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than now, we would agree; but that there was not even one simple priest in each diocese, that there was not one simple priest in every ten dioceses, seems altogether preposterous. It is said that the bishop with his deacons supplied all wants, and hence no priests required. Is it not more natural to see and say that priests and deacons supplied all wants, and hence no permanence of bishops necessary ? Deus nil frustra operatur. Now let us glance at history: let us do so under the able guidance of Father Dennehy in his “ Church of the First Three Centuries.” At page 56 he thus writes of the Apostolic Churches : "1. St. Ignatius, in his epistle to the Churches of Asia, distinguishes very clearly the three orders of the hierarchy, the bishop, the priests, and the deacons. He is the first ecclesiastical writer that uses the words επισκοπος and πρεσβύτερος in contradistinction to each other. In his farewell epistle to the churches of Asia he sends his salutations and adieus to the ÉTTLO KOTOS (singular) and the apeo Búrepoi (plural) and dlakovou of the churches to which he wrote. From Ignatius, therefore, we have the fact that at the beginning of the second century, the churches of Trullis, Ephesus, Magnasia, and Phyladelphia had each a hierarchy governing it, composed of a bishop, priests, and deacons. . . . 3. By comparing the 14th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles with the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the Apocalypse, we are forced to the conclusion that there were some towns in Asia Minor that were immediately governed by priests. For, from the Apocalypse we infer that there were only seven episcopal Sees in Asia Minor at the end of the first century, viz.:-Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Phyladelphia, and Laodocea; and from the chapters of the Acts referred to, it is quite clear that Lystra and Iconium had each at them at least one opeo ßútepos ordained by St. Paul or Barnabas. ... “After a full and candid examination of this question, I be
a lieve we must come to the conclusion that the first ordinations by the Apostles were of priests with quasi-parochial jurisdiction.
The peo Bútepo, ordained by St. Paul and Barnabas, to whom allusion is made in the 22nd verse of the 14th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and the peoBúrepou ordained by Titus for the churches of Crete, appear to have been all of the same rank, and none of them appear to have been bishops. We must suppose them to have belonged to the same order of the hierarchy, because they are simply designated by the same name, and there is no distinction made between them. If the commission of St. Paul to Titus involved the appointment of bishops over some churches, and of priests over others, we
would reasonably expect to find the Apostle directing his attention to this twofold duty, when he reminds him of the end of his mission to this island. ... In the same sense we must understand the words of St. Luke in the 14th chapter of the Acts. .... The clergy, therefore, ordained by the Apostles through the cities of Asia Minor, and those whom Titus ordained for the towns of Crete, were obviously priests or bishops, but probably not priests and bishops. I have said that none of them appear to have been bishops. I think this assertion is borne out by various circumstances. In the first place there was no necessity for erecting episcopal sees while the Apostles were still living. They were themselves the bishops of the Church. They went about from place to place performing episcopal functions, correcting abuses, eradicating errors, and ordaining the clergy. .. . . Then it would have been difficult, after the first propagation of Christianity, to determine the limits of episcopal jurisdiction. The faith was spreading in every direction, and ramifying through countries strange to the Apostles, and in a great measure unexplored. The churches were increasing in number day after day ... confusion and chaos would have been the result of the immediate erection of episcopal sees. Apart from these considerations there are two important facts that must not be lost sight of, viz. :—first, the character of the men whom the Apostles should select ; and, secondly, the great authority and dignity of the episcopal office. There was no choice but among the recent converts from Paganism or Judaism. There was evidently a difficulty in raising them at once to the highest rank among the clergy. They might be priests in submission ; they ought not to be bishops in authority. There was still greater difficulty in placing them in a position of such independence and authority at a distance from the centre of government. Might they not rebel? Might they not divide the Church? Might they not dissolve the union before the joints were well knit together? The appointment of bishops immediately upon the first diffusion of Christianity would have resulted in raising up rivals to the Apostles, and endangering the unity of the Church,
"Such considerations as these lead us naturally to the conclusion that the first ordinations in the primitive Church were of priests and deacons, and the truth of this view is confirmed and illustrated by a passage in the first epistle of St. Clement of Rome. The epistle is inscribed : The Church of God which is in Rome, to the Church of God which is in Corinth, &c.,' and the principal object for which it is written is manifestly to put an end to certain dissensions which had arisen between the faithful and their priests. From the body of the
epistle it appears that the Christians of Corinth had rejected certain priests from the sacred ministry, and deprived them of their position in the Church. We see,' says St. Clement, ‘that you have banished some of them (priests) who lived piously, and who acquitted themselves in the ministry not only without reproach, but even with honour.' Obviously there is question of priests only, not of bishops. The church of Corinth had but one bishop, whereas the clergy referred to by St. Clement must have been numerous in the church of Corinth. They had rejected some of their priests; and the drift of the epistle of St. Clement is to convince them that it will be no trifling sin to deprive those of the episcopacy who worthily offer the sacred gifts.'
“There are reasons for believing that the priests of the primitive Church were not curates holding a temporary jurisdiction at the will of the bishop. From examining the mode of their ordination and the position they occupied, we must incline to the opinion that their authority resembled that of parish priests. In the first place they were ordained by the Apostles or their immediate representatives, by Paul, or Barnabas, or Timothy, or Titus. Then there is not a word said of their dependence upon the bishop; they were placed over towns, with their adjacent country districts, at a distance from the Apostle who ordained them.
"The Apostles were the heads of the Church. There were under them those whom we now properly designate by the name 'Bishops.' . How soon, or at what precise period, the Apostles ordained the first bishops of the Church-those who were to govern conjointly with them, and to transmit their authority to succeeding ages—we cannot with accuracy determine. Timothy and Titus were certainly bishops... They were not ordained bishops until they had travelled some years with the Apostle. . Timothy was bishop in Ephesus, the capital of Lesser Asia, about the year 65. He was stationed in Ephesus. His jurisdiction appears to have extended over all the churches of the country. His powers with respect to the ordination of priests and the promotion of the clergy generally were very extensive; and we have no mention of a second bishop contemporary with him, outside the Apostolic body, enjoying or dividing with him the jurisdiction of the Asiatic churches. ... There were seven bishoprics in Asia Minor when St. John wrote the Apocalypse, sometime after the year 90. The seven angels of the churches, referred to in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of that inspired book, were no others than the seven bishops of the cities associated with their names. From the style and tenor in which they are addressed, they
are evidently the superiors and governors of their respective churches. They are responsible for the existence of scandals. It is for them to eradicate heresies. They are the pastors of their respective flocks ; and yet it is quite clear from the Sa
red Scriptures that they were not the only clergy of the superior orders in the cities that they governed. Ephesus, for instance, had a body of presbyters, but one 'angel.' Smyrna, too, had its body of clergy, but only one ‘angel presiding over priests and people. .
“As the churches increased in extent and number, it became absolutely necessary to multiply the episcopal authority numerically. . . . As time goes on we find the episcopal churches of Asia still increasing in number. ... The presbyters governed the laity; and the bishops governed the laity and the priests."
So much for the Apostolic churches from Father Dennehy. We have preferred to quote his words thus in full than to change them into our own, for his honour, the satisfaction of the reader, and the confirmation of our own reasoning. It is superfluous to remark how utterly he rejects the theory we are considering: how his conclusions, on the contrary, diminishing more and more the number of early bishops, magnifies the mystery of their canonized multitude. It will be here objected, that so far we have only spoken of the first part of the age of martyrs. May not things have changed in its second half ? Father Dennehy makes answer at page 251 : “Tertullian, in his book on baptism, designates the bishop by the name 'high priest,' which, by analogy, would lead us to think that his priesthood was of a superior and unique order, like that of the Jewish Pontiff. 'The high priest (summus sacerdos) who is the bishop, has the right to give (baptism) ; then the priests and deacons, not, however, without the authority of the bishop, for the honour of the Church.'... Cyprian is still clearer in his eleventh epistle :-'I hear that some priests, mindless of the Gospel, and thoughtless of what the martyrs have written to us, nor allowing to the bishop the honour of his priesthood and his chair, have begun to cornmunicate with the fallen,' &c. ... It is plain that Cyprian here implies that episcopal ordination elevates the cleric who receives it to a higher grade in the priesthood than his brethren who serve in the ministry. . . . It becomes sufficiently clear that most of the towns originally governed by priests were, after some time, raised to the dignity of episcopal sees. . . . From a passage in the first apology of St. Justin, it is evident that the country districts surrounding the episcopal town were immediately governed by the bishop. ... But what of the remote dis
. tricts and towns? It would appear from some passages in the writings of St. Cyprian, and other documents of this age, that they were governed by priests and deacons, who had the immediate charge of them, but who were totally dependent on the bishop, and possessed no ordinary but delegated jurisdiction. The following passage in a letter of St. Cyprian to martyrs in prison, proves to us clearly that some of his priests were located at a distance from himself when they performed sacerdotal offices :— I had trusted that the priests and deacons who are there present warned you and instructed you most fully on the Gospel law.' ... The answer to the questionwhat was the jurisdiction of priests in this age ?-should be, ‘it was the jurisdiction of bishops vicars at present, who have no ordinary rights from the Church, but who depend entirely on the bishops,'" &c., &c.
These quotations, these reflections, all go to prove the untenability for the entire early age of the proposed explanation as regards its first point. History supports theory, and shows us in later ages, as from the beginning, many branches on the one stem, many limbs under the one head, many sheep under the one shepherd, and many captains under the one general.
(To be continued.)
PASTORAL LETTER OF MONSIGNOR SCANDELLA
(VICAR APOSTOLIC OF GIBRALTAR).
THE CONGREGATION OF PROPAGANDA: BENEFITS IT CONFERS ON RELIGION AND CIVILIZATION : SPOLIATION OF ITS PROPERTY BY THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT.
We, DR. JOHN BAPTIST SCANDELLA, by the Grace of God and favor of the Holy Apostolic See, Bishop of Antinoe,
Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar, &c. To the Clergy and Faithful of our Vicariate, health and peace
in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are about to leave you in a few days for the Eternal City, there to prostrate ourselves at the feet of the august Captive of the Vatican. Our absence will be very brief; nevertheless we deem it meet that you be made acquainted with the reasons that have led to our determination.
We live in such critical times that the most natural and simple acts of our Bishops give rise to all sorts of surmises but too often injurious to our character and prejudicial to the interests of religion. If left without explanation, the simple fact