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EX LIBRIS 

Bertram <. Jl 



PLAIN REASONS 

AGAINST 

JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 



PLAIN REASONS 



AGAINST 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME, 



BY 



RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, 

f -/^ uxA-n. 



LL.D. D.C.L. 



" Can they teach that the judgment of the Bishop of Rome is superior to 
God s judgment ? . . . I steadfastly affirm that if the Bishop of Rome sin 
against his brethren, and, though often admonished, do not hear the Church, 
he, the Bishop of Rome, I say, is by God s command to be held as a heathen 
man and a publican. For the higher is the rank the graver is the fall. But if 
he think us unworthy of his communion for this reason, that none of us will 
consent to believe contrary to the Gospel, he cannot on that ground separate us 
from the communion of Christ." GERBERT (Pope Sylvester II. t A.D. 1003). 
to Segwin, Archbishop of Sens. 



TWENTIETH THOUSAND, FURTHER REVISED 
AND ENLARGED. 



PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE TRACT COMMITTEE. 



LONDON: 

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, 

NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, CHARING CROSS: 

4, ROYAL EXCHANGE; AND 48, PICCADILLY. 



NEW YORK : POTT, YOUNG, & CO. 
I880. 



NOV 1 6 1954 



PREFATORY NOTE, 



I. THIS book makes no attempt to cover the whole 
area of the controversy to which it relates. Indeed, as 
Roman disputants are perpetually shifting their ground, 
instead of always appealing, as Anglicans do, to the 
Word of God and the historical witness of the Church 
Catholic, it would be practically impossible to do that. 
It is confined strictly to a few practical questions which 
affect all members of the Church, laity and clergy alike, 
and omits not only all purely speculative discussions, 
interesting to theologians alone, but also all matters of 
which it can fairly be said that Rome and England have 
any common ground of agreement, however they may 
differ in details, or in mode of expression. 

II. It is defensive, and not aggressive in design, and is 
therefore not addressed to born Roman Catholics, nor 
does it undertake to measure their responsibility, or to 
point out their duty. To their own Master they stand or 
fall. But it is addressed to those who have seceded, or 
are tempted to secession, from the Church of England 
to the Roman communion ; that they may see what is 
the true nature of the accountability with which they are 
charging themselves in following their own private judg 
ment, rather than the providential order of God ; and 
to remind them of that saying of the Master : " No man, 
also, having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new ; 
for he saith, The old is better." (St. Luke v. 39.) 

R. F. L. 
LONDON, ALL SAINTS, 1879. 



CONTENTS, 



PAGE 

Books on the Roman Controversy 9 
On Change of Religion in 

General IT 

Only Valid Grounds for a Change 12 
Strong Presumption against 

Rome at the outset 13 

Less Likelihood in Rome of 

knowing God s Will 13 

No Romanism in the Old Creeds 14 
The Roman Church Uncertain 

and Unscriptural 15 

Twofold Witness of the Bible 

and Church History 15 

The Roman Church uncertain in 

Faith 17 

The Roman Church uncertain in 

Morals 20 

The Roman Church uncertain in 

Sacraments 22 

Uncertainty as to St. Peter .... 25 

Roman Creature- Worship 28 

Roman Inconsistency in the In 
vocation of Saints 35 

Roman Image-Worship 36 

Proof that Roman Image- 
Worship is Idolatrous 39 

The Fathers on Image- Worship 42 

Relics 49 

The Blessed Virgin more Wor 
shipped than the Father or 

Christ 51 

Quotations from Liguori s 

Glories of Mary " 55 

The Mass converted into Worship 

of the Blessed Virgin 56 

What this Innovation amounts to 59 
What Scripture tells us of the 

Blessed Virgin 60 

Examination of the Texts 62 

The Evidence of the Fathers as 

to the Blessed Virgin 66 

RomanArguments for Mariolatry 71 
Denial of the Chalice to the 
Laity 74 



PACE 

A Modern Novelty 75 

Four Arguments of the Council 

of Trent for Half-Communion 76 
Refutation of the Plea of Honour 
ing the Sacrament 77 

Refutation of the Plea from 

Ancient Usage 78 

Uncertainty of the Doctrine of 

Concomitance 79 

Custom cannot supersede Law.. 81 
Half-Communion declared Here 
tical by Popes 83 

Divine Service in a Dead Lan 
guage 84 

Discouragement of the Bible . . 87 
Lack of Aids to Biblical Study 

amongst the Clergy 91 

What the Old Testament says 

about Itself 91 

What the New Testament says 93 

The Fathers on Bible-reading 94 

Indulgences 97 

What Indulgences used to be . . 98 
The Roman Doctrine of Indul 
gences lor 

Novelty of this Doctrine 102 

Indulgences destroy Devotion . . 103 
Their Inconsistency with Scrip 
ture 103 

Their Mischievousness, even if 

Valid 104 

Roman View of Purgatory con 
tradicts Scripture 105 

And Contradicts other Roman 

Doctrine 106 

The Mass Traffic 1-08 

Uncertainty of the Mass Traffic no 

Necessary Result of the System, in 

Marriage Dispensations.. .. 112 

Roman Untrustworthiness .... 113 

Proofs of the Charge 115 

Falsification of the Fathers 118 

Forged Greek Catena 120 

Faith not to be kept with Heretics 1 20 



s 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Roman Divines and Controver 
sialists 122 

Stifling Intellect and Conscience 127 

Private Judgment 129 

Cruelty and Intolerance 130 

Superstition 135 

Cultus of the Sacred Heart 136 

Amulets and Charms 138 

Roman Penances 142 

Contradictions of Ancient Theory 

and Practice 144 

Moral Failure of Roman Catho 
licism 145 

Roman Arguments in Defence. . 147 
Replies : The Church subordi- 
w nate to Christ s written Word 148 
No Promise of Ecclesiastical In 
fallibility 148 

Disproof from the Jewish Church 150 
The Roman Church not the 

whole Church 150 

Present Weakness of the Eastern 

Church no Disproof 153 

The "Privilege of Peter" in the 

New Testament 153 

What the "Privilege of Peter" 

really was 156 

Civil Origin of Roman Primacy 157 
Disproofs of Papal Infallibility 160 
Papal Infallibility Useless in the 

Past 163 

Breaks-down of Infallibility .... 165 
Papal Infallibility no help in the 

Future 168 

Questions raised by the Infalli 
bility Dogma itself 169 

Dilemma of the Dogma 171 

Development 171 

The Local Roman See does not 
possess the Notes of the 

Church 172 

The Great Schism 177 

Further Disunion in the Roman 

Church 178 

Two Distinct Religions in the 
Roman Church 179 



PAGE 

No Identity of Belief in Rome . . 180 
Maximizers and Minimizers .... 182 
Other Points of Disagreement . . 183 
Is the Roman Church Holy? .. 184 
Nature of Proofs tendered .... 184 
The Catalogue of Canonized 

Popes 185 

The Roman Theory of Holiness 186 
Liguorianism fatal to Holiness of 

Teaching 187 

Wickedness of the Local Church 

of Rome 188 

Close of the Fifteenth Century. . 191 
Documents of the Reformation 

Era 191 

Present Condition of the Roman 

Clergy 193 

Is the Church of Rome Catholic ? 194 
Uncatholicity of the Roman 

Spirit 196 

Is the Church of Rome now 

Apostolic ? 198 

The Succession in the Roman 

See Long Broken 199 

The Plea of Ignorance not ad- 

ducible 202 

Jurisdiction and Mission 204 

Bishops Excommunicated by 

Rome presided over Great 

Councils 206 

Claim as Heir to St. Peter .... 207 
Claim as Patriarch of the West 207 

Claim from Conversion 208 

St. Gregory the Great s own 

Action 210 

Claim from Subsequent Volun 
tary Cession 210 

The Anglo-Roman Hierarchy 

Schismatic 211 

Further Proof of Uncanonical 

Character 215 

The Historical Truth as to Papal 

Jurisdiction 215 

The Argument as to the "Safer 

Way " 222 

Conclusion 223 



( 9 ) 



BOOKS ON THE ROMAN CONTROVERSY, 



PALMER "Letters in Controversy with Wise 
man." 

PALMER "Episcopacy of British Churches 

Vindicated." 

FULLWOOD "RomaRuit." 

PUSEY "Truth and Office of the English 

Church." 

PUSEY " Is Healthful Reunion Impossible?" 

COURAYER " Validity of English Ordinations." 

LEE " Validity of Holy Orders in 

Church of England." 

BAILEY " Defensio Ordinum Ecclesiae Angli 
can 36." 

CHURTON " Defence of English Ordinal." 

SCUDAMORE " England and Rome." 

SCUDAMORE " Letters to a Seceder." 

PHILLPOTTS " Letters to Charles Butler." 

ROBINS " Whole Evidence against the Claims 

of the Roman Church." 
GLADSTONE " Rome and the Newest Fashions in 

Religion." 

JANUS " The Pope and the Council." 

QUIRINUS " Letters from Rome on the Council." 

POMPONIO LETO "Eight Months at Rome during 

Vatican Council." 

JENKINS " Privilege of Peter." 

HUSSEY " Rise of the Papal Power." 

ROBERTSON " Lectures on Growth of the Papal 

Power. " 

GRATRY " Lettres a Mgr. Dechamps." 

RENOUF " Condemnation of Pope Honorius." 

RENOUF "Case of Pope Honorius Recon 
sidered." 

WILLIS " Pope Honorius and the New Roman 

Dogma." 



10 



BOOKS ON THE ROMAN CONTROVERSY. 



LORD LINDSAY ... 

MOZLEY 

WORDSWORTH ... 
MEYRICK 



NICHOLSON 

EWER 

PAUL PARFAIT .. 



PAUL PARFAIT 
PAUL PARFAIT 
BURGON 

GlBBINGS 



ENDELL TYLER .. 
ENDELL TYLER . 
ENDELL TYLER .. 
CLAY 

CARTWRIGHT 
VERON 



Church Quarterly Review 



Contemporary Review ... 



.. " CEcumenicity in Relation to the 
Church of England." 

... " Essay on Development." 

.. " Letters on the Church of Rome." 

... " Liguori s Moral Theology Dis 
cussed." 

.. "The Sacred Heart, Letters to 
Cardinal Manning." 

... " Catholicity in its Relationship to 
Protestantism and Romanism." 

... " L Arsenal de la Devotion: Notes 
pour servir a 1 Histoire des 
Superstitions." 

.. " Le Dossier des Pelerinages. " 

.. "La Foire aux Reliques." 

.. " Letters from Rome." 

... "Taxes of the Apostolic Peni 
tentiary." 

... " Primitive Worship." 

... " Image Worship." 

... " Worship of the Virgin Mary." 

.. " The Virgin Mary and the Tra 
ditions of Painters." 

... " The Jesuits." 

... "Rule of the Catholic Faith." 
Translated by Waterworth. 

... Articles on: "Legal Evidence of 
Scripture on Petrine Claims," 
April, 1878 ; " Dogmatic Posi 
tion of Church of England," 
July, 1878 ; " Further Evidence 
on Petrine Claims," October, 
1878 ; " The Petrine Claims at 
the Bar of History," April, 1879 ; 
Lack of Prescription for the 
Petrine Claims," January, 1880. 

.. " Ultramontane Popular Literature." 
January, 1876. 



PLAIN REASONS 

AGAINST JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME, 



On Change of Religion in General. 

I. To change one s religion, or even one s communion, is 
a very serious and solemn, nay, a very awful, step to take 
whatever that religion may be. On the face of things, it at 
least looks like revolt against God s will, since we were 
born and reared in our first creed without any act or choice 
of our own, and just as He was pleased to ordain for us. 
Nothing, therefore, can really justify a change of religion 
except a reasonable belief, based on sufficient evidence, 
that we shall be certainly obeying God s will better than 
formerly, and that by knowing more truth about Him 
and His laws than we did before. If, for some reason 
or other, a man found that he could not make a living 
in England, because his trade had fallen off, or there 
were too many hands engaged in it, he would probably 
cast about to see if he could better himself by emigration. 
He would be a very foolish person, however, if he were 
to break up his old home, and put himself to all the 
great cost, inconvenience, and delay of a long voyage, 
and subsequent settling-down in an unknown country, on 
the mere chance that he might do better in Australia, or 



12 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Colorado, or Brazil. He would be bound to inquire 
about a great many things first, such as whether there 
were any demand there for his kind of work, whether 
the climate would suit his constitution, what the rate of 
wages, and the cost of provisions and other necessaries, 
might be, whether the laws of the government were such 
as could be trusted to protect his life and property. It 
has very often happened to unfortunate emigrants to 
be lured to ruin and death, by trusting, without examina 
tion, to the golden pictures of interested emigration 
agents ; yet, on the whole, some pains to inquire into 
such important details are usually taken by intending 
voyagers. But the reverse is the case too often in the 
far more weighty concern of changing one s religion, 
which is far too rarely the result of careful thought, 
devout prayer, and serious inquiry. 

Only Valid Grounds for a Change, 

II. Whenever any one, therefore, is solicited by others, 
or inclined for himself, to leave the Church of England 
for the Church of Rome, he is bound first, as his plain 
duty towards Almighty God, Who placed him where he 
now is, and to his own conscience, to ask these ques 
tions before deciding to make the change : 

1. Shall I know more about God s will and Word 
than I now do ? 

2. Shall I be more likely to obey that will as He has 
been pleased to declare it ? 

3. Shall I have a surer warrant than now that I shall 
have access to those means of grace which God has 
ordained for the spiritual profit of His people ? 

These are the really cardinal points in the inquiry; 
for the question is not one of liking, but of duty. 
All appeal to any matters besides, however they may 
strike our taste, our imagination, or our fancy, is out 
of court. For example, it is of no use to employ the 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 13 

greatly superior numbers of Roman Catholics as an 
argument, for Buddhists are twice as numerous, and 
some centuries older. And we have to remember that 
our responsibility for evils in a communion which we 
choose for ourselves differs both in kind and degree from 
that for evils in one where God has placed us. 

Strong Presumption against Rome at the Outset. 

III. We are met, at the very outset of the inquiry, 
by a very remarkable fact. It is not disputed by the 
Roman Catholic Church nay, it is affirmed as plainly 
as by the Church of England that the chief source of 
all our knowledge, as Christians, of the nature and will 
of Almighty God, is His written revelation in the Holy 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which, as 
the Vatican Council decrees, are " held as sacred and 
canonical, not because they have been approved by the 
Church s authority, but because, having been written by 
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for 
their author, and have been delivered as such to the 
Church herself." (Sess. iii. cap. 2.) Nevertheless, the 
fixed policy of the Roman Church, for some centuries, has 
been to forbid the study of the Scriptures in the vulgar 
tongue by the laity wherever such forbidding could be 
fully enforced, and to restrict it seriously in all other 
places (see below, sect, xxxv.) ; while there has been 
little or no encouragement to the clergy to study them in 
any language, so that Roman Catholic books of Biblical 
literature, for a century and a half past, have been scanty, 
meagre, and unimportant, nor are there a dozen at this 
moment in English deserving of attention. 

Less Likelihood in Rome of knowing God s Will. 

IV. At once, then, it is plain that a Roman Catholic 
is less likely than an English Churchman to know God s 
will and word, so far as they are set down in the Bible. 



14 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

A Roman Catholic layman by birth has for the most part 
not read the Bible at all ; if he be an Italian, a Spaniard, 
a Belgian, a Portuguese, or a Frenchman, all but certainly 
he knows nothing whatever about it ; and a Roman 
Catholic clergyman, out of Germany, has few helps 
to Biblical study put into his hands, because rela 
tively little of the sort of late is by Roman Catholic 
pens, so that he is not able to make amends to his 
flock for their lack of familiarity with the Divine records. 
And the necessary presumption from these facts is that 
the Roman Church is afraid of being brought to the test 
of the Bible ; for if there were such a clear general agree 
ment between her system and its teachings as to make 
it plainly confirm her special tenets and practices, it 
would be her interest to promote its study everywhere, as 
the most indisputable testimony in her favour. A man 
who refuses to bring his title-deeds into court, damages 
his own claims thereby more than his opponent can do. 

J^"o Romanism in the Old Creeds. 

V. So far as the chief facts and doctrines of the 
Christian religion have been collected and condensed 
into brief and popular forms for the benefit of the 
Christian flock, as being what must be held in order to 
salvation, they are embodied in the Three Creeds, the 
Apostles , the Nicene, and the Athanasian. As all these 
are held, taught, and publicly used by the Church of 
England, with the advantage of being in the vulgar 
tongue, and not in a dead language, there is nothing 
to be got by way of additional religious knowledge on 
these heads the only ones necessary to salvation by 
joining the Roman Church ; for the fourth creed (that of 
Pius IV.) which she has added, gives no further informa 
tion on these main truths, but merely on certain com 
paratively minor points, as is proved by the fact that all 
Christendom was able to do quite well without it till so 
recent a date as 1564, nor is it, even now, propounded 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 15 

to ordinary lay Roman Catholics for reception. And it 
is very noticeable that not one of the special doctrines 
which distinguish the Church of Rome from the Church 
of England (and in particular, no hint, however faint, of 
Papal authority, though a fundamental tenet in Roman 
teaching) can be found in these three old creeds, or 
in any ancient gloss upon them, though they were in 
tended to contain all that is necessary to be held and 
believed by ordinary Christians. 

The Roman Church Uncertain and Unscriptural. 

VI. The two great indictments against the Church of 
Rome are (i) that she has only uncertainty to offer her 
followers, instead of certain truth, in faith, morals, and 
sacraments ; and (2) that several important parts of her 
system are in direct contradiction to the revealed will of 
God. 

That she has nevertheless held steadily in the main 
to the great saving truths of the Gospel is a most 
comforting and hopeful fact ; but in the Church 
of England all truth which the Roman Church holds 
is held and taught, while the errors which too often 
deform and disguise that truth are absent. 

As the favourite boast of Roman controversialists is 
that they alone have religious certainty to offer, it is 
necessary to show first of all why this is conspicuously 
not the case ; why, in fact, there is actually less religious 
certainty in Rome than in any other ancient Christian 
Church. 

Twofold Witness of the Bible and Church History. 

VII. The Christian religion, as a Divine revelation, 
cameperfect fromGod s hands, and (as the Vatican decrees 
themselves declare, Sess. iii. cap. 4) is not like a human 
science, such as medicine or mechanics, which can be 
improved on and altered by man s skill. It was, as the 



1 6 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Apostle says: " once for all (Greek, a7m) delivered to the 
saints" (St. Jude 3), and it may not be changed even by 
an angel from heaven (Galatians i. 8). There are two 
trustworthy witnesses which tell us what is the Christian 
religion : the Bible, and Church history. The Bible 
gives us the first inspired statement of the facts ; Church 
history tells us how those facts were understood by the 
earliest Christians, who were taught by the Apostles and 
by men who knew the Apostles. And because the 
Church is Christ s Body, having an unbroken supernatural 
life, the teaching of great Christian writers fifteen hundred 
years ago is as much part of the living voice of that 
Church as anything spoken in our own day ; just as with 
us in civil affairs, all unre pealed statutes and unre versed 
judicial decisions in leading cases, however old, are as 
much part of the living voice of English law as any recent 
Act or judgment of the Courts. Whenever, then, we 
hold any doctrine which is found alike in the Bible and 
in the teaching of the Christian Church ever since, we 
can be quite certain that here is an integral piece of 
the true original Christian religion. 1 But if we cannot 
find it in the Bible at all, nor in Church history for a very 
long time, then the evidence is all against it, and there 
is very great unlikelihood of its being part of the Gospel 
revelation. 

For the broad rule is that, while the antiquity of a 
doctrine does not prove its truth, since it may be a 
mere survival from one of the early heretical sects ; 
yet its novelty proves its falsehood, as not being part of 
the original and unchangeable revelation of God. When 
we can lay our finger on any particular tenet or practice, 
and say, " Up to such and such a date this was unknown 
to Christians, and did not come in till afterwards," we 
have disproved its claim to be part of the primitive Faith, 
just as we should disprove the genuineness of a panel 

1 Veron, " Rule of the Catholic Faith." See below, Sect. CI. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 17 

picture declared to be three or four hundred years old, 
if we showed it to be painted on mahogany, a wood 
which did not come into practical use till about 1720. 

The Roman Church uncertain in Faith. 

VIII. But in the modern Roman Church these two 
corroborating witnesses, the Bible and history, have 
both been set aside, and it is not only practically taught 
that the "living voice of the Church" meaning thereby 
merely the ecclesiastical authorities for t/ie time being may 
at any time modify or alter the old belief, just as a Parlia 
ment of Queen Victoria may repeal any statute of an 
earlier reign, but that the Pope alone, without the consent 
of the Church, as the Vatican decrees lay down (Sess. iv. 
cap. 4), can decide infallibly on all matters of faith or 
morals. So the faith of Roman Catholics depends now 
on the weakness or caprice of a single man, who may be 
himself unsound in the faith, wicked, or mad, as several 
Popes have been. Pius IX., on his own responsibility and 
authority, did add, in 1854, a new article to the Roman 
Catholic creed, that of the Immaculate Conception of the 
Blessed Virgin, a doctrine not only undiscoverable in the 
Bible or in any ancient Christian writer, but implicitly con 
tradicted by St. Augustine, explicitly denied by St. Bernard 
(commonly called " the last of the Fathers "), and by the 
greatest of all Roman Catholic divines, St. Thomas 
Aquinas, and openly disputed as false by orthodox 
Roman Catholics for many centuries 1 ; so, therefore, 

1 " Mary, sprung from Adam, died because of sin ; Adam died be 
cause of sin ; and the Flesh of the Lord, sprung from Mary, died to 
blot out sin." St. Augustine, Enarr. in Psalm, xxxiv. 3. 

"Where will be the peculiar privilege of the Lord s Mother, who 
is held to be the only one rejoicing in the gift of progeny and in 
virginity of person, if you grant the same to her own mother ? This 
is not to honour the Virgin, but to detract from her honour. . . . 
How can that conception be alleged as holy which is not of the 
Holy Ghost, that I may not have to say, which is of sin or be 

C 



1 8 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

not lawful for any Roman Catholic to hold or teach, 
unless he reject this clause of the Creed of Pope 
Pius IV. published by the Council of Trent: "Neither 
will I ever take or interpret the Scriptures otherwise 
than according to the imanimous consent of the Fathers." 
Another Pope may invent some other new tenet, and 
declare it part of the Gospel ; or may deny, and order 
others to deny, some ancient and universally received 
Christian doctrine. In fact, so perfect and entire is the 
Christian creed, that it is scarcely possible to add any 
thing to it in one direction without taking from it in 
another, as this very doctrine of the Immaculate Con 
ception shows ; for it takes away from the Lord Jesus 
Christ that peculiar attribute assigned to Him by Holy 
Writ, of being alone without sin (2 Cor. v. 21 ; Heb. iv. 15, 
vii. 26; i St. Peter ii. 22 ; i St. John iii. 5). And thus 
no Roman Catholic can any longer tell what his religion 
may be at any future time. 1 They try to escape 
from this terrible difficulty by saying that it is only 

accounted as a festival when it is not holy ? The glorious Virgin 
will gladly go without this distinction, whereby either sin will seem 
to be honoured, or a false holiness alleged. " (St. Bernard, "Letter 
clxxiv. to the Canons of Lyons on the new Feast of the Conception 
of the B.V.M.") 

The Blessed Virgin was not sanctified till she had been born from 
the womb. . . . and she could not be cleansed from original sin 
while she was yet in the act of her origin, and still in her mother s 
womb. ... She was sanctified in the womb from original sin, 
so far as personal defilement, but not set free from the guilt to 
which all nature is liable." (" St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa," III. 
xxvii. I.) And see below, Sect. Ixxxix. 

1 Here is a case in point. In 1687, Pope Innocent XI. con 
demned as heretical and otherwise erroneous sixty-eight propositions 
in the writings of Michael de Molinos, teaching the doctrine known 
as Quietism. But Pius IX. beatified, in 1864, Margaret Mary 
Alacoque, who had imbibed Quietist opinions, and reproduced the 
teaching of Molinos, not merely in substance, but well-nigh verbally, 
as regards propositions i, 2, 4, 5, 20, 21, 25, 43, 61, and 62, in her 
"La Devotion au Coeur de Jesus," published in 1698. There is 
thus a direct conflict of infallibility as to Quietist doctrines. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 19 

when the Pope speaks in a certain formal way, called 
ex cathedra, that he is infallible, and that a miracle then 
prevents him from going wrong, but that at all other 
times he is liable to err. Yet as no way is provided for 
knowing when he does speak ex cathedra (unless, perhaps, 
his saying so himself), all Roman Catholics are reduced 
to guess-work, as to what is or is not to be held or 
believed ; and besides, the enormous powers now lodged 
in the Pope s hands, and the vast number of those who 
are pledged to obey him, whatever he does, enable him to 
force almost any teaching he pleases, right or wrong, on all 
Roman Catholic bishops, under pain of being deposed 
for refusal. And they in turn can put pressure in the 
same way on all their clergy, so that any false doctrine 
put out by some bad or ignorant Pope might be thrust 
into every Roman Catholic pulpit in the world, and 
be given a monopoly there. So there is no longer any 
security or certainty for faith in the Roman Church, 
especially as any attempt to remonstrate, or to resist any 
Papal utterance (even if afterwards proved to have been 
heterodox), would be summarily put down as rebellion, if 
not as blasphemy. 

Nor is this the mere extravagant cavil of an opponent. 
It is a case substantially contemplated and admitted by 
the Roman Canon Law itself, in one of its most arrogant 
claims for the Papacy ; thus : " If the Pope, neglectful of 
his own and his brethren s salvation, be found useless 
and remiss in his duty, and, furthermore, keeping silence 
from good (a thing which is very hurtful to himself and 
others), and, nevertheless, leads countless people in 
troops to hell along with himself hell s chief bond-slave 
to be beaten with him for ever with many stripes : let 
no mortal presume to judge him, since he who is to 
judge all men is himself to be judged by none, unless 
he be found deviating from the faith." (" Decret" I. 
xl. 6.) 

C 2 



20 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

The Roman Church uncertain in Morals. 

IX. Again, one great use of religion in one sense 
the very greatest use is to guide and govern man s 
conduct and morals. It is of the utmost importance, 
seeing how man s own standard of right and wrong shifts 
and wavers, according to the fashion of the day, as, for 
example, in the last century, drunkenness was popularly 
thought no disgrace, that the Church should have a fixed 
and certain rule of morals, and that rule as pure and lofty 
as in God s own Word. Yet the Roman Church not only 
has got no such standard now, but has actually set up 
one which is lower and baser, and more uncertain by far, 
than the popular one of ordinary folk who make no 
pretence to be religious. It has come about in this way. 
Partly in order to make religion a very easy thing, so as 
to prevent men from shaking it off altogether ; but partly 
also to provide excuses for many evil things constantly 
said and done to promote the interests of Romanism 
itself, a system has been steadily built up, called Casuistry , 
for dealing with separate cases of sins which, at any rate, 
seem to be condemned by broad, general laws of God. 
And this casuistry is now governed by a principle called 
Probabilism ; the simple meaning of which is this : that 
if something be plainly forbidden by God s law of morals, 
and you have a mind to do it, you may do it in the 
teeth, not only of the Bible, but of most of the chief 
writers on morals, provided you can get an opinion of 
one casuistical writer in your favour, even though it be 
plainly weaker and less probable than that of those who 
bid you obey God s law. It is just as if a man could 
claim acquittal of any crime he had committed, though 
forbidden by the laws of Great Britain, and punished 
scores of times over by the courts of justice, if he could 
plead that he had got an opinion from some tenth-rate 
barrister that there was no wrong in doing it. 1 If, as a 

1 This rather understates the matter. A learned person may be 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 2T 

matter of fact, a high line were taken by Roman casuists 
on moral questions, perhaps no great practical harm 
would be done by this theory, but there is hardly any 
sin, however heinous, for which they do not find excuses. 
And the chief authority on morals now in the Roman 
Church is Saint Alfonso Liguori, whose teaching all 
Roman Catholic confessors are now encouraged to follow 
in the confessional, since he has been raised to the rank 
of a " Doctor of the Church." As a Saint, according to 
Roman doctrine, there can be no error in his writings ; 
but as a Doctor, not only is there no error, but his 
teaching is to guide Bishops and clergy in forming their 
judgments on difficult cases, and to be a standard 
whereby they are themselves to be judged (Leo IV., 
cited by Benedict XIV., " De Canonizatione," IV. 
xi. 1 6). Now, he says, for example, (i) that the 
actual assassins of a man are not equally guilty with 
their instigator, whom he admits to incur excom 
munication (" Theol. Moral." iv. 364); (2) that if A 
murder B, in order that C may be suspected of the 
murder, and thereby suffer loss of any kind, A is not 
bound to make C any compensation, unless he be a 
" worthy " person (iv. 587) ; (3) that if a clerical adulterer 
be caught by the husband, he may lawfully kill the 
husband, and does not incur " irregularity " l thereby, 
provided his visit was secret, so that he had a reasonable 
expectation of escaping detection, though, if he have 

his awn guide, provided he have thought the question out diligently ; 
one of the general public is at liberty to follow a single author of 
exceptional superiority, even though contradicting what is usually 
held ; but a person unversed in letters may adopt the opinion of any 
one whom he thinks possessed of learning and insight. So the rule 
is laid down by F. Gury, " Compend. Theol. Moral." vol. i. p. 39. 
concl. 8. A precisely similar casuistry amongst the Jews is con 
demned by our Lord (St. Matt. xii. 1-15 ; xv. 1-12; xxiii. 16-24; 
St. Luke xiii. 14-18). 

1 Disability for clerical office. This is here, no doubt, a question 
of fact, not of morals. But what a fact ! And Liguori has no 
words of blame for it. 



22 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

openly braved the danger, he does incur irregularity 
(iv. 398) ; (4) that an adulteress may deny her sin on 
oath, either by saying that she has not broken the 
marriage tie (since adultery does not void it) ; or, if 
she have gone to confession, that she is innocent of the 
sin, because it has been washed away in confession ; 
or, again, that she has not committed it, i.e. so as to 
be bound to acknowledge it (iv. 162) ; (5) that a man 
may swear aloud to any false statement, provided he add 
some true circumstances in an undertone, unheard by 
the bystanders (v. 168) ; (6) that it is lawful to swear 
to a quibble or to perjure one s self before a judge, if any 
great loss or inconvenience would follow to a witness 
from speaking the truth (iv. 151-6) ; (7) that a nobleman, 
ashamed to beg or work, may steal to supply his needs if 
he be poor (iv. 520). Further, Liguori republished as a 
text-book, and dedicated to Pope Benedict XIV., the 
" Marrow of Moral Theology," by Busenbaum the Jesuit, 
from which the following maxims are taken : (i) A very 
poor man may steal what is necessary for the relief of his 
own want ; and what a man may steal for himself, he may 
also steal for any other very destitute person j (2) anyone 
trying to prevent such a theft may be lawfully killed 
by the thief (Tom. iii., lib. iii., par. i, tract 5, c. i). 
Escobar, another famous casuist, lays down that a 
member of a religious order who lays aside his habit for a 
short time, in order to commit some sin undetected, does 
not sin heinously, nor incur excommunication (" Theol. 
Mor. ; I. xliv. 213). These are only a very few examples 
out of many, affecting all the moral Commandments. So 
there is now no moral certainty in the Church of Rome. 1 

The Roman Church uncertain in Sacraments. 

X. Thirdly, there is the greatest possible doubt as to 
the validity of every sacramental office or act performed 

1 See below, sec. XCV. Scavini and Gury, the two other chief 
text-books in use, are just as immoral. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 23 

in the Roman Church. Roman controversialists con 
stantly attack the Church of England as having only 
doubtful Orders and sacraments, but the only even plaus 
ible reason they offer for this accusation is, that just one 
paper or parchment out of a long series of documents 
which attest the episcopal character of William Barlow, 
a bishop of Henry VIII. s time, who had a fourth share 
in consecrating Archbishop Parker, is missing; 1 and, 
therefore, may perhaps have never existed. So far as that 
is concerned, all the documents necessary to prove the 
consecrations of all the Bishops of Christendom for the 
first four hundred years are hopelessly lost, many Roman 
ones were destroyed in the sack of 1527, and many of 
the later French ones disappeared in the Revolution ; 
yet no one treats these losses as disproofs. But the 
uncertainty which hangs over every rite and ceremony in 
the Roman Church is not one which could be cleared 
up by finding a paper, or any number of papers ; it is of 
the very essence of the whole system, and cannot be set 
right anyhow. It is due to the doctrine of Intention, 
peculiar to the Church of Rome, and decreed, under 
anathema for rejecting it, by the Council of Trent 
(Sess. vii., Can. xi.), according to which it is necessary 
that the bishop or priest who performs any religious 
ceremony should inwardly mean to do what the 
Church intends to be done in and by that ceremony. 
If the minister withhold this inward assent, either from 
personal unbelief, from ill-will, or any other cause, the 
act is null and void, and conveys no grace whatever. 
And so Cardinal Bellarmine, one of the most learned, 
able, and famous of Roman Catholic divines, says : 
" No one can be certain, with the certainty of faith, that he 
receives a true sacrament, because the sacrament cannot 
be valid without the intention of the minister, and no 
man can see another s intention " (" Disput. Controv., De 

1 So is Bishop Gardiner s record, but his rank is never disputed. 



24 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Justific." III. viii. 5). What this practically means is that 
no Roman Catholic can be sure that he himself has ever 
been baptized, confirmed, absolved, or given Holy Com 
munion ; for even if he be morally certain of the 
honesty and piety of the bishops and priests who have 
professed to do these things for him, he has no warrant 
at all that they have been validly ordained, since the 
bishop who professed to ordain them may have with 
held his intention, or have himself in turn been invalidly 
consecrated. 1 And indeed, the frequent Roman practice 
of having but one consecrator of a bishop imports 
another uncertainty into Roman orders, for Liguori lays 
down that priests ordained by a bishop who has had but 
one consecrator are doubtfully ordained ("Theol. Mor." 
VI. ii. 755). And, as in Italy at the Renascence and till 
after the Reformation, the higher clergy were very widely 
infidel (see below, note on sec. CII.),as also in France just 
before the Revolution (Jervis s " Hist. Ch. of France," 
chap, viii.), while in Spain they were often secretly Jews in 
religion, only conforming outwardly, 2 there is the most 
serious possibility, if the doctrine of Intention be true, that 
Holy Orders have failed in all these countries, and 
therefore that the orders of the Anglo-Roman bishops 
and clergy, all derived from these sources, have failed, 

1 It is, however, a tenable opinion in the Roman Church (though 
less approved than Bellarmine s) that external intention to comply 
with the rubrics of a rite is sufficient without internal intention as 
to the effect of the rite (Drouven, " De Re Sacramental!. "). But 
this does not remove the doubt, since there can be no sufficient proof 
of even so much. For in 1880 a committee of Cardinals pronounced 
the marriage of the Prince of Monaco and Lady Mary Hamilton, 
contracted in 1869, and with issue, null and void, on the ground 
of lack of inward consent on her part, though her external compli 
ance with the rite was not questioned. All that Perrone gives in 
aid, is to say that doubts may arise as to matter and form as well 
as in respect of Intention (De Sacram. iii.). 

3 Mocatta, "The Jews and the Inquisition "; Graetz, "Geschichte 
der Juden," x. loo; Kayserling, "Geschichte der Juden in 
Portugal," p. 291 ; Llorente, "Hist. Inquis," ii. 8. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 25 

too -j whereas in England there has never been, even in 
the laxest times, any such clerical unbelief prevalent as 
to import this peril. Thus there is the greatest uncer 
tainty attaching to all Roman sacraments, on the showing 
of Romans themselves. 



Uncertainty as to St. Peter. 

XI. This is not all the doubt and uncertainty which 
surrounds Roman Catholicism. Its most salient, dis 
tinctive, and peculiar doctrine is, that the prime and 
essential condition for salvation is to be in communion 
with the Pope of Rome, as heir and successor of St. 
Peter, first Pope of Rome, and therefore supreme Vicar 
of Christ, and Head of the Church on earth. Now this 
doctrine is in itself a sufficiently startling variation from 
what the New Testament lays down as the one chief 
requisite for salvation, namely, belief in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and union with Him (St. John iii. 16, 36 ; xi. 25 ; 
Acts xvi. 3 1 ; i John v. 1 2, &c.), not saying one word about 
St. Peter in any such connexion. But when we come to 
look into the matter more closely, it becomes the merest 
heap of guesses. It is little more than a guess though no 
doubt one with much in its favour that St. Peter was ever 
at Rome at all; it is only a guess that he was ever Bishop 
of Rome, and for this there is very little evidence of any 
kind 1 it is only a. guess that he had the power to appoint 
any heir to his special privilege, whatever that was ; it 
is only a guess that he did so appoint the Bishops of 
Rome and for these two guesses not the smallest scrap 

1 The only ante-Nicene testimony which expressly assigns the See 
of Rome to St. Peter is the apocryphal "Clementine Homilies," 
rejected by the Roman Church as a heretical forgery. The first 
post-Nicene witness who is quite clear on the subject is Optatus of 
Milevi (A.D. 386), and he is contradicted by St. Epiphanius and 
Rufinus. See the whole evidence in "The Petrine Claims at the 
Bar of History." (Church Quarterly Review, April, 1879.) 



26 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

or tittle of evidence ever has been produced, or can be 
so much as reasonably supposed ever to have existed ; 
yet, if all these points be not clearly proved by plain and 
convincing Scriptural and historical evidence, there is 
no basis whatever for the huge fabric of Papal claims, 
which is, in truth, the most vague and uncertain of 
structures. And it is to be added, that the Ultramon 
tane interpretation put on the three great texts in the 
Gospels which are relied on to support the " Privilege 
of Peter," namely, St. Matt. xvi. 18, that St. Peter is 
the rock and foundation of the Church ; St. Luke xxii. 
31, 32, that St. Peter was infallible, and charged with 
guiding the faith of the other Apostles; and St. John 
xxi. 1 5- 1 7, that he was given jurisdiction over the Apostles 
and the whole Church is contrary to the " unanimous 
consent of the Fathers," who agree by a great majority 
that either Christ Himself, or St. Peter s confession of 
Christ, is the rock and foundation of the Church (the 
Council of Trent decrees that the Nicene Creed is this 
foundation); 1 that the words at the Last Supper were 
spoken in view of St. Peter s coming apostasy, in warn 
ing that he would fall below the other Apostles ; and that 
the words spoken at the Sea of Tiberias after the Resur 
rection were no more than the reinstatement of St. Peter 
in that Apostolic office from which he had been degraded 
by his denial of Christ. So, it is not lawful for any 
Roman Catholic, in the face of the creed of Pope Pius 
IV., to maintain the Ultramontane view of these three 
texts. Thus, the following Fathers explain the rock to 
be Christ, or faith in Christ, and not St. Peter : Origen ; 
St. Hilary, Doctor ; St. Chrysostom, Doctor ; St. Isidore 
of Pelusium ; St. Augustine, Doctor ; St. Cyril of Alex 
andria, Doctor ; St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor ; 
St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor; Venerable Bede, 



"The symbol of the Faith . . . the one and firm foundation, 
against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. " Sess. iii. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 27 

Doctor; St. Gregory VII. , Pope; while St. Epiphanius, 
Doctor ; St. Basil the Great, St. Ambrose, and St. Jerome, 
Doctors, take it both ways, leaning, however, more to the 
view that Christ is the rock. One or two citations will 
serve as examples : " And I say unto thee, that thou art 
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church ; that 
is, upon the rock of his confession " (St. Chrysostom, 
Horn. 54 in Matt. xxvi. 4). " The Son of God is the rock 
from which Peter derived his name, and on which He said 
that He would build His Church " (St. Gregory the Great, 
" Comm. in Ps. ci. 27 "). And the Collect for the Vigil of 
SS. Peter and Paul in the Roman Missal settles the 
point for all Roman Catholics : " Grant, we beseech 
Thee, Almighty God, that Thou wouldst not suffer us, 
whom Thou hast established on the rock of the Apostolic 
Confession, to be shaken by any disturbances." 1 As to 
St. Luke xxii. 31, 32, no Father whatever explains it in 
the modern Ultramontane fashion, which is not even 
found till Cardinal Bellarmine invented itabout A.D. i62i. 3 
And St. John xxi. 15-17, is explained as the mere resto 
ration of St. Peter to his forfeited rank by St. Gregory 
Nazianzen, Doctor, St. Ambrose, Doctor, St. Augustine, 
Doctor, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor. Here is a speci 
men : " By this triple confession of blessed Peter, his 
sin, consisting of a triple denial, was done away, and by 
the words of our Lord, Feed my sheep, a renewal, as 
it were, of the apostleship already bestowed on him is 
understood to take place, removing the shame of his 



1 Here are some famous Roman Catholic divines who deny 
expressly or indirectly that St. Peter is the Rock : St. Peter 
Damiani, B. Albert the Great, Cardinal Hugo of St. Cher, 
Tostatus, and St. Thomas of Villanova. See them and several 
more, with full citations, in Denton s "Commentary on the 
Gospels" for St. Peter s Day. It is only since the Council of 
Trent that the other view has prevailed. 

* The germ, however, is in St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa, Sec. 
Secund. I. 10). 



28 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

after fall, and taking from him the cowardice of human 
frailty." (St. Cyril Alex., " Comm. in St. Johan. xxi.") 

Roman Creature-Worship. 

XII. There is one thing, however, which is certain 
about the Roman Church, that it directly and plainly 
contradicts the revealed will of God in several important 
particulars. Here are some of them. 

Throughout the entire Old Testament, God Almighty 
continually reveals and declares Himself as a jealous 
God, one Who will not share a tittle of His rights 
and glory with another. " I, the Lord thy God, am a 
jealous God " (Exod. xx. 5). "I am the Lord ; that is 
My name, and My glory will I not give to another, 
neither My praise to graven images" (Isa. xlii. 8), &c. 
Throughout the entire New Testament, the Lord Jesus 
Christ declares Himself, and is declared by His Apostles, 
to be the one, single, and only way to the Father ; to be 
perfect and entire in His human love for man, His inter 
cession, and His answer to prayer: "No man cometh unto 
the Father, but by Me " (St. John xiv. 6). " If ye shall 
ask anything in My name, I will do it" (St. John xiv. 14). 
" Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest" (St. Matt. xi. 28). " Love one 
another, as I have loved you." " I am the Good Shep 
herd, and know My sheep . . . and I lay down my life 
for the sheep" (St. John x. 14, 15). "Neither is there 
salvation in any other ; for there is none other name 
under heaven given among men whereby we must be 
saved" (Acts iv. 12). "There is one mediator between 
God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself 
a ransom for all" (i Tim. ii. 5, 6). "The love of Christ 
passeth knowledge " (Eph. iii. 19). " It behoved Him to 
be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a 
merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to 
God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people " 
(Heb. ii. 17). "Wherefore He is able also to save them 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 29 

to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing 
He ever liveth to make intercession for them " (Heb. vii. 
25), &c. 

We have only four examples in the New Testament of 
acts of reverence being done to Saints, and in all these 
cases they were promptly rejected and forbidden, showing 
that they were offensive to the Saints, as savouring of 
disloyalty to that God Whom they love and serve. 

" And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, 
and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But 
Peter took him up, saying, Stand up, I myself also am a 
man" (Acts x. 25, 26). 

" Then the priest of Jupiter .... would have done 
sacrifice with the people ; which when the Apostles, 
Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and 
ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, 
why do ye these things ? We also are men of like passions 
with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from 
these vanities to serve the living God " (Acts xiv. 13-15). 

"And I [John] fell at his feet [the angel s] to worship 
him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not. I am 
thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the 
testimony of Jesus : worship God" (Rev. xix. 10). 

" I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel 
which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, 
See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant .... 
worship God" (Rev. xxii. 8, 9). 1 

Contrariwise, our Lord Jesus Christ never refused nor 
blamed an act of worship offered to Himself, thereby 
showing that there is a fundamental principle involved. 
(St. Matt. ii. ii ; viii. 2 ; ix. 18 ; xiv. 33 ; xv. 25 ; xviii. 16; 
xx. 20 ; xxviii. 9, 17 ; St. Mark v. 6; St. John ix. 38; 
Heb. i. 6 ; Rev. v. S). 2 

1 It cannot be supposed that Cornelius meant to do divine homage 
to St. Peter, or St. John to the angel, so that the rebukes in these 
two cases clearly forbid secondary worship. 

2 It is also to be added that wherever the phrase "invoke " or 



30 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Nevertheless, in direct rebellion against the plain letter 
and spirit of both the Old and New Testaments, the Roman 
Church practically compels her children to offer far more 
prayers to deceased human beings than they address to 
the Father or to Christ. It is not true, as is often 
alleged in defence, that the prayers of the departed Saints 
are asked only in the same sense as those of living ones, 
with the added thought that they are now more able 
to pray effectually for us. The petitions are not at all 
limited to a mere " Pray for us ; " but are constantly of 
exactly the same kind and wording as those addressed 
to Almighty God, and are offered kneeling, and in the 
course of Divine Service, which is not how we ever ask 
the prayers of living friends. A few specimens are here set 
down from the " Raccolta " (Eng. Transl., Burns & Gates, 
1873), a collection of prayers specially indulgenced by 
the Popes, and therefore of indisputable authority in the 
Roman Church. 1 

1. "Hail, Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, Sweet 
ness, and Hope, all hail ! To thee we cry, banished sons 
of Eve, to thee we sigh, groaning and weeping in this 
vale of tears. Turn then, O our Advocate, thy merciful 
eyes to us, and after this our exile, show us Jesus, the 
blessed fruit of thy womb, O merciful, O loving, O sweet 
Virgin Mary. 

" V. Make me worthy to praise thee, O sacred Virgin. 
R. Give me strength against thine enemies." 

2. "We fly beneath thy shelter, O holy Mother of God, 
despise not our petitions in our necessities, and deliver us 
always from all perils, O glorious and blessed Virgin." 

" call upon " in prayer is used in the New Testament, it is always of 
God and Christ, never of any other. These are the texts where it 
occurs : Acts ii. 21, vii. 59, ix. 14, 21, xxii. 16 ; Rom. x. 12, 13, 14; 
I Cor. i. 2; 2 Cor. i. 23 ; 2 Tim. ii. 22; i Pet. i. 17. In its 
secular use it is applied to St. Paul s appeal to Caesar. 

1 It does not, however, contain nearly all the indulgences. None 
of the local ones, attached to churches, altars, pilgrimages, &c., 
of which there are thousands, appear in it. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 31 

3. " Heart of Mary, Mother of God . . . worthy of 
all the veneration of angels and men . . . Heart full 
of goodness, ever-compassionate towards our sufferings, 
vouchsafe to thaw our icy hearts ... In thee let the 
holy Church find safe shelter; protect it, and be its 
sweet asylum, its tower of strength ... Be thou our 
help in need, our comfort in trouble, our strength in 
temptation, our refuge in persecution, our aid in all 
dangers ..." 

4. " Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation." 

5. " Leave me not, my Mother, in my own hands, or 
I am lost. Let me but cling to thee. Save me, my 
Hope ; save me from hell." 

6. " Michael, glorious prince, chief and champion of 
the heavenly host . . . vouchsafe to free us all from every 
evil, who with full confidence have recourse to thee." 

7. " Benign Joseph, our guide, protect us and the 
holy Church." 

8. " Guardian of virgins, and holy father Joseph, to 
whose faithful keeping Christ Jesus, innocence itself, 
and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were committed, I pray 
and beseech thee by these two dear pledges, Jesus and 
Mary, that being preserved from all uncleanness, I may 
with spotless mind, pure heart, and chaste body, ever 
most chastely serve Jesus and Mary. Amen." 

These are only a few specimens culled out of many, 
and it is easy to test their true nature by substituting the 
names of the Father and Christ for those which occur in 
them ; so nothing less can be said than that they en 
croach sorely on the incommunicable attributes of God. 
Even if they did not, the whole practice of the Invoca 
tion of Saints is founded on pure guesswork. Not one 
syllable can be discovered in the Old or New Testa 
ment which gives the least ground or suggestion of it ; 
God has never been pleased to reveal it, nor can the 
smallest evidence or trace of it be found for nearly four 
hundred years after Christ. It is at best a mere con- 



32 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

jecture that the Saints do know what passes on earth, 
and can hear and join in the prayers of the faithful. 1 It 
may be so, but God has not chosen to make it known to 
us, and it is a very perilous thing to fly in the face of 
His holy Word on the mere chance that a guess of ours 
may be correct ; a guess, too, which, as put in practice, 
casts a doubt on the perfect sympathy of Christ. 

It may, perhaps, be argued that expressions of devo 
tion, even if somewhat unguarded, are not to be rigidly 
weighed and judged. Some extracts from a formal 
theological work, Liguori s " Glories of Mary," are there 
fore added here : 

" Queen, Mother, and Spouse of the King, to her 
belong dominion and power over all creatures." 

" She is Queen of Mercy, as Jesus is King of Justice." 

" In the Franciscan chronicles it is narrated that 
Brother Leo once saw a red ladder, on the top of which 
was Jesus Christ ; and a white one, on the top of which 
was His most holy Mother, and he saw some who tried to 
ascend the red ladder, and they mounted a few steps 
and fell; they tried again, and again fell. They were 
then advised to go and try the white ladder, and by that 
one they easily ascended, for our Blessed Lady stretched 
out her hands and helped them, and so they got safely 
to heaven." 

If this (which Liguori twice uses in proof of the tenet 
it involves) be not blasphemy against the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and a formal denial of His power to save and His 
being the way to heaven, there are no such sins possible. 

Yet, even before Pius IX. made Liguori a "Doctor of 

1 And this is all that Peter Lombard (A.D. 1150) ventures to 
assert when treating of the doctrine of Invocation. He says : " It 
is not incredible that the souls of the Saints . . . understand what is 
passing in the outer world." "Sentt."iv. dist. 45. It was thus 
but a guess to the leading Roman theologian only seven centuries 
ago. And Veron (" Rule of Catholic Faith ") denies it to be an 
article of the Faith, though a probable opinion. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 33 

the Church," the Congregation of Rites decreed in 1803 
that, " in all the writings of Alfonso de Liguori there 
is not one word that can be justly found fault with." 

It may be just remarked here, as showing how modern 
this sort of thing is, that the most popular of all de 
votions to the Blessed Virgin, the Angelus, does not 
appear to have been used at all till Pope John XXII. 
instituted it in 1316; while its latter clause, "Holy Mary, 
Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour 
of our death," cannot be found earlier than 1507, 1 and 
was first sanctioned for general use by a bull of Pius V., 
July 7, 1568, while the use of the Ave Maria before 
sermons is due to St. Vincent Ferrer (1419). 

This is quite in accordance with what we should expect, 
seeing how clear is the evidence of the early Christian 
Fathers against any practice of invocation of the kind 
now popular. Here are a few samples : St. Irenaeus 
(A.D. 1 80): "As the Church has freely received from the 
Lord, so does she freely minister, nor does she do any 
thing by invocation of angels . . . but by directing her 
prayers clearly, purely, and openly to the Lord, Who 
made all things, and calling on the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ." ("Cont. Hser." ii. 32.) 

St. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 200): "Since there 
is only one good God, both we ourselves and the angels 
supplicate from Him alone." (" Stromat." vii. 7.) 

Origen (A.D. 230): "Every prayer and supplication, 
and intercession and thanksgiving, is to be sent up to God, 
Who is above all, through the High Priest, Who is above 
all angels, He being Word and God. For it is not reason 
able that they who do not understand the knowledge of 
angels, which is above man s, should invoke them. If their 
knowledge . . . were understood, this very knowledge 

1 Cardinal Baronius alleges that the first part of this addition was 
made by the Council of Ephesus. " Ann. Eccl."43i. The devo 
tional use of St. Luke i. 28 and 42 in the West cannot be traced 
higher than Odo, Bishop of Paris, in 1198, nor in England till 1247. 

D 



34 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

would not suffer us to dare to pray to any other but to God, 
the Lord over all, Who is sufficient for all, through our 
Saviour, the Son of God." (" Cont. Gels." vii.) 

" To those who place their confidence in the Saints, we 
fitly produce as an example, Cursed is the man which 
hopeth in man and again, Do not put your trust in 
man ; and another, It is better to trust in the Lord 
than in princes. If it be necessary to put our trust in 
anyone, let us leave all others, and trust in the Lord." 
(" Horn. i. in Ezek." xvii.) 

St. Athanasius (A.D. 370): "It is written, Be my pro 
tecting God, my house of refuge and saviour, and The 
Lord is the refuge of the poor ; and whatever things of 
the same sort are found in Scripture. But if they say 
that these things are spoken of the Son, which would 
perhaps be true, let him confess that the Saints did not 
think of calling on a created being to be their helper and 
house of refuge." ("Orat. cont. Arianos," i. 62.) 

Council of Laodicea (circa A.D. 360) the same which 
settled the canon of Scripture " Christians ought not 
to forsake the Church of God, and depart and invoke 
angels, and hold meetings, which are forbidden. If 
anyone, therefore, be found giving himself to this hidden 
idolatry, let him be anathema, because he hath left our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and hath betaken 
himself to idolatry." (Canon xxxv.) 

It is true that just after this time we find the first germs 
of the practice at the close of the fourth century in St. 
Gregory Nazianzen (A.D. 390) and St. Gregory Nyssen 
(A.D. 396); but their slight apostrophes are very unlike 
the newer ones, even if their example could set aside a 
Divine principle: and yet later, St. Chrysostom (A.D. 407), 
commenting on Coloss. ii. 18, says that the "voluntary 
humility and worshipping of angels " there condemned 
by St. Paul, refers to "such as say that we must not 
approach God through Christ s mediation, that being too 
great a thing for us, but through the angels," exactly 
the popular Roman plea. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 35 

Roman Inconsistency in the Invocation of Saints. 

XIII. Even apart from the theological heresy and 
rebellion of the practice, as just exemplified, and the 
absence of any certainty of its utility, however modified 
and purged from these sins ; there is another fact which 
shows the further inconsistency and uncertainty about it. 
If there be any truth in the doctrine at all, one thing 
must necessarily follow, that the fittest persons to invoke 
are the most eminent Saints, those of whose holiness and 
acceptance with God there can be no doubt whatever. 
But in actual practice this is not the case at all, except as 
regards the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph. For example, 
take the " Raccolta." There is not one indulgenced 
prayer to the Archangel St. Gabriel, or to any Apostle, 
except SS. Peter and Paul, not even to St. John, the 
Beloved Disciple ; none to St. Stephen the Protomartyr, 
nor to St. Mary of Bethany. But there are such prayers 
to purely minor and wholly insignificant persons, like 
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Stanislas Kostka, St. Michael 
de Santi, and St. Nicholas of Bari, who cannot, on any 
estimate of their merits, be ranked with the great New 
Testament worthies, nor even with saints like St. Atha- 
nasius or St. Augustine, who are never popularly invoked 
at all. Often, too, prayers are addressed to persons 
whose life and acts make it fair to say that if they be so 
much as just barely saved, it can only be by God s prero 
gative of mercy, as in the case of Pope Pius V., the 
ruthless inquisitor, the stirrer-up of war and rebellion, 
the encourager of Philip II. in his many crimes, includ 
ing the slaughter of his own son Carlos, the instigator 
of the Emperor in breaking his treaty with the Turks, 
on the ground that no faith or oath need be kept with 
an infidel, the plotter against the life of Queen Elizabeth. 1 

1 For these acts of Pius V., see his own Bulls, Young s " Life of 
Aonio Paleario ;" Prescott s "Reign of Philip II.," iv. 7, and 
Lord Acton s letter to the Times, Nov. 27, 1874. 
D 2 



36 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

And sometimes, at least, they are addressed to persons 
who there is no reason to suppose ever existed at 
all ; such as St. Filumena, a virgin martyr, never heard 
of till 1802, and invented them on the faith of a frag 
mentary inscription which was declared on the faith of 
somebody s dream, to prove her existence. 1 There is 
thus a further uncertainty as to whether many of the 
personages invoked are real Saints, 2 and the practice is 
shown to be a mere restless love of novelty and fashion, 
not a matter of true and fixed religious principle. 3 

Roman Image-Worship. 

XIV. Next, let us take the worship of images and 
pictures. Here it must first be said (a) that the Roman 
Church in terms denies that any such act as can be 
strictly called worship is done to pictures and images, 
even by the most ignorant, since no one believes that these 
representations can see, hear, or help of themselves ; 
(b) that there is no question as to the lawfulness of making 
some such images and representations, if not intended 
to receive homage, as even the Jews had the brazen 
serpent, 4 and the figures of the cherubim in the Holy 

1 The value of this dream is easily tested. It was revealed 
therein that "Filumena" is " filia luminis," Latin for "daughter 
of light" (an impossible formation), whereas it is a very common 
Greek name (t&iXou/zgv??), meaning " Beloved." 

2 Veron (" Rule of Catholic Faith ") says that it is not matter of 
Faith that any person, not named as a Saint in the Bible, is a 
Saint at all, or capable of being invoked. A curious instance has been 
adduced by Professor Max Miiller ("Chips from a German Work 
shop," iv. 174-187), that the legend of Saints Barlaam and Josaphat 
( Mart. Rom., " Nov. 27), is the story of Buddha in a Christian dress. 

3 The writer remembers seeing, a few years ago, in the churches 
of several Belgian towns the older saints and images practically 
deserted in favour of some brand-new statues of John Berchmans, a 
young Jesuit then recently beatified, round which the worshippers 
crowded, as the last new thing out. 

4 But Hezekiah broke the serpent lecause incense was burnt before 
it, 2 Kings xviii. 4. The Abbe Glaire, in his "Diet. Eccles.," s.v., 
Nehostan, omits to mention this inconvenient fact. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 37 

of Holies, where, however, only one man ever saw them, 
and that only once a year ; and the early Christians set up 
pictures of our Lord in the catacombs, still to be seen 
there. But, on the other hand, there is a very suspicious 
fact which meets us at the outset of the inquiry as to the 
actual Roman practice, as distinguished from any fine 
spun theories in books, namely, that many Roman Cate 
chisms omit the Second Commandment, while no Roman 
catechism teaches that there is either danger or sin in 
any making or using of images for religious honour, 
short of actual paganism. The point is not, as Roman 
controversialists are apt to put it, whether their way 
of dividing the Decalogue, which makes the First and 
Second Commandment (as the English Prayer-book 
and Catechism have them) one precept, and then re 
stores the number ten by making the Tenth Command 
ment into two (a plan which seems only to repeat the 
Seventh Commandment, to make St. Matt. v. 28 super 
fluous, and is not followed by the Vulgate or Douai in 
Deut. v. 2 1, where the word "covet" is not repeated in the 
Tenth Commandment as there given), be a better or a 
worse way than the Anglican ; nor whether the whole text 
of the commandment against image-worship be not found 
unmutilated in Roman Catholic Bibles ; but whether in 
practice one Roman Catholic in a million ever knows 
that image worship can be abused or sinful without 
virtual apostasy from Christianity. 1 The Shorter Lutheran 

1 Even in Schneider s " Manuale Clericorum," a popular Jesuit 
book in Latin, for the use of students for the priesthood (Ratisbon, 
Pustet, 1868), where there is a very full set of questions for examina 
tion of conscience on the Decalogue, extending over pp. 403-411, 
there is no hint whatever at the Second Commandment, which 
is entirely suppressed ; but the first question under the First 
Commandment is, " Has he believed everything which the Holy 
Roman Church believes, or held an opinion contrary to the Roman 
faith in any matter?" Bellarmine s Catechism, the most authorita 
tive of all, as approved by two Papal Briefs, cuts out the Second 
Commandment entirely. See M Caul, " Why does the Church of 



38 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Catechism cuts down the First and Second Command 
ments just in the same way as many Roman ones do; 
but, then, on the one hand, Lutherans have free access 
to the Bible in their own language, and, on the other, 
nothing of the nature of image-worship has ever been 
practised amongst them. 1 

Intelligent and shrewd heathens, when arguing in 
favour of idols, say exactly what Roman Catholic con 
troversialists do in defence of their practice, namely, 
that they do not believe in any sentient power as residing 
in the mere stone, wood, or metal, of which their idols 
are made, but regard them as representing visibly certain 
attributes of Deity, to bring them home to the minds of 
worshippers ; and that homage addressed to these idols 
on that ground is acceptable to the unseen spiritual 
Powers, who will listen to and answer prayers so made 
indirectly to themselves ; and, in fact, Athenagoras, a 
Christian apologist, who lived in the second century 
(A.D. 177), tells us that such was the defence set up by 
the Roman pagans of that time on behalf of idolatry, 
and adds that they appealed to the miracles and cures 
wrought by such images as proofs of their truth (" Apol." 
xviii. xxvi.). 

Rome hide the Second Commandment from the People?" wherein he 
cites twenty-nine Catechisms, large and small, used in Italy, France, 
Belgium, Austria, Bavaria, Silesia, Spain, Portugal, England, and 
Ireland, in twenty-seven of which the Second Commandment is 
entirely omitted, and mutilated in the other two. 

1 It is worth remarking that Roman Catholics, who translate the 
passage in Exod xx. 5, "Thou shalt not adore them," sometimes 
complain that the Authorized Version, " Thou shalt not bow down 
to them" is a misleading rendering, and goes too far. As a fact, 
the Hebrew verb shachah^ here found, strictly means to b(ru> or 
prostrate one s self, and only secondarily comes to mean worship or 
adoration, and is translated bowed down in the Douai Version of 
Genesis xlii. 6, speaking of Joseph s brethren s obeisance towards 
him. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 39 

Proof that Roman Image- Worship is Idolatrous. 

XV. If it be true, as Roman controversialists often 
allege in this country, that no more is intended by their 
use of images than the Church of England intends by 
allowing the erection of religious pictures, windows, and 
sculptures, commemorating events of the Gospel, in 
churches, or even than the loving use of the portraits of 
dear friends and kindred ; then the practice, however 
dangerously misleading it may sometimes have been, is 
clear from any just charge of idolatry. But it is not true. 
And the proofs to the contrary are to be found, not in 
some remote and barbarous heathen country, amongst an 
ignorant flock of newly-converted pagans, who have not 
yet quite shaken off their early habits, but in Rome itself, 
the very centre of Latin Christendom. 

Thus (a), at the Church of Sta. Maria del Divino 
Amore, near the Piazza Borghese, there is a yearly 
festival, not of the saint, nor yet of the church, 
but of the sacred image there preserved; (b) in the 
Church of St. Agostino there is an alleged miraculous 
image of the B. V. M. and Child, to which Pius VII. 
annexed an indulgence of 100 days for every one 
devoutly kissing its feet ; (c) the Bambino, or image of 
the Infant Saviour, in the church of the Ara Coali, is 
regarded as a wonder-worker of exceptional efficacy ; 
and (d) there is another miraculous picture of B. V. M. 
in Sta. Maria in Cosmedin. Now, when a special pic 
ture or image is no longer regarded as a mere historical 
memorial, on an exact level of value for that purpose 
with every other one representing the same person or 
event, but as endued with supernatural powers, and to be 
reverenced accordingly, that is idolatry in the strictest 
sense ; for, as explained above, no heathen, however 
brutishly degraded, supposes his idols to be in themselves 
sentient and divine, but merely attributes to them just 
the powers which the Roman authorities publicly and 



40 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

officially ascribe to these and many other so-called 
miraculous images. 1 And so we come to superstition 
like that of Louis XI., who prayed to images of the 
Virgin of Embrun and the Virgin of Clery as two dis 
tinct, and to some extent rival, persons ; a kind of com 
petition we have seen revived in our own day between 
the Virgins of Lourdes and of La Salette, where acute 
jealousy exists between the custodians of the rival 
springs. " It is all up with Our Lady of La Salette," 
complained a French partisan of that shrine not long 
ago, in language whose very coarseness is instructive, 
" Our Lady of Lourdes has cut her out." 2 

And it is further necessary to add in final disproof of 
the common Roman denial (as, for instance, in Cardinal 
Wiseman s " Lectures on the Catholic Church," xiii.), that 
any real worship is paid to images, and that they are 
merely regarded as edifying memorials, the following 
quotations from the greatest of all Roman theological 
works, the "Summa" of St. Thomas Aquinas, to which 
the present Pope Leo XIII. , in a recent encyclical, has 
ordered the teaching of the schools of religious philo 
sophy to be strictly conformed : 

"The same reverence should be displayed towards 
an image of Christ and towards Christ Himself, and 
seeing that Christ is adored with the adoration of latria, 
(i.e. supreme religious worship) it follows that His image 

1 It is not open to Roman Catholics to say that this is a mere 
"pious opinion," and not binding; for Pius VI. by the Bull 
"Auctorem Fidei " in 1794? condemned the proposition that 
particular devotion to a special image is blameworthy, as "rash, 
pernicious, injurious to the pious and wonted custom of the Church, 
and to the providential order of God " in such matters. And the 
public crowning of certain images by Papal authority is decisive. 

2 " C en est fait de Notre Dame de La Salette ; Notre Dame de 
Lourdes 1 a flanquee." It maybe added here that in Chartres 
Cathedral there are tw *tip~^^ins, Our Lady of the Pillar, in 
the nave, Our Lady j^\~"6T^yNnderground, one black, the 
other white, having gepttfate confrhterhaties and clients. 

UBRARY1>] 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 41 

is to be adored with the adoration oi latria" 1 ("Summa" 
II. xxv. 3.) 

"The Cross is adored with the same adoration as 
Christ, that is, with the adoration of latria, and for that 
reason we address and supplicate the Cross just as we do 
the Crucified Himself. "(III. xxv. 4.) 2 

" In that images of the Saints denote their excellence, 
they may be, and ought to be, adored with a certain 
inferior adoration or duliaf like the Saints themselves 
whom they represent, though not with that absolute kind 
which is offered to their prototypes, but relative only." 
("Summa, Sec. Secund." xciv. 2.) 

Not only is St. Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the 
Roman Church, and therefore an authority which may 
not be challenged, but the collect for his festival in the 
Breviary and Missal contains this petition, " Grant to 
us, we beseech Thee, to embrace with our understanding 
what he taught, and to fulfil by our imitation what he 
did." The excuses and explanations offered by Roman 
Catholic controversialists to allay objections to the system 
are therefore presumably insincere, and against the 

1 It is necessary to bear clearly in mind that latria is the name 
for the very highest kind of worship, due to God only. So Bellar- 
mine : " The first [species of excellence] is the Divine and Infinite 
excellence, to which corresponds the first species of worship, which 
is called by theologians Latria" " De Sanct. Beatitudine." 

2 The Legate s Cross shall be on the right, because latria is 
due to it " (Pontificate Roman. " Ordo ad Recip. process. Im- 
peratorem"). For the uncertainty of Roman doctrine on this 
head see Cardinal Newman, " Via Media," (Vol. II., pp. 118 and 
419, ed. 1877). 

3 This distinction between latria and dulia (both of them Greek 
words) has no warrant from the Greek Testament, which has the 
verb dotdeuo ($ouAt>o>), " to serve," in the following texts, where 
God s service is meant: " Ye cannot serve God and mammon" 
(St. Matt. vi. 24; St. Luke xvi. 13) ; "Serving the Lord with all 
humility" (Acts xx. 19); " He that in these things serveth Christ" 
(Rom. xiv.); " Turned to God from idols to serve the living God " 
(i Thess. i. 9), &c. 



42 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

received doctrine and practice of their Church. And 
even if they were true, they would still leave the modified 
image-worship perilously near being under the Prophet s 
ban : " What profiteth the graven image that the 
maker thereof hath graven it ? the molten image, and a 
teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth 
therein, to make dumb idols ? Woe unto him that saith 
to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall 
teach!" (Habakkuk ii. 19.) And as regards allowing the 
images of saints the inferior worship called dulia (which 
strictly means slavery, the service due from a slave to his 
owner), while that of hyper-dulia, or extra-slavery, is 
to be paid to the Blessed Virgin and her images, it is 
to be remarked that this too is expressly condemned in 
the Decalogue, which not merely says of images, "Thou 
shalt not bow down to them," but adds, " nor serve them," 
as even the Douai Bible reads. 

The Fathers on Image- Worship. 

XVI. And if we inquire into the "unanimous consent 
of the Fathers " as to images, we find them expressly 
condemned by the following, without mentioning those 
whose entire silence implies their ignorance of any such 
use. St. Irenseus (A.D. 120-190) mentions the use of 
images of Christ, with religious honour done to them, 
as a peculiarity of the Carpocratian heretics, dis 
tinguishing them from Catholic Christians. (" Cont. 
Hser." i. 25.) 

Minucius Felix (A.D. 220) : "Crosses, moreover, we neither 
worship nor wish for. You [heathens], who consecrate 
wooden gods, do worship wooden crosses, perhaps as parts 
of your gods ; for your very standards, as well as your 
banners and ensigns of your camp, what are they but 
crosses gilt and decked ?" (" Octavius," xxix.) 

Origen (A.D. 230) : " We say that those are the 
most untaught who are not ashamed to address lifeless 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 43 

objects . . . and though some may say these objects 
are not their gods, but imitations and symbols of real 
ones, nevertheless they are untaught, and slavish, and 
ignorant, who imagine that the hands of low mechanics 
can fashion likenesses of Divinity ; for we assert that the 
very lowest amongst us (Christians) have been set free 
from this ignorance and want of knowledge." (" Cont. 
Cels." vi. 14.) "The statues and gifts which are fit 
offerings to God are the work of no common mechanics, 
but are wrought and fashioned within us by the Word of 
God, to wit, the virtues whereby we imitate the Firstborn 
of all creation." ("Cont. Cels." viii. 17.) 

" What sensible man can refrain from smiling when he 
sees that one who has learned from philosophy such pro 
found and noble sentiments about God or the gods, 
turns straightway to images, and offers to them his 
prayers, or imagines that by gazing on these natural things 
he can ascend from the visible symbol to that which 
is spiritual and immaterial? " ("Cont. Cels." vii. 44.) 

Lactantius (A.D. 300) : " It is indisputable that wher 
ever there is an image, there is no religion. For if 
religion consist of divine things, and there be nothing 
divine except in heavenly things ; it follows that images 
are outside of religion, because there can be nothing 
heavenly in what is made from the earth . . . thus there 
is no religion in images, but a mimicry of religion." 
("Div. Inst." ii. 19.) 

Fathers of the Council of Elvira (A.D. 306) : " It has 
been decreed that there ought not to be pictures in 
churches, lest what is worshipped and adored be painted 
on the walls." (Canon xxxvi.) 

Eusebius (A.D. 338) speaking of the image of Christ 
traditionally said to have been erected by the Syro- 
phenician woman, says : " It is no wonder that those 
of old amongst the Gentiles who were benefited by the 
Saviour, made these things. We have heard of likenesses 
of Paul and Peter, and of Christ Himself, preserved in 



44 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

pictures, the ancients being naturally wont to honour 
them in this way as saviours, according to the heathen 
custom prevailing amongst men." (" Hist. Eccl." vii. 14.) 

St. Epiphanius (A.D. 370) in a letter preserved in St. 
Jerome s translation, tells how he found a painting 
of Christ on a curtain in a church at Anablatha, and 
tore it up, as "contrary to the authority of the Scriptures 
and contrary to our religion." (St. Hieron. Epistle 51.) 

St. Ambrose (A.D. 370) writing of the alleged finding 
of the true Cross by St. Helen, says : " She therefore 
found the title ; she adored the King truly not the wood, 
for this is a heathen error, and the vanity of the ungodly, but 
she adored Him Who hung on the Wood." (" De Obit. 
Theodos.") Compare this with the Good Friday office for 
the adoration of the Cross in the Roman Missal, with its 
rubrics : " The priest, taking off his shoes, advances to 
adore the Cross, genuflecting thrice before he kisses 
it. ... Then the ministers of the altar and the other 
clerks and the layfolks, two and two, genuflecting thrice 
as aforesaid, adore the Cross. Later on an antiphon is 
sung, beginning, We adore Thy Cross, O Lord. ;1 

The same St. Ambrose, in another place, uses words 
to express the impossibility of reconciling heathen lan 
guage and practice, which precisely apply to modern 
Roman apologies for the usage now discussed. Speaking 
of an ably-drafted petition on behalf of the pagan religion, 
which had been presented to the Emperor Valentinian, he 
says, " But this gold, if you handle it carefully, is precious 
outside, while within it is common metal. Ponder, I 
pray you, and examine the Gentile sect : they utter 
beautiful and imposing sentiments, but defend what is 
devoid of truth. They talk about God, they worship an 
image" (" Epist. xviii. ad Valentin ianum.") 



1 Doubtless this is intended to be in honour of the Atonement, 
but it is at least unfortunate that such dangerously misleading terms 
should be used. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 



45 



St. Augustine (A.D. 430) supplies very valuable testi 
mony, because he lets us know that those heathen argu 
ments in favour of idols which he refutes are identical 
in meaning, and almost in exact wording, with the defence 
now set up by Roman divines for the cultus of images. 
Here is subjoined a parallel between St. Augustine s 
heathen and the decrees of the Council of Trent. 



St. Augustine. 
" Confounded be all they 
that serve graven images, 
that boast themselves of idols. 
But some disputant, who 
thinks himself learned, 
comes forward and says, I 
do not worship a stone, nor 
that image which is without 
feeling; for it is not possible 
that your prophets should 
have known that they have 
eyes and see not, and I be 
ignorant that the image in 
question has no soul, and 
sees not with its eyes, nor 
hears with its ears. I do 
not worship that; but I bow 
before (adoro) what I see, 
and serve him whom I do 
not sec. Who is he? 
Some invisible power/ he 
replies, which presides over 
that image. By giving this 
sort of explanation of their 
images, they think them 
selves very clever, as not 
worshippers of idols." 
("Enarr. inPs. ? xcvi. n.) 



Council of Trent. 
"The images of Christ, 
of the Virgin Mother of God, 
and of the Saints, are to be 
had and retained, especially 
in churches, and due honour 
and veneration to be paid 
to them ; not because there 
is believed to be any divinity 
or virtue in them, on ac 
count of which they are to 
be worshipped, or because 
from them anything is to 
be asked, or because trust 
is to be reposed in images, 
as the heathens of old put 
their trust in idols ; but be 
cause the honour which is 
exhibited to them is referred 
to the prototypes which 
they represent ; so that 
through the images which 
we kiss, and before which 
we uncover our heads and 
lie prostrate, we adore Christ 
and pay veneration to the 
saints, whose likeness the 
images bear." (Cone. Trid., 
sess. xxv.) 



46 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Thus it is plain that down to St. Augustine s death 
in A.D. 430 there was no devotional use of pictures and 
images lawful amongst Christians, 1 and even very little 
merely decorative use ; of which latter it is just possible 
to find some slight traces in a few of the Fathers, such 
as St. Chrysostom, St. Cyril, and St. Gregory Nyssen. 
By degrees, as learning and civilization decayed in the 
West, through the inroads of the barbarians into the 
Empire, and in the East through the crumbling away of 
province after province under the advance of Moham 
medanism, image worship amongst Christians arose, 
spread and developed, during the time known as the 
"Dark Ages," i.e., from about A.D. 600 to 1,000. Just 
before the first-named of these dates, Serenus, Bishop 
of Marseilles, finding that the pictures and images in 
the churches of his diocese were superstitiously used, 
destroyed them and cast them out of the buildings. 
Pope Gregory the Great wrote him two letters, one in 
595 and the other in 600, blaming him as too hasty, 
because pictures of religious subjects are useful for 
teaching the ignorant; but adding that, of course, no 
sort of worship of these pictures ought to be tolerated. 
His words are : " I give you warning that news reached 
us some time ago, that you, my brother, noticing some 
persons as adoring images, broke up and cast out these 
church images. And we praise you for having been zealous 
lest anything made with hands should be adored, but we 
are of opinion that you ought not to have broken those 
images. For the reason why a picture is used in churches 
is, that those who are unlettered may, at any rate, read 
by seeing on the walls what they cannot read in books. 
So, brother, you ought to have preserved them, and have 
prohibited the people from worshipping them." (Ep. VII. 

1 He does say in one place : "I know of many who are wor 
shippers of tombs and pictures;" but adds, that "the Catholic 
Church condemns them, and daily strives to correct them, as evil 
children. V-("De Mor. Eccl." I. xxxir. 75, 76.) 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 47 

ii. 3.) Serenus, being on the spot, and knowing better 
than the Pope hundreds of miles away, did not restore 
the images, and got a second letter in reply to his mes 
sage of non-compliance. The Pope goes over the same 
ground saying : " Fired with inconsiderate zeal, you broke 
the images of the saints under this excuse, because they 
should not be adored. And in so far as you forbade 
their being worshipped, we entirely praised you, but we 
blamed you for breaking them. ... It is one thing to 
worship a picture, and another to learn by the story told 
in a picture what is to be worshipped. ... So, if any 
one wish to make images, by no means forbid it, but in 
every possible way avoid worshipping images . . . and let 
the people humbly prostrate themselves in honour of the 
Almighty and Holy Trinity alone" (Ep. IX. iv. 9.) 

Now, though this shows a great declension from the 
earlier standard, yet it explicitly contradicts the teaching 
of modern Romanism, which encourages that kneeling 
and prostration before pictures which St. Gregory limits 
to the worship of God alone. It is not till the Eastern 
Church had entered on its decrepitude that the falsely- 
styled Seventh General Council was held at Nicaea in 
787, which gave the first formal authorization to the 
worship of images, doubtless influenced by reaction 
against the Arianizing temper of the Iconoclasts. Re 
garding this, the following facts are important : 

1. It was attended by 375 bishops, and reversed the 
decrees of a previous council of 338 bishops, who had 
condemned image-worship at Constantinople in 754. 

2. It was promptly rejected by Western Christendom 
in a council of more than 300 bishops at Frankfort in 
794, including the prelates of Germany, Gaul, Spain, 
Italy, and England, with two papal legates. 

3. It is styled over and over again a "pseudo-synod" 
by French, German, and English Catholic writers down 
to Matthew of Westminster in 1375, so that it never has 
had that acceptance by Christendom which is necessary 



48 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

to make a council rank as General and binding, nor 
can it ever acquire it now. (See proofs in Palmer s 
"Treatise on the Church," IV. x. 4.) 

4. Its Acts are extant, and prove that the Holy 
Scriptures, and the practice and teaching of the early 
Church, went for almost nothing in guiding its decisions, 
which are based chiefly on wild and puerile legends ; 
such, for example, as that a workman employed in 
putting up hangings in a church happened to drive a 
nail into the head of a picture of St. Peter, and was at 
once seized with a racking headache, not curable till, at 
the Bishop s order, he drew out the nail, when the head 
ache disappeared immediately ! 

5. Such as the Council is, however, it expressly denies 
and rejects the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas, cited 
above, in that it strictly confines the honour of latria to 
God alone. Image-worship, then, stands condemned by 
Holy Scripture and by all ancient Church authority, 
finding its warrant only in a late, corrupt, and ignorant 
age. Some more candid Roman Catholics, such as 
the great canonist Van Espen, have admitted that there 
is actual idolatry practised in the Roman Church, 
his words are : " Notwithstanding the manifold decrees 
of synods, and notably of the wholesome injunc- 

\ tions of the last, the Council of Trent, so great, mul 
tiplied, superstitious, and almost idolatrous cultus of 
images and statues on the part of the vulgar and igno 
rant people is commonly seen, that the Gallican Bishops 
[at the time of the Council of Frankfort] do not seem to 
have groundlessly feared lest, if they permitted the wor 
ship of images, it would be very difficult to draw back the 
ignorant vulgar from superstitious cultus and extravagant 
worship." 1 But notwithstanding this, it is impossible 
to find any serious warning against this danger and 
sin, much less any frank prohibition and condemnation 

1 "Jus. Eccl."II. i. xxxvii. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 49 

of it, in any popular Roman catechism or manual of 
doctrine. Excuses and quasi-arguments sometimes do 
occur, indeed, against Protestant charges, but they seem 
half-hearted and insincere in their deprecation. 

Belies. 

XVII. As relics are not found offered for veneration 
in every Roman Catholic place of worship, it is possible 
that many persons never practically join in devotion to 
them, and it is thus not necessary to say much on this 
head. It. will be enough to remark, in the first place, 
that the supreme worship of latria is accorded by the con 
sent of leading Roman theologians to all alleged relics 
of the Passion, such as the nails of the Cross, the crown 
of thorns, the seamless coat, &c. ; while dulia is simi 
larly allowed to relics of the Saints (Dens, " Theol." v. 
p. 45). And next, that so great is the uncertainty of 
all relics alleged as ancient there are, of course, 
genuine ones of modern saints that in few cases is 
the evidence offered on behalf of their genuineness such 
as would induce the authorities of any public museum 
in Europe to purchase an alleged historical relic with 
no more to be said in favour of its authenticity; 1 

1 Thus the Blessed Virgin s girdle, venerated at Quintin, is at 
tested in this wise, that, after the archives of the church had been 
burnt in 1600, it was stated at an inquiry in 1611 that documents 
then lost had recorded the bringing of the relic from the East by a 
former seigneur at the date of the Crusades ; and after the shrine 
had been carried off and destroyed in the French Revolution, some 
unknown person is said to have recovered this relic and brought it 
to the dean, who recognized it. There is no attempt whatever at 
proving the first or the last step here ; and even the first step, being 
more than a thousand years later than the date of the relic itself, 
assuming its genuineness, is rather too far in advance of the real 
beginning of proof. One of the best-attested ancient relics extant 
is St. Peter s Chain, which is all but certainly that which the 
Empress Eudocia brought from Jerusalem to Rome in A.D. 438. 
But its history begins then, four centuries after the event, and at a 

E 



50 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

while, in many instances, there is direct proof of 
either error or fraud. It is usual with Roman contro 
versialists to plead against objections to the same relic 
being shown in more than one place, that sometimes, 
as in the case of St. John the Baptist s head, each relic 
is only a portion, conventionally spoken of as entire ; 
while in other cases the relics are of different Saints 
bearing the same name. But here is a crucial instance 
which cannot be evaded by either method. The body 
of the Apostle St. Bartholomew is declared in the 
Roman Breviary and Martyrology to have been trans 
lated from Benevento to Rome by the Emperor Otto III. 
(983-1002), and is alleged to be entire. It is attested 
by Bulls of Alexander III. and Sixtus V. But the 
Church of Benevento alleges that the entire body of 
St. Bartholomew is there still, and produces Bulls to 
that effect from Leo IX., Stephen IX., Benedict XII., 
Clement VI., Boniface IX., and Urban V., the earliest 
of which Popes reigned fifty years after the death of 
Otto III. Here, then, are two entire bodies ; but Monte 
Cassino claims the possession of a large part of the body, 
and so does Reims. There are, besides, three heads, 
one at Naples, one formerly at Reichenau, and a third 
at Toulouse ; two crowns of the head, at Frankfort and 
Prague; part of the skull at Maestricht ; a jaw at Stein- 
feld, part of a jaw at Prague, two jaws in Cologne, and 
a lower jaw at Murbach ; an arm and hand at Gersiac ; 
a second arm, with the flesh, at Bethune ; a third arm 
at Amalfi ; a large part of a fourth arm at Foppens ; 
a fifth arm and part of a sixth at Cologne ; a seventh arm 
at Andechs ; an eighth arm at Ebers j three large leg or 
arm-bones in Prague ; part of an arm at Brussels j and 
other alleged portions of the body, not reckoning trifles 

time when, as St. Augustine lets us knew (" De Opere Monach." 
xxviii.), a thriving trade in forged relics had sprung up ; of which 
Palestine was naturally the head-quarters. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 51 

like skin, teeth, and hair in twenty other places. 1 This 
is, no doubt, an extreme instance ; but there are many 
very similar, and it admirably illustrates the uncertainty of 
relic- worship, and the culpable remissness of the Roman 
authorities in taking no measures to remove the doubt. 2 



The Blessed Virgin more worshipped than 
the Father or Christ. 

XVIII. The next particular in which the modern 
Church of Rome is in rebellion against the revealed will 
of God, is the manner in which she has made the wor 
ship of the Blessed Virgin not merely equal, but prac 
tically far exceed, that paid to her divine Son and His 
Almighty Father. This is committing the pagan sin, 
denounced by St. Paul, of those who " worshipped and 
served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed 
for ever" (Rom. i. 25). 

As there is great disingenuousness on this subject dis 
played in all books meant to allure proselytes or to 
answer objections, it is necessary to give precise details 
in proof of the charge. The little book by Dr. Di Bruno, 
" Catholic Belief" (Burns & Gates, 1878), is very cautious 
indeed on this head. Three chapters are devoted to 
the subject. The first of these explains and defends 



1 Baring-Gould, "Lives of the Saints," August 25. 

2 The Council of Trent, giving up the question of ancient relics 
as insoluble, decreed that no neiv relics should be received without 
the authentication of the Bishop (sess. xxv.). But in practice this is 
merely his testimony to the fact that a certain relic has been 
honoured as such for a long time. No attempt at a real inquiry 
into its genuineness is made. And Wetzer and Welte, in their 
"Kirchenlexicon," acknowledge that the Crusaders, notably after the 
sack of Constantinople, brought great quantities of spurious relics 
from the East. Sometimes there are open disputes. The seamless 
coat is claimed by Treves and by Argenteuil, and each denies the 
genuineness of the rival relic, 

E 2 



52 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

the title " Mother of God " as applied to the B. V. M. 
With this English Churchmen have no quarrel, for the 
Church of England acknowledges and is bound by the 
decrees of the General Council of Ephesus, which affirmed 
her right to the title of Theotokos. The second argues 
that it is fit to honour and love one whom our Lord so 
signally loved and honoured ; that to dishonour her would 
be to dishonour Him ; and that honour and love shown to 
her are for His sake. A little very little is said about 
having recourse to her intercession, and it is remarked 
that by asking for her prayers, Catholics at once admit 
that she is not the fountain or source of grace and 
merit, but must herself apply for them to her Son and 
Saviour. But here, again, for the most part, what is 
said is beside the question. The Church of England 
honours and loves the Blessed Virgin, employs her Song 
in its daily service, places the feasts of her Annunciation and 
Purification amongst the red letter days of the Calendar, 
and preserves a record of her Conception and Nativity 
there too ; while, without counting ancient churches, or 
churches replacing ancient ones, there are no fewer than 
six-and-thirty modern churches in and round London 
alone dedicated in her honour. If the Roman Church 
were content with this sort of reverence and affection, 
there would be no fault to find, but the fact is very 
far indeed from being so. Di Bruno s third chapter is 
on the Immaculate Conception, and avoids the main 
issue. 

i. In the "AnneeLiturgiqueaRome," 5th edition, 1870, 
which gives a list of all the festivals observed in each 
and all of the churches of that city, there are set down 
twenty -two festivals of our Lord, including the Invention 
and Exaltation of the Cross, which are only colourably 
in His honour ; while there are forty-one of the Blessed 
Virgin, two of which, however, are Candlemas and Lady 
Day, also included under our Lord s festivals. But 
taking away these indeterminate ones on both sides, there 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 53 

remain twenty feasts of our Lord to thirty-nine of the 
Blessed Virgin, giving her all but double the amount 
of honour paid to Him. 

2. Out of the 433 public churches and chapels of Rome, 
five are dedicated to the Holy Tnmty, fifteen to our Lord, 
together with four of the Crucifix and two of the Sacra 
ment, making twenty-one ; there are two dedicated to 
the Holy Spirit, and one hundred and twenty-one to the 
Blessed Virgin, more than four times all those others 
put together. These ominous tokens at the heart of 
Romanism do but too faithfully denote the current 
teaching and practice, exaggerated and forced on within 
the last twenty years beyond all previous bounds. 

3. It has been already shown from the " Raccolta " that 
language is used in prayer to the B. V. M. identical 
with that addressed to God, so that the assertion of 
apologists that she is merely asked to pray for us, and 
to obtain by her prayers those gifts which are not her 
own to confer, is obviously false. There are, of course, 
many such prayers to be found, but they are very far 
indeed from covering the whole facts. It now remains to 
be shown that in practice she receives not only the same 
in kind, but more in quantity. 

First, then, the popular devotion of the Rosary, when 
it was first invented several centuries ago, consisted of 
the recitation of a certain number of Psalms, with prayers 
intercalated ; in its second stage, it consisted of several 
repetitions of the Lord s Prayer, with the Creed added 
at intervals whence the mediaeval name of Paternoster, 
given to the string of beads, 1 a term still surviving in 
" Paternoster Row," where rosary-makers used to live ; 
but now, and for a long time past, the rosary is made 
up of 1 66 beads, on which are recited one Creed, fifteen 
Our Fathers, and a hundred and fifty Hail Marys ; thus 
entirely transforming the original devotion, and giving 

1 Siegel, "Christ-Kirch. Alterth."s.v. " Rosenkranz." 



$4 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

ten times as much to the B. V. M. as to Almighty 
God. 

4. Next, one of the most general private devotions in 
Roman Catholic countries is the Angelus, recited thrice 
daily, with three Hail Marys in each recitation, so that 
she is addressed at least nine times a day in prayer ; 
whereas no similar devotion to the Father or Christ is 
recommended. 

5. Again, the month of May every year is now specially 
dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and termed the " Month 
of Mary," every day of which is supposed to be chiefly 
occupied with devotions in her honour; a token of 
affection and reverence which is not paid even to our 
Lord, for the Lenten services are by no means so special 
in character, save in Holy Week alone. And already 
even May is found insufficient, so that September begins 
to be treated as a supplementary Month of Mary. It is 
no mere titular honour, for in Roman Catholic countries 
special altars are set up during May in honour of the 
Virgin Mother ; huge images, decked with flowers and 
other adornments, block the view of the high altar itself; 
processions throng streets and roads; litanies and novenas 
take up most of the time spent in church ; and all this 
with a fervour and eagerness never displayed on festivals 
of Christ. Frequent as are the offices and strong as are 
the expressions in honour of the Blessed Virgin in the 
Missal and Breviary, yet the main structure of these 
ancient formularies is so far unfavourable to Mariolatry, 
that it shows as a mere excrescence upon them ; and, 
therefore, no one who seeks for proofs of the manner in 
which it has become the most powerful factor in the 
Roman Catholic religion can find it there. It is neces 
sary to have recourse to the manuals of popular de 
votion; the private offices of the most widespread 
confraternities and guilds ; the shrines of pilgrimages, of 
which the overwhelming majority, especially amongst 
the newer ones, are connected with Virgin-worship ; to 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 55 

attend the sermons of the ordinary Roman preachers ; 
to examine the devotions in actual daily use amongst the 
people, before it is possible to realize the true extent of 
the practice, which is held in considerable check here in 
England, in deference to public opinion, and because it 
has not even yet, after thirty years vigorous effort, been 
found possible entirely to Italianize Anglo-Romans, and 
to root out the traditions of a more orthodox teaching 
amongst them. 

Quotations from Liguori s " Glories of Mary." 

XIX. But a few illustrations will help to show what 
the accredited teaching on the subject now is. And 
Liguori s " Glories of Mary," as being a work at once 
highly popular and fully approved by the Roman Church 
herself, shall be cited again, especially as it has been 
formally recommended to Anglo-Romans by Cardinals 
Wiseman and Manning : 

" Mary is our only refuge, help, and asylum." 

" In Judea, in ancient times, there were cities of 
refuge, wherein criminals who fled there for protection 
were exempt from the punishment they had deserved. 
Nowadays these cities are not so numerous ; there is 
but one, and that is Mary. 

" God, before the birth of Mary, complained by the 
mouth of the Prophet Ezekiel that there was no one to 
rise up and withhold Him from chastising sinners, but 
that He could find no one, for this office was reserved for 
our Blessed Lady, who withholds His arm until He is 
pacified" 

" Often we shall be heard more quickly, and be thus 
preserved, if we have recourse to Mary, and call upon 
her name, than we should be if we called on the Name oj 
fesus our Saviour" 

" Many things are asked from God, and are not 
granted ; they are asked from Mary and are obtained." 



56 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

" At the command of the Virgin all things obey, 
even God" 1 

" The salvation of all depends on their being favoured 
and protected by Mary. He who is protected by Mary 
will be saved; he who is not, will be lost." 

" Mary has only to speak, and her Son executes all." 

These are only specimens from scores of similar ex 
pressions in this work, wherein Liguori, carrying into his 
own practice the maxims of truthfulness which he incul 
cated upon others, unblushingly ascribes them to great 
Saints and Fathers of the early Church, sometimes 
on the faith of notorious forgeries, but often without 
even such a pretext for calumniating their memory. 

What wonder can it be, then, when such is the teach 
ing, that the logical and practical conclusion should be 
that it saves time, trouble, and uncertainty to go to the 
Blessed Virgin with prayer, rather than to the Father or 
Christ? 

What wonder that the very last words which the 
Roman Ritual puts into the mouth of the dying are, 
" Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, do thou 
protect me from the foe, and receive me in the hour of 
death." Our Lord s own last words upon the Cross, 
and His first martyr s dying t ejaculation, are prefixed, 
indeed but these highest examples of Scripture are not 
enough, the aid of the Father and Christ, so invoked, is 
not sufficient, and the last and surest appeal must be 
made to Mary, as the most powerful succour of all. 

The Mass converted into Worship of the 
Blessed Virgin. 

XX. It might seem, too, as if the Mass, whatever 
criticisms may be made on other aspects of it in the 

1 As this may be challenged, here is the Latin: " fm/>eri0 
Virginis onmia famu lantur, efiam Deus." 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 57 

Church of Rome, is at any rate so peculiarly a pleading 
the Passion of the Son to the Father, that no possibility 
exists of converting it into an instrument of Mariolatry. 
Yet Ultramontane ingenuity has been adequate to the 
task. The " Raccolta," already mentioned, has its indul- 
genced prayers classified according to the object or 
intention of each group ; and the first such group in the 
volume consists of devotions to the Most Holy Trinity, 
followed in order by those to the Almighty Father, to 
the Holy Spirit, to our Lord, and then to St. Mary. 
Naturally, an inexperienced reader does not look for 
Marian devotions till this fifth part is reached ; but, 
in fact, the indulgenced Votive Mass of the Holy Trinity 
is entirely taken up with acts of praise and thanksgiving 
for the graces, gifts, and privileges bestowed on the 
Blessed Virgin, and almost every prayer in this section 
is of the same kind, while the most fervent petition of 
all by far is addressed to the Blessed Virgin herself, 
beginning thus : 

" I acknowledge thee, and I venerate thee, most Holy 
Virgin, Queen of Heaven, Lady and Mistress of the Uni 
verse, as Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of His 
well-beloved Son, and most loving Spouse of the Holy 
Spirit. Kneeling at the feet of thy great Majesty, with all 
humility I pray thee, through that divine charity where 
with thou wast so bounteously enriched on thine Assump 
tion into heaven, to vouchsafe me favour and pity, 
placing me under thy most safe and faithful protection, 
and receiving me into the number of those happy and 
highly-favoured servants of thine whose names thou 
dost carry graven upon thy virgin breast." 

As this Mass of the Holy Trinity is quite separate 
from the Votive Masses of the Blessed Virgin, which 
are of very frequent occurrence, it is easy to see how St. 
Mary is constantly made the principal idea and subject 
of thought and devotion brought before the minds of the 
people even at Mass itself, so that an opinion has even 



|J 8 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

been advanced by some writers that she is bodily co- 
present with Christ in the Eucharist and is there fed upon 
by communicants. 1 And, accordingly this kind of devotion 
opens up another great Roman difficulty, which is this: 
Whereas it is constantly alleged by modern Roman con 
troversialists that the difference between the honour paid 
to Almighty God and to the Blessed Virgin, or to any 
other saint or image of a saint, is so great and manifest 
that no one can possibly go wrong on this head ; contrari 
wise, the greatest of all Roman polemical divines, Cardinal 
Bellarmine, says: "As to external acts of adoration, it is 
not easy to make distinction, for, generally speaking, the 
external acts are common to every species of worship, and 
the only exception, the only peculiar rite, to be reserved 
for the worship of God Himself, is sacrifice, and what 
is connected with sacrifice, temples, altars, and priests." 
("Disput. Controv., De Sanct. Beat," i. 12.) But when 
special altars of Mary are erected, when hundreds of priests 
belong to orders, such as the Marist Fathers, peculiarly 
vowed to her service, when votive gifts and offerings, 
such as were of the nature of sacrifice in pagan times, as 
lights, incense, and flowers, are incessantly made to her, 
and when, finally, the Mass itself is celebrated again 
and again in her honour, and her Litany is usually sung 
before the Sacrament in the rite of Benediction, 2 what 

1 Oswald, " Dogmat. Mariologie," 177 ; Corn, a Lapide in 
Ecclus. xxiv. 29 ; Faber s " Precious Blood," 28, 29 ; Salazar in 
Prov. ix. 4, 5, n. 144, 145. All quoted by Dr. Pusey, " Eirenicon," 
part i. 168-172. Also see Canon Oakeley, " Letter to Manning," 
p. 23, Longmans, 1866. Oswald is indeed now on the Index, yet 
there seems to be no explicit condemnation of this tenet, but only of 
a certain mode of stating it, not the only mode which leads to 
dangerous consequences. 

2 "Afterwards, the Litany of B. V. M., or some motett proper 
to the day, is sung in honour of the Blessed Sacrament." Oakeley, 
"Ceremonial of the Mass," appendix, p. 141. Thus the road is 
now open to the belief that the B. V. M. is to be worshipped in 
the Blessed Sacrament also, and by degrees to the loss of all thought 
of Christ therein. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 59 

becomes of Bellarmine s safeguard, and how can an 
ordinary ignorant lay person distinguish that which is 
nearly invisible even to the eyes of a trained scientific 
theologian? 1 

What this Innovation amounts to. 

XXI. Now, all this amounts to nothing less than a 
revolution in the Christian faith. It is not a gloss, a de 
velopment, a modification, but a radical change. Taken 
from the extreme point of view, and as actually carried 
into practice in the most Ultramontane quarters, it is the 
dethronement of the Almighty Father and the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the substitution of another sovereign ruler, 
another object of worship. Judged more gently, and 
according to its less extravagant forms, it is at least 
equivalent to that change in the political constitution of 
a kingdom or empire, when the personal government of 
an absolute monarch is suddenly limited, and altered 
into a system like that of Great Britain, where the 
sovereign retains indeed the prerogative of highest social 
rank, but where every actual exercise of substantial 
authority and bestowal of honours are lodged in the hands 
of those who are nominally subjects accountable to the 
sovereign, as the Prime Minister, the Judges, and so 
forth, but who are in real fact not only independent of 
the Crown, but dictate its policy in great and small 
things alike, from making war and peace down to nomi 
nating a tide-waiter. And just as it is to the Prime 
Minister of the day that politicians with us look for 
place, title, and measures, practically leaving the Queen 

1 Especially is this difficult when it is remembered that Bellarmine 
is really speaking of the Sacrifice of the Mass, and in strict theology 
this is not an act of homage to Christ Himself, but to the Father 
only ; and, accordingly, Canon XXIII. of the Third Council of 
Carthage enjoins : " When assisting at the altar, prayer is always 
to be directed to the Father." 



60 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

out of account, so it is with the modern clients of the 
Blessed Virgin in the Roman Church, who go to her, 
and not to God. 



What Scripture tells us of the Blessed Virgin. 

XXII. Where, then, is the warrant for so amazing a 
change to be found ? Let us first try Holy Scripture. 
There are exactly twenty-two passages where the Blessed 
Virgin is named, directly, or indirectly, as follows, in the 
order of their occurrence in the New Testament : 

ST. MATTHEW. 

1. Her mere name in St. Matthew s genealogy of 

Christ i. 16. 

2. The removal of St. Joseph s doubts of her purity, 

and the birth of Christ i. 18-25. 

3. Her presence when the Wise Men came to adore 

her Son. ii. n. 

4. The warning to St. Joseph to take the young 

Child and His Mother to Egypt ii. 13. 

5. The notice to return with them from Egypt. ii. 

20-21. 

(*) 6. Christ s answer when told that His Mother and 
brethren desired to speak with Him, declaring 
that all who do God s will, rank as His mother 
and brethren. xii. 46-50. 

7. St. Mary named as Christ s Mother by the un 
believing Jews. xiii. 55. 

ST. MARK. 

(*) 8. Same reply as that recorded in St. Matthew to 
the news that His Mother inquired for Him 

iii- 31-35- 
9. His Mother named by the Jews, as above (7). 

vi. 3- 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 6 1 

St. LUKE. 

(*) 10. The Annunciation, Visitation, and " Magnificat," 
containing the phrases, " Highly-favoured " 
(marg. "graciously accepted," or "much 
graced ;" Vulgate, " full of grace ") ; " Blessed 
art thou among women "; " Whence is this 
to me, that the Mother of my Lord should 
come to me?" and "All generations shall 
call me blessed." i. 26-57. 

11. The arrival at Bethlehem, and the Nativity. 

ii- 5-7- 

12. The shepherds see her with the Child and St. 

Joseph in the manger. ii. 16. 

13. She is said to have kept and pondered all these 

things. ii. 19. 

14. She goes to Jerusalem for the Purification. 

15. She marvels at the prophecy of Simeon, which 

includes the piercing of her own soul with a 
sword. ii. 33-35. 

(*) 1 6. She goes up to Jerusalem at the Passover, loses 
our Lord and finds Him again, being rebuked 
by Him for the search, and does not understand 
His meaning. ii. 41-50. 

(*) 17. He is "subject" to her and St. Joseph at Nazareth. 
ii. 51. 

(*) 1 8. He replies to the woman who extols the blessed 
ness of His Mother, " Yea, rather, blessed are 
they that hear the Word of God, and keep it." 
xi. 27, 28. 

ST. JOHN. 

(*) 19. Christ, at the marriage in Cana, refuses to permit 
even His Mother to suggest to Him what He 
should do. ii. 1-5. 

20. He goes with her and His disciples to Caper 
naum. ii. 12. 



62 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

(*) 21. His Mother stands beside the Cross, and He 
gives her and St. John to each other as mother 
and son. xix. 25-27. 

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 

22. St. Mary is named amongst the company of those 
who continued in prayer with the Apostles. 
i. 14.1 

Examination of the Texts. 

XXIII. Only the texts marked (*) have any possible 
bearing on the question, for or against. If grouped, the 
result is as follows : 

In favour of the cultus it is possible to cite (a) the 
three titles of honour in St. Luke i. " Full of Grace," 
"Blessed," " Mother of the Lord;" (b) Christ s sub 
jection to her at Nazareth ; and (c) His giving her as 
mother to St. John. 

Against it : (a) His rebuke to her for seeking Him in 
the Temple, and her failure to understand His meaning ; 

(b) His refusal to let her dictate His action at Cana ; 

(c) His declaring that all who hear God s Word and 



1 This analysis of texts is usefully illustrated by examining the 
Lessons, Epistles, and Gospels of the Breviary and Missal for such 
feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary as are not really feasts of Our 
Lord, and by seeing the straits to which the compilers have been 
put to get anything that will even seem to fit. Thus, several 
Epistles are supplied from the Song of Songs, although it is not 
till about A.D. 1150 that any writer treats the Blessed Virgin Mary 
as the Bride, and from Ecclus. xxiv., which is entirely about the 
Eternal Wisdom ; while the Gospel for the Conception and Nativity 
is simply the pedigree in St. Matthew i., and that for the Assumption 
is St. Luke x. 38-42, which is all about Martha and Mary of 
Bethany, the mere coincidence of the latter name having prompted 
the choice. The text Rev. xii. I is not cited above, because Roman 
Catholics are not agreed that it means the Blessed Virgin, by reason 
of the difficulty in explaining vv. 6, 13 and 14 of her. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 63 

keep it are His " brother, and sister, and mother." 
(d) His declaring further that to keep God s Word is 
even a greater thing than motherhood to Himself; (e) 
the absolute silence preserved as regards the Blessed 
Virgin, save for the one cited reference at the beginning 
of the Acts, from the time of the Passion, not one word 
about her being found in any of the Epistles. 

Now, two out of the three laudatory epithets of the 
Blessed Virgin are conferred on ordinary believers in 
the New Testament. The word translated either " highly- 
favoured " or " full of grace " (Ke\apiTu>plvTi), in St. Luke, 
i. 28, is from the very same verb which appears as " made 
accepted " in A. V., and " graced " in the Douai version 
of Ephesians i. 6, " wherein He hath made us accepted 
(kxapirwaev j/^tae) in the beloved," and is not, in mere 
wording, so strong as the expression used of St. Stephen 
and St. Barnabas, " full of faith and of the Holy Ghost " 
(Acts vi. 5 ; xi. 24). We do get, by-the-by, the precise 
phrase, " full of grace " A. V. and Douai (TrXrjp^ yap LT s)> 
once in Scripture, but then it is applied to our Lord 
Himself, and Him alone (St. John i. 14). And the 
title " Blessed " is represented by two words, one of 
which is the same as that used by our Lord nine times 
in the Beatitudes (St. Matt. v. 3), and the other that 
which He uses in His account of the Last Judgment, 
in the sentence, "Come, ye blessed of My Father," &c. 
(St. Matt. xxv. 34). These, consequently, prove nothing 
either way for the purpose in hand. There remains, 
therefore, only the third title, " Mother of the Lord," 
and Christ Himself has been pleased, on two several 
occasions (*6 and *i8), either to restrict very seriously 
the conclusions which we might otherwise draw from it, 
or to extend to all true believers the privileges and favour 
which it implies. 

As to our Lord s subjection to His blessed Mother, 
it was, so to speak, a necessary part of His humiliation 
in taking our nature upon Him. As the words of St. 



64 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Luke are, " was subject to them" this passage, if 
pressed, makes as much for St. Joseph s authority as 
for that of the Blessed Virgin, but extravagantly as his 
cultus, too, has been forced on of late years, from a bare 
commemoration in a feast of inferior rank and that 
modern, and, as the Jesuit, Guyet, in his great work 
on Church festivals, " Heortologia," Venice, 1739, tells 
us (p. 140), kept hardly anywhere when he wrote 1 to 
its present position, it is not yet claimed for him that 
he, too, rules our Lord in Heaven now. However, 
that dogma is already seen in germ in Faber s hymns, 
and elsewhere : 

With her Babe in her arms, surely Mary will be, 
Sweet spouse of our Lady, my pleader ivith thee ; 2 

so that here Christ Himself, as well as the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, intercedes with St. Joseph, who is thus 
set positively above God Himself. This goes even beyond 
the new Trinity substituted for the old one : 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I give you my heart and soul ; 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, assist me in my last agony; 
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with 
you; 

aprayerindulgenced with 300 days, and in the "Raccolta." 
St. Joseph has now been " granted the title of universal 
patron, guardian, and protector of the whole Church j " 
albeit Guyet (p. 100) protests against calling himapatriarch, 
or ranking him with or before the Apostles, as a mere 
caprice of persons eager for novelties. One would like to 
know, too, how human beings have got authority to confer 
heavenly rank and office. It is much as if the inmates 
of a London workhouse were to undertake the creation 

1 It was first put in the Roman Kalendar by Sixtus IV. 1471-1484, 
and is absent, for example, from the Kalendars of the Sarum, York, 
and Hereford Missals, and from that in the Hours of the monks of 
St. Justina in 1541. 

2 So in the edition of 1871. Some editions read "my arms." 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 65 

of dukes and prime ministers. 1 But we find the state 
ment concerning our Lord s subjection immediately pre 
ceded by a warning given by Himself to show that the 
parental authority had already been mistakenly exercised 
(St. Luke ii. 49) ; as also that, at the very outset of His 
ministry, He gently sets aside His Mother s one attempt 
to influence Him, and that it is never repeated, though 
we are told of similar acts on the part of the Apostles. 
Nothing can be found which hints at any human au 
thority over Him after His baptism. 

Lastly, it has been argued that the words from the 
Cross, " Behold thy mother," " Behold thy son," were 
spoken not merely in respect of St. John, but to all the 
faithful of all time, and denote the grant of universal 
motherhood and authority to the Blessed Virgin. What 
they do prove is Christ s loving care for His Mother ; 
and further, that the " brethren " of our Lord named in 
Scripture, were not, as some have thought, the Blessed 
Virgin s children by St. Joseph, since had that been so, 
the duty of tending her would have devolved on them 
by every law of nature and of man. But the theory of 
universal motherhood can be at once refuted by simply 
pointing out that this attribute is expressly ascribed to 
the mystical Church by Scripture : "Jerusalem above is 
free, which is the mother of us all." (Galat. iv. 26.) 2 

1 We have, in truth, a ruling by Christ Himself, which seems to 
assign a much lower rank to St. Joseph in the economy of grace. 
By placing St. John the Baptist on a level with the very greatest 
prophets and saints of the Old Testament, without making any 
exception in favour of St. Joseph, then probably dead, and yet 
adding that "the least in the kingdom of heaven " that is, under 
the Gospel dispensation "is greater than he" (St. Matt. xi. n ; 
St. Luke vii. 8), our Lord has practically decided St. Joseph s 
position ; and this new cult therefore undertakes to set aside His 
decision. 

2 This is curiously illustrated by the Epistle of the Churches of 
Vienne and Lyons (circ. A.D. 170), which uses the phrase "the 
Virgin Mother " to denote the Church, with no explanation, thus : 
" And great joy was caused to the Virgin Mother, receiving those 

F 



66 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

The entire silence of Scripture as to the Blessed 
Virgin, from just before the Day of Pentecost, at least 
implies that no special office, rank, or authority was 
bestowed on her in the Church founded on that day, 
and has a further bearing too. The authorized tradition 
of the Roman Church, established as such by the indul- 
genced " Chaplet of St. Bridget/ is that the Blessed 
Virgin Mary lived sixty-three years on earth, and was 
immediately after her death assumed into heaven as its 
Queen, with many miraculous circumstances. Her death 
must thus have fallen considerably within the time 
covered by the Acts of the Apostles, which come down 
to A.D. 63 ; but no mention is made there nor, indeed, 
anywhere for some centuries of so great an event, with 
such far-reaching consequences. 

The Evidence of the Fathers as to the 
Blessed Virgin. 

XXIV. Since Holy Writ gives no ground nor colour 
to the cultus of Blessed Mary, can we find sufficient 
evidence in the writings of the Fathers ? 

i. In the Ante-Nicene period, the following extant 
writers never so much as name St. Mary at all : St. 
Barnabas, St. Hernias, St. Clement of Rome, St. Polycarp, 
Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, St. Hippolytus, St. 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, 1 St. Cyprian, St. Firmilian, St. 
Dionysius, Arnobius, and St. Methodius. 3 2. St. Justin 

alive, of whom she had been delivered as it were still-born." 
Euseb. "Hist. Eccl.," V. i. 

1 There are two homilies on the Annunciation ascribed to this 
writer, which would make strongly for the cultus, but they are late 
forgeries, rejected by Dupin, Lumper, and other Roman Catholic 
critics. 

2 A homily on the Feast of the Purification is ascribed to this 
Father, but rejected as a forgery by Roman Catholic critics, on the 
very sufficient ground that the festival was not instituted till A.D. 
542, two centuries after his death. It is highly Marian in tone. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 67 

Martyr mentions her twice in connexion with the Nativity, 
and once with the flight into Egypt. St. Clement of Alex 
andria once touches on her virgin child-bearing. Ter- 
tullian mentions her four times, once in connexion with 
the Nativity, once merely to defend the occasional inter- 
changeableness of the words " woman " and " Virgin " 
by showing that both are applied to her (" De Veland. 
Virg." vi.), but twice actually to charge her with lack of 
belief and with seeking to call Christ away from His 
work (De Carne Christi, vii. j Adv. Marc. iv. 19), thereby 
arousing His indignation. Origen, very similarly, names 
the Blessed Virgin but casually a couple of times, and 
in the one place where he goes more into detail, he 
explains the sword of Simeon s prophecy to be un 
believing doubt, whereby she was offended at the Passion. 
" Through thine own soul . . . shall the sword of unbelief 
pierce ; and thou shalt be struck with the sharp point of 
doubt." (" Horn, in Lucam, xvii.") St. Archelaus defends 
the Virgin-birth against Manes, and incidentally touches 
on the message to our Lord regarding His Mother and 
brethren. There remain only two passages from which 
any conclusion can be drawn. The first of these is in 
St. Irenasus, where he says that St. Mary s obedience 
counterbalances Eve s disobedience, so that she has 
become the " advocate " of Eve. (" Cont. Haer." V. xix.) 
We have only the barbarous Latin translation here, and 
cannot tell exactly what the Saint wrote or intended, 1 
but we have his mind plainly enough expressed in 
another place, where he speaks of Christ having 
"checked the unseasonable haste of His Mother at 
Cana." ("Cont. Haer." III. xvi.) The other is in a 
fragment of St. Peter of Alexandria, where he styles 
St. Mary "glorious Lady, and ever- Virgin." Clearly, 

1 Except that advocare is used in this same translation as meaning 
to comfort [III. ix. 3, glossed consolari in the Benedictine edition], 
and thus the sense probably is, that women, whom Eve had caused 
to sorrow, can rejoice now because of Mary. 
F 2 



68 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

nothing in these scanty details supplies the justification 
sought for. 

2. Nor does the witness of the greatest Fathers after 
Nicaea change. 

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 347) has left us very 
copious and valuable catechetical lectures, but though he 
dwells much on the Virgin-birth of our Lord, and gives 
His Mother the title of Theotokos, he is absolutely silent 
as to any religious homage due to her. 

St. Hilary of Poictiers, Doctor of the Church (A.D. 
350) declares that the Blessed Virgin has yet to abide the 
Last Judgment. " Shall we desire the Day of Judgment, 
in which we must undergo that incessant fire, and those 
sharp chastisements of a soul to be cleansed from sin ? 
A sword shall pass through the soul of the Blessed Mary, 
that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. If the 
Virgin who conceived God is to come into the severity of the 
judgment, who will dare to be judged by God?" 
(" Comm. in Ps. cxviii.") 

St. Basil the Great, Doctor (A.D. 370), like St. Hilary, 
explains the sword of Simeon s prophecy to be St. Mary s 
wavering in belief at the time of the Passion. He does 
this in answer to a bishop who consulted him on the 
meaning of that text. (Epist. 260.) 

St. Ambrose, Doctor (A.D. 370), who is very copious in 
his expressions of reverence for the Blessed Virgin, has 
not one sentence in all his works which can be so much 
as tortured into an address to her of any kind. 

St. Chrysostom, Doctor (A.D. 407), is so far from 
countenancing the cultus, that he almost goes into the 
opposite extreme by alleging, first, that the Blessed 
Virgin was ignorant of the full mystery of the Incarnation 
(" Expos, in Ps. xlix.") ; and next, that she was moved 
by " excessive ambition " and " arrogance " in sending 
a message to Christ, in order to show the people her 
influence with Him. (" Horn, in St. Matt. xii. 48.") The 
Church has not followed St. Chrysostom in this view, 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 69 

which is a most painful one ; but the fact that his having 
advanced it has in no way prevented his being regarded 
as a great Saint and Doctor of the Church, is conclusive 
that no worship of the Blessed Virgin Mary can have 
been permitted in his day. 

St. Gregory Nyssen, Doctor (A.D. 390), " That nothing 
created is to be worshipped by man, the Divine word has 
enacted, as we may learn from nearly the whole of the 
sacred volume ; Moses, the Tables, the Law, the Prophets 
in succession, the Gospels, the decrees of all the Apostles, 

alike forbid us to look to the creature We, who 

are taught by the Scriptures to look to the true Godhead, 
are instructed to regard every created being as foreign 
from the Divine nature, and to serve and reverence the 
Uncreated nature alone." (" Contr. Eunomium.") 

But St. Epiphanius, Doctor (A.D. 403), is the most pre 
cise. Arguing against a new heresy, that of the Collyridians 
(a body within the Church, not a sect outside it, and so 
called from a small cake they offered in sacrifice), he says 
that they began in reaction against those who showed 
disrespect to the Blessed Virgin, and ran into extreme error 
thereby. And he contemptuously remarks that this special 
kind of "idolatrous heresy" has only women for its promo 
ters, because they are fickle, weak, narrow-minded, and 
prone to error. He goes on to argue that St. Mary was not 
granted any priestly authority, nor permission to baptize, 
though we might have expected that she, rather than 
John the Baptist, would have baptized Christ ; and con 
tinues, " Mary s body was holy indeed, but she was not a 
Deity. She was a Virgin, too, and honoured, but not given 
to us for worship, but worshipping Him born of her in 
the flesh, who came down from Heaven and the Father s 
bosom. Wherefore the Gospel warns us, saying by the 
voice of the Lord Himself, Woman, what have I to do 
with thee ? Mine hour is not yet come. [He says this] 
in order that from the phrase, * Woman, what have I to 
do with thee ? people might understand that the holy 



7<D PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Virgin was not more than human. So He called her 
Woman/ as in prophecy, because of the heresies and 
schisms which were to come upon the earth, lest any one, 
through excessive adoration for that Holy Virgin, should fall 
into the silly nonsense (TO ATypoXoy^a) of that heresy . . . 
For if Christ willeth not that the Angels should be 
worshipped, how much more is He unwilling that worship 

should be paid to her who was born of Anna 

Let Mary be honoured, but let the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost be worshipped. Let no one worship Mary. 

. . Let women who act thus be put to silence by 
Jeremiah, nor any longer trouble the world, nor say, 
* Let us honour the Queen of heaven. " ("Adv. Hjer. ; 
Ixxix.) 1 

St. Jerome, Doctor (A.D. 418), not only lends no 
countenance to the cultus, but agrees with Origen, St. 
Basil, and St. Chrysostom, arid other saints, in charging 
the Blessed Virgin with temporary unbelief, which 
pierced her as a sword. (" Com. in Lucam.") 

St. Augustine, Doctor (A.D. 430), in all his copious 
writings gives no support to the cultus. 

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor (A.D. 440), actually 
tells us, not only that St. Mary failed at the Cross from 
grief, bewilderment, and feminine weakness, but that the 
special reason for our Lord s committing her to St. John s 
care was in order that he, as a theologian, might teach 
her those truths of religion with which she was unac 
quainted. " How could He fail to know the thoughts 
which then perplexed her at the honoured Cross ? 

1 Romanists endeavour to set aside this most explicit condemna 
tion by saying that what St. Epiphanius blames is only the especial 
mode of honouring the Blessed Virgin, namely, by a sacrificial 
offering of cakes. In fact, after just incidentally mentioning that 
custom at first, he turns from it directly, and addresses himself to 
the main question. He does not say, " Give up those cakes of 
yours, and pray to Our Lady without them," but condemns the 
whole practice. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 71 

Knowing, therefore, the ponderings that were in her, 
He delivered her to the disciple who was the best 
instructor in mysteries, and who was well able, and not 
insufficiently, to explain that mystery." (" Comm. in 
Joann." xix. 26, 27.) 

Finally, nothing in the least implying the cultus is to 
be found in Popes St. Leo the Great (A.D. 461) or 
St. Gregory the Great (A.D. 604). 1 

It is to be noticed, then, most carefully, that when we 
first find the cultus of the Blessed Virgin or of the angels 
making its appearance, it is at once challenged and con 
demned as a novel HERESY. This being so, from the 
nature of the Catholic Faith and the constitution of the 
Christian Church, no amount of later acceptance and 
popularity can ever whitewash it over, or make it lawful, 
as if it were a secular or political matter, which States 
and assemblies can alter as they please. The Faith 
cannot be added to, nor taken away from ; all that is 
permissible is to explain it where it has been misrepre 
sented, and to draw out its meaning more fully, as the 
Nicene Creed is fuller than, but yet the same as, the 
Apostles Creed ; and the Athanasian, again, does but 
expand and guard certain statements of the Nicene Creed 
which had been misconstrued. 

Roman Arguments for Mariolatry. 

XXV. What, then, are the defences put forward by 
Roman writers on behalf of this startling departure from 
Christian orthodoxy ? 

They are practically three. First, is an argument 
which perpetually crops up in the Roman controversy. It 

1 Many citations will be found in Cardinal Wiseman s Lectures, 
and other Roman controversial books, which seem to contradict 
these statements. But they are from notoriously spurious writings, 
often plainly declared to be such in the very editions to which 
reference is made. See Palmer s "Letters in Controversy with 
Wiseman." 



72 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

is what is technically called the " ct priori argument," 
the meaning of which is, simply, " Such a thing ought to 
be, and therefore it is" Because we know that God did 
bestow on St. Mary the unspeakable privilege of being 
Mother of the Incarnate Word, therefore we must con 
clude that He has given her every other grace, honour, 
privilege, and authority which He can confer, and we 
are bound to act on the belief that she enjoys them all. 

There are two answers to this plea. First is the 
general one, that we, as blind and finite creatures, are 
quite incapable of reading the secret counsels of God, 
and of deciding how He must needs act when He has 
not given us any clue. We are as likely to go wrong in 
our guess, as a dog is in guessing what we think about and 
mean todo. And, besides, it is thisveryplea which is urged 
by some against the Incarnation and the Atonement. 

Secondly ; we can argue as to how other men and 
women ought to act and think \ and we can therefore be 
sure that the Blessed Virgin, because of her love and 
loyalty to her Son, must needs shrink with pain and 
abhorrence from a worship which she feels and knows 
ought to be His alone, and which He has never, so far 
as we know, granted to her. We have her own rule to 
guide us, in that saying aptly called, " The Gospel 
according to St. Mary "; viz. " Whatsoever He saith unto 
you, do it " (St. John ii. 5) ; words which have a negative 
as well as a positive force. 

The second argument is, that the worship of the 
Blessed Virgin is a strong outwork of the doctrine of 
the Incarnation, and is thus practically useful. 

The reply is, that so far from this view finding favour 
with the Catholic Fathers when Arianism was powerful 
and threatening to conquer the whole Church, they 
and especially St. Athanasius contended that the fact 
of worship having been confessedly paid to Christ from 
the beginning was the strongest proof that He was not 
a mere creature, but God ; because God only can be 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 73 

worshipped at all. And, in fact, St. Athanasius goes so 
far as to charge the Arians with idolatry, in that they 
worshipped Christ, while denying His Godhead. 1 If the 
cultus of the B. V. M. be allowed, this plea fails, and 
the argument for the Incarnation is seriously weakened. 
In truth, there is not such zeal now for the Incarnation 
itself in the Roman Church as to inspire confidence in 
its own permanent hold of that article of the Faith. For, 
in F. Gury s "Compendium of Moral Theology" (vol. i. 
pp. 124, 125), a widely-used and standard text-book in 
nearly all Roman Catholic clerical seminaries, and issued 
even from the press of the Propaganda itself in 1872, the 
question is asked : " Is explicit belief in the mysteries 
of the Trinity and the Incarnation matter of necessity 
(i.e. so as to be indispensable to salvation)?" And the 
answer is, that opinions are divided on this head, but 
the more probable one is the negative, because a merely 
implicit belief sufficed before Christ s coming, and there 
fore ought to suffice afterwards also. If a Roman Catho 
lic be at liberty to believe no more than, say, Judas 
Maccabaeus did, or than the Jesuits exacted from their 
Chinese converts at the beginning of the last century, 2 
one does not quite see the utility of the Church 
as a witness to Christ s revelation of Himself. But 
implicit belief in the Pope is not sufficient; that 
must be explicit, according to many teachers now. 

The third argument is from human analogy, that as 
Christ was subject to His mother once, He must be so 
still, just as every dutiful son is to his parents ; and that 

1 " Orat. Cont. Arian," ii. 14; iii. 16. It maybe remarked, 
in illustration, that the use of the pagan word Divus = God, to 
denote the saints, seemingly borrowed from the application of it to 
the deified Roman emperors, was once very widely common amongst 
Roman Catholic writers, was never censured, and has only of late 
dropped away. 

2 They did to death, in 1710, in the Inquisition at Macao, 
Cardinal Tournon, the Papal legate sent by Clement XL to stop 
their paganization of Christianity. Cartwright, "The Jesuits," 
chap. xii. 



74 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

she, as Queen, partakes all the King s privileges, and 
bestows all His bounties. 

The answer is, that it is the Queen-Cfauarf, not the 
Queen-Mot/ier, who shares the King s dignity, so far as 
communicable, and that the Church, not the B. V. M., 
is the Bride and Wife of the Lamb ; while no loving 
bridegroom makes his own mother the channel of the 
gifts and favours he bestows on his bride. The plea as 
to the continuance of St. Mary s maternal authority in 
Heaven (even if it were not disproved by our Lord s 
own acts and words after He entered on His ministry), 
so far -as it is based on earthly analogy, cannot stand for 
a moment in England, where we are familiar with the 
fact that when Queen Victoria came to the throne, her 
mother, the Duchess of Kent, sank at once to the grade 
of a powerless subject, and was not even first in that 
rank amongst women so long as the Queen-Dowager 
survived ; while she would have receded again to the 
second place, had she lived till there was a Princess of 
Wales. 1 

Denial of the Chalice to the Laity. 

XXVI. We must now come to a further rebellion 
against an express Divine command, of which the 
Roman Church is guilty, that of its mutilation of the 
Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is expressly re 
corded in the institution of that ordinance that the 
Lord laid a peculiar emphasis on the Cup as though 
in prophetic view of a coming disobedience which 
He did not lay upon the other part of the Sacrament, 
saying, "Drink ye all of it ; (St. Matt. xxvi. 27); and 

1 It is not unfair to press Roman Catholics, who are fond of 
applying to the Pope language which Scripture confines to Christ, 
with the argument that no special attribute or authority in 
ecclesiastical matters has been alleged to vest in the mothers of 
Popes, albeit many have survived the elevation of their sons. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 75 

accordingly it is set down by another Evangelist that 
" they all drank of it " (St. Mark xiv. 23). Nevertheless, 
the existing rule of the Roman Church is that none but 
the celebrating priest ever does receive the chalice, so 
that not merely is the precedent of the first Eucharist 
departed from, even when others of the clergy communi 
cate : but the laity are cut off for ever from participation 
in that half of the rite : albeit our Lord has said in another 
place, " Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and 
drink His Blood, ye have no life in you " (St. John vi. 
53) ; and His Apostle has added, writing to the laity of 
Corinth, " As often as ye eat this bread and drink this 
cup, ye do show the Lord s death till He come " and 
again, " Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat 
of that bread and drink of that cup" (i Cor. xi. 26, 28) ; 
words which cannot mean less than that St. Paul 
expected that lay communion in the chalice would last 
till the second coming of the Lord. 

A Modern Novelty. 

XXVII. There is no question as to usage here. Not 
only does the Greek Church, more ancient than the 
Roman, still communicate her eighty millions of believers 
in both kinds, and Cardinal Bona, one of the most 
eminent liturgical writers of the Roman body, confess 
that " the faithful always and in all places, from the first 
beginnings of the Church till the twelfth century, were 
used to communicate under the species of bread and 
wine ; and the use of the chalice began little by little 
to drop away in the beginning of that century, and 
many bishops forbad it to the people to avoid the risk 
of irreverence and spilling " (" Rer. Liturg." ii. 18) : but 
actually the Council of Constance itself, which first 
dared, on June 15, 1415, to expressly set aside Christ s 
command, confesses itself to be innovating by the very 
terms of its decree, wherein it not merely allows that 



76 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Christ Himself administered in both kinds to His 
disciples : but that " in the primitive Church this sacra 
ment was received in both kinds by the people." Never 
theless, it rules that the contrary usage, now grown to be 
a "custom," is to be held as a "law," and any persons 
who maintain it to be sacrilegious or even illicit, are first 
to be censured as erroneous, and if persevering, to be 
condemned and punished by the Inquisition as heretics ; 
while priests who dare to follow Christ s precept and 
example, by communicating their flocks with the chalice, 
are to be excommunicated and handed over to the 
secular arm to be burnt. This is still the law of the 
Church of Rome, albeit she has no longer the power of 
carrying it into execution. 

Four Arguments of the Council of Trent for 
H alf- Communion. 

XXVIII. The Council of Trent denies in set terms 
that there is any divine precept obliging others than the 
celebrant to communicate in both kinds, and defends 
half-communion on these grounds : 

a. Christ said not merely, " Whoso eateth My flesh 
and drinketh My blood hath eternal life" (St. John vi. 54), 
but also said, "The bread that I will give is My 
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (St. John 
vi. 51 ); and not only said, "He that eateth My flesh 
and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me and I in Him" 
(St. John vi. 56), but also said, " He that eateth of this 
bread shall live for ever" (St. John vi. 58). 

b. As a matter of practice, the usage of half-com 
munion is defended on the ground of its having been 
confessedly practised by the early Church in times of 
persecution, and for sending to the sick, &c. ; as also 
by the plea that all the Apostles at the first Eucharist 
were priests, and so might receive in both kinds. 

c. Christ is received entire under each kind, so that 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 77 

those who receive one kind only are " not defrauded of 
any grace necessary to salvation." And this doctrine, 
which is called "concomitance," is mainly based on the 
text, "Whosoever shall eat this bread OR drink this Cup 
of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body AND 
blood of the Lord" (i Cor. xi. 27); a passage where 
the Authorized Version (following a doubtful various 
reading, found in but few MSS.) 1 reads and instead of or 
in the first clause. 

d. The Church has a right to change any details in 
the administration of the sacraments, and her custom is 
to be held as a law. 

Refutation of the Plea of Honouring the Sacrament. 

XXIX. These excuses will not stand inquiry. First 
of all, as regards the alleged desire to show greater 
reverence to the Blessed Sacrament by guarding against 
accidents to the chalice : it cannot be alleged that the 
Saints, doctors, and martyrs of the ancient Church were 
not as solicitous for its honour as the Latin clergy of the 
twelfth and fifteenth centuries, yet they never adopted 
such a precaution. But there is higher ground than that 
to take. Christians must confess that our Lord, as God, 
foreknew all the consequences which would flow from 
the terms of His institution, and freely willed to abide 
them. Therefore, any attempt to save His Sacrament 
from dishonour, by endeavouring to alter His will, is 
to incur His stem reprimand to St. Peter for exactly 
similar conduct : 

" From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His 
disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer 
many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, 

1 One of these MSS., however, is the Alexandrine Codex, and 
Origen had the same text before him ; while et, not vel, is the 
reading of the oldest printed Vulgates, as the Mazarin Bible of 
1450, the Bible of 1462, the Complutensian Polyglot, c. 



78 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then 
Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be 
it far from thee, Lord : this shall not be unto thee. 
But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind 
Me, Satan : thou art an offence unto Me : for thou 
savourest not the things that be of God, but those that 
be of men. " (St. Matt. xvi. 21-23. ) l 



Refutation of the Plea from Ancient Usage. 

XXX. Next, as regards the ancient custom of sending 
the Holy Eucharist in one kind to the sick, to hermits, 
and to persons in time of persecution, there are three 
reasons why it does not apply : 

a. All these cases, whatever they were, belong to the 
class of exceptional communions made out ^/"church, and 
apart from the Liturgy. They supply no rule for the 
ordinary and normal use in church. 

b. They were all cases of necessity. Imagine the 
Admiralty to lay down that no ship s crew should have 
more daily food and drink per man than one biscuit 
and a quarter of a pint of water, because there are 
many instances known of vessels formerly, where, when 
provisions ran short, no more could be allowed as 
rations. 

c. The still prevalent custom in the rigidly conserva 
tive Eastern Church, of moistening in the chalice the 
sacrament reserved for the sick, makes it highly pro 
bable that such was the ancient use also, so that these 
apparently half-communions were really in both kinds. 

1 As a xact, nearly all the recorded acts of irreverence towards 
the Holy Eucharist, historical or legendary, took place in relation 
to the species of bread, and not with regard to the chalice, because 
it remains in the custody of the priest. And as regards accident, 
it is quite as likely that small particles of the species of bread 
may fall, or be blown away, as that a drop should fall from the 
chalice. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 79 

As to the argument from the priestly rank of the 
Apostles, that will not stand with the existing Roman 
usage, which is to exclude all priests, too, when not them 
selves celebrating, from the cup. To make the parallel 
good, our Lord, the celebrant at the first institution, 
should have taken the chalice Himself, and withheld it 
from the Apostles. 

Uncertainty of the Doctrine of Concomitance. 

XXXI. Touching the doctrine of concomitance, it is 
not a directly revealed truth, but at best a guess, a mere 
possible inference from one reading, not free from 
doubt, of the single text, i Cor. xi. 27. But there 
is a perfectly plain text which makes the other way, 
clearly distinguishing the grace conferred under each 
kind : " The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not 
the communion of the Blood of Christ? The bread 
which we break, is it not the communion of the Body 
of Christ?" (i Cor. x. 16.) Moreover, the text i Cor. 
xi. 27, does not prove that the two parts of the sacra 
ment include each the other, but only that they are so 
intimately associated, that irreverence to one involves 
irreverence to the other. So, in English law, though a 
queen-consort possesses no sovereign authority whatever, 
nor any share in government, yet conspiracy against or 
outrage upon her is high treason against the king, 
because of the tie of union between them. But that 
does not make the queen-consort identical with the king. 
And, with respect to the texts quoted by the Council of 
Trent, as qualifying each other, the well-known rule of 
interpretation, not only of Scripture, but of all written 
laws, is directly contravened, namely, that where there 
are two or more statements regarding the same subject, 
but it is not intended that one should repeal the other, 
then the narrower statement is to be explained and 
governed by the wider one, not the wider by the 



8o PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

narrower. Here is a case in point from Holy Writ. 
Our Lord enjoins baptism "in the Name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (St. Matt, 
xxviii. 19). But baptism "in the Name of the Lord 
Jesus" is twice mentioned also (Acts viii. 16; xix. 5). 
Yet it is held all through the Catholic Church that this 
narrower statement must be read in the light of the 
wider one, and that baptism by the latter formula is 
invalid ; while its true application is to be found in the 
words " and of the Son " in the fuller form. Precisely 
the same argument applies to the texts in St. Johnvi., 
and we are bound to read the briefer statements there 
by the light of the longer ones. And even if con 
comitance be true in itself, that will not mend the 
matter ; for blood which is consumed in and with the 
flesh is always said to be eaten (Gen. ix. 4 ; Lev. xvii. 
10-14; xix. 26; Deut. xii. 23; i Sam. xiv. 32, 33), 
whereas Christ s command is, Drink. Lastly, it is 
conceded as at least "probable" by many Roman theo 
logians that there is a special grace conferred by the 
chalice, so that a layman is not to be blamed who 
desires the priesthood in order that he may communicate 
in both kinds. (Liguori, "Theol. Mor." VI. iii. 227.)! 

1 It may illustrate the feebleness of the argument the other way, 
to cite Dens in support of no additional grace being conferred by 
the chalice. He urges that to say that more grace is conferred by 
reception in both kinds, is to argue as if a priest who took two or 
three sips of the Cup obtained more grace than if he drained it 
off at once. ("Theol." de Euchar. n. 58.) It may be noted that 
the two great Corpus Christi hymns, " Pange lingua " and " Lauda 
Sion," are both adverse in wording to the doctrine of concomitance, 
as they clearly distinguish between the two kinds and their effects ; 
while St. Thomas Aquinas thrice defines the effects of the two 
species as distinct, saying that the Body is offered for the salvation 
of the body, and the Blood for the salvation of the soul." " Summ. 
Theol." III. Ixxiv. I, Ixxvi. 2, Ixxix. I. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 8 1 

Custom cannot supersede Law. 

XXXII. It thus appears on the very face of things, 
that every priest who takes Holy Orders in the Church 
of Rome is bound to mutilate the administration of the 
Sacrament, and so to disobey that part of Christ s own 
command, " Do this," which relates to the mode of 
dealing with the chalice ; while every lay convert binds 
himself to disobey that part of Christ s command de 
noted by the words, " Drink ye all of it," and that on 
the mere chance that a human guess as to the possible 
meaning of an apostolic gloss may set aside a plain direc 
tion of Christ Himself. Indeed, it might be urged as 
regards all English Churchmen who voluntarily secede 
to the Roman Church, and have not the excuse of being 
born in it, or of invincible ignorance, that they derive no 
benefit at all from the Holy Eucharist, but rather eat to 
their own condemnation, because they refuse to comply 
with the Lord s own command. And, if they raise the 
plea of custom, there are some weighty sayings of the 
Fathers which exactly apply : 

"A custom, beginning from some ignorance or sim 
plicity, hardens into use by continuance, and so is 
defended against the truth. But our Lord Jesus Christ 
called Himself the Truth, and not the custom. Since 
Christ is for ever, and before all, so, too, truth is an 
everlasting and ancient thing. Let those beware, there 
fore, to whom that is new which in itself is old. It is 
not so much novelty as truth which refutes heresies. 
Whatever savours of opposition to the truth, this is a 
heresy, even if an old custom." (Tertullian, " De Vel. 



" Custom, without truth, is only antiquity of error." 
(St. Cyprian, Ep. Ixxiv.) 

" That Christ alone has a right to be heard, the Father 
Himself attests from heaven, saying, This is My be 
loved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him 

G 



82 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

(St. Matt. xvii. 5) ; therefore, if Christ alone is to be 
listened to, we ought not to heed what anyone before 
our time may have thought fit to be done, but what 
Christ, Who is before all, first actually did. For we 
ought not to follow man s custom, but God s truth, 
seeing that God speaks and says by the prophet Isaiah, 
In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the 
commandments of men (Isa. xxix. 13 ; St. Matt. xv. 9). 
And the Lord repeats this same thing again in the 
Gospels, saying, Ye reject the commandment of God, 
that ye may keep your own tradition (St. Mark vii. 9). 
But in another place He lays down a rule, and says, 
1 Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of the least of 
these commandments, and teach men so, he shall be 
called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven (St. Matt, 
i. 5-19). So, then, if it be not lawful to break even the 
least of the Lord s commandments, how much more is 
it impious to violate, and to change by human traditions 
into something different from the divine institution, such 
great and weighty things, and so closely pertaining to the 
very Sacrament of the Lord s Passion and our redemp 
tion ? For, if Jesus Christ our Lord and God is Himself 
the High Priest of God the Father, and first offered 
Himself in sacrifice to the Father, and bade this be done 
in commemoration of Him, surely that priest truly acts 
in Christ s stead who imitates what Christ did. 
But the whole discipline of religion and truth is over 
thrown unless there be faithful observance of that which 
is spiritually enjoined." (St. Cyprian, Ep. Ixiii.) 1 

" Let no man prefer custom to reason and truth, 
for reason and truth shut out the plea of custom." (St. 
Augustine, " De Bapt. cont. Donat," III. n.) "The 
Lord in the Gospel said, I am the Truth ; He did not 



1 St. Cyprian is here arguing for the mixed chalice, which is 
not expressly recorded in Scripture, so that his words apply with, 
all the more force to what is so recorded. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 83 

say, I am the Custom. Therefore, when the truth is 
made plain, custom must give way to truth." (Idem, 
VI. 71.) 

Half- Communion declared Heretical by Popes. 

XXXIII. Seeing that such is the mind of the ancient 
Church, we should naturally look to find half-com 
munion, like Mariolatry and the invocation of angels, 
condemned as a heresy when it first crops up. And so 
we do, by the highest authority, moreover, which Roman 
Catholics acknowledge. 

Pope Leo the Great declares that abstinence from the 
chalice is a Manichsean heresy, and says: "They receive 
Christ s Body with unworthy mouth, and entirely refuse 
to quaff the Blood of our redemption ; therefore, we 
give notice to you, holy [brethren], that men of this sort, 
whose sacrilegious deceit has been detected, are to be 
expelled by priestly authority from the fellowship of the 
saints." (Horn, xli.) 

Pope Gelasius I., in a letter to the Bishops Majoricus 
and John, embodied in the Roman canon law (Corp. Jur. 
Can. "Decret." III. ii. 12), says : "We have ascertained 
that certain persons, having received a portion of the 
Sacred Body alone, abstain from partaking of the chalice 
of the Sacred Blood. Let such persons, without any 
doubt (since they are stated to feel themselves bound by 
some superstitious reason) either receive the Sacrament in 
its entirety, or be repelled from the entire Sacrament, 
because the division of one and the same mystery cannot 
take place without great sacrilege. 1 

The Pope is clearly speaking about laymen here, for 
he not only does not name priests, but the clause about 
repelling must refer to the duty of the celebrant in re 
spect of such disobedient communicants, as he clearly 
could not repel himself ; and we should find, if priests 
were intended, some threat of suspension or deposition 

G 2 



84 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

instead. Accordingly, in the older editions of the Canons 
(as those collected by Ivo of Chartres and Micrologus), 
the heading ran : " No one is permitted to receive the 
Communion of the Body alone without partaking of the 
Blood," but it has been altered in the later editions 
into, "The Priest ought not to receive the Body of 
Christ without the Blood." Even Cardinal Baronius 
rejects this gloss as foolish (frigidam). ("Ann. Eccl." 
A.D. 496.) 

And the Council of Clermont, presided over in 1095 
by Pope Urban II. in person, decreed, in its twenty- 
eighth canon, that " no one shall communicate at the 
altar without he receive the Body and Blood separately 
and alike, unless by way of necessity, and for caution." 

Here then are three Popes, and on the last occasion 
with a council of 218 bishops and abbots, deciding one 
way ; and, on the other hand, the first decree the other 
way was at Constance, after the Council had just deposed 
one Pope as a heretic and schismatic, but had not yet 
elected any other in his stead. John XXIII. was deposed 
on May 29, 1415, the canon enjoining half-communion 
was passed on June 15, 1415, and the new Pope was 
not elected till November n, 1417. So that the evidence 
against the lawfulness of the change is overwhelming, 
even on Roman grounds, 

Divine Service in a Dead Language. 

XXXIV. Once more, the Church of Rome is in plain 
contradiction both to the letter and spirit of Holy Scrip 
ture, by conducting the most important parts of Divine 
Service in a dead language. The words of St. Paul on 
this topic are so pertinent that it is desirable to cite 
them in full : 

" If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, 
but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it, then ? 
I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the under- 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 8$ 

standing also : I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing 
with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless 
with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of 
the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing 
he understandeth not what thou sayest ? For thou verily 
givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank 
my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all : yet in 
the church I had rather speak five words with my under 
standing, that I might teach others also, than ten thousand 
words in an unknown tongue " (i Cor. xiv. 14-19). 

Now, the references to the " giving of thanks " (ei x- 
pHrriq), and to the response " Arnen," show plainly that 
the Apostle is here speaking of the [Mass or] Holy 
Eucharist, and is insisting on the necessity of its being 
celebrated in the vulgar tongue, that the people may 
know when and how to make the responses. And Cardinal 
Bona, following St. Thomas Aquinas, affirms this ("Rer. 
Liturg." I. v. 4). But it is precisely the Mass which 
Roman canon law forbids being translated from Latin 
for public use into any other language, so that it has 
become necessary to employ the mechanical signal of a 
bell at certain points of the rite, to warn the congregation 
of that which they cannot, for the most part, learn from 
the words of the celebrant. 

It may be freely admitted that no great harm was 
meant or worked by this system when it first began, 
which was after the inroad of the barbarians into the 
Roman Empire, when the new Christian converts were 
found to be speaking a great variety of dialects, none of 
which had any literature, and all liable to incessant 
changes, whereas Latin was more or less generally under 
stood. The fault was in not meeting the change of 
circumstances, when Latin dropped out of popular use, 
and the new languages of Europe took final shape; 
and it is only too plain that the motive at work then 
was the desire to keep more power in the hands of 
the clergy. 



86 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Nor is the Roman case like that of the modern Jews, 
who use Hebrew still in their public devotions, as being 
the original sacred language in which their religion was 
Divinely revealed, and as being further a bond of tribal 
union to a scattered race. The most ancient Christian 
records are in Greek ; the Epistle of St. Paul to the 
Roman Church itself is in Greek ; and the Kyrie Eleison, 
with other Greek words, still embedded in the Missal, 
attest that the Mass of the Roman Church was once 
said in Greek too. Accordingly, the Latin translation, 
now held as sacred, must have been made with the 
intention of obeying St. Paul s precept, when Greek 
began to fall into disuse in Rome, and the bulk of the 
Christian people began to speak Latin. 

No doubt this disobedience to Holy Scripture is of 
far less heinousness than the preceding examples, but 
still it is disobedience, and shows how Rome prefers her 
own will to God s will. 

Nor is the usage without serious practical mischief. 
In the first place, it has made the act of the congre 
gation at Mass largely mechanical and unintelligent, 
especially where, as the rule is in all Roman Catholic 
countries, the great bulk of those present are totally 
unlettered. Next, even for those somewhat better in 
structed, it has resulted in the very general employment 
of private and unofficial books of devotion, which are 
used at Mass, instead of the Missal itself, so that there 
is no attempt of the congregation to join directly in the 
lay portions of the office ; and these books are usually far 
below the level of the Missal in tone and doctrine, so 
that the people are never lifted up to the ancient 
standard. 1 Lastly, the unknown tongue puts an ignorant 

1 This objection to the existing system is alleged even by the 
Ultramontane writer Leon Gautier, in his Lettres d un Catho- 
lique" (Paris, V. Palme). And Faber says: "A man who is 
much given to vocal prayer is in no slight degree in the power of 
his prayer-book " (" Growth in Holiness," p. 278). 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 87 

congregation wholly at the mercy of an infidel celebrant, 
who can substitute any other matter he pleases for the 
words he is supposed to be reciting. 

Discouragement of the Bible. 

XXXV. Besides these plain revolts against the clear 
letter of Holy Scripture and of the historical tradition of 
the Catholic Church, there are other respects in which 
the whole spirit of these two witnesses to the Faith is 
departed from, albeit there is not such express violation 
of the letter. First of these may be set the discourage 
ment and slight put upon Holy Scripture by the Roman 
Church, not merely indirectly, by raising unwritten 
ecclesiastical traditions to equal rank with the Divine 
oracles (Cone. Trid., sess.iv.; Cone. Vatic, sess. iii. cap. 2), 
but directly, by restricting and disallowing the free circu 
lation of the Scriptures in the vernacular. As this fact 
is often called in question, it may as well be here set 
down that the fourth Rule of the Congregation of the 
Index of Prohibited Books, approved by Pius IV., and 
still in force, runs as follows : " Since it is manifest by 
experience that if the Holy Bible in the vulgar tongue 
be suffered to be read everywhere without distinction, 
more evil than good arises, let the judgment of the 
bishop or inquisitor be abided by in this respect ; so 
that, after consulting with the parish priest or the con 
fessor, they may grant permission to read translations of 
the Scriptures, made by Catholic writers, to those whom 
they understand to be able to receive no harm, but an 
increase of faith and piety, from such reading : which 
faculty let them have in writing. But whosoever shall 
presume to read these Bibles, or have them in possession 
without such faculty, shall not be capable of receiving 
absolution of their sins, unless they have first given up 
the Bibles to the Ordinary. Booksellers who shall sell 
or in any other way furnish Bibles in the vulgar tongue, 



88 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

to any one not possessed of the licence aforesaid, shall 
forfeit the price of the books, which is to be applied by 
the bishop to pious uses, and shall be otherwise punished 
at the pleasure of the said bishop, according to the degree 
of the offence. Moreover, Regulars may not read or 
purchase the same without licence had from their 
superiors." 

So far, then, we see that permission to read the Bible 
is not a thing of course, but an exceptional favour, made 
difficult to obtain, and likely at once to be refused in 
every case where any man wanted honestly to know what 
God s revelation says upon some point of popular religion 
which might perplex him. But this is not all; for 
Clement VIII. glossing this rule, declares that the order 
and custom of the Holy Inquisition have taken away 
from Bishops and Superiors all power to grant any such 
licences 1 

That the subjoined items are amongst the 101 Pro 
positions of Quesnel, condemned by the Bull "Unigenitus " 
of Clement XI. in 1713, as "false, scandalous, pernicious, 
seditious, impious, blasphemous, and heretical," is a very 
pregnant fact : 

" 79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all 
places, and for all kinds of people, to study and learn 
the spirit, holiness, and mysteries of the Sacred Scrip 
ture. 

" 80. The reading of Holy Scripture is for all. 

" 82. The Lord s Day ought to be hallowed by 
Christians with pious reading, and above all of Holy 
Scripture. It is dangerous to attempt dissuading Chris 
tians from this reading. 

" 84. To take the New Testament out of the hands 
of Christians, or to keep it shut against them, by taking 

1 "Index Lib. Prohib." This new rule was so far relaxed in 
1 757 that specially authorized editions, with notes, might be tolerated, 
but no practical effect has followed. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 89 

away the means of understanding it, is to close Christ s 
mouth to them. 

" 85. To forbid Christians the reading of Holy Scrip 
ture, especially of the Gospels, is to forbid the use of 
light to the children of light, and make them undergo a 
sort of excommunication." 

Pope Leo XII., in an Encyclical dated May 3rd, 1824, 
addresses the Latin Bishops thus : " We also, venerable 
brothers, in conformity with our apostolic duty, exhort 
you to turn away your flocks from these poisonous pastures 
[of vernacular Bibles]. Reprove, intreat, be instant in 
season and out of season, in all patience and doctrine, 
that the faithful committed to you (adhering strictly to the 
rules of our Congregation of the Index) be persuaded that 
if the Sacred Scriptures be everywhere indiscriminately 
published, more evil than advantage will arise thence, 
because of the rashness of men." * 

Pius IX., in the Papal Syllabus of Errors, groups 
Bible Societies along with Socialism, Communism, and 
Secret Societies, as pests, which have alike been often 
reproved by him with the severest terms in various 
Encyclicals. 

Here, in England, where it is impracticable to forbid 
the Bible to such as wish to procure it, these rules are 
not insisted on, but it is almost an unknown book, save 
in Germany, to the Continental Roman Catholic. Nor 
are there any such Bible readings with explanations 
given by the clergy in church as to make amends for 



1 The writer has known a bonfire to be made of Anglican Bibles 
and Testaments by Roman Catholic clergymen at a mission in Kings 
town, Dublin. If these persons knew how trifling is the difference, 
apart from mere style, between the Anglican version and the Douai 
version, what are we to think of their reverence for God s Holy 
Word? If they did not know it, what are we to think of their pro 
fessional education, and their own anxiety to learn the truth of the 
matter ? Imagine the like done by Anglican clergymen to Douai 
Bibles and Testaments. 



90 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

the restriction. An explanation of the Gospel at Mass 
may be given, but is not obligatory, and there is nothing 
whatever analogous to the Anglican system of public 
lessons, for the Breviary Lessons are not only in Latin, 
but are part of an office which is never said in any 
parish church whatever, namely, the Nocturns or Night 
Hours. 

These plain facts must be set against such titular 
approvals of vernacular Bibles as the Brief of Pius VI., for 
example, prefixed to Archbishop Martini s Italian version 
in 1778, which is the only solid argument cited by Roman 
controversialists in defence. The phrase " poisonous pas 
tures " in the Encyclical of Leo XII., must mean one of 
two things, either that all vernacular translations are 
poisonous, or that such as are made by non-Romans are 
incorrect, corrupt, and misleading. In the latter case, 
obviously the duty of the Church is to provide trust 
worthy versions as the only sure antidote ; but although 
there have been many translations of the Bible made 
by Roman Catholics into various European languages, 
there is, at this moment, speaking under correction, none 
formally recognized and sanctioned for general use except 
the Douai Version, and that for obvious reasons. All 
others are mere private ventures, for the most part, and 
certainly are not encouraged by authority j 1 nor does the 
great college De Propaganda Fide, at Rome, whose poly 
glot press is one of the boasts of the local Church, do 
anything to supply the deficiency. 

1 Martini s version, the one apparent exception, is not such in 
fact. In the first place, it is published only at a prohibitory cost ; 
and next, an edition without the notes, issued in 1818, was promptly 
put on the Index. Moreover, Leo XII., writing forty-six years 
after Pius VI. s Brief, makes no exception in favour of Martini on 
that ground. The edition to which that Brief applies (Turin 1776-81) 
is in twenty-three quarto volumes. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OP ROME. 91 

Lack of Aids to Biblical Study amongst the Clergy. 

XXXVI. Nor is there any great zeal for instructing 
even the clergy in the Scriptures. It was actually not 
till Cardinal Mai published his edition of the Vatican 
MS. in 1858, that any Greek Testament was ever 
printed in Rome, though some twenty editions had 
appeared elsewhere, including Venice and Paris, as early 
as the sixteenth century, nor has any Hebrew Bible been 
published there even yet. And apart from the large, 
costly, and now partly antiquated works of Cornelius a 
Lapide and Calmet, severally 200 and 150 years old, 
there are at this moment no full commentaries on the 
entire Bible accessible to the Roman clergy, and very 
few indeed on separate portions except Maldonatus 
and Estius, the great majority of such as do exist being 
German, while little is done in France, almost nothing 
in Italy, and quite nothing in Spain and Portugal, for 
Biblical study. 

What the Old Testament says about Itself. 

XXXVII. Let us now see what can be gathered from 
Holy Scripture itself on this head. " To the Law and to 
the Testimony : if they speak not according to this word, 
it is because there is no light in them " (Isa. viii. 20). First 
of all, the principle of vernacular translations is Divinely 
sanctioned by the fact that the Apostles constantly quote 
from the Greek version of the Old Testament, and not 
directly from the Hebrew, as can be seen by comparing 
the LXX. and the original. Next, all through the Old 
Testament, there is ample evidence that the sacred 
writings were addressed to the whole Jewish nation, and 
not to the priestly caste alone ; that the lay people were 
expected to study them independently ; and that it was 
part of the duty of the teaching body to promote such 
study. A few examples will suffice in illustration : 

a. " And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, 



92 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I 
speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and 
keep, and do them" (Deut. v. i). 

b. " And these words, which I command thee this day, 
shall be in thine heart : And thou shalt teach them 
diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when 
thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by 
the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou 
risest up" (Deut. vi. 6, 7). 

c. " When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD 
thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt 
read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather 
the people together, men, and women, and children, 
and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may 
hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your 
God, and observe to do all the words of this law : And 
that their children, which have not known anything, may 
hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as 
ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess 
it" (Deut. xxxi. 10-13). 

d. "And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah,and 
Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, 
and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tob- 
adonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, 
priests. And they taught in Judah, and had the Book 
of the Law of the LORD with them, and went about 
throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people " 
(2 Chron. xvii. 8, 9). 

g. " And all the people gathered themselves together 
as one man into the street that was before the water- 
gate ; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the 
book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had com 
manded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the 
law before the congregation both of men and women, 
and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first 
day of the seventh month. And he read therein before 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 93 

the street that was before the water-gate from the morning 
until midday, before the men and the women, and those 
that could understand ; and the ears of all the people 
were attentive unto the Book of the Law. Also Jeshua, 
and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai. 
Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, 
Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to under 
stand the law : and the people stood in their place. So 
they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and 
gave the sense, and caused them to understand the 
reading" (Neh. viii. i, 2, 3, 7, 8). 



What the New Testament says. 

XXXVIII. So much for the Old Testament. Now let 
us turn to the New. 

a. " And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not 
therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither 
the power of God ? " (St. Mark xii. 24). 

b. " And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and 
Silas by night unto Berea : who coming thither went into 
the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble 
than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the 
word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scrip 
tures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore 
many of them believed ; also of honourable women which 
were Greeks, and of men, not a few" (Acts xvii. 10-12). 

c. All St. Paul s Epistles, except those to Timothy, 
Titus, and Philemon, are addressed to the whole body 
of the faithful in each place. One instance, by naming 
the clergy separately, emphasizes this fact : " Paul and 
Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints 
in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops 
and deacons" (Philipp. i. i). 

d. " And when this epistle is read among you, cause 
that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans ; 



94 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea " 
(Col. iv. 1 6). 

e. " I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read 
to all the holy brethren " (i Thess. v. 27). 

f. " But continue thou in the things which thou hast 
learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom 
thou hast learned them ; and that from a child thou hast 
known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee 
wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ 
Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and 
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may 
be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works " 
(2 Tim. iii. 14-17). 

g. " For whatsoever things were written aforetime were 
written for our learning, that we through patience and 
comfort of the Scriptures might have hope " (Rom. xv. 4). 

There is nothing about " poisonous pastures " in all 
this, and indeed only one text in which the Bible is 
capable of being so much as cited on the other side. 
Here it is : " And account that the long-suffering of our 
Lord is salvation ; even as our beloved brother Paul 
also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written 
unto you ; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of 
these things ; in which are some things hard to be under 
stood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, 
as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own de 
struction " (2 Pet. iii. 15, 1 6). 

But there is not a hint of withdrawing the Scriptures 
from circulation because of this abuse on the part of a 
few, nor in the case of these few is there any distinction 
drawn between clergy and laity ; while, as a fact, most of 
the ancient heresies have had a clerical, not a lay origin. 

The Fathers on Bible-Beading. 

XXXIX. Let us now briefly examine the witness of 
the ancient Church. And it is to be remembered, at the 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 95 

outset, that it was to the full as much vexed by manifold 
sects and heresies, often appealing to the Bible, as 
modern Christianity, perhaps even more so, and therefore 
the same reason might have been pleaded then as is urged 
by the Roman Church now for keeping the Bible a sealed 
book. It will not be necessary to make many quota 
tions, as those given shall be honestly average samples : 

a. In that august relic of primitive Christianity, the 
Liturgy of St. James, the following rubric occurs, whose 
great antiquity is attested by the absence of special 
reference to a collected New Testament : " Then are 
read consecutively (or at much length, StefrSiKwrciTa) the 
sacred oracles of the Old Testament and the Prophets ; 
and the Incarnation of the Son of God, His sufferings 
and resurrection from the dead, His ascension into 
heaven, and His second coming with glory are set forth. 
And this is done every day in the holy and divine service." 

b. " On the day called Sunday . . . the memories of 
the Apostles and the writings of the Prophets are read, 
so long as time permits ; then, when the reader has 
ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to 
the imitation of these good things." (St. Justin Mart. 
"Apol."i. 67.) 

c. " We were enjoined by Christ Himself to put no 
faith in human doctrines, but in those proclaimed by the 
blessed prophets, and taught by Himself." (St. Justin 
Mart, " Dial, with Trypho," xlviii.) 

d. "Let the school of Hermogenes tell us where such 
a statement is written [in Scripture]. If it be not written, 
then let that school fear that Woe, awaiting those who 
take from or add to Scripture." (Tertullian, "Adv. Her- 
mogenem," xxii.) 

e. " It is a manifest falling-away from the Faith, and a 
crime of presumption, either to annul anything in 
Scripture, or to introduce anything not in Scripture, since 
our Lord Jesus Christ has said, My sheep hear My 
voice (St. John x, 27) ... and the Apostle, taking 



96 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

an example from man s customs, vehemently forbids 
adding or taking anything away from the Divinely-inspired 
Scriptures, in these words : Though it be but a man s 
covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulled!, or 
addeth thereto " (Gal. iii. 15). (St. Basil the Great, 
De Fide," i.) 

f. " For practical purposes it is useful and necessary 
that everyone should thoroughly learn out of the Divinely 
inspired Scriptures, both for the fulfilment of piety and 
also in order not to become habituated to human traditions" 
(St. Basil the Great, "Short Rules," 95.) 

g. " Let us hear no more of You say, I say, but let 
us hear, Thus saith the Lord. There are unquestion 
ably books of the Lord, to whose authority we both of 
us give assent, submission, and obedience ; let us look 
for the Church there, and there discuss our dispute." 
(St. Augustine, " Ep. cont. Donat." iii. 5.) 

h. " When impious heresy, which is the army of Anti 
christ, occupies the Churches, then know that there is 
no proof of the true faith and of Christianity, except the 
Holy Scriptures, for they who look elsewhere shall perish. 
Formerly, it was manifested in several ways which was 
the Church of Christ, and which was heathenism ; but 
now there is no way of knowing which is the true Church 
of Christ, save only by the Scriptures. And why? 
Because those heresies have in their schism all things 
which belong to Christ in truth. They have similar 
churches, the same Holy Scriptures, similar bishops, and 
other grades of the clergy, baptism, and Eucharists, 
and all else ; finally, Christ Himself. How, then, can 
anyone, wishing to know which is the true Church of 
Christ in such a confusing likeness, do so, save by 
the Scriptures ?" (St. Chrysostom, " Horn. XLIX. in 
St. Matt." ii. 3.) 

" The reading of the Scriptures is a powerful safeguard 
against sin, and ignorance of the Scriptures is a dangerous 
abyss. It is greatly to risk one s salvation to know 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 97 

nothing of Holy Writ ; this is the source of many of 
the heresies and corruptions which have introduced 
themselves into the Church/ (St. Chrysostom, " Horn. 
III. on Lazarus.") This homily is not certainly his, but 
its witness is ancient. 

" The Scriptures make use of simple words to explain 
the truth, in order that the learned and the ignorant, 
women and children, may alike learn from them . . . 
The heavenly oracles were written for the whole of 
mankind ; even those who are employed in agricultural 
labour, and in various trades and businesses of life, profit 
by their clearness, and are able to learn from them 
in a moment what is necessary to be known, what is 
right and useful." (St. Isidore of Pelusium, Epp. iv. 
67, 91.) 

Thus it is clear that in so important a particular as the 
mode of dealing with God s Word, the modern Roman 
Church is at fundamental variance with that Word itself 
and with the teaching and practice of the Catholic 
Church in its purest days. 1 

Indulgences. 

XL. Next, let the doctrine and practical use of 
Indulgences be examined. This is a sore subject with 
Roman Catholics, and they pass over it as lightly as 
they can, softening and minimizing its peculiarities. 
Their statement, as they usually put it, is that an Indul 
gence is simply a remission of those temporal punish- 

1 It is possible to bring the evidence down much lower. In 
1237, Pope Gregory IX. addressed a letter to Germanus, Patriarch 
of Constantinople, urging the reunion of the two Churches, and 
beginning with this sentence : "Whereas, according to the witness 
of the Truth, ignorance of the Scriptures is the occasion of errors, 
it is expedient that all should read or hear them, because Divine 
inspiration willed them to draw forth, for the warning of the 
moderns, whatsoever things He stored up therein for the teaching 
of such as should follow." Matt. Paris, "Hist. Maj." 1237. 

H 



98 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

ments which remain due for those sins for which pardon 
has already been obtained through penance and con 
fession. Now this was partly true once. In the early ages 
of the Church the penitential discipline was very severe, 
and persons were frequently placed under excommunica 
tion for long terms of years, besides being enjoined other 
penalties before receiving absolution. Of course, the 
authority which inflicted these censures could mitigate 
or remove them, precisely as the civil government now 
can grant a ticket-of-leave or a free pardon to a convict. 
But the modern Indulgence has little or nothing to do 
with man s ecclesiastical censures and penalties here on 
earth, and all citation of ancient usage in respect of 
such things is beside the question. It is now almost 
entirely concerned with God s chastisement of sin in the 
intermediate state of souls between death and the Last 
Judgment. . It does not apply to cases like that of the 
incestuous Corinthian (i Cor. v. ; 2 Cor. ii. 6-8) which 
Romans quote in illustration, but to such as that of 
the rich man in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (St. 
Luke xvi. 23). 

What Indulgences used to be. 

XLI. Further, it is much insisted on in Roman 
apologetic books that Indulgences are in no sense 
pardons for sin, far less licences to commit sin, nor pur 
chasable for money. This is true now, but it was not 
always true. The existing practice, whatever its errors 
and abuses may be, is at any rate free from the horrible 
scandals which attended the older method, abolished by 
the Council of Trent in consequence of the outcry raised 
on the subject at the Reformation one proof, amongst 
many, that Rome can be forced to mend her ways by 
pressure from without, though she never does it volun 
tarily. The Roman Catholic princes of Germany, 
alarmed at the progress of Lutheranism, met in Diet 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 99 

at Nuremberg in 1522, and addressed a petition to Pope 
Hadrian VI. for the remedy of a " Hundred Grievances 
of the German Nation" which they set forth in that 
document. Amongst these occur 

No. 5. How licence to sin with impunity is granted 
for money. 

67. How more money than penitence is exacted 
from sinners. 

91. How bishops extort money from the con 
cubinage of priests. 

They re-stated these grievances more at length, classifying 
them in chapters, and alleged that the vendors of Bulls 
of Indulgence " declare that by means of these purchas 
able pardons, not only are past and future sins of the 
living forgiven, but also those of such as have departed 
this life and are in the purgatory of fire, provided only 
something be counted down Everyone, in pro 
portion to the price he had expended in these wares, 
promised himself impunity in sinning. Hence came 
fornications, incests, adulteries, perjuries, homicides, 
thefts, rapine, usury, and a whole hydra of evils. For 
what wickedness will mortals shudder at any longer, 
when they have once persuaded themselves that licence 
and impunity for sinning can be had for money, however 
extravagant the sum, not only in this life but after death 
also, by means of these marketings of Indulgences?" 
Then, speaking of " Reserved Cases," 1 the princes add : 
" But if any one have the means of paying, not only are 
present breaches of these constitutions allowed, but by 
the indulgence he has permission to transgress them with 
impunity for the future. Whence it happens that they 
who have got such a dispensation lay hold of it as a 
handle for committing perjury, murder, adultery, and 
similar atrocities, since any common priest can give them 

1 That is, sins which ordinary confessors are not allowed to 
absolve, but which are kept for the bishop, or, in some instances, 
for the Pope. 

H 2 



JOO PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

purchasable absolution by virtue of the indulgence." 1 
And the Pope, instead of indignantly denying the truth 
of these horrible charges, implicitly admitted the facts 
to be as stated. Indeed, he could not deny it, for the 
book entitled, " Taxes of the Sacred Apostolic Peni 
tentiary," was then, and is still, extant, with a regular 
tariff for the absolution of all kinds of sins, including 
simony, murder by a priest, parricide, incest, arson, 
&c. 2 There is even, in some copies of the Taxes, a 
special note, stating that dispensations of this sort are 
not to be given to poor persons. The whole question 
is fully treated in the reprint, by Professor Gibbings, of 
the Roman and Parisian editions (1510 and 1520) of the 
" Taxes of the Apostolic Penitentiary " (Dublin, McGee, 
1872). This kind of thing had been steadily growing up 
for some centuries, till it reached its highest pitch under 
Pope Alexander VI., and then the outcry began which 
ended in the comparative reformation of the abuse in 
1563. Neverthless, even as reformed, the practice and 
doctrine are altogether diverse from those of the ancient 
Church, and the assertion made by Dr. Milner, Cardinal 
Wiseman, and others, that nothing more is intended by 
indulgences than the relaxation of outward guilt, or of 
such penances as are enjoined by canonical discipline, is 
untenable. In fact, when they say so, they are actually 



1 See the whole document in Brown s " Fasciculus Rerum." 
London, 1690, vol. i. pp. 334-393. 

2 Some items read very curiously. Thus, the price of absolution 
for the murder of a father, mother, brother, sister, or wife, if the 
murderer be a laic, is I ducat and 4 carlini. But if more than 
one of these victims have been murdered, and a single absolution be 
taken out for all, then only half rates are charged after the first name 
on the list, for which the full price must be paid. A clerical 
murderer, in like circumstances, is required to make a journey to 
Rome. No doubt these charges began as mere legal costs in the 
ecclesiastical courts, in suing out pardons, but there is no avoiding 
the conclusion that they were perverted into a tariff for sins them 
selves, though probably never by any lawful and binding authority. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. IOI 

reproducing in substance two of the propositions of Luther 
on Indulgences, condemned, as " pestiferous, pernicious, 
and scandalous," by Leo X., in the Bull " Exurges " of 
June 25, 1520, namely, that " Indulgences do not avail, 
for those who truly acquire them, to the remission of 
punishment due to Divine justice for actual sins," and that 
" graces of this sort have relation only to the penalties 
of sacramental satisfaction, of man s appointment." 

The Roman Doctrine of Indulgences. 

XLII. The actual Roman doctrine is this. There are 
two penalties annexed to all sin, Culpa, or eternal punish 
ment ; Pana, or temporal punishment, including that of 
purgatory ; and even after Culpa has been remitted by 
absolution of the penitent, Ptxna still remains uncan- 
celled. However, as one drop of Christ s blood was 
sufficient for the redemption of the whole world, all the 
rest that He shed, together with the merits and prayers 
of all the saints, over and above what were needed 
for their own salvation, technically called "works of 
supererogation," constitutes an inexhaustible treasury 
or bank on which the Pope has a right to draw, and 
apply the drafts in payment for the release of souls in 
purgatory, 1 so that anyone who obtains an Indulgence 
can apply its merits to himself, or transfer it to some 
other, living or dead. When an Indulgence of a hundred 
days, or of seven years, is spoken of, it means that so 
much guilt is bought off as would be expiated by under 
going a penance extending over the whole of that time ; 
while a plenary Indulgence means the entire remission 
of all purgatorial chastisements. Two plain facts will 
show the entire unlikeness of this theory to the ancient 
discipline of the Church. First, the enormous majority 
of Indulgences are now acquired by persons who are not 
under canonical penance at all, but are in full com- 

1 Bella- mine, " De Indulg." i. 14. 



102 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

munion ; nay, regarded as specially devout and obedient. 1 
Next, whereas a hundred years is the extreme limit of 
human life, yet in the " Hours of B. V. M., according 
to the Use of the Church of Sarum" (Paris, 1526), 
indulgences are promised for 500, 11,000, 32,755, and 
56,000 years. Modern indulgences are more cautiously 
granted, and the highest number specified in the " Rac- 
colta" is seven years and seven quarantines, i.e., 280 
days ; though there are longer periods to be had, as 
will be shown presently ; and thus the popular notion 
often is that so many years in purgatory itself are re 
mitted by the Indulgence. 



Novelty of this Doctrine. 

XLIIL The first thing to remark upon as to this doc 
trine is its novelty. The system cannot be traced back 
earlier than the quarrel of Gregory VII. with the 
Emperor Henry IV., when remission of sins was offered 
in 1084 to such as would take up arms against the 
Emperor. Then it was used for the Crusades, and it 
was extended by Innocent III. to all who took up arms 
against the Albigenses and other heretics. Since then 
it has been applied indiscriminately. The Eastern 
Church has never had anything even remotely like it. 
Next, the whole doctrinal basis on which it rests was 
denied as late as 1141 by Peter Lombard, Bishop of 
Paris, in that famous work, for centuries a text-book in 
the theological schools of Western Christendom, which 
earned him his title of " Master of the Sentences." He 
lays down there explicitly that God only can remit either 
the Culpa or the Pcena of sin (" Sentt." iv. 18); while man 
can dispense only with the penalties man has instituted 

1 "The use of indulgenced devotions is almost an infallible test 
of a good Catholic." Faber, " Growth in Holiness," p. 278. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 103 

Indulgences destroy Devotion. 

XLIV. Next, and here is an objection which, fatal 
as it is, curiously enough rarely seems to be raised 
against Indulgences the system entirely eats out all 
that spontaneity and freewill offering of devotion without 
which prayer cannot please God, Who "loveth a cheerful 
giver" (2 Cor. ix. 7). It assumes as certain that people 
will not pray unless they be bribed to do it by a certain 
fixed tariff of so much direct advantage and profit for 
so much prayer ; and thereby it changes prayer from a 
freewill offering into a coarse attempt at making a 
huckstering bargain with Almighty God. And by hold 
ing out this inducement to certain specified religious 
exercises, it thereby directly discourages the use of all 
others, so that freewill prayers and praises are becoming 
almost unknown to the bulk of Roman Catholics. In 
deed, Faber says : "Why should we have any vocal 
prayers which are not indulgenced devotions ? " ("Growth 
in Holiness," p. 282). Nothing can be more profoundly 
unspiritual, or tend more to quicken and bring back that 
original sin of selfishness, which it is the aim of Christ s 
example and teaching to slay and cast out of man s heart 
and soul. 

Their Inconsistency with Scripture. 

XLV. There are other grave religious objections to 
the whole theory, even if we do not dwell on the entire 
absence of Scriptural proof of such a theory of purga 
tory as is prevalent in the Roman Church, and the 
absence of anything either in Scripture or in ancient 
Christian writers which can be tortured into a sem 
blance of the alleged Treasury of Merits. First, then, 
since Christ s merits are infinite, the merits of all Saints 
together, which at best are finite, cannot make His 
merits greater or more efficient. It is like adding on a 
farthing to ten thousand millions of pounds. And next, 



104 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

whereas no man, not even the holiest saint, has ever 
achieved perfect conformity to God s holiness and 
Christ s example (though no less pattern is set before 
us), yet the Lord Himself says : " When ye have done 
all those things which are commanded you, say, We 
are unprofitable servants : we have done that which was 
our duty to do" (St. Luke xvii. 10). And He who is 
the Truth would not have put a lie in the mouths of His 
Apostles merely to practise them in humility. We have 
thus one illogical inconsistency, and one explicit denial of 
Christ s truth, in the doctrine of the Treasury of Merits. 1 

Their Mischievousness, even if Valid. 

XLVI. Again, Christ came to save us from sin itself, 
not from the mere punishment of sin. And He did not 
come to spare His saints any suffering which He, the 
Great Physician, judges to be needful for their perfection. 
Now, it is quite true that we can, perhaps, see through 
the thick veil which lies between us and the world of 
spirits a few glimpses in Scripture of some process 
of gradual improvement and fitting for heaven which 
goes on after death ; which, it is possible to conjecture, 
may be attended with the twofold pain of horror at past 
sin and longing for the deferred presence of God, Very 
little, indeed, is told us, but we can just guess at so much. 
However, in the plainest of all those passages alleged by 
Roman Catholics, our Lord overthrows with one sentence 
the whole theory of Indulgences, " Verily, verily, I say 
unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence till 
thou hast paid the uttermost farthing" (St. Matt. v. 26). 

For even on Roman principles, purgatory is reserved 
exclusively for pious and justified souls, which have de 
parted in a state of Grace (" Catechism of Trent," I. v. 5 ; 

1 Christ s Parable of the Ten Virgins also contradicts this 
doctrine, for He makes the Wise Virgins refuse to share their oil 
with the foolish, on the express ground that there would not be. 
enough for all. St. Matt. xxv. 8, 9. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 105 

Perrone, " Prael. Theol."). God cannot but love such souls, 
and purgatory can only be intended IQ purify anddeanse, 
not to punish them. And He must be trusted to 
cleanse them in the most merciful and tender, as well 
as in the most effectual, way. Surely, then, to take them 
out of purgatory before their time be come, must be bad 
for them ; unless we fall back on the theory that the 
Roman Church is wiser and more merciful than God 
Himself, and, so to speak, delivers His victims out of 
His hand ! Put a parallel case in human affairs. What 
should we think of an association intended to beg off 
all boys sentenced to detention in a reformatory, and to 
send them straight away, without the corrective training 
which they would have received there, into good society 
as finished young gentlemen ? 

Roman View of Purgatory contradicts Scripture. 

XLVII. But, in fact, the modern Roman doctrine of 
Purgatory is dishonouring to the mercy, justice, and love 
of God. That doctrine is, that the pains of purgatory, 
both physical and mental, are the same, except in mere 
duration, with the pains of hell (Benedict XIV., " De 
Sacrif. Missae," II. ix. 3, 6 ; xvii. 3). Now here is what 
the Book of Wisdom, which the Roman Church accounts 
canonical, has to say on that head : 

" But the souls of the righteous are in the hands of 
God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight 
of the unwise they seemed to die : and their departure 
is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter 
destruction, but they are in peace" (Wisd. iii. 1-3). 

So, too, St. John : " And I heard a voice from heaven 
saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die 
in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that 
they may rest from their labours" (Rev. xiv. I3). 1 

1 It is very noteworthy that St. John s own word for "labours" 
here is KOTTWV, which strictly means "beatings," and then any kind 



106 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

But the received Roman doctrine is that these are 
justified souls ; and justification, in the Tridentine sense, 
includes sanctification, union with Christ, and the full 
enjoyment of faith, hope, and charity (Cone. Trident, 
sess. VI. cap. vii.); and yet Rome represents those who are 
in this state as not merely subject to the justice, but as 
pursued by the wrath, anger, and vengeance of God (see 
Cardinal Wiseman s "Lectures," ii.), which is an implicit 
denial of the whole Gospel dispensation, and, what is 
more to Roman Catholics, a flat contradiction of received 
Roman doctrine on two points. 

And Contradicts other Roman Doctrine. 

XLVIII. These points are : (i.) Venial sins are punished 
in purgatory, and, indeed, form the bulk of those chas 
tised there. But, although Rome teaches that penance, 
confession, and absolution, are the remedies for post- 
baptismal sins, yet it is laid down that venial sins are so 
trifling that no one is bound to confess them at all, and 
may communicate without confession ; while they may be 
remitted in many ways besides that of penance (Liguori, 
" Theol. Mor." vi. 318, 319 ; Cone. Trident., sess. xiv. c. 
5), although the Council of Lateran requires allsifzsto be 
confessed at least once a year. Therefore, the conclusion 
is, that God visits with wrath and vengeance what the 
Church looks on as not really sins, but as too insignificant 
to require formal censure. (2.) It is argued by Roman 
Catholics that the right to grant indulgences is part of 
the Power of the Keys, granted to the Apostles and 
continued to the Church, for remitting or retaining sins. 
But the very doctrine of purgatory is that after the Power 
of the Keys has been exercised by absolution, there 
remains a temporal penalty untaken away, and conse 
quently unaffected by the Power of the Keys. 

of hard toil or suffering. How could it be said of souls " tortured 
(cruciatce} in the fire of purgatory, " as the Council of Trent declares, 
that they rest from sufferings ? 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 107 

It now remains to compare a modem Roman hymn 
on the state of the departed with one or two passages 
from the works of Saints and from the office-books of 
the Eastern Church, which, while retaining prayers for 
the dead, utterly rejects the Roman doctrine of Pur 
gatory, though unjustifiably quoted by Dr. Faa di Bruno 
as maintaining that doctrine. 

(l.) "In pain beyond all earthly pains, 

Favourites of Jesus ! there they lie, 
Letting the fire purge out their stains, 
And worshipping God s purity." FABER. 

(2.) " Where there is grace, there is remission ; where 
there is remission, there is no punishment." (St. John 
Chrysostom, " Horn. VIII. in Epist. ad Rom.") 

(3.) " God acts with liberality. He forgives entirely." 
(St. Bernard, "Serm. de Fragmentis.") 

(4.) "Grant rest unto the souls of Thy servants, 
O Lord, together with Thy saints, where there is no pain, 
nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life without end." (Greek 
Office for All Souls Saturday.) 

Lastly, here is the witness of eminent Roman Catholic 
divines as to Indulgences : 

" We have no testimony in the Scriptures, nor amongst 
the Fathers, in favour of Indulgences, but only the 
authority of some modern authors." (St. Antoninus, 
Abp. Florence (1459), "Summ. Theol." I. 3.) 

" Since it was so late before purgatory was admitted 
into the Universal Church, who can be surprised that 
at the earlier period of the Church, no use was made of 
Indulgences?" (Cardinal Fisher, Martyr (1535), " Adv. 
Luther," 18.) 

" There is nothing in the Scriptures less clear, or of 
which the ancient Fathers have said less, than Indul 
gences ; it would appear that this system has only lately 
been received into the Church." (Alfonso de Castro, 
Abp. of Compostella (1558), " Adv. Hceres.") 



IOS PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

The Mass Traffic. 

XLIX. But even though one of the worst features 
of the old Indulgence system, its shameful venality, 
has been ended, and the Council of Trent has forbidden 
"disgraceful gains" of the kind to be any longer 
trafficked in (Sess. XXL 9), nevertheless the same 
greedy spirit exhibits itself still in a manner which, if 
not quite so scandalous on the very surface, is just as 
revolting when viewed more closely. 

It is still true in a very frightful way that the Church 
of Rome, which boasts itself as being in an especial 
sense the "Church of the Poor" thereby too often 
really meaning that it has alienated all educated 
people, and has none but ignorant clients left lies 
justly under the accusation of being what it is called in 
France, La religion argent, "the creed of money "- 
which our own forefathers implied by their proverb, 
"No penny, no Paternoster." 1 

It is perhaps the most distinctive peculiarity of the 
Gospel that it puts the poor in such an honourable 
position, not in the mere way of studiously recom 
mending them to the charity of the rich (as even the Law 
did), but in that the Gospel itself is in a very special 
way addressed and " preached to the poor " (St. Matt, 
xi. 5 ; St. Luke iv. 18, vii. 22), and that " God hath 
chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs 01 
the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love 
Him" (St. James ii. 5). And one practical interpre 
tation put on these and like sayings of Scripture in 
Roman Catholic countries is the encouragement of idle 
mendicants, to relieve whom is accounted a religious 

1 For the shameless competition of rival shrines in France, with 
their advertisements of advantages, from privileged Masses up to 
miracles, to be had by customers at prices ranging from 5 centimes 
to 10,000 francs, see Parfait, "Le Dossier des Pelerinages," 
Paris, 1877, who gives extracts from circulars and pamphlets in 
proof. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 109 

duty and merit, albeit St. Paul has said, " If any work 
not, neither should he eat " (2 Thess. iii. 10). 

But when we come to the Roman Church s own dealings 
with the poor, the spirit is changed entirely. It is to be re 
membered that the practical, encouraged, and authorized 
belief of Roman Catholics is that the incalculable ma 
jority of their own co-religionists who are saved at all, 
pass at once after death into hideous tortures of undefined 
duration, while the received opinion is that this duration 
is very long, and may extend to thousands of years. 
Next, the Sacrifice of the Mass, as propitiatory for the 
sins of the living and the dead, is held to be the chief 
means of relieving souls in purgatory, to which In 
dulgences are but subsidiary in operation ; and Masses 
for the dead are consequently a very prominent feature 
in all Roman Catholic Churches. But, except on com 
paratively infrequent occasions, such as All Souls Day and 
the anniversaries, or month s-minds, of purgatorial guilds, 
&c., these Masses are said, not for the faithful departed 
in general, but for private individuals, and are paid for 
according to a fixed tariff. The result of this usage, 
and of the doctrine inculcated in connexion with it, is 
that rich people purchase thousands of Masses to be 
applied for the repose of their own souls or those of 
their kindred and friends. Thus, only the other day, 
Queen Christina of Spain left money by will for ten 
thousand Masses to be said for herself and her husband, 
five thousand for each of them. 

Now, by accepting this money, the Roman clergy 
plainly undertook to give full value for it, and that value 
must of course be measured by the supposed cumulative 
power of Masses in proportion to their number. This 
means, then, that a rich man, who may be just barely 
capable of being saved, and who, according to Roman 
theory, ought to remain longest and suffer most in purga 
tory, is to be released unspeakably sooner than the poor 
man whose friends cannot afford to pay for Masses. 



HO PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

And not only so, but by pre-engaging such vast numbers 
of Masses, the rich prevent there being time or oppor 
tunity to say gratis Masses for the poor, even if there 
were any inclination to do so, seeing that by a rule, very 
seldom relaxed each priest can say but one Mass daily. 
Take a village church, then, where the rich family of 
the neighbourhood has ordered several hundred Masses 
for a dead member, which the priest from poverty 
cannot afford to refuse, how about all the poor of the 
parish who die while these have the priority ? 

If their souls be worse off, as compared with those of 
the rich, in consequence of the lack of Masses, is it not 
plain that money is made the key of the kingdom of 
heaven ? 

If their souls be no worse off, have not the clergy 
swindled the rich by taking money under false pretences, 
to do that which makes no practical difference P 1 

Put the case of one of the worst kinds of railway 
accident, where the shattered carriages are also on fire, 
and the sufferers are being slowly burnt as well as 
crushed and maimed ; what would be said if it were to 
become known that the railway officials had extricated 
from the wreck only such passengers as seemed able to 
pay for the attention, and left all the third-class travellers 
to lie there without any help till the next day ? And yet 
there is no proportion between the cruelty of such con 
duct and that of the Roman clergy, if they believe what 
they say. 

Uncertainty of the Mass Traffic. 

L. If such be the state of things on the supposition 
that the Masses ordered are duly said, and without 

1 Faber has tried to evade this dilemma by urging that earthly 
poverty, as entailing suffering, is equivalent to purgatory. But (a) 
there is no proof that this is the received doctrine; and (b) it does not 
apply to those vast numbers who, living in reasonable cornfort, 
have yet no savings available to pay for Masses, but applies only to 
the starving or diseased poor. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. Ill 

opening up the uncomfortable doubt as to Intention, 
whether the celebrant really meant to say a valid Mass, 
and to apply it to the particular person paid for, what is 
to be said when there is reason to suppose that the 
contract has not been fulfilled in any sense, nor any 
value given for money received ? Yet "that such not 
only might be, but has been more than once, and may 
at any time again be the case, has been established by 
more than one scandalous trial in France of late. The 
cases have been of this sort : Certain of the Parisian 
clergy, having contracted to say an enormous number of 
Masses, amounting to a couple of hundred thousand, 
found that the work simply could not be got through, 
and instead of saying so and returning the money, 
arranged with a middle-man to farm out a large pro 
portion of them to country priests at a lower rate of pay 
per Mass, so as to leave a margin of profit to the original 
contractors and a commission for the agent. It was 
shown by a couple of lawsuits that the agent had not 
carried out his part of the engagement, but had simply 
pocketed the money, no Masses had been said (though 
in other instances the process of sub-letting was carried 
on, ending in the Masses being said for the barest 
pittance by starveling curates), and the customers had 
been defrauded on a very large scale. Imagine the 
working of a system which thus makes possible a 
Glasgow Bank fraud in the spiritual world, affecting in 
the profoundest way the agonized souls of the departed 
and the feelings of their sorrowing kindred ; that the 
future condition of souls which Christ died to ransom 
should be thus at the mercy of any grasping priest or 
swindling commission-agent ! 

Necessary Result of the System, 
LI. It is clear that one all but inevitable result of 
the system must be the encouragement of rich people 
to continue in the habit of committing any or all sins, 



112 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

short of mortal ones, to which they have a mind, in 
the belief that they can buy themselves out of purgatory 
by a sum of money expended on requiem Masses ; and 
contrariwise, to strike dismay and terror into the hearts 
and souls of those who are too poor to pay for such 
luxuries for themselves or their friends. And accordingly 
the Church of Rome, so long as she persists in this course, 
incurs the Divine threat uttered by the Prophet : 

" Because with lies ye have made the heart of the 
righteous sad, whom I have not made sad ; and 
strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should 
not return from his wicked way, by promising him life : 

" Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine 
divinations : for I will deliver my people out of your 
hand : and ye shall know that I am the Lord " (Ezek. 
xiii. 22, 23). 

Marriage Dispensations. 

LII. There is another scandal, akin to that of the old 
Indulgences, still prevalent in the Roman Church, 
namely, that of dispensations for marriages within the 
prohibited degrees, which are very much more numerous 
than in the Church of England, including not only first, 
second, and third cousins, but also " spiritual affinities " 
created by sponsorship at baptisms. Nevertheless, dis 
pensations are to be had for marriage with a brother s 
widow, with a wife s sister, or between an uncle and niece : 
though in Leviticus xviii. 12-14, the marriage of a 
nephew and aunt is declared incestuous, and there is no 
difference in principle between the two cases. 1 (Andre, 
" Droit Canon," s. v. " Empechements.") Practically, 
some of these dispensations mean simply the payment of 
certain fees by persons rich and influential enough to get 

1 Even this union is sometimes permitted, and there is a case 
of a marriage of a nephew and aunt in the Portuguese Royal family 
in 1777. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 113 

the matter expedited for them. Now here is a very grave 
scandal. Either marriages of these kinds are permissible 
by God s law, or they are not. That is a fairly arguable 
matter. But if they be permissible and expedient, the 
Roman Church has no right to set up toll-bars and 
block the way against those who desire to contract them, 
unless they undertake an expensive process meant to 
bring gain into the coffers of the Datary. Contrariwise, 
if such unions be forbidden or inexpedient, then to 
relax a moral and religious prohibition is an indefensible 
abuse, a playing fast-and-loose with holy things which 
cannot be too severely condemned. And, accordingly, 
Scipio de Ricci, Bishop of Pistoia and Prato, denounced 
the whole system in 1780 as una infame bottega, "a 
shameful traffic." 1 

Roman Untrustworthiness. 

LIII. The next valid reason (and especially for the 
unlearned) against joining the modern Church of Rome, 
is the entire disregard for truth exhibited in its polemics, 
in its claims, its cults, relics, legends, and even its 
very office-books. This is, in fact, that peculiarity 
of its practical system which brings it most definitely 
into collision with the Word of God. Not only can the 
Christian religion have no claim whatever on our accept 
ance unless it be true, but the moral tone of the Bible 
is throughout one, indivisible, and clear, on the hateful- 
ness of all falsehood in God s sight. The law given on 

1 The practical use of keeping up this system in the modern 
Roman Church is this : Bishops in their dioceses are the ordinary 
ministers through whom such dispensations as are gratis are issued. 
Their faculties for doing this last only five years, and have to be 
periodically renewed. By depriving any bishop of this power, all 
the laity of his diocese are roused against him, because they are 
prevented from contracting marriages, and all the clergy, too, 
because they lose the bridal fees, and accordingly his submission 
to Rome in any emergency can be secured by a turn of this screw, 
as Bishop Hefele of Rottenburg learnt not long ago to his cost. 



114 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Sinai, " Thou shalt not bear false witness," is echoed 
again and again through the sacred writings down to the 
last book in the canon. So Job rebukes his friends : 
" Will ye speak wickedly for God, and talk deceitfully 
for Him ?" (Job xiii. 7). So the Wise Man speaks : " The 
Lord doth hate .... a false witness that speaketh 
lies" (Prov. vi. 16-19); and again, "Lying lips are an 
abomination to the Lord" (Prov. xii. 21). So the Lord 
Himself spake by His Prophet : " And of these shall be 
taken up a curse .... because they have spoken lying 
words in My Name, which I have not commanded them" 
(Jer. xxix. 22, 23). So the Apostle counsels his flock, 
"Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth 
with his neighbour" (Eph. iv. 25) ; so the Beloved Dis 
ciple in the Apocalypse warns us that " all liars shall 
have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and 
brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. xxi. 8); 
and that " whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" is left out 
side the gates of the heavenly city, along with sorcerers, 
murderers, idolaters, and the like. (Rev. xxii. 15.) 

Nevertheless the Roman Church, which professes to 
worship Him Who has said, "I am the Truth," is honey 
combed through and through with accumulated falsehood; 
and things have come to this pass, that no statement 
whatever, however precise and circumstantial, no reference 
to authorities, however seemingly frank and clear, to be 
found in a Roman controversial book, or to be heard from 
the lips of a living controversialist, can be taken on trust ; 
nor accepted, indeed, without rigorous search and verifi 
cation. The thing may be true, but there is not so much 
as a presumption in favour of its proving so when tested. 
The degree of guilt varies, no doubt, from deliberate and 
conscious falsehood with fraudulent intent, down through 
reckless disregard as to whether the thing be true or 
false, to mere overpowering bias causing misrepresenta 
tion ; but truth, pure and simple, is almost never to be 
found, and the whole truth, in no case whatever. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 115 

Proofs of the Charge. 

LIV. And now to offer a few proofs in support of so 
heavy an accusation. The process began early : 

a. In A.D. 419, a Council of the whole African Church 
was held at Carthage, and Faustinus, Bishop of Potenza, 
who was legate of the Pope there, tendered, in proof of the 
Pope s right to -hear appeals from foreign Churches, 
certain Canons of the local Synod of Sardica, held in 347, 
and not received either in Eastern or Southern Christen 
dom, as if they were canons of the General Council of 
Nicsea in 325, and universally binding. The Council 
had a search made in the archives of Alexandria, Antioch, 
and Constantinople, of course vainly, save that authentic 
copies of the Nicene Canons were sent to it ; where 
upon it rejected the Sardican Canons, had the genuine 
Nicene Canons read and affirmed, and wrote to the Pope, 
complaining of the attempted fraud, and told him that 
nothing should make them tolerate such insolent conduct 
on his part 1 This letter was signed, amongst others, by 
the illustrious St. Augustine. Nevertheless, the same use 
was made of them by Pope Leo the Great only thirty 
years later, when the record of the matter was still fresh ; 3 
and yet a third time by Felix III., to coerce Acacius of 
Constantinople. 

b. The Roman legates at the Council of Chalcedon in 
451, produced a forged copy of the Nicene Canons, 
containing, in the Sixth Canon, the words, " The Roman 
See has always had the Primacy," which were promptly 
repudiated by the Council, 3 

c. It is matter of history, recorded by St. Jerome, that 
the Emperor Constantine the Great was baptized on his 

1 "Nonsumus jam istum #/// passuri." " Codex Eccl. Afric." 

2 Fl eury, " Hist. Eccl." xxvii. 43. 

3 Fleury, "Hist. Eccl." xliii. 17. This forgery is quoted as 
genuine in Dr. Di Bruno s " Catholic Belief," p. 112. 

I 2 



Il6 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

death-bed in Nicomedia, an Asiatic city, by Eusebius, its 
bishop. Nevertheless, a fable was invented in the fifth 
century that this emperor was a leper, and was healed 
of his disease at Rome by means of baptism administered 
to him there by Pope Sylvester, in gratitude for which he 
made over to the Popes all right of sovereignty over 
Rome itself, and much adjacent territory (the famous so- 
called Donation of Constantine) ; and this falsehood, 
invented for a political purpose, which it effectually 
served, holds its place still in the Roman Breviary, and 
is read by every priest on December 3ist each year. 1 

d. In the year 754 Pope Stephen III. forged a letter 
in the name of the Apostle St. Peter, and sent it to 
Pippin, King of France, calling on him to come to the 
defence of the Pope and the city of Rome against the 
Lombards ; which he accordingly did, and bestowed on 
the Pontiff a great territory, containing more than twenty 
cities, the first beginning of the temporal power. Fleury, 
in recording this event, describes it as " an artifice with 
out parallel before or since in Church history." (" Hist. 
Eccl." ix. 354.) That is how the Pope first became a 
king, and a very creditable story it is. 

<?. In the middle of the ninth century came the greatest 
of all the forgeries, the famous " False Decretals," that 
is, a collection of about a hundred formal official letters 
and decrees of a number of early Popes and Councils, on 
points of doctrine and discipline, all intended to augment 
the Papal authority ; which were fabricated in Western 

1 There are many other falsifications in the Breviary (for the most 
part in those lives of Saints which occupy the second set of Lessons 
in the " Night Hours," whence a French proverb : " He lies like 
the Second Nocturn"), but this one is here singled out because of 
the impossibility of disputing the fact that it is a lie, and is known 
to be such by the Roman authorities. Perhaps it is more curious 
that the offer of Satan to our Lord, of giving Him all the kingdoms 
of the world, has been adapted as if spoken by God to St. Peter, 
and is worked into the responsory to the sixth lesson for the feast of 
SS. Peter and Paul. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 1 17 

Gaul about 845, and were eagerly seized on by Pope 
Nicolas I., an ambitious and perfectly unscrupulous 
pontiff (858-867), to aid in revolutionizing the Church, 
as he, in fact, largely succeeded in doing. Here are a 
few specimens of the sort of thing with which they teem : 

" Not even amongst the Apostles was there equality, 
but one was set over all." 

" The Head of the Church is the Roman Church." 

"The Church of Rome, by a unique privilege, has 
the right of opening and shutting the gates of Heaven 
for whom she will." 

It is usually alleged by Roman controversialists that 
the Popes had nothing to do with inventing these 
forgeries, and that the worst with which they are 
chargeable was having, like everybody else, accepted 
them as genuine in an uncritical age, especially as they 
did but codify and register what was actually believed 
much earlier. These pleas are untenable ; for the very 
simple reason that the Popes have always had what 
no one else had, full means of ascertaining the facts by 
referring to the Roman archives. But Pope Nicolas I. 
solemnly and publicly lied on this head to some of the 
Frankish bishops, assuring them that the Roman Church 
had long preserved all these documents with honour in 
her archives, and that every writing of a Pope is binding 
on the whole Church, knowing, as he did, that not one 
of the forgeries was or ever had been laid up in those 
archives. (Mansi. " Concil." xv. 695. ) 1 Not only so, 

1 An attempt has been made to acquit Nicolas, on the ground 
that he does not expressly cite the False Decretals, and therefore 
may not have cited them at all ; but (a) Baronius and most other 
historians agree that he did cite them ; (b) it was precisely against 
Decretals not to be found in the acknowledged Canons that 
Hincmar of Reims protested; and (c) the latter clause of the Pope s 
statement is a fraudulent gloss on the legal fact, which is that 
extracts from duly enacted Canons may be authoritatively issued 
as injunctions by Popes ; not that their own personal decrees are 
Jaw. Richer, "De Ecct et Polit. Potest." viji. 3, 



Il8 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

but though the forgeries have been now known as 
such for more than three centuries, and are admitted 
by Cardinals Baronius ("Ann."A.D. 865, sect. 8) and 
Bellarmine (" De Pontif. Rom." ii. 14), the two greatest of 
Ultramontane writers, nay, by Pope Pius VI. himself, who 
in 1789 said they ought to be burned 1 (" Letter to Four 
German Metropolitans," quoted by F. Gratry) ; yet they 
are still wrought into the whole texture of the Roman 
canon law, which is very largely made up of them ; they are 
quoted as genuine in Liguori s " Moral Theology," i. 114, 
the chief text-book on its subject in the Roman Church, 
to prove Papal infallibility ; and they have been inserted 
as genuine several times in the Breviary itself at the 
last revision, by those two very cardinals just named, 
who knew the truth; as on January 16, where Pope 
Marcellus I. is represented as having written to the 
Bishop of the patriarchate of Antioch to the effect that 
Rome is the Head of the Church, and that no council 
can lawfully be held without leave of the Roman Pontiff. 
/. Baronius has also falsified the Roman Martyrology, 
by inventing statements that various early bishops, 
whose mere names stand in the old editions, were con 
secrated and given mission to different Churches by 
St. Peter from Rome, so as to make Rome appear the 
Mother Church of these places. And he has altered 
the date of St. Denis of Paris by 200 years with this 
same view. 3 

Falsification of the Fathers. 

LV. As the genuine writings of the Fathers bear 
constant testimony against the Papal doctrines and 
usages, a regular system of forgery has gone on in respect 
of them also ; sometimes by the falsification of whole 

1 " Let us put aside this collection, to be burnt with fire, if you 
like." Gratry. Second Letter to Mgr. Dechamps. 

2 Janus, " The Pope and the Council/ pp. 399, 400. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 119 

works, at other times by interpolations in the text of 
genuine works. Here are a few samples : 

St. Irenaeus is quoted, and by Liguori amongst others, 
as saying : "It is necessary that all should depend on 
the Church of Rome, as on a well-spring or fount." No 
such passage exists. 

St. Cyprian is one of the chief authorities against 
Papalism, and accordingly he has been made to say : 
" Upon him [Peter] He builds His Church, and commits 
His sheep to be fed .... and the primacy is given to 
Peter, that it might be shown that the Church is one and 
the Chair one." . . . . " He who opposes and resists 
the Church, who forsakes the Chair of Peter, upon 
which the Church is built, can he trust that he is in the 
Church ? " " De Unitat. Eccl." 4. This impudent forgery, 
absent from almost every extant MS. of St. Cyprian, 
and from every printed edition till one in 1563, was first 
adduced by Pope Pelagius II. in a letter to the Bishops 
of Istria. . But it is inserted still in the Roman editions of 
St. Cyprian s works, besides being constantly quoted by 
Ultramontanes, though Baluze s note, giving the facts, 
stands in the Benedictine edition, which was falsified 
after his death while he was busy on it. 

St. Augustine is still incessantly quoted as having 
said : " Rome has spoken, the cause is ended." Roma 
locuta est, causa finita est. He never said anything of 
the sort. The passage which has been quoted thus runs 
in this manner : " The results of two Councils on the 
matter (Pelagianism) have been sent to the Apostolic 
See, and replies have come thence. The cause is ended. 
Would that the error may end some time ! " Serm. XIII. 
It did not end then, for Zosimus, the new Pope, im 
mediately afterwards sided for a time with the Pelagians, 
and the controversy was not terminated till the Council 
of Ephesus. 1 

1 Fleury, " Hist. Eccl." V. xxiii. 44. 



120 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 



Forged Greek Catena. 

LVI. A forgery, only second to the False Decretals in 
extent and audacity, was made in 1261 by a Dominican 
friar, consisting of a spurious catena of Greek Councils 
and Fathers, in support of a new claim set up by the 
Pope to rule the other four Patriarchs. Pope Urban IV., 
who seems to have known something of the truth about it, 
at once used it in a letter to the Greek Emperor, keeping 
carefully back the names of the alleged witnesses, and 
also sent it to St. Thomas Aquinas, who embodied large 
extracts of it into his work against the Greeks, without 
any suspicion. And it passed at once into the formal 
authoritative teaching of the theological schools of the 
Roman Church, nor has it ceased to be appealed to even 
now, for Liguori again uses it to prove the Pope s 
supremacy. The two great tenets developed in this 
forgery are, that the Pope is the infallible teacher of the 
whole world, and the absolute monarch of the Church. 
(Janus, " The Pope and the Council/ pp. 264-268.) 

Faith not to be kept with Heretics. 

LVI I. Further: it is the received principle of the 
Roman Church, that no faith need be kept with heretics ; 
and no oath, however solemn, observed which is against 
Roman interests. 

Here are proofs : i. John Huss went to the Council 
of Constance under a safe-conduct from the Emperor 
Sigismund, to go, stay, and return^ When he got there 
he was at once imprisoned, tried, and burnt, despite his 
protest to Sigismund in person. This great crime 
shocked the public opinion of the day, and aroused a 

1 The exact words of the safe-conduct are : "Omni prorsus im- 
pedimento remoto, transire, stare, morari, et redire libere permit- 
tatis." (Von der Hardt, " Cone. Constant." iv. 81.) 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 121 

general outcry, to which the Council responded by pass 
ing the following ex post facto decrees : (a) "Notwith 
standing safe-conducts . . . the competent judge may 
inquire into cases of heretical pravity, and by such safe- 
conducts no prejudice can be created against the Catholic 
faith or against the jurisdiction of the Church, and, not 
withstanding such safe-conduct, the ecclesiastical judge 
may inquire concerning the errors of such persons, and 
proceed duly against them, and punish them . . . even 
though they have come to the place of trial relying on the 
safe-conduct, and otherwise would not have come" (&) "The 
said John Huss, by obstinately impugning the orthodox 
faith, forfeited all safe-conduct and privileges, and no 
faith or promise was to be kept with him by natural law, 
either human or divine, to the prejudice of the Catholic 
faith." 1 

2. Here are some maxims from the Roman canon 
law : 

" An oath taken against ecclesiastical interests does 
not bind." 

" Those are to be styled perjuries, not oaths, which 
are taken against the advantage of the ecclesiastical 
body"("Decret. Greg. IX." II. xxiv. 27). 

" No one is obliged to keep faith (fidelitatem servare) 
with excommunicated persons until they have been re 
conciled." ("Decret." II. Caus. xv. quaest. vi. 4, 5.) This 
is a decree of Pope Gregory VII., and refers primarily 
to oaths of allegiance taken by vassals to their feudal 
superiors, but covers much more ground, and is more 

1 The genuineness of these decrees has been questioned ; but 
that fact will not help Roman controversialists ; for the Council 
of Trent has accepted them by the very act of granting a temporary 
suspension of their force. Finding that no use was made of the 
safe-conduct to Protestants it had proclaimed in its thirteenth 
session (1551), it issued another in the eighteenth (1562), solemnly 
promising not to avail itself, for this time, of any law, statute, or 
canon of any Council, especially Constance, for the violation of its 
own pledge. 



122 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

bluntly worded by Innocent III. : " Faith (fides) is not 
to be kept with him who does not keep faith with God." 
That is what the Church of Rome says. Here is what 
the Word of God says : " Lord, who shall dwell in Thy 
tabernacle, or who shall rest upon Thy holy hill ? . . . 
He that speaketh the truth from his heart . . . that 
hath used no deceit in his tongue ... he that sweareth 
unto his neighbour, and disappointeth him not, though 
it were to his own hindrance" (Ps. xv. i, 2, 3, 5). 

Roman Divines and Controversialists. 

LVIII. And in the full spirit of these Roman principles, 
the controversial and theological writings of Roman 
divines perfectly swarm with falsehoods. A very few 
instances will suffice in illustration : and they are fair 
average specimens. 

a. Liguori, in his "Glories of Mary," (Fr. Coffin s 
translation: Burns & Gates, 1868), p. 112, quotes St. 
Anselm as saying, that it is safer and better to call on 
the Blessed Virgin than on Christ. The passage is from 
a notoriously spurious treatise. At p. 123 he quotes St. 
Bernard as saying, "At the name of Mary every knee 
bows," with a false reference to the Annunciation sermons, 
wherein the passage does not occur, nor anywhere else in 
St. Bernard. At p. 197 he quotes St. Ignatius of Antioch, 
as saying that no one can be saved without Mary s help 
and favour; and, allowing that the passage has been 
doubted, alleges that at any rate St. Chrysostom acknow 
ledged its genuineness, and adopted it. Both statements 
are wholly false. And if it be pleaded that Liguori erred 
through ignorance, 1 the reply is that his editors do not 
correct him, though they, at any rate, know the facts. 

b. Cardinal Wiseman, in his "Lectures on the Catholic 
Church," systematically quotes doubtful, spurious, and 

1 In that case, what are his qualifications as a "Doctor of the 
Church " ? 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 123 

forged writings of Fathers as genuine ; besides being 
guilty of other falsifications. Here are a few examples : 
He quotes long extracts from the " Christus Patiens," 
attributing it to St. Gregory Nazianzen, in the fourth 
century. It is rejected as spurious by Baronius, Tille- 
mont, Dupin, Labbe, Bellarmine, and Natalis Alexander, 
six of the most eminent Roman Catholic scholars ; and 
the Benedictine edition of St. Gregory assigns it to the 
ninth century, five hundred years after his time. He 
produces an inscription in favour of invoking Saints, and 
alleges that the great scholar Muratori assigns it to the 
fifth or sixth century. When the reference to Muratori 
is verified ("Antiq. Med. yvi,"v. 358), it turns out that 
he names three writers as ascribing it to the ninth cen 
tury, one as referring it to the fifth or sixth, and gives no 
opinion himself. Wiseman also quotes as genuine a 
sermon by St. Methodius, intended for use on a festival 
not instituted till that Saint had been dead more than 
two hundred years. 1 

c. In a small tract, called, " What do Catholics really 
believe?" edited by W. H. Anderdon, SJ. (Burns & 
Gates, 1878), the following statements occur, which may 
be profitably compared with some of the evidence given 
earlier in this treatise : 

1. " Protestants are quite right in saying the Catholic 
Church teaches that every one cannot understand the 
Scriptures by themselves [sic], but it is false to say that she 
forbids the reading it in the true and correct translation! 

2. " When Protestants invented their religion, they 
split the commandment [i.e. Com. I.] and the explanation 
[i.e. Com. II.] in two, by way of being different from the 
Church." The English division of the Ten Command 
ments, according to which polytheism is forbidden in 
the First Commandment, and idolatry in the second, is 
that of the Jews, of the Eastern Church, of Origen, and 

1 For these and many similar instances see Palmer s "Letters 
in Controversy with Wiseman," London, 1851. 



124 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

of St. Jerome. The Roman division first appears in St. 
Augustine, so we can be certain which is the older. 

3. The title "Worshipful" given to mayors in this 
country is cited as showing that Roman Catholics mean 
no more than high respect to saints and images when 
" worshipping " them, as if any people ever went down 
on their knees to a mayor, and prayed to him to save 
their souls ! or knelt and burned incense before his 
picture in a church ! 

d. In Dr. Faa Di Bruno s "Catholic Belief " (Burns & 
Gates, 1878), it is alleged that "the Catholic belief in 
Purgatory rests especially on the Apostolic traditions of 
the Church, recorded in all ancient Liturgies" (p. 179). 
The truth is, that though prayers for the dead are found 
in all ancient Liturgies, not one syllable in those prayers 
hints at a state of suffering. They are the same in spirit 
(though fuller in form), as the petitions of the English 
Prayer Book in the Church Militant Prayer and the Burial 
Service : that is, thanking God for the departed, and 
asking that we and they together may enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. 1 It no more follows that the ancient 
Church, when praying for departed Christians, thought 
they were suffering tortures in purgatory, than we now, 
when praying for living friends whose whereabouts and 
circumstances we do not know, take for granted they are 
in penal servitude. And whereas the Greek Fathers are 
appealed to as teaching purgatorial doctrine, here is the 
formal judgment of the Eastern Church, which lays great 
stress on prayer for the dead : "No part of Scripture 
touches on it, nor is there found any temporary purga 
tive chastisement for sin after death. Above all, Origen s 
opinion was condemned just for this very reason in the 
Second Council of Constantinople. ... As to the fables 
which certain men utter about souls, that when they 
have left this world without sufficient penance, they are 

1 For propfs in full see "Translations of the Primitive Liturgies," 
by Neale and Littledale (Hayes,) 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 125 

tortured ... the Church has never received them" 
(-" Orthodox Confession," xlvi.) 

e. The " Nag s Head Fable," against Anglican Orders, 
though exposed and rejected by Roman Catholics like 
Dr. Lingard and Canon Estcourt, is brought up every 
now and then quite fresh, when it is thought that there 
may be ignorance of the truth to trade upon. And this, 
though there is one lie in the account which alone dis 
proves it ; namely, that it represents Scory, the alleged 
sole consecrator of Parker and others, as having been 
himself then consecrated by the very man on whom he 
had himself first laid hands ; though the record of his 
own consecration nine years before (1551) is extant, and 
also that of his having acted as Bonner s assistant in 
Queen Mary s reign, which, as he was ordained by the 
Edwardine rite, settles the validity of that form on 
Roman authority. 1 (Bonner s Register, fol. 347, July 

M, I554-) 

f. It might be thought that if we were safe in trusting 
any Roman Catholic writer without hesitation, " the 
noblest Roman of them all," Cardinal Newman, is that 
man. And yet, not to cite what he wrote in the first 
acerbity of his revolt from the Church of England, but 
looking to his attractive story, " Callista, a Sketch of 
the Third Century," we find him pledging himself in the 
Advertisement, that "it has not admitted any actual 
interference with known facts without notice of its having 
done so." Yet in this very story he describes a picture 
in a cottage thus : " In the centre stood the Blessed 
Virgin with hands spread out in prayer, attended by 
the holy Apostles Peter and Paul on her right and left. 
Under this representation was rudely scratched upon the 

1 Whereas our beloved brother John, lately Bishop of Chichester 
, . . hath declared himself deeply penitent ... we have restored, 
etc., our said brother to exercise within our diocese of London the 
public function and discharge of his ecclesiastical ministry and 
pastoral office, as far as by law we are able." 



126 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

walls the word Advocata, a title which the earliest 
antiquity bestows upon her " (chap. iii.). And, again, 
describing the altar of a Christian church where St. 
Cyprian is officiating : " At the back is a painting on the 
wall . . . The ever-blessed immaculate Mother of God 
is exercising her office as the Advocate of sinners, stand 
ing by the Sacrifice as she stood at the Cross itself" 
(chap, xxix.) ; all which implies the cultus of B. V. M. 
as then usual. 

No one would gather hence the real facts, that pictures 
such as the first-named are unknown till ^.fourth century 
(Northcote and Brownlow, " Roma Sotterranea," vol. ii. 
p. 136; Hemans, "Ancient Christianity and Sacred Art," 
p. 41); that those like the second are later still (Hemans); 
that the epithet " Advocate," used in a strictly limited 
sense by St. Irenaeus (see above, p. 67), does not appear 
detached from its original context, and as an independent 
title of St. Mary, till very late indeed the first instance 
known to the present writer is the Salve Regina (see 
page 30), ascribed to Hermannus Contractus about A.D. 
1050, and, above all, that there is not one solitary men- 
tion, direct or indirect, of the Blessed Virgin in any treatise 
or letter from St. Cyprian s copious pen. 

When even Cardinal Newman, whose natural love for 
truth few will question, can so yield to the subtle in 
fluence of bias, it is vain to look for better things in his 
communion, especially from men standing on a lower 
moral level. 1 

1 Perhaps the most curious example of all is a French New 
Testament, printed at Bordeaux in 1686, with archiepiscopal 
approval. Here are two instances of its renderings : " He himself 
shall be saved, yet in all cases as by \h&fire of purgatory" (i Cor. 
iii. 15). "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter 
days some will separate themselves from the Roman Faith " (i Tim. 
iv. i). The outcry at this audacity led to the destruction of the 
edition, now excessively rare ; but there is a copy in the British 
Museum, another in the Library at Lambeth and a third in the 
Chapter Library at Durham. [I have since learnt that a yet scarcer 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 127 

The way to Truth must be through Truth, and therefore 
a straight, not a crooked road, and as Roman contro 
versialists go crooked in the points above mentioned, 
there is no likelihood whatever of reaching Truth under 
their guidance. 

Stifling InteUect and Conscience. 

LIX. The Holy Scriptures dwell much on the duty 
of serving God not with the heart only, but with the mind 
and understanding : of giving Him a reasonable service ; 
of following the guidance of an enlightened conscience. 
And in the New Testament this duty becomes more 
binding, because of Christ being our example ; and He 
is not merely the Man of Sorrows, but the Eternal 
WISDOM of God. Consequently, if we wilfully fail to 
use the intellectual talents with which God has intrusted 
us, we cannot be like Him. A few citations from the 
Old and New Testaments will be useful. 

" If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy 
voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, 
and searchest for her as hid treasures ; then shalt thou 
understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge 
of God" (Prov. ii. 3-5). 

" The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord " (Prov. 
xx. 27). 

" The man that wandereth out of the way of under 
standing shall remain in the congregation of the dead " 
(Prov. xxi. 16). 

" Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will 
of the Lord is" (Eph. v. 17). 

" Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all 
wisdom" (Coloss. iii. 16). 

one, issued by the Doctors of Lou vain at Paris in 1662, has still 
bolder forgeries ; e.g. to exclude the lay use of the chalice, St. Matt. 
xxvi. 27, is made to read : "Drink ye all twelve of it," and St. 
Mark xiv. 23 : " And all the twelve drank of it."] 



128 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

" Prove all things ; hold fast that which is good " 
(i Thess. v. 21). 

Now, contrariwise, the current Roman teaching directs 
all lay folk to " sacrifice their intellect," and to subject 
it not to God, but to a man ; not on the ground of that 
man s superior wisdom or holiness, but purely on that of 
his official position as an ecclesiastic ; while the eccle 
siastic in turn is to submit himself in the same spirit to 
his superior, with the Pope at the head of all. And, 
somewhat inconsistently, it is urged as the solemn duty of 
every man outside the Roman Church to use his reason 
and private judgment to study points against his own 
communion, and in favour of Rome, till this one-sided 
process has caused his conversion ; but this same 
exercise of reason, once it has landed him in Rome, 
becomes a sin, and no further inquiry into or canvassing 
of religious topics is to be pursued. 

Now there is one very simple answer to this teaching, 
which is, that in Roman theology, Sloth is one of the 
seven deadly sins ; and as the mind is higher than the 
body, so mental sloth must be a worse sin than bodily 
sloth. Yet so little is the Roman Church hostile to 
this sin, that wherever she has had a monopoly, as in 
Italy and Spain, the lower classes have been left in a 
state of babyish ignorance, and the ordinary clergy dis 
couraged from such studies as might give them too great 
an insight into facts, and foster a spirit of independence. 
Authority must come first, of course, in the human 
order, to teach the ignorant ; but if authority do its duty, 
the ignorant will soon become learned enough to judge 
for themselves, as daily experience with children shows 
us. And so St. Augustine aptly says, "Authority is 
first in time, but Reason in fact. The learner must be 
lieve, but when taught, he ought to judge " (" De Ordine," 
ii. 9). That is, all teaching is meant to quicken the 
understanding ; and if religious teaching, the conscience 
also, not to choke it. Not to be tedious on this point, it 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 129 

will suffice to quote Cardinal Bellarmine, as showing the 
real goal of Roman teaching : " If the Pope should [err 
by enjoining vices or forbidding virtues, the Church would 
be obliged to believe vices to be good and virtues bad, unless 
it would sin against conscience." (" De Pontif." iv. 5.) 
Contrast this with St. Paul, " Be ye followers of me, even 
as I also am of Christ" (i Cor. xi. i). "If we, or an 
angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you 
than that which we have preached unto you, let him be 
accursed " (Gal. i. 8). For when authority, or any 
superior, bids us disobey God s law, the right to com 
mand is forfeited, so far as that injunction is concerned, 
and disobedience becomes a duty, in order to obey the 
higher law ; x a truth impressed on us by the fact that 
while the Jewish Church was still the one true Church 
on earth, its constituted authorities rejected and crucified 
the Messiah. 

Private Judgment. 

LX. Then, as regards Private Judgment, against 
which Roman teachers are always declaiming, it is simply 
impossible to get rid of it, except through mental infir 
mity or bodily coercion. A baby, an idiot, or a convict 

1 Bellarmine, it is true, assumes the case he puts to be impossible, 
but so does St. Paul that which he puts, while deciding quite other 
wise. And St. Bernard says very well of the plea of blind obedience 
to superior orders : "If that be right, the Church has no business 
to read, Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. If that 
be right, we may as well blot out at once from the Book of the 
Gospels, Be ye wise as serpents, since what follows is enough, 
and harmless as doves. I am not saying that subjects are to sit 
in judgment on the commands of their superiors, where nothing is 
noticed as enjoined contrary to God s laws ; but I do assert that 
both prudence is needful to mark if there be anything thus contrary, 
and freedom to set it boldly at nought in that case. . . . For what 
a man commands, God forbids, and shall I listen to man, and be 
deaf to God ? Not so the Apostles, for they cry out and say, 
We ought to obey God rather than man. " S. Bern. Ep. vii. 
ad Adam. Mon. 



130 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

in prison, cannot exercise private judgment, but a person 
of ordinary understanding and liberty of action can no 
more get rid of private judgment than he can jump off 
his own shadow. It is just as much an act of private 
judgment to say, " I will believe implicitly everything my 
director tells me, and will check all doubts as sinful," as 
it is to say, " I will test, to trie best of my power, every 
statement he makes, and will not accept what I cannot 
get proof for." Our own conscience must be the final 
court of appeal in the last resort for each of us. 1 The 
only real question in the matter is, " What ought to in 
fluence and direct our private judgment ?" And no more 
perfect refutation of the Roman system is needful than 
simply to point out that it says in fact : " God s Holy 
Word, and the teaching of His most illustrious servants, 
are to go for little or nothing in the inquiry." 

Cruelty and Intolerance. 

LXI. Once more : whereas the Gospel is the religion 
of love and mercy, full of tender compassion for sinners, 
and employing only spiritual weapons for the defence of 
the truth or the chastisement of the unfaithful and re 
bellious children of the Church itself; contrariwise, the 
spirit of the. Roman Church for many centuries has been 
that of hate and cruelty, and wherever it has been feas 
ible, physical force and coercion have been freely em 
ployed for the suppression of opinions contrary to those 
she chose to propagate or encourage ; albeit God Him 
self uses no such means for constraining man s con 
science. The horrors of the religious wars of Europe, 
from the crusade against the Albigenses in the thirteenth 
century, down to the campaigns of the Cevennes in the 
eighteenth; and the yet more revolting atrocities of 

1 See Cardinal Newman, "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk," 
sections 4 and 5. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 131 

the Inquisition, with its tens of thousands of victims, 
its armies of spies, its secret trials, its hideous tortures, 
and its merciless slaughters j 1 the massacres of theological 
opponents amongst which the St. Bartholomew holds a 
bad pre-eminence ; many revolts and rebellions against 
legitimate civil authority, instigated on religious grounds, 
from the excommunication of the Emperor Henry IV. 
to that of Queen Elizabeth ; the employment of assassi 
nation when open force could not be safely used, as in 
the successful cases of William the Silent of Orange, 
Henry III. and Henry IV. of France, and the unsuc 
cessful ones of Queen Elizabeth and the Gunpowder 
Plot, all lie at the door of the Roman Church, or of its 
most devoted champions, the Jesuit Order. 2 Nor can 

1 In the first eighteen years of the Spanish Inquisition under 
Torquemada, 10,220 persons were burnt, and 97,321 imprisoned, 
banished, or reduced to want. In the Netherlands, under the 
Emperor Charles V., who was not a bigot, and before Philip II. 
began his harsher measures, the victims of the Inquisition burnt, 
strangled, buried alive, &c., were estimated from a minimum of 
50,000 to a maximum of over 100,000. (Motley, " Revolt of the 
Netherlands.") Eating meat on fast-days was punishable with death 
by the rules of the Inquisition. Deslois, "L Inquisiteur de la Foy." 
Besan9on, 1630. 

2 The " Medulla Theologize Moralis " of Hermann Busenbaum, 
S.J., contains a defence of parricide and regicide on theological 
grounds. This book, which appeared first in 1645, was republished 
with additions by other Jesuits, and has appeared in more than fifty 
editions, down to the last at Louvain in 1848. It was publicly 
burnt in 1757 and 1758 by order of the Parliaments of Toulouse, 
Paris, and Rennes, as contrary to the laws of God and man ; but it 
is not on the Roman Index even now, though some of its maxims 
have been condemned. As regards the specific crimes named above, 
Jacques Clement, assassin of Henry III., was a Dominican friar; 
Ravaillac, assassin of Henry IV., declared his motive to be " that 
the king was a Huguenot, and preparing to make war on the Pope" 
(Lavallee, " Hist, des F ratals," vol. iii. p. 65); while Balthazar 
Gerard, assassin of William of Orange, was like John Jaureguay, 
his precursor two years earlier in a like attempt, directly instigated 
by the Roman clergy (Motley, "Rise of the Dutch Republic.") 
After the execution of Jaureguay and two of his accomplices, the 

K 2 



132 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

it be alleged with truth that the crimes referred to had 
not the fullest sanction of the highest ecclesiastical 
authority ; for Pope Urban II., for instance, lays down 
the maxim : " We do not account them as murderers 
who, burning with zeal for their Catholic Mother against 
excommunicate persons, have happened to slay some of 
them." (" Epist. xxii." ed. Migne.) 

Pius IV., when the Government of Lucca had enacted 
a law, offering a reward of three hundred crowns and the 
reversal of any sentence of outlawry, or the power of 
transferring any such pardon, to all persons who should 
succeed in murdering any of the Protestant refugees who 
had fled from that city, described it as "a pious and 
praiseworthy decree, piously and wisely enacted, and 
that nothing could redound more to God s honour, 
provided it were thoroughly carried into execution." 1 

Pius V. plotted with Ridolfi, a Florentine, the 
assassination of Queen Elizabeth, 1 and sent the conse 
crated hat and sword of honour (the masculine equivalent 
of the Golden Rose, sent to queens, &c.) to the Duke 
of Alva, as a reward for his savage cruelties in the Low 
Countries. 2 Gregory XIII. not only caused a medal to 
be struck, and a painting executed, in honour of the 
Massacre of St. Bartholomew, but issued a Bull to 
Charles IX. urging him " to persevere in so pious and 
wholesome a measure, till his once most religious kingdom 
should be thoroughly purged of blasphemous heresies." 1 

And it is instructive to read the decrees of the Council 
of Trent, with the indiscriminate copiousness of its ana 
themas, which, it must be remembered, carry with them, 
if ratified in heaven, the pain of everlasting damnation. 
It is perhaps not a legitimate subject of blame that these 

Jesuits collected their remains and exposed them to veneration as 
the relics of holy martyrs. (D Evvez, " Hist. Gen. des Pays Bas.") 

1 See the letters of Lord Acton, a learned Roman Catholic peer, 
in the Times of Nov. 9 and 27, 1874. 

2 Ranke s " Life of Pius V." 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 133 

anathemas should be affixed to propositions clearly strik 
ing at the fundamental articles of Christian belief, but 
they are just as freely bestowed on those who hold that 
Bishops ought not to reserve certain cases of sin for 
their own decision, nor forbid priests to pronounce 
absolution in such cases ; on those who think that the 
cup at the first Eucharist was of pure wine without 
water ; on those who, with the Eastern Church, hold 
that little children must needs receive the Holy Commu 
nion (a sentence which strikes not only St. Augustine, 
but Pope St. Gelasius) ; l on such as teach that Mass 
ought to be said in the vulgar tongue only; or who deny 
that a valid marriage, even if not consummated, is voided 
and dissolved by the entering of either of the parties 
into a monastic order, &c. 

Now, whereas the guilt of religious intolerance and 
persecution may justly be charged against other Christian 
bodies besides the Roman Church, and notably the 
Church of England has not been free from blame in the 
matter, there is this broad distinction between the cases : 
All others confess their past guilt, have amended their 
practice, and reprobate the notion of a return to their 
former usage. Rome alone refrains because she is not 
strong enough to do what she would like to do, but 
openly avows the principle of religious persecution still ; 
not merely by the entire absence of any expression of 
regret, much more any formal condemnation of her former 
policy, but by the denunciation of liberty of con 
science and of the press in Gregory XVI. s Encyclical 
" Mirari vos" in 1832, and by the insertion of the two 
following clauses in the Papal Syllabus (1864) of Con 
demned Errors, which denotes that the exactly opposite 
propositions are binding on Roman Catholics : 

"77. In the present day, it is no longer expedient 



1 St. August. "Epist. xxiii. cvi. ad Bonifac., Serm. 8 cle Verb. 
Apost." &c. St. Gelas., "Ep. vii. ad Episcopos Umbria?." 



134 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

that the Catholic religion shall be held as the only reli 
gion of the State, to the exclusion of all other modes of 
worship. 

" 78. Whence it has been wisely provided by law, in 
some countries called Catholic, that persons continuing to 
reside there shall enjoy the exercise of their own worship." 

These words must be read in the light of those in the 
Catechism of the Council of Trent : "It is not to be 
denied that heretics and schismatics are within the power 
of the Church, and may be called to trial by her, 
be punished, and condemned by anathema." ("Cat. ad. 
Par." I. x. 8.) And they in turn, by strict Roman law, 
binding on all Roman Catholics in virtue of the eleventh 
clause of the Creed of Pius IV., involve the third Canon 
of the Fourth Council of Lateran, because accounted a 
General Council by the Roman Church ; which Canon 
orders all secular princes to extirpate every heretic in 
their States ; and in the event of failure to comply with 
this injunction, such princes are to be excommunicated, 
their subjects released from their oath of allegiance, and 
their territories are to be given over to Catholics, who are 
to destroy the heretics, and possess the country as their 
reward, besides acquiring, in virtue of their exterminating 
zeal, all the indulgences granted to Crusaders in Palestine. 
This is still unrepealed and unrepented indeed, there 
is a similar clause in Paul IV. s Bull, " Cum ex Aposto- 
latus officio," of 1559, with this further touch, that 
heretics are "to be deprived of every consolation of 
humanity" and shows to what a spirit the converts to 
Rome give themselves over. 1 Contrast it with the 
example and precept of the Master : 

" And it came to pass, when the time was come that 
He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face 

1 This is not a piece of mere antiquarianism, for Pius IX. made 
every effort to persuade Alfonso XII. to cancel the very scanty 
measure of toleration allowed to non-Romans in Spain by recent 
laws. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 135 

to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His 
face : and they went, and entered into a village of the 
Samaritans, to make ready for Him. And they did not 
receive Him, because His face was as though He would 
go to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and 
John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt Thou that we 
command fire to come down from heaven, and consume 
them, even as Elias did ? But He turned, and rebuked 
them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit 
ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy 
men s lives, but to save them " (St. Luke ix. 51-56). 

Compare also the Apostle s words : " Though we 
walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh ; for 
the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty 
through God to the pulling down of strongholds " 
(2 Cor. x. 4). 

Superstition. 

LXII. Yet again : one unchristian peculiarity of 
popular Romanism is that it is fast ceasing to be a Faith j 1 
and is degenerating into a mere Superstition. This word 
does not mean, as people commonly fancy, over-readi 
ness to swallow marvels. That is credulity, about which 
we are not now concerned. But " superstition " means 
that form of religion in which fear is stronger than love 

1 In truth, the active principle of Faith has for most practical 
purposes been banished from modern Romanism. The passive 
habit of Obedience to a visible human authority has been substituted 
for it, and called by its name, though Obedience and Faith are 
perfectly distinct qualities. Modern Romanism has this in common 
with atheistic Secularism, that they are both impatient of the unseen 
and spiritual, and crave after the visible and material. Hence 
Romans must have human objects of worship instead of God, and 
must have images of even these ; must have amulets instead of 
belief in Providence ; must have a regular tally account with Heaven 
instead of trust in God s love, mercy, and justice. All this not only 
is not Faith, but directly contradicts Faith, which is "the evidence 
of things w/seen." Heb. xi. I. 



136 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

and trust. Its leading characteristic is the belief that 
the Powers above man are unfriendly, jealous, and 
vindictive ; or at best stern and relentless ; and that 
they must be baffled by mechanical amulets and magical 
charms, or bought off by being gratified with the sight of 
those sufferings which they delight to inflict. That is 
the sentiment which is at the root of African Fetishism 
and of Hindoo Fakirism alike. And now it has got 
almost entire possession of Romanism. Already it has 
been shown how the Father and Christ are avoided and 
shrunk from, as stern and pitiless judges, and Mary 
turned to as the one merciful hope of sinners ; and also 
how God is* supposed to pursue with hideous tortures the 
souls of even the holy dead. These ghastly distortions 
of Christianity are not to be found in the Missal at all, 
and scarcely a trace of them in the Breviary, but they 
form a very large part, often the larger part, of the 
popular creed in Roman Catholic countries now. 

Cultus of the Sacred Heart. 

LXIII. Even the chief remaining portion, namely, the 
modern worship of the Sacred Heart, is sheer heresy, 
condemned beforehand by the two General Councils of 
Ephesus and Chalcedon, which forbad any worship being 
paid to a divided Christ even the separate adoration of 
our Lord s Sacred Humanity apart from His Godhead 
being heretical and teach that whole Christ alone is 
the object of worship. When the Heart of Christ is 
mentioned by old writers, such as St. Bernard, before the 
invention of the new cult about two centuries ago, it 
always is a figure of speech for the human affections and 
tenderness of our Blessed Lord, and thus as a cause of 
love and confidence on our part ; but not as a separate 
object of worship. Now, however, what is meant by it 
is the physical bodily organ of our Lord s human Body ; 
and since even the worship of that Body entire, unless as 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 137 

united with the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, 
is unlawful for Christians, of course the separate adora 
tion of a single part of it is all the more forbidden. 1 
And there is not even the poor satisfaction that this 
worship, heretical though it be, is from its popularity 
redressing the balance a little, and giving Christ back in 
some fashion that amount of service which is His due, 
but of which He has been defrauded through the pre 
ference for other shrines than His. For the " Immaculate 
Heart of Mary " is already united with His in the cult, 
and has, besides, its own separate confraternity, offices, 
and indulgences. Here they are, on an absolute level : 
" May the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate 
Heart of Mary be known, praised, blessed, loved, wor 
shipped, and glorified, always and in all places. Amen." 
("Raccolta," v. 81.) They are on different levels, St. 
Mary s being much the higher, in these two indulgenced 
ejaculations : 

1. Sweet Heart of my Jesus, make me love thee more 
and more. ("Race.," v. 64.) 

2, Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation. (" Race.," 
v. 82.) 

Moreover, this second one is much more easily in 
dulgenced. The ejaculation to our Blessed Lord cannot 

1 See "The Sacred Heart; Letters in Correspondence with 
Cardinal Manning," by Dr. Nicholson. (London : Simpkin & 
Marshall, 1873.) St. Athanasius reproaches the Pagans with 
superstition of this very kind: "Others, dismembering the parts 
of the body, took the head, the shoulders, the hands, the feet, and 
made gods of them, serving them with divine worship, as if it 
were not enough for them to pay devotion to the whole undivided 
body." "Cont. Gent." Opp. S. Athan. I. 10. (Paris, 1627.) St. 
Thomas Aquinas lays down that only dulia is due to the Sacred 
Humanity in itself. (Summa, III., xxv. 2.) It is a curious fact 
that F. La Colombiere, the inventor of the cult of the Sacred 
Heart, borrowed it from a book he met during his two years stay 
in England, namely, "The Heart of Christ in Heaven towards 
Saints on Earth," by Thomas Goodwin, an Independent divine, 
who had been Cromwell s chaplain. 



138 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

alone win an indulgence. It must be recited along with 
a Pater, Ave, and Credo, and these together gain one 
hundred days for each time of recitation, besides certain 
plenary ones twice monthly. 

But the ejaculation to the Blessed Virgin Mary is valid 
by itself, and wins three hundred days for each repetition, 
with a plenary one monthly. A rapid speaker could say 
it more than a hundred times in a minute : thus gaining 
about ninety years indulgence in that short space. 

Amulets and Charms. 

LXIV. The mechanical appliances (in no respect 
differing in theory or principle from the charms worn by 
an African savage) which are intended either to avert 
temporal dangers which God s love or providence will 
not avail to keep aloof without them, or to secure the 
salvation of those who wear them, are very numerous, 
and only a small sample can be offered here. 

a. The Carmelite Scapular, miraculously bestowed on 
St. Simon Stock by the Blessed Virgin, which consists 
of two small pieces of stuff bearing her image and device, 
confers on its wearers (i) a share in the merits of all 
good works done throughout the whole Church, and in 
those of all confraternities in existence up to the reign of 
Sixtus IV. (2) Absolute immunity from hell, for those 
who wear it when dying, save in the case of such as die 
in wilful and obstinate rebellion against religion. (3) 
The Blessed Virgin Mary promised Pope John XXII. 
that she would go herself every Saturday to Purgatory, 
take out any Scapularists who, having died in the 
previous week, might be there, and bring them straight to 
heaven. 1 This is vouched for by that Pope in the Bulla 

1 The exact words of the vision were: "Ego Mater gratiose 
descendam sabbato post eorum obitum, et quos in purgatorio 
invenero liberabo, et ad montem sanctum vitse seternse perducam." 
Guglielmi, " Recueil des Scapulaires, " p, 143. (Paris, 1862.) 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 139 

Sabbatina of 1322, and confirmed by Popes Alexander V., 
Clement VII., Pius V., Gregory XIII., and Paul V. 
(" Glories of Mary," p. 208.) If this be true, why do not 
the Roman authorities oblige every one to have a 
Scapular as in Spain every one must take out the " Bull 
of the Crusade" in order to gain any indulgence, J 
and so keep Purgatory practically empty, besides filling 
Heaven with continuous rapidity? This Scapular is 
popularly used to protect from drowning also, and various 
other perils. 

b. The Cord of St. Francis (the only obligation of 
which is the actual wearing of the cord which may be 
of thread, cotton, linen, or hemp though certain prayers 
may be added) obtains for its wearers (i) every time 
they say six Paters, Aves, and Glorias, all the indulgences 
of the Holy Land, of all the churches of Rome, Assisi, 
&c., that is, " thousands of years of plenary indulgences, 
and more than a hundred thousand years of partial in 
dulgences"; 2 "more than enough," we are told, "to deliver 
thousands and thousands of souls from purgatory every 
day." (2) Every time of communicating, plenary in 
dulgence ; and if Psalm xx., Exaudiat, and a few short 
prayers be added, " all the indulgences, plenary or partial, 
of all the sanctuaries of the earth " ; while people who are 
too ignorant to say or read the Psalm and prayers may 
compound by saying three Paters and Aves for the Pope s 



1 This Bull costs two reals, = 5^d., and its possession confers 
amongst other privileges the right to eat meat on nearly every fast- 
day in the year, except certain days in Lent, and four vigils. See 
Meyrick s "Practical Working of the Church in Spain," pp. 310- 

3*4- 

2 Veron who tells us ("Rule of Catholic Faith") that the 
Treasury of Merits is not an article of the Faith, that no indulgence 
whatever is of certain validity, or certainly remits, or is even in 
tended to remit, the temporal penalties of sin, so that this doctrine 
too, cannot be matter of faith is precise in rejecting all Indulgences 
which run to thousands of years, or even beyond the extreme limits 
of human life. 



140 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

intention. (3) Six times a year a general Absolution 
can be obtained, which secures the " complete restoration 
of Baptismal innocence"^- Here it may fairly be asked, 
how it is, between this cord and the Scapular, any souls 
are left in purgatory at all ? (for Mgr. de Segur says 
that " the zeal of one Tertiary of St. Francis is able to 
empty purgatory ") and what is the object of encouraging 
pilgrimages to La Salette, &c., if all the indulgences 
of those shrines can be gained in five minutes in one s 
own room ? 

c. The Medal of St. Joseph arrests conflagrations, and 
works miraculous cures on those who wear it. 2 

d. The Medal of St. Benedict secures from all diabolic 
and magical attacks, cures surgical cases, purifies the 
water of an undrinkable well, fructifies barren fruit-trees, 
and saved from shells during the siege of the Commune 
all the houses in Paris where people hung it up in the 
windows, &c. 3 

e. The Agnus JDet, a small wax medallion, obtains for 
those who wear it security from spiritual languor, purges 
venial sins, and cleanses the last traces left by confessed 
sins. It puts devils to flight, protects from sudden 
death, confers temporal prosperity, assures safety and 
victory in battle, is an antidote against poison, checks 
the spread of epidemics, lulls storms and hurricanes, 
rescues from shipwreck, and delivers safely in child-birth. 
Unfortunately this valuable article is rather expensive, 
and confined chiefly to the richer class of purchasers, as 
only the Pope can bless it, and that usually at long 
intervals, so that the supply is limited. 4 

1 "Le Cordon Seraphique," byMgr.de Segur (Paris, 1875); 
11 Funiculus Triplex," by F. Francis Welsh, O.S.F. (Dublin, 1869.) 

2 Huguet, "Vertu Miraculeuse de la Medaille de St. Joseph." 
(Paris, 1869.) 

3 Dom Gueranger, " Essai sur la Medaille de St. Benolt" (Paris, 
1869): D Arrainville, " Origine et effets de la Medaille de St. 
Benoit." 

4 Montault, "De la devotion aux Agnus Dei." 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 141 

/ But a little model of St. Peter s Chains, which has 
touched the original relic, and thereby imbibed part of 
its virtue, can be had for a shilling, and worn as a 
watch-guard, bringing its wearer the benefit of many in 
dulgences . . . (Lafond, " Histoire des Chaines de St. 
Pierre." Paris, 1868.) 

g. Another little model of the chemise of the Blessed 
Virgin, preserved at Chartres, according to Cardinal Pie, 
will protect the duellist who wears it from his adversary s 
sword . . . (Huguet, "La DeVotion de Marie en ex- 
emples," II., 530. Paris, 1868.) 

h. Articles which have touched the stole of St. Hubert 
preserve from insanity and hydrophobia. 1 

/. The water of Lourdes not only works miraculous 
cures, but a number of students at a competitive examina 
tion, who had taken the precaution to dip their pens in 
the fountain, all passed, and several with honours, by 
means of the papers written therewith (" Miracles de 
N. D. de Lourdes," p. 85) ; while the water of La Salette 
is not less vaunted, albeit Mgr. Gaume has written a 
book on " Holy Water in the XlXth Century," 2 to which 
Pius IX. accorded a brief of approval, and which goes 
far to show that any ordinary village priest can manu 
facture an article just as efficacious as the miraculous 
springs of Lourdes and La Salette, besides being very 
much cheaper. One cannot fairly ask for more than 
restoration from sickness, resurrection from the dead, 
remission of venial sins and of temporal penalties due 
to sin, complete baffling of evil spirits, and expulsion 
of epidemics. And all this, we are informed, holy water 
can do. 

With regard to the numerous miracles alleged as 
having been wrought at Lourdes and other places, it is 
to be observed that, without any inquiry into the reality 

1 Bertrand, " Pelerinage de St. Hubert en Ardennes," pp. 
195-198. 

2 " L Eau benite au XIXe Siecle." (Paris, 1866.) 



142 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

of the alleged events, or their cause, natural or super 
natural, if that reality be attested, they altogether fail to 
conform to St. Paul s canon on tongues, namely, that 
" they are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to 
them that believe not" (i Cor. xiv. 22); whereas these 
Roman miracles are always wrought amongst enthusiasti 
cally credulous believers, and largely aid in the genera 
tion of unbelief amongst all others. 

Roman Penances. 

LXV. So much will suffice to have said on Roman 
fetishes, charms, and amulets, with the profound dis 
belief in an omnipresent, omnipotent, and all-merciful 
God which underlies their use. Let us now turn to the 
question of Roman penances. If these did but fairly 
represent the ascetic and self-denying side of Christianity, 
the subjugation of flesh to spirit (not the injury of the 
first to the injury of the second), and desire to be con 
formed to Christ s suffering life, no thoughtful Christian 
could censure them. But they stand on a very different 
footing. 

The penances of the primitive Church were all in 
flicted before absolution was conferred. That once 
granted, and the penitent restored to Church com 
munion, they ceased. Their object was, on the one 
hand, to be tests of sincerity ; and on the other, to 
associate suffering with sin in the penitent s memory. 
And this is the Scriptural doctrine, too 

"Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to 
Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with 
weeping, and with mourning : 

"And rend your heart, and not your garments, and 
turn unto the LORD your God : for He is gracious and 
merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil. 

" Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave 
a blessing behind Him " (Joel ii. 12-14). 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 143 

cc For word came unto the King of Nineveh. . . . 
"And he caused it to be proclaimed and published 
through Nineveh. Let neither man nor beast, herd nor 
flock, taste anything : let them not feed, nor drink water. 

" But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, 
and cry mightily unto God : yea, let them turn every 
one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in 
their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, 
and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not? 

"And God saw their works, that they turned from 
their evil way ; and God repented of the evil, that He 
had said that He would do unto them j and He did it 
not" (Jonah iii. 6-10). 

The Fathers again and again urge the need of 
" bringing forth fruits meet for repentance," and when 
the view was first maintained that communion might be 
given to the lapsed without some temporal penalty being 
previously imposed, censured it as a dangerous innova 
tion (St. Cyprian, " De Lapsis "). But they held, on the 
other hand, that when full proof of repentance had 
been given by the penitent, and absolution had been 
received, the sin and its consequences, temporal and 
eternal, were blotted out by God s merciful forgiveness. 1 

The Roman Ghurch now, habitually giving absolution 
before any kind of penance or satisfaction has been 
really performed, and on a mere understanding that 
something will be performed by the penitents, and 
nevertheless holding, as the Council of Trent lays down 
(sess. xiv. c. 8), that satisfaction must be done, in order 
to a full remission of sins, practically disbelieves in the 
efficacy of her own absolutions, and teaches that 
penalties still await absolved sin ; but that people have a 
choice whether they will have their purgatory, in part at 
least, in this world by self-torture, or await the penal 
sufferings beyond the grave. Hence the penances come 

1 Morinus, " De Pcenitent." III. xi. 



144 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

after absolution. If Roman penances were like those of 
the Eastern Church, mere remedial advice, and not in any 
sense satisfaction for sin, 1 it would not matter when they 
were performed ; but as the received teaching is that they 
are part of the penal satisfaction, they ought to precede, 
not follow, the pardon. With this error of practice, a very 
ancient error of doctrine, surviving from a heresy which 
crept early into the Church, is closely bound up, that of 
regarding the Christian s body, not as a sacred thing, 
hallowed in baptism, and so to be treated with reverence 
in the midst of self-denial, but as a wholly evil thing, to 
be crushed utterly as the soul s bitterest foe ; which is 
rank Manichseism. 

Contradictions of Ancient Theory and Practice. 

LXVI. Consequently, two contradictory things are 
seen together, which would have altogether astonished 
a Christian of primitive times ; absolutions lavished 
freely by the ten thousand without any previous tokens 
of real penitence being exacted ; and severe penances 
being practised, not merely by such as are in full com 
munion with the Church, but by such as are regarded, 
in virtue of their penances, as exceptionally holy persons, 
likely candidates for the honours of saintship. Thus it 
is the sinner for whom Rome makes things easy ; while 
the saint, instead of rejoicing in the liberty and joy 
which Christ has bought, must lead a life of incessant 
torture, and is held up to admiration for it; albeit 
what it really means is that he is unsound in the Faith 
on three important particulars : (a) practically dis 
believing in the forgiveness of sins ; (b] accounting the 
Blood of Christ insufficient to obtain redemption for 
him without his own works of penance being added to 
earn heaven ; and (c) holding that God delights in the 

1 Blackmore, " Doctrine of the Russian Church," p. 228. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 145 

sight of man s bodily sufferings, receiving them as an 
acceptable offering. And so not only does his body, 
thus maltreated, revenge itself on the soul by disturbing 
its balance, but he himself comes round to a supersti 
tion in no practical, and in scarcely any theoretical, 
respect, differing from that of the Indian fakir, namely, 
that God is to be feared incomparably more than loved ; 
and that His ill-will to man is such as can only be ap 
peased by tortures here and hereafter; whereas the 
Christian doctrine is, that " the fear of the Lord is " 
only " the beginning of wisdom " (Ps. cxi. 10), but that 
" perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. 
He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (i St. 
John iv. 1 8). So that the Church of Rome is guilty of 
promoting unbelief in the love of God. 

Moral Failure of Roman Catholicism. 

LXVII. The last of all of the broad practical reasons 
which dissuade from Romanism is its conspicuous failure 
as a guide in faith and morals. That is, while it has un 
doubtedly produced, and continues to produce, a very 
small minority of highly devout persons, whose lives are 
more conspicuously remote from worldliness of all 
kinds, and partake more of the heroic character, than 
that of pious members of other religious bodies, yet 
its influence on a larger scale is little short of disastrous. 
It is seen at its very best in England and other places 
where it is comparatively weak in numbers and influence, 
where it is dominated by a hostile and watchfully sus 
picious majority of another communion. It is at its 
worst where it has had entire liberty and long monopoly. 
In every such country, the educated classes are, as a 
rule, alienated from the Church ; unbelief is widespread, 
rancorous, and increasing ; and even amongst the lower 
classes, though the clergy are resorted to as the custo 
dians of certain supernatural agencies, without which 

L 



146 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

life here and hereafter is unsafe, yet there is little 
respect for them as a class, and less deference to them 
as teachers of conduct. Nor is this to be wondered at : 
for as a body, the bulk of the Roman Catholic priesthood 
everywhere are much below the level of Anglican clergy 
men in social standing, in culture, and in intelligence; 
being recruited almost always from the lower grades of 
society, and not so trained in their seminaries as to 
counteract the drawbacks of their origin. They descend 
to the lowest level of their flocks, instead of endeavouring 
to raise them to a higher one ; and the result is, that 
instead of preaching the Catholic faith in its purest 
form, they readily fall in with, and actively encourage, 
the vulgarest and grossest materialism and superstition, 
in which the few who desire better things are forced to 
acquiesce, 1 because since the educated classes have been 
lost, there are only the ignorant to fall back on ; and it 
is dreaded that if they were to learn how much falsehood 
is mixed up in the religious system set before them, they 
would lose faith entirely, and reject the true along with 
the false, as the upper ranks have done already. And 
while the weapon of excommunication, with all the awful 
penalties attached to it, is freely employed to punish 
anything which seems to involve lack of submission to 
the hierarchy, it is scarcely ever wielded against adultery, 
brigandage, murder, or other great crimes against God 

1 And, in fact, instead of the Roman See teaching the Latin 
Church, it is precisely the ignorant and superstitious clergy who 
force on their immediate superiors first, and then on the Papacy, 
their new cults and doctrines, so that they, and not the Popes, 
really make the Roman creed. Thus it has been with the cult of 
the Sacred Heart, at first rejected at Rome under Innocent XII., 
then under Benedict XIII. , next partly allowed under Clement 
XIII., Pius VI. and Pius VII., and at last fully ceded by Pius IX. 
(Nilles, " De Rat Fest. SS. Cord.") So too with the Immaculate 
Conception, after five centuries of debate ; and so with the vision of 
La Salette, against which the Bishop of Grenoble held out five 
years, while Pius IX. scoffed at the secret message sent thence to 
himself. "Affaire de La Salette," p. 182, Paris, 1857. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 147 

and society; such, for example, as agrarian conspiracy 
in Ireland, which has often found sympathizers among 
the Roman Catholic clergy. And so the evil goes on 
spreading, while Rome s determination never to admit 
herself in the wrong, whatever may be the evidence or 
the consequence, bars all hope of practical amendment. 



Roman Arguments in Defence. 

LXVIII. What, then, is the defence set up on the 
Roman Catholic side for all this startling departure and 
revolt from God s revealed Will, and from the teaching of 
ancient Christendom ? 

It is briefly this : 

a. God has committed all power and teaching on earth 
to the Holy Catholic Church, which He has endowed 
with the gift of infallibility, so that what it enjoins or 
even permits must be true. 

b. The Roman Church is this one Holy Catholic 
Church, not a mere part of it, however vast, ancient, 
powerful, and august, but the whole Church ; so that 
whatever is said of that Church in Scripture applies to 
the Roman Church only, and to no other. 

c. The Church s gift of infallibility is divinely concen 
trated in the hands of the Pope, as Head of the Church 
and Vicar of Christ on earth, in right of his heirship to St. 
Peter, on whom this privilege was conferred by Christ; and 
all resistance to his decrees is thus resistance to Christ 
Himself. 

d. Where there seems any discrepancy between ancient 
and modern Christian teaching, it is either only a mistake 
made by the critic, who does not understand what he is 
talking about ; or the matter is due to the natural deve 
lopment and growth of what was always held and believed 
in germ, though not worked out in full till its appointed 
time had come. 

L 2 



148 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Replies : The Church subordinate to Christ s 
written Word. 

LXIX. The first answer to make to this collection 
of guesses not to give them any harsher name is, that 
the very highest titles of dignity given by Holy Writ to 
the Church are: "The Body of Christ" (Eph. iv. 12), 
and "The Bride, the Lamb s wife" (Rev. xxi. 9). But 
the Body is subordinated to the Head (i Cor. xi. 3; 
Coloss. ii. 1 9) ; and a wife is not recognized in God s Word 
as having any independent authority. She must " submit 
herself" to her husband (Eph. v. 22 ; Col. iii. 18 ; i Pet. 
Hi. i) ; and " reverence" him (Eph. v. 33) ; while by both 
divine and human law she cannot on her own responsibility 
set aside any will, contract, or covenant which he has made. 
So, as Christians allow that Christ has declared His will 
and made His covenant known in the New Testament, the 
Church, however vast her privileges and authority, has not 
the right to set aside one tittle of its plain letter, or any rea 
sonable inference from its letter and spirit. And with this 
agrees the saying of the Apostle, " For we can do nothing 
against the truth, but for the truth" (2 Cor. xiii. 8). 

No Promise of Ecclesiastical Infallibility. 

LXX. Next, there is in Scripture no promise of infalli 
bility to the Church at any given time. What is promised 
is, that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (St. 
John xvi. 13) ; and that the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against the Church (St. Matt. xvi. 18). But the Apostle 
has said: "There must also be heresies among you, 
that they which are approved may be made manifest 
among you" (i Cor. xi. 19); and Christ Himself has 
implied a very general falling-away, in His words : 
" When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find the faith 
(TTJV iriaTLv) upon the earth ?" (St. Luke xviii. 8). The 
Church of one generation may err, and that grievously, 
but there will be always enough truth mixed with the error 
to bring things right again. That is to say, the Church is 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 149 

indefectible in the long run, though the teaching voice 
may be fallible at any given time. * General Councils are 
adjustments only, and valid just as they discharge 
honestly the office of attesting the continuous historical 
belief and practice of the Church, checked by incessant 
appeal to Holy Writ ; whence the usage of placing a copy 
of the Gospels in the midst of the assembly. And the 
proof that they are not infallible in themselves lies in the 
legal fact that they are not accounted General till they 
have been accepted by the main body of Christendom, 
no matter how many Bishops may have sat in them. 
The Roman argument, that if God have given a revela 
tion at all to men, He must also have provided an authority 
on earth which shall infallibly interpret its meaning so 
as to avoid all error, is one of those examples of man s 
attempting to dictate what God ought to do ; not an 
account of what God has done. 

It is just as reasonable to argue thus : If God have 
given a revelation at all, He must have meant all men to 
know it, and therefore He must have revealed it every 
where in the world Himself, by miracle (as by letters of 
fire in the sky), instead of leaving it in a book, and to the 
slow and uncertain work of missionaries ; so that even 
now, after nearly two thousand years since Christ came, 
there are hundreds of millions more heathens than Chris 
tians on the earth. Or, if He pleased to spread it by 

1 Cardinal Newman has treated this subject ably in the Rambler 
for July 1859, in an article " On Consulting the Faithful in 
Matters of Doctrine," wherein he shows that the laity have some 
times saved the Faith, betrayed by Popes or Bishops, when, in 
St. Hilary s words: "the ears of the people are holier than the 
hearts of the priests ; " so that, the Cardinal observes, " the Ecclesia 
Docens is not at every time the active instrument of the Church s 
infallibility." And it is very noticeable that the strongest warning 
in the New Testament of a possible fall is addressed to the Roman 
Church by St. Paul, bidding it "boast not against the branches. 
But if thou boast, thou bearest not the. root, but the root thee. . . . 
Be not high-minded, but fear . . . lest He spare not thee . . . 
otherwise thou also shall be cut off" (Rom. xi. 18-22). 



15 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

missionary labour, that He must have made the power 
of speaking foreign tongues a permanent gift of the 
Church, instead of taking it away almost at once. Or, 
again, that as it is certainly God s will that all men 
should do right, He must either have prevented evil 
from being in the world at all, or have made every man s 
conscience unerring. Or, yet again, that He must have 
inspired the Apostles to draw up some simple primer 
or catechism to give authoritative shape to Christian 
teaching to all time. But He has not been pleased to 
do any of these things, choosing rather to discipline and 
prove us through conflict and struggle. 

Disproof from the Jewish Church. 

LXXI. One very plain disproof of the Roman d priori 
argument is, that God gave a revelation to the Jews fifteen 
hundred years before Christ, but no one pretends that they 
ever had an infallible living voice to keep them from all 
error regarding the law of Moses. And yet, as they had 
not Christ s example and teaching, nor the indwelling of 
the Holy Spirit in the Jewish Church, they needed such 
an infallible guide more than Christians do. 1 

The Eoman Church not the whole Church. 

LXXII. In the third place : it is very easy to show that 
the Roman Church is not the whole Church. It is not 
the whole Church in fact, because Romans themselves 
allow that Baptism is the one only way of entrance into 
the Church, and that every duly baptized person (even 
if a heretic ministered the Sacrament) is a member 
of the Church ("Cone. Trid." sess. VII. can. iv. viii.) ; 
but Roman Catholics are less than half the whole number 

1 Whatever the nature and effect of the Urim and Thummim 
may have been, there is no record of their use after the time of 
Saul (i Sam. xxviii. 6). 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 151 

of baptized Christians. 1 The Roman Church is not the 
whole Church by right, because, though it is the largest and 
most powerful Church in the world, it is not the oldest. 
It lays claim, in the Creed of Pius VI., to be " Mother and 
Mistress of all Churches." But that boast itself disproves 
the claim ; for the mother cannot be the same as her own 
daughters. If there be other Churches to which Rome 
has given birth, she cannot be the only Church. And as 
she is not the oldest Church, the claim to be Mother of 
all Churches is not true. 2 It is plainly to be read in the 
New Testament that the Church at Jerusalem was the 
first Church set up and organized on earth (Acts i. 4 ; 
ii. 41-47) ; the second Church of which we read was set 
up in Samaria (Acts viii. 14) ; and the first Gentile one 
was at Antioch (Acts xi. 20). It was from Jerusalem and 
Antioch that the Gospel first reached Rome, a good 
while later; and as the Churches of Jerusalem and 
Antioch are still in existence, ruled by the successors of 
the Apostles in unbroken line, it is plain that if Rome 
cannot be the same as her own daughters, still less can 
she be her own mother and grandmother ; for the Roman 
tradition is, that St. Peter came to Rome himself from 
Antioch, while Antioch was undoubtedly evangelized 

1 The Weekly Register of August 14, 1875, accepts these statis 
tics of Dr. Hurst : Christians, 407,000,000, distributed thus, 
131,007,449 Protestants, 200,339,390 Roman Catholics, 75,390,040 
Orientals. 

2 Indeed, till the Jesuit missions (1542), or, more strictly, till the 
foundation of the Propaganda (1622-27), the See of Rome was 
scarcely a missionary centre. The only ancient Churches she is 
certainly known to have planted out of Italy are those North African 
ones which died out in the seventh century (the assertions as to 
Churches in Gaul are not supported by proof) ; the only medieval 
mission she started was St. Augustine s to England ; for the evan- 
gelizers of Holland, Friesland, Swabia, Hesse, Bavaria, Thuringia, 
and Pomerania, though they sought recognition and aid from Rome, 
began as volunteers, and were never Italians ; while the modern 
Churches planted directly from Rome are only those of Central 
and South America, with some converts in the East Indies, China, 
Japan, and the Pacific Islands. . . 



152 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

straight from Jerusalem (Brev. Rom. Jan. 18 and Feb. 
22). But Jerusalem and Antioch have not died out, so 
that Rome can claim to be their surviving heir and 
representative ; nor have they abdicated in her favour, 
so as to let her swallow them up. On the contrary, 
they, with Alexandria and Constantinople, the two others 
out of the five great Patriarchates into which Christen 
dom was anciently divided, are in communion with 
eighty millions of Christians constituting the Eastern 
Church, who have always repudiated the claims of Rome, 
though being willing to allow the Pope, as first in rank 
of the five Patriarchs, an honorary precedency, such as 
the Duke of Norfolk enjoys amongst English peers, over 
whom, nevertheless, he has no real authority. A mere 
accident has proved of immense value to the Roman 
pretensions. All through early Church history, and even 
in the early Middle Ages, when the " Church of Rome " 
is spoken of, only the local see is meant. But after 
the schism of East and West, the Greeks began to use 
the phrase " Church of Rome " to denote all the Western 
Churches which acknowledged the Pope ; and this am 
biguity has enabled Rome to pose as not merely ruling, 
but as being, the whole of the Western Catholic Church, 
and so at last to allege herself to be the whole Church. 
(Dupin, "Trait de la Puissance Eccl. et Temp." p. 
551 ff.). There is a most explicit admission of the 
separation and division of the Church into East and West 
in the letter of Pope Gregory IX. to the Emperor Michael 
Palaeologus, notifying to him the intention of holding 
a General Council. He speaks in it of observing the 
" rending of the Church Universal," and prays that the 
Giver of all good things " may restoratively unite His 
Holy Catholic Church." (Labbe, " Condi.")- And as 
Rome is thus not the whole Church, she cannot speak 
with the authority of the whole Church, though she be 
the largest part; just as in English law a mere majority 
of a jury, however large, cannot bring in a legal verdict. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 153 

It is only when and while she teaches what the Undivided 
Church agreed on, that she speaks authoritatively. 

Present Weakness of the Eastern Church no 
Disproof. 

LXXIII. It is true that Rome has become powerful, 
while the Eastern Churches have become weak ; but that 
can no more alter the earlier facts than the greater size 
and population of the United States as compared with 
England can ever in the lapse of ages make America the 
" mother" of all the English-speaking races, or make her 
the whole Anglo-Saxon race itself, no matter how Eng 
land may dwindle. And even in its weakness the Eastern 
Church has made one missionary conquest, since its 
quarrel with Rome, greater than all Roman missionary 
efforts put together, namely, the conversion of the 
Russian Empire. Rome is evidently not the mother of 
the Churches of Russia. 

The " Privilege of Peter " in the New Testament. 
LXXIV. As to the Papal claim, in right of St. Peter, 
to supreme authority in ruling and teaching the whole 
Church, that is readily settled by an appeal to the New 
Testament, which practically contains all we really know 
about the powers conferred on St. Peter, and what he 
actually did in virtue of those powers. It has been 
already said, that the three texts in the Gospels which 
are alleged in proof of St. Peter s privilege, are not in 
terpreted in the Ultramontane fashion by the majority of 
the Fathers; but we can go further than that, because 
(i), examination of the Bible shows us that the title of 
" Rock" is confined to God the Father in the Old Tes 
tament, and to Christ Himself in the New. One text 
from each must suffice here in illustration : " Who is 
God, save the Lord, and who is a Rock, save our God?" 
(2 Sam. xxii. 32). "That Rock was Christ" (i Cor. x. 4). 
(2) All the Apostles were given the power of binding and 



154 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

loosing as well as St. Peter (St. Matt, xviii. 18 ; St. John 
xx. 21-23). (3) St. Peter is the only Apostle sternly 
rebuked by Christ for attempting to contradict God s 
will (St. Matt. xvi. 23) ; and that just after the blessing 
which had been pronounced on him. (4) He is the only 
Apostle, except Judas Iscariot, who actually fell away from 
Christ, denying Him with an oath, and that while fresh 
from the first Eucharist, and from Christ s prayer that his 
faith might not fail (St. Matt. xxvi. 69-75). (5) Though 
he appears in the most prominent position amongst the 
Apostles just after the Ascension, not one act of jurisdic 
tion or authority on his part over any Apostle or elder 
is to be found ; only one over two lay members of a 
local congregation, Ananias and Sapphira (Actsv. i-io). 
(6) Any presidency in the actually organized Apostolic 
Church of Jerusalem seems attributed to St. James (Acts 
xii. 17, xv. 13-10 ; Gal. ii. 9-12). (7) St. Peter is sent, 
along with St. John, by the superior authority of the Col 
lege of Apostles, on a mission to Samaria (Acts viii. 14). 
(8) He is the only Apostle recorded as having erred on a 
point of Church doctrine and order (Gal. ii. n). (9) St. 
Peter is after a time divinely restricted to the Apostle- 
ship of the Circumcision, that is, the Church of Jews by 
birth (Gal. ii. 7, 8), and is withdrawn from any authority 
over the Gentiles, to whom we and the Roman Church 
alike belong. (10) He is entirely overshadowed, very 
shortly after Christ s Ascension, by St. Paul, who assumes 
the most active and prominent place in the Church, and 
also claims authority over all the Churches of the Gen 
tiles (i Cor. iv. 17, xvi. i ; 2 Cor. xi. 28), and notably 
over the Roman Church itself (Rom. i. 5, 6, 7). (n) 
There is nothing whatever in Scripture to connect St. 
Peter with Rome directly, except the ancient guess that 
"Babylon" in i St. Peter v. 13 may mean Rome, while, 
even if it does, nothing is said about any authority of St. 
Peter there. 1 (12) We are told that it was a mark of 
1 A very dangerous guess, too, in view of the Apocalyptic Babylon 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 155 

schism for Christians to attach themselves specifically to 
St. Peter as distinct from the whole Apostolic Church 
(i Cor. i. 12). (13) St. Peter never makes any claim 
for himself such as St. Paul does, nor asserts any primacy; 
for the only title he assumes, beyond that of Apostle, com 
mon to all the others, is "fellow-elder" (i St. Peter v. i). 
(14) St. Peter s own writings, in mere bulk, consist of 
only 8 chapters of the Bible, containing 166 verses; and 
the Gospel of St. Mark, his disciple, has 1 6 chapters, 
with 678 verses. But St. Paul s writings, including the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, amount to 100 chapters, with 
2,325 verses; while St. Paul s disciple, St. Luke, gives us 
a Gospel of 24 chapters, with 1,151 verses, and the Acts 
of the Apostles, 28 chapters, with 1,007 verses, making 
in all 152 Pauline chapters with 4,483 verses, against 24 
Petrine chapters with 844 verses. And as regards their 
relative importance, St. Mark s Gospel is mainly a shorter 
edition of St. Matthew. All that is peculiar to it is the 
parable of the seed in secret (iv. 26), cure of the deaf and 
dumb man (vii. 3 2), of the blind man of Bethsaida(viii. 22), 
the mention of the young man who fled away naked after 
Christ s arrest (xiv. 51, 52), and Christ s address to the 
Apostles before the Ascension, telling them of the neces 
sity of faith and baptism to salvation, and promising 
miraculous powers (xvi. 15-20). But St. Luke alone 
records for us the events of St. John Baptist s birth, the An 
nunciation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Shepherds, 
and the Presentation in the Temple, with such parables 
as the Prodigal Son, the Unjust Steward, Dives and La 
zarus, the Unjust Judge, and the Pharisee and Publican, 
with much else. As regards the Epistles of Saints Peter 
and Paul, the only thing peculiar to the former is the 
glimpse we get in them as to the state of those who died 
before Christ s coming, and of His preaching to them in 

(Rev. xvii. xviii.), and the fact that the epithet " harlot " is usually 
applied to an apostate Church (Isa. i. 21 ; Jer. ii. 20; iii. I, 6, 8; 
Ezek. xvi. 15, 17, 20, 26 ; xxiii. I 22; Hos. ii. 5 ; iii. 15). 



156 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Hades (i St. Peter iii. 19, 20 ; iv. 6). That is all the fresh 
matter that the Church would have definitely lost had 
St. Peter s two Epistles perished. But St. Paul s Epistles 
are perfectly crowded with teaching on points of doctrine 
and discipline, and have moulded Christian teaching 
ever since on grace, election, free-will, on the effects of 
the Resurrection, on the unity of the Church, on the 
operations of the Holy Spirit, on the relation of the 
Law and the Gospel, and on the place of tradition in 
the Church. So thus St. Peter did not exercise the 
" plenitude of teaching " in Apostolic days ; and con 
sequently the Pope, even if his heir, cannot claim to 
exercise it now. 1 (15) It is no man whatever who was 
appointed by Christ as His Vicar on earth at His de 
parture, but the Holy Spirit (St. John xiv. 16, 17, 26; 
xv. 26; xvi. 7, I3-I5)- 3 

What the " Privilege of Peter" really was. 

LXXV. What then did St. Peter enjoy which the 
other Apostles did not? The answer is, that to him 
only were spoken the express words, " I will give unto 
thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven " (St. Matt. xvi. 
19); and though most of the Fathers explain this as 
being merely the power of binding and loosing sins com 
mon to all the Apostles (so that even still that is the 
meaning attached to the phrase "the Power of the 
Keys "), yet, as our Lord was not pleased to use these 
exact words to the others, the better way is to believe 

1 Indeed, the historian Sozomen (A.D. 439) remarks as a singular 
peculiarity of the Roman Church in his day, that neither the Pope 
nor anybody else ever gave public teaching in church to the people. 
(" Hist. Eccl." vii. 19.) This, coupled with the fact that Leo the 
Great (A.D. 440) was the first Roman theologian, shows that Rome 
was not a teaching centre in any sense whatever for the first four 
centuries. 

2 See the whole of this argument worked more fully out in the 
" Legal Evidence of Scripture on the Petrine Claims." Church 
Quarterly Review, April, 1878. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 157 

that they have a meaning applicable to St. Peter alone. 
And what that meaning is declared to be by Tertullian, 
the most ancient Christian writer who discusses the ques 
tion (" De Pudicit." xxi.), is that St. Peter was granted 
the incommunicable and unrepeatable privilege and glory 
of being \h& first to unlock the doors of the kingdom of 
heaven to both Jews (Acts ii. 14-41) and Gentiles (Acts 
x. 3448). And as that was done once for all, it cannot 
be done over again by any one ; so that there is nothing 
left for the Pope to be special heir to, any more than 
the heirs of Columbus, if any be alive, could enjoy a 
monopoly of continuing to discover America. 

Civil Origin of Koman Primacy. 

LXXVI. But there is no evidence whatever to prove 
that St. Peter s privilege, whatever it was, did not die 
with him, or that he ever appointed the Bishops of Rome 
his heirs, even if he had power to appoint any heirs at 
all ; for the three great Petrine texts contain no clause 
whatever which even hints at any transmission of the 
privilege : unlike the grants to Abraham, Aaron, and 
David, where the descent of their privileges is expressly 
provided for. And this is an incurable defect of title ac 
cording to Roman canon law, which rules that a personal 
privilege dies with the person named, and cannot be ex 
tended on any plea to persons not so named. (Bonif. 
VIII. "De Reg, Jur." vii.; " Decret. Greg. IX." v. 33, ix.) 
Further, it is a fundamental principle of Roman canon law 
that whenever a claim of a right by privilege is made, the 
document attesting it must be produced in evidence by 
the claimant, or else his case fails. 1 Let the Church of 
Rome produce St. Peter s last will and testament, or 
even the witness of ancient writers who can say that they 
ever saw it, heard of it, or dreamt that it might be pro 
ducible. What there is evidence of, and in plenty, is, 

1 Jenkins, "Privilege of Peter." 



158 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

that the position of Rome as the capital of a vast empire, 
and the seat of the most numerous and wealthy ancient 
Christian community, gave it great natural prominence, 
and obtained for its Bishop precedence everywhere, so 
that he exercised a very powerful influence in ancient 
Christendom, and much stronger in the West than in 
the East, because the West had no great city at all 
except Rome, Milan being its nearest rival, whereas the 
East was rich in large towns ; and further, while the East 
had many sees of Apostolic foundation, Rome alone 
held that honour in the West; not to dwell on its 
unequalled historical prestige, which caused it to exert 
a powerful fascination over the minds of all, and espe 
cially of its own citizens, who, even if Christians, had a 
superstitious belief in and awe of " Roma ^Eterna," and 
thought that she must always rule by a Divine right, as 
when she was " Dea " in the pagan creed. But this is 
altogether different from a Divine Charter of privilege ; 
and all the laudatory epithets regarding Rome and its 
Bishop which can be collected from the Acts of Councils 
and the writings of Fathers, go no further towards con 
ferring, or even confirming, any such charter than a vote 
of thanks in Parliament, or a number of newspaper 
panegyrics, in our own day, bestowed on a victorious 
general, goes towards making him a royal duke. To 
establish the supremacy of Rome two factors are neces 
sary; (a) proof of a Charter to the person of its Bishop ; 
and (&) of another Charter to the city, as the immutable 
seat of his primacy. Whatever may be urged as to the 
first, there is no hint at all of the latter discoverable 
in Holy Writ, which is not only utterly silent as to any 
privileges of Rome, and names the Heavenly Jerusalem 
as the sole Gospel antitype of the earthly one, but tells 
us that " here have we no continuing city, but we seek 
one to come " (Heb. xiii. 14). Nor does either reason 
exist under the Gospel which existed under the Law for 
the religious primacy of Jerusalem. For Christendom 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 159 

is made up of many nations, and thus cannot have one 
political metropolis ; and the highest Christian rites .can 
be, and are, as validly performed in any village church as 
in St. Peter s at Rome. The special dignity of the Popes 
appears throughout as a matter of purely human origin 
and arrangement (so the General Council of Chalcedon, 
in its twenty-eighth Canon), 1 but as no result of a 
Divine Charter ; for all the other great Bishops 
ranked in the order of the civil importance of their 
Sees ; thus Alexandria, the second city of the Empire, 
was the second Patriarchate, though not an Apostolic 
See ; Antioch, the third city, being only the third Patri 
archate, though Apostolic by at least a double title, and 
alleged as St. Peter s first See ; Constantinople going up as 
a new Patriarchate over the heads of both Alexandria and 
Antioch, when it became the capital of the Empire ; and 
Jerusalem, the most august of all, being only a suffragan 
see under the Metropolitan of Caesarea for three hundred 
years, not being made a Patriarchate for more than four 
hundred years, and even then reckoned last of all, 

1 " The Fathers with good reason bestowed precedency on the 
Chair of Old Rome, because it was the Imperial City." This canon 
was passed in despite of the protest of the Roman legates, who alone 
dissented, and was officially declared to mean that only an honorary 
priority belonged to the Roman See. Leo the Great always refused 
to acknowledge it, but on the purely technical ground that it was 
not competent for the Council to set aside the immutable decrees 
of Nicsea, and to give the second place to Constantinople, to the 
prejudice of Alexandria and Antioch, ranked as second and third 
by the Council of Nicrea (Epist. Ixxix.). But there is no record of 
any objection having been raised by Alexandria and Antioch them 
selves, or that they accepted the Pope s championship ; while, as 
regards the Council of Nicaea, it had itself provided that its decisions 
might be reviewed by a future council (Julius Papa, ap. St. 
Athanas. " Apol." 22 ; Tillemont, vi. 574) ; as, in fact, was done in 
the far more important matter of the Creed by that of Constantinople 
in 381 ; a change which Leo did accept. And the Synod of Con 
stantinople in 869 (accounted as the Eighth General Council by 
Romans) in its most Papalizing canon (xxi) affirmed the rank of 
Constantinople as next to Rome, showing thereby that Leo s resist 
ance had never taken effect. 



l6o PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

because of its political insignificance. 1 The principle 
had, in fact, been laid down in Canon IX. of the Council 
of Antioch in 341, that the Bishop of the chief city in 
each province should be Primate, because the concourse 
of people (t)tct TO fv Trj jJir)Tp07r6\i Travra^odEv avvTyiytiv 
Trarrnc) made that the most convenient place for general 
superintendence. And this principle applies similarly to 
still larger cities, and above all to the capital of the Empire, 
so that it gives the simplest meaning for an obscure passage 
in St. Irenaeus (Adv. Hser. III. iii. 3), where we have only 
the Latin, thus : " For it is necessary that every Church 
should come together to this Church [of Rome] (ad 
hanc ecdesiam convenire), because of its superior dignity 
(po tiorem principalitatem}" 

Disproofs of Papal Infallibility. 

LXXVIL As to the infallibility of the Popes, it will 
be enough, out of many disproofs which are at hand, to 
say that, 

a. Pope Liberius subscribed an Arian creed, and 
anathematized St. Athanasius as a heretic* 

1 The very fact that the Papacy is an intermittent office, becoming 
continually vacant, and then filled and conferred by a merely human 
election, proves its purely human authority and origin. Not so in 
the only two parallel cases. The Jewish High Priesthood, till the 
violent interruptions of later times, devolved at once on the 
hereditary representative of the House of Aaron, to which the office 
was divinely restricted. There was no proper vacancy, and no 
election. The Buddhists teach that their Pope, or Dalai Lama, 
never dies ; for that on the death of any Lama, the Deity is at once 
incarnate in another person, usually a child, who is known by certain 
supernatural tokens, and is thus not chosen by his subjects, but re 
ceived by them. These two views are logical and consistent, not so 
the Papal theory. The deaths of Bishops are not cases parallel with 
the death of a Pope ; for the Episcopal order and office never dies 
out, lodged as it is in many hundreds of hands. But the Papal order 
consists of but one man ; and ceases to exist every time that man dies 
or is deposed, being renewed through a merely human process by his 
inferiors, not even through his own nomination of his successor. 

2 "Liberius, overcome with the irksomeness of exile, subscribed 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 1 6 1 

b. Pope Honorius was unanimously condemned by 
the Sixth General Council as a heretic, for having 
publicly sided with the Monothelite heresy, and offi 
cially taught it in Pontifical Letters, the legates of his 
own successor, Pope Agatho, taking the lead in anathe 
matizing him ; and a successor of his, Gregory II, , wrote 
to assure the Spanish Bishops that Honorius was certainly 
damned. 1 

c. The Western Church alone deposed, on its own 
authority, Popes John XII., Benedict IX., Gregory VI., 
Gregory XII., and John XXIII., the last in express 
terms as simoniac, sorcerer, schismatic, and heretic. 2 But 
all these depositions have been acknowledged as perfectly 
valid, and the Popes set up in the stead of the deposed 
ones as lawful tenants of the Roman chair; instead of the 
act being regarded as a blasphemous rebellion against the 
Vicar of God on earth, and the new Popes as schismatic 
intruders. The English laws of to-day do not recognize 
the validity of Charles I. s deposition and execution, nor 
that of any laws passed in Parliament, or decisions de 
livered by judges, between 1641 and 1660. That whole 
period of nineteen years is treated as a legal blank ; and 
Charles II. s reign is counted in the statute-book from 
his father s death, no reckoning being made of Oliver 
Cromwell s sovereignty. That nothing like this meets us 
in Roman Church history shows conclusively that the 
Popes cannot have been viewed as infallible, but as 
liable to error in the discharge of their office, and to 
punishment from their superior, the collective Church, 
for any misconduct : contrary to the Vatican decrees, 
which allege that the Pope s decisions on faith and 

to heretical error, and entered Rome as a conqueror." St. Jerome, 
"Chron." A.D. 357. 

1 Renouf, " Condemnation of Pope Honorius ;" Gratry, "Letters 
to Mgr. Dechamps;" Willis, "Pope Honorius and the New Roman 
Dogma." 

2 Fleury, "Hist. Eccl." XII. Ivi. 7 ; lix. 49, 53 ; XXI. ciii, 92, 

112. 

M 



l62 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

morals are " irreformable on their own merits, not by 
reason of approval by the Church." 

d. The modern Roman Church, by directly gain 
saying such utterances of former Popes as that of Pope 
Gelasius on the sin of half-communion, already cited, and 
declaring the like opinion heretical ; and those of Pope 
St. Gregory the Great on the " blasphemous " sin of 
ascribing either to the Roman Pope, or any other person, 
the title and office of Universal Bishop, 1 which thing is 
explicitly done in the Vatican decrees (" Const, de Eccl." 
c. in.), has itself, by a patent contradiction, expressed its 
own disbelief in the very doctrine of Papal infallibility 
which it so loudly asserts : an example set it, indeed, by 
the Jesuits, who, in despite of their own special vow of 
implicit obedience to the Pope, and their magnifying that 
as the highest virtue, never once thought of obeying the 
Bull of Clement XIV. in 1773, which suppressed the 
Company, declaring it broken up and abolished for ever, 

1 Writing to the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, St. 
Gregory says: "This name Universal was offered during the 
Council of Chalcedon to the Pontiff of the Apostolic See . . . 
But no one of my predecessors ever consented to use so profane a 
title, plainly because if a single Patriarch be called universal, the 
name of Patriarch is taken from the rest. . . . Wherefore presume 
not ever to give or receive letters with this title Universal. " (Ep. v. 
43.) To the Patriarch of Alexandria he writes again : "You are 
my brother in rank, my father in character, and I said that you 
were not to write any such thing to me or to any one else ... and 
behold, in the very heading of your letter, directed to me, the very 
person who forbad it, you set that haughty title, calling me Universal 
Bishop, which I beg your Holiness to do no more." (Ep. viii. 30.) 
To the Patriarch of Antioch he says that this title is "profane, 
superstitious, haughty, and invented by the first apostate ; . . . and 
that if one Bishop be called universal, the whole Church falls if he 
fall." (Ep. vii. 27.) To the Emperor Maurice he writes twice : 
"St. Peter is not called Universal Apostle . . . The whole Church 
falls from its place when he who is called Universal falls . . . But 
far from Christian hearts be that blasphemous name ... I con 
fidently affirm that whoso calls himself, or desires to be called, 
Universal Priest, in his pride goes before Antichrist" (Ep. v. 20, 
vii. 33-) 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 163 

but withdrew into the non-Roman dominions of Prussia 
and Russia, where the Pope s writ did not run, emerging 
thence in full marching order and considerable numbers 
when Pius VII. issued his contradictory Bull of reinstate 
ment in 1814. 

Papal Infallibility useless in the Past. 

LXXVIII. Further, Papal infallibility, even if it were 
conceded that it is true in theory, has been entirely use 
less in the past, and must of necessity be useless in time 
to come, as a safeguard against error. 

a. As regards the past, we may fairly say this much in 
the first instance, that if there have been a line of 
specially and divinely inspired Heads of the Church, 
endowed with the fulness of teaching as well as of ruling 
power, the proof ought to lie in a succession at Rome of 
great Fathers and Doctors of the Church, answering to 
the line of Jewish Prophets. We should have a Samuel, 
a David, a Solomon, an Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 
Zechariah, Malachi, &c., in the chair of Peter; only as 
much greater than the Hebrew seers as the Gospel is 
higher than the Law. 

But, instead of this being actually the case, the first 
Pope who has any reputation as a theological writer, 
nay, the very first member of the local Roman Church 
who has attained that position, is the forty-sixth Pope 
after St. Linus, original occupant of the see, 1 namely, 
Leo the Great, who became Pope in 440.2 After him 

1 So St. IrenDSUs, our oldest authority, who says : " The Blessed 
Apostles [Peter and Paul], then, having founded and built up the 
Church [of Rome], committed the office of the episcopate into the 
hands of Linus. To him succeeded Anacletus, and after him in 
the third place from the Apostles, Clement." (" Cont. Hser." III. 
3). Cardinal Wiseman has falsified this evidence, thus : "To 
Peter, as Si. Irenceus observes, succeeded Linus ; to Linus, Ana- 
cletus; then, in the third place, Clement" (Lecture viii.). 

2 A mere fragment survives of Pope Dionysius (A.D. 259-269), 
who might, perhaps, did \ve know more of him, take Leo s place 
as first on the list. 

M 2 



164 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

there is no name of eminence, and only one of moderate 
distinction, Gelasius I., till we come to St. Gregory the 
Great, sixty-fifth Pope, in 590. The next, and he only 
by favour, not of genuine right, is Innocent III., the one 
hundred and seventy-fifth Pope, in 1198 (for Gerbert, or 
Sylvester II., is famous as a scientist, not as a divine, and 
Gregory VII., however eminent as a ruler, is not great as 
a writer); and from him there is a blank till Benedict XIV., 
two hundred and forty-eighth Pope, in 1740. So, as a 
matter of fact, the two hundred and fifty-seven Popes have 
contributed singularly little to the theological treasures 
of the Christian Church. Four theologians in eighteen 
hundred years are but a poor show : and only one of these 
four has helped in moulding the belief of the Christian 
Church, namely, Leo the Great, by his anti-Eutychian 
writings. And what is very interesting in the same con 
nexion is, that there has never been a School of Theology 
in Rome itself of the least reputation or importance ; 
nothing, for example, like the famous School of Alexandria 
in the ancient Church. There was a school of Canon 
Law there (and even it inferior to Bologna), but students 
who wanted to read theology went to Paris, Oxford, &C. 1 
b. Next, there is not one solitary example to be found 
in the whole of Church history of any great struggle or 
difficult question being decided by the Pope s inter 
ference. Not one of the great heresies was put down in 
this way, but always by a Council or by some private 
theologian. Thus the Council of Nice settled the ques 
tion of Arianism ; and that of Ephesus the question of 
Nestorianism ; it was St. Epiphanius who practically 
routed the Gnostics, and St. Augustine who refuted the 
Pelagians. No Church has been the parent of so many 
sects as the Roman, which has never been able to 
prevent them from forming within her bosom, and issuing 
thence. No Pope has ever settled the Canon of Scrip- 

1 Janus, "Pope and Council," pp. 199-204. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 165 

ture, deciding what books are to be received or what 
rejected; none, down to our own day, has ever undertaken 
to say what is the true text in the thousands of various 
readings found in the Greek New Testament. When 
Luther asked his famous question : " What is Justifi 
cation ?" no Pope was ready with a reply ; and though a 
reply was given at last by the Roman Church, it came in 
the shape of a decree of the Council of Trent in 1547, 
more than a quarter of a century after the question had 
been put, when Luther himself had been about a twelve 
month dead, and when half Europe was irrecoverably 
lost to the Papacy. And what is very noteworthy is, 
that even the Council of Trent never took the slightest 
notice of Leo X. s Bull against Luther, but reopened the 
whole question from the beginning, and decided it on 
quite other grounds. Contrariwise, it proceeded on its own 
mere motion, and without awaiting special permission, to 
repeal or modify a great number of Pontifical Bulls and 
Constitutions. Of course, there was Papal confirmation 
obtained at last ; but the point here is that the Council 
never seems to have dreamt that such decisions were 
irreformable. 

Breaks-down of Infallibility. 

LXXIX. When the Pope has practically interfered 
to settle a question, the result has not been altogether 
encouraging. Here is a leading case in point : On 
March 5, 1616, the Congregation of the Index published 
a decree condemning as " false, unscriptural, and destruc 
tive of Catholic truth," the opinion that the earth moves 
round the sun. It is disputed amongst Roman theo 
logians whether Paul V., who undoubtedly set the Index 
at work, and entirely agreed with its finding, was 
personally responsible for this decree, but the balance 
of evidence shows that he was so, even if nothing else 
were forthcoming. And it is known that this Pope him 
self presided in a Congregation of the Inquisition on 



1 66 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

February 25, 1616, in which, after this same opinion, 
that the sun is the centre of our universe, had been 
described as "absurd, philosophically false, and formally 
heretical, because expressly contrary to Holy Scripture ;" 
and the opinion that the earth is not the centre of the 
universe, but moves, and that daily, " absurd, philo 
sophically false, and, theologically considered, at least 
erroneous in faith ;" Cardinal Bellarmine was appointed 
to visit Galileo the astronomer, and order him to give 
up these false opinions, under pain of imprisonment for 
refusal. It was hence that the Congregation of the Index 
took action, and published its decree a week later. In 
1633, Galileo, having continued to propagate his views, 
was called on by the Inquisition to retract and abjure; and 
the formal notice to him to do so states expressly that 
the declaration of 1616 was made by the Pope himself, 
and that resistance to it was therefore heresy, contrary 
to the doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. 
On being brought to trial, Galileo made a formal abjura 
tion, and on June 30, Pope Urban VIII. ordered the 
publication of the sentence, thereby, according to Roman 
ecclesiastical law, making Galileo s compulsory denial of 
the earth s motion as a theological doctrine binding on 
all Christians everywhere ; although now there is no 
educated Roman Catholic in the world who does not 
agree with Galileo, and reject the judgment of Popes 
Paul V. and Urban VIII. as " absurd and philo 
sophically false," and, therefore, as no binding theological 
utterance. 1 

1 See the whole question discussed in a pamphlet, known to be 
from the pen of a Roman Catholic priest : "The Pontifical Decrees 
against the Motion of the Earth, " 2nd edition ; London : Longmans, 
1870. There is one point, however, not clearly named in it, that 
Pius VI., in a Brief addressed to Bishop Pannilini of Chiusi, in 1786, 
declares that decrees of the Roman Congregations of the Inquisition 
and the Index. are ex cathedra judgments of the Holy See, and must 
be implicitly obeyed, as dogmatica judicia qu<z Petri Cathedra tulit. 
See the Acts of the Synod of Florence in 1787, vol. iv. p. 74. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 167 

Another example, somewhat earlier, is the Bull of 
Sixtus V., 1590, declaring, by a perpetual decree, an 
edition of the Vulgate, then just issued, the sole 
authentic and standard text, and that any departure 
from it should incur excommunication, while future 
editions not conformed to it should have no credit nor 
authority. But it so swarmed with errors, that it was 
called in almost immediately, and Clement VIII. pub 
lished a new Vulgate in 1592, differing from that of 1590 
in several thousand places, and likewise issued under 
penalty of excommunication for any deviation from it. * 
Such is infallibility when it commits itself to pronounce 
ments on questions where its value can be tested by 
proof. Accordingly, the safer course is generally pur 
sued of dealing with speculative matters only, outside 
the range of human knowledge, and thus incapable of 
disproof as of proof. In fact, it is maintained by some 
Roman theologians, at the present day, that the Popes 
have up to the present only once spoken with the forma 
lities necessary to make their utterances ex cathedra and 
infallibly binding, and that was when Pius IX., on 
December 8, 1854, decreed the Immaculate Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary ; a tenet which, even if true 
in itself, belongs to the domain of entirely unpractical 
speculation, was denied as heresy by orthodox Catholics, 
including fourteen Popes, for a thousand years, and is 
contrary to the well-nigh " unanimous consent of the 
Fathers." 2 At any rate, to use such a formidable engine 

1 James, " Bellum Papale." 

2 Cardinal Turrecremata, "Tract, de Concept. B. V. M." See 
Dr. Pusey, "Letter I. to Newman," pp. 72-286. The fourteen 
Popes were, Innocent I. ("St. August, contra Julian. " i. and ii.), 
Zosimus ("St. August. Ep. ad Optatum "), Boniface I., Leo I., 
Gelasius I., Gregory I., Boniface III., John IV., Innocent II. and 
III., Honorius III., Innocent V., Clement VI., Eugenius IV. ; to 
whom may be added Leo X., Julius III., and Marcellus II. For 
such of these fourteen as are not cited by Dr. Pusey, see Bandelli, 
General of the Dominicans, " De Veritate Conceptionis B. Mariae," 



1 68 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

but once in all the ages, and then for such an in- 
nnitesimally small result, is like building a ship of ten 
thousand tons burden to convey one passenger from 
Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. 

Papal Infallibility no help in the Future. 

LXXX. It will now be shown that, even if true, Papal 
infallibility provides no security whatever against future 
theological error amongst Roman Catholics. What the 
doctrine really comes to is this : that all decisions of the 
Pope on faith and morals, being divinely inspired and in 
fallible, become, when committed to writing, so much 
more Holy Scripture. It does not mean less than this ; 
and it cannot mean more. But as the infallibility of 
Holy Scripture has not prevented the widest diversity of 
interpreting its meaning, so it would be with the ever- 
accumulating mass of Papal decrees. Every sentence 
and every word would be fought over just as St. Paul s 
or St. John s words are fought over. And besides, as 
the Pope is not omnipresent nor omniscient though he 
is both, quite as much as he is infallible the ordinary 
Roman Catholic cannot turn to him at once for the 
solution of any doubt ; but has practically to go to his 
own confessor, who is admittedly fallible. If he do 
not like what he hears there, or if the confessor himself 
be puzzled, the next resort is to the bishop, again a 
fallible person. The layman who did not stop here 
would probably earn for himself the reputation of a 
troublesome and unstable Catholic ; but suppose he or 
the priest push further, and apply to Rome a thing 
which would not in practice be done once in a thousand 
times the question would in most cases not come 
before the Pope himself, but some lower authority, 
perhaps one of the Congregations still a fallible tribunal. 

Milan, 1475, ancl Petrus cle Vincentia, Catalogue of 216 Witnesses 
against the Immaculate Conception, Venice, 1494. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 169 

And assuming that the Pope himself is at last reached, 
and does give a final answer, 1 two difficulties at once arise. 
First, he may have replied in his quality as a private 
Doctor, and not as Pope, in which case it is agreed that he 
is not infallible ; and next, even if he answer as Pope, yet 
his questioner is certainly fallible, and may misunderstand 
and mis-report the decision. Since even the Apostles 
persistently misunderstood our Lord s teaching about 
His kingdom, until just before the Day of Pentecost 
(Acts i. 6), we have no reason to conclude that ordinary 
Christians now-a-days will prove wiser than they. And 
so it is plain that there is no real safeguard against error 
in having an infallible teacher, unless his disciples be also 
infallible hearers, certain not to mistake his meaning. 
If you ask your way in a strange place, and get a 
perfectly correct answer, it does not follow that you will 
go right, if by reason of dull hearing or insufficient 
knowledge of the language used, you have but very 
imperfectly apprehended the meaning of the words. 

Questions raised by the Infallibility Dogma itself. 

LXXXI. And this is not a mere fancy picture of what 
might happen; it is what actually has happened with 
that very decree of his own infallibility which Pius IX. 
published in the Vatican Council for it is not to be 
forgotten that it is none of the Council s own making, 

1 This cannot always be counted on. Not very long before the 
death of Pius IX., a deputation from the " Catholic Societies" of 
Italy applied to him for guidance on a question of faith and 
morals ; namely, whether Catholics, especially in the former States 
of the Church, should vote or not vote at Parliamentary elections. 
To vote was to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Italian kingdom 
at Rome ; to abstain was to throw every seat in Parliament into the 
hands of the anti-clerical party. Here was the great convenience of 
having " the living voice of authority " to appeal to. The " living 
voice " replied that no answer could be given, as there was a conflict 
of opinion amongst the ecclesiastical authorities on the subject, and 
no conclusion had yet been arrived at. 



1 70 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

nor even so passed by it as to be valid and binding in 
Canon law. 

Here it is : " We [/. e. Pius IX.], the Sacred Council 
approving, teach and define that it is a dogma divinely 
revealed : that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex 
cathedra, that is, when in discharge of his supreme 
Apostolic authority he defines a doctrine to be held by 
the universal Church, by the divine assistance promised 
him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility 
with which the Divine Redeemer willed that His Church 
should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith 
or morals ; and that, therefore, such definitions of the 
Roman Pontiff are irreformable 1 of themselves, and not 
by reason of the consent of the Church." 

At this moment Roman theologians are at hopeless 
variance on three questions raised by this decree. 

1. When does the Pope speak ex cathedra ? 

2. How is the fact to be known publicly ? 

3. What is " that infallibility," in kind or degree, 

mentioned ? 

And some of the difficulties which encompass the 
subject may be gathered from the subjoined extract from 
a Pastoral of the hyper-Ultramontane Cardinal De- 
champs of Mechlin, dated Dec. 8, 1879, and intended 
to minimize the force of Leo XIII. s disapproval of his 
policy : " Infallibility is not what is alleged by the 
editors of certain papers, the members of certain Par 
liaments, the professors of certain Universities, and 
sometimes also by lawyers and soldiers. No ; for the 
Pope is not infallible when he expresses only his own ideas, 
but he is infallible when, as head of the Church, he de 
fines truths contained in the depository of revelation, the 
Scriptures and tradition. The Pope is not infallible 
when he judges purely personal questions; but he is so 
when he judges doctrinal questions affecting faith or 

1 That is, we may not revise any such definition, nor sit in 
judgment on what it has judged. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 171 

morals ; that is to say, revealed truth or revealed law, 
the Pope being infallible only when he rests on the testi 
mony of God or revelation. The Pope is not infallible 
when he treats as a private doctor questions even of doc 
trine, but when he judges by virtue of his apostolic 
authority that a doctrine affecting revealed truth and re 
vealed law ought to be held by the universal Church." 

Dilemma of the Dogma. 

LXXXII. It is not unworthy of remark, moreover, 
that if the infallibility of the Pope be held to rest, as a 
binding dogma, on the Vatican decree, there is a very 
awkward dilemma. Either the Pope assumed the title 
of Infallible of his own mere motion, or it was con 
ferred on him by the Council. 

If he took it himself, there is no evidence in its 
favour, because no man may be judge in his own cause, 
nor decide to his own advantage on a mere ex-parte 
statement. 1 

If the Council gave it to him, then the Council, by de 
claring him alone infallible, and that without the consent 
of the Church, confessed its own fallibility and liability 
to error ; and therefore its entire incompetence to decide 
on such a stupendous doctrine at all, involving, as it 
does, a complete revolution in the constitution of the 
Church, and reducing it to nothing. 

Development. 

LXXXIII. As to Development, there are two or three 
things to be said. First, it is only a modern excuse put 
forward by private persons in the attempt to get out of a 
difficulty and a contradiction. But the authoritative 
assertion of the Roman Church itself is that its teaching 
now is exactly what it has been from the beginning, and 

1 " Nemo esse queat Judex in causa propria : " Benedict XIV. 
"De Synodo Dioec." vii. 14. 



172 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

is attested by the unanimous consent of the Fathers. So 
speak both Trent and the Vatican Council. The latter 
is very precise on this head. It says : " The Holy 
Spirit was not promised to the successors of St. Peter, 
that by His revelation they might make known new 
doctrines ; but that by His assistance they might in 
violably keep and faithfully expound the deposit of faith 
handed down by the Apostles " (" De Eccl." iv.) ; and 
again : "The doctrine of faith which God hath revealed 
has not been proposed like a philosophical invention, 
to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been de 
livered as a divine deposit to the Bride of Christ, to be 
faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence, also, that 
meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be 
retained which our Holy mother the Church hath once 
for all declared ; nor is that meaning ever to be de 
parted from, under the pretext of a deeper comprehension 
of them." (" De Fide," iv.) Next, there maybe unwhole 
some developments of things that were right at first, 
which ought to be discarded. So wine will develope 
under unfavourable circumstances into vinegar ; but the 
Roman Church will not allow vinegar to be used for the 
Eucharist. Thirdly, there are usages and doctrines now 
current which are not developments at all, but blank 
contradictions of the ancient faith and practice. The 
Nicene Creed differs from the Apostles Creed only as a 
man differs from a growing lad ; but the worship of St. 
Joseph differs from the doctrine of the Church as a huge 
tumour does from the ordinary condition of the body. 
It is a growth, no doubt, but denotes disease, not 
progress. 

The Local Roman See does not possess the Notes 
of the Church. 

LXXXIV. By identifying the local Church of Rome 
with the whole Church, however, and making them 
mean the same thing, and still more by concentrating 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 173 

the Church in the Pope singly, thus making him the 
heart, life, and head of all, Roman controversialists have 
committed the proverbial folly of " putting all their eggs 
in one basket/ They are here, as usual, in opposition 
to the spirit of the Gospel ; for Jesus Christ said, " I 
am the Vine, ye are the branches " (St. John xv. 5) : 
but the Church of Rome, by their mouth, says, " 7 am 
the Vine, and there are no branches." It is worth while 
showing what it comes to, when we test Rome for 
the Notes of the Church, to find whether it be indeed 
One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. 

The Roman Church is not, and has not been for 
many centuries, One in any clear spiritual sense. 

a. It is well to open this inquiry by citing a few of 
those passages of Scripture which define or describe the 
nature and tokens of Church Unity. 

" Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also 
which shall believe on Me through their word ; that 
they all may be one ; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and 
I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us : that the 
world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the 
glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them ; that 
they may be one, even as We are one : I in them, and 
Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one " 
(St. John xvii. 20-23). 

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles 
doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and 
in prayers " (Acts ii. 42). 

" And the multitude of them that believed were of 
one heart and of one soul : neither said any of them 
that ought of the things which he possessed was his 
own : but they had all things common " (Acts iv. 32). 

" Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and 
that there be no divisions among you ; but that ye be 
perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the 
same judgment " (i Cor. i. 10). 



174 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

" I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you 
that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are 
called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long- 
suffering, forbearing one another in love ; endeavouring 
to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 
called in one hope of your calling ; One Lord, one faith, 
one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is 
above all, and through all, and in you all " (Eph. iv. 
1-6). 

" Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, 
and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice : 
and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, for 
giving one another, even as God for Christ s sake hath 
forgiven you" (Eph. iv. 32, 33). 

There is a great deal more implied in all these and 
other like passages than mere agreement in Church 
government, ordinances, or even doctrines, though they 
have their place clearly defined too. A perfect har 
mony of will, spirit, and love, such as exists between 
the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity ; nothing less is 
tendered as a pattern ; and the prayer of our Lord, as 
well as the teaching of His Apostles, extends to all 
Christians, not to the ecclesiastical hierarchy alone. 

On this broad issue, then, there is no sign visible in 
the whole of past history that Roman Catholic nations 
have been less apt to go to war with one another, 1 
Roman Catholic families less apt to be divided, that 
litigation and other marks of division are less generally 

1 On the contrary, it is in the Roman Church alone that Popes 
have incited and waged wars for purely selfish and temporal 
interests, not counting wars of fanaticism. Thus, Sixtus IV. 
went to war with the princes of Italy solely to conquer dominions 
for his nephews, and gained Imola and Forli in this wise. So 
Alexander VI. did also, for Caesar Borgia s ends, taking Rimini, 
Faenza, and Urbino. Julius II. went to war to recover various 
cities in the Romagna, for which he had some excuse ; but he also 
seized Parma and Piacenza, where he had no claim. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 175 

to be found in Roman Catholic communities than else 
where. They are certainly not one as Christ and the 
Father are one. 

b. If we narrow the inquiry to the visible organization 
of the Church, there is no question at all that at the 
present day the apparently solid massiveness of the 
Roman Church, its perfect drill, and the seemingly 
united front it presents to the numerous and conflicting 
sects, produce a strong impression of real unity on un 
trained minds, which are dazzled by the surface and do 
not think of looking below. But even if that unity were 
a real spiritual force, and not only too notoriously due 
to relentless pressure, to a state of siege, and continual 
stamping out of all variety and independence (so that 
no just estimate of its genuineness can be made, nor a 
guess of what would happen if the screw were relaxed), 
it would not help the Ultramontane argument, unless it 
have been found to hold good all along from the beginning. 
A costly vase which is offered to our admiration, not 
purely for its size and beauty, but for its freedom from 
even the smallest flaw, must fail to produce the desired 
effect, if the marks of cement and riveting be clearly 
visible all over it, showing that, however skilfully pieced 
and mended now, it was once shattered to fragments. 

This is the case to so great a degree in the Church of 
Rome, that there is actually no Church in the whole 
world which has been so conspicuously, so frequently, and 
so fatally divided and rent by schisms. It is the very 
worst example producible in the whole of ecclesiastical 
history. 

Even before what is known as the " Great Schism," 
there were no fewer than thirty-nine Anti-popes, from 
Novatian in 251 till the titular Nicolas V. in 1328, who 
contested the Papacy and drew considerable followings 
after them. Of course, if it were certain that the suc 
cessful claimant was always in fact the Pope whose 
election was most probably valid, this circumstance, 



Ij6 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

startling as it is in any case, would be much less serious 
than it actually is. But in a large number of instances all 
we know is that the Pope who was ultimately recognized 
had stronger friends, larger armies, or a longer purse, than 
the unsuccessful claimant. Take one of the earliest 
and worst instances. Pope Liberius had been driven 
into exile by the Arian Emperor Constantius, and 
Felix, an Anti-pope, set up in his stead. The Roman 
clergy and faithful laity refused to attend the churches 
or to communicate with Felix, who was taking part with 
the Arians. Liberius, having weakly signed an 
Arian creed, and consented to anathematize St. Atha- 
nasius, was recalled. For a while, under an imperial 
edict, the Pope and the Anti-pope occupied Rome at the 
same time, each having his own body of followers. At 
last Felix withdrew and left Liberius in sole possession. 
But when Liberius died in A.D. 366, the factions broke out 
afresh, and a double election took place, Ursicinus 
being chosen Pope by one party, and Damasus by the 
other. There are contradictory accounts, both con 
temporary, as to which was the prior and valid election. 
That question cannot now be settled ; but what does ap 
pear is, that the faction which elected Damasus consisted 
of the Arian supporters of the schismatic intruder Felix ; 
that which chose Ursicinus, of the Catholics who had 
been faithful to Liberius ; and that the method which 
Damasus adopted to settle the competing claims was to 
put himself at the head of an armed rabble, and attack 
the supporters of his rival. He twice in person assaulted 
and took by storm the churches where they were collected 
(one of them being the well-known St. Maria Mag- 
giore), and committed frightful slaughter. The party of 
Ursicinus withdrew for a time, vainly asking for a synod 
of bishops to inquire into the validity of the two elections, 
but returned twice, on each occasion for fresh riots 
and bloodshed; and once another horrible massacre 
took place. But Damasus had the Emperor and the 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 177 

ladies on his side, and ultimately triumphed by Erastian 
means, though not for some years. 1 Here is another case. 
When Pope Honorius II. died, in 1130, two rival parties 
in the conclave of Cardinals set up competitors. Sixteen 
of them chose, in an uncanonical fashion, the Cardinal 
Gregory, who took the title of Innocent II. Thirty-two 
Cardinals, in a more orderly and canonical manner, chose 
Cardinal Peter Leonis, who styled himself Anacletus II., 
and had all Rome on his side. But the unlawful 
claimant contrived to get the help of the most power 
ful man in Europe, St. Bernard, who persuaded one 
monarch after another to support Innocent, and at last 
replaced him in Rome by means of an invading army 
under the Emperor Lothair, though Anacletus held out 
till his death in the Castle of St. Angelo. There can be 
no moral or legal doubt that Innocent was the Anti- 
pope, but it is Anacletus who is so branded in ecclesias 
tical annals. 2 These two examples represent several 
others, less typical, but essentially of the same kind, and 
open a huge abyss of doubt as to the legitimacy of the 
Roman succession. 

The Great Schism. 

LXXXV. But, at any rate, this much can be said in 
palliation, that all these disputes were settled somehow ; 
and, right or wrong, one Pope always obtained final recog 
nition. Not so when we come to the " Great Schism," 
which broke out in 1378, after the death of Gregory XL, 
and lasted till 1409, or rather till 1417. It is needless to 
go into the details of this prolonged strife, and it will be 
enough to say that during its continuance there were two 
(and sometimes three) rival lines of Pontiffs kept up, seve 
rally followed by whole nations on entirely political, not 
theological, grounds, and that no one can say now which 
claimant at any time was the true Pope ; while canonized 

1 Nat. Alex. " H.E."iv. 3 ; Milman, " Latin Christianity," i. 2. 
2 Milman, "Latin Christianity," viii. 4. 

N 



178 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

saints were found on opposite sides of the question, St. 
Catharine of Siena, for instance, holding to the Italian 
succession, and St. Vincent Ferrer to the competing line; 
so that St. Antoninus of Florence has remarked that 
persons illustrious for miracles took opposite sides in the 
controversy, and that the question cannot be settled now. 
Since this "Great Schism," whose lessons were severe, 
only one Anti-pope, Felix V., is on record. 

Further Disunion in the Roman Church. 

LXXXVI. But this often repeated struggle for the 
Papacy (with its tens of thousands of embittered partisans 
on both sides, each testifying its hatred for its rival by 
sacking churches, rifling tabernacles, and profaning the 
Sacrament, alleged to be consecrated schismatically) is 
very far from exhausting the tale of Roman dissension. 
The jealousies of the rival religious Orders, and notably 
that which raged for centuries between the Franciscans 
and Dominicans, extending far into the domain of 
theology, has much exceeded in rancour all the hostility 
of contending schools in the Church of England. In 
the missionary fields of the far East, it was the quarrellings 
of the Jesuits with their colleagues of the Franciscan, 
Capuchin, and Dominican Orders which hindered the 
spread of Christianity in China, and wrecked its hopeful 
beginnings in Japan. 1 It must not be forgotten, that to 

1 There is a most remarkable Report on the state of the Roman 
Catholic religion, which was drawn up for Innocent XL in 1677, 
by Urbano Cerri, Secretary of the Propaganda, and translated 
into English by Sir Richard Steele, in 1715. Cerri says that 
Alexander VII. sent out three Frenchmen as Bishops in partibus, 
with authority as Apostolic Vicars, to the East Indies, and that the 
Jesuits immediately denounced them as intruders and heretics, 
declaring all their sacraments null and void, and even hurtful to 
souls, themselves iterating such as the Vicars or their clergy ad 
ministered. They put some of the missionaries into the Inquisition 
at Goa, and drove out others. The Papal Briefs they declared to 
be forged, or illegally obtained, and though, on appeal to Rome, 
Clement X. sided with the Vicars and granted them fresh Briefs, 
the Jesuits went on iust as before, disregarding even a letter from 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 179 

a very large extent indeed, the numerous Orders which 
arose within the Latin Church, answer precisely to the 
sects of Protestantism in their origin, rise, decay, and 
denominational rivalry, as also in taking the names of 
human founders as more honourable or distinctive than 
that of Christian or Catholic, though coming short of 
claiming absolutely independent rights and powers for 
themselves. And while the bitter hostility and active 
competition between the Regulars and the parochial 
clergy are familiar in the pre-Reformation history of 
England, and between the Jesuits and seculars under 
Elizabeth and James I., they are living and disastrous 
facts in France to-day. 

Two Distinct Religions in the Roman Church. 

LXXXVII. Nor is there union in other respects even 
now. In the first place, two distinct and incompatible 
religions are contending for mastery within the Roman 
obedience, namely, the creed officially imposed on the 
clergy, embodied in the Missal and Breviary, which is 
allowing for the presence of certain corruptions, chiefly 
in the more recent Breviary commemorations in the 
main the old belief of Christendom ; and that popularly 
urged on the laity, consisting of the idolatrous, super 
stitious, grossly material, and openly pagan cults, of 
which some account has been given above. 1 But the 

their own General, which the Pope had made him send. Cerri 
adds, that by the King of Portugal s aid they had prevented the 
Propaganda from interfering effectually, so that this "damnable 
schism " was still raging when he wrote. 

1 There are, however, some on a still lower level, when religious 
homage in hymns, litanies, and processions, is paid to inanimate 
objects, invoked just as Saints are. The most besotted instance, 
perhaps, is the cultus of the "Holy Candle of Arras," a stump 
of wax taper declared, on very inadequate proof, to be the same 
with a pretended relic, alleged to have been brought from Heaven 
by the Blessed Virgin in the twelfth century, and long used as a 
charm against pestilence. After being lost and forgotten, it was 
professedly found again, and its cult revived a few years ago. 
N 2 



180 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

monuments of one of these two creeds are in a dead 
language, restricted to a single class ; while those of the 
other are in the vernacular of each country, and altogether 
exceed in circulation and popularity the calmer and 
more spiritual devotions of the ancient formularies. No 
contrast which can be drawn between the tenets and 
practices of the most opposed schools within the Church 
of England can compare, for a moment, with the startling 
nature of this contradiction. Clergy and laity, High, 
Low, and Broad, amongst Anglicans, have the same 
religion tendered to them, embodied in the same book, 
which is used, with whatever diversity of outward cere 
monial, in every one of the many thousands of their 
churches in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Austral 
asia. But in Rome it must be repeated there is one 
religion for the clergy, and another for the laity ; while, 
of the two books which contain the clerical religion, one 
is not to be had at all by the laity in their own lan 
guage, 1 and the other only in an imperfect abridgment, 
so that they are thrown back on quite another and in 
ferior class of publications for devotional purposes. 

No Identity of Belief in Rome. 

LXXXVIII. Nor is it true, as often alleged, that a 
complete identity of belief exists on all points of religious 
opinion amongst the Roman Catholic clergy, and that 
the same answer will be substantially given by every one 
of them to the same question whenever, wherever, or by 
whomsoever put. No doubt enormous pains have been 
taken of late years to create this uniformity by assimi 
lating the text-books used in all clerical seminaries, and 
by ruthlessly crushing out any expression of opinion 
disapproved by the " insolent and aggressive faction," to 
quote Cardinal Newman s words, which has now the 

1 An unofficial English version of the Breviary has been lately 
issued by a private translator, but it is the only complete one extant. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. l8l 

mastery over the Latin Church. But even so, it is a 
new thing, still very incompletely achieved, and not even 
beginning to be successful in some respects. All through 
the Middle Ages, when the Roman Church was at its 
greatest height of prosperity and reputation, there were 
markedly dissimilar schools of theology within its pale ; 
and though this variety was much diminished by the screw 
applied at the Counter-Reformation, when the Jesuits 
became the guiding power, yet it did exist very definitely 
still. It is only in this century, since the shock of the 
French Revolution, that the Roman authorities, believing 
that nothing but the most compact order could hope to 
resist the forces of modern Liberalism, have striven hard 
to suppress all types of opinion save one ; but it required 
the long Pontificate of Pius IX. and the gradual filling of 
almost every See in Latin Christendom with his dutiful 
nominees, to achieve this result, which itself involves 
such a complete breach with the ancient Church, that 
Rome is no longer one with it : and the " Bark of Peter" 
has come to resemble that galley of the legendary hero 
Theseus, which the Athenians professed to show even 
after the time of Alexander the Great, but which, what 
ever its real date and origin may have been, had been so 
pieced and renewed by successive patchings, that not one 
ancient plank or spar remained in it, although it claimed 
to be the same old ship. There is now uniformity in Rome, 
indeed, but it is compulsory uniformity in serious error, 
an incomparably worse evil than such divergence on 
minor points, not ruled by General Councils, as is ob 
servable in the Church of England. The old names of 
" Ultramontane," and " Gallican," not invented by Pro 
testants, but watchwords of contending parties in the 
Roman Church, have almost dropped out of use, because 
the Gallican party has been crushed into insignificance 
and silence, while Ultramontanism, swarming over the 
Alpine barriers which long shut it into Italy, has con 
quered the whole Latin obedience for a time. 



1 82 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Maximizers and Minimizers. 

LXXXIX. Yet even the uniformity which has been 
achieved exists only in name. The two parties are 
as distinct as ever, save that they are now called 
Maximizers and Minimizers ; the Maximizers pushing 
the dogma of Infallibility to its furthest possible extent, 
and claiming divine authority for every casual utterance 
of a Pope on any religious or moral question ; the 
Minimizers endeavouring to reduce within the narrowest 
limits so dangerous a proposition, and inclining to hold 
that a Pope is infallible only when, as President of a 
General Council, he proclaims the decisions at which 
the assembly has arrived. Thus, Cardinal Manning 
("Petri Privilegium," pp. 34-39) declares that the 
Syllabus of 1864 is "an act of doctrinal authority," and 
" part of the supreme and infallible teaching of the 
Church," therein agreeing with Pius IX., who styles it 
" the one anchor of safety" (" Discorsi di Pio IX." vol. i. 
p. 59), whereas Cardinal Newman ("Letter to Duke of 
Norfolk") says that it "has no dogmatic force," and 
"makes no claim to be acknowledged as the word 
of the Pope." The interval between these extremes 
is occupied by two intermediate sections, at variance 
with both and with one another on what is now a 
fundamental question in the Roman Church. 1 It may 
serve to show what divergence there was quite lately on 
this head from the now current teaching, to cite a 
question and answer from an anti-Protestant work, 
Keenan s " Controversial Catechism." This book re 
ceived the approval and licence of Archbishop Hughes 
of New York, and the editions published here bear the 
formal approbations of the four Roman Catholic Bishops 
in Scotland, dated in 1846 and 1853. 

Q. " Must not Catholics believe the Pope himself to 
be infallible ?" 

" Results of Mr. Gladstone s Expostulation," by Umbra Oxoni- 
ensis. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 183 

A. " This is a Protestant invention ; it is no article of the 
Catholic Faith ; no decision of his can bind, on pain of 
heresy, unless it be received and enforced by the teaching 
body, that is, by the Bishops of the Church." 

Since the Vatican decrees, this question and answer 
have been quietly dropped out of the volume by a clever 
re-arrangement of the type, but pains have been taken to 
make it seem the very same edition, nay, the very same 
thousand of that edition, and no hint of any change is 
given. 1 

Other Points of Disagreement. 

XC. Once more, Cardinal Newman has denounced 
as a " bad dream," 3 that very language respecting the 
Blessed Virgin of which specimens have been given above, 
and has recorded his dissent from Liguori s " Moral 
Theology," 3 albeit that book is now authoritatively sanc 
tioned in every Roman confessional. And it is only a few 
years since a well-known English Roman Catholic priest 
and controversialist extracted a series of more than eighty 
heretical propositions from the works of the late Father 
Faber, and endeavoured to get them censured at Rome, 
on the ground that they were doing serious mischief here 
to orthodoxy. The answer he got practically amounted 
to this : that his charges were perfectly true in themselves, 
but that it would never do to condemn so useful and 
thorough-going a partisan of the extremest Ultramon- 
tanism. And so the matter dropped. 

There are many other subjects on which there is great 
division of opinion amongst the Roman clergy, such as 
grace and free-will, purgatory, and even the Holy 
Eucharist itself, and it is only the intellectual apathy 
and ignorance of the great bulk of the priesthood, with the 

1 For similar tampering with French theological works, see 
Michaud, "De la Falsification des Catechismes Frangais et des 
Manuels de Theologie par le Parti Romaniste." (Paris, 1872.) 

a " Letter to Dr. Pusey," 1866. 

3 "Apologia." 



184 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

sedulous exclusion of the laity from ecclesiastical topics, 
which prevent these facts from being as notorious as the 
like facts are in the Church of England, and make pos 
sible such a thoroughly false boast as that of perfect 
doctrine and harmony within the Latin obedience, which 
cannot for an instant prevail with the simplest and most 
credulous hearer who has any real knowledge of the 
truth. 

Is the Roman Church Holy? 

XCI. Next, is the Church of Rome Holy? 

There have been, thank God, and are, many devout and 
holy souls within the Roman Church ; there have been 
not a few, even since the great division of Western Christ 
endom, whose saintliness has been frankly acknowledged 
by those who were not in communion with them ; and a 
Carlo Borromeo, a Francis Xavier, and a Vincent de 
Paul, are as heartily admired outside the Roman Church 
as within it. Indeed, it would be passing strange if so vast 
a Christian body, retaining, amidst much error, the great 
doctrines of the Gospel, should fail to include many 
thousands of men and women living pure, pious, and 
devoted lives. But that, true in itself, is not the question 
now, which is, whether the mark of Sanctity be (a) evident 
in Roman teaching ; (b) bound up with the fact of com 
munion with Rome ; and (c} whether the local Roman 
Church and See itself, as the head and heart of Latin 
Christendom at least, if not of all Christendom, have 
at all times conspicuously possessed this mark. 

Nature of Proofs tendered, 

XCII. The usual method adopted by Roman contro 
versialists to prove these three points, is first to count up 
all the names of great canonized Saints, and to tender 
them as proofs. But a very large proportion of these 
Saints belonged to the Eastern Church, and had no more 
direct personal relation with Rome than with any other 
great see of Christendom. They prove nothing either 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 185 

way, for or against. Others, contrariwise, were in direct 
collision with Rome, as St. Augustine, when he signed 
the letter of the Council of Carthage, repudiating the 
Pope s jurisdiction ; others again, such as St. Cyprian, 1 
St. Firmilian, and St. Meletius, died actually out of 
communion with Rome, and thus make against the claim. 

The Catalogue of Canonized Popes. 

XCIII. The next process is to produce the catalogue 
of Popes, and to show how many of them have the title of 
Saint or Martyr. Several of these will not stand inquiry. 
The weak and vacillating Liberius, who betrayed the 
Faith, is one of these saints ; the next to him on the list 
is St. Felix II., the very Arian schismatical intruder 
mentioned above (LXXXIV. .), to whose character St. 
Athanasius, who had dealings with him, bears the subjoined 
unequivocal testimony : that he was elected by three 
eunuchs [i.e. to represent the Roman laity], and con 
secrated by three " spies" of the Emperor j that he was 
just fit for such electors ; that his heresy was notorious, 
so that the faithful would not enter any church whither 
he came, and that his whole conduct was worthy of 
Antichrist. 2 A convenient miracle under Gregory XIII. 
discovered his body with an ancient inscription : " Pope 
and Martyr" 3 it is quite certain he never was martyred 
and so he figures on the roll of saintly Popes, just above 
the name of the murderous rioter Damasus, also sainted. 
Here then are three names close together, not one of 
which is entitled to the laudatory prefix, and hence it 
may be conjectured how heavily the whole list needs to 
be discounted. 

1 If St. Cyprian was reconciled to Rome before his death 
(A.D. 258), it was without yielding the point in dispute, to which the 
African Church held till after the Council of Aries in 314. 

2 St. Athanas. " Ad Monachos," Opp. i. 861 (Paris, 1627). 

3 Milman, " Latin Christianity, 1 i. 2, 



1 86 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 



The Roman Theory of Holiness. 

XCIV. As regards the practical notion about holiness 
in the modern Roman Church, it may be fairly said that 
it is regarded, like the priesthood and the monastic life, 
as something official and apart from the great bulk of 
Christians. The Roman Church does undoubtedly spend 
more time and pains than any other Christian body in 
striving to rear and train a small number of persons who 
shall exhibit exceptional sanctity, and has even methodized 
the whole system, as a florist might the process of culti 
vating certain rare and beautiful plants. But the general 
mass of the people receives extremely little training even 
in the rudiments of morality. And consequently the 
standard of life and conduct is, to say the very least, no 
higher in Roman Catholic populations than elsewhere. 
In England, on the contrary, whereas Roman Catholics 
are less thanyfz^ per cent, of the population, 1 they con 
tribute wherever they are collected for of course there 
are many parts of England and Wales where there are 
few or none from sixteen to sixty-seven per cent, of 
the criminals to our prisons ; that is to say, from three 
to thirteen times their fair share of crime. 2 The Roman 
theory may be thus not unfairly compared with that of 
the master of a great school who neglects the great 

Ravenstein, " Denominational Statistics." 

2 On Dec. 31, 1877, there were 4,289 criminal Protestant 
children detained in English reformatories, and 1,346 Roman 
Catholic ones, more than 24 per cent. In Clerkenwell prison, 
during 1877-8, there were 1,395 Roman Catholics out of 8,930, more 
than 16 per cent. ; in Wandsworth, 1,006 Roman Catholics out of 
6,472, nearly 16 per cent. ; in Coldbath Fields, during 1877, 23^ 
per cent. The ratio in Manchester for three years past has been 43 
per cent. ; in one of the Liverpool gaols 50 per cent, and upwards ; 
and in the other, for nine years past, 67 per cent, of Roman Catholic 
prisoners, more than double all others together. In Scotland, Roman 
Catholics are about 8 per cent, of the population, chiefly collected 
in Dundee and Glasgow. Their ratio of criminals in the gaol of 
Dundee was 38 per cent., and in Glasgow 44^ per cent., in 1879. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 187 

majority of the pupils in order to cram two or three of 
the most promising ones for prizes ; that of the Church 
of England, with that where the very best boys are left 
pretty much to themselves, with no special encourage 
ment, but where honest pains are taken with the general 
body of the pupils. Clearly, though each method has its 
faults, the second is more for the public advantage. 

Liguorianism fatal to Holiness of Teaching. 

XCV. The Church of Rome has ceased to be holy 
in its teaching ever since the elevation of Liguori to be a 
Doctor of the Church, when his views were authorized in 
the confessional, even if we go back no further ; and even 
as regards the modern saints it rears (such, for instance, 
as Benedict Joseph Labre, canonized in 1873), the gravest 
exceptions maybe taken to its theory of saintliness. Liguori 
himself, as has been shown above, is liable to the charge of 
idolatry, blasphemy, and mendacity, and of having taught 
others to do the like. He was personally a man of pure 
and self-denying life, of amiable disposition, and has 
written various works with much devout matter in them ; 
but these good points, however they may warrant us in 
entertaining a hope that he may yet be forgiven, are 
altogether insufficient to raise him to the spiritual peerage 
of heaven, in the face of Christ s decree : " Whosoever 
therefore shall break one of these least commandments, 
and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least 
in the kingdom of heaven : but whosoever shall do and 
teach them, the same shall be called great in the king 
dom of heaven " (St. Matt. v. 1 9). And the three com 
mandments broken in the "Glories of Mary" and "Moral 
Theology " are amongst the very greatest. 

The question raised here and in section IX. is not as 
to Casuistry in general, or the practical need of some ap 
plication of moral theology to discriminate between the 
degrees of guilt, according to motive and circumstances, 
attaching to the same kind of act ; but a narrower one : 



1 88 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

namely, whether Liguori s standard be not in itself a low 
and shifting one ; whether Rome can be justified in still 
maintaining Probabilism, after its dangers and excesses 
were exposed by Pascal as far back as 1656, and de 
nounced afresh as unscriptural and immoral by the 
Dominicans Richard and Giraud, in their great " Biblio- 
theque Sacree " in 1765 ; and whether, in fact, the rules 
have not got into popular teaching, instead of being 
strictly confined, as sometimes alleged, to the clergy for 
their guidance. Thus, in Furniss s Catechism, " What 
every Christian ought to know," approved by Cardinal 
Cullen (one of those, by-the-by, which cuts out the 
Second Commandment entirely), it is laid down that 
irreverent use of God s name, curses, if no great harm 
be intended by them, and small thefts, are venial sins ; 
while non-fasting communion, or selling the relic of a 
saint, are mortal sins ; though it is lawful to sell the case 
of a relic with the relic in it. 

Wickedness of the Local Church of Rome. 

XCVI. All these considerations, however, sink into 
entire insignificance when we come face to face with the 
question as to the sanctity of the Roman See and its 
occupants. As in the case of Unity, so in that ot 
Holiness, it is precisely Rome which has sunk lowest, 
longest, and oftenest ; which has been the foulest cesspool 
of wickedness, profligacy, depravity of all kinds ; which 
has had the greatest number of abandoned criminals 
amongst its Bishops. These are strong words. Now to 
justify them. Here is what Cardinal Baronius, the 
Ultramontane annalist, says of the Roman Church in the 
tenth century : " What was then the semblance of the 
Holy Roman Church ? As foul as it could be : when 
harlots, superior in power as in profligacy, governed at 
Rome, at whose will sees were transferred, bishops were 
appointed, and, what is horrible and awful to say, their 
paramours were intruded into the see of Peter; false 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 189 

pontiffs who are set down in the catalogue of Roman 
pontiffs merely for chronological purposes ; for who can 
venture to say that persons thus basely intruded by such 
courtezans were legitimate Roman pontiffs ? No mention 
can be found of election or subsequent consent on the 
part of the clergy, all the Canons were buried in oblivion, 
the decrees of the Popes stifled, the ancient traditions 
put under ban, and the old customs, sacred rites, and 
former usages in the election of the Chief Pontiff were 
quite abolished. Mad lust, relying on worldly power, 
thus claimed all as its own, goaded on by the sting of 
ambition. Christ was then in a deep sleep in the ship, 
when the ship itself was covered by the waves and these 
great tempests were blowing. . . . And what seemed 
worse, there were no disciples to wake Him with their 
cries as He slept, for all were snoring. You can imagine 
as you please what sort of presbyters and deacons were 
chosen as cardinals by these monsters." 1 This period 
covered a space of more than thirty years, and the reigns 
of nine Popes. But Gilbert Genebrard, Archbishop of 
Aix (1537-1597), writing of the same era, makes the 
duration of Papal profligacy much longer : " This age has 
been unfortunate, in so far that during nearly a hundred 
and fifty years about fifty Popes have fallen away from 
the virtues of their predecessors, being apostates, or 
apostatical, rather than apostolical." 2 That is to say, 
about one-fifth of all the Popes who have ever sat at Rome 
are hereby charged with grievous criminality. In the 
eleventh century, the writings of St. Peter Damiani, 
Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, paint the morals and lives of 
the bishops and clergy in the most revolting colours ; in 
the fourteenth, the great Catholic poet Petrarch, describ 
ing the Papal Court, then at Avignon, speaks of it as the 
Babylon of the Apocalypse, " which had filled the sack 
of God s anger with impious vices, following as its own 

1 Baron. " Ann." 912, viii. 

2 Genebrard, "Chron. Sac.," iv. ami. 901 (Cologne, 1571). 



1 90 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

gods not even Jupiter or Pallas, but Bacchus and Venus." 
Again, he calls it "fountain of grief, river of wrath, 
school of errors, temple of heresy, formerly Rome, now 
false and guilty Babylon, forge of lies, horrible prison, 
hell upon earth." 1 And Boccaccio s story in the same, 
century is well known, how a Parisian Christian endea 
voured to convert Abraham, a Jew, who proposed 
making a journey to Rome to see for himself if the 
morals of the clergy there proved the superiority of their 
creed over his own. His friend, knowing too well the 
real state of things, endeavoured to dissuade him, but in 
vain. On reaching Rome, Abraham found the Pope, 
cardinals, and clergy immersed in all kinds of vice ; and 
returning to Paris, became a Christian, and was baptized, 
on the ground that no religion which was not divine 
could survive such enormities on the part of its ministers. 2 
But what is not so familiar to the ordinary reader is, that 
this story is no malicious invention of Boccaccio s, as 
others similar in his collection may probably be, for it is 
recorded as a literal historical fact by Benvenuto da 
Imola, in his Commentary on Dante, written in 1376. 
About the same time were issued the Revelations of St. 
Bridget (1302-1373), which are allowed as authentic by 
Pope Benedict XIV. She says, " The Pope is a murderer 
of souls, he destroys and flays the flock of Christ, he is 
more cruel than Judas, more unjust than Pilate. All 
the Ten Commandments he has changed into this one, 
Money, Money. . . . The Pope and his clergy are 
rather the forerunners of Antichrist than the servants of 
Christ ; the Pope s worldly court plunders the heavenly 
court of Christ ; the clergy read no more in the Book of 
God, but in the book of the world ; the reason of God 
is foolishness to them ; the care for souls a fable." 3 
\ 

1 Petrarch, " Sonette e Canzone," parte iv. 15, 16. 

2 "Decameron," i. 2. 

3 There is no more shocking fact than the well-attested poison 
ings in the Holy Eucharist, of which a memorial survives in the 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 1 9! 

Close of the Fifteenth Century. 

XCVII. In the fifteenth century, despite a loud call 
for " Reform of the Church in head and members," and 
some feeble efforts made at the Councils of Pisa, Con 
stance, and Basle, things were getting worse, while at the 
end of the century came a group of pontiffs as bad as 
in the darkest time of the harlot reign, Sixtus IV., 
Innocent VIII., and worst of all, Alexander VI., the 
Nero of the Papacy, one of the vilest criminals on 
record. Julius II. and Leo X., his near successors, 1 
though men of ungodly lives, almost rise into decorous- 
ness beside him, and it is no wonder that under such 
rulers every kind of wickedness throve and flourished. 

Documents of the Reformation Era. 

XCVII I. What things were when the Reformation, 
always postponed or refused by Rome, had become 
inevitable and imminent, the " Hundred Grievances " 
may tell us on the one hand, while for the time after 
the revolt had broken out we have the " Report of the 
Committee of Cardinals" (namely, Sadolet, Contarini, 
Reginald Pole, Giberti, Fregoso, Aleander, Badia, and 
Caraffa, afterwards Paul IV.) to Paul III. in 1538. A 
couple of citations from these two documents, followed 
by the confession of a pious and reforming Pope, 
Hadrian VI., will suffice in illustration. 

a. The German princes complain that, by the exemp 
tion of ecclesiastics from jurisdiction of temporal courts, 
they were enabled to commit all kinds of crimes with 
impunity. Amongst the specified crimes, alleged as 
widely common, are coining, theft, abduction, adultery, 
rape, arson, and murder ; while, even when Bishops were 

Rubrics of the Pontifical Mass, obliging the sub-deacon or the sacrist 
to swallow one of the wafers provided. ("Pontific. Roman." 
Ed. Giunta, Venice, 1520.) 

1 Pius III., his immediate successor, sat only twenty-six days. 



I Q2 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

willing to bring such offenders to justice, their Chapters 
hampered them, so that they could not. 1 

b. The Cardinals report that the root of all the evils 
of the Church was in the Roman Curia itself, because 
former Popes, having itching ears, had heaped to them 
selves teachers for their lusts, not to learn their duty, but 
that by their craft and cunning some reason might be 
found for their doing just as they pleased ; that one such 
artifice was to declare that as the Pope is lord of all 
benefices, and a lord may sell his own property, there 
fore a Pope cannot be guilty of simony; and accordingly 
that and countless other abuses had come from the 
Curia, as from the Trojan horse, into the Church, 
brought it to the brink of ruin, and scandalized the very 
heathen themselves. And they say that if the Pope 
wants to reform things, he must begin at home, by 
renouncing his vast gains and ceasing to issue dispensa 
tions for money. They add that the simony of the Roman 
Church was intolerable; that men of the most abandoned 
character were freely ordained ; that depraved priests and 
Bishops were too commonly found ; that the sacraments 
were openly sold for money ; that the conventual Orders 
had become such a pestiferous example to the world, 
and so grievous a scandal, that the whole of them, with 
out exception, ought to be summarily abolished ; that 
the theological seminaries were at once schools of immo 
rality and scepticism; while in Rome itself Divine service 
was celebrated in a sordid and irreverent fashion by 
ignorant priests, and notorious courtezans rode about 
in the streets openly squired by cardinals and other 
ecclesiastics. 2 

c. The Pope, in his instructions to Francesco Chiere- 

1 " Centum Gravamina." xxxi. 

2 Cone. Delect. Cardinal, in Natal. Alexand. "Hist. Eccl." 
(Paris, 1744, vol. xviii. pp. 87-94). This, a perfectly genuine 
document, is not to be confounded with a mere squib of the same 
period, in the works of Vergerio, professing to be the report of a 
committee of bishops at Bologna. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 193 

gato, the Apostolic Legate sent to the Diet of Nuremberg, 
says : " You will likewise say that we frankly confess 
that God has suffered this persecution [the Lutheran 
revolt] to befall His Church, because of the sins of men, 
and chiefly of the priests and Bishops of the Church. 
.... Nor is it wonderful that sickness should have 
descended from the head to the members, from the Chief 
Pontiffs to the other inferior prelates. All we (that is, the 
prelates of the Church) have gone astray, every one to 
his own ways, nor has there been now, for a long time, 
so much as one who did good. . . . On this subject you 
will promise that, as far as concerns us, we will use every 
effort that first this Court, whence, perhaps, all this evil 
has proceeded, may be reformed, that as corruption has 
streamed thence over all the lower orders, so the health 
and reformation of all may flow from the same source." 1 
Another statement of this Pope is of importance. In 
his "Dictates on the Fourth Book of Sentences," written 
when he was a Professor at Louvain, but which he for 
mally republished after he was Pope, he says : " It is 
certain that the Pope can err even in matters of faith, 
asserting heresy in his determination or decree ; for 
many of the Roman Pontiffs were heretics" 

Present Condition of the Roman Clergy. 
XCIX. In our own day, despite much visible im 
provement, the moral standard of the Roman Catholic 
clergy is very unsatisfactory in many places, reaching 
its lowest point in Spanish and Portuguese America, 
but far from what it should be in Austria, Spain, 
Portugal, Italy, and even France ; while the customary 
usage of hushing up scandals, and merely transferring 
clerical offenders to other spheres, without bringing 
them to trial, is so far from producing belief in the impec 
cability of the clergy, that it brings innocent members 

1 Le Plat. " Monum. Cone. Trid." ii. 147. Cf. Ranke, " Hist, of 
Popes," i. 3. 

O 



194 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

under suspicion, just because immunity from official cen 
sure is no proof of good character. And whereas the 
Court of Rome claims to be the visible embodiment of 
the Kingdom of God on earth, so that the Pope is King 
as well as Priest, nevertheless the second post in that 
Kingdom under Pius IX. was held for more than a 
quarter of a century by Cardinal Antonelli, a man of 
.notoriously irregular life. Thus, holiness is certainly not 
a mark of the Church of Rome. 1 

Is the Church of Rome Catholic ? 

C. By her own admission she is not Catholic 
simply. Her official title, as fixed by herself at Trent, 
and retained, in spite of a protest, by the Vatican Coun 
cil, is " Roman Catholic," or sometimes " Roman " 
alone, as may be seen in the Creed of Pius IV. Now, 
as " Roman " is a local adjective, while " Catholic" is a 
delocalized one, the former limits and restricts the mean 
ing of the latter when they are conjoined, so as to make 
it refer in strictness to the narrow Roman Patriarchate 
alone (see CVIII.) Next, although the Roman Church is 
very widely diffused, it is not so much so as to be plainly 
and unmistakably the Church in all places where it is to 
be found. It is in a conspicuous minority, for example, 
in all Eastern Christendom, especially in Russia, and 
also in England, in neither of those countries being 
clearly the true embodiment of Christianity, as distin 
guished from rival claimants. Its organization in a very 
large number of its sees is purely a paper one, and does 
not denote any real Roman Catholic population under 
the Bishops of those sees, who, without our taking 
account of mere titular Bishops in partibus of whom 
there are about one hundred and eighty often have 
no flocks to speak of; and a delusive effect is pro 
duced by the thick setting of dioceses even when this 
is not the case; as, for example, there are sixty-five 

1 For much information on this head see Liverani (Domestic 
Prelate and Protonotary of the Holy See), " II Papato, L Impero, 
e il Reeno d ltalia," Florence, 1861. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 195 

in the former States of the Church, with a population 
about a third of that in the one diocese of London. 
That Rome is a part of the Catholic Church is true, 
no doubt, but only a part, albeit the largest. But, 
instead of making way, she is losing it, not only con 
quering no fresh territory, but without keeping up to the 
mere ratio of natural increase by births. Thus, in the 
"Almanac des Fideles Amis de Pie IX.," 1875, there 
was a calculation from the Almanach de Gotha that, in 
1874, there were 204,386,148 Roman Catholics in the 
world, being an increase of 15,000,000 since 1840. If 
they had increased even at the low rate of one-half per 
cent, per annum (which is less than half the rate of increase 
in England), there ought to have been a gain of 32,300,000 
in this period, so that there has been in truth a loss of 
17,000,000. In America, despite the Celtic element, 
constituting thirty per cent, of the whole population, and 
the conquest of a large part of Mexico, the Roman 
Catholics, instead of being at least fifteen millions, are 
estimated at no more than nine or ten millions. And 
Pius IX. dwelt often on the necessity of excluding all 
Liberals, indifferents, and non-practising members, from 
the roll of Catholics ; alleging that when they were with 
drawn, the true Catholic Church is but a " little flock." 
This mode of reckoning would reduce the Roman obedi 
ence within very narrow limits indeed. For, if the persons 
who come under the anathemas of the Bull " In Ccena 
Domini," or who are in open conflict with the Syllabus, 
be struck off the list of true Catholics, there will be none 
left save the clergy, the religious Orders, and a mere 
handful of laity, in any Roman Catholic country. 1 

1 For proofs, see P. Curci, " Dissidio tra la Chiesa e lo Stato," 
cap. vi., and Cardinal Manning, "The Catholic Church and Modern 
Society" ("North American Review," Feb. 1880), wherein he 
confesses that the most Christian civil society now extant is that 
of non-Papal England, contrasted with the condition of France, 
Italy, and other Roman Catholic countries. 
O 2 



196 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 



Uncatholicity of the Roman Spirit. 

CI. But if a higher test than that of mere numbers 
and diffusion, which modern Rome chiefly relies on 
though St. Augustine has said : " They who dissent 
concerning the Head Himself and from the Holy 
Scriptures, though they be found everywhere that the 
Church is, are not in the Church " (" De Unit. Eccl." 
iv.), the test of tone and spirit, be applied, then the 
Roman Church is very far indeed from being Catholic. 
Whereas, on the Day of Pentecost, Parthians, and 
Medes, and Elamites, Jews, Cappadocians, Phrygians, 
Egyptians, Romans, and all the rest of the catalogue, 
each heard the Gospel preached in their own special 
dialects (Acts ii. 6-n); now, contrariwise, in every 
country where Rome plants her foot, the Divine mys 
teries are hidden from the people in a dead language. 
Whereas, formerly, the Divinely caused and permitted 
peculiarities of each nation were allowed for, recognized, 
and adopted into God s service; now every country must 
have the iron ploughshare of human uniformity passed 
over it, obliterating the ancient landmarks. Whereas 
competing schools of theology enabled the one Truth to 
be seen from many sides, and thus its wonderful harmony 
in complexity to become plain; now, one narrow, shallow, 
and modern type of religious teaching is alone permitted. 
Whereas the Church once strove to meet the needs of all 
classes of men and all varieties of mind ; now only one, 
and that a very unlovely one, is recognized as being that 
of a true Catholic ; and so the once mighty Church is 
being transformed before our very eyes into a mere 
Italian sect, largest of sects, it is true, but with the 
whole spirit of Catholicity driven out of its borders ; 
especially if we insist on the full import of two ancient 
definitions : "That may not be considered Catholic which 
appears contrary to the statements of Scripture " (St. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 197 

Chrysost. " Horn, de Adam et Eva"); l " Faith in Scrip 
ture is the most Catholic of all" (St. August. "Serm. 
XIV. De Verb. Apost"). And, indeed, not even one of 
the specially Roman doctrines or usages can stand the 
tests of Catholicity laid down by the learned Jesuit 
Veron in his " Rule of the Catholic Faith " (Paris, 1645), 
published in English by Waterworth, another learned 
Roman priest (Birmingham, 1833), as a work of standard 
and universally acknowledged authority on its subject. To 
make any doctrine Catholic or binding on the conscience 
of Christians, Veron tells us, it must be (a) revealed in the 
Word of God, and (b) proposed to the faithful by the whole 
Church. From this general maxim Ve"ron draws the fol 
lowing conclusions : 

1. No doctrine delivered since the time of the Apostles 
can be an article of the Faith, even if confirmed by 
miracles ; nor is it an article of the Faith that any of 
those miracles is genuine. 

2. Nothing can be an article of the Faith which is 
grounded on texts that have been diversely interpreted 
by the Fathers or by approved theologians of later date. 

3. No deduction, however strictly logical, from pre 
mises, one only of which is of faith, and the other of 
human reason [e.g., concomitance], can be an article of 
the Faith. 

4. No Bull of a Pope is of authority sufficient to prove 
any doctrine part of the Catholic Faith ; and it is not of 
faith that the decisions of Sovereign Pontiffs, even ex 
cathedra, if unsupported by a General Council, are 
articles of the Catholic Faith, " and this is the unanimous 
opinion of all Catholic divines." Those who teach that 
" new and unheard-of dogma," that decisions of Sovereign 
Pontiffs, ex cathedra, unsupported by a General Council, 
are articles of Catholic Faith, " are under a hallucina 
tion, and must have fallen into error through wilful 
blindness." 

1 This homily is not certainly St, Chrysostom s, 



198 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

5. No decision of a Provincial Council, presided 
over by the Pope or his legates, is of faith. 

6. The prevalence of any usages or practices through 
out the Church Universal is not sufficient ground to 
make them articles of faith, for to justify the Church in 
adopting any of them, it must be shown that such practice 
or usage is clearly good and commendable. 

Is the Church of Rome now Apostolic? 

GIL If Apostolic mean agreement with the doctrine of 
the Apostles, as divinely recorded for us in Holy Scrip 
ture, the Church of Rome is most certainly, clearly, and 
undeniably, not so. It is scarcely going too far to 
say that no Protestant sect which in any way at all 
acknowledges the Trinity and the Incarnation has de 
parted so far and so manifestly from the doctrinal and 
moral teaching of Peter and Paul, of John and James, 
as the modern Church of Rome. Proof has been given 
of this already, and there is no need to repeat it. 

But if Apostolicity mean the grace of duly transmitted 
Orders, with their accompanying privilege of valid sacra 
ments, then the Roman doctrine of Intention makes it 
absolutely impossible for any Roman Catholic even to 
guess whether true and valid Holy Orders have been pre 
served in his Church at all. It has already been pointed 
out that the once wide prevalence of infidelity amongst 
the higher Italian 1 and French clergy, and of secret 
Judaism among the Spanish and Portuguese historical 
facts which are not to be shaken by denial makes the 
former existence of sincere Intention a matter of the 
gravest doubt in those countries, and throws the darkest 

1 "It was the tone of good society at Rome to question the evi 
dences of Christianity. No one passed, says P. Antonio Bandino, 
for an accomplished man who did not entertain heretical opinions 
about Christianity. At the court [of the Pope] the ordinances of the 
Catholic Church and passages of Holy Writ were spoken of only 
in a jesting manner, the mysteries of the Faith were despised. " 
(Ranke s "Hist, of Popes," I. 2). 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 199 

suspicion on their Orders ; while in more recent times the 
frequent consecrations of bishops by a single prelate 
in Italy with perhaps two mitred abbots, in Ireland with 
two priests (Burke, " Hibernia Dominicana," pp. 503- 
509), as assistants has imported a fresh doubt into the 
matter. This does not affect the Church of England, 
which received its Orders before the doctrine of Inten 
tion was introduced in the Roman Church, and which 
does not recognize that doctrine. 

The Succession in the Roman See long broken. 

CIII. What is more, the condition of the Church of 
Rome in the tenth century, as described by Baronius, 
(see above, pp. 188, 189) destroys the last shred of pos 
sibility that the Roman Church of to-day inherits the 
original jurisdiction and mission of the Roman see, 
though Ultramontanes declare that all jurisdiction flows 
from the Pope. Here is the reason. The unlawfully 
intruded Popes, having no right to the see, could not 
give true jurisdiction or mission to any bishops and 
priests they consecrated, ordained, or instituted, nor 
could they create cardinals competent as electors. 

But from the thirty-three years during which this process 
was going on, 1 thanks partly to the lapse of time and con 
sequent deaths, and partly to the forcible expulsion of 
bishops and priests from their cures, which occurred as 
rival Popes succeeded, or desired to make simoniacal 
gains, there was, in all human probability, at the end of 
this anarchic period, not one ecclesiastic in Rome of 
any rank canonically in possession of his benefice, pro 
bably not one canonically ordained, unless some aged 
survivor of the earlier period. " These Popes," says 
Platina ("Vit. Roman! I."), "thought of nothing save 
how to blot out the name and dignity of their pred e- 
cessors." Accordingly, when the first free election too k 

1 From the deposition of Leo V. in 903 to the election of Leo 
VII. in 936. 



20O PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

place, there was no one competent to elect ; and by all 
canon law the election was void. This breach never 
was healed, and never can now be healed ; so, conse 
quently, even if St. Peter was ever Bishop of Rome, no 
Pope for nearly a thousand years has had canonical 
election to the see on Roman principles, and the claim 
of Apostolicity and heirship to St. Peter is voided. 
Even had this peril been escaped, there was a final ship 
wreck of the Petrine succession and privileges made at 
the Council of Constance, assembled in 1415 to end the 
schism which broke out on the death of Gregory XI. in 
1378. There were then three rival Popes : Gregory XII., 
John XXIII., and Benedict XIII. If any Papal elec 
tion after 1378 had been valid, of course that one of the 
three claimants who belonged to the same line of suc 
cession must have been the true and lawful Pope ; but 
the Council, by setting all three aside, and by disregard 
ing all the acts of the Council of Pisa in 1409, pronounced 
them equally illegitimate, and thereby annulled all quasi- 
Papal acts, including the creation of cardinals, done 
between 1378 and 1415. But the election of the Popes 
had been transferred from the clergy and people of the city 
of Rome (the original constituency) and restricted to the 
College of Cardinals by a Bull of Nicolas II., in 1059, 
amplified and confirmed by Alexander III. in the Third 
Council of Lateran in 1179. Consequently the only 
person living in 1415 who by Roman canon law had 
any right to vote at the election of a Pope, was one of these 
very three claimants of the Papacy, Benedict XIII. 
(Cardinal Peter de Lima), who had been created cardinal 
by Gregory XL, and who expressly claimed, therefore, 
to be the only legitimate surviving cardinal, since the 
only one dating from before the schism, as well as to be 
the true Pope, in virtue of the cession of his two rivals, 
Gregory XII. and John XXIII. (Maimbourg, " Hist, du 
Grand Schisme d Occident," II. 253.) Of course he took 
no part in the acts of a Council which denied those claims 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 201 

to the Papacy which he never surrendered, and, con 
sequently, not even one of the twenty-three titular car 
dinals who elected Otto Colonna as Martin V. had any 
legitimate character, as members of the Sacred College, 
entitling them to vote at all. They were aided, 
it is true, by thirty co-electors chosen from the 
Council (Von der Hardt, " Cone. Const." iv. 1448, 
1452), but their votes were equally invalid, since 
on the one hand they did not represent the old 
Roman constituency, and on the other were excluded 
by later canon law, as not belonging to the Sacred 
College. Thus Martin V. s election was void ; his crea 
tions of cardinals and his recognition of existing titular 
cardinals were void also ; so there never has since 1378 
been a duly qualified electoral body, nor, consequently, a 
canonically valid election to the Papacy. At the very best, 
the Papacy was resettled in 1417 on a new basis, tracing 
up no longer to St. Peter and the charter of St. Matthew 
xvi. 1 8, but thenceforward deriving its root, title, and 
authority from the Council of Constance alone ; just as in 
England, ever since the Revolution Settlement of 1689, 
the monarchy derives its title from Acts of Parliament, 
and no longer through a claim of indefeasible and divine 
hereditary right. The action of the Council, in respect 
of the three Papal lines and claimants in 1415, may be 
compared to that of the Crown in Great Britain, if, 
having before it the claims of three coheirs to a peerage 
fallen into abeyance (to any one of whom it has ad 
mittedly the power to assign the title), it were to set 
them all aside, and to bestow the peerage on a fourth 
person, not akin to the original grantee. This act, if 
done, would be a wholly new creation, and not the ad 
judging of the ancient dignity to a rightful heir, nor could 
the peer so nominated justly describe himself as repre 
senting the old line, though enjoying its historic title. 

Above all, the Vatican decree, which declares that the 
Pope s decisions are " irreformable even without the 



202 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

consent of the Church," has destroyed the .mark of Apo- 
stolicity by destroying the Church itself. For what it 
means, put as a piece of arithmetic, is this : Pope + 
Church = Pope Church, and therefore, Church = o. 
Well might Bishop Maret, one of the most learned of 
recent French theologians, say, " In changing the Con 
stitution, you are obliged to change the doctrine also ; 
and from henceforth it will be necessary to chant at the 
Holy Sacrifice, I believe in the Pope, instead of I 
believe in the Church. " 1 Well might another theolo 
gian say, "These gentlemen have simplified the Bible 
and the Creed. They have reduced the Bible to one 
text : Thou art Peter, and the Creed to one article : 
* I believe in the Pope. 3: 

The Plea of Ignorance not adducible. 

CIV. And to all this indictment there is one very 
formidable count yet to be added, namely, that whereas 
many of these frightful abuses and perversions of holy 
things began in a rude and ignorant age, and with no 
thought of wrong or error at first, so that it would be 
unjust to censure too harshly those who originally fell 
into, or afterwards acquiesced in, them, " and the times 
of this ignorance God winked at " (Acts xvii. 30) ; now, 
contrariwise, their true character has been plainly and 
irrefutably exposed, with full proof that they are in open 
violation of God s law, as revealed in Holy Scripture, 
and of the law of the Catholic Church, as embodied in 
ancient Councils and Fathers ; and yet all acknowledg 
ment of faultiness is avoided, all reform is refused, and 
declared impossible, nay, even blasphemous, for Ro 
manists have not hesitated to say that, " to reform the 
Church is exactly the same project as to reform God." 
And that, albeit the Council of Trent, with all its short 
comings, did carry out a multitude of reforms on many 

1 " Du Concile General," ii. 375. 
3 Tablet t March 4, 1876. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 203 

points of Church doctrine and practice ; while the Letter 
of Summons to the Council of Pisa in 1409 convokes 
it " for the due and wholesome reformation of the 
Church." The Council of Constance decreed in its for 
tieth session, October 30, 1417, that the Pope about to 
be elected " ought to reform the Church in head and 
members, and also the Roman Curia, according to 
equity ;" and the Bull of Julius II., convoking the 
Council of Lateran in 1512, declares its objects to be 
" the praise of God, the exaltation, unity, and reforma 
tion of the Church, and the total extirpation of schisms 
and heresies." But now that is come to pass again 
which the Prophet spoke of the sinful Jewish Church 
many centuries ago : " A wonderful and horrible thing 
is committed in the land ; the prophets prophesy falsely, 
and the priests bear rule by their means ; and my people 
love to have it so ; and what will ye do in the end 
thereof?" (Jer. v. 30, 31.) For the far more numerous 
Vatican Council, assembled in the full light of the nine 
teenth century, did not touch reform with so much as a 
little finger (though the burning question of clerical 
morals was debated from January 21 to 31, 1870, as 
needing prompt and searching measures), 1 preferring to 
stultify itself by permitting the publication in its 
midst of that which all of its members who represented 
really great Catholic bodies knew to be false, and 
said so, fully aware, as they could not but be, that 
we must look to the great General Councils of the 
undivided Church for the laws and limits of Papal 
as well as of episcopal authority, and that nothing in 
the least resembling a supremacy, to say nothing of a 
gift of infallibility, can be extracted from any of them. 
Therefore the constituted authorities of the Roman 
Church are now without excuse, and are in open, con 
scious, and wilful rebellion against Almighty God on all 

1 Friedrich, " Tagebuch," pp. 133, if; Fromman, "Gesch. Vat. 
Cone.," p. 96. This fact is suppressed in the official reports. 



204 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

those heads which we have seen discussed above. The 
guiltless flocks are not to blame, but no one reared in a 
purer, older, and more stable system, such as that of the 
Church of England, can throw in his lot with them, save 
at the price of assuming full accountability for every such 
act of disloyalty to the Divine law. And it is to be steadily 
remembered that the strictly enforced discipline of the 
Roman Church, inclusive of a rigid censorship of all theo 
logical and devotional writings before licence to print is 
granted, makes the authorities of the Roman Church legally 
as well as morally responsible, not only for all which they 
formally publish or do themselves, but for ail which 
they permit others to do or publish uncensured. It 
is not open to them to plead the inevitable interming 
ling of good and evil, of truth and error, which they 
might urge, were it not for their own double claim of 
doctrinal infallibility and absolute power. 

Jurisdiction and Mission, 

CV. As it is impossible for Roman controversialists 
to defend themselves effectually on any of the points 
hitherto raised, they prefer, as a rule, to assail the 
Church of England from another side, and to declare 
that it lacks, by reason of its severance from the Roman 
see, all true Jurisdiction and Mission. Let it be assumed 
for a moment that this is really the case. What then ? 
Simply this, that jurisdiction and mission, in the special 
Roman sense, are creations of human ecclesiastical law, 
being no more than comparatively late deductions and 
inferences from the possible, but by no means necessary, 
meaning of certain vague indications of Church polity in 
the New Testament. But the objection to joining the 
Church of Rome is, that to do so inevitably involves 
several acts of open revolt against the divine law, expressly 
and unmistakably revealed and acknowledged. Thus 
the Roman objections to England are chiefly on points 
of mere technical detail (as in the cavils against the 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 205 

Ordinal), while those of England against Rome are chiefly 
on fundamental matters of principle. The Roman argu 
ment resembles the fraudulent repudiation of a debt 
admittedly incurred, on the alleged ground of an in 
sufficient stamp on the genuine bond ; the English is a 
plea of never indebted, and proof of the manifest forgery 
of the deed put in as evidence of the claim. And, 
further, all Church government is a means only, not an 
end in itself. It is designed for the safeguard of faith 
and morals, as civil governments are for the protection 
of life and property. And they both lose their rights if 
they fail to discharge these duties. But the Roman 
Church, as shown above, does not guard either faith or 
morals. So the Roman canon law shall itself decide 
the controversy by two of its maxims : " He deserves to 
lose his privilege altogether, who abuses the power 
intrusted to him" ("Decret.," II. xi. 63); and, " He is 
to be stripped of his privilege, who trenches on those 
of others " (" Decret. Greg. IX.," V. xxxiii. 3). For, as 
there can be no greater abuse of privilege than to employ 
it to compel disobedience to Almighty God, the Roman 
claim on us would fail at once upon that plea alone. 
The commonest of all Roman cavils is that the Church 
of England, by yielding too much authority in spirituals 
to the civil power, has disobeyed Christ s command : 
"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar s, and to God 
the things that are God s" (St. Mark xii. 17). The reply 
is, that so far as this charge has any show of truth in it at 
all (on which see Article XXXVIL), it is a mere separable 
accident, not applying to the great majority of the Pan- 
Anglican Churches and next, that the Roman Church 
disobeys both clauses of Christ s maxim, by having refused 
the State its just rights many times over in history, and 
by giving to human beings the attributes and worship 
which belong to God alone. 1 

1 In any case, the Erastianism of the Church of England chiefly 
belongs to the reign of Elizabeth, when the political action of the 



206 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

Bishops Excommunicated by Home presided over 
Great Councils. 

CVI. A couple of good broad facts from Church history 
are worth a great deal of subtle discussion. Here they 
are : St. Firmilian, of Csesarea in Cappadocia, who was 
excommunicated by the Pope, and who died unreconciled 
to Rome, presided over the great Council of Antioch in 
264, assembled to try Paul of Samosata, though the 
Metropolitan of Csesarea, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and 
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, were all present. Not only 
so ; but, as it was necessary to hold a second council 
for the same purpose, St. Firmilian a second time pre 
sided, and was asked to do so a third time, but died 
before the Council met in 269.* Still more remarkable 
is the fact that St. Meletius of Antioch, who was also 
put out of communion by the Pope, 2 was, neverthe 
less, chosen to preside over the Second General Council 
in 381, and actually did so till his death. 3 It is im 
possible to suppose that the Fathers of these four 
great synods thought communion with the Roman see 
the test of valid jurisdiction and episcopal character. 
It may be mentioned, as illustrating the same feeling, 
that attempts are made every now and then by Italian 
Catholics to procure the canonization of Savonarola, 
though burnt as a heretic by express orders of a Pope. 

Papacy inevitably provoked the civil power. But nothing can be 
laid to the charge of the Anglican clergy on this head which will 
compare with the accusation brought by M. Charles de Mazade, an 
eminent French publicist, against the Neapolitan Church of a 
much later time. He declares that when Victor Emmanuel II. 
was entering Naples after its annexation to his crown, an eccle 
siastical dignitary drew near and asked him in a low voice to -whom 
were the reports of confessions to be transmitted thenceforward. The 
King could not believe his ears at first, but found that such had 
been the usage under his Bourbon predecessors ("Revue des Deux 
Mondes," Dec. I, 1866, pp. 735-6). 

1 Hefele, " Concilien," I. ii. 9. 

2 Fleury, "H.E.,"xvii. 29. 3 Ibid, xviii. I. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 207 

Claim as Heir to St. Peter, 

CVII. If the Pope claim jurisdiction over us as heir 
of St. Peter, the answer is twofold : that not a single 
one of the steps necessary by canon law to prove such 
heirship has ever yet been taken, and, in so serious a 
matter bare assertion or guess is of no legal or evidential 
value ; and, next, that, if such heirship could be proved, 
that very fact would at once bar the right to all and 
any jurisdiction over every Gentile Church, as St. Peter 
was after a time divinely restricted to the Circumcision 
or Church of the Jews (Gal. ii. 7, 8), and there is no 
record of any subsequent removal of this limitation ; 
while, lastly, St. Ambrose testifies against the claim, 
saying : " They have not Peter s heritage, who have not 
Peter s faith" ("De Pcenit." 7). 1 

Claim as Patriarch of the West. 

CVIII. If the claim be next made on the ground that 
the Pope, as Patriarch of the West, is the supreme 
Church ruler, to whom all Western primates and metro 
politans are at least as much subject as their suffragan 
bishops are in turn to them, then the answer is that we 
know exactly from Runnus ("Hist. Eccl." I. 6) what were 
the limits of the Roman Patriarchate, namely, ten 
provinces in Central and Southern Italy, with the 
islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. 2 It did not extend 

1 The later editions of St. Ambrose evade this by altering fidem 
into sedem, which does not make sense with the context. Bossuet 
("Defens. Declar. Cler. Gall. II. xv. 5") remarks that the whole 
life of St. Peter is parallel to the whole Papal dynasty ; so that 
some Popes, such as Leo and Agatho, are like Peter confirming 
the brethren, but others, such as Liberius and Honorius, are Peter s 
heirs in his wavering and denial only. Here, then, is another 
element of uncertainty brought in. 

2 Dupin, " De Antiq. Eccl. Discip." I. xi. Tha fact of this narrow 
limitation, which has often been disputed, is settled by many proofs, 
of which it will suffice here to give one, namely, that it was not till 
A.D. 571 that the Popes were able to get any footing even in Milan, 



208 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

even so far as Milan, to say nothing of Gaul or Britain, 
and the Pope is expressly barred by the eighth canon of 
the General Council of Ephesus from at any time en 
larging its borders : " No bishop shall interfere in other 
provinces which have not been from the very first under 
himself and his predecessors. . . . But if any one 
have taken a province, or caused it to be subject to him 
through compulsion, he must restore it" 

And every Pope at his coronation is enjoined by the 
Liber Diurnus, quoted in the canon law (" Decret.," L, 
dist. xv. 2), to make the following profession, as enacted 
in the eighth Canon of the Council of Constance : " The 
eight Holy General Councils that is, Nice first, Con 
stantinople second, Ephesus third, Chalcedon fourth, 
Constantinople fifth and sixth, Nice seventh, and Con 
stantinople eighth I profess with mouth and heart, to 
be kept unmutilated in a single tittle, to account them 
worthy of equal honour and veneration, to follow in every 
respect what they promulgated or decreed, and to con 
demn whatsoever they condemned." Consequently, the 
Popes are not at liberty to claim Patriarchal rights over 
England, unless by perjuring themselves. And this oath 
covers Canon XXVIII. of Chalcedon. 

Claim from Conversion. 

CIX. It is further urged that Pope Gregory the Great, 
by sending St. Augustine of Canterbury to England, 
acquired thereby direct jurisdictional rights over the 
country, as the source whence it received the Gospel. 
There are three refutations of this argument. First, 
that there is no precedent in early Church history for 
such an argument at all. It nowhere appears that the 
particular Church which succeeded in any missionary 
effort acquired permanent jurisdiction over its converts, 

and not till 593 that Gregory the Great, taking advantage of a 
local dispute, succeeded in extending his authority over it, and 
sending a legate thither. Fleury, " H. E.," xxxv. 32. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 209 

whatever claim on their gratitude it may have had. 1 
Clearly, had any such rule existed, Jerusalem would be 
the Mistress, as well as the Mother, of all Churches. 
Next, only a very small part of the work of Christianizing 
England was really effected by St. Augustine s mission. 2 
The British succession continued to propagate itself in 
Wales, which was not overrun by the Saxon heathens ; 
and by far the larger part of the conversion of Saxon 
England was achieved by the non-Roman missionaries 
of the Scoto-Irish Church, to whom the Christianizing 
of all the north, west, and centre of England is due. 3 
And, as Rome never gave mission to these two bodies 
of teachers, she can claim no jurisdiction, in right of 
conversion, over the regions they evangelized. Nor 
can any claim be set up on the ground of later benefits. 
The attempt of Innocent III. to annul Magna Charta 
(which may be profitably compared with Leo the Great s 
attempt to annul Canon XXVIII. of Chalcedon) and 
to excommunicate the barons who obtained it, together 
with the greedy extortions of patronage and money by 
several other Popes, are the chief memories of our dealings 
with Rome in the Middle Ages. See Lingard, " Hist, of 
Engl." vol. II., chap, v., p. 181 ; chap, vi., pp. 205-209; 
edit. 1855.* 

1 In fact, the African Church, which was planted from Rome 
(Tertull., "De Prsescr." 36 ; St. Cyprian, "Epist." 45), formally 
repudiated Papal jurisdiction, and that thrice ; in two synods at 
Carthage in 255, of seventy-one and eighty-seven Bishops, and in 
a third one in 419-422, referred to above, sect. LIV. 

2 Bright, "Early English Church History;" Maclear, "Christian 
Missions in Middle Ages." 

3 Almost all, indeed, save what was done in Wessex and East 
Anglia by Birinus and Felix. But the revival of Christianity in 
Essex was due to Cedd, a Saxon consecrated and given mission by 
Celtic Bishops. 

4 And so Langland in the fourteenth century : 

"And God amend the Pope, 
That pilleth [robbeth] Holy Kirke, 
And claimeth before the King 
To be keeper over Christians, 
P 



210 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

St. Gregory the Great s own Action. 

CX. Thirdly, St. Gregory, in fact, did not send out 
St. Augustine at all in the canonical sense of mission. 
That was done by his consecrator in Gaul, Virgilius of 
Aries, and it would therefore be to that see that juris 
diction on that ground, if yielded at all, would attach 
over England. Further, St. Gregory did not reserve 
to himself the election and confirmation of English 
metropolitans and bishops, but conceded them by special 
grant (whereby he divested himself of any claims he 
might suppose himself to have) for all future time, to 
the local synods of the two English provinces. 1 

Claim from Subsequent Voluntary Cession. 

CXI. The weakest plea of all is that the English 
Church did, in fact, by various acts, voluntarily accept 
and submit to the Papal authority. To this three replies 
are conclusive. First, so far as it was done at all, it was in 
belief of the genuineness of the False Decretals, and of 
the binding character of the canon law based thereon, 
and so was procured by fraud, and void on that ground. 
Next, even had this not been the case, it would have 
required a formal act of a whole national synod to have 
empowered the English bishops to convey away the 
liberties of their Churches to an external authority, but 
no acts of any such synod are producible ; while, thirdly, 
even had there been any action of this sort, the Pope was 
incompetent, by reason of his coronation oath, binding 
him to the decrees of Ephesus, to accept such cession. 



And counteth not though Christians 
Be killed and robbed : 
And findeth folk to fight 
And Christian blood to spill." 

"Piers Plowman." 

Palmer, "Episcopacy of the British Churches Vindicated." 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 211 

The Anglo- Roman Hierarchy schismatic. 

CXI I. There are only two events which could, on 
Catholic principles, justify a fresh mission to a country 
already Christianized. One is the dying-out, through any 
cause, of the original episcopal and clerical body, so as 
to need renewal or revival, in order to restore a valid 
succession, as was done for Scotland in 1610. The 
other is actual loss of the Faith itself, so that the country 
has fallen back into heathenism or unbelief, and has 
to be evangelized afresh. 

Nothing colourably suggesting either of these events 
has occurred to justify the presence and attitude of the 
Anglo-Roman hierarchy in England. 

a. On the one hand, at the accession of Queen Eliza 
beth in 1558, when the whole main body of the English 
clergy consisted of those who had conformed to Latin 
usages under Mary I., out of about nine or ten thousand, 
only 189 (just two per cent.) refused to conform to the 
Book of Common Prayer. 1 

b. Owing to the illegality, in canon law, of the de 
privations of Edwardine bishops, effected by the civil 
power of Queen Mary, the only bishops of her reign 
who were canonically in possession of their sees in 
December, 1559, the date of Parker s consecration, 

1 Camden, "Elizabeth." It is worth adding that on Nov. 30, 
1562, a debate arose in the Council of Trent on the relations of the 
Papacy to the Episcopate. The Spanish Bishops, led by the Bishop 
of Cadiz, urged that Papal confirmation is unnecessary, in opposition 
to the view of the Italian prelates. The Irish Bishop of Aghadoe, 
taking the Ultramontane side, spoke thus : " In England, the 
sovereign calls herself the Head of the Church, and creates Bishops, 
who are consecrated by three Bishops, and affirm that they are true 
Bishops, having authority from God. But we deny this, becatise 
they are not appointed by tht Pope ; and we say rightly, and we 
refute them by this reason only, for they show that they were called, 
elected, consecrated, and given mission." And the statement was 
accepted by all the Fathers present. Le Plat, Monument. Cone. 
Trid." v. 576-9. 

P 2 



212 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

were Bonner of London, Kitchen of Llandaff, and 
Stanley of Sodor and Man. Seven sees were vacant 
through death ; while Barlow, Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, and Coverdale of Exeter, having been uncanoni- 
cally deprived, were still the only lawful holders of 
those sees; and Scory, who had been intruded into 
Chichester, and subsequently reconciled by Bonner, and 
Hodgkins, suffragan Bishop of Bedford, were both act 
ing as assistant bishops to Bonner in the diocese of 
London. These four were Parker s consecrators, two 
of them having inherited canonical right to act for the 
province, and the other two having been left at liberty 
to act by Bonner, who, though himself dissenting from 
Parker s appointment, made no protest whatever, and 
by non-interference with the action of his two suffragans, 
was himself committed thereby. Kitchen and Stanley 
both accepted the Reformation, and died in possession 
of their sees, 1 nor was any protest made by the eight 
Marian bishops who alone survived 1560. They allowed 
the case to go by default ; and no claim of local jurisdic 
tion for the Roman titular bishops who have ministered 
to their co-religionists here, from James I. to Victoria, 
was set up until 1850, nearly three hundred years too 
late. The plea of disappearance of the native clergy is 
therefore out of court altogether, and there is no pre 
tence that the Church of England has apostatized from 
the Faith, or even embodied in her formularies any 
tenets adjudged heretical by the voice of the undivided 
Catholic Churchi 3 

c. Such being the case, the intrusion of an alien 
hierarchy here is in violation of the following laws of 
the Church and statements of the Fathers : 

1 Bailey, " Defensio Ordinum Eccl. Angl." 

2 Lord Coke, in his Charge at the Norwich assizes, August 4, 
1606, stated that he had often heard from Queen Elisabeth that 
Pius IV. had offered to accept the Book of Common Prayer ; and 
that he had also frequently conferred with noblemen of the highest 
rank in the State, who had seen and read the Pope s letter. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 213 

1. " Whereas it is against ancient usage that the 
Bishop of Antioch should ordain in Cyprus .... we 
therefore decree that the prelates of the Cypriote 
Churches shall be suffered, without let or hindrance, to 
consecrate bishops by themselves ; and, moreover, that 
the same rule shall be observed also in other dioceses and 
provinces everywhere, so that no bishop shall interfere in 
another province which has not from the very first been 
under himself and his predecessors ; and further, that if any 
one have so encroached or forcibly subjected one to 
himself, he must restore it, in order that the canons of 
the Fathers be not infringed, nor the priesthood made 
an occasion or pretence for the pride of worldly power, 
nor the least portion of that freedom be lost to us un 
awares, which our Lord Jesus Christ, who bought the 
world s freedom, vouchsafed to us when He shed His 
own blood. Wherefore it has seemed good to this Holy 
(Ecumenical Council, that the rights of every province 
should be preserved intact and inviolate, which have 
ever belonged to it, according to the usage which has 
always obtained" (Council of Ephesus, Canon viii.). 

2. St. Leo the Great lays down two propositions in 
the same spirit : 

(a.) " Let not the rights of the provincial primacies be 
torn up, nor the metropolitan bishops be deprived of the 
privileges anciently bestowed" (Epist. ad Anatol.). 

(b.) " When the election of a bishop has to be dealt 
with, that man is to be set over them all for whom the har 
monious consent of the clergy and people has asked ; and 
if the votes be divided between two persons, that one is to 
be preferred who, by the judgment of the metropolitan, 
has the greater zeal and merit" (Epist. ad Anastatium). 

3. " No bishop may take possession of the flock of 
another" (Cone. III. Carthag., Can. xx.). 

4. " Let no one dare to ordain a bishop without the 
consent of the metropolitan" (Pope Innocent I., Ep. ad 
Victric.). 



214 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

5. " Two bishops cannot be consecrated or recognized 
in the same city" (Cone. Cabillon, Can. iv.). 

6. " Not even the authority of the see [of Rome] can 
concede or alter anything contrary to the decrees of the 
Fathers" (Pope Zosimus, Ep. ad Episcop. Vienn. 
et Narbon. ap. Labbe. Cone. iv. 1570). 

All these statements disprove the alleged rights of the 
Anglo-Roman hierarchy, which, as an institution pre 
tending to a provincial and diocesan character, is but of 
yesterday, seeing that the vicars-apostolic, down to 1850, 
when they were bishops at all, were merely titular 
bishops in partibus, so that it is clear that no assent of 
the metropolitans, suffragans, clergy, and laity of the 
Church of England was asked or had. The intrusion 
was the act of Pius IX. alone, in contravention of his 
own coronation oath. 

Even in the past, the Popes as a rule neither con 
secrated nor confirmed the English prelates. Only two 
archbishops of Canterbury, Theodore in 668, and 
Plegmund in 889, were consecrated by the Popes down 
to 1138; no archbishop of York by the Pope or his 
legates, till nip. 1 As to confirmation, here is the 
evidence of Thomassin, one of the greatest of Roman 
canonists : " The Metropolitans of Gaul, whereas they 
had no primate or exarch, were nevertheless not con 
firmed by the Pope, but by the Provincial Council. Nor 
was the English custom different"* 

Considering the present anomalous condition of 
Christendom, no charge of schism would fairly lie, if 
the Roman clergy did but undertake to minister to 
foreign Catholics domiciled here, or even to hereditary 
members of their own society ; just as is in fact the policy 
of the Greek clergy in England, and of Anglican chaplains 
on the Continent. But they set up altar against altar, 
deny the rightful claims of the native Church, and 

1 Palmer, "Episcopacy of British Churches Vindicated." 

2 Thomassin, "Vet. et Nov. Eccl. Discip." II. ii. 19, ix. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 21 c 

endeavour to entice away its members ; and that not tc 
a purer religion and a holier standard, but to heresy 
in doctrine, idolatry, or at least gross superstition, in 
practice, and an altogether lower level of Christian ethics. 

Further Proof of Uncanonical Character. 

CXIII. Moreover, a considerable fraction of the Anglo- 
Roman clergy consists of clerical and lay seceders from 
the Church of England. These have been universally re- 
baptized; not merely one or two here and there, where per 
haps some reasonable doubt might have arisen as to the 
valid administration of the sacrament, but in every case, 
exhibiting a wanton determination to ignore its validity 
always. Now, by submitting to rebaptism, the converts 
have not only involved themselves in the guilt of sacrilege 
(Cat. Cone. Trid. II. ii. 56), according to Roman doctrine, 
but have incurred, together with their rebaptizer and all 
assistants at the rite, the penalty of irregularity, and 
perpetual incapacity for discharging any clerical office, 
even if they did not know that they had been previously 
baptized, " inasmuch as by yielding to so frightful a crime 
(res nefanda, immanissimum scelus), they have crucified 
Christ afresh" (Andre, " Droit Canon.," s. v. Irregularite]. 
All sacraments administered by these clerical converts are 
therefore, on Roman grounds, null, void, and sacrilegious. 
And the only defence set up is, that what they do is with 
Papal assent and authority, and therefore with rightful 
jurisdiction. It remains to be shown what the facts are on 
that head. 

The Historical Truth as to Papal Jurisdiction. 

CXIV. i. Down to the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325, 
or even to the Council of Antioch, 341, the system of 
jurisdiction was complete within each province under its 
Metropolitan, beyond whom no appeal lay. He, on his 
election by the comprovincial bishops, in whom collec 
tively the power of jurisdiction was vested, became at 



2l6 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

once possessed of authority to give jurisdiction and 
mission to those whom he subsequently consecrated or 
ordained for episcopal and sacerdotal office within the pro 
vince. Nor is the Pope s name in the first place in any 
ancient Liturgy, save that of the local Roman Church 
itself. And it is not till the twelfth century that the 
decrees of any synod are issued in the name of the 
president only, even if Pope, but in the name of all the 
bishops present, as exercising collective and co-equal 
authority. (Van Espen, "De Schism. Saec. XII."). Thus, 
the existing English system is a reverting to the ancient 
custom, overthrown by Roman encroachments. 

2. No act or canon of any synod whatever, till 
that of Lateran in 1215, bestows direct authority on the 
Roman See. There are compliments in plenty, and even 
various concessions of rank, but none of immediate 
power, outside the narrow Roman Patriarchate, save the 
one restricted right of hearing certain appeals, granted 
by the Council of Sardica in 347, but rejected by the 
Eastern and African Churches, and repealed by the 
ninth canon of the General Council of Chalcedon, which 
instituted a system of appeals in which the name of the 
Roman See does not so much as appear. 

3. No reference to Papal authority can be found in 
any creed, or in any gloss on any creed, till the publica 
tion of that of Pius IV. in 1564, although Leo the Great 
declared that " the short and perfect confession of the 
Catholic creed, stamped with as many sentences as there 
were Apostles, is itself so furnished from the heavenly 
armoury, that all the opinions of heretics may be cut 
asunder with its single sword" ("Epist." xxi. 4). 

4. No charge of heresy can be found to have been 
brought against any one in the ancient Church for deny 
ing or resisting the Pope s authority. Contrariwise, some 
of those who resisted it most steadily are amongst the 
most famous saints, as St. Cyprian, St. Augustine, and 
St. Hilary of Aries. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 217 

5. No statement of doctrine or other formal act of 
any Pope, brought before a General Council, was ever 
accepted as a thing of course, or treated as Parliament 
treats a Queen s Message. On the contrary, every 
matter of the sort was carefully sifted and judged. Thus, 
the Third General Council of Ephesus disregarded the 
synodical deposition of Nestorius by Pope Celestine, 
and summoned him to take his seat as Archbishop of Con 
stantinople ; the Fourth General Council of Chalcedon 
accepted the Tome of Pope St. Leo on the express 
ground that it agreed in doctrine with the Creed in the 
first instance, and then with the teaching of St. Cyril of 
Alexandria at Ephesus ; l the Fifth General Council of 
Constantinople refused to permit a decree sent by Pope 
Vigilius to be read, decided against its ruling, and struck 
his name, as contumacious, out of the registers of the 
Church ; while it was the Sixth General Council of Con 
stantinople which condemned Pope Honorius as a heretic. 

6. The first instance of direct coercive authority being 
exercised by any Pope over an orthodox bishop was 
by Leo the Great, in the case of St. Hilary of Aries, 
in the year 445. St. Hilary, having, in his character of 
Metropolitan, tried and sentenced one of his suffragans, 
the latter appealed to Rome, and got the ear of the Pope, 
who directed his reinstatement. St. Hilary refused, both 
on the merits of the particular case, and also on the 
general ground that the Pope had no right of actual in 
terference whatever in another province, though he might 
of course use his great influence diplomatically. Leo, 
a man devoured with ambition, and by no means par 
ticular as to the means of acquiring power, so that he 
got it somehow, knowing perfectly well that as a matter 
of canon and ecclesiastical law St. Hilary was right, fell 

1 " Piously and truly hath Leo taught, hath Cyril taught. May 
the memory of Cyril be eternal ! Leo and Cyril have taught the 
same. Anathema to him who believes otherwise." "Act. Cone. 
Chalced." ap. Labbe. 



2l8 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

back on brute force and sheer Erastianism, and obtained 
from the dissolute tyrant Valentinian III. the following 
decree, which, despite its affected language of mere 
confirmation of existing law, was a wholly new and revolu 
tionary grant : " We ordain, by a perpetual sanction, 
that nothing shall be attempted by the Bishops of Gaul, 
or of the other provinces, against ancient custom, with 
out the authority of the venerable Pope of the Eternal 
City ; but that to them and to all, whatsoever the autho 
rity of the Apostolic Chair has or shall have ordained, 
shall be law ; so that if any bishop, when summoned, 
should have neglected to come to the judgment-seat of 
the Roman prelate, he shall be compelled to present 
himself there by the governor of the province ; the privi 
leges which our forefathers, of happy memory, have 
accorded to the Roman See, being preserved inviolate." 1 
It is worthy of notice, that it is not possible to appeal 
to this law in England as beginning a prescription, what 
ever may be the case in France, for the Imperial rights 
over Britain had been formally yielded up, and the inde 
pendence of the country confirmed, in A.D. 409, by the 
Emperor Honorius, 2 then lawful ruler of the West. 

7. Similarly, it was from another Erastian ground that 
the next step of the Roman Pontiffs to exalt their autho 
rity was taken. " Boniface III.," says Anastatius the 
Librarian, "it was who obtained from the Emperor 
Phocas [the rebel who murdered the Emperor Maurice 
and usurped his throne] that the Apostolical seat of the 
blessed Apostle Peter that is to say, the Roman Church 
should be head of all Churches, for the Church of Con 
stantinople was wont to style herself first of all Churches." 
And, what is very remarkable, it is thenceforward only 

1 Mansi. "Concil.," iv. 515. It may be added that St. Hilary 
never yielded to either Pope or Emperor, and yet is enrolled as a 
Saint in the Roman Martyrology on May 5. Dupin, " Antiq. 
Disciplin. Eccl.," II. iii. 5. 

2 Gibbon, "Decline and Fall," chap. xxxi. 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 2 19 

that the Popes began to use the formula, " We will and 
command" (Volumus et jubemus), in ratifying Episcopal 
elections. 1 But although the Eastern Caesar had some 
authority in Italy then (A.D. 607), he was two centuries too 
late for interference in Britain. 

8. Again, three things have to be steadily borne in 
mind when language of very high compliment and 
panegyric applied to St. Peter and to the see and Bishops 
of Rome is produced, as it can be in abundance. 

First, as the claim made is that of a Divine charter, 
not that of human grant or prescription, no expression of 
human respect can add one grain of weight or one tittle 
of matter to that charter. We must test the claim by 
that document, and that only, and it refuses to be made 
accessory to the Pope s demands. 

Next, language in no respect less highflown is used of 
other Apostles and sees, as, for example, when St. Chrys- 
ostom speaks of St. John as "the pillar of the Churches 
throughout the world, who hath the keys of heaven" 
("Horn. i. in Joann."), and when the See of Antioch is 
styled by the General Councils of Constantinople and 
Chalcedon as " the throne of St. Peter, the eldest and 
genuinely Apostolical Church," 2 and that of Jerusalem, 
as the " Mother of all the Churches," by the Fathers of 
the Second General Council, in their supplementary 
Synodical Epistle of A.D. 382 to the Western Bishops. 2 

Thirdly, that words have to be brought to the test of 
dates and acts, for it will be often found that those who 
were willing to go furthest in mere compliment were ex 
tremely chary of committing themselves in action, as St. 
Cyprian s and St. Augustine s conduct sufficiently attests, 
or that they altered their views. The most direct 
and cogent passage in favour of Papalism in the 
whole of the Fathers is this from St. Jerome, in an 
epistle to Pope Damasus, written A.D. 376 "I speak 

1 Platina, " Vitse Pontif., Bonif. III." 

2 Theodoret, " Hist." v. 9. 



220 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

with the successor of the Fisherman and the disciple of 
the Cross. I, following no chief, save Christ, am counted 
in communion with your Blessedness, that is, with the 
Chair of Peter. On that rock I know the Church is built. 
Whoso eats the lamb outside this house is profane." 
But seventeen years later, St. Jerome knew better, and 
wrote against Jovinian in 393 : "But thou sayest the 
Church is founded on Peter, albeit the same is also done 
on all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the Church is 
stablished on them all equally ; yet one is chosen 
amongst the Twelve, that, by the appointment of a head, 
the occasion of schism might be averted." This conies 
back from the Papalist exaggeration of the former letter 
to the moderate view of St. Cyprian, who, while acknow 
ledging some Primacy in St. Peter, did not admit that it 
proved a supremacy in the Pope, or any need of agreeing 
with him. And Jerome wrote another epistle to Evan- 
gelus, or Evagrius, also much later in date than that to 
Damasus, in which he first uses these words showing 
exactly how much he meant by the phrase as to St. 
Peter s headship, just cited :"A bishop and a presbyter 
are the same . . . But as to the later choice of one to 
preside over the others, that was done as a remedy 
against schism, lest each, drawing a party to himself, 
should rend Christ s Church." And then he goes on 
to say : "If you look for authority, the whole world is 
greater than the City [of Rome] : Wherever a bishop 
is, whether at Rome or at Gubbio, at Constantinople 
or at Reggio, at Alexandria or at Thanis, he is of 
the same dignity, and of the same priesthood : the 
power of wealth or the lowness of poverty does not 
make a bishop higher or lower, but all are successors 
of the Apostles. . . . But you say that at Rome a 
priest is ordained on the testimony of a deacon. Why 
do you quote to me the custom of a single city? Why 
do you urge the small number (paudtatem) i.e., of 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 221 

the Roman deacons as if it were amongst the laws 
of the Church?" Thus it is clear that St. Jerome 
formally denied that the Roman Church had any right 
to dictate to Christendom generally, and even that the 
local prevalence of any ecclesiastical usage there was 
so much as an argument in its favour. It is therefore as 
unfair to quote St. Jerome s earlier opinions without 
mentioning his later change of views, as it would be to 
bring up schoolboy mistakes against a man when writing 
in the maturity of his age and powers. 

9. Lastly, in Paul IV. s Bull "Cum ex Apostolatus 
Officio" of 1559 there is a clause that if at any time what 
ever it appear that any Bishop, Archbishop, Patriarch, 
Primate, Cardinal, Legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, 
before his promotion to be Cardinal or Pope, have erred 
from the Catholic faith, or fallen into any heresy, his 
election and all his acts are to be at once null and void. 
And F. Ryder, in the Contemporary Review of February, 
1879, p. 471, says : " It has always been a very common 
opinion held by very Roman theologians, that the Pope 
by manifest heresy, ipso facto ceases to be Pope," and 
that if he could conceivably define heresy, " in so denn 
ing he would unpope himself." This opens up another 
deep gulf of uncertainty as to the Papal succession and 
decrees in the minds of all who do not accept the axiom 
that there cannot be an heretical Pope. Be that as it 
may, Pius IX., apart from those later acts and words of 
his which would have been accounted heresy by the 
ancient Church, was admitted in his youth as a Free 
mason proof of his membership of the body was pub 
lished in the Capitale of Rome on February 18, 1876 
and thereby incurred the penalty of excommunication 
and the anathemas of Clement XII. and Benedict XIV. 
If the infallibility dogma be true, Paul IV. s Bull is 
binding, and consequently the erection of the Anglo- 
Roman hierarchy by Pius IX. is null and void, and all 
acts done as its result are invalid. 



222 PLAIN REASONS AGAINST 

The Argument as to the " Safer Way." 
CXV. It is urged by Roman Catholics that, at the 
least, their way is the safest, because, while Anglicans 
admit that Romanists may be saved, and that their 
belief is at any rate largely true, Romanists do not make 
the same admission as to Anglicans. This proves too 
much, for it is just what Jews say of Christianity : " You 
Christians," they observe, " allow that the Law is divinely 
given, and that the Old Testament is the inspired Word 
of God. We do not allow that to be true of the Gospel 
and the New Testament. We had a glorious history of 
fifteen hundred years before yours began as a mere petty 
schism from a subordinate school of our scribes a 
career marked ever since with the brand of division and 
failure. All that is good in your doctrine, your worship, 
and your discipline, you have stolen from us, and spoiled 
in the stealing. Look unto the rock whence ye are 
hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. 
Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that 
bare you (Isa. li. i), and return to the one true 
Church of God, for you are safer with us." What we 
can reply is, that God wrought miracles to show the 
Jews that Christianity is the better way, and His will. 
He certainly works no such miracles to show Anglicans 
that they ought to join Rome. And, indeed, Rome s way 
of making people "safe" by adding on a number of 
doctrines and practices which are, to say the very least, 
unknown to Scripture and to ancient Christendom, to 
the faith and usage of the undivided Catholic Church, 
is like making a sick man " safe " by persuading him to 
add all the different quack nostrums of a number of old 
women to the prescription enjoined him by a skilful 
physician. The least such a policy can effect is to 
neutralize the real medicine ; what it is more likely to do, 
is to kill the patient. 

Conclusion. 

CXVI. Better to cling fast to that great and unique 
English communion, whose future opens such magnificent 



JOINING THE CHURCH OF ROME. 223 

promise, even as its roots are struck so deeply in the remote 
past of Christian history : which offers her children a 
liturgy which is pure as well as stately, teaching the mind 
as well as directing the emotions ; which holds firmly to 
the faith of undivided Christendom, and therefore speaks 
with the accumulated authority of the whole Catholic 
Church on all fundamental points of doctrine whereas 
Rome, having broken with the past, can offer only the 
private opinion of her present generation of clergy r , and 
speaks with no authority at all ; which does not lock up 
the Word of God, but reads more of it to her children than 
any Protestant sect does, not to speak of Rome j which 
encourages her children to use their intellect as well as 
their faith, and thereby to win the special benediction 
and approval which Christ bestowed on the Centurion 
(St. Matt. viii. 10) and on the Syrophoenician Woman 
(St. Matt. xv. 28) who reasoned on His sayings, and so 
to speak, argued with Him, instead of implicitly ac 
cepting His first answer to them ; which does not 
mutilate the Sacrament of Christ s love, nor practi 
cally deny the efficacy of Christ s mediation and 
the fulness of His sympathy ; which has no feigned 
miracles, forged relics, nor gross fetish practices to be 
a snare to some souls and a scandal to others ; which 
does not juggle with the Sacraments by leaving it doubt 
ful when she really means to administer them validly ; 
which does not make money the price of sin and the 
passport to heaven ; which is not ashamed to confess past 
error, and to set about wholesome reforms ; and which 
God has therefore blessed with a marvellous revival, 
unparalleled in the world s history, save by the return of 
the Jews from captivity, and the restoration of their faith 
and worship under Ezra and Nehemiah ; and above all, 
which worships God in Christ alone, not giving His 
honour to another, nor making external union with a 
mere man, rather than internal union with Him, the test 
of obedience to His will, therein agreeing with that say 
ing of St. Augustine, "We, who are Christians in name 



224 PLAIN REASONS, ETC. 

and deed, do not believe in Peter, but in Him on Whom 
Peter himself believed." (" De Civitat. Dei," xviii. 54.) 



NOTE ON SECTION LXXII. BAPTISM AND INTENTION. 

This validity of schismatical baptism, upheld by the Roman 
Church since the third century, contradicts the modern doctrine 
of Intention. For the whole ground alleged by St. Cyprian for 
rebaptizing heretics was, that there had been no intention of ad 
mitting them into the one true Church, since all the parties were 
outside of it (Epp. Ixix. , hex., &c.). And as such admission is a 
necessary part of true Baptism, the schismatical rite must be null 
and void. But the Popes held, contrariwise, that Christ s ordinance 
could not be invalidated by the erroneous intention of the minister ; 
and this is still the received doctrine of Rome. So, too, the 
Council of Nicsea (Canon VIII.) recognizes as valid the ordinations 
of the "Cathari," a Novatian sect, which itself denied the orders 
of the Church. 

NOTE ON SECTION C. NAME OF CATHOLIC. 

Romans argue that they only call themselves, or are called by 
others, Catholics, and that this proves their sole right to that title 
and all that it implies, as in St. Augustine s day (" De Vera Relig." 
viii.). This is easily refuted, (a). The official title of the Russo- 
Greek Church is "The Catholic Orthodox Eastern Church," surely 
as good a one as "The Catholic Apostolic Roman Church :" nay, 
less local, (b). Even as a mere colloquialism, it is only when con 
trasted with Protestants that the name Catholic " is specially used 
for Romanists. Their name of distinction from Eastern Christians 
is Latins, (c). At best, the name " Catholic " is not of Divine or 
Apostolic appointment, but of post- Apostolic human introduction, 
and therefore not inherently sacred, (d}. But the chief disproof 
lies in this : that there is a name of Divine appointment, to which 
glorious privileges are annexed in Scripture that of Israel. Yet, when 
the kingdom was divided, it was the new Northern State, as larger 
in area and population, though corrupt and debased in creed, which 
retained the name of Israel; while the smaller kingdom in the South, 
where the true worship was maintained, was always known by the 
humbler name of Judah, to which far less is assigned in Scripture, 
since even the Prophets who wrote after the schism speak in pre 
ference of the glories of Israel. But that did not avert the final 
and total forfeiture of its privileges by Israel for its sins against 
God s law, while it was only Judah which was restored. 



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An Essay on the grounds of Belief in God. By the Rev. 
Brownlow Maitland, M. A., Author of " The Argument from 
Prophecy," &c. Post 8vo Clothboards 1 6 

Argument from Prophecy (The}. 

By the Rev. Brownlow Maitland, M.A., Author of 

" Scepticism and Faith," &c. Post 8vo Cloth board* 1 6 

Scepticism and Faith. 

By the Kev. Brownlow Maitland. Post 8vo. Cloth boards 1 4 

Modern Unbelief: its Principles and Charac- 

TERISTICS. By the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Gloucester 

and Bristol. Post 8vo Clothboards 1 6 

The Witness of the Heart to Christ 

Being the Hulaean Lectures for 1878. By the Rev. W. Boyd 
Carpenter, M.A. Post 8vo Cloth boards 1 6 

Some Modern Religious Difficulties. 

Six Sermons preached, by the request of the Christian 
Evidence Society, at St. James s, Piccadilly, on Sunday 
Afternoons after Easter, 1876 ; with a Preface by his Grace 
the Archbishop of Canterbury. Post 8vo Cloth boards 1 6 

Some Witnesses for the Faith. 

Six Sermons preached, by the request of the Christian 
Evidence Society, at St. Stephen s Church, South Kensing 
ton, on Sunday Afternoons after Easter, 1877. Post 8vo. 

Cloth boards 1 4 
3-5-80.] [Sm. Post 8vo. 



2 Publications on the Christian Evidences. 



Price. 

Theism and Christianity. s . d. 

Six Sermons preached, by the request of the Christian 
Evidence Society, at St. James s, Piccadilly, on Sunday 
Afternoons after Easter, 1878. Post 8vo Cloth boards 1 6 

The Analogy of Religion. 

Dialogues founded upon Butler s "Analogy of Religion." 
By the Rev. H. R. Huckin, D.D., Head Master of Repton 
School. PostSvo doth boards 3 

"Miracles." 

By the Rev. E. A. Litton, M.A. S Examining Chaplain of 

the Bishop of Durham. Crown 8vo Cloth boards \ 6 

Moral Difficulties connected with the Bible. 

Being the Boyle Lectures for 1871, preached in Her 
Majesty s Chapel at Whitehall. By the Ven. Archdeacon 
Hessey, D.C.L., Preacher to the Hon. Society of Gray s 
Inn, &c. FIRST SERIES. Post 8vo Cloth boards 1 6 

Moral Difficulties connected with the Bible. 

Being the Boyle Lectures for 1872, preached in Her 
Majesty s Chapel at Whitehall. By the Ven. Archdeacon 
Hessey, D.C.L. SECOND SERIES. PostSvo Cloth boards 2 6 

Prayer and recent Difficulties about it. 

The Boyle Lectures for 1873, being the THIRD SERIES 
of " Moral Difficulties connected with the Bible." 
Preached in Her Majesty s Chapel at Whitehall. By the 

Ven. Archdeacon Hessey, D.C.L. Post 8vo Cloth boards 2 <3 

The above Three Series in a volume Cloth boards (> 

Historical Illustrations of the Old Testament 

By the Rev. G. Rawlinson, M.A., Camden Professor of 
Ancient History, Oxford. Post 8vo Cloth boards 1 6 

Can we Believe in Miracles? 

By G. Warington. B.A., of Caius College, Cambridge. 
PostSvo . Clothboards 1 6 

The Moral Teaching of the New Testament 

VIEWED AS EVIDENTIAL TO ITS HISTORICAL TRUTH. By the 
Rev. C. A. Row, M.A. PostSvo Clothboards 1 6 

Scripture Doctrine of Creation. 

By the Rev. T. R. Birks, M.A., Professor of Moral Philosophy 

at Cambridge. PostSvo Clothboards 1 6 



Publications on the Christian Evidences. 



Price. 

Thoughts on the First Principles of the Positiue s. a. 

PHILOSOPHY, CONSIDERED IN EELATION TO THE HUMAN 
MIND. By the late Benjamin Shaw, M.A., late Fellow 
of Trinity College, Camb. Post 8vo Limp cloth 8 

Thoughts on the Bible. 

By the late Rev. W. Gresley, M.A., Prebendary of Lichfield. 
PostSvo Clothboards 1 6 

The Reasonableness of Prayer. 

By the Rev. P. Onslow, M.A. PostSvo Limp doth 8 

Paley s Evidences of Christianity. 

A New Edition, with Notes, Appendix, and Preface. By 

the Rev. E. A. Litton, M.A. PostSvo Clothboards 4 

Paley s Natural Theology. 

Revised to harmonize with Modern Science. By Mr. P. le 
Gros Clark, F.R.S., President of the Royal College of 
Surgeons of England, &c. Post Svo Cloth boards 4 

Paley s Horo3 Paulince. 

A new Edition, with Notes, Appendix, and Preface. By 

J. S. Howson, D.D., Dean of Chester. Post Svo. Cloth boards 3 

The Story of Creation as told by Theology 

AND SCIENCE. By the Kev. T. S. Ackland, M.A. Post Svo. 

Cloth boards 1 Q 

Man s Accountableness for his Religious Belief. 

A Lecture delivered at the Hall of Science, on Tuesday, 
April 2nd, 1872. By the Rev. Daniel Moore. M.A., Holy 
Trinity, Paddington. Post Svo . .Paper cover 3 

The Theory of Prayer; with Special Reference 

TO MODERN THOUGHT. By the Rev. W. H. Karslake, 
M.A., Assistant Preacher at Lincoln s Inn, Vicar of 
Westcott, Dorking, late Fellow and Tutor at Merton 
College, Oxford. PostSvo Limp doth 1 Q 

When was the Pentateuch Written ? 

By George Warington, B.A., author of "Can we Believe 

in Miracles I" &c. PostSvo Cloth loanli 1 6 



Publications on the Christian Evidences. 



Price. 

The Credibility of Mysteries. . d. 

A Lecture delivered at St. George s Hall, Laugham Place. 

By the Rev. Daniel Moore, M.A. Post 8vo Paper cover 3 

Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, 

TO THE CONSTITUTION AND COURSE OF NATURE : to wkich 
are added, Two Brief Dissertations. By Bishop Butler. 
NEW EDITION. PostSvo ....Cloth boards 2 6 



Christian Evidences : 

intended chiefly for th 

Richard Whately, D.D. 12rao.. ; Paper cover 4 



intended chiefly for the young. By the Most Reverend 
- - - I.D. 12nx 



The Efficacy of Prayer. 

By the Rev. W. H. Karslake, M.A., Assistant Preacher 

at Lincoln s Inn, &c. &c. Post 8vo Limp cloth 6 

Science and the Bible : a Lecture by the Right 

Rev. Bishop Perry,D.D. 18mo. Paper cover 4d., or Limpcloth 6 

A Lecture on the Bible. By the Very Reu. 

E. M. Goulburn, D.D., Dean of Norwich. 18mo. Paper cover 2 

The Bible ; Its Evidences, Characteristics, and 

Effects. A Lecture by the Right Rev. Bishop Perry, D.D. 
18mo Paper cover 4 

The Origin of the World according to 

REVELATION AND SCIENCE. A Lecture by Harvey 
Goodwin, M. A., Bishop of Carlisle. PosiSvo.... Cloth boards 4 



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Catalogue B. 



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LITTTEDALE, R. F. BQT 

Pl&in reasons against joining 
the Church of Rome. .R9L5