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Occasional Abuse by the popes of their Spiritual Power.
The popes had been reproachable, not merely for their unwarrantable pretensions to temporal
the concerns of the church ; a right, when the canons provide no line of action, to direct the proceedings; and, in extraordinary cases, to act in opposition to the canons.- - In those spiritual concerns, in which, by strict right, his authority is not definitive, he is entitled to the highest respect and defe
Thus far, there is no difference of opinion among Roman-catholics ; but here, they divaricate into the Transalpine and Cisalpine opinions.
II. Difference between Transalpine and Cisalpine Doctrines, on the
Temporal and Spiritual Power of the Pope. The great difference between the transalpine and cisalpine divines, on the power of the pope, formerly was, that the transalpine divines attributed to the pope a divine right to the exercise, indirect at least, of temporal power, for effecting a spiritual good; and, in consequence of it, held that the supreme power of every state was so far subject to the pope, that, when he deemed that the bad conduct of the sovereign rendered it essential to the good of the church, that he should reign no longer, the pope was authorized, by his divine commission, to deprive him of his sovereignty, and absolve his subjects from their obligation of allegiance; and that, even on ordinary occasions, the pope might enforce obedience to his spiritual legislation and jurisdiction, by civil penalties, On the other hand, the cisalpine divines affirmed, that the pope
had no right either to interfere in temporal concerns, or to enforce obedience to his spiritual legislation or jurisdiction, by temporal power; and consequently had no right to deprive
power, and for the attempts, which they had made to establish it ;—but, they had also been long
a sovereign of his sovereignty, to absolve his subjects from their allegiance, or to enforce his spiritual authority over - either, by civil penalties. This difference of opinion exists now no longer, the transalpine divines having insensibly adopted, on this subject, the cisalpine opinions.
But, though on this important point, both parties are at. last agreed, they still differ on others.
In spiritual concerns, the transalpine opinions ascribe to the pope a superiority, and controlling power over the whole church, should she oppose his decrees, and consequently over a general council, its representative; and the same superiority and controlling power, even in the ordinary course of business, over the canons of the universal church. They describe the pope, as the fountain of all ecclesiastical order, jurisdiction, and dignity. They assign to him, the power of judging all persons in spiritual concerns; of calling all spiritual causes to his cognizance; of constituting, suspending, and deposing bishops; of conferring all ecclesiastical dignitaries and benefices, in or out of his dominions, by paramount authority; of exempting individuals or communities from the jurisdiction of their prelates ; of evoking to himself, or judges appointed by him, any cause actually pending in an ecclesiastical court; and of receiving, immediately, appeals from all sentences of ecclesiastical courts, though they be inferior courts, from which there is a regular appeal to an intermediate superior court. They farther ascribe to the pope, the extraordinary prerogative of personal infallibility, when he undertakes to issue a solemn decision on any point of faith.
The cisalpines affirm, that in spirituals, the pope is subject, in doctrine and discipline, to the church, and to a general council representing her; that he is subject to the canons of the church, and cannot, except in an extreme case, dispense with them; that, even in such a case, his dispensation is subject to the judgment of the church ; that the bishops derive
blamed, by the wiser and more respectable part of the church, for their undue exercise, even of their spiritual power. They were particularly blamed for their incessant efforts, to extend the immunities of the clergy; to exempt the regulars from the constitutional jurisdiction of the hierarchy.; for their pecuniary exactions; for their interference in ecclesiastical proceedings in the diocesan courts; for their nominations to ecclesiastical benefices in foreign states, contrary to common right; and for the supercilious demeanour, and expensive proceedings, of their legates. The writings of St. Bernard *, full as he was of reverence towards the holy see, incontrovertibly show, how reprehensible he sometimes thought the conduct of its pontiffs, and how greatly, in his opinion, it stood in need of reformation. 66 The Roman church,” says Bossuet, “ which had, for nine whole ages, by “ setting the example of an exact observance of “ ecclesiastical discipline, maintained it throughout “ the universe, to the utmost of her power, was “not exempt from the general disorder; and, so “ early as the council of Vienne, a great prelate, “ commissioned by the pope to prepare matters to “ be there treated on, laid it down, for a ground“ work, to the whole assembly, that they ought “ to reform the church, in the head, and its “ members.' The great schism made this saying “ current, not only among particular doctors, as “ Gerson, Peter d'Ailly, and other great men of “ those times, but even in councils; and nothing “ was more frequently repeated, in those of Pisa, “ and Constance t." At the council of Trent, it was loudly pronounced by the wise and holy Bartholomew de Martyribus, archbishop of Bragaand several others of the highest dignitaries of the church. Thus, the conduct of the Roman see, had become the subject of general reprehension.
their jurisdiction from God himself, immediately, and not derivatively through the pope ; that he has no right to confer bishoprics, or other spiritual benefices of any kind, the patronage of which, by common right, prescription, concordat, or any other general rule of the church, is vested in another.
They admit that an appeal lies to the pope from the sentence of the metropolitan ; but assert, that no appeal lies to the pope, and that he can evoke no cause to himself, during the intermediate process. They affirm, that a general council may, without, and even against the pope's consent, reform the church. They deny his personal infallibility, and hold, that he may be deposed by the church, or a general council, for heresy or schism : and they admit, that in an extreme case *, where there is a great division of opinion, an appeal lies from the pope to a future general council.
* Instances of which, are, according to the account of Bossuet, so very rare, that it is scarcely possible to find true examples of such an extreme case in the course of several ages. “ Ce qu'il y a de principal, c'est, que “ les cas, auxquelles la France soutient le recours du pape au concile, sout “ si rares, qu’a peine on peut en trouver de vrais exemples en plusieurs « siècles.”—Lettre du Bossuet au Cardinal d'Estrées. Cuvres de Bossuet, vol. ir. p. 272, ed. Ben.
* Particularly, his four books de Consideratione, addressed by him to Pope Eugenius IV.-“ Bernardus Abbas, in libris de Consideratione ita loquitur ut veritas ipsa loqui videatur,” J. Calvin. Inst. lib. 4, c. 11, s. 10.
+ Variations, l. 1, c. 1.
It has often been asserted, that, in England, it had always been more reprehensible, than in any other country.
Occasional resistance of the kings of England to Papal
The papal encroachments had frequently provoked the interference, both of the monarch, and of the legislature.
Gregory the seventh, by Hubert, his legate, had solicited Henry the second to do homage to the apostolic see for the crown of England.
" I will “ not do it,” was the monarch's answer ; “I did “not promise it myself ; nor can I learn, that any “one of my predecessors did it *.” During the third expedition of Edward the first to Scotland, he received a letter from Boniface the eighth, in which he declared, that Scotland was a fief of the holy see; and required Edward to desist from force, and pursue his claim in the court of Rome. To this extraordinary requisition, the king paid no regard. The papal message was, however, laid before the parliament, at Lincoln. “Having diligently “ read your letter,” say the barons, in answer to the pope, “it is,—and by the grace of God 66 shall ever be,
our common and unanimous resolution, that with respect to the right of his king“ dom of Scotland, or any other of his temporal
* Seldeni, ad Eadmeri Historiam, Specilegium, p. 164.