The Relations of the Spiritual and Civil Powers

Henry Edward [Manning], Archbishop of Westminster

Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892) was one of the most important figures in the formation of modern Catholic Social teaching. A convert from Anglicanism, Manning was enthroned as the second Archbishop of Westminster in 1865, fifteen years after the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in England. In 1875 he was made a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. Manning had a life-long interest in political economy, and his intervention in the London dock-strike of 1889 was one of his many contributions to the Catholic response to the ‘social question’ of the 19th century.

But another life-long interest of his was the relation of Church and state. He often discussed this question with the politician William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898). As young men Manning and Gladstone had been friends, and they continued corresponding for most of their lives—their correspondence fills four volumes. But in their positions the two men grew apart—Gladstone’s shift from Toryism to liberalism occurring at approximately the same time as Manning’s conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism.

Gladstone was enraged by the First Vatican Council’s definition of Papal infallibility in 1870. In 1874 he published a polemical pamphlet entitled The Vatican Decrees in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance: A Political Expostulation, in which he argued that the Council had laid down ‘principles adverse to the purity and integrity of civil allegiance’. Manning responded with a pamphlet of his own entitled The Vatican Decrees in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance, in which he refutes Gladstone by showing that in part Gladstone misunderstands the Roman position, and in part is simply wrong about the nature of the Church.

In the second chapter of his pamphlet Manning lays out the Catholic position on the relation of the spiritual and temporal powers. While there are a few disputable points—Manning accepts the positions of Bellarmine and Suarez on the origin of civil society and the indirect nature of the pope’s temporal authority (both possible but disputable positions)—the chapter is on the whole a good summary of ‘integralism’. The whole of the chapter is reproduced below.

The relations of the Catholic Church to the Civil Powers have been fixed immutably from the beginning, because they arise out of the Divine constitution of the Church and of the Civil Society of the natural order.

I. Inasmuch as the natural and civil society existed before the foundation of the Christian Church, we will begin with it; and here my concessions, or rather my assertions, will, I hope, satisfy all but Cæsarists.

1. The civil society of men has God for its Founder. It was created potentially in the creation of man; and from him has been unfolded into actual existence. The human family contains the first principles and laws of authority, obedience, and order. These three conditions of society are of Divine origin; and they are the constructive laws of all civil or political society.

2. To the Civil Society of mankind supreme authority is given immediately by God; for a society does not signify mere number, but number organised by the laws and principles which its Divine Founder implanted in the human family. Sovereignty, therefore, is given by God immediately to human society; and mediately, or mediante societate, to the person or persons to whom society may commit its custody and its exercise. When once the supreme power or sovereignty has been committed by any society to a king, or to consuls, or to a council, as the case may be—for God has given no special form of Civil Government—though it be not held by those who receive it by any Divine right, as against the society which gave it, nevertheless it has both a Divine sanction and a Divine authority. For instance, it has the power of life and death. God alone could give to man this power over man. God gave it to man for self-defence. It passes to society at large, which likewise has the right of self-defence. It is committed by society to its chief executive. But, inasmuch as the supreme power is still given by God to the Civil Ruler, even though it be mediately, it has a Divine sanction; and so long as the Civil Ruler does not deviate from the end of his existence, the society has no power to revoke its act. For example: the Civil Ruler is for the defence of the people; but if he should make war upon the people, the right of self-defence would justify resistance. I am not now engaged in saying when or how; but the right is undeniable. Manslaughter is not murder, if it be in self-defence; wars of defence are lawful; and just resistance to an unjust prince is not rebellion. All this is founded upon the Divine sanctions of the civil and political society of man, even in the order of nature. It has, then, God for its Founder, for its Legislator, and by His divine Providence for its supreme Ruler.

3. The laws of such society are the laws of nature. It is bound by the natural morality written on the conscience and on the heart. The ethics which govern men become politics in the government of states. Politics are but the collective morals of society. The Civil Ruler or Sovereign is bound by the laws: the subject within the sphere of these laws owes to him a civil allegiance. The Civil Ruler may bind all subjects by an oath of allegiance. He may call on all to bear arms for the safety of the State.

4. The State has for its end, not only the safety of person and property, but, in its fullest sense, the temporal happiness of man. Within the sphere of natural morality, and in order to its end, the State is supreme: and its power is from God. This is the meaning of St. Paul’s words:—

‘Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. . . . For he is God’s minister to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear, for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath but also for conscience sake.’[1]

The State, then, is a perfect society, supreme within its own sphere, and in order to its own end: but as that end is not the highest end of man, so the State is not the highest society among men; nor is it, beyond its own sphere and end, supreme. I have drawn this out in greater fulness to show that the Church is in the highest degree conservative of all the natural authority of rulers, and of the natural allegiance of subjects. It is mere shallowness to say that between the Civil authority, as Divinely founded in nature, and the spiritual authority of the Church there can be opposition.

Now, as to the Divine institution of the Civil Society of the world and of its independence in all things of the natural order, what I have already said is enough. The laws of the order of nature are from God. So long as a father exercises his domestic authority according to the law of God, no other authority can intervene to control or to hinder his government. So likewise of the Prince or Sovereign power, be it lodged in one or in many. There is no authority upon earth which can depose a just sovereign or release such subjects from their obedience.[2]

II. There is, however, another society, the end of which is the eternal happiness of mankind. This also has God for its Founder, and that immediately; and it has received from God its form and constitution, and its rulers receive their authority immediately,[3] with a special Divine sanction and authority, from God.

Two things follow at once from this:—

  1. That the society which has for its end the eternal happiness of man is of an order higher than the society which aims only at the natural happiness of man.
  2. That as the temporal and the eternal happiness of man are both ordered by Divine laws, these two societies are, of necessity, in essential conformity and harmony with each other. Collision between them can only be if either deviates from its respective laws.

The natural society of man aims directly at the temporal happiness of its subjects, but indirectly it aims also at their eternal happiness: the supernatural society aims directly at their eternal happiness, and indirectly at their temporal happiness, but always in so far only as their temporal happiness is conducive to their eternal end.

From this, again, two other corollaries follow:

  1. That the higher or supernatural society is supreme because it has no other society above it or beyond it, with an end higher than its own.
  2. That the office of the supernatural society is to aid, direct, and perfect the natural society; that its action upon it is always in ædificationem non in destructionem, inasmuch as it is governed by the same Divine Lawgiver, and it is directed to an end which includes and ensures the end of the natural society also.

To put this briefly. The State has for its end the temporal happiness of its subjects; the Church has for its end their eternal happiness. In aiming directly at temporal happiness, the State aims also indirectly at the eternal; for these things are promoted by the same laws. In aiming at eternal happiness, the Church also indirectly aims at the temporal happiness of men.

III. The Divine Founder of the Christian Church said: ‘To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.’[4] And again: ‘All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach all nations,’ . . . ‘teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’[5]

If these two commissions do not confer upon the Christian Church a supreme doctrinal authority, and a supreme judicial office, in respect to the moral law, over all nations, and over all persons, both governors and governed, I know not what words could suffice to do so.

That authority and that office are directive and preceptive, so long as Princes and their laws are in conformity with the Christian law; and judicial, ratione peccati, by reason of sin, whensoever they deviate from it.

If any man deny this, he would thereby affirm that Princes have no superior upon earth: which is the doctrine of the heathen Caesarism.

But no man will say that Princes have no superior. It is unmeaning to say that they have no superior but the law of God: for that is to play with words. A law is no superior without an authority to judge and to apply it.

To say that God is the sole Lawgiver of Princes is a doctrine unknown, not only to the Catholic Church, but to the Constitution of England. When we say, as our old Jurists do, Non Rex facit legem, but Lex facit Regem, we mean that there is a will above the King; and that will is the Civil Society, which judges if and when the King deviates from the law. But this doctrine, unless it be tempered by vigorous restraint, is chronic revolution. What adequate restraint is there but in a Divine authority higher than the natural society of man?

The Supreme Judicial Power of the Church has no jurisdiction over those that are not Christian; and the entire weight of its authority, if it were applied at all to such a state, would be applied to confirm the natural rights of sovereignty and to enforce the natural duty of allegiance: and that, upon the principle that the supernatural power of the Church is for edification, not for destruction; that is, to build up and to perfect the order of nature, not to pull down a stone in the symmetry of the natural society of man. St. Thomas says:

‘Power and authority are established by human right; the distinction between the faithful and those who do not believe is established by Divine right. But the Divine right, which comes by grace, does not destroy the human right, which is in the order of nature.’[6]

Let us suppose that the Sovereign Power of a heathen people were to make laws contrary to the law of God, would the Church intervene to depose such a sovereign? Certainly not, on the principle laid down by the Apostle, ‘What have I to do to judge those that are without?’[7]

Such a people is both individually and socially outside the Divine jurisdiction of the Church. The Church has therefore, in this respect, no commission to discharge towards it except to convert it to Christianity.

But if it be the office of the Church to teach subjects to obey even Heathen Rulers, as the Apostle did, how much more, in the case of Christian Princes and their laws, is it the office of the Church to confirm, consecrate, and enforce by the sanctions of religion and of conscience, of doctrine and of discipline, the whole code of natural and political morality, and all laws that are made in conformity with the same.

If Christian Princes and their laws deviate from the law of God, the Church has authority from God to judge of that deviation, and by all its powers to enforce the correction of that departure from justice. I do not see how any man who believes in the Revelation of Christianity can dispute this assertion: and to such alone I am at present speaking.

Mr. Gladstone has quoted a passage from an ‘Essay on Caesarism and Ultramontanism,’ in which I have claimed for the Church a supremacy in spiritual things over the State, and have made this statement:—

‘Any power which is independent and can alone fix the limits of its own jurisdiction, and can thereby fix the limits of all other jurisdictions, is, ipso facto, supreme. But the Church of Jesus Christ, within the sphere of revelation—of faith and morals—is all this, or is nothing or worse than nothing, an imposture and an usurpation; that is, it is Christ or Antichrist.’[8]

It is hardly loyal to take the conclusion of a syllogism without the premises. In the very page before this quotation I had said:—

‘In any question as to the competence of the two powers, either there must be some judge to decide what does and what does not fall within their respective spheres, or they are delivered over to perpetual doubt and to perpetual conflict. But who can define what is or is not within the jurisdiction of the Church in faith and morals, except a judge who knows what the sphere of faith and morals contains, and how far it extends? And surely it is not enough that such a judge should guess or opine, or pronounce upon doubtful evidence, or with an uncertain knowledge. Such a sentence would be, not an end of contention, but a beginning and a renewal of strife.

‘It is clear that the Civil Power cannot define how far the circumference of faith and morals extends. If it could, it would be invested with one of the supernatural endowments of the Church. To do this it must know the whole deposit of explicit and implicit faith; or, in other words, it must be the guardian of the Christian revelation. Now, no Christian, nor any man of sound mind, claims this for the Civil Power. . . . . If, then, the Civil Power be not competent to decide the limits of the Spiritual Power, and if the Spiritual Power can define with a Divine certainty its own limits, it is evidently supreme. Or, in other words, the Spiritual Power knows with Divine certainty the limits of its own jurisdiction; and it knows therefore the limits and the competence of the Civil Power. It is thereby in matters of religion and conscience supreme.’[9]

If the Church cannot fix the limits of its jurisdiction, then either nobody can or the State must. But the State cannot unless it claim to be the depository and expositor of the Christian Revelation. Therefore it is the Church or nobody. This last supposition leads to chaos. Now if this be rejected, the Church alone can: and if the Church can fix the limits of its own jurisdiction, it can fix the limits of all other jurisdiction; at least, so far as to warn it off its own domain. But this was my conclusion; and though I have seen it held up to odium, I have not yet seen it answered.

But the Church being the highest society, and independent of all others, is supreme over them, in so far as the eternal happiness of men is involved.

From this, again, two consequences follow:—

  1. First, that in all things which are purely temporal, and lie extra finem Ecclesiæ, outside of the end of the Church, it neither claims nor has jurisdiction.
  2. Secondly, that in all things which promote, or hinder, the eternal happiness of men, the Church has a power to judge and to enforce.

IV. Such propositions are no sooner enunciated than we are met by a tumult of voices, such as those of Janus, Quirinus—and I lament to detect the tones of a voice, hitherto heard in behalf of the authority of Christianity and of the Christian Church,—affirming that the Church of Rome and its Pontiffs claim supreme temporal[10] power, and that direct, over all Temporal Princes and things; to be used at their discretion even to the deposing of Kings, to the absolution of subjects from allegiance, to the employment of force, imprisonment, torture, and death.

If such be the state of our highest minds, we cannot regret that this discussion has been forced upon us. It has come not by our act. It has arisen in its time appointed. It will for awhile raise alarm and suspicion; it will kindle animosity and encourage bigotry: but it will manifest the truth with a wider light than England has seen for three hundred years. I will therefore freely and frankly enter upon this debate; and, in order to be clear, I will treat the subject under the following propositions:—

  1. The authority of Princes and the allegiance of subjects in the Civil State of nature is of Divine ordinance; and therefore, so long as Princes and their laws are in conformity to the law of God, the Church has no power or jurisdiction against them, nor over them.
  2. If Princes and their laws deviate from the law of God, the Church has authority from God to judge of that deviation, and to oblige to its correction.
  3. The authority which the Church has from God for this end is not temporal, but spiritual.
  4. This spiritual authority is not direct in its incidence on temporal things, but only indirect: that is to say, it directly promotes its own spiritual end; it indirectly condemns and declares not binding on the conscience such temporal laws as deviate from the law of God, and therefore impede or render impossible the attainment of the eternal happiness of man.
  5. This spiritual authority is inherent in the Divine constitution and commission of the Church; but its exercise in the world depends on certain moral and material conditions, by which alone its exercise is rendered either possible or just.

I have affirmed that the relations of the Catholic Church to the Civil Powers are fixed primarily by the Divine constitution of the Church and of the Civil Society of men. But it is also true that these relations have been declared by the Church in acts and decrees which are of infallible authority. Such, for instance, is the Bull of Boniface VIII., Unam Sanctam. As this has become the text and centre of the whole controversy at this moment, we will fully treat of it. This Bull, then, was beyond all doubt an act ex cathedra. It was also confirmed by Leo X. in the Fifth Lateran Œcumenical Council. Whatever definition, therefore, is to be found in this Bull is to be received as of faith. Let it be noted that the Unam Sanctam does not depend upon the Vatican Council for its infallible authority. It was from the date of its publication an infallible act, obliging all Catholics to receive it with interior assent. Doctrines identical with those of the Unam Sanctam had been declared in two Œcumenical Councils—namely, in the Fourth Lateran in 1215, and the First of Lyons in 1245.[11] On this ground, therefore, I have affirmed that the relations of the Spiritual and Civil Powers were immutably fixed before the Vatican Council met, and that they have been in no way changed by it.

V. We will now examine, (1) the complete text of the Unam Sanctam; (2) the interpretations of its assailants and its defenders; (3) the interpretation which is of obligation on all Catholics.

1. The Bull was published by Boniface VIII., in 1302, during the contest with Philip le Bel of France.

Before the Bull was published, the Regalists or partisans of the King declared that the Pope had claimed, as Mr. Gladstone also supposes, to be supreme over the King, both in spiritual and in temporal things. The Chancellor Flotte made this assertion in the year 1301, at Paris, in the Church of Notre Dame. The cardinals sent by Boniface declared that the Pope made no such claim; that he claimed no temporal, but only a spiritual power.[12] Nevertheless this prejudice, once created, before the publication of the Unam Sanctum, ensured its being misinterpreted when it was issued. Boniface, by the Bull Ausculta Fili, had promptly exposed this misinterpretation. But the prejudice was already established.[13]

I will now give the whole text of the Bull, before commenting upon it. It runs as follows:

‘We are bound to believe and to hold, by the obligation of faith, one Holy Church, Catholic and also Apostolic; and this (Church) we firmly believe and in simplicity confess: out of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins. As the Bridegroom declares in the Canticles, “One is my dove, my perfect one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her:”[14] who represents the one mystical Body, the Head of which is Christ; and the Head of Christ is God. In which (the one Church) there is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.[15] For in the time of the Flood the ark of Noe was one, prefiguring the one Church, which was finished in one cubit,[16] and had one governor and ruler, that is Noe; outside of which we read that all things subsisting upon earth were destroyed. This also we venerate as one, as the Lord says in the Prophet, “Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.”[17]

‘For He prayed for the soul, that is, for Himself; for the Head together with the Body: by which Body He designated the one only Church, because of the unity of the Bridegroom, of the Faith, of the Sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is that coat of the Lord without seam,[18] which was not rent but went by lot. Therefore of that one and only Church there is one body and one Head, not two heads as of a monster: namely, Christ and Christ’s Vicar, Peter and Peter’s successor; for the Lord Himself said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.”[19] Mine, He says, generally; and not, in particular, these or those: by which He is known to have committed all to him. If, therefore, Greeks or others say that they were not committed to Peter and his successors, they must necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ, for the Lord said (in the Gospel) by John, that there is “One fold, and one only shepherd.”[20] By the words of the Gospel we are instructed that in this his (that is, Peter’s) power there are two swords, the spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say, “Behold, here are two swords,”[21] that is, in the Church, the Lord did not say, “It is too much,” but “it is enough.” Assuredly, he who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter, gives ill heed to the word of the Lord, saying, “Put up again thy sword into its place.”[22] Both, therefore, the spiritual sword and the material sword are in the power of the Church. But the latter (the material sword) is to be wielded on behalf of the Church; the former (the spiritual) is to be wielded by the Church: the one by the hand of the priest; the other by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the suggestion and sufferance of the priest. The one sword ought to be subject to the other, and the temporal authority ought to be subject to the spiritual power. For whereas the Apostle says, “There is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God;”[23] they would not be ordained (or ordered) if one sword were not subject to the other, and as the inferior directed by the other to the highest end. For, according to the blessed Dionysius, it is the law of the Divine order that the lowest should be guided to the highest by those that are intermediate. Therefore, according to the order of the universe, all things are not in equal and immediate subordination; but the lowest things are set in order by things intermediate, and things inferior by things superior. We ought, therefore, as clearly to confess that the spiritual power, both in dignity and excellence, exceeds any earthly power, in proportion as spiritual things are better than things temporal. This we see clearly from the giving, and blessing, and sanctifying of tithes, from the reception of the power itself, and from the government of the same things. For, as the truth bears witness, the spiritual power has to instruct, and judge the earthly power, if it be not good; and thus the prophecy of Jeremias is verified of the Church and the ecclesiastical power: “Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations and over kingdoms,” &c.[24] If, therefore, the earthly power deviates (from its end), it will be judged by the spiritual; but if a lesser spiritual power trangresses, it will be judged by its superior: but if the supreme (deviates), it can be judged, not by man, but by God alone, according to the words of the Apostle: “The spiritual man judges all things; he himself is judged by no one.”[25] This authority, though given to man and exercised through man, is not human, but rather Divine—given by the Divine voice to Peter, and confirmed to him and his successors in Him whom Peter confessed, the Rock, for the Lord said to Peter: “Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”[26]

‘Whosoever therefore resists this power that is so ordered by God, resists the ordinance of God,[27] unless, as Manichæus did, he feign to himself two principles, which we condemn as false and heretical; for, as Moses witnesses, “God created heaven and earth not in the beginnings, but in the beginning.”[28] Moreover, we declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it to be necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.’

2. We will next take the interpretations. They may be put into three classes:—

(1) First, of those who assailed it at the time.

The theologians and doctors of the school at Paris had always taught by a constant tradition that the Popes possessed a spiritual and indirect power over temporal things. John Gerson may be taken as the representative of them all. He says the ecclesiastical power does not possess the dominion and the rights of earthly and of heavenly empire, so that it may dispose at will of the goods of the clergy, and much less of the laity; though it must be conceded that it has in these thing an authority (dominium) to rule, to direct, to regulate, and to ordain.[29] Such was the doctrine of Almain, Alliacus, John of Paris, and of the old Sorbonne. It was also the doctrine of the theologians of the Council of Constance; who are always quoted as opponents of the Infallibility of the Pope, because they held that, though the See of Rome could not err, he that sat in it might err. They likewise held the deposing power, which alone is enough to show how little the definition of the Infallibility has to do with the deposition of Kings.

When the Unam Sanctam was published, Egidius Romanus, the Archbishop of Bourges, wrote against it [editorial note: subsequent research has shown that Egidius actually wrote in favour of the bull], being deceived into a belief that Boniface claimed a direct temporal power over the King of France, over and above that power which had always been admitted in France according to the Bull Novit of Innocent III—viz. an indirect spiritual power in temporal matters when involving sin.[30] The same course was taken by other French writers.

Boniface had already declared in a Consistory in 1302 that he had never assumed any jurisdiction which belonged to the King; but that he had declared the King to be, like any other Christian, subject to him only in regard to sin.[31]

(2) Secondly, the Regalists once more assailed the Unam Sanctam in the reign of Louis XIV.

Bianchi says that there is not to be found a writer in France, before Calvin, who denied this indirect spiritual power; that the denial was introduced by the Huguenots about the year 1626; that the Sorbonne began to adhere to it, and reduced it to a formula in 1662.[32] Bossuet endeavours to fasten on the Unam Sanctam the old Regalist interpretation, and affirms that it was withdrawn by Clement V.: which statement is contrary to the fact. Clement V., on the contrary, interprets the Bull in the true sense, as Boniface had done, declaring that Boniface did not thereby subject the King, or the Kingdom of France, in any greater degree to the authority of the Pontiff than they had been before, that is, according to the Bull of Innocent III. Novit, and the doctrines of the old Sorbonne.[33]

The history of the Four Gallican Articles, and of the writers who defended them, is too well known to need repetition.

(3) We come, lastly, to those who have assailed it at this time.

It is not a little wearisome to read the same old stories over again; and to be told as ‘scientific history’ that Boniface VIII. claimed to have received both swords as his own, to be held in his own hand, and wielded by him in direct temporal jurisdiction over temporal princes. We have all this raked up again in Janus. From Janus it goes to newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets. Anybody can interpret a Pope’s Bull. There is no need of a knowledge of contemporary facts, or of the terminology of the Civil or Canon Law, or of Pontifical Acts, or of the technical meaning of words. A dictionary, and a stout heart to attack the Popes, is enough. Such men would have us believe, against all the Popes, that they have claimed temporal power, properly so called, over temporal Princes.

VI. I will, therefore, now give what may be affirmed to be the true and legitimate interpretation of the Unam Sanctam.

It cannot be better stated than in the words of Dr. Döllinger.[34] He writes thus:—

‘Boniface opened the council, at which there were present from France four archbishops, thirty-five bishops, and six abbots, in November 1302. One consequence of this council appears to have been the celebrated decretal Unam Sanctum, which was made public on the 18th of November, and which contains an exposition of the relations between the spiritual and temporal powers. In the Church, it says, there are two powers, a temporal and spiritual, and as far as they are both in the Church, they have both the same end: the temporal power, the inferior, is subject to the spiritual, the higher and more noble; the former must be guided and directed by the latter, as the body is by the soul; it receives from the spiritual its consecration and its direction to its highest object, and must therefore, should it ever depart from its destined path, be corrected by the spiritual power. It is a truth of faith that all men, even kings, are subject to the Pope; if, therefore, they should be guilty of grievous sins, in peace or in war, or in the government of their kingdoms, and the treatment of their subjects, and should thus lose sight of the object to which the power of a Christian Prince should be directed, and should give public scandal to the people, the Pope can admonish them, since in regard to sin they are subject to the spiritual power; he can correct them; and, if necessity should require it, compel them by censures to remove such scandals. For if they were not subject to the censures of the Church, whenever they might sin in the exercise of the power entrusted to them, it would follow that as kings they were out of the Church; that the two powers would be totally distinct from each other; and that they were descended from distinct and even opposed principles, which would be an error approaching to the heresy of the Manichees. It was therefore the indirect power of the Church over the temporal power of kings which the Pope defended in these Bulls; and he had designedly extracted the strongest passages of them from the writings of two French theologians, St. Bernard and Hugo of St. Victor.’

The interpretation given here by Dr. Döllinger is undoubtedly correct. All Catholics are bound to assent to the doctrines here declared; for though they are not here defined, yet they are certainly true. The only definition, properly so called, in the Bull is contained in the last sentence.

Now, upon the doctrines declared by the Bull it is to be observed:—

  1. That it does not say that the two swords were given by our Lord to the Church; but that the two swords are in potestate Ecclesiæ, ‘in the power of the Church.’
  2. That it at once goes on to distinguish, ‘Both (swords) are in the power of the Church, the spiritual, that is, and the material. But this (the material) is to be used for the Church; that (the spiritual) is to be used by the Church. This, indeed (by the hand) of the Priest; that, by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the bidding and sufferance of the Priest.’
  3. That though both swords are in the Church, they are held in different hands, and to be used by the subordination of the one to the other. Oportet autem gladium esse sub gladio: the one sword must be subordinate to the other, the lower to the higher.
  4. That Boniface VIII., in this very Bull Unam Sanctum, expressly declares that the power given to Peter was the ‘Suprema Spiritualis potestas,’ not the Temporal, or a mixed power, but purely Spiritual, which may judge all Powers, but self is judged of God alone.

Now, on the principles already laid down, there ought to be no difficulty in rightly and clearly understanding this doctrine.

  • 1. For first the Material Sword is as old as human society. It was not given by grace, nor held by grace, which is a heresy condemned in Wiclif by the Council of Constance; but it belongs to the Civil Ruler in the order of nature, as St. Paul, speaking of the heathen empire, says: ‘He beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God to execute wrath.’

Nothing but want of care or thought could have led men to forget this, which is a truth and fact of the natural order.

When any prince by baptism became Christian, he became subject to the law of God and to the Church as its expositor. He became subject, not only as a man, but as a prince; not only in the duties of his private life, but in the duties of his public life also. But this did not deprive him of the civil sword, nor of any of the rights of the natural order.[35] Oportet autem gladium esse sub gladio. The Bull declares that the Material Sword which he brought with him when he was baptized ought to be subject to the Spiritual Sword. But it nowhere says that the Material Sword was given to the Church, or that the Church gave it to the Imperial Ruler. It is in the Church, because he that bears it is in the Church. It is the office of the Church to consecrate it, and (instituere) to instruct it. But it belongs essentially to the natural order, though it is to be exercised according to the supernatural order of faith.

  • 2. When it is said that both Swords are ‘in the power of the Church,’ it means that the Church in a Christian world includes the natural order in its unity. The conception of the Church included the whole complex Christian Society, made up of both powers, united in a complete visible unity.

Mr. Bryce, in his excellent work on the Holy Roman Empire, says:—

‘Thus the Holy Roman Church, and the Holy Roman Empire are one and the same thing in two aspects; and Catholicism, the principle of the universal Christian Society, is also Romanism: that is, rests upon Rome as the origin and type of universality, manifesting itself in a mystic dualism which corresponds to the two natures of its Founder. As Divine and eternal, its head is the Pope, to whom all souls have been entrusted; as human and temporal, the Emperor, commissioned to rule men’s bodies and acts.’[36]

Mr. Bryce has here clearly seen the concrete unity of the Christian world; but he has missed the order which creates that unity. His description is what Boniface VIII. calls ‘a monster with two heads.’ Mr. Bryce quotes this saying in a note. If he had mastered the spiritual element as he has mastered the political, Mr. Bryce’s book would have ranked very high among great authors.

Mr. Freeman, in an article on Mr. Bryce’s book, is nearer to the true conception. He writes as follows:

‘The theory of the Mediaeval Empire is that of an universal Christian Monarchy. The Roman Empire and the Catholic Church are two aspects of one Society.’ . . . ‘At the head of this Society, in its temporal character as an Empire, stands the temporal chief of Christendom, the Roman Caesar; at its head, in its spiritual character as a Church, stands the spiritual chief of Christendom, the Roman Pontiff. Cæsar and Pontiff alike rule by Divine right.’[37]

Now here are two things to be noted. First, that the Emperor holds an office of human creation; the Pontiff an office of Divine creation. Secondly, that the office of Divine creation is for a higher end than the office which is of human origin. The former is for the eternal, the latter for the earthly happiness of man.

But, as I have said before, the office of Divine creation, ordained to guide men to an eternal end, is higher than the office of human origin, directed to an earthly and temporal end; and in this the perfect unity and subordination of the whole is constituted and preserved.

Nevertheless, both Mr. Bryce and Mr. Freeman bring out clearly what Boniface means when he says that the two swords are in Ecclesia, in the Church, and in potestate Ecclesiæ, in the power of the Church.

To this I may add the following passage from the late Cardinal Tarquini, who states the whole subject with great precision:—

‘The Civil Society of Catholics is distinguished from others by this—that it consists of the same assemblage of men as the Church of Christ, that is, the Catholic Church, consists of: so that it in no way constitutes a real body diverse and separate from the Church; but both (societies) together have the character of a twofold federative association and obligation inhering in the same multitude of men, whereby the Civil Society under the government of the Civil Magistrate exerts its powers to secure the temporal happiness of men, and, under the government of the Church, to secure eternal life; and in such wise that eternal life be acknowledged to be the last and supreme end to which temporal happiness and the whole temporal life is subordinate; because if any man do not acknowledge this, he neither belongs to the Catholic Church, nor may call himself Catholic. Such, then, is the true notion of the Civil Society of Catholics. It is a society of men who so pursue the happiness of this life as thereby to show that it ought to be subordinate to the attainment of eternal happiness, which they believe can be attained alone under the direction of the Catholic Church.’[38]

We have here the full and genuine doctrine of the Unam Sanctam—the one body, the two swords, the subordination of the material to the spiritual sword, the indirect power of the spiritual over the temporal whensoever it deviates from the eternal end.

Dr. Döllinger’s interpretation, then, is strictly correct—namely, ‘It was therefore,’ he says, ‘the indirect power of the Church over the temporal power of Kings which the Pope defended in these Bulls;’ but that power of the Pope is itself Spiritual.

VII. From this doctrine Cardinal Tarquini draws the following conclusions:—

  • 1. In things temporal, and in respect to the temporal end (of Government), the Church has no power in Civil society.

The proof of this proposition is that all things merely temporal are (præter finem Ecclesiæ) beside, or outside of, the end of the Church. It is a general rule that no society has power in those things which are out of its own proper end.

  • 2. In whatsoever things, whether essentially or by accident, the spiritual end, that is, the end of the Church, is necessarily involved, in those things, though they be temporal, the Church may by right exert its power, and the Civil State ought to yield.[39]

In these two propositions we have the full explanation of the indirect spiritual power of the Church. I give it in Cardinal Tarquini’s words:—

Directly the care of temporal happiness alone belongs to the State, but indirectly the office also of protecting morals and religion; so, however, that this be done dependently on the Church, forasmuch as the Church is a society to which the care of religion and morals is directly committed.

‘That which in the Civil Society is indirect and dependent, is direct and independent in the Church; and, on the other hand, the end which is proper and direct to the Civil State, that is, temporal happiness, falls only indirectly, or so far as the spiritual end requires, under the power of the Church.

‘The result of all this is—

‘1. That the Civil Society, even though every member of it be Catholic, is not subject to the Church, but plainly independent in temporal things which regard its temporal end.

‘2. That the language of the Fathers, which seems to affirm[40] an absolute independence of the Civil State, is to be brought within this limit.’

VIII. I will now give a summary of this matter in the words of Suarez, and also his comment on the terminology used by Canonists and theologians on this subject.

He says that the opinion which gives to the Pontiff direct temporal power over all the world is false.

Next, he sets aside the opinion that the Pontiff has this direct temporal power over the Church.

He then gives as the true opinion that which has been affirmed—namely, that the Pontiff has not direct temporal power, except in those States of which he is Temporal Prince; but that he has a spiritual power indirectly over temporal things, in so far as they affect the salvation of men or involve sin.[41]

One chief cause of the confusion of Regalists and our non-Catholic adversaries has been the uncertain use of language, and the want of a fixed terminology until a certain date.

The word Temporal was used in two senses. It was used to signify the power of Civil Rulers in the order of nature. And in this sense the Church has never claimed it for its head. It was used also to signify the spiritual power of the Pontiff when incident indirectly upon temporal things. The spiritual power, then, had a temporal effect, and took, so to speak, its colour and name from that use, remaining always spiritual as before.

For instance, we speak of ‘the Colonial power’ of the Crown, meaning the Imperial power applied to the government of the Colonies; in like manner the Spiritual power of the Pope, applied indirectly to temporal things, was (improprie) improperly called Temporal, and this usus loquendi gave rise to much misinterpretation.

What I have here stated was the judgment of Bellarmine, who, in his answer to Barclay, writes as follows:—

‘Barclay says that there are two opinions among Catholics (on the power of the Pontiff). The one, which most Canonists follow, affirms that in the Supreme Pontiff, as Vicar of Christ, both powers, Spiritual and Temporal, exist : the other, which is the common opinion of Theologians, affirms that the power of the Supreme Pontiff, as Vicar of Christ, is strictly spiritual in itself ; but that, nevertheless, he may, by the same, dispose temporal things so that they be ordered for spiritual ends.’[42]

Barclay argued that the power of the Pope in temporal things was a free and open opinion among Catholics: Bellarmine, in replying, says:—

‘That this power is in the Pope is not opinion but certitude among Catholics, though there be many discussions as to what and of what quality the power is: that is to say, whether it be properly and in itself of a temporal kind, or whether it be not rather spiritual, but by a certain necessary consequence, and in order to spiritual ends, it dispose of temporal things.’[43]

Bellarmine states his own opinion in these words:

‘Temporal Princes, when they come to the family of Christ, lose neither their princely power nor jurisdiction; but they become subject to him whom Christ has set over His family, to be governed and directed by him in those things which lead to eternal life.’[44]

Now, from these passages it would appear that in Bellarmine’s judgment the opinions of the Canonists and the Theologians practically came to one and the same thing, though their language was different. By Temporal Power some earlier Canonists may perhaps have intended a power temporal in itself; but the later Canonists did not intend more than a Spiritual power over temporal things: which the Theologians also asserted. But this use of the word temporal seemed to imply that the quality of the power was not spiritual, as the Theologians asserted. This ambiguity is the source of the misunderstandings which we daily read in attacks upon the Catholic Church. I can the more readily believe the good faith of those who so misconceive it, because I can remember that I was misled by the same mistake for many years. For instance, the Canonists affirm that the whole world is the territory of the Pontiff (Territorium Pontificis). But they do so in answering the objection, that where the Pontiff acts spiritually in the territory of any temporal Prince, he is invading the territory of another. The meaning is evident: namely, that the Pontiff has universal jurisdiction over the whole world. But this does not say that his jurisdiction is temporal. It affirms only that it runs into all the world. It merely affirms that it is universal: and the same writers assert that in itself it is only Spiritual.[45]

We have been told that Bellarmine’s book was put upon the Index. But, after a judicial examination, it was removed by order of the Holy See, and its perfect soundness acknowledged.

Suarez lays down precisely the same doctrine as Bellarmine. He says:

‘Those authors who teach absolutely that the Pope has Supreme Power, and that temporal, in the whole world, mean this, “that the Pontiff, in virtue of his Spiritual Power and jurisdiction, is superior to Kings and temporal Princes, so as to direct them in the use of their temporal Power in order to Spiritual ends.”’

He then goes on:—

‘For though they sometimes speak indistinctly, and without sufficient clearness, or even (improprie) incorrectly—because the power of the Pope is not temporal but spiritual, which contains under itself things temporal, and is exercised about them indirectly, that is, for the sake of Spiritual things—nevertheless they often make this sense clear, and lay down their distinctions either expressly or virtually; for they affirm that the Pontiff can do some things indirectly, but deny that he can do them directly.[46]

But if the Pope had temporal power properly so called, he could do all things directly. This negative proves that the power of which they spoke was only Spiritual.

Suarez further says:—

‘Subjection is of two kinds—direct and indirect. Subjection is called direct when it is within the end and limits of the same power: it is called indirect when it springs from direction to a higher end, which belongs to a higher and more excellent power. The proper Civil Power in itself is directly ordained for the fitting state and temporal happiness of the human commonwealth in time of this present life; and therefore the power itself is called temporal. The Civil Power, therefore, is then called supreme in its own order when within the same, and in respect to its end, the ultimate resolution (of power) is made within its own sphere.’ . . . . ‘The chief ruler is, then, subordinate to no superior in order to the same end of Civil Government. But, as temporal and civil happiness are related to that which is spiritual and eternal, it may happen that the matter of Civil Government must be otherwise ordered and directed, in order to spiritual welfare, than the Civil policy alone seems to require. And then, though the temporal Prince and his power do not directly depend in their acts upon any other power in the same (i.e. the temporal) order, which also regards the same end only, nevertheless it may happen that it needs to be directed, helped, and corrected in the matter of its government by a superior power, which governs men in order to a more excellent and eternal end; and then this dependence is called indirect, because that higher power is not exercised in respect to temporal things (per se) of its own nature, nor for its own sake, but indirectly, and for another end.’[47]

It will be seen here:—

  1. That the superior power cannot be temporal, or its jurisdiction would be direct.
  2. That, if temporal, it would not be of a higher, but of the same order.
  3. That, therefore, the claim of indirect power is an express exclusion of temporal power, properly so called, from the spiritual supremacy of the Head of the Church.

Suarez states, but rejects, the opinion of certain early Canonists and Jurists who taught that the power of the Pontiff over any temporal thing was also temporal in itself. He then states and proves that this indirect power is Spiritual only. After speaking of the power of the Keys, he says:—

‘In no other place did Christ imply that He gave to Peter or to the Church temporal dominion, or a proper and direct royalty; nor does Ecclesiastical tradition show this, but rather the reverse.’[48]

With these authorities before us, there can be little difficulty in explaining the texts usually quoted by adversaries, who desire to fasten on the Unam Sanctum and upon the Catholic Church a claim to temporal power, that is, temporal in its root and in itself.

The passages usually quoted from Pope Nicholas, St. Bernard, St. Thomas, Alvarez, Hugo of St. Victor, St. Bonaventura, Durandus, and others, are fully discussed and proved by Bellarmine to affirm no more than Spiritual power; and that indirectly over temporal matters, when they involve the Spiritual end of the Church.[49]

IX. I hope sufficiently to prove hereafter what I asserted—namely, that though a supreme spiritual authority be inherent in the Divine constitution and commission of the Church, its exercise in the world depends on certain moral and material conditions, by which alone its exercise is rendered possible or just. This shall be shown by treating the subjects raised by the ‘Expostulation;’[50] namely, the deposing power, and the use of political force or penal legislation in matters of religion. I hope, and I believe, that I am able to show that the moral condition of the Christian world made justifiable in other ages that which would be unjustifiable in this; and that the attempt to raise prejudice, suspicion, and hostility against the Catholic Church at this day and in England by these topics, is an act essentially unjust; from which a real science of history ought to have preserved Mr. Gladstone. I must repeat here again that between the Vatican Council and these subjects there is no more relation than between jurisprudence and the equinox. Some fifteen Councils of the Church, of which two are General, have indeed recognised and acted upon the supremacy of the Spiritual authority of the Church over temporal things; but the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff is one thing, his supreme judicial authority is another. And the Definition of Infallibility by the Vatican Council has in no way, by so much as a jot or tittle, changed or affected that which was infallibly fixed and declared before. But, as I will go on to show, even infallible laws cease to apply when the subject matter is wanting, and the necessary moral conditions are passed away.

I must acknowledge, therefore, that the following words fill me with surprise. Speaking of Dr. Doyle and others, he says :—

‘Answers in abundance were obtained, tending to show that the doctrines of deposition and persecution, of keeping no faith with heretics, and of universal dominion, were obsolete beyond revival.’[51]

This passage implicitly affirms what I hope explicitly to prove. How can laws become obsolete, but by the cessation of the moral conditions which require or justify their exercise? How can laws, the exercise of which is required by the permanent presence of the same moral conditions which called them into existence, become obsolete? I pass over the ‘no faith with heretics,’ which is an example of the injustice which pervades the Pamphlet. I should have thought it impossible for Mr. Gladstone not to know the true meaning of this controversial distortion: but I am willing to believe that he did not know it; for if he had, it would have been impossible for such as he is to write it.

The moral principles on which the exercise of supreme powers and rights was justifiable in the age of Boniface VIII. exist no longer in the nineteenth century in England. Let no one cynically pretend that this is to give up or to explain away. I read the other day these words:

‘The Pope has sent forth his prohibitions and his anathemas to the world, and the world has disregarded them. The faithful receive them with conventional respect, and then hasten to assure their Protestant friends that Papal edicts can make no possible difference in the conduct of any human being.’[52]

Nothing can be less true. The first principles of morals forbid the exercise of the supreme judicial power of the Church on such a civil order as that of England. When it was de facto subject to the Church, England had by its own free will accepted the laws of Christendom. It can never be again subject to such laws except on the same condition—namely, by its own free will. Till then the highest laws of morality render the exercises of such Pontifical acts in England impossible.

Mr. Gladstone has called on Pius IX. to repudiate such powers.[53] But Pius IX. cannot repudiate powers which his predecessors justly exercised, without implying that their actions were unjust. He need not repudiate them for himself, for the exercise of them is impossible, and, if physically possible, would be morally impossible, as repugnant to all equity, and, under correction, I will say to natural justice. The infallible witness for justice, and equity, and charity among men, cannot violate these laws which unerringly govern his office.

X. The command of our Lord to the Apostles: ‘Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature: he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned’[54]—clearly invests the Church with authority to baptise every creature. But the exercise of this right was suspended upon a moral condition. It conveyed no right to baptise any man against his will; nor without an act of faith on his part. But an act of faith is a spontaneous and voluntary act of submission, both of intellect and will, to the truth, and to the teacher who delivers it. The absolute and universal authority therefore of the Church to baptise depends upon the free and voluntary act of those who believe, and, through their own spontaneous submission, are willing to be baptised.

The Church so regards the moral conditions on which its acts depend, that as a rule it will not even suffer an infant to be baptised unless at least one of the parents consents.

In like manner the power of absolution, which has no limit of time or of subject, can be exercised only upon those who are willing. Confession and contrition, both voluntary acts of the penitent, are absolutely necessary to the exercise of the power of the Keys.

This principle will solve many questions in respect to the Spiritual authority of the Church over the Civil State.

First, it shows that, until a Christian world and Christian Rulers existed, there was no subject for the exercise of this spiritual authority of judgment and correction. Those who amuse themselves by asking why St. Peter did not depose Nero, will do well to find out whether people are laughing with them or at them. Such questions are useful. They compendiously show that the questioner does not understand the first principles of his subject. If he will find out why St. Peter neither baptised nor absolved Nero, he will have found out why he did not depose him. Until a Christian world existed there was no apta materia for the supreme judicial power of the Church in temporal things. Therefore St. Paul laid down as a rule of law that he had nothing to do in judging those that were without the unity of the Church.

But when a Christian world came into existence, the Civil society of man became subject to the Spiritual direction of the Church. So long, however, as individuals only subjected themselves, one by one, to its authority, the conditions necessary for the exercise of its office were not fully present. The Church guided men, one by one, to their eternal end; but as yet the collective society of nations was not subject to its guidance. It is only when nations and kingdoms become socially subject to the supreme doctrinal and judicial authority of the Church that the conditions of its exercise are verified. When the senate and people of the Roman Empire were only half Christian, the Church still refrained from acts which would have affected the whole body of the State. When the whole had become Christian, the whole became subject to the Divine Law, of which the Roman Pontiff was the supreme expositor and executive.

It would be endless to state examples in detail. I will take, therefore, only one in which the indirect spiritual power of the Church over the temporal State is abundantly shown. Take, for instance, the whole subject of Christian Matrimony: the introduction of the Christian law of the unity and indissolubility and sacramental character of marriage; the tables of consanguinity and of affinity; the jurisdiction of the Church over matrimonial cases. This action of the Pontifical law upon the Imperial law, and the gradual conformity of the Empire to the Church, exhibits in a clear and complete way what is the power claimed by the Church over the temporal laws of Princes.

The Council of Trent reserves matrimonial causes to the Ecclesiastical Tribunals; and in the Syllabus the proposition is condemned that they belong to the Civil jurisdiction.[55]

In like manner, in prohibiting duels, the Council declares temporal penalties against not only the principals, but those also who are guilty of permitting them.[56]

In like manner, again, the Christian law of faith and morals passed into the public law of Christendom. Then arose the Christian jurisprudence, in which the Roman Pontiff was recognised as the supreme Judge of Princes and of People, with a twofold coercion: spiritual by his own authority, and temporal by the secular arm. These two acted as one. Excommunication and deposition were so united in the jurisprudence of Christendom, that he who pronounced the sentence of excommunication pronounced also the sentence of deposition; as before the repeal of our Test Acts, if a member of the Church of England became Catholic, or even Nonconformist, he was ipso facto incapable of sitting in Parliament or holding office of State. And by the first of William III. the heir to the Crown, if he become Catholic, or marry a Catholic, ipso facto forfeits the succession. Nothing is more certain upon the face of history, and no one has proved more abundantly than Dr. Döllinger, that in every case of deposition, as of Philip le Bel, Henry IV. of Germany, Frederic II., and the like, the sentence of the Electors, Princes, States, and people, and the public opinion and voice of nations, had already pronounced sentence of rejection upon those tyrants before the Pontiffs pronounced the sentence of excommunication and deposition. It was only by the faith and free will of nations that they became socially subject to this jurisprudence; it was by their free will that it was maintained in vigour; and it was in conformity with their free will that it was exercised by the Pontiffs. Their free sentence preceded the Pontifical sentence. It was at their prayer, and in their behalf, that it was pronounced. The moral condition of spontaneous acceptance, and the material conditions of execution, were alike present, rendering these supreme Pontifical acts legitimate, right, lawful, wise, and salutary.

XI. And here I shall be met with the answer: ‘You justify, then, the deposition of princes, and therefore you hold that the Pope may depose Queen Victoria.’ Such, I am sorry to say, is the argument of the ‘Expostulation;’ for if it be not, why was it implied? I altogether deny the argument, or inference, or call it what you will. I affirm that the deposition of Henry IV. and Frederic II. of Germany were legitimate, right, and lawful; and I affirm that a deposition of Queen Victoria would not be legitimate, nor right, nor lawful, because the moral conditions which were present to justify the deposition of the Emperors of Germany are absent in the case of Queen Victoria; and therefore such an act could not be done.

This is not a mere personal opinion of my own, or even a mere opinion of theologians. What I have affirmed has been declared by the authority of Pius VI. In a letter from the Congregation of Cardinals of the College of Propaganda, by order of His Holiness Pius VI., addressed to the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Ireland, dated Rome, June 23, 1791, we read as follows:—

‘In this controversy a most accurate discrimination should be made between the genuine rights of the Apostolical See and those that are imputed to it by innovators of this age for the purpose of calumniating. The See of Rome never taught that faith is not to be kept with the heterodox—that an oath to kings separated from Catholic communion can be violated—that it is lawful for the Bishops of Rome to invade their temporal rights and dominions. We, too, consider an attempt or design against the life of kings and princes, even under the pretext of religion, as a horrid and detestable crime.’

I may add that this passage was not unknown to Dr. Döllinger, who quotes it at p. 51 in his work on ‘The Church and the Churches.’

But lest any one should reply that this was said when Catholics were under penal laws, and with a View to blinding the English Government, I will add that no one has more frankly and forcibly expressed this than Pius IX., in the very text of which Mr. Gladstone has quoted a part. The Holy Father, on July 20, 1871, thus addressed a Literary Society in Rome:—

‘In the variety of subjects which will present themselves to you, one appears to me of great importance at this time; and that is, to defeat the endeavours which are now directed to falsify the idea of the Infallibility of the Pope. Among all other errors, that is malicious above all which would attribute (to the Infallibility of the Pope) the right of deposing sovereigns, and of absolving people from the obligation of allegiance.

‘This right, without doubt, has been exercised by the Supreme Pontiffs from time to time in extreme cases, but it has nothing to do with the Pontifical Infallibility; neither does it flow from the Infallibility, but from the authority of the Pontiff.

‘Moreover, the exercise of this right in those ages of faith which respected in the Pope that which he is, that is to say, the Supreme Judge of Christendom, and recognised the benefit of his tribunal in the great contentions of peoples and of sovereigns, was freely extended (by aid, as was just, of public jurisprudence, and the common consent of nations) to the gravest interests of States and of their rulers.’

So far Mr. Gladstone quoted from what was before him. Unfortunately, he appears not to have known what followed. Pius IX. went on to say:—

‘But altogether different are the conditions of the present time from the conditions (of those ages); and malice alone can confound things so diverse, that is to say, the infallible judgment in respect to truths of Divine Revelation with the right which the Popes exercised in virtue of their authority when the common good demanded it. They know better than we, and everybody can discern the reason why such an absurd confusion of ideas is stirred up at this time, and why hypothetical cases are paraded of which no man thinks. It is because every pretext, even the most frivolous and furthest from the truth, is eagerly caught at, provided it be of a kind to give us annoyance, and to excite civil rulers against the Church.

‘Some would have me interpret and explain even more fully the Definition of the Council.

‘I will not do it. It is clear in itself, and has no need of other comments and explanations. Whosoever reads that Decree with a dispassionate mind has its true sense easily and obviously before him.’[57]

Now, the Holy Father in these words has abundantly shown two things: first, that they who connect Infallibility with the Deposing Power are talking of what they do not understand; and, secondly, that the moral conditions which justified and demanded the deposition of tyrannical Princes, when the mediæval world was both Christian and Catholic, have absolutely ceased to exist, now that the world has ceased to be Catholic, and has ceased to be even Christian. It has withdrawn itself socially as a whole, and in the public life of nations, from the unity and the jurisdiction of the Christian Church.

In this it differs altogether from the mediæval world. And it differs also from the ancient world. For, the ancient World had never yet believed the faith; the modern world has believed, but fallen from its faith. The ancient world was without the unity of the Christian Church de facto et de jure. The modern world is without de facto; and this has changed all the moral conditions of the subject. The Church never, indeed, loses its jurisdiction in radice over the baptised, because the character of baptism is indelible; but unless the moral conditions justifying its exercise be present, it never puts it forth. As Mr. Gladstone has cited the example of Queen Elizabeth, implying that he sees no difference between Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, I will add that Queen Elizabeth was baptised a Catholic; that she was crowned as a Catholic; that she received Holy Communion in the High Mass of her consecration as a Catholic; that she was both de jure and de facto a subject of the Catholic Church; that the majority of the people of England were still Catholic. What one of all these conditions is present in the case which I refuse to put in parallel? The English Monarchy has been withdrawn for three centuries from the Catholic Church; the English people are wholly separate; the Legislation of England has effaced every trace of the jurisprudence which rendered the Pontifical acts of St. Gregory VII. and Innocent IV. legitimate, just, and right. The public laws of England explicitly reject and exclude the first principles of that ancient Christian and Catholic jurisprudence. Not only is every moral condition which could justify such an act absent, but every moral condition which would render such an act unjustifiable, as it would seem to me, is present.[58] This is a treatment of history which is not scientific, but shallow; and a dangerous use of inflammatory rhetoric, when every calm dictate of prudence and of justice ought to forbid its indulgence. ‘The historic spirit,’[59] commended in the ‘Expostulation,’ would have led to such a treatment of this question as Mr. Freeman wisely recommends.

‘The cause of all this diversity and controversy—a diversity and controversy most fatal to historic truth—is to be traced to the unhappy mistake of looking at the men of the twelfth century with the eyes of the nineteenth; and still more of hoping to extract something from the events of the twelfth century to do service in the controversies of the nineteenth.’[60]

XII. For the same reasons I deplore the haste, I must say the passion, which carried away so large a mind to affirm or to imply that the Church at this day would, if she could, use torture, and force and coercion, in matters of religious belief. I am well aware that men of a mind and calibre as far removed from Mr. Gladstone as almost to constitute a different species, have at times endeavoured to raise suspicion and animosity against Catholics, by affirming that if they became the majority in this country—a danger certainly not proximate—they would use their power to compel men to conform to the Catholic faith. In the year 1830 the Catholics of Belgium were in a vast majority, but they did not use their political power to constrain the faith or conscience of any man. The ‘Four Liberties’ of Belgium were the work of Catholics. This is the most recent example of what Catholics would do if they were in possession of power. But there is one more ancient and more homely for us Englishmen. It is found at a date when the old traditions of the Catholic Church were still vigorous in the minds of men. It will therefore show that in this at least we owe nothing to modern progress, nor to the indifference of Liberalism. If the modern spirit had any share in producing the Constitution in Belgium, it certainly had no share in producing the Constitution of Maryland. Lord Baltimore, who had been Secretary of State under James I., in 1633, emigrated to the American Plantations, where, through Lord Strafford’s influence, he had obtained a grant of land. He was accompanied by men of all minds, who agreed chiefly in the one desire to leave behind them the miserable religious conflicts which then tormented England. They named their new country Maryland, and there they settled. The oath of the Governor was in these terms: ‘I will not, by myself or any other, directly or indirectly, molest any person professing to believe in Jesus Christ, for or in respect of religion.’ Lord Baltimore invited the Puritans of Massachusetts, who, like himself, had renounced their country for conscience’ sake, to come into Maryland. In 1649, when active persecution had sprung up again in England, the Council of Maryland, on the 21st of April, passed this Statute: ‘And whereas the forcing of the conscience in matters of religion hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous consequence in the Commonwealth where it has been practised, and for the more quiet and peaceable government of the Province, and the better to preserve mutual love and amity among the inhabitants, no person within the Province professing to believe in Jesus Christ shall be anyways troubled, molested, or discountenanced for his or her religion, or in the free exercise thereof.’[61] The Episcopalians and Protestants fled from Virginia into Maryland. Such was the Commonwealth founded by a Catholic upon the broad moral law I have here laid down—that faith is an act of the will, and that to force men to profess what they do not believe is contrary to the law of God, and that to generate faith by force is morally impossible. It was by conviction of the reason and by persuasion of the will that the world-wide unity of faith and communion were slowly built up among the nations. When once shattered, nothing but conviction and persuasion can restore it. Lord Baltimore was surrounded by a multitude scattered by the great wreck of the Tudor persecutions. He knew that God alone could build them up again into unity; but that the equity of charity might enable them to protect and to help each other, and to promote the common weal.

I cannot refrain from continuing the history. The Puritan Commonwealth in England brought on a Puritan revolution in Maryland. They acknowledged Cromwell, and disfranchised the whole Catholic population. ‘Liberty of conscience’ was declared, but to the exclusion of ‘Popery, Prelacy, and licentiousness of opinion.’ Penal laws came of course. Quakers in Massachusetts, for the first offence, lost one ear; for the second, the other; for the third, had their tongue seared with a red-hot iron. Women were whipped, and men were hanged, for religion. If Catholics were in power to-morrow in England, not a penal law would be proposed, nor the shadow of constraint be put upon the faith of any man. We would that all men fully believed the truth; but a forced faith is a hypocrisy hateful to God and man. If Catholics were in power to-morrow, not only would there be no penal laws of constraint, but no penal laws of privation. If the Ionian Islands had elected, some years ago, to attach themselves to the Sovereignty of Pius IX., the status of the Greek Church separate from Catholic Unity would have been tolerated and respected. Their Churches, their public worship, their Clergy, and their religious rites would have been left free as before. They were found in possession, which was confirmed by the tradition of centuries; they had acquired Civil rights, which enter into the laws of political justice, and as such would have been protected from all molestation.[62]

I have drawn this out, because a question absolutely chimerical has been raised to disturb the confidence of the English people in their Catholic fellow-countrymen. And I have given the reason and the principle upon which, if the Catholics were to-morrow the ‘Imperial race’ in these Kingdoms, they would not use political power to molest the divided and hereditary religious state of our people. We should not shut one of their Churches, or Colleges, or Schools. They would have the same liberties we enjoy as a minority. I hope the Nonconformists of England are prepared to say the same. As we are in days when some are ‘invited,’ and some are ‘expected,’ and some are ‘required’ to speak out, I will ask my fellow-countrymen of all religious kinds to be as frank as I am.

XIII. I have now given, I hope, sufficient evidence to prove the assertion made in the second letter quoted at the outset of these pages; namely:—

‘That the relations of the Catholic Church to the Civil Powers have been fixed immutably from the beginning, because they arise out of the Divine constitution of the Church and of the civil society of the natural order.’

And we have also seen how far from the truth are the confident assertions put forward lately, that the Church ascribes to its head Supreme Temporal as well as Supreme Spiritual Power.[63]

Further, we have seen with what strange want of reflection and of depth the Pontifical acts of the old Catholic world are transferred per saltum to a world which has ceased, in its public life and laws, to be Catholic, I may almost say, to be even Christian.

Finally, I have shown, I hope, what are the relations of the Church to the Civil Powers of the world; and I have given evidence to prove that those relations have been fixed from the beginning by reason of the Divine constitution of the Church, and have been declared by Councils, not only before the Council of the Vatican, but before the Council of Trent; and, therefore, that to charge upon the Vatican Council a change in these relations is not only an assertion without proof, but an assertion contrary to historical fact.

[1] Romans xiii. 1-5.

[2] ‘Etiam nocentium potestas non est nisi a Deo.’—St. Augustine, De Natura Boni contra Manich. cap. xxxii.

[3] Suarez, Defensio Fidei, lib. iii. cap. ii. sect. 5, 15, 16.

[4] St. Matthew xvi. 19.

[5] Ibid. xxviii. 18, 19.

[6] St. Thomas, 2da 2, quæst. x. art. 10.

[7] 1 Cor. v. 12.

[8] Cæsarism and Ultramontanism, p. 36.

[9] Cæsarism and Ultramontanism, pp. 34, 35.

[10] Expostulation, p. 27.

[11] Bellarmin. De Potest. Papæ, in præf. p. 844, Cologne, 1617.

[12] Döllinger’s Church History, vol. iv. p. 90.

[13] Ibid. p. 91.

[14] Cant. vi. 8.

[15] Ephesians iv. 5.

[16] Genesis vi. 16.

[17] Psalm xxi. 21.

[18] St. John xix. 23, 24.

[19] St. John xxi. 17.

[20] St. John x. 16.

[21] St. Luke xxii. 38.

[22] St. Matthew xxvi. 52.

[23] Romans xiii. 1.

[24] Jeremiah i. 10.

[25] 1 Corinthians ii. 15.

[26] St. Matthew xvi. 19.

[27] Romans xiii. 2.

[28] Genesis i. 1.

[29] Joann. Gerson, De Potest. Eccles. Consid. xii. Bianchi, Della Potestà et della Politia della Chiesa, tom. i. lib. i. cap. xi.

[30] Bianchi, lib. i. cap. x.

[31] Döllinger’s History of the Church, vol. iv. p. 91.

[32] Lib. i. cap. xiii.

[33] In the Appendix A will be found in full the Text of the three Pontifical Acts, Novit, Unam Sanctam, Meruit.

[34] Hist. iv. p. 91.

[35] Bianchi, lib. i. cap. iv.

[36] The Holy Roman Empire, p. 106. (Macmillan, 1871.)

[37] Freeman’s Historical Essays, pp. 136-137. (Macmillan, 1872.)

[38] Tarquini, Juris Eccl. Publici Institutiones, p. 56. (Rome, 1873.)

[39] Tarquini, Juris Eccl. Publici Institutiones, p. 57.

[40] Tarquini, Juris Eccl. Publici Institutiones, p. 55 and note.

[41] Suarez, De Legibus, lib. iii. c. vi.

[42] Bellarmine, De Potestate Summi Pontificis, cap. i. p. 848A, Cologne, 1617.

[43] Ibid. cap. iii. p. 852A.

[44] Ibid. cap. iii. p. 858A.

[45] Tarquini, p. 46.

[46] Suarez, Defensio Fidei Catholicæ, tom. xxiv. lib. iii. c. xxii. 2nd ed. Paris, 1869.

[47] Suarez, Defensio Fidei, &c. lib. iii. cap. v. sect. 2.

[48] Suarez, Defensio Fidei, &c. lib. iii. cap. v. sect. 14.

[49] This may be seen in his Controversia de Summo Pontifice, cap. v.; and in Bianchi’s work, Della Potestà, tom. i. p. 91, lib. i. ch. x. xi.

[50] Expostulation, p. 26.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Times, Wednesday, December 30, 1874, in leading article on the Pope.

[53] Expostulation, p. 26.

[54] St. Mark xvi. 15, 16.

[55] Sess. xxiv. De Ref. can. xii.

[56] Sess. xxv. cap. xix.

[57] Discorsi di Pio Nono, July 20, 1871, p. 203, Rome, 1872.

[58] Appendix B.

[59] Expostulation, p. 14.

[60] Freeman’s Historical Essays, ‘St. Thomas of Canterbury and his Biographers,’ p. 80.

[61] Bancroft’s History of the United States, vol. i. pp. 233, 235, 255, &c.

[62] Our older writers, such as Bellarmine and Suarez, when treating of this subject, had before their eyes a generation of men who all had been in the unity of the faith. Their separation therefore was formal and wilful. Their separation from the unity of the Church did not release the conscience from its jurisdiction. But if Bellarmine and Suarez were living at this day, they would have to treat of a question differing in all its moral conditions. What I have here laid down is founded upon the principles they taught, applied to our times. Cardinal Tarquini, in treating the same matter, has dealt with it as it has been treated here.—Juris Eccl. Publ. Institutiones, p. 78.

[63] Expostulation, &c. p. 27.