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thought they gave him little in granting his request. As we value the tree of the church, which is our Tree of life—as we tender the safety of the Royal Oak-let us beware how we give the handle! For the wedges are prepared, and hands which are coarse and callous enough for the work are ready to engage in it."
So much for Catholic veracity: now for an instance of Catholic honesty.
"Before their consecration, the Irish bishops take what is literally and veritably an oath of fealty and allegiance to the Pope. They swear that they will be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the Apostle, and to the Holy Roman Church, and to their lord the Pope, and to his successors; and that they will not knowingly reveal, to any, to their prejudice, the counsels with which they may be entrusted by themselves, their messenger, or their letters. They swear that they will help to defend and keep the Roman Papacy and the ROYALTIES OF ST. PETER, against all men. They swear that they will endeavour to preserve, defend, increase, and advance the rights, honours, privileges, and authority of the Holy Roman Church, of their Lord the Pope, and of his foresaid successors; that they will not be in any counsel, action, or treaty in which shall be plotted, against their said lord and the said Roman Church, any thing to the hurt or prejudice of their persons, right, honour, state, or power; and that if they know any such thing to be treated or agitated by any whatsoever, they will hin
der it to their power, and signify it as soon as they can to their said Lord. They swear that they will observe with all their might, and cause to be observed by others, the rules of the holy fathers, the apostolic decrees, ordinances, or disposals, reservations, provisions, and mandates. They engage to visit Rome in person every ten years, there to give an account of their pastoral office to their Lord the Pope, and humbly to receive his apostolic commands; or, if detained themselves by any lawful impediment, they engage to send a messenger fully instructed in their stead.
"It is an oath of fealty and allegiance not to be reconciled with the allegiance which is due to the Sovereign.
"A part of the episcopal oath had been surrendered. The reader who may not be previously acquainted with the when, and the how, and the why of the surrender, will find the circumstances worthy of especial consideration. In the year 1791, the Archbishops of the kingdom of Ireland, as the Pope styles them, explained to their most holy lord the Pope, that through the ignorance or dishonesty of some persons, certain words found in the form of oath, which, according to the Roman ritual, is to be taken by archbishops and bishops, are perverted into a strange sense; and that, in addition to those difficulties which must occur every day in a kingdom where the Catholic religion has not
the dominion, they were, on this account, thrown into new perplexities, from whence they humbly begged that, as far as might seem expedient to his holiness, he would, in his apostolical wisdom, provide some means of delivering them.' The Pope accordingly, having maturely considered all things, graciously gave indulgence that the form of oath which the Archbishop of Mohilow, in Russia, had by his permission taken, might be used thenceforth by the Irish archbishops and bishops.
"And what were the words which, by the ignorance or dishonesty of some persons, had been perverted to a strange sense? They were these: Hæreticos, schismaticos, et rebelles eidem Domino nostro pro posse persequar et impugnabo- Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said Lord (the pope) with all my power I will persecute and impugn.' It appears, that a Russian Roman Catholic, when taking the oath at his consecration, as Archbishop of Mohilow, in the year 1785, stopped at this clause, and refused to proceed. Whether he was the first Romish prelate who ever felt a scruple of humanity or conscience at taking upon himself this unchristian and abominable obligation-or whether his conduct had been concerted with the Empress Catharine, that empress supported him in a manner consistent with the strength of her character and the rights of her throne: the court of Rome found it expedient to yield, and the Russian
archbishop was allowed to take the oath without the obnoxious clause. But though the scarlet-coloured beast drew in its horns when Catharine would else have aimed a blow at them,the concession was so made as to show that no change had taken place in the disposition of the Roman Catholic Church. The principle that heretics were to be impugned and persecuted was not renounced; though its avowal was suspended, by indulgence, in an heretical kingdom where the sovereign, most properly, would no longer suffer it to be made. Everywhere else the Roman Catholic prelates continued, at their consecration, to swear that they, to the utmost of their power, would impugn and persecute heretics, schismatics, and rebels to their lord the Pope. Some six years afterwards, the Irish prelates considered that the clause might, perhaps, stand in the way of the hopes which they were then entertaining, for that a British king, a British minister, a British House of Lords, and a British House of Commons, consisting entirely of heretics, schismatics, and rebels to the pope, might think it no very rational or politic act to remove restrictions from persons who were bound by oath to impugn and persecute them, if ever they had the power. They represented this at Rome, and their lord the pope then conceded to them the same indulgence which he had granted in the case of Russia, but not without observing, in the preamble to the castrated
oath, that through the ignorance or dishonesty of some persons, certain words (to wit, the clause complained of) had been perverted into a strange sense-perverted by ignorance or dishonesty! Was dishonesty ever more apparent than in this preamble, and can any ignorance be so great as not to perceive it ?-as not to know in what sense these words were intended by Pope Hildebrand when he framed the oath,-in what sense the clause has always been understood --and in what sense it has been acted upon, pro posse, every where? Do we not know how Bonner and Gardner understood it? Can we be mistaken in what the persecution of heretics means in the oath of a Roman Catholic bishop? Bellarmine may tell us what he, as well as the heretics in his days, who were unreasonable enough to complain of it, understood by it:- Dicunt quidem hæretici se magnam persecutionem ab antichristo pati quia interdum COMBURUNTUR aliqui de eorum numero.' Perverted by ignorance or dishonesty to a strange sense! Why the words contain in them flint and steel, fire and faggot,-the weapons of St. Bartholomew's day, the instruments of Alva, and Cardinal Granville's executioners, the engines of the Inquisition."