« PreviousContinue »
Donations of Pepin and Charlemagne,
The Decretum of Gratian,
NOTICE BY THE TRANSLATOR.
T will be obvious at a glance to the reader, that this
work emanates from Catholic authorship, and discusses the great religious crisis through which the Church and the world are now passing from a Catholic, though a “liberal Catholic,” point of view. That it bears evidence of no common attainments and grasp of mind a. very cursory examination will suffice to show. An English translation is offered to the public under the belief that there are very many in this country, as well Protestants as Catholics, who will gladly avail themselves of an opportunity of learning, on the most direct authority, how the grave questions which just now agitate the Church are regarded by the members of a school, morally if not numerically strong, within her pale, who yield indeed to none in their loyal devotion to Catholic truth, but are unable to identify its interests with the advance of Ultramontanism, or rather, who cannot but recognise between the two an antithesis which the Church history of the last thousand years too eloquently attests, and to which present facts, no less than past experience, give all the significance of a solemn warning it would be worse than unwisdom to ignore.
Two rival tendencies, alien alike in their principles and their aims, which have long been silently developing themselves, are now contending for the mastery within the bosom of the Church, like the unborn babes in Rebekah's womb, and it is simply a truism to assert that every section of our divided Christendom is interested in the result of the struggle. We live in an age powerful beyond all that have gone before for good and for evil, penetrated perhaps more deeply than controversialists are willing to admit by Christian sentiment, but also presenting in too many quarters a spectacle unprecedented in modern history, of fixed and deliberate antagonism to the dogmas of the Christian creed. Not only the world of sense, but of supernatural revelation, is