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a paper on the following morning on that basis of choice. Now apply that standard to religious news. Out of an audience assembled in a city for some notable religious occasion, how many will be able to predict the relative prominence that will be given to that meeting by the newspapers? And how many will go to a newspaper stand the following day and buy a paper, confident, without looking it through, that it gives a good account of the event? How many Christian people could have guessed the ratios I have determined ? How many Christian people know which paper has the most and best religious news and which the least and worst, and govern their patronage accordingly? In short, is it not, after all, a question of supply and demand ?
The newspaper is published, and must make its fight for existence, in Vanity Fair. Is it a chamber of horrors? Are crimes and traffickings treated as of first importance, and morality and culture as of comparatively slight account? Do the careers of cutthroats and pugilists and sharpers fill its columns in preference to the deeds of clergymen and scholars, and honest, decent people? If so, is it not because the editors and proprietors of the Vanity Fair press understand the Fair and know how to cater to it? Do my readers know that Fair for themselves ? Have they peradventure tried to reform it and lift its inbabit ants to higher levels? If they had, they might be more charitable toward the editors and proprietors of the press.
HENRY R. ELLIOT.
FROM ROME TO PROTESTANTISM.
I was born into the Roman Church, my parents being Roman Catholics. Religious beliefs were formed to hand for me, and as I grew up I accepted all the teachings of that church as the very gospel of Christ. My personal convictions were not accounted at all. I had no right to say whether I would believe or not. True, I was told that I had a right to examine the claims, authority, and doctrines of the church; but having been allowed that measure of liberty, I was forbidden, under guilt of mortal sin and pain of excommunication, to reject or doubt any of the Roman dogmas, no matter how weak the proofs, how unreasonable or unscriptural the doctrines or claims.
From an early age I longed to be a priest, and no objection was made to my choice. Having studied classics for nearly seven years, I entered as a “logician " the great ecclesiastical college of Maynooth. During my classical and philosophical terms I learned to think and read for myself, to select my own books of reference, and to form my own opinions. Sometimes I opposed the opinions of the professors, and quoted authorities against them ; thus I learned that they did not know all things, and I ceased to regard even the most able of them as infallible. My mind was quickly outgrowing its youth-time, and long before my philosophical course was ended I had put aside the mere authority of old age, and resolved to stand by principles and facts.
The professors of the college were considered by Pius the Ninth as second to none in the Roman Church, and justly so. They were men to be respected and loved ; they were also to be pitied, for they were in a system that held them as in a vise. They might search the Scriptures and history and tradition, but all ended there. Their minds were not their own as to faith, and it was at times pitiable to hear them try to defend defenseless doctrines. I could see in them that unrest of mind and skepticism as to matters of faith which pervade to so lamentable an extent the priesthood in the Roman Church.
During my first year's course in divinity the treatises on true religion, both natural and supernatural, were read. The entire current of theological thought was turned to prove papal authority and infallibility. The decrees of the Vatican Council were taken as a text, and all the teachings and writings of anteVatican times were either explained away or quoted to prove the Vatican doctrines. Here my mind first rebelled. The doctrine of papal infallibility appeared to be unnecessary and injurious, making Catholicity as taught by Rome repulsive to men's minds; for one could not help seeing that the world had lived for centuries without such a doctrine, and that God could save men in the future, as in the past, without the necessity of assent to such a claim. The arguments used to support the claims of the pope seemed to me untenable, and the explanations of the difficulties more plausible than logical or forcible. I could not help coming to the conclusion that there is not in all Scripture a trace of evidence that St. Peter was constituted universal ruler over the other apostles, and that there is not a word in favor of papal claims and papal infallibility. What, then, of the teaching of the great doctors Augustine, Jerome, Chrysostom, Eusebius, and countless others, that no doctrine is Catholic and apostolical except it be contained in "the Scripture,” the “divine oracles,” the “ legal and evangelical" writings?
It is asserted that the universal church has always believed in and taught the superiority of the pope to a general council, and his infallibility in teaching ex cathedra faith and morals to the entire church. Is this so? Were not Popes Zephyrinus and Callistus (a Roman saint) Sabellian heretics ? Did not Pope Vigilius teach now one thing, and again the opposite, in his public and formally official declarations concerning the " Three Chapters”? Is not his teaching at times opposed to councils held as general ? Vigilius himself stated in a letter to Eutychius of Constantinople that “Christ had removed the darkness from his mind," and that "it was no shame to admit and retract error.” This whole question, to use Bossuet's words, " altogether pertained to the cause of faith.” Large numbers of bishops in council assembled strenuously opposed Vigilius and his teaching, showing plainly that they had no faith in papal infallibility. Was not Pope Liberius an Arian? That such he was is admitted by Baronius, Petavius, Bossuet, Fleury, Döllinger, Hefele, Dupin, and hosts of others. And we have authority even greater than that of these famous authors: we have the testimony of the great saints and doctors Athanasius and Hilary and Jerome, and the clear evidence of the historian Sozomen. But, say Roman divines, the pope was compelled by fear to teach Arianism, and in the exercise of his infallibility he should be free. Let us examine this specious defense of infallibility. According to all writers on the laws of mind and will, mere external violence or threats cannot affect the volition of mental acts. But violence or threats may excite fear, and fear, according to Roman divines and other writers, can and does at times destroy the freedom of mind and will necessary for a free human act. Nevertheless those acts which do proceed from fear are, according to Roman teachings, for the most part free acts. All authorities agree that acts performed under the impulse of grave fear are free and voluntary, provided the fear is not so intense as altogether to destroy the use of reason. Even granting, then, that Liberius acted under fear, who will assert that the fear acting on the pope was such as to destroy the freedom of mind and will necessary for a human act ? Not even Cardinal Newman with all his eloquence can defend Liberius. The cardinal compares Liberius to an English chief-justice hurried off by bandits, and kept without notes, books, or counsel, and forced by fear of death to give a certain decision. The comparison is at fault in every particular. Liberius had studied the subject in controversy, and was presumably infallible and supreme in teaching on the point at issue, and aided in a special manner by the Holy Ghost.
Was not Pope Honorius a Monothelite heretic? Sundry general councils and about one hundred and forty popes condemned him as such. Leo II. wrote to the bishops of Spain that Honorius was damned for his heresy. Pope Stephen VI. disentombed the body of Pope Forrnosus, condemned him, and annulled his ordinations. Pope Leo V. deposed Pope Christopher. John XII. deposed Leo VIII, John himself was deposed by a council, and Leo VIII., being restored, degraded Pope Benedict. Gregory VII. declared invalid the sacraments conferred by simoniacal priests. John XXII. publicly preached that the souls of the just, though free from every stain of sin, were not admitted to the beatific vision until the last day; this being contrary to Roman teaching, he was accused of heresy and his doctrine condemned. John retracted, but his successor, who was also accused of heresy, published the condemuation of John's doctrine. From 1378 to 1417 there were always two or three rival popes, and the unbroken succession of the apostolic line of popes, as Romanists love to call it, is bolstered up by an appeal to those who for centuries were debarred from having any voice in church teaching or church government John XXIII., who denied a future life and the resurrection, and also Gregory XII., were deposed by the council of Constance. The same council deposed Benedict XIII. for schism and heresy. Eugene IV. was deposed by the council of Basle for obstinacy, schism, and heresy. Popes deposed and condemned popes. Councils declared their own superiority to popes, and deposed and degraded popes, condemning them for heresy. What sign of papal supremacy and infallibility do we find in all this? Pope Adrian VI., in a work published after he became pope, says: “It is certain that the pope can err, even in matters of faith, asserting heresy in his determination or decree; for many of the Roman pontiffs were heretics.” Certainly history makes it difficult for a sensible person to subscribe to papal supremacy and infallibility. It is not matter for surprise that Cardinal Manning writes : “ The appeal to history is treason to the church.” Yes, treason to its character, treason to its dogmas.
What wonder that with such facts, besides hosts of others, I should have hesitated about admitting the Vatican doctrine? And still I was bound to assent, or else to become a heretic, an atheist. Every one knows that the Roman Church teaches that if you are not a Romanist you must, of absolute necessity and by force of reason, be an atheist. But if you doubt any dogma of the Roman Church, you are not a Romanist. Is it to be wondered at that young minds trained up in the Roman Church are at times