdrawal would be a confession of defeat for Rome. The supplement was an admonition that the constitutions and decrees of the Holy See must be observed even when they proscribe opinions not actually heretical. Extraordinary efforts were made in public and in private to prevent any open expression of dissent from this paragraph. The Bishop of Brixen assured his brethren, in the name of the Commission, that it did not refer to questions of doctrine, and they could not dispute the general principle that obedience is due to lawful authority. The converse proposition, that the papal acts have no claim to be obeyed, was obviously untenable. The decree was adopted unanimously. There were some who gave their vote with a heavy heart, conscious of the snare. Strossmayer alone stayed away.
The opposition was at an end. Archbishop Manning afterwards reminded them that by this vote they had implicitly accepted infallibility. They had done even more. They might conceivably contrive to bind and limit dogmatic infallibility with conditions so stringent as to evade many of the objections taken from the examples of history; but, in requiring submission to papal decrees on matters not articles of faith, they were approving that of which they knew the character, they were confirming without let or question a power they saw in daily exercise, they were investing with new authority the existing Bulls, and giving unqualified sanction to the Inquisition and the Index, to the murder of heretics and the deposing of kings. They approved what they were called on to reform, and solemnly blessed with their lips what their hearts knew to be accursed. The Court of Rome became thenceforth reckless in its scorn of the opposition, and proceeded in the belief that there was no protest they would not forget, no principle they would not betray, rather than defy the Pope in his wrath. It was at once determined to bring on the discussion of the dogma of infallibility. At first, when the minority knew that their prayers and their sacrifices had been vain, and that they must rely on their own resources, they took courage in extremity. Rauscher, Schwarzenberg, Hefele, Ketteler, Kenrick, wrote pamphlets, or caused them to be written, against the dogma, and circulated them in the Council. Several English bishops protested that the denial of infallibility by the Catholic episcopate had been an essential condition of emancipation, and that they could not revoke that assurance after it had served their purpose, without being dishonoured in the eyes of their countrymen. The Archbishop of St. Louis, admitting the force of the argument, derived from the fact that a dogma was promulgated in 1854 which had long been disputed and denied, confessed that he could not prove the Immaculate Conception to be really an article of faith.
An incident occurred in June which showed that the experience of the Council was working a change in the fundamental convictions of the bishops. Doellinger had written in March that an article of faith required not only to be approved and accepted unanimously by the Council, but that the bishops united with the Pope are not infallible, and that the oecumenicity of their acts must be acknowledged and ratified by the whole Church. Father Hoetzl, a Franciscan friar, having published a pamphlet in defence of this proposition, was summoned to Rome, and required to sign a paper declaring that the confirmation of a Council by the Pope alone makes it oecumenical. He put his case into the hands of German bishops who were eminent in the opposition, asking first their opinion on the proposed declaration, and, secondly, their advice on his own conduct. The bishops whom he consulted replied that they believed the declaration to be erroneous; but they added that they had only lately arrived at the conviction, and had been shocked at first by Doellinger's doctrine. They could not require him to suffer the consequences of being condemned at Rome as a rebellious friar and obstinate heretic for a view which they themselves had doubted only three months before. He followed the advice, but he perceived that his advisers had considerately betrayed him.
When the observations on infallibility which the bishops had sent in to the Commission appeared in print it seemed that the minority had burnt their ships. They affirmed that the dogma would put an end to the conversion of Protestants, that it would drive devout men out of the Church and make Catholicism indefensible in controversy, that it would give governments apparent reason to doubt the fidelity of Catholics, and would give new authority to the theory of persecution and of the deposing power. They testified that it was unknown in many parts of the Church, and was denied by the Fathers, so that neither perpetuity nor universality could be pleaded in its favour; and they declared it an absurd contradiction, founded on ignoble deceit, and incapable of being made an article of faith by Pope or Council. One bishop protested that he would die rather than proclaim it. Another thought it would be an act of suicide for the Church.
What was said, during the two months' debate, by men perpetually liable to be interrupted by a majority acting less from conviction than by command, could be of no practical account, and served for protest, not for persuasion. Apart from the immediate purpose of the discussion, two speeches were memorable—that of Archbishop Conolly of Halifax, for the uncompromising clearness with which he appealed to Scripture and repudiated all dogmas extracted from the speculations of divines, and not distinctly founded on the recorded Word of God, and that of Archbishop Darboy, who foretold that a decree which increased authority without increasing power, and claimed for one man, whose infallibility was only now defined, the obedience which the world refused to the whole Episcopate, whose right had been unquestioned in the Church for 1800 years, would raise up new hatred and new suspicion, weaken the influence of religion over society, and wreak swift ruin on the temporal power.
The general debate had lasted three weeks, and forty-nine bishops were still to speak, when it was brought to a close by an abrupt division on the 3rd of June. For twenty-four hours the indignation of the minority was strong. It was the last decisive opportunity for them to reject the legitimacy of the Council. There were some who had despaired of it from the beginning, and held that the Bull Multiplices deprived it of legal validity. But it had not been possible to make a stand at a time when no man knew whether he could trust his neighbour, and when there was fair ground to hope that the worst rules would be relaxed. When the second regulation, interpreted according to the interruptors of Strossmayer, claimed the right of proclaiming dogmas which part of the Episcopate did not believe, it became doubtful whether the bishops could continue to sit without implicit submission. They restricted themselves to a protest, thinking that it was sufficient to meet words with words, and that it would be time to act when the new principle was actually applied. By the vote of the 3rd of June the obnoxious regulation was enforced in a way evidently injurious to the minority and their cause. The chiefs of the opposition were now convinced of the invalidity of the Council, and advised that they should all abstain from speaking, and attend at St. Peter's only to negative by their vote the decree which they disapproved. In this way they thought that the claim to oecumenicity would be abolished without breach or violence. The greater number were averse to so vigorous a demonstration; and Hefele threw the great weight of his authority into their scale. He contended that they would be worse than their word if they proceeded to extremities on this occasion. They had announced that they would do it only to prevent the promulgation of a dogma which was opposed. If that were done the Council would be revolutionary and tyrannical; and they ought to keep their strongest measure in reserve for that last contingency. The principle of unanimity was fundamental. It admitted no ambiguity, and was so clear, simple, and decisive, that there was no risk in fixing on it. The Archbishops of Paris, Milan, Halifax, the Bishops of Djakovar, Orleans, Marseilles, and most of the Hungarians, yielded to these arguments, and accepted the policy of less strenuous colleagues, while retaining the opinion that the Council was of no authority. But there were some who deemed it unworthy and inconsistent to attend an assembly which they had ceased to respect.
The debate on the several paragraphs lasted till the beginning of July, and the decree passed at length with eighty-eight dissentient votes. It was made known that the infallibility of the Pope would be promulgated in solemn session on the 18th, and that all who were present would be required to sign an act of submission. Some bishops of the minority thereupon proposed that they should all attend, repeat their vote, and refuse their signature. They exhorted their brethren to set a conspicuous example of courage and fidelity, as the Catholic world would not remain true to the faith if the bishops were believed to have faltered. But it was certain that there were men amongst them who would renounce their belief rather than incur the penalty of excommunication, who preferred authority to proof, and accepted the Pope's declaration, "La tradizione son' io." It was resolved by a small majority that the opposition should renew its negative vote in writing, and should leave Rome in a body before the session. Some of the most conscientious and resolute adversaries of the dogma advised this course. Looking to the immediate future, they were persuaded that an irresistible reaction was at hand, and that the decrees of the Vatican Council would fade away and be dissolved by a power mightier than the Episcopate and a process less perilous than schism. Their disbelief in the validity of its work was so profound that they were convinced that it would perish without violence, and they resolved to spare the Pope and themselves the indignity of a rupture. Their last manifesto, La derniere Heure, is an appeal for patience, an exhortation to rely on the guiding, healing hand of God. They deemed that they had assigned the course which was to save the Church, by teaching the Catholics to reject a Council which was neither legitimate in constitution, free in action, nor unanimous in doctrine, but to observe moderation in contesting an authority over which great catastrophes impend. They conceived that it would thus be possible to save the peace and unity of the Church without sacrifice of faith and reason.
[Footnote 370: The North British Review, October 1870.]
[Footnote 371: Fidem mihi datam non servatam fuisse queror. Acta supprimere, aut integra dare oportebat. He says also: Omnia ad nutum delegati Apostolici fiebant.]
[Footnote 372: Citra et contra singulorum suffragia, imo praeter et supra omnium vota pontificis solius declarationi atque sententiae validam vim atque irreformabilem adesse potestatem.]
[Footnote 373: Nous restons dans les doctrines de Bossuet parce que nous les croyons generalement vraies; nous les defendons parce qu'elles sont attaquees, et qu'un parti puissant veut les faire condamner. Ces doctrines de l'episcopat francais, de l'ecole de Paris, de notre vieille Sorbonne, se ramenent pour nous a trois propositions, a trois verites fondamentales: 1o l'Eglise est une monarchie efficacement temperee d'aristocracie; 2o la souverainete spirituelle est essentiellement composee de ces deux elements quoique le second soit subordonne au premier; 3o le concours de ces elements est necessaire pour etablir la regle absolue de la foi, c'est-a-dire, pour constituer l'acte par excellence de la souverainete spirituelle.]
[Footnote 374: Si hujus doctrinae memores fuissemus, haereticos seil cet non esse infirmandos vel convincendos ex Scripturis, meliore sane loco essent res nostrae; sed dum ostentandi ingenii et eruditionis gratia cum Luthero in certamen descenditur Scripturarum, excitatum est hoc, quod, proh dolor! nunc videmus, incendium (Pighius).]
[Footnote 375: Catholici non admondum solliciti sunt de critica et hermeneutica biblica ... Ipsi, ut verbo dicam, jam habent aedificium absolutum sane ac perfectum, in cujus possessione firme ac secure consistant.]
[Footnote 376: Praxis Ecclesiae uno tempore interpretatur Scripturam uno modo et alio tempore alio modo, nam intellectus currit cum praxi.—Mutato judicio Ecclesiaemutatum est Dei judicium.]
[Footnote 377: Si viri ecclesiastici, sive in concilio oecumenico congregati, sive seorsim scribentes, aliquod dogma vel unamquamque consuetudinem uno ore ac diserte testantur ex traditione divina haberi, sine dubio certum argumentum est, uti ita esse credamus.—Ex testimonio hujus solius Ecclesiae sumi potest certum argumentum ad probandas apostolicas traditiones (Bellarmine).]
[Footnote 378: Veniae sive indulgentiae autoritate Scripturae nobis non innotuere, sed autoritate ecclesiae Romanae Romanorumque Pontificum, quae major est.]
[Footnote 379: Ego, ut ingenue fatear, plus uni summo pontifici crederem, in his, quae fidei mysteria tangunt, quam mille Augustinis, Hieronymis, Gregoriis (Cornelius Mussus).]
[Footnote 380: The two views contradict each other; but they are equally characteristic of the endeavour to emancipate the Church from the obligation of proof. Fenelon says: "Oseroit-on soutenir que l'Eglise apres avoir mal raisonne sur tous les textes, et les avoir pris a contre-sens, est tout a coup saisie par un enthousiasme aveugle, pour juger bien, en raisonnant mal?" And Moehler: "Die aeltesten oekumenischen Synoden fuehrten daher fuer ihre dogmatischen Beschluesse nicht einmal bestimmte biblische Stellen an; und die katholischen Theologen lehren mit allegingr Uebereinstimmung und ganz aus dem Geiste der Kirche heraus, dass selbst die biblische Beweisfuehrung eines fuer untrueglich gehaltenen Beschlusses nicht untrueglich sei, sondern eben nur das ausgesprochene Dogma selbst."]
[Footnote 381: Cujuscumque ergo scientiae, etiam historiae ecclesiasticae conclusiones, Romanorum Pontificum infallibiltati adversantes, quo manifestius haec ex revelationis fontibus infertur, eo certius veluti totidem errores habendas esse consequitur.]
[Footnote 382: Cum in professione fidei electi pontificis damnetur Honorius Papa, ideo quia pravis haereticorum assertionibus fomentum impendit, si verba delineata sint vere in autographo, nec ex notis apparere possit, quomodo huic vulneri medelam offerat, praestat non divulgari opus.]
[Footnote 383: That article condemns the following proposition: "Romani Pontifices et Concilia oecumenica a limitibus suae potestati recesserunt, jura Principum usurparunt, atque etiam in rebus fidei et morum definiendis errarunt."]
[Footnote 384: J'en suis convaincu: a peine aurai-je touche la terre sacree, a peine aurai-je baise le tombeau des Apotres, que je me sentirai dans la paix, hors de la bataille, au sein d'une assemblee presidee par un Pere et composee de Freres. La, tous les bruits expireront, toutes les ingerences temeraires cesseront, toutes les imprudences disparaitront, les flots et les vents seront apaises.]
[Footnote 385: Vous admirez sans doute beaucoup l'eveque d'Orleans, mais vous l'admireriez bien plus encore, si vous pouviez vous figurer l'abime d'idolatrie ou est tombe le clerge francais. Cela depasse tout ce que l'on aurait jamais pu l'imaginer aux jours de ma jeunesse, au temps de Frayssinous et de La Mennais. Le pauvre Mgr. Maret, pour avoir expose des idees tres moderees dans un langage plein d'urbanite et de charite, est traite publiquement dans les journaux soi-disant religieux d'heresiarque et d'apostat, par les derniers de nos cures. De tous les mysteres que presente en si grand nombre l'histoire de l'Eglise je n'en connais pas qui egale ou depasse cette transformation si prompte et si complete de la France Catholique en une basse-cour de l'anticamera du Vatican. J'en serais encore plus desespere qu'humilie, si la, comme partout dans les regions illuminees par la foi, la misericorde et l'esperance ne se laissaient entrevoir a travers les tenebres. "C'est du Rhin aujourd'hui que nous vient la lumiere." L'Allemagne a ete choisie pour opposer une digue a ce torrent de fanatisme servile que menacait de tout englouter (Nov. 7, 1869).]
[Footnote 386: Non solum ea quae ad scholas theologicas pertinent scholis relinquantur, sed etiam doctrinae quae a fidelibus pie tenentur et coluntur, sine gravi causa in codicem dogmatum ne inferantur. In specie ne Concilium declaret vel definiat infallibilitatem Summi Pontificis, a doctissimis et prudentissimis fidelibus Sanctae sedi intime addictis, vehementer optatur. Gravia enim mala exinde oritura timent tum fidelibus tum infidelibus. Fideles enim, qui Primatum magisterii et jurisdictionis in Summo Pontifice ultro agnoscunt, quorum pietas et obedientia erga Sanctam Sedem nullo certe tempore major fuit, corde turbarentur magis quam erigerentur, ac si nunc demum fundamentum Ecclesiae et verae doctrinae stabiliendum sit; infideles vero novam calumniarum et derisionum materiam lucrarentur. Neque desunt, qui ejusmodi definitionem logice impossibilem vocant.... Nostris diebus defensio veritatis ac religionis tum praesertim efficax et fructuosa est, si sacerdotes a lege caeterorum civium minus recedunt, sed communibus omnium juribus utuntur, ita ut vis defensionis sit in veritate interna non per tutelam externae exemtionis.... Praesertim Ecclesia se scientiarum, quae hominem ornant perficiuntque, amicam et patronam exhibeat, probe noscens, omne verum a Deo esse, et profunda ac seria literarum studia opitulari fidei.]
[Footnote 387: Quid enim expedit damnare quae damnata jam sunt, quidve juvat errores proscribere quos novimus jam esse proscriptos?... Falsa sophistarum dogmata, veluti cineres a turbine venti evanuerunt, corrupuerunt, fateor, permultos, infecerunt genium saeculi hujus, sed numquid credendum est, corruptionis contaginem non contigisse, si ejusmodi errores decretorum anathemate prostrati fuissent?... Pro tuenda et tute servanda religione Catholica praeter gemitus et preces ad Deum aliud medium praesidiumque nobis datum non est nisi Catholica scientia, cum recta fide per omnia concors. Excolitur summopere apud heterodoxos fidei inimica scientia, excolatur ergo oportet et omni opere augeatur apud Catholicos vera scientia. Ecclesiae amica.... Obmutescere faciamus ora obtrectantium qui falso nobis imputare non desistunt, Catholicam Ecclesiam opprimere scientiam, et quemcumque liberum cogitandi modum ita cohibere, ut neque scientia, nec ulla alia animi libertas in ea subsistere vel florescere possit.... Propterea monstrandum hoc est, et scriptis et factis manifestandum, in Catholica Ecclesia veram pro populis esse libertatem, verum profectum, verum lumen, veramque prosperitatem.]
[Footnote 388: Il n'y a au fond qu'une question devenue urgente et inevitable, dont la decision faciliterait le cours et la decision de toutes les autres, dont le retard paralyse tout. Sans cela rien n'est commence ni meme abordable (Univers, February 9).]
[Footnote 389: Gratry had written: "Cette apologetique sans franchise est l'une des causes de notre decadence religieuse depuis des siecles.... Sommes-nous les predicateurs du mensonge ou les apotres de la verite? Le temps n'est-il pas venu de rejeter avec degout les fraudes, les interpolations, et les mutilations que les menteurs et les faussaires, nos plus cruels ennemis, ont pu introduire parmi nous?" The bishop wrote: "Jamais parole plus puissante, inspiree par la conscience et le savoir, n'est arrivee plus a propos que la votre.... Le mal est tel et le danger si effrayant que le silence deviendrait de la complicite."]
[Footnote 390: Pace eruditissimorum virorum dictum esto: mihi haecce nec veritati congrua esse videntur, nec caritati. Non veritati; verum quidem est Protestantes gravissimam commisisse culpam, dum spreta et insuperhabita divina Ecclesiae auctoritate, aeternas et immutabiles fidei veritates subjectivae rationis judicio et arbitrio subjecissent. Hoc superbiae humanae fomentum gravissimis certe malis, rationalismo, criticismo, etc. occasionem dedit. Ast hoc quoque respectu dici debet, protestantismi ejus qui cum eodem in nexu existit rationalismi germen saeculo xvi. praeextitisse in sic dicto humanismo et classicismo, quem in sanctuario ipso quidam summae auctoritatis viri incauto consilio fovebant et nutriebant; et nisi hoc germen praeextitisset concipi non posset quomodo tam parva scintilla tantum in medio Europae excitare potuisset incendium, ut illud ad hodiernum usque diem restingui non potuerit. Accedit et illud: fidei et religionis, Ecclesiae et omnis auctoritatis contemptum absque ulla cum Protestantismo cognatione et parentela in medio Catholicae gentis saeculo xviii. temporibus Voltarii et encyclopaedistarum enatum fuisse.... Quidquid interim sit de rationalismo, puto venerabilem deputationem omnino falli dum texendo genealogiam naturalismi, materialismi, pantheismi, atheismi, etc., omnes omnino hos errores foetus Protestantismi esse asserit.... Errores superius enumerati non tantum nobis verum et ipsis Protestantibus horrori sunt et abominationi, ut adeo Ecclesiae et nobis Catholicis in iis oppugnandis et refellendis auxilio sint et adjumento. Ita Leibnitius erat certe vir eruditus et omni sub respectu praestans; vir in dijudicandis Ecclesiae Catholicae institutis aequus; vir in debellandis sui temporis erroribus strenuus; vir in revehenda inter Christianas communitates concordia optime animatus et meritus. [Loud cries of "Oh! Oh!" The President de Angelis rang the bell and said, "Non est hicce locus laudandi Protestantes."] ... Hos viros quorum magna copia existit in Germania, in Anglia, item et in America septentrionali, magna hominum turba inter Protestantes sequitur, quibus omnibus applicari potest illud magni Augustini: "Errant, sed bona fide errant; haeretici sunt, sed illi nos haereticos tenent. Ipsi errorem non invenerunt, sed a perversis et in errorem inductis parentibus haereditaverunt, parati errorem deponere quamprimum convicti fuerint." [Here there was a long interruption and ringing of the bell, with cries of "Shame! shame!" "Down with the heretic!"] Hi omnes etiamsi non spectent ad Ecclesiae corpus, spectant tamen ad ejus animam, et de muneribus Redemptionis aliquatenus participant. Hi omnes in amore quo erga Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum feruntur, atque in illis positivis veritatibus quas ex fidei naufragio salvarunt, totidem gratiae divinae momenta possident, quibus misericordia Dei utetur, ut eos ad priscam fidem et Ecclesiam reducat, nisi nos exaggerationibus nostris et improvidis charitatis ipsis debitae laesionibus tempus misericordiae divinae elongaverimus. Quantum autem ad charitatem, ei certe contrarium est vulnera aliena alio fine tangere quam ut ipsa sanentur; puto autem hac enumeratione errorum, quibus Protestantismus occasionem dedisset, id non fieri.... Decreto, quod in supplementum ordinis interioris nobis nuper communicatum est, statuitur res in Concilio hocce suffragiorum majoritate decidendas fore. Contra hoc principium, quod omnem praecedentium Conciliorum praxim funditus evertit, multi episcopi reclamarunt, quin tamen aliquod responsum obtinuerint. Responsum autem in re tanti momenti dari debuisset clarum, perspicuum et omnis ambiguitatis expers. Hoc ad summas Concilii hujus calamitates spectat, nam hoc certe et praesenti generationi et posteris praebebit ansam dicendi: huic concilio libertatem et veritatem defuisse. Ego ipse convictus sum, aeternam ac immutabilem fidei et traditionis regulam semper fuisse semperque mansuram communem, adminus moraliter unanimem consensum. Concilium, quod hac regula insuperhabita, fidei et morum dogmata majoritate numerica definire intenderet, juxta meam intimam convictionem eo ipso excideret jure conscientiam orbis Catholici sub sanctione vitae ac mortis aeternae obligandi.]
[Footnote 391: Dum autem ipse die hesterno ex suggestu hanc quaestionem posuissem et verba deconsensu moraliter unanimi in rebus fidei definiendis necessario protulissem, interruptus fui, mihique inter maximum tumultum et graves comminationes possibilitas sermonis continuandi adempta est. Atque haec gravissima sane circumstantia magis adhuc comprobat necessitatem habendi responsi, quod clarum sit omnisque ambiguitatis expers. Peto itaque humillime, ut hujusmodi responsum in proxima congregatione generali detur. Nisi enim haec fierent anceps haererem an manere possem in Concilio, ubi libertas Episcoporum ita opprimitur, quemadmodum heri in me oppressa fuit, et ubi dogmata fidei definirentur novo et in Ecclesia Dei adusque inaudito modo.]
[Footnote 392: Quoniam vero satis non est, haereticam pravitatem devitare, nisi ii quoque errores diligenter fugiantur, qui ad illam plus minusve accedunt, omnes officii monemus, servandi etiam Constitutiones et Decreta quibus pravae eiusmodi opiniones, quae isthic diserte non enumerantur, ab hac Sancta Sede proscriptae et prohibitae sunt.]
[Footnote 393: In the speech on infallibility which he prepared, but never delivered. Archbishop Kenrick thus expressed himself: "Inter alia quae mihi stuporem injecerunt dixit Westmonasteriensis, nos additamento facto sub finem Decreti de Fide, tertia Sessione lati, ipsam Pontificiam Infallibilitatem, saltem implicite, jam agnovisse, nec ab ea recedere nunc nobis licere. Si bene intellexerim Rm Relatorem, qui in Congregatione generali hoc additamentum, prius oblatum, deinde abstractum, nobis mirantibus quid rei esset, illud iterum inopinato commendavit—dixit, verbis clarioribus, per illud nullam omnino doctrinam edoceri; sed earn quatuor capitibus ex quibus istud decretum compositum est imponi tanquam eis coronidem convenientem; eamque disciplinarem magis quam doctrinalem characterem habere. Aut deceptus est ipse, si vera dixit Westmonasteriensis; aut nos sciens in errorem induxit, quod de viro tam ingenuo minime supponere licet. Utcumque fuerit, ejus declarationi fidentes, plures suffragia sua isti decreto haud deneganda censuerunt ob istam clausulam; aliis, inter quos egomet, doles parari metuentibus, et aliorum voluntati hac in re aegre cedentibus. In his omnibus non est mens mea aliquem ex Reverendissimis Patribus malae fidei incusare; quos omnes, ut par est, veneratione debita prosequor. Sed extra concilium adesse dicuntur viri religiosi—forsan et pii—qui maxime in illud influunt; qui calliditati potius quam bonis artibus confisi, rem Ecclesiae in maximum ex quo orta sit discrimen adduxerant; qui ab inito concilio effecerunt ut in Deputationes conciliares ii soli eligerentur qui eorum placitis fovere aut noscerentur aut crederentur; qui nonnullorum ex eorum praedecessoribus vestigia prementes in schematibus nobis propositis, et ex eorum officina prodeuntibus, nihil magis cordi habuisse videntur quam Episcopalem auctoritatem deprimere, Pontificiam autem extollere; et verborum ambagibus incautos decipere velle videntur, dum alia ab aliis in eorum explicationem dicantur. Isti grave hoc incendium in Ecclesia excitarunt, et in illud insufflare non desinunt, scriptis eorum, pietatis speciem prae se ferentibus sed veritate ejus vacuis, in populos spargentibus."]
[Footnote 394: The author of the protest afterwards gave the substance of his argument as follows: "Episcopi et theologi publice a Parlamento interrogati fuerunt, utrum Catholici Angliae tenerent Papam posse definitiones relativas ad fidem et mores populis imponere absque omni consensu expresso vel tacito Ecclesiae. Omnes Episcopi et theologi responderunt Catholicos hoc non tenere. Hisce responsionibus confisum Parlamentum Angliae Catholicos admisit ad participationem iurium civilium. Quis Protestantibus persuadebit Catholicos contra honorem et bonam fidem non agere, qui quando agebatur de iuribus sibi acquirendis publice professi sunt ad fidem Catholicam non pertinere doctrinam infallibilitatis Romani Pontificis, statim autem ac obtinuerint quod volebant, a professione publice facta recedunt et contrarium affirmant?"]
[Footnote 395: Archbishop Kenrick's remarkable statement is not reproduced accurately in his pamphlet De Pontificia infallibilitate. It is given in full in the last pages of the Observationes, and is abridged in his Concio habenda sed non habita, where he concludes: "Eam fidei doctrinam esse neganti, non video quomodo responderi possit, cum objiceret Ecclesiam errorem contra fidem divinitus revelatam diu tolerare non potuisse, quin, aut quod ad fidei depositum pertineret non scivisse, aut errorem manifestum tolerasse videretur."]
[Footnote 396: Certissimum ipsi esse fore ut infallibilitate ista dogmatice definita, in dioecesi sua, in qua ne vestigium quidem traditionis de infallibilitate S.P. hucusque inveniatur, et in aliis regionibus multi, et quidem non solum minoris, sed etiam optimae notae, a fide deficiant.—Si edatur, omnis progressus conversionum in Provinciis Foederatis Americae funditus extinguetur. Episcopi et sacerdotes in disputationibus cum Protestantibus quid respondere possent non haberent.—Per eiusmodi definitionem acatholicis, inter quos haud pauci iique optimi hisce praesertim temporibus firmum fidei fundamentum desiderant, ad Ecclesiam reditus redditur difficilis, imo impossibilis.—Qui Concilii decretis obsequi vellent, invenient se maximis in difficultatibus versari. Gubernia civilia eos tanquam subditos minus fidos, haud sine verisimilitudinis specie, habebunt. Hostes Ecclesiae eos lacessere non verebuntur, nunc eis objicientes errores quos Pontifices aut docuisse, aut sua agendi ratione probasse, dicuntur et risu excipient responsa quae sola afferri possint.—Eo ipso definitur in globo quidquid per diplomata apostolica huc usque definitum est.... Poterit, admissa tali definitione, statuere de dominio temporali, de eius mensura, de potestate deponendi reges, de usu coercendi haereticos.—Doctrina de Infallibilitate Romani Pontificis nec in Scriptura Sacra, nec in traditione ecclesiastica fundata mihi videtur. Immo contrarian., ni fallor, Christiana antiquitas tenuit doctrinam.—Modus dicendi Schematis supponit existere in Ecclesia duplicem infallibilitatem, ipsius Ecclesiae et Romani Pontificis, quod est absurdum et inauditum.—Subterfugiis quibus theologi non pauci in Honorii causa usi sunt, derisui me exponerem. Sophismata adhibere et munere episcopali et natura rei, quae in timore Domini pertractanda est, indignum mihi videtur.—Plerique textus quibus eam comprobant etiam melioris notae theologi, quos Ultramontanos vocant, mutilati sunt, falsificati, interpolati, circumtruncati, spurii, in sensum alienum detorti.—Asserere audeo eam sententiam, ut in schemate jacet, non esse fidei doctrinam, nec talem devenire posse per quamcumque definitionem etiam conciliarem.]
[Footnote 397: This, at least, was the discouraging impression of Archbishop Kenrick: Semper contigit ut Patres surgendo assensum sententiae deputationis praebuerint. Primo quidem die suffragiorum, cum quaestio esset de tertia parte primae emendationis, nondum adhibita indicatione a subsecretario, deinde semper facta, plures surrexerunt adeo ut necesse foret numerum surgentium capere, ut constaret de suffragiis. Magna deinde confusio exorta est, et ista emendatio, quamvis majore forsan numero sic acceptata, in crastinum diem dilata est. Postero die Rms Relator ex ambone Patres monuit, deputationem emendationem istam admittere nolle. Omnes fere eam rejiciendam surgendo statim dixerunt.]
[Footnote 398: Quodcumque Dominus Noster non dixerit etiam si metaphysice aut physice certissimum nunquam basis esse poterit dogmatis divinae fidei. Fides enim per auditum, auditus autem non per scientiam sed per verba Christi.... Non ipsa verba S. Scripturae igitur, sed genuinus sensus, sive litteralis, sive metaphoricus, prout in mente Dei revelantis fuit, atque ab Ecclesiae patribus semper atque ubique concorditer expositus, et quem nos omnes juramento sequi abstringimur, hic tantummodo sensus Vera Dei revelatio dicendus est.... Tota antiquitas silet vel contraria est.... Verbum Dei volo et hoc solum, quaeso et quidem indubitatum, ut dogma fiat.]
[Footnote 399: Hanc de infallibilitate his conditionibus ortam et isto modo introductam aggredi et definire non possumus, ut arbitror, quin eo ipso tristem viam sternamus tum cavillationibus impiorum, tum etiam objectionibus moralem hujus Concilii auctoritatem minuentibus. Et hoc quidem eo magis cavendum est, quod jam prostent et pervulgentur scripta et acta quae vim ejus et rationem labefactare attentant; ita ut nedum animos sedare queat et quae pacis sunt afferre, e contra nova dissensionis et discordiarum semina inter Christianos spargere videatur.... Porro, quod in tantis Ecclesiae angustiis laboranti mundo remedium affertur? Iis omnibus qui ab humero indocili excutiunt onera antiquitus imposita, et consuetudine Patrum veneranda, novum ideoque grave et odiosum onus imponi postulant schematis auctores. Eos omnes qui infirmae fidei sunt novo et non satis opportuno dogmate quasi obruunt, doctrina scilicet hucusque nondum definita, praesentis discussionis vulnere nonnihil sauciata, et a Concilio cujus libertatem minus aequo apparere plurimi autumant et dicunt pronuntianda.... Mundus aut aeger est aut perit, non quod ignorat veritatem vel veritatis doctores, sed quod ab ea refugit eamque sibi non vult imperari. Igitur, si eam respuit, quum a toto docentis Ecclesiae corpore, id est ab 800 episcopis per totum orbem sparsis et simul cum S. Pontifice infallibilibus praedicatur, quanto magis quum ab unico Doctore infallibili, et quidem ut tali recenter declarato praedicabitur? Ex altera parte, ut valeat et efficaciter agat auctoritas necesse est non tantum eam affirmari, sed insuper admitti.... Syllabus totam Europam pervasit at cui malo mederi potuit etiam ubi tanquam oraculum infallibile susceptus est? Duo tantum restabant regna in quibus religio florebat, non de facto tantum, sed et de jure dominans: Austria scilicet et Hispania. Atqui in his duobus regnis ruit iste Catholicus ordo, quamvis ab infallibili auctoritate commendatus, imo forsan saltem in Austria eo praecise quod ab hac commendatus. Audeamus igitur res uti sunt considerare. Nedum Sanctissimi Pontificis independens infallibilitas praejudicia et objectiones destruat quae permultos a fide avertunt, ea potius auget et aggravat.... Nemo non videt si politicae gnarus, quae semina dissensionum schema nostrum contineat et quibus periculis exponatur ipsa temporalis Sanctae sedis potestas.]
[Footnote 400: Esperons que l'exces du mal provoquera le retour du bien. Ce Concile n'aura eu qu'un heureux resultat, celui d'en appeler un autre, reuni dans la liberte.... Le Concile du Vatican demeurera sterile, comme tout ce qui n'est pas eclos sous le souffle de l'Esprit Saint. Cependant il aura revele non seulement jusqu'a quel point l'absolutisme peut abuser des meilleures institutions et des meilleurs instincts, mais aussi ce que vaut encore le droit, alors meme qu'il n'a plus que le petit nombre pour le defendre.... Si la multitude passe quand meme nous lui predisons qu'elle n'ira pas loin. Les Spartiates, qui etaient tombes aux Thermopyles pour defendre les terres de la liberte, avaient prepare au flot impitoyable au despotisme la defaite de Salamis.]
A HISTORY OF THE INQUISITION OF THE MIDDLE AGES. By HENRY CHARLES LEA
A good many years ago, when Bishop Wilberforce was at Winchester, and the Earl of Beaconsfield was a character in fiction, the bishop was interested in the proposal to bring over the Utrecht Psalter. Mr. Disraeli thought the scheme absurd. "Of course," he said, "you won't get it." He was told that, nevertheless, such things are, that public manuscripts had even been sent across the Atlantic in order that Mr. Lea might write a history of the Inquisition. "Yes," he replied, "but they never came back again." The work which has been awaited so long has come over at last, and will assuredly be accepted as the most important contribution of the new world to the religious history of the old. Other books have shown the author as a thoughtful inquirer in the remunerative but perilous region where religion and politics conflict, where ideas and institutions are as much considered as persons and events, and history is charged with all the elements of fixity, development, and change. It is little to say, now, that he equals Buckle in the extent, and surpasses him in the intelligent choice and regulation, of his reading. He is armed at all points. His information is comprehensive, minute, exact, and everywhere sufficient, if not everywhere complete. In this astonishing press of digested facts there is barely space to discuss the ideas which they exhibit and the law which they obey. M. Molinier lately wrote that a work with this scope and title "serait, a notre sens, une entreprise a peu pres chimerique." It will be interesting to learn whether the opinion of so good a judge has been altered or confirmed.
The book begins with a survey of all that led to the growth of heresy, and to the creation, in the thirteenth century, of exceptional tribunals for its suppression. There can be no doubt that this is the least satisfactory portion of the whole. It is followed by a singularly careful account of the steps, legislative and administrative, by which Church and State combined to organise the intermediate institution, and of the manner in which its methods were formed by practice. Nothing in European literature can compete with this, the centre and substance of Mr. Lea's great history. In the remaining volumes he summons his witnesses, calls on the nations to declare their experience, and tells how the new force acted upon society to the end of the Middle Ages. History of this undefined and international cast, which shows the same wave breaking upon many shores, is always difficult, from the want of visible unity and progression, and has seldom succeeded so well as in this rich but unequal and disjointed narrative. On the most significant of all the trials, those of the Templars and of Hus, the author spends his best research; and the strife between Avignon and the Franciscans, thanks to the propitious aid of Father Ehrle, is better still. Joan of Arc prospers less than the disciples of Perfect Poverty; and after Joan of Arc many pages are allotted, rather profusely, to her companion in arms, who survives in the disguise of Bluebeard. The series of dissolving scenes ends, in order of time, at Savonarola; and with that limit the work is complete. The later Inquisition, starting with the Spanish and developing into the Roman, is not so much a prolongation or a revival as a new creation. The mediaeval Inquisition strove to control states, and was an engine of government. The modern strove to coerce the Protestants, and was an engine of war. One was subordinate, local, having a kind of headquarters in the house of Saint Dominic at Toulouse. The other was sovereign, universal, centred in the Pope, and exercising its domination, not against obscure men without a literature, but against bishop and archbishop, nuncio and legate, primate and professor; against the general of the Capuchins and the imperial preacher; against the first candidate in the conclave, and the president of the oecumenical council. Under altered conditions, the rules varied and even principles were modified. Mr. Lea is slow to take counsel of the voluminous moderns, fearing the confusion of dates. When he says that the laws he is describing are technically still in force, he makes too little of a fundamental distinction. In the eye of the polemic, the modern Inquisition eclipses its predecessor, and stops the way.
The origin of the Inquisition is the topic of a lasting controversy. According to common report, Innocent III. founded it, and made Saint Dominic the first inquisitor; and this belief has been maintained by the Dominicans against the Cistercians, and by the Jesuits against the Dominicans themselves. They affirm that the saint, having done his work in Languedoc, pursued it in Lombardy: "Per civitates et castella Lombardiae circuibat, praedicans et evangelizans regnum Dei, atque contra haereticos inquirens, quos ex odore et aspectu dignoscens, condignis suppliciis puniebat" (Fontana, Monumenta Dominicana, 16). He transferred his powers to Fra Moneta, the brother in whose bed he died, and who is notable as having studied more seriously than any other divine the system which he assailed: "Vicarium suum in munere inquisitionis delegerat dilectissimum sibi B. Monetam, qui spiritu illius loricatus, tanquam leo rugiens contra haereticos surrexit.... Iniquos cum haereticos ex corde insectaretur, illisque nullo modo parceret, sed igne ac ferro consumeret." Moneta is succeeded by Guala, who brings us down to historic times, when the Inquisition flourished undisputed: "Facta promotione Guallae constitutus est in eius locum generalis inquisitor P.F. Guidottus de Sexto, a Gregorio Papa IX., qui innumeros propemodum haereticos igne consumpsit" (Fontana, Sacrum Theatrum Dominicanum, 595). Sicilian inquisitors produce an imperial privilege of December 1224, which shows the tribunal in full action under Honorius III.: "Sub nostrae indignationis fulmine praesenti edicto districtius praecipiendo mandamus, quatenus inquisitoribus haereticae pravitatis, ut suum libere officium prosequi et exercere valeant, prout decet, omne quod potestis impendatis auxilium" (Franchina, Inquisizione di Sicilia, 1774, 8). This document may be a forgery of the fifteenth century; but the whole of the Dominican version is dismissed by Mr. Lea with contempt. He has heard that their founder once rescued a heretic from the flames; "but Dominic's project only looked to their peaceful conversion, and to performing the duties of instruction and exhortation." Nothing is better authenticated in the life of the saint than the fact that he condemned heretics and exercised the right of deciding which of them should suffer and which should be spared. "Contigit quosdam haereticos captos et per eum convictos, cum redire nollent ad fidem catholicam, tradi judicio saeculari. Cumque essent incendio deputati, aspiciens inter alios quemdam Raymundum de Grossi nomine, ac si aliquem eo divinae praedestinationis radium fuisset intuitus, istum, inquit officialibus curiae, reservate, nec aliquo modo cum caeteris comburatur" (Constantinus, Vita S. Dominici; Echard, Scriptores O.P., 1. 33). The transaction is memorable in Dominican annals as the one link distinctly connecting Saint Dominic with the system of executions, and the only security possessed by the order that the most conspicuous of its actions is sanctioned by the spirit and example of the founder. The original authorities record it, and it is commemorated by Bzovius and Malvenda, by Fontana and Percin, by Echard and Mamachi, as well as in the Acta Sanctorum. Those are exactly the authors to whom in the first instance a man betakes himself who desires to understand the inception and early growth of the Inquisition. I cannot remember that any one of them appears in Mr. Lea's notes. He says indeed that Saint Dominic's inquisitorial activity "is affirmed by all the historians of the order," and he is a workman who knows his tools so well that we may hesitate to impute this grave omission to inacquaintance with necessary literature. It is one of his characteristics to be suspicious of the Histoire Intime as the seat of fable and proper domain of those problems in psychology against which the certitude of history is always going to pieces. Where motives are obscure, he prefers to contemplate causes in their effects, and to look abroad over his vast horizon of unquestioned reality. The difference between outward and interior history will be felt by any one who compares the story of Dolcino here given with the account in Neander. Mr. Lea knows more about him and has better materials than the ponderous professor of pectoral theology. But he has not all Neander's patience and power to read significance and sense in the musings of a reckless erratic mind.
He believes that Pope Gregory IX. is the intellectual originator, as well as the legislative imponent, of the terrific system which ripened gradually and experimentally in his pontificate. It does not appear whether he has read, or knows through Havet the investigations which conducted Ficker to a different hypothesis. The transition of 1231 from the saving of life to the taking of life by fire was nearly the sharpest that men can conceive, and in pursuance of it the subsequent legal forms are mere detail. The spirit and practice of centuries were renounced for the opposite extreme; and between the mercy of 1230 and the severity of 1231 there was no intervening stage of graduated rigour. Therefore it is probable that the new idea of duty, foreign to Italian and specifically to Roman ways, was conveyed by a new man, that a new influence just then got possession of the Pope. Professor Ficker signals Guala as the real contriver of the regime of terror, and the man who acquired the influence imported the idea and directed the policy. Guala was a Dominican prior whom the Pope trusted in emergencies. In the year 1230 he negotiated the treaty of San Germano between Frederic II. and the Church, and was made Bishop of Brescia. In that year Brescia, first among Italian cities, inserted in its statutes the emperor's Lombard law of 1224, which sent the heretic to the stake. The inference is that the Dominican prelate caused its insertion, and that nobody is so likely to have expounded its available purport to the pontiff as the man who had so lately caused it to be adopted in his own see, and who stood high just then in merit and in favour. That Guala was bishop-elect on 28th August, half a year before the first burnings at Rome, we know; that he caused the adoption of Frederic's law at Brescia or at Rome is not in evidence. Of that abrupt and unexplained enactment little is told us, but this we are told, that it was inspired by Honorius: "Leges quoque imperiales per quondam Fredericum olim Romanorum imperatorem, tunc in devotione Romane sedis persistentem, procurante eadem sede, fuerunt edite et Padue promulgate" (Bern. Guidonis, Practica Inquisitionis, 173). At any rate, Gregory, who had seen most things since the elevation of Innocent, knew how Montfort dealt with Albigensian prisoners at Minerve and Lavaur, what penalties were in store at Toulouse, and on what principles Master Conrad administered in Germany the powers received from Rome. The Papacy which inspired the coronation laws of 1220, in which there is no mention of capital punishment, could not have been unobservant of the way in which its own provisions were transformed; and Gregory, whom Honorius had already called "magnum et speciale ecclesie Romane membrum," who had required the university of Bologna to adopt and to expound the new legislation, and who knew the Archbishop of Magdeburg, had little to learn from Guala about the formidable weapon supplied to that prelate for the government of Lombardy. There is room for further conjecture.
In those days it was discovered that Arragon was infested with heresy; and the king's confessor proposed that the Holy See be applied to for means of active suppression. With that object, in 1230 he was sent to Rome. The envoy's name was Raymond, and his home was on the coast of Catalonia in the town of Pennaforte. He was a Bolognese jurist, a Dominican, and the author of the most celebrated treatise on morals made public in the generation preceding the scholastic theology. The five years of his abode in Rome changed the face of the Church. He won the confidence of Gregory, became penitentiary, and was employed to codify the acts of the popes militant since the publication of Gratian. Very soon after Saint Raymond appeared at the papal court, the use of the stake became law, the inquisitorial machinery had been devised, and the management given to the priors of the order. When he departed he left behind him instructions for the treatment of heresy, which the pope adopted and sent out where they were wanted. He refused a mitre, rose to be general, it is said in opposition to Albertus Magnus, and retired early, to become, in his own country, the oracle of councils on the watch for heterodoxy. Until he came, in spite of much violence and many laws, the popes had imagined no permanent security against religious error, and were not formally committed to death by burning. Gregory himself, excelling all the priesthood in vigour and experience, had for four years laboured, vaguely and in vain, with the transmitted implements. Of a sudden, in three successive measures, he finds his way, and builds up the institution which is to last for centuries. That this mighty change in the conditions of religious thought and life and in the functions of the order was suggested by Dominicans is probable. And it is reasonable to suppose that it was the work of the foremost Dominican then living, who at that very moment had risen to power and predominance at Rome.