« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
quently declared, the scientific defence of a truth is usually called forth by the necessity of defending it when it is assailed. To the General Councils of the Church, and, in general, the same is true of all the Church's definitions, we look only for the rule which is to regulate our faith ;' the scientific defence of the defined doctrine must be sought elsewhere : the two things are plainly distinct; and to confound them, as is done so persistently in this Protest of Dr. Döllinger, is plainly inadmissible.
Reserving for the next number of the RECORD the remainder of this section of Dr. Hergenrother's pamphlet, I subjoin an extract from the Pastoral Letter of the Archbishop of Westminster on the Vatican Council and its Definitions. It is little more than a simple narrative of the actual proceedings of the Council. But it triumphantly refutes the charges so recklessly made by Dr. Döllinger and his adherents; and as it deals with the subject of this portion of Dr. Hergenrother's essay, entering however more fully into details, it will not be regarded as an inappropriate conclusion to this paper.
“ I will endeavour," writes his Grace, “ briefly to sketch the outline of the Council. : . As I was enabled to attend, with the exception of about three or four days, every session of the Council, cighty-nine in number, from the opening to the close, I can give testimony, not upon hearsay, but as a personal witness of what I narrate.
“I should hardly have spoken of the outward conduct of the Council, if I had not seen, with surprise and indignation, statements purporting to be descriptions of scenes of violence and disorder in the course of its discussions. Having from my earliest remembrance been a witness of public assemblies of all kinds, and especially of those among ourselves, which for gravity and dignity are supposed to exceed all others, I am able and bound to say that I have never seen such calınness, self-respect, mutual forbcarance, courtesy, and sclf-control, as in the eighty-nine sessions of the Vatican Council.
p. 740, Lib. iv., Or. i., p. 566, Lib. iv. In Joh. p. 393, Ed. Auberti. THEODORET. Serm. i. De Fide. Opp. iv., 479. Ed. Sismond AMBROSIUS. De Abraham. Lib. i., cap. iii., n. 21. In Psalm 118, serm. 9, n. 12.
AUGUSTINUs. De Utilitate Credend'i, cap. ix., n. 21 ; cap. X., n. 24; cap. xi., 11. 25.
De Trin. XV. 2. 1 AUGUST. De Civit Dei, Lib. xvi., cap. 2, De Vera Relig. cap. V., n. 10. ORIGEN. Cont. Celsum, iii., 13. In Num. Hom. 9.
Neque enim est alia Conciliorum faciendorum utilitas, quam ut quod intellectu non capimus, ex auctoritate credamus." FACUND. HIERMIAN. Defensio Trium Capit. Lib. v., cap. 5.
* The Vatican Council and its Definitions : A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy, by Henry Edward Archbishop of Westminster. London, 1870.
“ The descriptions of violence, outcries, menace, denunciation, and even of personal collisions, with which certain newspapers deceived the world, I can affirm to be calumnious falsehoods, fabricated to bring the Council into odium and contempt."
After some further remarks to the same effect, Dr. Manning goes on to describe as follows, the mode in which discussions were conducted in the Council
" The mode of conducting the discussions afforded the amplest liberty of debate.
“The subject matter was distributed in print to every Bishop, and a period of eight or ten days was given for any observations they might desire to make in writing.
“These observations were carefully considered by the Deputation of twenty-four; and when found to be pertinent, were admitted either to modify or to reform the original Schema.
“The text so amended was then proposed for the general discussion, on which every Bishop in the Council had a free right to speak, and the discussions lasted so long as any Bishop was pleased to inscribe his name.
“ The only limit upon this freedom of discussion consisted in the power of the Presidents, on the petition of ten Bishops, to interrogate the Council whether it desired the discussion to be prolonged. The Presidents had no power to close the discussion. The Council alone could put an end to it. This right is essential to every deliberative assembly, which has a two-fold liberty: the one, to listen as long as it shall see fit; the other, to refuse to listen when it shall judge that a subject has been sufficiently discussed. To deny this liberty to the Council is to claim for individuals the liberty to force the Council to listen as long as they are pleased either to waste its time or to obstruct its judgment. In political assemblies the house puts an end to debates by a peremptory and inexorable cry of “question,” or “divide.” The assemblies of the Church are of another temper. But they are not deprived of the same essential rights; and by a free vote they may decide either to listen, or not to listen, as the judgment of the Council shall see fit. To deny this is to deny the liberty of the Council; and under the pretext of liberty to claim a tyranny for the few over the will
of the many
“ Obvious as is this liberty and right of the Council to close
1 Hundreds of the Infallibilist Bishops danced like maniacs round the pulpit when Strossmayer and Schwarzenberg were speaking, yelling and shaking their fists at them." Letters from Rome on the Council, by Quirinus, Letter 8, page 134. Translator's note. Ed. Rivington's. London, 1870.
its discussions when it shall see fit, there exists only one example on record in which it did so. With exemplary patience it listened to what the House of Commons would have pronounced to be interminable discussions, and interminable speeches.
“On the general discussion of the Schema, De Romano Pontifice, some eighty Bishops had spoken-of these nearly half were of what the newspapers called the opposition ; but the proportion of the opposition to the Council was not more than one-sixth. They had therefore been heard as three to six:
“But further, there remained the special discussion on the Proæmium and the four chapters : that is to say, five distinct discussions still remained, in which every Bishop of the six or seven hundred in the Council would, therefore, have a right to speak five times. Most reasonably, then, the Council closed the general discussion. No one but those who desired the discussion never to end, that is, who desired to render the definition impossible by speaking against time, could complain of this most just exercise of its liberty on the part of the Council.
“I can conscientiously declare that long before the general discussion was closed, all general arguments were exhausted. The special discussion of details also had been anticipated to such an extent that nothing new was heard for days. The repetition became hard to bear.
Then, and not till then, the President, at the petition not of ten, but of a hundred and fifty Bishops at least, interrogated the Council whether it desired to prolong or to close the general discussion. By an overwhelming majority it was closed.
“When this was closed, still, as I have said, five distinct discussions commenced ; and were continued so long as any one was to be found desirous to speak.
“Finally, for the fifth or last discussion, a hundred and fifty inscribed their names to speak. Fifty at least were heard, until on both sides the burden became too heavy to bear; and, by mutual consent, an useless and endless discussion from sheer exhaustion ceased.
“So much for the material liberty of the Council. Of the moral liberty it will be enough to say, that the short-hand writers have laid up in its archives a record of discourses which will show that the liberty of thought and speech was perfectly unchecked.
“ Certain Bishops of the freest country in the world said truly : ‘The liberty of our Congress is not greater than the liberty of the Council.'
“When it is borne in mind that out of more than six hundred Bishops, one hundred at the utmost were in opposition to their brethren, it seems hardly sincere to talk of want of liberty. There was but one liberty, of which this sixth part of the Council was deprived, a liberty they certainly would be the last to desire, namely, that of destroying the liberty of the other five."
W. J. W.
FATHER HENRY FITZSIMON, S.J.
( Continued from page 563, vol. viii.) EVIDENTLY the Jesuit did not wish to fritter away his time "disputing about Antichrist," with his cousin, whom he looked on as a conceited youth, who had just read enough to make him very impertinent. The whole Protestant account is a myth. I will do my best to prove it to be such to the satisfaction of any honest sensible Protestant. The passage is a blot and a blunder in Ussher's biography, and I would wish it to be eliminated for the sake of the reputation of Ussher, who was a most illustrious Irishman, had an uncle a priest and several cousins Jesuits, was so much the friend of the Jesuit F. White as to invite him to dinner, and to give him the use of his splendid library, and who was a Catholic in his heart for years, and even before his death asked to be admitted into the Catholic Church.1
Of course David killed Goliath, and Ussher is the David of Trinity College. However, we have the authority of Holy Writ for the account of David's victory. But Doctors Bernard, Elrington, Saldenus, and Harris, were not inspired, at least from on high. So we may beg leave, with Bayle and others, not to accept their most improbable and miraculous story. Even David slew Goliath with a stone from a sling, but he did not wrestle with him ; whereas Ussher actually wrestled and tried his strength with such an athlete as FitzSimon. I am sure to convince at least that class of Protestants called muscular Christians by one reflection; and that is--would a soft, untrained, butcher's boy (no offence to Ussher), be able to cow and beat a champion of the ring like Sayers, Heenan, and Mace, whom all British prize fighters declined to encounter? Of course not. Therefore young Ussher could not have "silenced and baffled in debate the famous Jesuit Henry FitzSimon.” We shall be persuaded of this if we consider for a moment their training. Ussher's admirers say: "It is prodigious to tell that a youth
1 His letter, asking admission, is in the hands of an English nobleman.
of about fourteen years of age should reduce into synoptical tables all the most memorable facts of all ancient history. Yet he did this, and he studied the Scriptures with care, and read St. Augustine's Meditations. Between fifteen and sixteen he made such proficiency in chronology, that he had drawn up in Latin an exact chronicle of the Bible, as far as the Book of Kings.
“ He took his degree of Bachelor of Arts in his seventeenth year, and having got a good knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, he fell to the study of polemical Divinity. He read the 'Fortress of Faith,' written by Stapleton, and most other books in defence of Popery that were in greatest esteem at that time; and for his further satisfaction in points of controversy, he took a resolution to read over all the Fathers, from the time of the Apostles to the Council of Trent.”1
Doubtless, this desultory reading, writing, and arithmetic of a self-taught youth of eighteen was more than enough to make him very conceited, and even very impertinent; but any one, who has common sense or a slight acquaintance with the nature of controversy, must see that such passionate, gluitonous, and omnivorous study was no training for an encounter with an old, a bold, and practised disputant. What help would he get from "synoptical tables of ancient facts," and from his “Latin Chronicle of the Bible?”
Now let us look for a moment at the man whom he is said to have conquered in controversy. He was thirty-two years of age, was “ endowed with great natural abilities,"2 went to Oxford the year Ussher came into the world, and while in the English University, “his natural disposition being strongly inclined to controversy, he devoted himself to the study of the disputed points of religion."
At the age of twenty he went to Paris, so far overweening of his profession that he thought he could convert to Protestantism any opponent whatever, and in fact did not find any ordinary Catholics whom he did not often gravel.* At last he was overcome by "an owld English Jesuit,” and at once conceived a burning desire to “gravel” the ringleaders of the Reformation ; then he studied divinity under Lessius most assiduously, and became thoroughly acquainted with all the controverted points of belief. After some time he was appointed to teach mctaphysics in the famous College of Douay, where there were twelve hundred students, of whom three hundred and forty were reading mental philosophy.
1 Ware's “ Irish Bishops.". 2 “Magnis naturæ dotibus instructus,” says F. Young, S.J., his contemporary. 3 Wood's " Athenä Oxon. 4 FitzSimon “On the Masse," p. 115. 5 Wood's Oxford. 6 Annuæ Belgicæ.