Scene II. The Hall of the Gürzenich.
LUNCH had tranquillized the spirits which controversy had made very wild. There was a striking array of hats and heretics down the great Hall of the Gürzenich: heretics not caring to remove their hats, when the thesis was mere Infallibility. It was a curious thing to see so many men come together to worship themselves. The forms of self-worship are numerous, being moulded by personal vanity; but the most absorbing idolatry which vanity can furnish is the worship of Private Religion. That deity is throned on theistical altitudes, to which nothing but vanity can reach; and it is even marvellous how vanity can climb to the stupendous elevation of his throne. Idolatry is a crime that was perfectly unknown before the introduction of Christianity; having sprung from heresy, and [53/54] been matured by Protestantism, under the synonym 'Private Judgment.' Euphemism is a science of our age, and we seldom call crimes by real names; but the master invention of euphemistic science is to call idolatry 'Views.'
Old Catholics were occupied, in the Hall of the Gürzenich, with the cultus of deified opinion. Each man considered that his own private 'view' took prece dence of the rest of the gods. Had it been possible to throne all the 'views' which clamored for celestial heights, it is certain that there would have been war in Olympus of a most internecine kind.
Herr Ernst arrived somewhat late; which led to the impression that he was afraid to come--an impression that was not well founded. It might have been fully half an hour after the time appointed for his speech when Herr Ernst was observed to enter. Meanwhile there was quarrel and shout, and laughter and spiritual dissipation.
Among the knots of talkers who might be seen in the Hall were Herr Fröhlich and the Right Rev. Dr. Greene, with one [54/55] or two other disputants; and they appeared to be busy, not so much with them selves as with an author who was common between them. Herr Fröhlich was holding in his hand a volume of considerable bulk; and on the back of the volume was inscribed, History of the Church, by Döllinger. Herr Fröhlich had introduced his reference to this book with some such remark as the following: that Herr von Döllinger had probably done more to vindicate the infallibility of the Pope than any other living historian. And in proof of his statement, he then read aloud the following remarkable words:
'There were not wanting names and titles which, in the fourth and fifth centuries, fully expressed the supreme ecclesiastical power and dignity of the Pope. He was called the Father of the Fathers, the Shepherd and Guardian of the flock of Christ, the Chief of all Bishops, the Guardian of the vineyard of Christ. The Church of Rome was named, by pre-eminence, the apostolic see, the chief of all the churches, the rock, the foundation of faith.'
'I own,' said Herr Fröhlich, 'that I am incompetent to understand how the Pope can be the "rock and foundation," [55/56] unless he be personally infallible. If he can be both these, and still be fallible, then I conclude that the symbols of inerrancy should be wind, or sand, or sea.
"That the decrees of Synods, regarding faith obtained their full force and authority only by being received and confirmed by the Pope was publicly acknowledged in the fourth century."
Do you call that infallibility? If not, then the sentence should be reversed; and Dr. Döllinger should have written it in this way: 'That the decrees of the Popes obtained their full force only by being received by the Synods was publicly acknowledged," etc.
"The fifth general Council, held in 381, which was a Council of only Oriental Bishops, acquired the authority of an Oecumenical Council by the subsequent acceptance and confirmation of the Pope; and St. Augustine declared, after the two African Synods had been confirmed by the Pontiff, 'Roma locuta est, causa finita est.'" So again: "The Council of Ephesus, in forming its judgment against Nestorius, said that it did so, 'following the canons and the epistle of the Pope.' The same Council also ratified, without any farther examination, the Papal condemnation of Pelagianism. At Chalcedon, the Council, [56/57] in drawing up its decisions on the point of controversy, did not appeal to the Synod which had been held at Constantinople under Flavian, but only to the decree of the Pontiff. In the judgment upon Eutyches, Cecropius, Bishop of Sebaste, declared, in the name of all his brethren, that the Bishop of Rome had sent to them a formulary; that they all followed him, and subscribed his epistle. The sixth general Council in like manner declared that it adhered to the dogmatic epistle of Pope Agatho, and by it condemned the heresy."
'And here,' said Herr Fröhlich, follow numerous examples of the obedience of the Eastern Church to the supreme authority of the Pope:
"On the other hand, it was acknowledged to be the prerogative of the first see in the Christian world that the Bishop of Rome could be judged by no man." ['Dr. Döllinger now says,' remarked Herr Fröhlich, 'that the Bishop of Rome can be judged by him!'] "It was a thing unheard of that the Head of the Church should be placed in judgment before his own subjects." ['Except,' continued Herr Fröhlich, 'before the Old Catholics at Cologne!'] "He who was not in communion with the Bishop of Rome was not truly in the Catholic Church." [' In which case,' concluded Herr Fröhlich, 'Professor von Döllinger is out of it.'] [57/58] 'Now, my lord, I would ask you,' proceeded Herr Fröhlich, shutting up Dr. Döllinger's book, and addressing his remarks to Dr. Greene: 'is it possible for writing to express more convincingly these two elementary facts; the first, that the whole of the Christian Church throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, "during the fourth and fifth centuries," acknowledged the infallibility of the Pope; and the second, that Dr. Döllinger acknowledged it?'
'No, no,' answered several voices, and in particular the Right Rev. Dr. Greene.
'No, no?' said Herr Fröhlich [turning round to the crowd, which by this time was gathering closely, and pressing to hear the quotations]. 'No, no? Well, I think I may venture to prove it. On what possible ground of faith or consist ency could decrees of Councils obtain their authority, "only by being confirmed by the Pope," except on the ground that the Pope was believed to be, pontifically, exempt from error? On what possible ground could mere local Councils enjoy [58/59] oecumenical importance, "by the acceptance and confirmation of the Pope," except on the ground that his infallible decision overruled the defect of number? On what possible ground could the first general Council of Constantinople, which condemned the heresy of Macedonius, and added its definition to the Creed, be recognized as oecumenical, because Pope Damasus approved it; or the fifth general Council, which was purely Oriental, but which decreed fourteen dogmatic propositions, because it afterwards was sanctioned by the Popes--except on the ground that the authority of the Pope was regarded as the authority of God? On what possible ground could the Pope be called, by the whole of the Christian Church, and that too "in the fourth and fifth centuries," the "rock, the foundation of faith," except on the ground that a "rock and foundation" are symbols of indestructible force? And farther: if Dr. Doltinger assures us that it was "a thing unheard of" in those earliest times that the Head of the Church should be placed in judgment before his own subjects, and [59/60] that "all who were not in communion with him were not truly in the Catholic Church," then I say that Dr. Döllinger is my authority for the personal infallibility of the Pope, and that, in denying it now, he gives the lie direct to his former historical teaching.'
Dr. Fossil, who had been listening attentively to the inferences which had just been drawn, now moved up close to Herr Fröhlich--so close as to be next to Dr. Greene. The mass of the delegates--perhaps more than two hundred--were scattered in all parts of the Hall, and the subjects discussed were harmonious in nothing save 'Old-Catholic' hatred of the Pope. 'The Turk before the Pope' had been Luther's symbol, when 'reforming' the Christian Church; and 'Satan before the Pope' would more aptly have expressed the sublime theology of Cologne. Meanwhile Dr. Fossil was dryly protesting against the inferences drawn by Herr Fröhlich.
Dr. Fossil. I do not think you have stated your case in a way that brings it home to ourselves. We contend that a [60/61] Pope without a Council cannot be personally infallible, though in a connection with a (really) general Council it is altogether possible that he might be. [' Hear, hear!' from the crowd.]
Herr Fröhlich. My lord, pray pardon me, but you have missed the point. In the submission of matters of faith to the Pontiff, the belief in his inerrancy was involved; for the act of the Church in accepting, as oecumenical, Councils which in point of fact were local, was the confession of the truth that the infallibility of the Pope overrode both number and place. That is the point which I wish you to grasp. And I think you will most easily grasp it by appreciating the following fact. In the Roman Church, it is necessary to salvation to believe in Infallible Authority. (Whether Infallibility be lodged in this Voice or that is not just now the question.) Consequently if the Roman Church, at any time in her history, admitted that the Pope could pronounce, to be cecumenical, Councils which really were local, it admitted that he was infallible, or it would not have [61/62] received his judgment. Your lordship, as a teacher in a Church--I may say a teacher of a Church--which looks upon Truth as an opinionative development, flexible as 'Anglican Views,' cannot understand what the Roman Church means by 'Unus pastor, unum ovile, una fides;' but a Catholic can tell you that the admission of judgment, in matters of faith or morals, is the admission of infallible power.
[Here Herr Fröhlich was turning away, with a view to looking for Herr Ernst; for that gentleman had not yet arrived. But Dr. Greene recalled him to his advocacy by saying in the pleasantest manner:]
Dr. Greene. But tell us, Herr Fröhlich, what you mean by the personal infallibility of the Pope?
Herr Fröhlich. I mean this. When the Pope, ex cathedrâ, from his pontifical throne--in the place, in the stead, of God--pronounces a doctrine de fide, he is preserved, by the goodness of God, from teaching the Church a lie. It is not that he invents a new doctrine. It is not that [62/63] he flies in the face of the Church, and overrides the 'Ecclesia Docens.' It is that he pronounces that to be true which the Church has always believed.
Now three things in particular prove that this dogma has been the universal belief of the Church:
(I.) It has ever been taught, by all theologians, that the Pope is Primus in the Church.
(2.) It has ever been taught, by all theologians, that to be out of communion with the Pope is to be out of communion with the Church.
(3.) It has ever been taught, by all theologians, that there is no appeal from the Pope.
I might add, too, that the Popes them selves have never permitted appeal. You remember how vigorously Popes Innocent and Zosimus; Xistus III., Simplicius, Hormisdas; the great Leo, and also Ge lasius all Popes of about the fifth century; and then, later on, Martin V., Pius II., Julius II.,--I say, you remember how vigorously these Popes forbade any appeal from Peter. And why? Well, the [63/46] doctrine and the logic of inerrancy are both as bright as daylight. If the Church be infallible, but not the Pope, it is the duty of the infallible Body to obey the fallible Head! The whole Church admits that the Pope is Primus: the whole Church admits that to be out of communion with the living Bishop of Rome--that is, to differ from his teachings--is to be out of the communion of the Church: the whole Church admits that to appeal from the Pope is to be ipso facto a heretic; the whole Church waits for the ratification by the Pope of all doctrines that Councils may rule; because, until that ratification is given, doctrines are doctrines, not dogmata: and therefore to assert that the Pope is infallible, is only to assert what is so radically obvious, that you might as well affirm loudly that the sun gives light; that the root sends up life to the tree; that the source is the parent of the stream; the choirmaster sponsor for harmony; the helmsman steerer of the ship.
[Dean Courtly here stepped into the circle, and demanded of Herr Fröhlich [64/65] what Councils he could claim for the doctrine of Personal Infallibility.]
Herr Fröhlich. I will tell you.
The Council of Florence (A.D. 1439) thus taught the Vatican dogma: 'The Pope is the true Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Head of the whole Church, and the Father and Doctor of all Christians. . . . To him, in the person of blessed Peter, full power was delivered by our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, to rule, and to govern the universal Church; as also is contained in the acts of the (Ecumenical Councils and in the sacred canons.'
Now earlier, to the Council of Lyons (A.D. 1274): 'Controversies in matters of faith must finally be decided by the judgment of the Roman Pontiff.' This was tantamount to saying that the Pope was personally infallible; since to oblige a man to believe what may even possibly be wrong is so wild and impracticable a folly, that Anglicanism alone can conceive it. [Cries of 'Order, order.'"]
Now earlier again, to the eighth general Council (A.D. 869); that Council which was held just before the great schism; [65/66] and at which every one of the Bishops, the Eastern as well as the Western, subscribed these pregnant words: 'Since following in all things the Apostolic See, and observing in all things its constitution, we hope that we may be worthy to be in one communion, which the Apostolic See supports, and in which is the complete and true solidity of the Christian religion.' And, in its second canon, the Council declares: 'We hold most blessed Pope Nicholas for the organ of the Holy Spirit: as also most holy Pope Adrian, his successor.'
Still higher, to the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451): 'He is the One who was entrusted by the Saviour with the guardianship of the vine. . . . The interpreter to all of the voice of the blessed Peter.' And, in the judgment of the Council on Dioscorus, the Pope's legates used these words, which received the assent of the Council: 'Leo, most holy and blessed Archbishop of great and elder Rome, by us, and by this holy Council, together with the most blessed Apostle Peter, who is the rock and ground of the Catholic [66/67] Church, and the foundation of the right faith, hath stripped him of the rank of Bishop, and also hath severed him from all sacerdotal ministry.' Here you have the direct assertion of a twofold divine authority--the authority to teach infallibly, and to rule without any appeal.
And lastly, to mount to a still earlier period. At the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) the Pope's legates addressed these words to the Council, which words the Council subscribed: 'It is doubtful to no one, but rather known to all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and that the power of loosing and binding sins was given to him; who, to this very time, and for ever, lives and exercises judgment in his successors.' To which St. Cyril--'most jealous of all men for the rights of the Eastern Church'--replied, 'that the Council had fulfilled what was ordered them.'
 Thus, you have the Head of the Church placed above the Body by these five general Councils: and since it is declared by these Councils that it is the duty of the Body to obey the Head of the Church, it follows that the Head must be infallible; otherwise it would be a duty to obey what is false; to believe what is doctrinally wrong.'
[Dean Courtly drew Dr. Greene aside, so as to make to him a private observation.] 'I fancy there is a point which Herr Fröhlich has omitted, and which he would rather not be forced to contest. I mean the point of bad Popes! For my part, I never could believe that such a man as Borgia was infallible.' [Herr Fröhlich caught distinctly the remark, though, not being appealed to, he was silent.]
'I do not think much of that,' replied serenely Dr. Greene. 'You see, if you were to carry out the principle, you would have to confess that the Apostles were proportionately fallible in the degree of their personal demerits. You would have to deny infallibility to the prophets [68/69] of old, to Moses, to the Jewish high priests,--to every one, in short, unless it were the Baptist, or even our Lord Himself. No: the gift of infallibility, conferred with office, appears to me independent on virtue; just as, if you accept the powers of the priesthood,--absolution, consecration, and the like,--you must separate them from all individuality; all character, caprice, or vice. The highest supernatural faith may coexist with the grossest immorality; and a sinner may receive Holy Order just as well as the greatest of saints. I am arguing, of course, on hypothesis; for you are aware I am a very Low Churchman! Still I can recognize the reason of a position, without assenting to any of its terms. I should not be prepared to assert that any of the Popes were wicked; but, if they were, I should be chary of the argument that God's promise could be broken by them. No: I do not believe in the infallibility of the Popes; but it is on very different grounds indeed. I tell you what I think is the strongest argument against the Vatican dogma--I mean from the [69/70] Roman Catholic point of view--that one of the Popes, Honorius, was actually condemned for heresy. That appears to me conclusive. Herr Fröhlich would not dare to reply to you if you probed him on that bit of history. You would see, if you were to mention the subject, that he would make some excuse, and tortuously wheel from the fact. Indeed, it would be amusing to ask him. You ask him; for he thinks me, I fear, an enemy.'--Dean Courtly replied: 'It would be delightful to de-championize Fröhlich. Let us see.--Herr Fröhlich, might we ask you how you would happily evade the "vexata quaestio" of Honorius? I know you will believe we only ask you in jest, for it were difficult to be grave on the theme,'
Herr Fröhlich. Honorius! The very strongest precedent in the history of the Church for the personal infallibility of the Popes! [Here laughter of a contemptuous kind rang to the very roof of the hall, and caused several delegates who were standing far off to come and inquire the cause.]
Herr Fröhlich. It is really instructive [70/71] that the enemies of the dogma, while ransacking the history of the Church through something like eighteen centuries, have laid principal stress on the fallibility of a Pope who was 'oecumenically' pronounced infallible.
Assuming that the story is correct, as told by anti-Catholic adversaries, (though we have no right whatever to assume this, for Gerson, when challenged in open court to produce a single precedent, made no allusion to Honorius; and the Greeks at Florence, who would have rejoiced to produce him, had he been even possibly a heretic, appeared to have forgotten his name,) what is the weight of testimony which it brings to either side?
(I.) It is certain that the letter of Ho norius, written to the patriarch Sergius, was a purely private letter, and therefore not 'ex cathedra,' This is proved by the fact, that the heretic Sergius did not publish it to the rest of the bishops; nor was it prominently brought into light before the sixth general Council. Whereas, had the letter of Honorius contained a definition of faith, it must have been sent [71/72] to all bishops; because, as a high authority has told us, 'The "magisterium" of the Pontiff in matters of faith concerns all, and must by all be known.' Either, therefore, the letter was private--in which case it was not dogmatic; or it was public--in which case the heretic Sergius was afraid to publish what condemned him.
(2.) It is certain that the letter of Honorius contained no dogmatic statement. Honorius declares this where he says: 'We have not to teach and to define either one or two operations:' (Non nos oportet unam vel duas operationes definientes praedicare'). Thus, Honorius expressly guards Sergius against inferring the intention of a dogma.
(3.) It is certain that there is not in that letter so much as a single word which can legitimately be construed into heresy. John IV., the contemporary of Honorius, and one of his successors in the See; St. Maximus, also his contemporary, styled often 'the light of the East;' besides the most celebrated historians, such as Tourneley and Natalis Alexander--have borne vigorous testimony to this fact. Indeed, [72/73] to read the letter of Honorius is to be convinced that he most scrupulously vindicated the true doctrine of the Catholic Church.
(4.) It is certain that the sixth general Council did not condemn Honorius for heresy, but for negligence in not swiftly repressing it; as Pope Leo II., the very Pope who gave his sanction to the decrees of this sixth general Council, so clearly and explicitly conveys: 'Honorius, who did not make this Apostolic See resplendent with the apostolic doctrine; but by a profane treason allowed the faith, which ought to be without blot, to be exposed to subversion.' ('Qui hanc apostolicam ecclesiam non apostolicae traditionis doctrinâ lustravit, sed profanâ traditione immaculatam maculari permisit.') And the same truth was expressed by Pope Leo, in his letter to the Bishops of Spain; 'He did not extinguish at its commencement the flame of heretical doctrine, as became his apostolic authority, but by negligence nourished it.' ('Flammam haeretici dogmatis non, ut decuit Apostolicam auctoritatem, incipientem extinxit, sed negligendo [73/74] confovit.') It was for 'recommending silence' that Honorius was condemned; not for teaching heresy. And Dr. Döllinger, in his History of the Church, witnesses to this very same truth: 'Sergius wrote a most artfully-composed letter to gain to his side the Pontiff Honorius;' and he adds that 'Honorius suffered himself to be misguided' by the perfidious tactics of Sergius. 'For this,' says Dr. Döllinger, 'Pope Leo II. placed the error of Honorius in his inactivity.' 'Here, then, we have the solution of the matter. Ho norius was guilty of negligence in not annihilating a heresy; but no single word that he wrote could imply that he believed or taught one.
(5.) It is further certain that Pope Agatho, who presided in part over the sessions of the sixth general Council (that Council which condemned Pope Honorius), believed in Papal infallibility. These are his words, addressed through his legates to the Council, and adopted by the Council as their own: 'The splendid light of the faith, transmitted successively from the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, by [74/75] means of their successors, even to our humility, has been preserved pure and without spot; without ever having been obscured by heresy or denied by error.' And again, in a letter to the emperor, he says: 'The Lord and Saviour of all, the Author of our faith, has promised that the faith of Peter shall never fail, and commanded him to confirm his brethren. No one is ignorant that all the apostolic pontiffs, our predecessors, have done this with confidence.' While elsewhere he affirms that the Roman See 'hath never turned aside from the path of truth to any error whatsoever; whose authority, as of the prince of all the Apostles, the whole Catholic Church at all times, and the universal Councils, faithfully embracing, have in all respects followed.' Such were the words of Pope Agatho, while judging the case of Honorius, and while the Council was judging it.
(6.) My last point is this, and I hold it conclusive: that the sixth general Council, in its very last sitting, and after it had judged Honorius, subscribed these letters of Pope Agatho, from which I have just [75/76] now quoted; using these words with regard to them: 'Our eyes saw the ink and the paper; but our souls heard Peter speaking by the mouth of Agatho.' 'Therefore we leave what should be done to you, as Prelate of the first See of the Universal Church, standing on the firm rock of faith; having read through the letter of a true confession, sent by your paternal blessedness to our most religious emperor, and which we recognize as divinely written from the supreme Head of the Apostles,' Thus, then, we have an oecumenical Council--while judging the case of Honorius and pronouncing him guilty of negligence--declaring that no single Pontiff had erred from the Catholic faith: that the Roman Church 'had never turned aside from the path of truth to any error whatsoever:' that it had 'never been obscured by heresy nor defiled by error:'and that 'all the Apostolic Pontiffs had confirmed the brethren in the faith.' We have the infallibility of the Popes taught directly by that Council which condemned Pope Honorius for negligence. And, moreover, we have [76/77] this attestation in the very last sitting of the Council. I call this the happiest example of useful, though ungenerous, controversy; when the strongest precedent against infallibility is the strongest precedent for it.
[Just at this moment some excitement was caused by the entry of the retarded Herr Ernst. Why he came late, the congress asked not. But, forcing him with politest insistence up six steps to the conspicuous tribune, the Congress required him to fulfil the pledge that he would champion the Vatican Council. He needed no word of compulsion. As though born to speak from a tribune, in one moment he sprang into his theme, and said:]
(HERR ERNST ON THE VATICAN COUNCIL.)
On the 8th of December, 1869, 764 Fathers met in St. Peter's at Rome. Now, at the Council of Nice, the number of Fathers was only 318. At the Council of Constantinople, possibly 150. At the Council of Ephesus, 200. At the Council [77/78] of Chalcedon, perhaps a few more; though this is known with regard to it, that, of all who were present, only four were from the West, of whom two were the Pope's own legates. Thus, the number of Fathers who were present at the Vatican Council was about equal to the number of the Fathers in the other four Councils put together. Yet these four general Councils were acknowledged by the whole of Christendom to be genuine oecumenical Councils. So much, then, for the question of numbers; to which, however, I myself attach not the slightest importance.
Of the 764 Fathers assembled in the Basilica of St. Peter, many were from countries which were absolutely unknown to the Fathers of the Primitive Church. It were impossible to imagine a wider range of territory, and also of national characteristic, than that which was em braced in the cosmopolitan gathering of the Nineteenth General Council. Jerusalem and Paris, New York and Smyrna, Edinburgh and Tyre, Bombay and Siam, were but reaches of the episcopal net [78/79] which was gathered up in the Church of the Vatican. From all parts of the world there streamed toward Rome the elect of the nineteenth century; the most accomplished men of our time; the sancti ty, the wisdom, the courage, of the whole of the Catholic Church. For these men represented not only themselves, but the ideas and the learning of their lands. They were peculiarly fitted--most fitted--of all men to sit in discussion on the highest subjects that can occupy the human mind; because they brought with them the aggregate of human intelligence from every nation of the earth. They brought with them politics, and they brought with them science, and they brought with them the acquaintance with the changes of thought which mark this nineteenth century. There was no system of politics, philosophy, or religion,--from Buddhism and fetichism to those subtle philosophies which the newest schools have begotten,--with which these Fathers were not deeply acquainted, as became the pastors of mind. Glorious, too, was the absence of political powers [79/80] from this great Vatican Council! No Catherine de Medicis threatened Pius IX. No Victor Emanuel obtruded his spurs into the sacred conclave of Bishops. No Napoleon made vulgar the atmosphere on which the wings of the Dove were floating. It was a Christian assembly. It was an assembly of gentlemen. It was an assembly of intellect and power, but also of grace and humility.
All the religious congregations of the Church were represented in that great Council: Redemptorists, Dominicans, Oratorians, Franciscans; Augustinians, Passionists, Jesuits, Cistercians; the children of the greatest saints whom the Church has begotten to be the salt and savor of the earth; the inheritors of the spirit, as well as of the rule, of such men as Bonaventure and Loyola, Paul of the Cross, Philip Neri, and Dominic. How is it possible to exaggerate the excellence of the very flower of Christian chivalry; those few but for whom the world would be swallowed in its own bitter darkness and death? One prelate I will single as a type of the spirit that [80/81] ruled the entire assembly. Mgr. Ridel travelled to Rome to be consecrated Vicar Apostolic of the barbarous country of Corea, where all the missionaries, save one, had not long since been brutally butchered; and where the king of the country said he 'hoped soon to kill the very last Christian in his kingdom.' This missionary was consecrated to death. How fitting the attitude of his mind to assist in the definitions of the Church!
Very striking, too, and instructive was the expulsion from the Council of every heretical spirit. [Laughter.] No English Nothingarians outraged an assembly which was purely Christian and true. No wretched Greek schismatics infused dark elements into the pure blue sea of Catholicity. [Laughter.] The absence of these elements was in itself the assertion of a complete and divine integrity; which embraced every feature of good, without the slightest admixture of evil. The Greeks at Florence had confessed to that supremacy which now they stupidly deny; and their miserable servitude to the Russian Czar is the price they pay [81/82] for their sin. The Anglicans--God help them!--admit nothing at all, except the worship of Views. Thus, the flickering light of both Greeks and Anglicans, out side the Catholic Church, is like the burning of candles in the day-time; for it serves to show the glory of the sun by an incomparably feeble imitation.
I own that when I contemplate that glorious assembly within the Basilica of St. Peter at Rome, I am taken back to the great day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended on the Church. I seem to realize practically those words of our Lord: 'He that honoreth you honoreth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.' I am compelled to contrast--invidious as I may seem--the illumination of such an assembly as this, with the denseness of an assembly of mere men of the world, who bring to their tasks perhaps natural gifts, but without the inspirations of grace. For example: how inconceivable would be a Council composed of such men as yourselves [laughter and stupefaction]: by [82/83] whom obedience is reckoned a crime; humility, a sort of bête noire; unity, the Church's bane; and truth, the first-born of pride. [Here several delegates rose from their seats, and said that the slightest repetition of such remarks must put an end to the speech of Herr Ernst. The Chairman called on Herr Ernst to proceed with the Vatican Council; and Herr Fröhlich, who was laughing aloud, nodded to the impetuous Herr Ernst, saying audibly: 'Gently, gently!']
Herr Ernst. I was carried away for the moment, but I now return to my subject.
A Voice. Which subject?
Dr. Fossil [who was in very bad temper]. The subject is this, at least should be, that the dogma of Personal Infallibility was decreed by a packed majority; and the absence of moral unanimity must vitiate even Roman Councils.
Herr Ernst. The absence of moral unanimity! I will dispose of that jest in one moment.
The majority that ruled the definition of the Personal Infallibility of the Pope [83/84] was probably the largest majority that ever ruled any article of the faith. Thus, the Council of Nice, when it d.ecreed the divinity of our Lord, in opposition to the heresy of Arius, obtained only a majority of 296. The Council of Constantinople, when it decreed the divinity of the Holy Ghost, in opposition to the heresy of Macedonius, obtained only a majority of 111. The Council of Ephesus, when it decreed the dogma of 'Theotokos,' in opposition to the heresy of Nestorius, obtained only a majority of 129. Whereas, the Council of the Vatican, in decreeing Personal Infallibility, obtained a majority of 840.
Now the number of Bishops who compose the hierarchy of the Church is exactly 904. The number of Bishops who actually registered their votes in favor of Personal Infallibility was 533. But more than 300 Bishops--who were absent in all parts of the world on the day when the voting took place--wrote to the Sovereign Pontiff to express their assent to the dogma. It follows that at least 833 Bishops out of the total 904 proclaimed the [84/85] Pope infallible. Only two Bishops voted 'Non placet;' both of whom made their submission the moment the Council was over. While of the few remaining 'Inopportunists,' nearly all had taught the doctrine whose definition they thought to postpone. It was not that they denied the doctrine; I shall presently prove that impossible: it was only that, from tem poral motives, they conceived the time unripe.
If, therefore, the decision of the Vatican Council, that the Pope is personally infallible, be not a binding decision, so far as majority is concerned, it comes to this, that no decision of any Council whatever is worth a single straw. And here I will hazard a remark, to which I invite attention.
The existence of minorities in Councils is a proof of the infallibility of the Pope.
Who shall determine the Tightness or wrongness of the decisions of General Councils, when those decisions rest with majorities--majorities of 1 to 500? Who shall determine whether the infallibility of the Church reside with this party or [85/86] that, when crowds of Bishops say 'Placet,' but crowds also say 'Non placet'? Was it a question of majorities at Nice, when 97 Bishops were known to side with perhaps the most hideous heresy that has ever afflicted the Church? Was it a question of majorities at Constantinople or Ephesus, when such wretches as Macedonius and Nestorius could number their episcopal patrons by tens, and almost by scores? No; majorities are the voice of the Bishops, but they are not the definition of God. 'Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren,'--'Pasce oves meas, pasce agnos meos.'--It is on Peter that the Church is built (and you know that, in the language in which our Lord spoke, 'Petrus' and 'Petra' are the same; you know too that 'Cephas' is the same with 'Petrus,' and therefore also with 'Petra'): 'Super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam,' The Bishops in Council are the wisdom of the Church; the Pope is the wisdom of God. Majorities [86/87] lean toward truth; the voice of the Pope decides it. I confess that it is wholly impossible, when discussing the operations of God in regard of oecumeni cal Councils, to circumscribe His heavenly influence over this majority or that; but it is quite possible to lay down with certainty the axiom of Papal Infallibility; when, without that axiom, the infallibility of Councils becomes a mere dead letter.
[Dean Courtly now rose from his seat, and going over to an Anglican friend, conversed with him apart for a while. The interchange of snuff-boxes seemed to harmonize views, and both turned away from Herr Ernst for a space of at least five minutes. The object of these gentlemen seemed less to be truth than delicious excuses for error. The 'ecclesia docilis fallendi' was their idea of the promises; and their only notion of 'corruption' in a Church was the fact that it could not err. Meanwhile a delegate had risen from his place, and in tones of politeness and suavity had made the following observations:]
[88 ] A Delegate. I am sorry to interrupt the speaker in the evident enjoyment of his theme; but I doubt whether he would get an array of Fathers to justify the Vatican dogma? [Hear, hear.] He might quote an isolated passage which could be tortured into kindred idea; but could he link a catena of Fathers who taught the actual fact?
Herr Ernst. It were impossible to bring even one single Saint who has ever writ ten against it. [Cries of 'Question.'] 'Many Saints,' as was said by a Bishop in the Council, 'have confessed to Papal Infallibility; but not one has ever denied it.' And the same is true of the Fathers, the doctors, the historians, and the spiritual writers. I will accept the challenge of the delegate, and will give him a catena of writers; but first I would beg to offer him a few not irrelevant remarks.
I know that you may instance half a dozen exceptions--such as Tertullian, Gerson, De Lamennais--to the universal law of Catholic testimony in favor of Pontifical inerrancy; yet in doing so you only show how far men may fall from [88/89] what they once believed to be true. The first man who ever taught fallibility, as a positive doctrine to be approved, was Gerson; and he admitted that before his own day nobody taught it nor believed it. Happily he repented of his error. We may be sure that if the positive error had been widely spread in the Church, a Council would have long since quashed it; for though negative errors must necessarily slumber, positive are quickly crushed out. Thus the moment the Gallican Declaration (A.D. 1662) assumed the positive ground, Innocent XL condemned it; and when the Synod of Pistoja, a century later, again put forth the error, Pius VI., in the very same month, cut it to the roots with anathema. The truth is, that Gallicanism, Jansenism, Caesarism--those detestable weeds of France--have paved the way by which error has stalked into the denial of personal infallibility. [Uproar and laughter.] That heresy is the growth of the last two centuries; and I trace it to the shameful enslavement of the Church by the worldly and arrogant Bourbons, and to the enfeeblement of [89/90] public morals produced by the aristocracy of France. The spiritual state of France just before the great Revolution was the worst the Church has ever known. Men used religion to decorate vice; and kings decreed virtue plebeian. Now, the exaltation of the worldly elements of a state means always the depression of the spir itual; and Gallicanism was the bastard that sprang from the union of state-tyranny with rank irreligion. [Tokens of warm disapprobation.]
Throughout the seventeen centuries which preceeded Gallicanism, the heresy which you, gentlemen, represent had not been born in the Church. [Here the Chairman requested the speaker to ab stain from mere personalities.] I should weary you were I to quote half the doctors who have not only taught the in errancy, but who have made it the sine quâ non of the Catholic's genuine belief. From episcopal thrones, from cloistered retreats, from the wilderness, the city, the camp, the same divine truth has been luminously poured for upwards of eigh teen hundred years; justifying the [90/91] assertion of the consultors on dogma made to Pius IX., that 'the infallibility of the Pope was the perpetual tradition of the universal Church.' Suarez might have written of every age what he wrote of the sixteenth century: 'It is a Catholic truth, that the Sovereign Pontiff, defining "ex cathedra"--that is to say, proposing to the whole Church anything to be believed with divine faith--is a rule of faith which cannot err. This is taught at the present time by all Catholic doctors; and I hold it to be certain, with the certainty of faith.' It is remarkable that Jansenius, the founder of the sect which first openly opposed infallibility, himself taught the doctrine which his disciples, the Galileans, made it necessary to proclaim a dogma. 'The Roman Pontiff,' wrote Jansenius (A.D. 1617), 'is the supreme judge of all religious controversies, whose judgment is right, true, and infallible, whenever he defines anything to the whole Church to be believed under anathema.' And, indeed, it would be difficult to find any heretic, who, at one period or other of his career, had not [91/92] insisted on Papal Infallibility. But my objector has challenged me to produce authorities which justify the Vatican dogma; and in accepting his challenge I would ask him to remember that, wherever a Saint, a theologian, a 'Catholic,' ascribes to the Pontiffs supremacy, he necessarily ascribes inerrancy; for, as was said by the 'Archbishop of Baltimore, 'The Infallibility of the Popes is the logical sequence and corollary of the Primacy.' Given the axiom that the Pope is supreme, with the axiom that the Church is infallible, and it follows that the Pope must be infallible; for otherwise the infallible--that is, the Church--must obey the fallible--the Pope!
Now shall I quote to you St. Ignatius, who speaks of that Church 'which presides in the region of the Romans; all gracious all blessed, all praised, all prospering, all hallowed, all presiding in love.' Or St. Irenaeus, who affirms: 'For with this Church, on account of its more powerful principality, it is necessary that every Church that is, those who are on [92/93] every side faithful--agree.' Or St. Cyprian, whose testimony is the more agreeable from his known eclipse of humility: 'St. Peter's Chair is the root and womb of the Church.' . . . 'The source of Truth.' . . . 'The Head.' . . . 'He who resisteth the Church, who abandons the Chair of Peter, can he flatter himself that he is in the Church?' Or St. Jerome, who, writing to Pope Damasus, protests: 'I, following no other leader but Christ, am joined in communion with your Blessedness; that is, with the Chair of Peter. I know that the Church is built upon that Rock; whosoever shall eat the lamb out of that house is profane; who soever abides not in the Ark of Noe shall perish in the deluge.' Or St. Ambrose, who professes his obedience in this simple but Catholic formula: 'Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.' Or St. Augustine: 'This is the Rock, which Hell's proud gates can never conquer.' . . . 'In the Chair of [93/94] Peter Christ hath placed the doctrines of truth,' . . . 'Roma locuta est, causa finita est.' . . . 'Those severed from the communion of the Catholic Church--that is, not agreeing in all things with the Apostolic See--shall not have their names recited in the Sacred Mysteries.' Or St. Leo the Great: 'Peter alone is chosen among all, to be set over all nations, apostles, and all those who are Fathers in the Church.' Or St. Epiphanius, who calls Peter 'the immovable rock.' Or St. Cyril, who styles him 'the Prince of the Apostles, and the highest Preacher of the Church.' Or St. Chrysostom, who declares that 'God put into the hands of a mortal man power over all things in Heaven, when He gave him the keys.' Or St. Avitus: 'He who rules the Lord's field will render an account how he administers the care of the lambs intrusted to him; but it belongs not to the flock to alarm its own Shepherd, but to the Judge.' . . . And to Pope [94/95] Hormisdas he writes: 'The ever watchful care of your exhortation should inform the flock committed to you, throughout all the members of the Universal Church.' Or St. Isidore: 'Who therefore renders not reverently to him (the Pope) due obedience involves himself, as being severed from the Head, in the schism of the Acephali.' Or Venerable Bede, of English soil: 'For this blessed Peter, in a special way, received the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and the Headship of judicial power; that all believers throughout the world may understand, that whosoever in any way separate themselves from the unity of his faith, or of his society, such are not able to be absolved from the bonds of their sins, nor to enter the threshold of the heavenly kingdom.' Or St. Theodore: 'Since on the great Peter Christ our God, after the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, conferred also the dignity of pastoral Headship; to Peter surely, or to his successor, [95/96] whatever innovation is made in the Catholic Church by those who err from the truth must be referred.' . . . 'Save us, O Arch-Pastor of the Church which is under Heaven!' Or St. Odo: 'The Pontiffs decrees, directed to all the Churches of Christ, whether in the East or in the West, are received as laws, and obeyed by all.' Or St. Edward the Confessor, who thus expressed his royal homage in language sufficiently meaning: 'To Nicholas, the exalted Father of the Universal Church, Edward, by the grace of God, King of the English, due subjection and obedience.' Or St. Bernard, who, writing to Pope Eugenius, exclaims: 'Who art thou? A high priest: thou art the Prince of the Apostles; in primacy an Abel; in government a Noe; in patriarchate an Abraham; in order a Melchisedek; in dignity an Aaron; in authority a Moses; in jurisdiction a Samuel; in power a Peter; in unction a Christ.' . . . 'Thou art he to whom the keys have been delivered; [96/97] to whom the sheep have been intrusted.' . . . Thou art the one Shepherd, not only of the sheep, but of all pastors.' . . . 'All dangers and scandals emerging in the kingdom of God, especially those which concern faith, must be referred to your apostolate; for I esteem it fitting that the injuries done to faith should be repaired there in particular where faith cannot fail.' Or St. Thomas of Canterbury, who wisely asks: 'Who doubts that the Roman Church is the head of all Churches, and the source of the Catholic doctrine' (fontem Catholicae doctrinae); 'who does not know that the keys of the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter?' Or St. Bonaventure, the seraphic doctor: 'The Pope cannot err.' . . . 'Before him who holds the place of Christ every knee must bend on earth, as before Christ in Heaven.' . . . 'All questions relating to faith or morals must be decided by the Roman Pontiff alone; and all who accept not his judgments are heretics [97/98] and schismatics.' Or St. Thomas Aquinas (' the angelic doctor, the prince of theology, and the mightiest intelligence among men '), who proves the Inerrancy from the Scriptures, with such masterly and triumphant force, that no one has dared to break lance with him.
And if I desist from quoting farther, it is because I am embarrassed by the multitude of witnesses who crowd to confess this faith. I have not quoted lay doctors; not even the most honored; because I prefer the instincts of sanctity to all the enrichments of mind. For I would ask you, when was a Saint ever wrong in his instinctive perception of truth? He has no worldly interests, no obtenebrating passions and thoughts, but judges straight from his soul, as in the presence of the God who shall judge him. It has been wickedly said by Professor Huber [cries of Order, Order!], that 'the dogma of Infallibility was the outcome of ecclesi astical forgeries, spread over more than a thousand years; the apogee of a lying [98/99] hierarchy.' If so, all the Saints have been liars; all the doctors have been liars; and the Church, instead of being the Immaculate Bride, the pillar and ground of the truth, has been the 'apogee' of baseness upon earth, the sport and plaything of the devil. But away with such folly as this! Only men who are possessed by pride could use such language of the Church. [Commotion.]
Dr. Fossil [calmly, but with obviously suppressed irritation]. You forget that the Bishops who opposed the definition at the recent Vatican Council were the most distinguished for intellect and learning in the whole of the Catholic hierarchy.
Herr Ernst. I take you at your word.
I assert that no body of men in the world has more emphatically vindicated the recent Vatican dogma than the Bishops who opposed its definition in the earlier stages of the Council. [Ironical cheers.] Why, Mgr. Von Ketteler--whose name is a pledge of every virtue that should distinguish a Bishop declared--in a public protest, which he wrote during the sitting of the Council, 'I have never [99/100] doubted the infallibility of the Pope. In Germany, as in Rome, I have always publicly confessed it.' And he added, that the very nature of the opposition--so vehement, so worldly, so untrue--had led him to abandon his opinion as to the 'inopportuneness' of the Dogma.--Mgr. Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, when he was a simple professor of theology, dictated these words to his class, on the subject of Papal inerrancy: 'The Pope has power to put forth decisions of faith which bind all Christians; for he is indefectible in faith, and infallible.'--The late Bishop of Evreux, on his deathbed, repented of his visionary 'inopportuneness,' and declared that he had professed it in error.--The Bishop of St. Brieux expressed his regret, in a letter to Pius IX., for having momentarily favored M. Gratry.--The Bishops of Bayonne and Mende utterly denied the imputation.--Cardinal Guidi did the same.--The Archbishop of Rheims, as he himself attested, proposed to the Council 'to declare as true the Catholic doctrine of Fenelon.' And what was the doctrine of Fenelon? Why this: 'I say, with [100/101] Bellarmine, that the thesis which teaches that the Pontiff can never define anything heretical to be believed by the whole Church is most certain, and must be maintained.' And he added, with reference to a possible minority when the question should come into Council: 'A traditional truth must not be abandoned, even though more than a hundred Bishops should dispute it, owing to a temporary prejudice of their time and country.' Such was the doctrine of Fénelon and Bellarmine. And such is the doctrine of the present Archbishop of Rheims.--Mgr. Kenrick, Archbishop of St. Louis, a known Inopportunist in the Council, wrote these words to the Holy Father in the year 1858: 'Since you sit in the Chair of Peter, Pastor and Teacher of the universal Church, we approach you as the pillar of truth, and the infallible judge in questions of faith and morals; that what you shall approve we may adopt, and what you shall reject we may condemn.'--Mgr. Dupanloup, the Bishop of Orleans, when writing on the subject of Bossuet's theological teaching, employed these [101/102] explicit words: 'For my part, I have always considered that Bossuet, in the depths of his soul, was as Roman as Fénelon.' (And well might he say so: for Bossuet taught, 'All is subjected to these Keys; all, my brethren, kings and nations, pastors and flocks.' And he adds, 'All the Popes, and all the holy Fathers, have taught it with a common consent.') But Mgr. Dupanloup, in his book on the Pontifical Sovereignty, thus more positively expresses his belief: 'This, then, is the Pope; the successor of Peter; the Chief of Catholic Christendom; the Mouth of the Church --os ecclesiae; always living, and open to teach the universe: this is the centre of Christian faith and unity; the source of light and truth--lux mundi.' If such language does not mean Infallibility, I really do not know what does.--Of Father Gratry, I need not speak to you, for you know that he made his submission. Yet in his treatise De la Connaissance de Dieu, he stated his belief that the doctrine was held, if not by all, 'by almost all Catholics.'--Mgr. Haynald, who at one time was claimed as the advocate of stoutest [102/103] resistance, has publicly resented the charge. 'The dogma of Infallibility,' he says, 'had existed for centuries, nay for quite a thousand years, before the Jesuit order was established. It has been known and adhered to from the beginning. It is neither the fault nor the merit of the Jesuits if the doctrine was dogmatically defined.'--And lastly, let me quote to you Dr. Döllinger, the corypheus of the doubters of the dogma; I will not call him the denier, because he formerly openly professed it. In the year 1843 he addressed a company of savants in Munich, in these very confident words: 'Gentlemen the question is this: it is true that the Infallibility of the Pope is not a dogma defined by the Church; but one who should maintain the contrary opinion would put himself in opposition to the conscience of the whole Church, in the present as in the past.' (Il Signor Döllinger," said the Pope of that distinguished ecclesiastic, 'e un dottore, ma non un pastore.' How terrible is the simplicity with which the Holy Father puts truths!) And Mgr. Ketteler writes of the doctor: [103/104] 'I am with that Döllinger whose teaching in former days filled his disciples with love and enthusiasm for the Church and for the Holy See; but I have nothing in common with that Döllinger whom the enemies of the Church and of the Holy See load with praises.'--Have I said enough to prove to you the truth of what I asserted, that no body of men in the world has done more to vindicate Infallibility than the theologians who have temporarily opposed it?
[No answer being given to this question, the speaker proceeded:]
Think not that 'inopportuneness' is a novel feature in the tactics of error with truth. Constantine doubted the opportuneness of defining the Divinity of our Lord. Yet Constantine was a good Christian king. There are men in every age who let natural fears get athwart supernatural faith. But it is the mistake of the shallow, the complacent, and 'the sceptic, to suppose that opposition to the spirit of the Church must necessarily imply great talents. This has been the delusion of 'Old Catholics;' and also of Anglicans [104/105] and infidels. Maret and Loyson and Gratry have been praised to the skies for their genius; while the eight hundred Bishops who proclaimed infallibility have been passed over as if they were 'no ones.' But, in truth, there is not much to be proud of in the associates of "Inopportunists.' Wherever unbelief, free thinking, and heresy expressed themselves at all on the Council, they cheered on the Catholic Inopportunists as the very best friends of themselves. From England, from America, from Germany, there howled forth the sympathies of error with the would-be delayers of truth. 'Gallicanism' knew that its very last legs were stricken by the dogma of Personal Infallibility. 'Ritualism' foresaw that the end had come of its prating about the Reunion of Christendom. Easy-goers in belief, no matter what type, could not brook the assertion of the culminating point which perfected the edifice of faith. These were the patrons of your Inopportunists; men whose favor was the darkest reproach; whose hatred would have been real honor. Better, far--
 A Voice. The Council was not free! Its discussions were cramped by the Pope, the Jesuits, and the Curia!
Herr Ernst. Not free! I feel humiliated in disposing of a theory which is both morally and materially impossible. It is the peculiar characteristic of the disease of heresy, that it makes a man capable of believing absurdities in the proportion of his denial of truth. Thus, the very gentlemen whom I see now around me will believe in their own infallibility, while they deny infallibility to the Pope; and will assert that they can teach truth, though the Church is incompetent to do so. They will assure the world that their human faithfulness must secure it from every falsehood; though at the same time they inform it that Almighty God has broken every one of His promises. They will use their own 'freedom' to revile the Church with language appropriate to devils; yet refuse to believe that Christian Bishops can be 'free' if they differ from them! O monstrous fatuity! Her esy was ever the same--self-condemned!
[Not heeding the interruptions that [106/107] followed these words, Herr Ernst proceeded:]
The Council not free! Why, the Archbishop of Cambrai, in writing from Rome a pastoral to the clergy of his diocese, declared that 'the liberty of the Council had been pushed to its utmost limits; the eminent Cardinals who presided at the sessions having respected it with a scrupu lous and, as some thought, an exaggerated delicacy,' And Dr. Pilcher--himself an apostate--affirms that 'never was a Council more free, and independent;' and he adds, with a charming naïveté, that 'all constitutional minorities have at every period complained of the want of liberty.' While the Bishop of Puy, in refuting the falsehood, says: 'This is a more than audacious calumny for those who, like ourselves, see every day the proof of the contrary. Every member of the Council can procure a hearing upon every point proposed, whenever he pleases, and for as long as he pleases, on the sole condition of making his intentions known, and of keeping to the point in hand.' 'I venture to affirm,' said the Bishop of Troyes, [107/108] 'that there never was an assembly in the world in which liberty of conscience was more unrestrained, more complete, and I would almost say more excessive, than in this.' And, lastly, Mgr. Strossmayer who was credited with being an Inop portunist of pronounced and even violent type--thus expresses his sense of 'freedom:' 'I came to this Council with a certain misgiving, fearing that we should not have full liberty, nor be able to make our influence felt. But, in truth, I am filled with admiration. The Council is a spectacle which I behold with delight.'
[At this point, Dr. Fossil rose from his seat, and putting his arm into that of Dean Courtly, was departing urbanely from the Hall. But, just as he reached the door, Herr Ernst called out to him from the tribune:]
Herr Ernst. Stay, Dr. Fossil, one moment! Infallibility is worth your considering, from other points of view than the English. There is a Catholic apprehension, which is certain to be right--if only because it is Catholic. The English [108/109] suspect that Papal Infallibility must be wrong because it is Papal: they know not that infallibility belongs only to God; and that the Pope is His Human Voice. The mistake they make is in attributing to man what is the exclusive possession of God; while denying to God the power to teach, because He is in the Heavens above.
It will suffice to state briefly the protestant doctrine, to prove the truth of the Catholic.
You say that Christianity is the emancipation of the will from all intellectual obedience: that the Christian may believe what he likes, provided he thinks he can prove it, from the Bible, the Church, or Reason. You say that Christianity is the coronation of egoism; the sanctification of individual conceit; the enthroning on infallible heights of each man's ideas of 'a Church,' You say that a Christian is not bound to obey any living supernatural authority, unless his own infallibility assure him, first, that what that authority teaches is true. Thus you make infallibility an individual gift, planted in every Christian; [109/110] while at the same time you affirm that infallible truth cannot possibly be known to man. You are lost in a chaos of wild contradictions, by declaring that Christianity is true, yet that no man can know what it is; that God has given us a Teacher, yet that no one knows who he may be; that true faith is necessary to salvation, yet that true faith is an opin ionative thing; that obedience to authority is a duty, yet that there is no one to obey but yourself; that Christianity, though purely divine, is mere matter for human conjecture; and that women and children, old men and young, are competent to 'reveal' it to themselves. You are infidels and Christians, sceptics and believers, natural and supernatural, together! You remind me of that saying of Voltaire, that if God made you in His rimage, you have made Him in yours.
Infallibility you must have, or cease to be a Christian. You know where that infallibility resides: for in no Society on earth, except in the Roman Church, is there even profession of Truth. Now God has spoken to Protestants, by the [110/111] dogma of Pontifical Inerrancy. He has said to them: Submit to the Church! Submit to the wisdom that is from above; and think not that you can teach God. Christianity is a revelation to you: you are not a revelation to It. The Church can teach you: you cannot teach Her. The Vicar of God is inspired: you are not Vicars of God.
And now, Dr. Fossil, I detain you no more; save to ask you: for once be in earnest! I have proved to you a good many things, sufficiently to convince your soul. Proof and conviction do not go together, save where the heart is free; but I think I have reared up that proof, which is enough for the honest heart. I have proved to you that the Vatican Council, the nineteenth general Council of the Church, was strictly an Oecumenical Council, and its majority the largest on record. I have proved to you that the greatest enemies of the Church--such men as Döllinger and Jansenius--confess that the doctrine of infallibility was the universal belief of all times. I [111/112] have proved to you that the Saints of all centuries contend with one another in the florescence of the imagery with which they profess this faith. I have proved to you that the staunchest advocates of the dogma in our own immediate time are the very men who thought to postpone it by pleading 'inopportuneness.' And, lastly, I have convinced you that the freedom of the Council was a freedom equal to your own. If now you can go back to your home, and live and die out of the Church, it is because you care less for the truth than for the heresies that brought you to Cologne.
[Just as these words were being spoken, a messenger arrived from the Vienna Hotel to announce that dinner was ready. The Chairman signified the interesting fact to a relieved and delighted audience. Councils and majorities, saints and opportunists, Jesuits and missionary martyrs, seemed to be all on the instant forgotten. The dogma of dinner was the paramount theme. That was at least of [112/113] faith. And Old Heretics, New Catholics, Fresh Protestants what you will exhibited the avidity of appetite which quashes celestial ideas.]