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at the calumnies which had been published of French irreligion; and that they were rendering great service, by the zeal and discretion with which they propagated the system of the United Irishmen.' Whatever may be doubtful, perhaps we might say, false, in this story, it proves, at least, the strength of the barrier which religious feelings interposed, at that time, between the great mass of our common people, and French overtures of fraternization. But, by the events of 1804, things assumed a very different aspect. France was once more a Catholic country; the arch-apostate himself had been consecrated by the vicar of Christ with holy and solemn rites * ;' and now, in his high station, as successor of Charlemagne, and presumptive founder of a new dynasty, was ready to incline to the blessing of Dr. Troy. At the same time, a French armament was in preparation for the invasion of Ireland. See A letter to Dr. Troy, on the Coronation of Buonaparte by Pius the Seventh. Third edition, Dublin, 1805.
As the papal prelates, both in England and Ireland, took a considerable interest in these transactions between Buonaparte and their master, a few further particulars may, perhaps, not be unacceptable in this place. Up to 1800, the Roman government had opposed the Revolution with all its energy; and in the March of that year, when Pius the Seventh was elected to the tiara, he announced his accession to Lewis the Eighteenth, as the legitimate sovereign of France. In 1801, however, that pontiff absolved the French from their allegiance to the Bourbons, and executed a concordat with Buonaparte; in 1804, he raised the First Consul to the imperial dignity; in 1805, crowned him king of Italy; and, to complete the settlement of the new order of things, he confirmed to the actual occupiers, • in opposition, says Mr. Butler, “to the crying claims of the lawful owners, the property which had been confiscated by the revolutionary governments. These proceed
Sacro solennique ritu consecratio peracta est, are the pontiff's own words in his bulletin, upon the occasion, to the college of cardinals.
ings of the Vatican were opposed very warmly, and very naturally, by the exiles: a remonstrance to the Pope was published by thirty-eight archbishops and bishops, and a vigorous controversy maintained for some years. The chief writers were, on the side of the emigrants, the Abbé Blanchard, who received the thanks of the ejected bishops both in England and Germany; and on that of the Pope and Buonaparte, the late Dr. Milner, the Vicar Apostolic of the middle district in England. After the interchange of some pamphlets between these disputants, Dr. Gibson, the Vicar Apostolic of the London district, where Blanchard then resided, came officially to the aid of his brother, and issued a censure, accompanied by a sentence of suspension from the sacraments, against the Frenchman. Blanchard, not yet subdued, published a fresh defence, in which he appealed to the judgment of the Irish hierarchy. A formal synod was accordingly held by that body, in June, 1809. The prelates pronounced, that Pope Pius the Seventh, had validly, and agreeably to the spirit of the sacred canons, exerted the powers belonging to the apostolical see ; and that they accepted, approved, and concurred with, the said acts of Pius the Seventh, as good, rightful, authentic, and necessary. They also declared, that the opinions of Blanchard, .inasmuch as they regarded the restoration and settlement of the churches in France, were false, calumnious, and scandalous, manifestly tending to schism, most dangerous to the peace and unity of the church, exciting and inviting to schism, usurping ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and subversive of church anthority.'
That this conduct of the titular prelacy, considering the matter simply as a problem in ethics, was perfectly irre
* Will it be pretended, by any one who reads these two unanimous decrees of the Irish hierarchy, that no more information is requisite than has been given in The Evidence, with respect to the sacred canons, the powers of the apostolic sce, and church authority in general ? The facts stated, and documents referred to, in the text, are given upon the concurrent authority of two adverse writers, one a Jansenist, the other a Jesuit. See Dr. O'Conor, Columbarus, 6., and Mr. Plowden's llistorical Letter to l'olumbanus.
proachable, will be readily granted, by every ingenuous man, who considers the nature of their obligations. Their first duty was to the church; and there was every reason to believe, that the interests of the church would be materially promoted, were its sanction extended to the new establishments of France, civil and ecclesiastical. It is probable, that they would have felt themselves relieved from a very irksome burden, had they been able so to attemper the discharge of this duty, as to separate effectually, the spiritual and the temporal question. But, so intimate had been the union between the church and the state under the old régime, and so connected the inroads of the revolution upon both, that the prelates were obliged, however reluctantly, to involve the two interests in one common decision. The evil would have been more tolerable, had their interference been limited to a foreign country: but, unfortunately, they could not fulfil their paramount obligations, without endangering the safety of their native land,' and of the prince who considered them as his natural subjects. The United Kingdom was then engaged in a desperate contest with France; a contest, which, by whatever name some eminent men may now chuse to entitle it, was generally pronounced by the loyal to be a war of principle, the principle of legitimacy. At least, it must have been the desire of the British government to avail itself of all the assistance, which, at that critical season, it could honourably derive, from the prepossessions of the French in favour of the Bourbons, or the attachment of Europe, generally, to hereditary monarchy. This desire was thwarted by the solemn judicial decision of the titular bishops. The vanity of legitimacy, when opposed to the sacred interests of the church, was displayed to all Roman Catholics at home and abroad; every thing was done, which the prelates could do, (and
The pope has no concern with the principle of legitimacy, or with any other merely temporal principle: but it is his concern, any thing to the contrary in those principles notwithstanding, to provide, that the church shall be exalted. (See the Digest of Evidence, vol. ii. chap. 3.) The same rule applies to the bishops, or any body of them.
more, doubtless, than they would have chosen, had the sternness of duty allowed them a choice,) to cripple the moral resources of England, and to recruit and consolidate the strength of her greatest enemy.
To resume the subject with which this note commences. The writer who had called forth the vindication of Dr. Troy, under-rated the dangers of the papal system, because he disparaged the spirit and views of the prelacy. The associations which connect a bishop with princes and apostles, and prompt him to look for the homage of kings, elevate the tone, and give energy and expansion to the powers,
of the mind. Their influence is increased by a discipline, calculated, perhaps, above all others that ever were devised, to accomplish mighty changes : a discipline which extracts aliment from hopes that are never to be realized by the individual ; which teaches him to lose himself in his order; and which diverts even the current of his natural affections, upon those who have adventured in the same enterprize. All this is too refined for the apprehension of persons, whose cares and duties are limited to the concerns of the moment; who coalesce fortuitously, upon a particular question, without any of the better sympathies of party; and who, though • born for the universe,' as some of them certainly were, 'narrow their minds,'to objects of vulgar ambition. It is placed still further above their reach, by that low and economical character, which infects the philosophy and literature, as well as the policy, of the times; and by the general spirit of the age, which concentrates its attention upon palpable and present objects, and excludes sentiment and imagination from its estimate of human nature. Thus it has happened, that many of those who have lately been engaged in negotiating with the titular hierarchy, were insensible, within themselves, to those generous workings of mind, which sustain men in the prosecution of a great public cause: they were accordingly unprepared to appreciate them in others, and much more, to counteract them by suitable provisions.
Note B., page 130.
I had intended to insert here those observations on the oath of supremacy, which Carte * has collected, from the professional learning of Sir John Davies, and from his own scarcely less erudite researches. But their extreme length deterred me, or, at least, would have been likely to deter my readers ; and their denseness seemed to preclude abridgement. I have therefore resolved to substitute some shorter, but more cogent testimonies, from three very eminent Roman Catholic divines.
Father Peter Walsh, the celebrated Irish Franciscan, says, with less prolixity, but not less strength, than is usual with him : • By the oath of supremacy, no other authority or power is attributed to the king, save only civil, or that of the sword; nor is any spiritual or ecclesiastical power denied therein to the pope, save only that which the general council of Ephesus, under Theodosius the younger, in the case of the Cyprian bishops; and the next general council of Chalcedon, under the good emperor Marcian, in the case of Anatolius patriarch of Constantinople, and the two hundred and seventeen bishops of Africa, (whereof St. Augustin was one,) both in their canons and letters, in the case of Apiarius; – all denied unto the Roman bishops of their time.'t
Dr. O'Conor writes thus: The act of supremacy was really nothing more, as to its intent, than the act of Præmunire. Its object was to restrain the exercise of illegal jurisdiction, and to confine within due limits, the arbitrary proceedings of men, who, under pretence of religion, claimed a power of exclusively deciding on all matters, whether mixed or unmixed, relating to the church; men, who claimed exemptions from the law courts, pretending
* In his Life of Ormond, Introduction. + History of Remonstrance, Introduction, xviii,