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Note on Third Chapter.

All this chapter seems very good, but we shall little suspect that in lifting up the veil off this “ Mystery of Iniquitywe should find the Prince of darkness concealed under the robe of an angel of light, and that all these pious admonitions ended in neither more nor less than the deep, practical, devoted study of the most infamous book that we are as yet acquainted with, in any language, and that this very book, too, is the only one really and substantially propounded to the Romish priests by the men who composed these statutes, as the guide and instructor of themselves and their unhappy flocks.

The reader is requested to examine closely the tissue of evidence to be laid before him in this and the next chapter. The Editor has numbered the sections in this chapter for the sake of reference.

In the first section, the command of those who enact the Statutes, is enforced, we see, on the authority of God,“ if any one seem to be a prophet or spiritual, let him know the things which I write unto you, because they are the commands of God.”

In the second section, the authority of the pope is adduced, and that of a pope too, whose code of canon law was at the time of the enactment of these Statutes, in process of publication, as the canon law for Ireland, and let the reader observe what this authority is adduced to enforce.

First, that the science of moral theology is absolutely necessary to those who would discharge the offices of parish priests or confessors.

Secondly, that it is not enough for a priest to have read over the code of theology, or to have thoroughly understood it, or to have openly taught it, but that he must still assiduously cultivate it, must have it thoroughly engraven on his mind and memory, so that this theology, which he is supposed to have already learned, may be so entirely at his command that he may be able ever to draw forth from this store-house the first proofs and elementary principles of the faith and conduct which this theology inculcates.

In consequence, therefore, of this authority, which the priests are to receive as from God, and this no less weighty authority of him to whom they must bow as the infallible vicegerent of that God, these bishops issue a command.-Now let the reader mark the command so sanctioned.

“We command, therefore, that every priest may have in his own possession some work of moral theology.Here every priest must procure that work, whatever it be. It is their bishop's order as from God and the pope, that every individual priest must have this work which he had already learned, and which was to be so imprinted on his mind.

In this they are to read diligently,—"attentè perlegant;" not only often, but more than often, sæpe sæpius," if possible every day, "si fieri protest etiam singulis diebus," at least one little chapter or title.

Now with what object? Is it solely for their own instruction ? By no means, but “that being assisted by this continual study they may be the better able to direct the consciences of the people intrusted to them, for whom they are to render an account to God.

The Editor requests that the reader will try to compose a form of words, or a weighty command, to enforce them, by which any body of men can be stringently impelled to acquire a knowledge of any book, to study its contents, to adopt its principles, to furnish their mind and memory thoroughly with its doctrines, and to bring them into operation on the consciences of a population, more than the Irish priesthood are to embrace and teach the contents of this code of moral theology


If the book were the bible one cannot see any more that could be said to enforce the necessity of the study, or the practical application of the knowledge to be acquired from it. It must surely be a matter of earnest anxiety, then, to know what the code of theology is to which these bishops attach such importance, which is not only thus to direct the priests but the people, and the reader will soon discover this by an attention to the next passage which is translated.



In the third chapter we have brought forward the weighty authority of Benedict XIV. to prove that it is not enough for a priest, having the cure of souls, to have learned theology in the schools, but that, moreover, it is necessary frequently to re-peruse the things which he had already learned, that so he may have in his mind a lively recollection of those principles of morals, and proofs of religion for which he will bave almost daily use in exercising the functions of his sacred office: for if errors and sophistries spread abroad, by what means, unless by the exercise of the mind and memory in the assiduous cultivation of theological discipline, can they be corrected and dispersed ? for thus the principles of truth and virtue are, by the ministers of Christ and the church, his spouse, opposed to those things which either the wisdom of this world or the spirit of error desire to set forth against the truth in the mouth of false prophets.

Therefore, that the clergy be not deficient in attaining a knowledge so necessary, and that we ourselves may be made certain that they are fully instructed, duly and worthily to discharge the weighty duties imposed on

them, as pastors and confessors, we command that conferences may be held every year, in the first and second week of the months of July, August, September and October, in which conferences all the priests under our jurisdiction are bound to be present, and to give a reason if they are interrogated in the matter to be discussed; and if any priest shall be absent from two conferences in the same year, without licence, in writing, from the Ordinary or Vicar-General, we declare that he is suspended ipso facto. The questions to be discussed in every conference shall be announced in the Dublin Directory of each year, and the rules by which the conferences are to be directed will be found in the Appendix, No. 1.

Note on Chapter V.

The reader will here observe that the priests are referred to the authority of Benedict XIV. quoted in Chapter III. to enforce on them the necessity of the study of this moral theology. It is to be that theology which they had learned in the schools, and they are frequently to study it again,“ sæpius relegere quæ jam didicerat,” that so they may retain the principles and proofs of their morals and religion lively and ready for daily use in their office.

Therefore the next step to be taken by these bishops, to promote this study and this knowledge, is to appoint conferences, the object of which is not merely to drill the priests in this theology, but that their bishops may be certain that they are thoroughly instructed to discharge duly and worthily the duties imposed on them, as pastors and confessors,” therefore this standard system of pastoral instruction and confession, whatever it be, is the class-book, the primer of these conferences; and Dr. Murray informs the priests that the questions for their conferences shall be announced in the Dublin Directory for each year, and that the rules by which the conferences are to be directed, are given in the appendix to these statutes.

Now the only point by which to ascertain this important book, is to know whether Dr. Murray did appoint the questions for the conference, and announce the conference book, from which these questions were to be taken-for this we have the best, the most conclusive authority, and indeed the only authority which could be expected on the subject; we have Dr. Murray's own confidential compiler of the Directory, and we have the Directory itself. The Rev. Patrick Woods, the compiler of the Directory, states, in his letter to the editor of the Evening Post, July 11, 1835,“ When the time for the publication of the Directory next following this arrangement was at hand, Dr. Murray announced to me that we were to discuss the three treatises on Human Acts, Sins, and Conscience, in the successive conferences of the following year, so that the questions were to be taken in THE ORDER OF DENS." The time to which he alludes here was the year 1831, the year of the date of these statutes; and when we refer to the Directory itself for that year, and look to the questions of conference, we find the whole tissue of authority clearly given, the conference book clearly ascertained to be Dens, the command to take the questions from Dens; and the bishops of the province of Leinster given as the authors of the command. The translation of the heading of the conferences is as follows:

“ In obedience to the commands of the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend the Archbishop and Bishops of the Province of Leinster, we will discuss the treatises of human acts in two conferences; of sins in one conference, and of " conscience" also in one conference, in the year 1831. From the Author, Dominus Dens."

It is not the object of the Editor to enter here into

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