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P. S.-The only matters which occur to me in which the authority of the pope comes even indirectly in contact with the civil duties of the Catholics within this realm, are cases of marriage, where the canons of the Church which the pope administers, have created impediments not recognized by our laws. But besides that this matter could be easily arranged by a concordat, this same difference between the laws of the Church and those of the State, not only exists here at present, but also exists in France and in other countries on the continent, without producing any notable inconvenience; for this very obvious reason, that the ecclesiastical law affects the spiritual interests of the parties, whilst their temporal concerns are regulated by the laws of their country.
THE SUBJECTS OF THE FOREGOING LETTER CONTINUED,
THE Oath and Declaration taken by Protestants proceed to set forth, that "there is not any transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, at or after the time of consecration thereof by any person whatsoever; and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other saint, and the sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous."
This portion of the Oath and Declaration, though not partaking of any political character, and introduced chiefly through religious spleen, is more painful to a man of upright conscience than even the former part; and to read it merely is sufficient to show how well it is calculated to suppress peace, and foment ill-will between members of the same community.
I shall say nothing of what our Church teaches on the subject of transubstantiation, having discussed it in my "Defence of the Vindication of the Irish Catholics;" but I am bold to say, that no man who reads Doctor Parker's (the Bishop of Oxford) "Reasons for abrogating the Test," will swear or declare to God, without pain, "that he believes there is not any transubstantiation of the bread and wine at or after the time of consecration." But admit
ting that there is not, how can an appeal to heaven on such a subject be justified? Whereas, we should not only suppose, but know, (and knowledge, according to Locke, implies certainty,) that what we swear is conformable to the truth.
I have heard that when my Lord Grey, and I believe General Thornton, brought forward this subject in the houses of parliament to which they respectively belong, it was observed by many members that the Declaration was exceedingly objectionable, but that it was taken with a certain intention, or in a sense different from that conveyed by the words which compose it; but besides that, mental reservations and equivocations are not only unworthy of gentlemen and Christians, but expressly excluded in the Declaration itself, I cannot conceive why a form of words, impious perhaps in their tenor, dubious in their sense, useless or unnecessary as a test of religious faith, but above all, provokingly offensive, and even insulting, not only to the Catholics of the empire, but to the whole Catholic world, should, through indolence or bigotry, be let to remain on the statutebook. Lord Eldon or the Bishop of Canterbury may be able to account for it, but to a person un acquainted with state secrets, or feeling a reverence for the awful name of God, or being attached to the simplicity of truth, it is, indeed, inexplicable.
The invocation of the Saints and the sacrifice of the Mass superstitious and idolatrous! This is repeated annually by every corporation officer throughout the kingdom; and not only by those, but every bishop, every judge, every sheriff, every clergyman, every lawyer, every attorney, every man going into parliament, holding office under the crown, or entering upon almost any legal profession, if he be of the Established Church, must declare on oath his belief, that the invocation of the Saints and the sacrifice of the Mass are superstítious and idolatrous!! The husband of the Catholic wife, the parent of the Catholic child, if a Protestant of the Established Church, must do this, or sacrifice his family, perhaps and fortune, as well as his honours. The public officer who invites his Catholic friend to dine, or who, in his turn, sits at the board of his heterodox neighbour, must prepare for this social intercourse by proving on oath his belief, that his host, his guest, his neighbour, his friend, is an idolator. And the magistrate who sits on the bench, the judge who dispenses justice, must not, cannot take their seats until they will have sworn that it is their belief that their suitors, that