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Stephen, Bishop of Dori, A. D. 649, at a Lateran Council under Martin I. says, in a libellas supplex or memorial read and recorded in the acts, “ Peter the Prince of the Apostles was first commanded to feed the sheep of the Catholic Church, when the Lord said, ' Peter, lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep.' And again, he chiefly and especially, having a faith firm above all, and unchangeable in our Lord God, was found worthy to convert and to confirm his fellows and his spiritual brethren who shaken."'*

Pope St. Vitalian, A. D. 669, says, in a letter to Paul, Archbishop of Crete, “What things we command thee and thy Synod according to God and for the Lord, study at once to fulfil, lest we be compelled to bear ourselves not in mercy but according to the power of the sacred canons, for it is written ; The Lord said, ' Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren.' And again, Whatsoever thou, Peter, shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'”+


et tu aliquando conversus confirma fratres tuos. Ipsi dicitur, Tu es Petrus et super hanc Petram, etc.-St. Gregor. Epist. lib. v. ep. xx. tom. ii. 748, ed. Ben. Paris, 1705.

Princeps apostolorum Petrus pascere primus jussus est oves Catholicæ Ecclesiæ, cum Dominus dicit, Petre, amas me? Pasce oves meas ; et iterum ipse præcipue ac specialiter firmam præ omnibus habens in Dominum Deum nostrum et immutabilem fidem, convertere aliquando et confirmare exagitatos consortes suos et spiritales meruit fratres.-Labbe, Concil. tom. vii. p. 107.

t Quæ præcipimus tibi secundum Deum et propter Dominum tuæque synodo, stude illico peragere, ne cogamur non misericorditer sed secundem virtutem sacratissimorum canonum conversari.

The quotations given in the Pastoral Letter of last year, united with these, afford the following result. The application of the promise Ego rogavi pro te, &c., to the infallible faith of Peter and his successors, is made by St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Leo, St. Gelasius, Pelagius II., St. Gregory the Great, Stephen Bishop of Dori in a Lateran Council, St. Vitalian, the Bishops of the IV. Ecumenical Council A. D. 451, St. Agatho in the VI. A. D. 680, St. Bernard A. D. 1153, St. Thomas Aquinas A. D. 1274, St. Bonaventure A. D. 1274: that is, this interpretation is given by three out of the four doctors of the Church, by six Pontiffs down to the seventh century. It was recognized in two Ecumenical Councils. It is explicitly declared by the Angelic Doctor, who may be taken as the exponent of the Dominican school, and by the Seraphic Doctor, who is likewise the witness of the Franciscan; and by a multitude of Saints. This catena, if continued to later times, might, as all know, be indefinitely prolonged.

The interpretation by the Fathers of the words “On this rock," &c.; is fourfold, but all four interpretations are no more than four aspects of one and the same truth, and all are necessary to complete its full meaning. They all implicitly or explicitly contain the perpetual stability of Peter's faith. It would be out of place to enter upon this here. It is enough to refer to Ballerini De vi et ratione Primatus, where the subject is exhausted.

Scriptum namque est, Dominus inquit, Petre, rogavi pro te ut n deficeret fides tua ; et tu aliquando conversus confirma fratres tuos. Et rursum, Quodcunque ligaveris, etc.—St. Vitalian, epist. i. in Labbe, Concil. tom. vii. p. 460.

In these two promises a divine assistance is pledged to Peter and to his successors, and that divine assistance is promised to secure the stability and indefectibility of the Faith in the supreme Doctor and Head of the Church, for the general good of the Church itself.

It is therefore a charisma, a grace of the supernatural order, attached to the Primacy of Peter which is perpetual in his successors.

I need hardly point out that between the charisma, or gratia gratis data of infallibility and the idea of impeccability there is no connection. I should not so much as notice it, if some had not strangely obscured the subject by introducing this confusion. I should have thought that the gift of prophecy in Balaam and Caiaphas, to say nothing of the powers of the priesthood, which are the same in good and bad alike, would have been enough to make such confusion impossible.

The preface to the Definition carefully lays down that infallibility is not inspiration. The Divine assistance by which the Pontiffs are guarded from error, when as Pontiffs they teach in matters of faith and morals, contains no new revelation. Inspiration contained not only assistance in writing but sometimes the suggestions of truth not otherwise known. The Pontiffs are witnesses, teachers, and judges of the revelation already given to the Church; and in guarding, expounding, and defending that revelation, their witness, teaching and judgment, is by Divine assistance preserved from

This assistance, like the revelation which it guards, is of the supernatural order. They, therefore, who argue against the infallibility of the Pontiff because he is an individual person, and still profess to believe the infallibility of Bishops in General Councils, and also of the Bishops dispersed throughout the world, because they are many witnesses, betray the fact that they have not as yet mastered the idea that infallibility is not of the order of nature, but is of the order of grace. In the order of nature, indeed, truth may be found rather with the many than with the individual, though in this the history of mankind would give a host of contrary examples. But in the supernatural order, no such argument can have place. It depends simply upon the ordination of God; and certainly neither in the Old Testament nor in the New have we examples of infallibility depending upon number. But in both we have the example of infallibility attaching to persons as individuals; as for instance the Prophets of the old and the Apostles of the new law. It is no answer to say that the Apostles were united in one body. They were each one possessed of that which all possessed together. To this may be also added the inspired writers, who were preserved from error individually and personally, and not as a collective body. The whole evidence of Scripture, therefore, is in favor of the communication of Divine gifts to individuals. The objection is not scriptural nor Catholic, nor of the supernatural order, but natural, and, in the last analysis, rationalistic.


IV. Fourthly, the Definition precisely determines the acts of the Pontiff to which this Divine assistance is attached; namely, “ in doctrina de fide vel moribus definienda," to the defining of doctrine of faith and morals.

The definition, therefore, carefully excludes all ordinary and common acts of the Pontiff as a private person, and also all acts of the Pontiff as a private theologian, and again all his acts which are not in matters of faith and morals; and further, all acts in which he does not define a doctrine, that is, in which he does not act as the supreme Doctor of the Church in defining doctrines to be held by the whole Church.

The definition therefore includes, and includes only, the solemn acts of the Pontiff as the supreme Doctor of all Christians, defining doctrines of faith and morals, to be held by the whole Church.

Now the word doctrine here signifies a revealed truth, traditionally handed down by the teaching authority, or magisterium infallibile, of the Church ; including any truth which, though not revealed, is yet so united with a revealed truth as to be inseparable from its full explanation and defence.

And the word definition here signifies the precise judgment or sentence in which any such traditional truth of faith or morals may be authoritatively formulated; as, for instance, the consubstantiality of the Son, the procession of the Holy Ghost by one only Spiration from the Father and the Son, the Immaculate Conception, and the like.

The word " definition" has two senses, the one forensic and narrow, the other wide and common; and this in the present instance is more correct. The forensic or narrow sense confines its meaning to the logical act of defining by genus and differentia. But this sense is proper to dialectics and disputations, not to the acts of Councils and Pontiffs. The wide and common sense is that of an authoritative

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