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THE world has heard a great deal of Galileo. He has figured very conspicuously in controversial literature for more than two centuries. Critics unfriendly to the Catholic Church point to him as a martyr of science, a victim of spiritual tyranny; they quote his case as a specimen of the Church's hostility to science, and as proof conclusive of the fallibility both of Church and Pope. Catholics, on the other hand, say, and not without reason, that for his treatment, such as it was, Galileo had himself very largely to blame; they say that he was proud, arrogant, and overbearing, that not content with science which was his province, he was perpetually meddling in theology which was not, and that this meddling was the real cause why somewhat severe measures were taken against him-for which measures, however, neither the Pope in his official capacity, nor the Church in any sense, was responsible. But now for the first time the hero of this protracted controversy is introduced by Mr. Mivart in a capacity altogether new-that is, as affording an argument for the undoubted orthodoxy of evolution. How far this argument serves its purpose, how far it tends to confirm Mr. Mivart's position, it is my present purpose to consider.

In the Irish Ecclesiastical Record for December 1884 I wrote a criticism of Mr. Mivart's theory. I said very little of the general theory of evolution, my object being to consider the theological aspect of the theory as applied to man. To this special aspect of the question my attention was called by a controversy between Mr. Huxley and Mr. Mivart, originating with an article by the former gentleman in the Contemporary Review for November 1871. In that article Mr. Huxley raised somewhat serious difficulties, and suggested difficulties more serious still against the harmony said by Mr. Mivart to exist between evolution and theology. I read Mr. Mivart's reply in the concluding chapter of his Lessons from Nature, and though my sympathies were entirely with him, I was forced to admit that he did not remove the difficulties suggested by his opponent. From those distinguished scientists, whose theological knowledge did not impress me very favourably, I turned to the Catholic theologians themselves to find what they taught with reference to the question in dispute, and the conviction very soon forced itself upon me that, whatever may be said of evolution as applied to lower


organisms, the whole weight of Catholic theological teaching was opposed to the application of the evolution theory to man. To this conviction I gave expression in the Ecclesiastical Record, and I did so in language studiously mild and courteous, in a manner of which Mr. Mivart has nothing to complain except that I expressed very decidedly my dissent from his assertion of the complete orthodoxy of evolution as applied to man. Now surely a champion of 'intellectual freedom' ought not to deny to another the liberty which he claims for himself; he ought to regard it as a pardonable transgression on my part that I should form an opinion for myself, and express it calmly and temperately, even though that opinion happened not to harmonise with his own. But Mr. Mivart is not disposed to be thus tolerant. He is clearly impatient of contradiction, and this is not a philosophic state of mind. In his essay in this Review for July last, as well as in letters previously addressed to the Tablet, Mr. Mivart has written with considerable bitterness-indeed in a tone of lofty disdain-of me for venturing to question the correctness of his conclusions. I am, it appears, one of the ever-recurring band of obstructives who always turn out to have been in the wrong' (p. 35). I am the heir to everything that is dark and retrograde, opposed to everything that is liberal and enlightened in the ecclesiastical policy of the past; one of those narrow-minded and incompetent obstructives' whose opinions need be of no concern to those persons who, in addition to scientific knowledge, possess some acquaintance with the history of the seventeenth century' (p. 34). Now it is easy enough for a disputant who is so minded to charge his opponent with ignorance, but it is not always so easy to establish the charge. Incompetent obstructives' are no doubt very objectionable people, but they do less injury to any cause than is done by indiscreet advocates. Those opinions of mine which have so displeased Mr. Mivart were not, in reality, mine at all; I took them from the best known, the most trusted theologians of the Catholic Church. I gave the very words of my authorities, and all the necessary references to their works. Some of these made the evolution theory a special study, and are quite competent to pronounce an opinion on it; one of them at least, the Abbé Moigno, was a scientist far more widely known than even Mr. Mivart himself is. Now I submit that to class such men as incompetent obstructives,' though it may be a very heroic way, is certainly not a wise or an effectual way of disposing of them. Personalities serve no cause, and are sadly out of place in a discussion like this, and I therefore pass Mr. Mivart's by as if unsaid, merely observing that a few sentences of calm sound reasoning would do far more to advance his cause. Mr. Mivart has met two London priests, one 'the head of a college,' who are very useful for his purpose just now. They are anti-Copernicans, and they are so because they believe the Church is committed to that doctrine by the condemnation of

Galileo. Now I may be permitted to say that I know a great many more priests than Mr. Mivart does, and I have not met even one such fossil among them. I have found them feeling on such questions as I myself feel, and I am in no sense nervous as to any possible conclusion of genuine science. I have read nearly all that Mr. Mivart has written, some of it with pleasure and profit, some of it with regret and pain. I am quite prepared to accept thankfully from him or from any one else real genuine science--strictly logical deductions, or inferences from sound principles or from well-established facts. But I am not prepared to accept from any one a fasciculus of conditional propositions as a substitute for science. I cannot regard as scientific a process which amounts to saying that something would be if ten thousand other things had been.

Mr. Mivart is, he thinks, absolved from the necessity of noticing my authorities because of a certain previous question;' that they merit no consideration is, he thinks, abundantly clear to those persons who, in addition to scientific knowledge, possess some acquaintance with the history of the seventeenth century' (p. 34). For a most instructive parallelism exists between the opposition of our present ecclesiastical obstructives to evolution and that offered by their predecessors to Copernicanism' (p. 36). The memorable conflict between science and eeclesiastical authority in the seventeenth century, resulting in Galileo's condemnation, has, according to Mr. Mivart, so discredited ecclesiastical authority, has so completely put it out of court in scientific discussion, that he does not hesitate to say, 'It is the very distinctness and authority with which scientific truths have been condemned which make secure beyond all possibility of question the complete scientific freedom of sincere Catholics' (p. 35). 'Viewing these events, however, in the light of our present knowledge, Catholics may far more thankfully exclaim: "How providential was that Divine permission by which such ecclesiastical authorities were allowed to fall into such egregious errors!"' (p. 38). And all this is the deliberate verdict of 'a loyal son of the Catholic Church.' Now, as Mr. Mivart has set this verdict before the readers of this Review, who are largely non-Catholic, I have some claim to be heard on the other side. If his previous question' have any interest for them, it is a true, not a false and distorted, version of it that is worth their hearing. I may be presumed to know as well as Mr. Mivart does what is the teaching of the Catholic Church. If there be weak points in the Church's armour, or sore points in her history, I may be presumed to be as interested in the matter as he is. The case of Galileo is not buried so far back into the history of the past that I may not know something of it, and something of its bearing on other points of Catholic doctrine. Mr. Mivart takes a very limited view of his 'instructive parallel.' To establish it he must contrast not merely the fact of condemnation in both cases, but

also the value of the condemning authorities, and the nature of the doctrine in each case. Mr. Mivart will, I presume, admit that the solar system is not so important a fact for students of revelation as the creation of the first man, and that consequently the value of theological teaching on the one question is very different from its value on the other. The doctrine which I have set in opposition to Mr. Mivart's theory is an explanation of an article of faith founded on texts of Scripture, as clear apparently as any that exist-an explanation given by Fathers and theologians without break or interruption from the dawn of revelation down to the present time. In such teaching Catholics recognise the voice of the ordinary magisterium of the Church, and as such they accept it. As parallel to this, Mr. Mivart adduces a doctrine in no sense necessarily connected with any article of faith, and the Scriptural expressions which seem to favour it are indirect and incidental-expressions which we ourselves are every day using with the full knowledge of Copernicanism. Then there is no such consensus of teaching as I have cited on the other side. Bellarmine, I admit, seems to say that there is some such consensus. But if Mr. Mivart will examine the matter for himself he will find how very little the Fathers trouble themselves with the matter, and he will find that the very few commentators who refer to the Scripture texts merely explain them in accordance with the scientific ideas of their time without at all insinuating that any truth of faith was involved in the interpretation. And even Bellarmine does not by any means hold the consensus to be decisive against Copernicanism. For in his letter to F. Foscarini he says that though he does not believe that any proof of the earth's motion will be adduced, yet, should that occur, he is quite prepared to change his views as to the meaning of the Scripture texts. But surely if he regarded those texts as decisive against Copernicanism, on no possible supposition could he alter their meaning. He is not then a decisive witness against Copernicanism. And if there ever was anything like an ecclesiastical tradition against Copernicanism, it was broken long before Galileo's time. For a hundred years before that time churchmen of the highest character taught the doctrine for which Galileo is supposed to have been subsequently condemned. Nicholas de Cusa taught it, and was made a cardinal by Eugene IV.in 1431. Copernicus, himself a priest and a canon, did not suffer in the estimation of his superiors for having taught this doctrine. Widmanstadt, a disciple of Copernicus, taught the doctrine of his master in 1533 at Rome in presence of Clement the Seventh and the cardinals, and received the applause and the congratulations of them all. And Mr. Drinkwater, one of Mr. Mivart's own authorities, says: Copernicus had been allowed to dedicate his book to Paul the Third, and from the time of its first appearance under that sanction in 1543 until the year 1616 the theory was left in the hands of mathematicians and philosophers, who alternately attacked or VOL. XIX.-No. 111. 3 C

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defended it without receiving either support or molestation from ecclesiastical decrees' (p. 48). As far, then, as the doctrines are concerned, there is no approach to a parallel. But it is on the condemnation of Galileo that Mr. Mivart stakes all. What, then, is the value of that condemnation? It is necessary first of all to see what precisely is the ecclesiastical authority from which the condemnation emanated according to Mr. Mivart. He evidently means something more than a mere congregation of cardinals; he means the supreme teaching authority of the Church, including of course the Pope. At page 38 he speaks of the supreme ecclesiastical authority,' to which infallibility has been given. He quotes Urban the Eighth and Alexander the Seventh as ordering, confirming, and approving the condemnation of Galileo's doctrine. It is clear, therefore, that Mr. Mivart seeks to hold the Pope responsible for Galileo's condemnation, and for the erroneous judgment about the meaning of Scripture' -the egregious errors' which were implied in that condemnation. And this responsibility he seeks to fix upon the Pope in his public official capacity as teacher of the Church; for if he had been referring to the Pope merely as a private doctor, his whole case would crumble to the ground. His argument, then, is this. The doctrine of Galileo was condemned as heretical by the supreme ecclesiastical authority, that is, by the Pope teaching in his official capacity, and yet that doctrine is true; and therefore evolutionists-in fact scientists in every department-need not trouble themselves about ecclesiastical strictures on their doctrines, no matter how exalted the source whence those strictures come. Catholic men of science of the present day should in no wise allow their efforts after truth to be checked by the declarations of ecclesiastical authorities' (p. 43). The value of this argument depends of course on the official documents in Galileo's case. Mr. Mivart volunteers the admission that he is not competent to interpret correctly such documents. He says: 'I decline to attempt the task of furnishing an interpretation of legal ecclesiastical documents for which I have not the requisite technical knowledge' (p. 46). Now to decide dogmatically a case which depends on such documents without the requisite technical knowledge' is, I submit, to act the 'incompetent obstructive all out. In the absence of that technical knowledge, the course open to Mr. Mivart was to consult some approved theologian, some expert, as to the meaning of such documents. The prudence of this course is unquestionable. The Lord Chancellor may be presumed to be a safer guide than Mr. Mivart in interpreting an Act of Parliament, and so too may a theologian be in interpreting a decree of the Index or Inquisition. But as Mr. Mivart did not adopt even this precaution, the very least that might be demanded from him is that he should give fully and fairly the text of the documents, or certainly as much of it as would put the reader in a position to judge calmly for himself what precisely is the

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