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to the shepherds of Israel to escape the anger of the Lord.
Receive therefore, Very Reverend Brethren in Christ, most dear and beloved, this work, completed by the no small care and labour of the bishops of this province, as a pledge of the greatest love which we bear to you, and of the unwearied solicitude with which we watch over our sacred affairs, and over the deposit of the faith committed to us. Let us join, most dear brethren, our right hands; and let us take care that every one be found faithful among us, who are stewards of the mysteries of God. Let us feed the flock of God which is among us, taking the oversight thereof not by constraint, but willingly, according to God; not for the sake of filthy lucre, but voluntarily, neither as tyrannizing among the heritage of God, but being cordially examples to the flock, that when the chief Shepherd shall appear, we also may receive (though unprofitable servants) an incorruptible crown of glory.
Note by Editor on Preface.
This section, as well as many others in this volume, contains much of good discipline, and expressed with sufficient propriety and a due admixture of scriptural quotations and authority ; but, like too many others, it contains beneath the surface a mine of deep iniquity; for in the words distinguished by italics, it appears that these statutes are founded not only on those previously enacted in the province of Dublin, but that Dr. Murray had examined those of other countries and other times, to enable him to produce a code suited to his taste. The clue to this is the main point to be investigated in this work. Can we find the result of Dr. Murray's labours any where? Can we find any trace of the laws of “ other countries and other times,” which Dr. Murray had been investigating? Yes; we find, in the year after these statutes, a book published under Dr. Murray's own avowed sanction, which was“ in much repute in his church,” he tells us; and that too a special addition to a system of theology which, as we shall see, his priests are ordered to study and use as their guide ; which book consists of the laws and canons of foreign countries, even of Italy, and of former times too, as will appear, even of the darkest and most persecuting ages of the church of Rome.
DE VITA ET HONESTATE CLERICORUM.
In this chapter, in which there is much of good regulation for the priests, which it is only to be wished was well attended to, we find the following passage :
“We command the clergy also that they abstain from every place where public games are celebrated, but especially from the clamour of hunting and from the public race course, from public theatres and from public balls. Let them not be present at public entertainments of the laity, unless some work of charity or some function of moment may require it, and when they may be present there for some cause like this, let them remember the words of the apostle, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity;"nor let them delay there longer than is necessary. As to feasts, it will not be unimportant to mention here the commands of the fourth Lateran council, Can. 15,—“Let all clergymen carefully abstain from gluttony and inebriety, by which means they may restrain wine from themselves and themselves from wine; nor let any one be excited to drunkenness, since drunkenness superinduces aberration of mind and acts as an incentive to lust. But if any one shall exhibit himself guilty in these, unless, being admonished by his superior, he shall make adequate satisfaction, let him be suspended from his benefice and his office.”
Note by the Editor on the First Chapter.
The difference between the admonitions in this chapter and the conduct of the Irish priesthood is too remarkable to be passed over in silence. The whole of the chapter is full of excellent advice, for which those who read Latin are referred to the original : but the practice of the priests and of the Romish bishops themselves is a commentary by contrast on the letter and spirit of the admonitions :there is one part, indeed, of which, generally speaking, the Editor is not competent to pronounce: he is not aware that they violate the injunctions as to attending public amusements, but as to the public entertainments of the laity the daily journals bear testimony not to be mistaken on this point; if it is asked who are the most frequent in their attendance-the most clamorous and inflammatory in their harangues at the public political entertainments of the Roman Catholic laity, every one who can read the newspapers must reply, beyond all comparison the Romish priests; and lately the bishops themselves have exhibited in this arena.
But it is not merely for the purpose of adverting to this, however at variance it be with the apparent sanctity of these statutes, that the Editor translates this passage; but to remark on a very unequivocal contradiction that is given in this passage, by Drs. Murray and Doyle, two of the Romish prelates engaged in the composition of these statutes, to their own evidence before the committee of the House of Commons, in 1826, when examined as to the third canon of the fourth Lateran Council : they both endeavoured, not only to explain away its
meaning, but to deny that there had ever been such a
If they were sincere in their evidence, of course they must quote all the canons of the council, from the third on, as one less in numerical order. If, for example, that which we call the third had no existence, then the fourth would be the third, the fifth the fourth, and so on in order, and the fifteenth would be the fourteenth ; but so far from this, they quote the fifteenth canon here in the same order in which it is found in Mansi's Concilia, including in its regular numerical order that very third canon, which these Romish bishops pretended had no existence; so that the very quotation of this fifteenth canon in these statutes proves their own conscious falsehood of that evidence, in which they denied the existence of the third ; but we shall see more of this fur
OF DEVOTION TO STUDY.
Section 1.-The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; and if he rejects knowledge, God will reject bim from discharging the office of a priest. Hence saith the apostle Paul, “If any one seemeth to be a prophet or spiritual, let him know the things which I write unto you, because they are the commands of God; but if any one be ignorant he shall be ignorant.”
Section 2.-"Two things,” saith Benedict XIV.“ are most certain ; first, indeed, that the knowledge of moral theology is altogether necessary to those who, being appointed as parish priests or priests for administering the sacrament of penance, wish duly to discharge the office of confessor. Another, that it is not enough that
any one shall have gone over the same faculty, understood or even publicly taught it; but that it is to be assiduously cultivated, that those things which he hath learned be thoroughly impressed in his mind, and new proofs be continually acquired by which that faculty may most abundantly increase.”
SECTION 3.-“We, therefore, command that every priest may have in his own possession some work of moral theology, in which he may very frequently, and, if possible, every day, read attentively one little chapter, at least, or a title, that, being aided by this continual study, he may be the better able to direct the concerns of the people committed to him, for whom he is to render account to the Lord in the day of judgment.”
Section 4.-For the rest let us hear the advice of St. Augustine to his presbyters :-“Whatsoever leisure you have from the divine offices—from the exercise of prayer and meditation, from the discharge of your ecclesiastical functions, do not waste it in idleness, nor in sloth, nor in the curiosities of new pursuits; but since ye are called into the lot of the Lord, meditate in his law day and night-feed your minds and thoughts with the study of spiritual books-with these join both the knowledge of the precepts of the church and the skill of reciting horary prayers, and the knowledge of ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies; read something daily from the sacred books, and if your ecclesiastical occupations permit it, some of the books of the Holy Fathers, and other books beside, piously composed on the duties and offices of the priestly and clerical life, or the care of souls, or the studies and exercises of Christian piety, and other subjects of the same sort : keep these continually in your heads, and so read them that you may express in your conduct whatsoever things you may see, and learn from them to be adapted to the regulation of a holy life.”