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Christian faith, the things that are freely given it of God; not
because proved true in its own divine light? Is not his puerile arguing just as applicable to his own doctrine of the selfevidence of his Papal inspiration and infallibility? Is it not doubly true in this case that all the inspiration here is what his belief creates—and that here we find the real elephant resting on the tortoise and the tortoise on nothing? Have we not the testimony of God through his Spirit witnessing in his Word, and also in our hearts, opening our eyes to understand wondrous things out of his law? And if we receive the witness of men, is not the witness of God greater? (1 John, v. 9.)
Dr. Stone freely admits that the Pontifical chair has been disgraced by a number of wicked Popes. But he, with others of his school, contends that they have been preserved from sanctioning error in doctrine. We will let our readers see how he tries to parry the suicidal blows which some of the Popes themselves have dealt against this claim, in certain deliverances which few Romanists hardly dare, in this age and country, pronounce free from inerrancy or fallibility. The official sanction of error by any Pope is fatal to the doctrine of Papal infallibility, and renders the anathemas denounced upon those who dispute it, alike absurd and profane. The manner in which he tries to neutralize these examples displays at once his brilliancy as a special pleader and the desperateness of his cause. We give first his exposition of the Inquisition, and the persecution of Galileo.
“The Spanish Inquisition, as its name implies, was not a Catholic, but a national and local tribunal. It was an institution more political than religious. authorized, it is true, by the Pope, but solicited and maiutained by the royal power; an institution devised to protect the unity of the Spanish kingdom, and founded upon the principle that heresy was a crime against the peace of society, and, as such, punishable by the civil power. Mr. Lecky, and even Llorente himself, admit that the Roman Pontiff's more than once endeavored to mitigate its severities, and protested against the horrible excesses of Torquemada. And when Charles V. and Philip II. attempted to impose the tribunal upon Italian cities, the Popes encouraged the Italians in resisting the imposition.
"As for the Roman court, I am not aware that the smallest proof has ever been given that its proceedings were other than mild and conservative. As Balmes well observes, 'the conduct of Rome in the use which she made of the Inquisition is the best apology of Catholicity against those who attempt to stigmatize her as barbarous and sanguinary. The records of the Roman Congregation were carried off to Paris by Napoleon, early in the present century; a
French translation of a portion was made by order of the emperor; and it was not till 1846 that the last of the plundered documents were returned to the Vatican. In 1849, the Roman archives were again pillaged; and seventy folio volumes of the Inquisition are at present in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. Nothing, however, has ever been discovered which could bring discredit upon the proceedings of the tribunal.
“The publicity given to these Roman records has had the good result of disposing of the old myth of the woes of starry Galileo. An immense amount has been written on the Galileo trial within the last thirty years; and any one who will take the trouble to do a little reading will speedily convince himself that the astronomer never suffered the torture, and that the E pur si muove is, as has been pithily said, 'un de ces mots de circonstance inventés après coup.' All that the Inquisition ever did was to tell the man of science to stick to his science, and leave the church to take care of the interpretation of Scripture. To say that the Catholic Church ever committed itself against the Copernican systemor any other system- of astronomy, is rodomontade. Copernicus himself was a Catholic priest, for many years an honored professor in the city of Rome itself, and, in 1553, dedicated his great work, De Revolutionibus, to the head of the church, Pope Paul III.
"The third remark is one which I have hesitated to make, but which I trust no generous friend will judge unfairly. It is that for a Protestant to talk loudly about toleration, and to arraign the church of his forefathers on a charge of persecution, is, on the whole, the most naïve piece of effrontery in the annals of controversy." (Pp. 97–8–9.)
Our first remark is, that the admission of Dr. Stone that the Pope “authorized” the Spanish Inquisition is fatal to his infallibility-the only point in question. Again: the issue with Galileo was not primarily whether he should stick to his science and leave to the church the interpretation of Scripture. This mode of twisting language is simply a desperate expedient to disguise the real issue. It was simply and purely a question whether the sun is stationary and the earth moves. Galileo affirmed, Pope and cardinals objected. Galileo was right, they were wrong. The question is not how far their criminality may be mitigated by their circumstances and surroundings. But what does it prove touching Papal infallibility? If Galileo did not "suffer the torture,” it would require equal boldness and blindness to pretend that he did not suffer dreadful tortures at the hands of the Romish hierarchy, with Papal sanction, for declaring the truth. However we may palliate this action on their part, what does it prove about their infallibility ?
Finally, it is irrelevant in regard to this issue to retort upon
Protestants their alleged persecutions in former ages. Suppose they were at fault in the matter, does this justify Papal persecution? Or does it neutralize the conclusive evidence they furnish of Papal fallibility ?
Let us next see how our author deals with another great case which annihilates Papal infallibility.
“Pope Honorius was condemned by the Fathers of the Sixth General Council, together with Sergius, Cyrus, Pyrthus, and other Monothelite heretics. When we have said this, we have exhausted all that history can furnish against the infallibility of St. Peter's chair. Does it prove any thing against that infallibility ? Let us see. The Head of the Church is infallible when, speaking as the Head of the Church, he gives a decision upon a matter of faith. Well, Sergius, with true Greek subtlety, endeavored to entrap Honorius into a heretical definition. Honorius declined to give any definition at all. Here are his words: Non nos OPORTET UNAN VEL DUAS OPERATIONES DEFINIENTES PRÆDICARE. It is not necessary to virge that the letters of Honorius were of a private and, as we should say, confidential character; that they were never made public until after his death; that they show, to any one who will take the trouble of reading them, that their author was no Monothelite, but was deceived by the adroit sentences of his Eastern correspondent, supposing him to speak, not of a Divine and a human will, but of two contrary wills of the spirit and of the flesh-all these are important considerations; but they are superfluous. It is enough that the Pope refused to exercise liis apostolic prerogative. He gave no erroneous decision, for he decided nothing. But the Council condemned him. Certainly; and why? Ulpote qui eos [Sergium et rel.) in his [erroribus) sequutus est. Not because he defined error, but because he allowed ihe errors of others. But this construction of the intention of the Council might be disputed. Let it pass, then; it also is superfluous. The Council is ecumenical only in so far as it was confirmed by the Holy See. It is by Pope Leo's letter of confirmation, therefore, that we must judge of the character of the condemnation passed upon his predecessor. Here, then, we have the famous Papal censure upon a Pope: We anathematize the inventors of the new dogma' (then follow the names), 'and also Honorius, who did not strive with energy to maintain the purity of this apostolic church, by the teaching of the tradition of the Apostles, but who permitted that this church without spot (immaculatam) should become stained by profane treason.' Or, as it is expressed in the letter to the bishops of Spain, • Honorius, who, failing in the duty of his apostolical authority, instead of extinguishing the flame of heresy, fomented it by neglect.' Honorius was frightened at the bare thought of a new Eastern heresy, and instead of investigating and condemning, he strove to arrest the evil by hushing it. In a word, he erred, not in faith, but in judgment; he was condemned, not for heresy, but for negligence; non erravit definiendo, sed tacendo, et omittendo quod definienduin fuerat.” (Pp. 333-4-5.)
According to this, Papal infallibility consists : 1. With declaring it not needful or obligatory to define the truth
against heresy when that heresy is asserting itself in, and dividing the church. 2. With being“ deceived” by the adroit sentences of an heresiarch. 3. With being condemned by an ecumenical council, or what would be ecumenical, if one could be such, when not approved by the Pope it condemns, for following sequutus est) the condemned heresy. 4. With requiring the Latin verb sequor to be translated " allowed" instead of " followed” 5. With being anathematized by a subsequent Pope for not "striving with energy to maintain the purity of the apostolic church,” and permitting it to “ become stained with profane treason!” 6. With erring, “not in faith but in judgment.” If Dr. Stone finds such Papal infallibility a safer guide than the “sure word of prophecy” the “incorruptible word of God which liveth and abideth forever," we deplore his choice, but cannot follow him. We will hear the voice of the true Head of the Church. But such a stranger we dare not follow. Such is the wretched abortion brought forth by this mountainous labor to show us an infallible guide to salvation better than His Word who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Dr. Stone says, “no council is ecumenical unless confirmed by the Holy See.” Archbishop Purcell, however, in a lecture on the Vatican Council, reported in the New York Tribune, endeavoring to soften to his audience this dogma of Papal infallibility, to which he had been bitterly opposed, says that in the deliberations of the Council
“The question was also raised by the cardinal: What is to be done with the Pope if he becomes a heretic ?' It was answered that there was never such an example; but in such a case a council of bishops could depose him for heresy; for, from the moment he becomes a heretic he is not the head, nor even a member of the church The church would not be for a moment obliged to listen to him when he begins to teach a doctrine which the church knows to be false, and he would cease to be a Pope, being deposed by God himself. If a Pupe, for instance, were to say that a belief in God is false, you would not be obliged to believe him; nor if he were to deny the rest of the creed, 'I believe in Christ,' etc. The supposition is injurious to the Holy Father in the very idea, but it serves to show you the fulness with which the subject was considered. Ample thought was given to every possibility. If he denies any dogma of the Church held by every true believer, he is no more Pope than either you or I; so in this respect this dogma of infallibility amounts to nothing as an article of temporal government or as a cover for heresy."