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It would be interesting to see the parallel between the Robber Council of 449 and the Vatican Council of 1870 developed at greater length. But Dr. Döllinger does not pursue the subject further. He does not allege the existence of "violence and tyrannical tumult" in the Council of the Vatican; although, indeed, some portions of the proceedingsof the Council have been represented in that light, and it is set forth in the Nuremberg Protest that “by means of the numerous instruments that are at the Pope's command,"
Pope's command," "the members of the Council, in deciding a question regarding the Papal prerogatives, acted under” at least“ a moral compulsion.” However, the author of the Declaration is content with referring to“ the Papal Decree regulating the Order of Procedure,” “the Pontifical Commission,” and “the power of the majority”— "the Papal Decree," which he had assailed last year with all the v gour of a criticism well stocked with weapons borrowed from Jansenist armouries, and which is also expressly referred to ir the Nuremberg Protest, as proving the want of freedom in the Council—“the Pontifical Commission” which, as far as regards the Commission on Dogma, the only Commission which had anything to do with the examination of dogmatic questions, was elected by the votes of the Bishops, and finally, “ the power of the majority" who, instead of taking Dr. Döllinger's view, that it was their duty to submit to the minority, ventured to regard it as the duty of the minority to submit to them.
But we are told that "by their votes they precluded the possibility of a systematic and scarching examination of the doctrines under discussion.” So far from the decrees of the
proceedings of the Council down to the 16th of July, and thus recognised it as being what it professed to be, acumenical. They absented themselves, it is true, from the session at which the definition of Infallibility was formally and finally approved ; but it is by no means necessary, according to the view vf æcumenicity hitherto received among Catholics, that all the Bishops of the Church should be present, and should approve the Decrees enacted by the Council : it is necessary only that all should have been summoned to attend. Besides, it must be borne in mind that the session in question was most numerously attended ; so much so, that there have been Ecumenical Councils which had not half so many Bishops present during the whole course of their proceedings. Thus, by absenting themselves, the Bishops opposed to the definition deprived themselves of their most solid grounds of resistance ; for, in their absence, it was adopted by a morally unanimous tote.
“And, to speak candidly, it must be confessed that apart from the fact of the Council having defined this dogma, there are no grounds on which its æcumenicity can be denied. If the dogma had not been defined, the Bishops of the minority would never have dreamt of denying the authority of the Council. It is not, then, on account of any formal defect in the constitution or proceedings of the Council that the dogma is rejected, but the acumenicity of the Council is rejected on account of the dogma which it defined.”—HASF, Handbuch der Protestantischen Polemik gegen die Romisch-Katholische K'irche. Leipzig, 1871, pp. 197, et seq.
Vatican Council having been adopted without a due preliminary examination of the doctrines proposed for definition, we should say that nodefinition of an Ecumenical Council had ever been preceded by a more thorough examination of the defined doctrine. The numerous works written in the period of the old Gallican and Febronian controversies, the prolific literary activity which characterized the years immediately preceding the opening of the Council, and which, of course, could not have failed to arrest the attention of the Bishops, the written “ Observations” of the Bishops on the drafts of the decrees proposed for definition, the oral discussion in thirty-six meetings of the Council, at first on the general drift of the definition, and subsequently on its chapters in detail, undoubtedly accomplished more in this respect than had been accomplished at any previous Council.2
But all this must count for nothing. It failed, it scens, to constitute "the most distant approach” to the “free examination" which Dr. Döllinger desiderates : inasmuch as "the immense majority of the Bishops representing the Latin races,” were wanting “both in the will and the capacity necessary for justly discriminating between truth on the one hand, and falsehood and lies on the other.” They were, it is true, not versed in the criticism of the Döllinger school, nor were they willing to take instruction from his “Reflections" and his two “Dogmatic Essays” in the Allge meine Zeitung. This “capacity,” no doubt, and this “will," they did not possess.
Dr. Döllinger appeals, in proof of his statement (1) to some works published in Italy, and circulated in Rome—as, for instance, those of the Dominican Bishop of Mondovi, Ghilardi, and (2) to the fact that “ hundreds of the Bishops, in advocating the definition of the Pope's Infallibility, were not ashamed to cite the authority of Alphonsus Liguori as unquestionable.” This latter statement refers to the memorial criticised on a former occasion by Dr. Döllinger, which was presented to the Council by the Italian Bishops, and in which they quoted the authority of the two Italian Saints, Thomas of Aquin and Alphonsus Liguori. But how can this be regarded as a proof of the statement in support of which Dr. Döllinger now puts it forward ? In the first place, whatever inference may be drawn from it in reference to the Italian Bishops, it fails to prove Dr. Döllinger's statement regarding “the immense majority of the Bishops representing the Latin races.” In the second place, Dr. Döllinger has not taken into account the other writings of the Italian Bishops : had he done so he
See page 14, infra. * See Historisch-politische Blätter, vol. Ixvi., pp. 500-26, 557-83, 653-81.
would have discovered grounds for a very different inference. And, thirdly, were not the Bishops fully justified in appealing to the authority of Saint Alphonsus? Purity of faith is an essential condition of canonization, and hence the teaching of the Saints has at all times been looked up to with respect in the Church. For my own part, I am free to confess that I venerate Saint Alphonsus as a saint rather than as a scholarthat the depth of his religious spirit impresses me more than the soundness of his reasoning ; but, surely, I am not on this account to set aside his teaching as of no authority in matters regarding the faith of the Church.
As regards Saint Thomas, Dr. Döllinger repeats the assertion which he made on a former occasion, and which has also been made by Father Gratry, "that Thomas was led astray by a long chain of fabricated texts, and when treating this question, relics, in fact, on such forgeries alone, never in a single instance quoting in support of his doctrine a genuine passage from the Fathers or Councils of the Church." And then, after referring to a work published in Rome, which he cites as evidence of the commotion occasioned by his exposure of the defective character of the evidence on which St. Thomas relied, he goes on to say that incumbent as it was on his opponents to disprove his allegations, they have never done so. He does not make the slightest reference to the fact that those allegations have been disproved repeatedly in various writings and speeches, and that the following points have been clearly established in opposition to his statements :-(1) St. Thomas, in his great work, the Summa, puts forward as his principal argument a proof, ex ratione theologica, which does not in any way depend upon quotations, fabricated or genuine. And, undoubtedly, this main proof has never yet been refuted. (2) In the Treatise against the errors of the Greeks, St. Thomas quotes, along with texts of unquestionable authenticity, such as the passages from the works of Pope Innocent I., and from the acts of the Council of Chalcedon, some others which he ascribes to St. Cyril, but which are not to be found in the works of that Saint : it must, however, be borne in mind that many of St. Cyril's works, especially his exegetical and doctrinal writings, have been lost, and that
1 Erwägungen, n. 26, page 17. And see Fanus, p. 285, et seq.
? Pere Gratry's misstatements have long since met with the most complete refu. tation at the hands both of French and of other writers--Mgr. Dechamps, Archbishop of Mechlin, Père Ramière, and others. An example of his inaccurate quotations from Saint Thomas may be seen in Hist. pol. Blätter, p. 568.
3 St. Cyril is said to have written a Commentary on the entire Bible. CASSIODORUS, Praef. de Instit. Div. Liter. NICEPH. CALL., H.E., xiv., 14.
FESSLER, Instit. Fatrolog., vol. ii., n. 339, p. 564, seq.
while the extant editions represent those passages as spurious, no extant edition has any pretension to completeness. (3) The place of the texts in question might have been supplied by others not less cogent, of whose authenticity no doubt can be entertained. (4) St. Bonaventure, the contemporary of St. Thomas, lays down the same doctrine of Papal Infallibility without relying upon any of these spurious texts; and before the time of St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure this doctrine was widely spread through the schools of thcology. (5) St. Thomas relies also upon texts of Scripture; nor was he the first to interpret them in the sense which he ascribes to them: he merely followed, in this matter, the teaching of the most renowned doctors who had gone before him.
Dr. Döllinger goes on to express his opinion, that although the “systematic and searching examination” desired by him "would undoubtedly have brought to light unpleasant and compromising truths”;it would have saved the Church from an "embarrassment which your Excellency [the Archbishop), as well as I myself, must regard as deplorable.” The “embarrassment,” deplorable as it may be, is not without its good results : it has become a test of faith for thousands ; it has drawn a broad line of distinction between those, on the one hand, who are devoted to the Catholic cause, not in words alone but in deed, who will not run the risk of making shipwreck of the faith by a blind adherence to the teaching of a philosophy which they foolishly imagine to be an unerring guide, who are proof against the artifices described by St. Irenæus and employed by every heretic from the days of Irenæus down to our own time, who are Catholics not merely in name but in spirit and in sentiment, in the inheritance of the manly courage, and of the unfailing constancy of their martyred forefathers, and those, on the other hand, who, shaken like reeds by every wind of human teaching and of human error, find themselves involved, day after day, in some fresh contradiction.
That the Council of the Vatican was free, the German Bishops have already testified in the most express terms. Does Dr. Döllinger, then, who was not in Rome during the Council, and whose only sources of information are the items of news supplied by his satellites, and the gossip of the salons, as reported by Lord Acton, quarrel with the testimony of those who were not only present, but who took part in the various proceedings of the Council ? No; but he has recourse to the two-fold
1 As we were persistently informed in the “ Letters from Rome on the Council,” which were published in the Allgemeine Zeitung from December, 1869, to June, 1870.
expedient of (1) assuming to know only of the testimony of a single prelate, his own Archbishop, to whom this letter of his is addressed, and of (2) diminishing the weight of this testimony by representing it as not really signifying all that is conveyed by the language in which it is expressed “If, however, it be maintained by your Excellency that the Vatican Council enjoyed perfect freedom, the word 'free' must be used by you in a sense which has not hitherto been attached to it in theological circles."
The Archbishop, of course, being altogether outside "theological circles,” does not know the true meaning of the word ! Dr. Döllinger's explanation of it is subjoined:-"A Council is free, in the theological sense of the word, when a free investigation and discussion of every view and of every difficulty which is put forward, has taken place, facilities being afforded for proposing difficulties which are afterwards examined according to the rules sanctioned by the Tradition of the Church.”
I regret to be obliged to find fault with this ex cathedra exposition, on the score of its being put forward without limitation or restriction, the manner in which the necessity of a free “investigation and discussion" is laid down being especially defective in point of scientific clearness. I shall meet it by making good the following statements :
(1) No Council has ever entered upon an examination “ of every view and of every difficulty" against the doctrines proposed for definition : nor would it be possible to do so. We should not, to the present day, have had the definitions regarding the Trinity and the Incarnation, which were adopted in the first Ecumenical Councils, nor the Canon of Scripture, as fixed by the Council of Trent, if it had been necessary to examine in those Councils "every view and every difficulty" proposed in reference to those definitions: down to our own time difficulties are urged against the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, and against the authority of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament. The solution of these difficulties is furnished, no doubt, by the theological and biblical science of our day: but then, if any difficulties against the definitions of the Vatican Council still remained, why should we not be justified in looking forward with confident expectation to their gradual disappearance before the future researches of those who are engaged in the study of the ecclesiastical sciences ? As a general rule, the faith of the Church is developed with greater rapidity than theological science : scientia sequitur fidem non praecedit, and, as the Fathers have fre
1 CLEN. Alex. Strom. Lib. vii., n. 10: p. 864. Ed. Potter ; Cf. Lib. ii., n. 2, 4, Pp. 432-7. CYRILL. Alex. Lib. vii., Adv. Jul., pp. 247, 443: In Isai Lib., V.,