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Supr., pp. 277, 281. I have said that the Syllabus is to he received from the Pope with profound submission. p. 277, and by an act of obedience, p. 281; I add, {365} but not of faith, for it has no dogmatic force. I maintain this still. I say, in spite of Professor Schulte, and the English Catholic writer to whom Mr. Gladstone refers, p. 32, I have as much right to maintain that the implicit condemnation with which it visits its eighty propositions is not ex cathedra, or an act of the Infallible Chair, as have those gravest theologians, as Bishop Fessler speaks, who call its dogmatic force in question, Fessler, p. 91. I do not know what Fessler himself says of it more than that it is to be received with submission and obedience. I do not deny anothers right to consider it in his private conscience an act of infallibility, or to say, in Mr. Gladstones words, p. 35, that utterances ex cathedra are not the only form in which Infallibility can speak; I only say that I have a right to think otherwise. And when the Pope by letters approves of one writer who writes one way, and of another who writes in another, he makes neither opinion dogmatic, but both allowable. Mr. Gladstone speaks as if what the Pope says to Fr. Schrader undoes what he says to Bishop Fessler; why not say that his letter to Fessler neutralizes his letter to Schrader? I repeat, when I speak of minimizing, I am not turning the profession of it into a dogma; men, if they will, may maximize for me, provided they too keep from dogmatizing. This is my position all through these discussions, and must be kept in mind by any fair reasoner.

I grant the Pope has laid a great stress on the Syllabus; he is said in 1867 to have spoken of it as a regula docendi; I cannot tell whether vivâ voce, or in writing; any how this did not interfere with Fesslers {366} grave theologians in 1871 considering the Pope was not in 1867 teaching dogmatically and infallibly. Moreover, how can a list of proscribed propositions be a rule, except by turning to the Allocutions, &c., in which they are condemned? and in those Allocutions, when we turn to them, we find in what sense, and with what degree of force, severally. In itself the Syllabus can be no more than what the Pope calls it, a syllabus or collection of errors. Led by the references inserted in it to the Allocutions, &c., I have ventured to call it something more, viz., a list or index raisonné; an idea not attached to it by me first of all, for Père Daniel, in the October of that very year, 1867, tells us, in the Etudes Religieuses, Au Syllabus lui-même il ne faut pas demander que le degré de clarté qui convient à une bonne table des matières, p. 514.

But, whether an index or not, and though it have a substantive character, it is at least clear that the only way in which it can be a rule of teaching is by its telling us what to avoid; and this consideration will explain what I mean by receiving it with obedience, which to some persons is a difficult idea, when contrasted with accepting it with faith. I observe then that obedience is concerned with doing, but faith with affirming. Now, when we are told to avoid certain propositions, we are told primarily and directly not to do something; whereas, in order to affirm, we must have positive statements put before us. For instance, it is easy to understand, and in our teaching to avoid the proposition, Wealth is the first of goods; but who shall attempt to ascertain what the affirmative propositions are, {367} one or more, which are necessarily involved in the prohibition of such a proposition, and which must be clearly set down before we can make an act of faith in them?

However, Mr. Gladstone argues, that, since the Popes condemnation of the propositions of the Syllabus has, as I have allowed, a claim on the obedience of Catholics, that very fact tells in favour of the propositions condemned by him; he thinks I have here made a fatal admission. It is enough, he says, that the Syllabus unquestionably demands obedience; that is, enough, whether the propositions condemned in it deserve condemnation or not. Here are his very words: What is conclusive ... is this, that the obligation to obey it is asserted on all hands; ... it is therefore absolutely superfluous to follow Dr. Newman through his references to the Briefs and Allocutions marginally noted, in order to ascertain their meaning and drift ... I abide by my account of the contents of the Syllabus, p. 86. That is, the propositions may be as false as heathenism, but they have this redeeming virtue, that the Pope denounces them. His judgment of them may be as true as Scripture, but it carries this unpardonable sin with it, that it is given with a purpose, and not as a mere literary flourish. Therefore I will not inquire into the propositions at all; but my original conclusion shall be dogmatic and irreformable. Sit pro ratione voluntas.

Supra, p. 288. I have declined to discuss the difficulties which Mr. Gladstone raises upon our teaching respecting {368} the marriage contract (on which I still think him either obscure or incorrect), because they do not fall within the scope to which I professed to confine my remarks; however, his fresh statements, as they are found, Vat., p. 28, lead me to say as follows:—

The non-Roman marriages in England, he says, do not at present fall under the foul epithets of Rome. But why? not because we marry ... under the sanctions of religion, for our marriages are, in the eye of the Pope, purely civil marriages, but only for the technical ... reason that the disciplinary decrees of Trent are not canonically in force in this country, &c.

Here Mr. Gladstone seems to consider that there are only two ways of marrying according to Catholic teaching; he omits a third, in which we consider the essence of the sacrament to lie. He speaks of civil marriage, and of marriage under the sanctions of religion, by which phrase he seems to mean marriage with a rite and a minister. But it is also a religious marriage, if the parties, without a priest, by a mutual act of consent, as in the presence of God, marry themselves; and such a vow of each to other is, according to our theology, really the constituting act, the matter and form, the sacrament of marriage. That is, he omits the very contract which we specially call marriage. This being the case, it follows that every clause of the above passage is incorrect.

1. Mr. Gladstone says, that English non-Roman marriages are held valid at Rome, not because they are contracted under the sanctions of religion. On the contrary, this is the very reason why they are held valid {369} there; viz., only because parties who have already received the Christian rite of baptism, proceed to give themselves to each other in the sight of God sacramentally, though they may not call it a sacrament.

2. Mr. Gladstone says, our marriages are in the eye of the Pope purely civil marriages. Just the reverse, speaking, as he is, of Church of England marriages. They are considered, in the case of baptized persons, sacramental marriages.

3. Mr. Gladstone says, that they are received at Rome as valid, only for the technical, &c., reason that the disciplinary decrees of Trent are not canonically in force in this country. There is nothing, unless it be motives of mere policy, to prevent the Pope from giving them [those decrees] force here, when he pleases. If, and when that is done, every marriage thereafter concluded in the English Church, will, according to his own words, be a filthy concubinage.’” This is not so; I quote to the point two sufficient authorities, St. Alfonso, Liguori and Archbishop Kenrick.

Speaking of the clandestinity of marriage (that is, when it is contracted without parish priest and witnesses,) as an impediment to its validity, St. Alfonso says, As regards non-Catholics (infideles), or Catholics who live in non-Catholic districts, or where the Council of Trent has not been received ... such a marriage is valid.—tom. viii., p. 67, ed. 1845. Even then though the discipline of Trent was received in England, still it would not cease to be a Protestant country, and therefore marriages in Protestant churches would be valid. {370}

Archbishop Kenrick is still more explicit. He says, Constat Patres Tridentinos legem ita tulisse, ut hæreticorum cœtus jam ab Ecclesia divulsos non respiceret … Hoc igitur clandestinitatis impedimentum ad hæreticos seorsim convenientes in locis ubi grassantur hæreses, non est extendendum.—Theol. Mor., t. 3, p. 351.

Such being the Catholic rule as to recognition of Protestant marriages, the Pope could not, as Mr. Gladstone thinks, any day invalidate English Protestant marriages by introducing into England the discipline of Trent. The only case, in which, consistently with the Council, any opportunity might occur to the Pope, according to his accusation, of playing fast and loose, is when there was a doubt whether the number of Protestants in a Catholic country was large enough to give them a clear footing there, or when the Government refused to recognize them. Whether such an opportunity has practically occurred and has ever been acted on, I have not the knowledge either to affirm or deny.








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