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BRIEP OF POPE PAUL V. CONDEMNING THE PRECEDING OATH OF
Dr. Burke, in his important compilation, the De Burgo's Hibernia Dominicana, (Colon. 1762,) is pretty the oath of full, (in his own peculiar way,) on the ecclesias- King James tical transactions of our history connected with the reign of King James I. His account of the Oath of Allegiance framed by this monarch, and the papal briefs pronouncing its condemnation, will be found worthy of the reader's attention, and are accordingly inserted for his perusal in this and the next following articles.
[At p. 611 is given the edict of James I., of July 4, Purport of 1605, ordering all his majesty's subjects in Ireland to the Edict of attend their parish churches on Sundays and Holidays, A.D. 1605. and commanding all Jesuits, seminary priests, &c., deriving authority from foreign power (and endeavouring, says the proclamation, not only " to seduce our subjects to embrace their own superstitious ceremonies, but also by their malignant contrivances to turn them away from their duty, studying to vilify in their sight the Religion which we cherish, as well as our civil administration, &c.") to leave the realm before the 10th of December ensuing, unless they would come to Church.)
Chap. 17, Num. xi. p. 613. Then, taking occasion The Gunfrom the treasonable conspiracy, according to which a furnishes
powder Plot plot was formed, for the 5th day of November of the said occasion for
enforcing year 1605, against the king's own person and the public the Oath on estates of the whole realm of England, by means of gunall subjects;
powder placed under the parliament house at London, (a conspiracy concocted, as report says, by certain who were instigated by the scheming and artful William Cecil, his object being to compass the total extermination of the Catholic religion,) James himself, or if you choose it, Cecil, set about manufacturing a new form of oath, which by law and public statute he made obligatory on all subjects, so that they should be liable to being called on and required to take it; which oath also you may see inserted in the apostolic letter of the Supreme Pontiff Paul V., to be recited presently. This subject certainly
was one, as observes our Daniel O'Daly, [in his
Relatio Geraldinorum, p. 254,] concerning which there which gives arose in England and in Ireland various dissensions and rise to much much difference of opinion among the Catholic leaders, among the and their Theologians and Ecclesiastics; some stre
nuously refusing to take the oath, others hastening to take the same oath without any scruple, and contending that such a course was allowable for the sake of obtaining a riddance from persecution or annoyance, if it were adopted with the intention of promising only civil obedience and fealty to the king's majesty. But however, the chief pontiff Paul V, aforesaid, who was elected in this same year 1605, cut short the controversy, by declaring in his letter to the Catholics of England and Ireland, issued in the form of a brief, and bearing date the 22nd of September, 1606, that the oath was unlawful; as follows:
· Pontifical Brief of Paul V. to the Catholics of England and Ireland. Paul V. at- • Beloved children, health and apostolical benediction. tempts to • Very deep has been the affliction which we have all
matter, A.D. 1606.
along felt at the tribulations and calamities to which you settle the have been so unrelentingly subjected in consequence of your firm adherence to the Catholic faith: but now that we have heard how bitterly all your troubles are aggravated at the present time, our distress has increased to an extraordinary degree. For we have been given to understand that you are compelled, under the sanction of the heaviest penalties, to go to the temples of the heretics, frequent their services, and be present at their preachings. We are firmly, persuaded that men who have heretofore undergone with so much constancy persecutions the most atrocious, miseries almost infinite, that they might walk without spot in the law of the Lord, will undoubtedly never allow themselves to be contaminated by communion with deserters from the divine law. Nevertheless, influenced as we are by the zeal that His impertibelongs to our pastoral office, and considering the pater- nent notice nal solicitude for the salvation of your souls by which we Church and are ever actuated, we cannot but warn and beseech of worship of you that you never on any account enter the churches of England. those heretics, or listen to their preachings, or communicate with them in religious rites, lest you incur the anger of God. For these are acts which you cannot commit without injury to the worship of God and to your own souls.
* As also you cannot without a most evident and most He takes awful dishonouring of God, bind yourselves by the oath, upon him to which, with similar feelings of deepest heart-sorrow we the king's have heard of as having been proposed for your accep- Oath ; tance; of the tenor here subjoined, viz :
[The oath is then recited, in Latin of course, as well as the rest of this brief; but agreeing exactly with the English form in the preceding article ; after which the pontiff immediately thus proceeds :)
Such being the nature of this document, it should be telling his clear to you from the very words of it, that an oath of disciples
they must the kind cannot be taken with safety to the Catholie be ready to faith and to the welfare of your own souls, containing, as it than take it does, much that is openly opposed to the faith and to
salvation. Wherefore we admonish you carefully to abstain from taking this or other such oaths; a caution which we are the more strict in urging upon you, because that having had experience of the constancy of your faith, which has been tried, as gold, in the furnace of unremitting tribulation, we feel assured that you will be ready cheerfully to submit to any still more atrocious tortures, and even to feel an earnest longing for death itself, rather than to do ought which might be injurious to the majesty of God. And our confidence is strengthened by those acts of YOUR MARTYRS which glitter even in these last days with a splendour not inferior to that which shed a glory round the CHURCH'S EARLIEST DAYS.
(sic.) He misap- Stand therefore having your loins girt about with plies to his truth, and put on you the
breastplate of righteousness : rious well. taking the shield of faith : Be strong in the Lord and in sounding the power of His might; and let nothing stay you in
your onward course: and He who beholds from heaven the struggles in which you are engaged, and is ready to confer on you the crown, will finish the good work which He hath begun in you. You know that He has made promise to his disciples that he would never leave them orphans; and faithful is He that hath promised. Maintain therefore His discipline, that is, rooted and grounded in charity, whatever be your circumstances, whatever your aims, act unanimously together, in simplicity of heart, in unity of spirit, without murmuring or hesitation. Seeing that herein shall all men know that we are Christ's disciples, if we shall have love one to another. Which charity, as it is indeed most highly to be desired among all Christ's faithful people, so for you at least, children most dearly beloved, it is absolutely ne
cessary. For such charity among you bas the effect of crushing that power of the devil which at present rises against you in such fury, and which depends mainly for its support on the disputes and contentions of our children.
• We exhort you therefore by the bowels of the Lord and conSesus Christ, by whose charity we have been rescued cludes by from the jaws of eternal death, that above all things ye them to atmaintain mutual charity among yourselves. Precepts of tend to the special utility, relative to the exercise of brotherly cha- directions of rity towards one other, have been addressed to you by VIII. to G. Pope Clement VIII. of happy memory, in his letter, in Blackwell. the form of a brief, to our beloved son George, arch-presbyter of the realm of England, dated on the 5th day of the month of October, 1603. Attend therefore diligently to those instructions, and lest you may be impeded by any difficulty or ambiguity, we command you to observe strictly to the letter the words of that communication, and to receive and understand them simply as they sound and lie therein, without taking any liberty of interpreting them otherwise. Meanwhile we shall never cease to beseech God, the Father of mercies, to regard with pity your troubles and afflictions, and to vouchsafe to you the defence and safeguard of his continual protection; of our clemency bestowing on you also at the same time our apostolical benediction.
"Given at Rome at St. Mark's, under the Ring of the Fisherman, the Tenth of the Calends of October, [Sep. 22,] 1606, in the second year of our Pontificate.” ”
(Given in O'Daly, Relat. Gir., 255-261; Foulis, Hist. &c., 527. Mr. Phelan gives as the whole a mutilated version of a portion of the document.)