traditional view will be found to be correct, and that such marriages will be held invalid. Article 127 of the Civil Code. of Lower Canada already cited says: The other impediments recognised according to the different religious persuasions, as resulting from relationship or affinity, or from other causes, remain subject to the rules hitherto followed in the different Churches and religious communities.' Mr. Justice Anglin in his judgment says: 'Inasmuch "relationship" and "affinity exhaust the genus to which they belong, it is obvious that the "other causes" referred to in Article 127 cannot be restricted to impediments ejusdem generis with "consanguinity" and "affinity." That would be to deny any effect to the words 'other causes.' The other causes are therefore necessarily impediments of another kind recognised according to the different religious persuasions "-presumably of the parties.'


[ocr errors]



To put forward any other contention is to lose sight of the whole purpose of those who drafted the Civil Code which was to give expression to, and perpetuate, the existing law. Under the civil law of France, which had previously prevailed in Lower Canada, the marriage of Catholics to be valid must be solemnised in the presence of a priest. That requirement of the Church law is recognised and adopted by Article 127 of the Civil Code, and is not complied with in the case of two Catholics married by a Protestant minister.

Here it becomes necessary to say another word about the Ne Temere.

If Mr. Justice Anglin proves to be right, and marriages between two Catholics solemnised otherwise than in the presence of a priest are found to be legally invalid, the law of the State and the law of the Church will coincide. Until Easter 1908 there was the same harmony between the civil and the canon law in the case of mixed marriages celebrated without the presence of a Catholic priest. In the absence of other impediments such marriages were valid in the eyes of both Church and State, and for the same reason. Both the civil and the canon law gave effect to the Benedictine Declaration, which had been made applicable to Canada, and granted an exemption from the Tridentine rule, which required the presence of a priest for every marriage in which one of the parties was a Catholic. Unfortunately, this state of things was brought to an end when the Ne Temere came in force. Pius the Tenth has in effect revoked the concession of Benedict the Fourteenth. The law of the State still rests upon the Benedictine Declaration, which in the eyes of the canon law has been annulled.

Clearly there are two ways in which the old harmony between the civil and the canon law might be restored. The Legislature

of Quebec might in the plenitude of its jurisdiction adapt the law of the province to the requirements of the Ne Temere. Nothing is less likely to happen. Such action would certainly be regarded as provocative, and would inevitably lead to an agitation demanding the amendment of the British North America Act. A movement in that direction would be deprecated by the responsible leaders of all parties, and, whether successful or unsuccessful, would be fraught with the gravest perils to the Dominion.

There remains the other alternative that concession should come from Rome. The difficulties on that side are apparent, and cannot be better stated than they have been by a distinguished English canonist. Mgr. Bidwell, after speaking of the exemption granted in the case of the German Empire, says: When the reasons for desiring a uniform law are fully appreciated and borne in mind, it is difficult not to regret that any exception should have been made. Whatever may be the plea for departing, in one country or in another, from the general law, however urgent and weighty arguments in this sense may appear when local circumstances are alone considered, their weight and cogency diminish almost to vanishing point when the question is examined from a wider point of view. Every derogation from the general law is at once a reason and a precedent for a further derogation and a curtailment of its general usefulness. The reluctance of the Holy See to repeal in 1907 the Bull Provida of the previous year is easily understood. But it is still easier to understand, and to sympathise with, the Pope's desire not to mar the effect of the new Decree by allowing further exceptions elsewhere.'

Still, an exception was made for Germany, and in the case of Hungary the operation of the Decree was postponed for ten years. It is at least possible that, if suitable representations were made at the Vatican, the special conditions of Canada— especially in view of the many years during which the Benedictine Declaration prevailed there-might be recognised by the Holy See as calling for exceptional treatment. On the other hand, if the exemption of Germany and the postponement in the case of Hungary are both intended to be only temporary, the plea of Canada for special treatment would be difficult to sustain.



THE subject of the following pages is not so much Père Hyacinthe's marriage as certain statements which have been made concerning it.

To the public, and more especially to that part of it that is old enough to remember the earlier 'seventies, M. Charles Loyson, or, as he was then called, Père Hyacinthe, was known as a Carmelite friar, a distinguished preacher, who vehemently opposed the action of the Vatican Council in defining Papal infallibility; finally separated himself from his Order and from the Church; became an ardent advocate of clerical marriage, and wedded an American widow whose opinion upon that and other religious questions cordially coincided with his own. His subsequent career lies outside the scope of this article, and it is sufficient to say that his attitude of opposition to the Vatican seems to have been maintained during the forty-three years which elapsed between his secession and his death, which occurred at the beginning of the present year.

In making the announcement of his decease certain organs of the Press revived a rather piquant statement made originally by himself, to the effect that in 1872-viz. some time before he was publicly married here in England-he had his marriage privately blessed in Rome by Mgr. Puecher Passavalli, titular Archbishop of Iconium. More recently still, in an article on Père Hyacinthe which appeared in one of the leading reviews, this statement has not only been re-affirmed, but has been enlarged into the more sweeping assertion that his marriage had received the sanction of the Church.' What is perhaps still more surprising is that the writer quotes the well-known case of Talleyrand as a precedent of a similar sanction.1

It is in this assertion as to the blessing of the marriage by Mgr. Passavalli, and its alleged sanction by the Church, backed up by the allusion to Talleyrand, that the chief interest of the matter may be said to centre. That a friar, enjoying the repute

1 Père Hyacinthe,' by the Very Rev. the Dean of Ripon, Contemporary Review, June 1912.

of a successful preacher, should owing to religious difficulties abandon his Order and the Church of his baptism and make, in the manner just mentioned, a practical protest against his clerical obligations, might or might not be considered as an event of importance by writers of contemporary history. Others have passed that way. But that a friar in these circumstances should have his marriage blessed in Rome itself-in luce Urbis-and sanctioned by the Church (whose decrees happen to execrate such unions) would be, to say the least, an occurrence sufficiently unique to come in the nature of a surprise to any canonist, to any serious student of Church history, and most of all to anyone who is acquainted with the ways and workings of the Roman tribunals.

It may be said at once that the statement as to the Church sanctioning the marriage is wholly and absolutely untrue.

In such a case the sanction could be obtainable only from the Holy See and the responsible authorities in Rome. I am authorised to say that neither the Holy See nor its officials have ever sanctioned Père Hyacinthe's marriage, that they have had no cognisance whatever of any marriage of his celebrated at Rome, and that any marriage of the sort, instead of being countenanced in any way, remains condemned by them under the severest penalties of the Church.

This assurance, proceeding from the highest authority, may be indeed very unnecessary, but it disposes of the myth of the Church's sanction being given to Père Hyacinthe's marriage; and it clearly separates the Church and the Roman authorities from all responsibility in anything which might have been done clandestinely by others contrary to their will and without their knowledge.

It remains to be seen whether there was in the action of Mgr. Passavalli, as a private individual, anything which would give ground or colour to Père Hyacinthe's assertion. It is needless to observe that Mgr. Passavalli held no official post or powers which would have enabled him to celebrate a marriage prohibited by the canons, and that in any attempt to officiate at such a marriage he would not only have been acting invalidly and ultra vires, but would have brought upon himself the same ecclesiastical penalties which Père Hyacinthe would have incurred by contracting it.

Here it may be relevant to say a word upon the life and character of Mgr. Passavalli, the more so as his position was in some ways a peculiar one, marking him off from what one is wont to regard as the usual type of a Roman prelate in curia.

Born in 1820, near Trent, he was brought up in an atmosphere of antagonism to Austrian rule which made him for life

a passionate upholder of the cause of United Italy. At the age of sixteen he joined the Capuccine branch of the Franciscan friars, and before his thirtieth year had become Provincial of his order. Pius the Ninth treated him with special kindness, made him one of the Preachers Apostolic to the Holy See, and on his resignation of that post raised him to the rank of titular Archbishop of Iconium. He was appointed Vicar of the Vatican Basilica, and was chosen to deliver the inaugural sermon at the opening of the Vatican Council. During the deliberations of the Council he became closely associated with the extreme section of those who were most opposed to the definition of Papal infallibility, and on the plea of indisposition he absented himself from the assembly on the day of the final voting. Later on, when he had to choose between Catholic submission or the censures of the Church, he subscribed to the decree, but-if we are to believe Père Hyacinthe-he did so with a mental restriction that would have gone far to rob his adhesion of much of its meaning and sincerity. His career was at an end. During the rest of his days he became alienated from the Vatican and aggrieved and embittered against the Roman Court, of which he was accustomed to speak in terms of rancorous hostility. He ceased to reside at Rome, and spent most of his time in retirement at Morrovalle, a remote village in the Marches.

A strange fact which tallies with his estrangement from the Curia, and one which did much to mould the whole of his subsequent life, was his close and confidential association with a small sect or secretly working band of illuminati, who were gathered together chiefly at Turin. They were the devoted followers of a Polish layman, Andrew Towianski, a mystic, whom they venerated as 'the Servant of God,' despite the fact that his tenets had fallen under the censures of the ecclesiastical authorities. While professing their loyalty to the Catholic Church, they conceived themselves to be in possession of a special and fuller revelation, according to which they were to labour by prayer and self-sacrifice and purity of life to enter into the passion of the Saviour in such a way as to draw down upon the world a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and thus to regenerate society, civil and religious, and prepare it for a second coming of Christ, which would include the conversion of the Jews and the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. Ostensibly they deprecated any intervention in matters of dogma, but esoterically they taught the most startling theories as to the reincarnation of souls, the plurality of lives, universality of salvation, and several other beliefs which traversed the teaching of what they were disposed to call the official Church.' Mgr. Passavalli had never seen Towianski, the Servant of God,' but

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »