Sayfadaki görseller

of men.

and perilous, but the future bids fair to exceed them in violence, as a hurricane exceeds an ordinary storm. The times of the Council of Trent were tempestuous; but for these three hundred years the licence and the violence of free thought, free speech, and a free press, which spares nothing human or divine, have been accumulating in volume and intensity. All this burst upon the Council of the Vatican. And in the midst of this, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, abandoned by all powers of the once Christian world, stands alone, weak but invincible, the supreme judge and infallible teacher

The Church has, therefore, its provision for faith and truth, unity and order. The floods may come, the rain descend, and the winds blow and beat upon it, but it cannot fall, because it is founded upon Peter. But what security has the Christian world ? Without helm, chart, or light, it has launched itself into the falls of revolution. There is not a monarchy that is not threatened. In Spain and France, monarchy is already overthrown. The hated Syllabus will have its justification. The Syllabus which condemned Atheism and revolution would have saved society. But men would not. They are dissolving the temporal power of the Vicar of Christ. And why do they dissolve it? Because governments are no longer Christian. The temporal power had no sphere, and therefore no manifestation, before the world was Christian. What matter will it have for its temporal power, when the world has ceased to be Christian? For what is the temporal pow'tr, but the condition of peaceful independence and supreme direction over all Christians, and all Christian so


cieties, inherent in the office of Vicar of Christ, and head of the Christian Church? When the Civil powers became Christian, faith and obedience restrained them from casting so much as a shadow of human sovereignty over the Vicar of the Son of God. They who attempt it now will do it at their peril.

The Church of God cannot be bound, and its liberty is in its head. The liberty of conscience and of faith, since the Church entered into peace, have been secured in his independdence.

For a thousand years his independence, which is sovereignty, has been secured by the providence of God in the temporal power over Rome; the narrow sphere of his exemption from all civil subjection. But men are nowadays wiser than God, and would unmake and mend His works. They are therefore dissolving the temporal power as He has fashioned it; and in so doing, they are striking out the keystone of the arch which hangs over their own heads. This done, the natural society

. of the world will still subsist, but the Christian world will be no more. One thing is certain : let all the Civil powers of this world in turn, or all together, claim the Vicar of Jesus Christ as their subject, a subject he will never be. The Non possumus is not only immutable, but invincible. The infallible head of an infallible Church caninot depend on the sovereignty of man. The Council of the Vatican has brought out this truth with the evidence of light. The world may despise and fight against it, but the Church of God will believe and act upon this law of divine faith.

1 The peoples of the world will hear him gladly; but the rulers see in him a superior, and will not brook it. They cannot subdue him, and they will not be subject to his voice. They are therefore in perpetual conflict with him. But who ever fought against him, and has prospered ? Kings have carried him captive, and princes have betrayed him ; but, one by one, they have passed away, and he still abides. Their end has been so 'tragically explicit that all men may read its meaning. And yet kings and princes will not learn, nor be wise. They rush against the rock, and perish. The world sees their ruin, but will not see the reason. The faithful read in the ruin of all who lay hands on the Vicar of Christ the warning of the Psalmist, “Nolite tangere Christos meos ;" and of our Lord Himself, “ Whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” * I remain, reverend and dear Brethren,

Your affectionate Servant in Christ,


Archbishop of Westminster. Feast of S. Edward, the Confessor.

* St. Matth. xxi. 44.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]




A Sacra Oecumenica Synodo Vaticana infrascripti Patres humillime instanterque flagitant, ut apertis, omnemque dubitandi locum excludentibus verbis sancire velit supremam, ideoque ab errore immunem esse Romani Pontificis auctoritatem, quum in rebus fidei et morum ea statuit ac praecipit, quae ab omnibus christifidelibus credenda et tenenda, quaeve reiicienda et damnanda sint.



Romani Pontificis, beati Petri Apostoli successoris, in universam Christi Ecclesiam iurisdictionis, adeoque etiam supremi magisterii primatis in sacris Scripturis aperte docetur.

Universalis et constans Ecclesiae traditio tum factis tum sanctorum Patrum effatis, tum plurimorum Conciliorum, 8


« ÖncekiDevam »