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Catholic writers on this head; because no one can read Dr. Pusey's own work on Councils,* without seeing, not only that the fact is as we have stated, but that Dr. Pusey when he wrote his volume had for the moment no other idea. We will content ourselves with one quotation. It refers to the Nicene Council.
All [its canons) were everywhere received ; and all provincial Councils held themselves bound to do nothing against any canon of the Council of Nice. The whole Church obeyed whatever it bade or forbade.
But beyond all questions of detail, which were thus ruled for the Unirersal Church, the half-yearly synods of bishops were then, by virtue of an authority acknowledged everywhere as supreme, appointed for the whole Church. The especial object of their meeting was the protection of all under the bishop laity, and clergy, against any private wrong feeling of an individual bishop. But the protection lay in an appeal to the bishops of the province collectively.” (pp. 112, 13.)
The individual bishop then was so far from being “independent,” that an appeal was always open against him to his comprovincials; and neither again were they collectively “independent,” because the "authority” of an Ecumenical Council was “acknowledged everywhere as supreme.”
We stated some pages back, that an acceptance of this universally received patristic doctrine, on the supreme authority of the united Episcopate, leads necessarily to one or two further inquiries. Particularly, we said, it compels us to inquire, —what is the principle of episcopal unity; or in other words, what is that divinely-appointed ordinance, which indefec. tibly secures the unity of episcopal action? The answer, given by Roman Catholics to this inquiry, is notorious; and we may call it “the Papal doctrine.” We are next then to consider, "”
, how this “Papal doctrine ” stands, in reference to history and the Fathers. Three positions on this matter are imaginable ; and we will consider them successively:
(1.) It is imaginable, that history directly contradicts this doctrine. Or in other words it is imaginable, that some fact or facts, ascertained as historically certain, are incompatible with the supposition, that this Papal doctrine was in any shape imparted by the Apostles to the Church as divinely revealed.
This is the thesis, which the “Church of England Defence Tracts” labour to establish. Let us suppose that their success had been as signal, as in fact has been their failure. What would follow from that thesis? It would follow, that the Catholic Church has ceased to exist; that there is no corporate society now to be found, which corresponds with that picture of the Catholic Church, which was universally accepted by the Fathers. What these Anglican controversialists hold,comes (we have seen) to this; that the large majority of Catholic Bishops co-operate with S. Peter's See, in enforcing heresy as a condition of communion. But nothing can by possibility be more undeniably anti-historical and anti-patristic, than the doctrine, that Christ, consistently with His promises, could allow the large majority of Catholic Bishops to co-operate with S. Peter's See in thus enforcing heresy. The only conclusion then which could legitimately result from this high-church thesis would be, that the Catholic Church, as recognized by the Fathers, has ceased to exist. And moreover,-since the Fathers unanimously held as a revealed truth that the Catholic Church will always exist,—this thesis leads to the further conclusion, that patristic consent is no true test of revealed truth. The Editors of these Tracts begin by heralding themselves with sound of trumpet, as the special advocates of ecclesiastical history: they end, by subverting (so far as in them lies) the whole authority of ecclesiastical history from its very foundation.
* “ The Councils of the Church, A. D. 51-381." 1857.
(2.) Secondly it is imaginable, that history is neutral on the Papal doctrine: that there are no ascertained facts, sufficient by themselves to establish its apostolic origin; but that neither are there facts, sufficient to disprove that origin. On such a supposition, the historical evidence of Roman Catholicity would remain altogether unshaken. On a former occasion we thus briefly expressed the historical evidence, to which we here refer.
The Apostolic Church was constituted by Christ as one corporate and hierarchical society: claiming to teach with infallible authority the truths committed by Him to her charge ; and inculcating them on all her members, through her various living organs and representatives. Moreover, the Apostles' death was not, by God's appointment, to make any change whatever in her organization. On the contrary, Christ and His Apostles had expressly declared that she was to remain on earth until His second coming. Correlatively with this broad fact on the one hand, there stands forth in history a broad fact on the other hand. From that time to the present, there has always been one, and (speaking generally) there has never been more than one society, precisely answering to the description which we have given. This society, therefore, in every age has been the One Catholic Apostolic Church. There have been rare and exceptional periods, we admit-specially the period of that schism which terminated at the Council of Constance--when there were two rival claimants of Apostolic privilege. But the fact that at rare intervals there have been rival claims, does not tend ever so remotely to cause doubt in ordinary times, when there is no such rivalry. T: Apostolic Church, such as we have described it, was to last till the end of the world. In the time of S. Irenæus, there was one, and one only, such society. In the time of Constantine, there was one, and one only, such society. In the time of S. Gregory—in the Middle Ages-at the time of the Reformation—there was one, and one only, such society. At the present moment there is one, and one only, such society. Hence she is the One Catholic Apostolic Church : and her teaching, whatever it may be, is infallibly true ; simply because it is her teaching. (Jan, 1867, pp. 116, 17.)
We need not appeal then to history at all, as immediately attesting the Papal doctrine. Facts, manifest on the very surface of history, incontestably establish, that the Church in communion with Rome is the one infallible Church. But it is a notorious fact, denied by no one, that this Church teaches the Papal doctrine as a divinely revealed truth; and we may thus, without further appeal to historical details, irrefragably infer, that the Papal doctrine is a truth' revealed by God.
(3.) For our own part however, we are firmly convinced, that the preceding alternative is an entirely mistaken hypothesis ; that historical facts, if duly considered, suffice by themselves to establish directly the apostolic origin of Papal doctrine. Following the stream of Catholic writers, we gave our reasons for this opinion in July, 1867 (pp. 21-34). Here therefore we will do no more, than refer to what we there wrote.
This is the proposition, which F. Addis vindicates against the “Church of England Defence Tracts." These do not indeed attempt to deal with the broad facts and features of ccclesiastical history, but confine themselves to individual and isolated facts. Since therefore F. Addis is obliged of course to follow their path, it is simply impossible that any general analysis can be given of the controversy; and we must refer our readers to the Oratorian's very able pamphlet. We said in July (p. 206) that he is a writer, from whom we expect signal services to the Church ; and his second pamphlet is in every respect worthy of his first. We can only however give one or two specimens, of the singular excellence by which it is distinguished.
Speaking of his former pamphlet, we said that “we are not acquainted with any other controversialist whomsoever, to whom we could refer for so fair complete and lucid an exposition” as F. Addis's, of S. Irenæus's well-known passage on
potentior principalitas.” Fortunately for the cause of truth, his opponent has specially replied to this part of his argument; and has thus given F. Addis the opportunity, of which he has amply availed himself, to vindicate still more irrefragably the only interpretation, which, with any show of reason, can be affixed to S. Irenæus's words (pp. 5-13).
The following is excellent on the Council of Ephesus.
It is always rather hard to know what is meant in the two tracts by “misquotation.” It is “ misquotation,” apparently, to adduce the lofty language used by the legates of the Pope at Ephesus, without adding that the Council did not regard the Pope's condemnation of Nestorius as fioal. On the other hand, it is, it seems, no “misquotation” to be silent about the fact that Cyril asked the Holy See whether he was or was not to hold communion with Nestorius, and this because he did not dare to decide on his own authority. “ It was very natural,” we are now told, “that Cyril should write to Pope Celestine in deferential language as to the line to be taken towards Nestorius.” No doubt it was very natural that he should ask from the Pope instructions for himself and the bishops of the East on a matter which involved a judgment on the orthodoxy of another patriarch, if he acknowledged in the Pope the supreme head of the Church, (livinely appointed to guard her doctrine. But that he should have acted thus is inerplicable, as far as we can see, on any other theory.
To Catholics there is nothing in the history of the Council which offers any serious difficulty. The Emperor was strongly inclined to favour Nestorius, and a spirit of heresy was widely spread in the East, particularly in the patriarchate of Antioch. It is not surprising, therefore, that it was deemed most prudent to give the Pope's decision effect by means of a General ('ouncil, and to treat Nestorius in form as if his heresy were still uncondemned.
But this, it may be said, is to assume that the words of the Council, in passing sentence on Nestorius, “compelled and constrained thereto by the sacred canons, and by the letter of our father and fellow-minister Celestine,” have the sense I gave them. They need not mean more than that “the canons and the letter of the first of bishops brought home to them their duty.” To this I answer: (1.) We can see what authority the Pope claimed from his instructions to his legates. He expressly forbade his legates to enter the arena with the other bishops. They were simply to see the Pope's instructions carried out ; and to act, not as disputants, but as judges (Const. Ep. (el. 17). (2.) The bishops practically recognized the authority which the Pope claimed. Thus, in the second action, Firmus of Caesarea in ('appadocia declared, that the letter of Celestine “had prescribed the sentence and the rule” (tipov kai vópov ēnes Xe) which the Council was to follow. (3.) The bishops certainly felt themselves obliged to obey the canons, and yet they put the canons and the letter of the Pope on the same level. (pp. 27. 29.)
A favourite argument of high-churchmen, urged again of course in these Tracts, has been founded on the fact, that at Chalcedon the bishops re-examined S. Leo's Dogmatic Letter. Father Addis replies :
It is true the bishops accepted Leo's tome, because they found it consonant to the creeds ; but the question is, did the majority regard this consonance as uncertain till the ('ouncil had solemnly approved it? It is possible to
bring the matter to a very practical issue. The acts of the sixth Ecumenical Council were sent by Leo II. to the Spanish bishops. In the year 684 (that is, three years after the date of the sixth Council) its decrees were examined by the Spanish bishops at the sixteenth synod of Toledo. The bishops lay down as a principle, that the decrees of the sixth Council were "to be received, so far as they do not diverge from those of previous Councils" ; they compare them with the creeds, “ approve and confirm them," and then announce them to the faithful as the law of their belief. (Mansi, xi. 1086, seq.) Now, here we have an examination precisely and minutely parallel to that of Leo's tome at Chalcedon ; and yet the Spanish bishops cannot have imagined that they had “liberty to dissent" from the decrees of an Ecumenical Council. If their examination had ended otherwise, and they had come to the conclusion that the acts of the sixth Council were not consonant to the creeds, they would have cut themselves off from the unity of the Church, as the Egyptian bishops did by rejecting the definitions of Chalcedon. (pp. 30, 31.)
If the re-examination held at Chalcedon is supposed to show, that infallibility was not then ascribed to a Pope speaking ex cathedrâ ;-then the re-examination in Spain must be admitted equally to show, that infallibility was not in that case ascribed to an Ecumenical Council. And this, in argument with these tract-writers, is a “reductio ad ab. surdum.”
In truth the dogma of infallibility, just like every other revealed dogma, was only by slow degrees definitely and fully apprehended, in its practical applications and bearings. As regards patristic objections to the dogma of Papal infallibility-F. Humphrey excellently observes (p. xiii) that “one could easily follow suit with a better catena of authorities from the Fathers, against the Divinity of our Blessed Loril.”
F. Addis treats, with a thoroughly satisfactory result (pp. 35-39) the whole question of the False Decretals. It is sometimes maintained, that the mere fact of those forgeries having for so long a period received universal credit, is an argument against the Church's divine authority. F. Addis replies with singular felicity, that high-churchmen at all events cannot advocate such a principle.
A multitude of apocryphal writings are to be met with from the earliest times, and obtained not unfrequently universal currency in the Church. The Fathers, as well as the Schoolmen, appeal to spurious documents. Look, for example, at the great Lateran Synod in 649. In the fifth session the Council gives the patristic testimonies against the doctrine of the Monotheitez. The most ancient authorities quoted are Dionysius Areopagite and Justin Martyr. The works of the former, constantly appealed to in the controversy, are of course absolutely unauthentic. From Justin the Fathers of the Council quote four passages. Three are from works which Justin