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Vesey Fitzgerald, how faithfully that solemn declaration has been kept!
"By the act of 1793, when, in reliance upon this declaration, concessions, such as no government which was not demented would have made, were made to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, it was provided that the person accepting office should swear as follows:- I do solemnly swear that I will not exercise any privilege to which I am or may become entitled, to disturb and weaken the Protestant religion and Protestant government in this kingdom.' A man, in whom the sense of truth has not been destroyed by casuistry, would never discover-what the Roman Catholics have discovered-that the signification of that oath turns upon the word 'AND.' Immediately after the form of this oath was published and circulated, a Roman Catholic commentary upon it was published, and the little conjunction, from which a meaning that should nullify the whole purport of the oath was to be extracted, was distinguished by being printed in large characters, that attention might be drawn to it at first sight. The comment is thus expressed:
"All are here agreed that, to violate the above clause, it is necessary to disturb and weaken not only the Protestant religion, but likewise the Protestant government. They are evidently connected with the conjunctive and, without any comma after religion. Both must be disturbed
and weakened, not in any manner, but precisely by the exercise of the privileges now granted. In other respects, we are in our former situations as to preaching, teaching, writing, &c. Weaken after disturb appears rather an expletive than a word conveying a distinct meaning, for it is implied in disturb; as whoever intends to disturb, à fortiori, intends to weaken. Hence, the expression is generally understood, and so it has been explained by every one consulted on it, to weaken by disturbance. Indeed, if or was between the word disturb and the word weaken, as it was proposed to be, the signification would be changed and inadmissible.'
'Surely,' said Lord Eldon, when in one of his admirable speeches he brought forward this remarkable example of Roman Catholic casuistry, 'surely this sort of reasoning upon the terms of an oath should teach us to use great caution when we are prescribing in what terms we shall require oaths of security to be taken.' By this jesuitical interpretation,' said the present Lord Chancellor, it was meant to convey to the Roman Catholics that, except they disturbed as well as weakened the Protestant Establishment, they did not break their oath; and that, although they might not weaken by means of disturbing, they may weaken it by any other means in their power.' The declarations and oaths of men, who thus 'palter with us in a double sense,' are not to be trusted."
"It is," says Lord Stowell," a remark of that profound observer, who has been styled the chancellor of human nature, Lord Clarendon, that any agreement which you may make with that class of men, (Papists,) will signify little, unless it is followed by the approbation of their clergy."
"I think it right to state," said the present Bishop of London, in his speech in the House of Lords in May 1825, "that some of these doctrines (alluding to the obnoxious tenets of the Church of Rome) are asserted and insinuated both in the class-book at Maynooth, and in the elementary books of religious instruction, which are in common use in Ireland. To mention only one; the sanctity of an oath. It is perfectly notorious that the Irish peasantry in general pay no regard at all to this most sacred of all obligations. They are taught in Dr. James Butler's Roman Catholic catechism, a work in very general use, that an unjust oath is not binding: and to the question, what is an unjust oath? the answer is, that which is injurious to God, our neighbour, or ourselves. As to the first part of the definition, we know what interpretation may be put upon it by the Romish Church; as to the last it is very inconsistent with the description given in a book of unquestionable authority, where it is said of the righteous man, that he sweareth to his neighbour and disappointeth him not, though it were to his own hinderance.'”
"In this class-book (of Maynooth)," says Lord
Bexley, in his address to the Freeholders of Kent, "it is distinctly laid down that there is in the church a power of dispensing with oaths and vows, as well as sins; so that the people of England are taxed to the amount of nine or ten thousand pounds a-year, for the purpose of maintaining professors to teach the Roman Catholics of Ireland that, in some cases a priest, in others a bishop, and in all the Pope, can release them from their sins, their vows, and their oaths!"
Duplicity and Dishonesty of Catholics where the Interest of their Church is at stake.
WHEN Lord Bacon is treating of the height of impudency' to which the Romanists of his age had attained in publishing and avouching untruths, he says, these men are grown to a singular spirit and faculty in lying and abusing the world; such, as it seemeth, although they are to purchase a particular dispensation for all other sins, yet they have a dispensation dormant to lie for the Catholic faith.'
Of the truth of the above observation the
following extract from the speech of Mr. Peel in the House of Commons, March 1827, affords an apt illustration:
"My right honourable friend (Plunkett) would have the petition of the Roman Catholic prelates read, in order to put an end to all doubt as to. their belief and opinions. Their declaration was, in his view, something above all suspicion. It was with him an indubitable statement of the religious and political sentiments of the Roman. Catholics.
"I object, however, to the declaration contained in this petition, that it disagrees with the declaration sent forth by the Roman Catholic clergy. They state that they publish it in the simplicity of truth, as the doctrines of the Catholic Church had been frequently misunderstood or misrepresented.' In the declaration published in 1826, it is stated, that the Catholic Church, in common with all Christians, receives and respects the entire of the ten commandments, as they are found in Exodus and Deuteronomy; the only difference between them lying in some points of construction.' When I first read this passage, I exclaimed, Then I, and many other Protestants, have been long in error; for I have always understood that the Roman Catholics did not recognize the second commandment, but excluded it from their catechism."*
The commandment which is excluded from the Roman Catholic catechism is, Thou shalt not make to thyself any