« VorigeDoorgaan »
2.-Universal Doctrine of the Roman-Catholics respecting
the Supremacy of the Pope. It is an article of the roman-catholic faith; that the pope has, by divine right, 1. A supremacy of rank; 2. A supremacy of jurisdiction in the spiritual concerns of the roman-catholic church; and 3. The principal authority in defining articles of faith. In consequence of these prerogatives, the pope holds a rank, splendidly pre-eminent, over the highest dignitaries of the church; has a right to convene councils, and preside over them by himself, or his legates, and to confirm the election of bishops. Every ecclesiastical cause may be brought to him, as the last resort, by appeal ; he may promulgate definitions and formularies of faith to the universal church; and, when the general body, or a great majority of her prelates, have assented to them, either by formal consent, or tacit assent, all are bound to acquiesce in them. “ Rome," they say, in such a case, “has spoken, and the cause “ is determined.” To the pope, in the opinion of all roman-catholics, belongs also a general superintendence of the concerns of the church; a right, when the canons provide no line of action, to direct the proceedings; and, in extraordinary cases, to act in opposition to the canons. In those spiritual concerns, in which, by strict right, his authority is not definitive, he is entitled to the highest respect and deference. Thus far, there is no difference of opinion among roman-catholics : but here, they divaricate into the Transalpine and Cisalpine opinions. You must be aware, that I use the words Transalpine and Cisalpine in the sense in which they are generally used in these discussions : there certainly are some Transalpine territories in which the Cisalpine opinions, on papal power, prevail ; but I am not aware of the existence of any Cisalpine territory, which adopts the Transalpine opinions.
of the pope,
3.—Difference between Transalpine and Cisalpine
Doctrines, on the Temporal and Spiritual Power of
the Pope. The great difference between the Transalpine and Cisalpine divines, on the power formerly was,—that the Transalpine divines attributed to the pope a divine right to the exercise, indirect at least, of temporal power, for effecting a spiritual good; and, in consequence of it, maintained, that the supreme power of every state was so far subject to the pope, that, when he deemed that the bad conduct of the sovereign rendered it essential to the good of the church, that he should reign no longer, the pope was then authorized, by his divine commission, to deprive him of his sovereignty, and absolve his subjects from their obligation of allegiance; and that even, on ordinary occasions, he might enforce obedience to his spiritual legislation and jurisdiction, by civil penalties.-- On the other hand, the Cisalpine divines affirmed, that the
pope had no right, either to interfere in temporal concerns, or to enforce obedience to his spiritual legislation or jurisdiction, by temporal power; and consequently, had no right to deprive a sovereign of his sovereignty, to absolve his subjects from their allegiance, or to enforce his spiritual authority over either, by civil penalties. This difference of opinion exists now no longer, the Transalpine divines having at length adopted, on this subject, the Cisalpine opinions.
But though, on this important point, both parties are at last agreed, they still differ on others.
In spiritual concerns, the Transalpire opinions ascribe to the pope a superiority, and controlling power over the whole church, should she chance to oppose his decrees, and consequently, over a general council, her representative; and the same superiority and controlling power, even in the ordinary course of business, over the canons of the universal church. They describe the pope as the fountain of all ecclesiastical order, jurisdiction and dignity. They assign to him the power of judging all persons in spiritual concerns; of calling all spiritual causes to his cognizance; of constituting, suspending, and deposing bishops ; of conferring all ecclesiastical dignities and benefices, in or out of his dominions, by paramount authority ; of exempting individuals and communities from the jurisdiction of their prelates ; of evoking to himself, or to judges appointed by him, any cause actually pending in an ecclesiastical court; and of receiving immediately appeals from all sentences of ecclesiastical
courts, though they be inferior courts, from which there is a regular appeal to an intermediate superior court. They, further, ascribe to the pope the extraordinary prerogative of personal infallibility, when he undertakes to issue a solemn decision on any point of faith.
The Cisalpines affirm, that in spirituals the pope is subject, in doctrine and discipline, to the church, and to a general council, representing her ; that he is subject to the canons of the church, and cannot, except in an extreme case, dispense with them; that, even in such a case, his dispensation is subject to the judgment of the church ; that the bishops derive their jurisdiction from God himself immediately, and not from the pope ; that he has no right to confer bishoprics, or other spiritual benefices of any kind, the patronage of which, by common right, prescription, concordat, or any other general rule of the church, is vested in another. They admit, that an appeal lies to the pope from the sentence of the metropolitan; but assert, that no appeal lies to the pope, and that he can evoke no cause to himself, during the intermediate process. They affirm, that a general council may without, and even against, the pope's consent, reform the church. They deny his personal infallibility, and hold that he may be deposed by the church, or a general council, for heresy or schism ; and they admit, that in an extreme case *, where there
• Instances of which are, according to Bossuet, so very rare, that it is scarcely possible to find true examples of such an extreme case in the course of several ages.
“ Ce qu'il a
is a great division of opinion, an appeal lies from the pope to a future general council.
In 1788, certain questions on the power of the pope, in temporal concerns, were sent by the desire of Mr. Pitt to several foreign universities, for their opinions upon them. We shall transcribe, in the Appendix, these questions, and the answers given to them by the universities.
Such are the Transalpine, such the Cisalpine opinions, respecting the power of the pope ; each, you must be sensible, recedes far from the extreme opinions, which the ending links of my supposed chain of opinion represent. Both are tolerated by the roman-catholic church, but neither speaks its faith : this, as I have mentioned, is contained in the canon of the council of Florence, which I have cited. All the doctrine of that canon on the point in question, and nothing but that doctrine, is propounded by the roman-catholic church to be believed by the faithful with this doctrine, but with this doctrine only, and the consequences justly deducible from it, are the roman-catholics answerable.
de principal, c'est, que les cas, auxquels la France soutient " le recours du pape au concile, sont si rares, qu'à peine on
peut en trouver de vrais examples, en plusieurs siècles.” Lettre du Bossuet au Cardinal d'Estrées. Cuvres de Bossuet, vol 9, p. 272, ed, Ben,