Sayfadaki görseller
[ocr errors]

faith, our priesthood, and the true religion, directly from the Apostolic See, should more than others be attached to it by the bonds of love and fidelity. Therefore do we maintain that foundation of truth and orthodoxy which Jesus Christ willed should be maintained unshaken; namely, the See of Peter, the teacher and mother of the whole world, the Holy Roman Church. Whatever is once defined by it, for that very reason alone we consider to be fixed and certain ; when we look at its traditions, rites, pious customs, discipline, and all its Apostolic Constitutions, we follow and cherish them with all the affection of our hearts. In fine, we of set purpose publicly declare our obedience and respect for the Pope as Christ's Vicar, and we remain united to him in the closest bonds of Catholic unity."

7. Nearly five hundred of the Bishops assembled in Rome to celebrate the Centenary of the Martyrdom of Ss. Peter and Paul, in the year 1867, had no hesitation in addressing Pius IX. in the following terms: "Believing that Peter has spoken by the mouth of Pius, whatever has been said, confirmed, and decreed by You to preserve the deposit of faith, we also repeat, confirm, and profess, and with one mind and heart we reject all that You have judged it necessary to reprove and condemin as contrary to Divine faith, to the salvation of souls, and to the good of society. For what the Fathers of Florence defined in their Decree of Union, is firmly and deeply impressed in our minds; that the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ, the Head of the whole Church, the Father and Teacher of all Chris. tians."




ROME, March 19th, 1870. My LORD :—The Marquis de Banneville, ambassador of his Majesty, read me, a few days ago, a despatch forwarded to him under date February 20, last, from Count Daru, Minister of Foreign Affairs, relative to the affairs of the Council. In this communication, of which the ambassador was kind enough to leave me a copy, the aforesaid minister, referring to the resolution come to by the French Government not to take part in the deliberations of the General Council, desiring at the same time its liberty to be guaranteed fully and absolutely, states that such resolution was based on the supposition that that venerable assembly would

оссиру itself solely about the sacred interests of the Faith, and would abstain from touching questions of a purely political order. But the publication (he says) by the “ Augsburg Gazette ” of the canons appertaining to the draft of constitution on the Church and on the Roman Pontiff, showing that there is question of deciding whether the power of the Church and of her Head extends to the whole aggregate of political rights ; the government, keeping firmly to the resolution of leaving, upon this point also, entire liberty to the deliberations of the august assembly, intends to exercise the rights given it by the Concordat of making known to the Council its opinion on questions of such nature.

Passing to the examination of the said canons, the minister sums up their contents (on which he wishes to com. ment) in the two following propositions :-First, “the Infallibility of the Church extends not only to the Deposit of Faith, but to all that is necessary for the preservation of such deposit ;" and secondly, “the Church is a society divine and perfect ; its power is exercised at once in foro interno et externo; is absolute in the legislative, judicial, and coercive order, and is to be exercised by her with full liberty and independence from any civil power whatever.Hence, as corollaries of these two propositions, he deduces the extension of infallibility to all that is thought necessary for the defence of revealed truths, and consequently to facts, whether historical, philosophical, or scientific, external to revelation; as also the absolute subordination to the supreme authority of the Church of the constituent principles of civil society ; of the rights and duties of Government; of the political rights and duties of citizens, whether electoral or municipal ; of all that relates to the judicial and legislative order, as well in respect of persons as of things; of the rules of public administration; of the rights and duties of corporations, and, in general, of all the rights of the State, not excluding the rights of conquest, peace, and war.

Next the minister passes on to note the profound impression wbich the simple enunciation of such doctrines must produce in the entire world ; and asks at the same time how it could be possible for the Bishops to consent to abdicate their episcopal authority, concentrating it in the hands of one alone; and how it could have been imagined that princes would lower their sovereignty before the supremacy of the Court of Rome.

Lastly, concluding, from all that has been set forth, that political and not religious interests are being discussed in the Council, Count Daru demands that the Governments be heard, or at least admitted to bear testimony to the characters, dispositions, and spirit (disposizioni di spirito)

[ocr errors]

of the people they represent; and in particular that since France, by reason of the special protection which for twenty years she has exercised over the Pontifical State, has quite special duties to perform, he demands that the Government of that nation be permitted to exercise its right of receiving communication of projected decisions touching politics, and of requesting the delay necessary for bringing its observations before the Council, before any resolution be adopted by the same.

This is an abstract of the dispatch communicated to me by the Marquis de Banneville. I have thought proper to inform your Lordship of it ; with the view, moreover, of communicating to you some short considerations which I think necessary to put in a clearer light the points touched upon by the minister, and to reply to the deductions made by him with respect to the points submitted to the deliberations of the Council.

And first, I cannot dispense myself from manifesting to your Lordship the satisfaction with which the Holy Father received the declaration expressed at the beginning of Count Daru's despatch, and repeated in the sequel, of the fixed intention of the French Government to respect, and cause to be respected, in any event, the full liberty of the Council, as well in the discussion of the constitution referred to as of all others which shall hereafter come to be proposed to the examination of the venerable assembly. This declaration, which does great honor to the Govern· ment of a Catholic nation, is considered by the Holy See as the natural consequence of that protection which, for more than twenty years, France has exercised towards it ; a protection which has called forth several times public demonstrations of gratitude on the part of the Supreme Pontiff, who always, but especially at the present moment, cannot do less than recognize and appreciate all its ir portance.

But, coming closer to the object of Count Daru's despatch, I must say frankly that I am quite unable to understand (non mi è dato di comprendere) how the declarations contained in the draft of Constitution on the Church, and the respective canons—published in the “ Augsburg Gazette” by a breach of the Pontifical secret-could have produced so grave and profound an impression on the mind of the French Cabinet, as to induce it to change the line of conduct which it had properly traced out for itself in regard to the discussions of the Vatican Council. The subjects treated in that draft of constitution, and in the canons appertaining to it, whatever modification they may undergo in the sequel from the judgment and decision of the Episcopate, are no more than the exposition of the maxims and fundamental principles of the Church ; principles repeated over and over again in the Acts of former General Councils, proclaimed and developed in several Pontifical Constitutions, published in all Catholic states, and particularly in the celebrated dogmatic Bulls beginning “Unigenitus," and “Auctorem Fidei," where all the aforesaid doctrines are generally confirmed and sanctioned; principles, finally, which have constantly formed the basis of teaching in all periods of the Church, and in all Catholic schools, and have been defended by an innumerable host of ecclesiastical writers, whose works have served for text in public schools and colleges, as well Government schools as others, without any contradiction on the part of the civil authority, but rather, for the most part, with the approbation and encouragement of the same.

Much less would it be possible for me to agree upon the character and extent given by the minister to the doctrines contained in the aforesaid canon. In virtue of them there is not attributed, either to the Church or the Roman Pontiff, that direct and absolute power over the whole aggregate of political rights, of which the despatch speaks ; nor is the subordination of the civil to the religious power to

« ÖncekiDevam »