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« Germanic Empire,”* and my “ Historical Me“ moirs of the English, Irish, and Scottish Ca“tholics,”+ a succinct account is given of the rise, extension, decline and fall of the Pope's temporal power.
I first mention the rise of the Pope's temporal power : I have thus abridged it in my seventh letter to Doctor Southey: “ From an humble “ fisherman, the Pope successively became owner ~ of houses and lands, acquired the power of
magistracy in Rome, and large territorial posses“ sions in Italy, Dalmatia, Sicily, Sardinia, France “ and Africa ; and ultimately obtained the rank " and consequence of a great temporal prince.”
I then proceed as follows :
2.—“ The Popes soon advanced a still higher " claim. In virtue of an authority, which they “ pretended to derive from heaven, some of them “ asserted that the Pope was the supreme tem
poral lord of the universe, and that all princes “ and civil governors were, even in temporal concerns, subject to them.
In conformity to " this doctrine they took upon them to try, con" demn and depose sovereign princes, to absolve
# " A succinct History of the Geographical and Political « Revolutions of the Empire of Germany, or the principal “ States which composed the Empire of Charlemagne, from
his Coronation in 800 to its dissolution in 1806, with some “ account of the Genealogical House of Hapsburgh, and of the " six secular Electors of Germany, and of Roman, French and 6. English Nobility. 8vo. Printed separately and in the “ second volume of the writer's works."
+ Vol. I. ch. VII.
subjects from their allegiance to them, and to grant their kingdom to others.
“ That a claim so unfounded and impious, so “ hostile to the peace of the world, and apparently
so extravagant and visionary, should have been " made, is strange :-stranger still, is the successs • it met with. There scarcely is a kingdom of “ Christian Europe, the sovereign of which did
not, on some occasion or other, acquiesce in it,
so far at least as to invoke it against his own “ antagonist; and, having once urged it against
an antagonist, it was not always easy for him " to deny the justice of it, when urged against " himself.”
In a further part of the same work, * I mention the decline of the temporal power of the Popes. I assign it “ to their extravagant pretensions, un
just enterprises, and dissolute lives ;-to the “ transfer of the papal sce to Avignon; to the
grand schism ; to the discussions at the Councils “ of Constance, Basle and Pisa ; to the writings “ of the men of learning of those times; and to “ the rough attacks of the Albigenses, Wickliffites,
Waldenses, and the other seperatists from the “ church, in the 14th and 15th centuries.”
3.-Finally, t I describe the total fall of the Pope's temporal power. I notice the leading events in this part of its history. I then mention, that “ its fall was suspended for a time by the French “ league and other events, which divided many “ European states into a Roman Catholic and a “ Protestant party. The influence," I then observe, “ which this gave the Popes, made them 6 venture on those ENORMITIES which now excite so “ much astonishment,- the bulls by which they ab“ solved the subjects of Henry IV of France, AND ** our ELIZABETH, from their allegiance and “ their concurrence in the league.”
* Hist. of Germ. Empire, Part IV. Sect. 4. + Ibid
do ... Sect. 5.
4.-I then notice, 1st, The successful resistances of the temporal states in communion with the see of Rome, to the claims of the Popes to temporal power, in spiritual concerns. 2d, Those perticularly of the Venetians to the claim of Pope Paul v. to the exercise of temporal power in their territory. 3d, I observe, that the falling fortunes of the claim induced Cardinal Bellarmine to propose a middle opinion upon it.
it. 4th, I afterwards mention the attempt of Pope Innocent to annul by a protesta tion, in the form of a bull, several articles in the treaty of Westphalia, and the absolute inattention shown to this protestation, by the Catholic as well as the Protestant powers of Europe. I then mention the celebrated declaration of the clergy of France, in 1682. “It is," I say, expressed in “ Four Articles :" by the first, “ they declare, that
kings and princes are not subject in temporal “ concerns, to ecclesiastical power; and eannot “ be deposed directly or indirectly by the authority
“ of the keys of the church; nor their subjects
discharged from the allegiance and duty which “ they owe them.”* I then observe, that the three other articles became subjects of dispute ; but that, in the declaration of the independence of the civil powers upon the spiritual, the Roman Catholics on this side of the Alps, universally acquiesced.”
I conclude with these words, :“ that such a claim should have been made is one of the
greatest misfortunes which have befallen Chris. “ tianity.”
I must now add, that up to the very moment of the French Revolution, the Gallican declaration of 1682. was signed in France by every bishop, by every secular and regular ecclesiastic, by all professors of theology, and batchelors of divinity and canon law, and taught in all the schools; and that the Pope granted institution to all the prelates, and
* It may not be improper to transcribe in this place, the language of the original :-“ Nous declarons en consequence,
que les rois et les souverains ne sont soumis a aucun puissance “ ecclesiastique, par l'ordre de Dieu, dans les choses tempo“ relles ; qu'ils ne peuvent etre deposée directement ou in“ directement, par l'autorité de clefs de l'eglise ; que leur “ sujets ne peuvent être dispenser de la soumission et de “ l'obeissance qu'ils leur doivent, ou absous du serment de “ fidelité; et que cette doctrine, necessaire pour la tranquillité
publique, et non moins avantaguese a l'eglise que l'etat, “ doivent etre inviolablement suivie comme conforme, a la « parole de Dieu, a la tradition des saints peres, et aux ex“ amples des saints.”
acknowledged himself in communion with all the ecclesiastics and others who thus signed it. • In the negociations between Pius VII and Napoleon, the latter vehemently urged the Pope to sign the articles of 1682. The Pope pertinaciously refused to sign the three last, but declared that his signature of the first was attended with no difficulty. *
I also beg leave to refer You to the statutes passed in this country before the Reformation, against the temporal power of the Pope, † and to the frequent instances of resistance by the Roman Catholic sovereigns of these realms to the Pope's temporal pretensions.
Permit me to mention further,—the answers of the foreign universities to the questions proposed to them, by the direction of Mr. Pitt, and to the oaths taken by all his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects.
At the end of my letters to Doctor Southey, I have inserted these questions, and the answers :
Fragmens relatifs a l'histoire ecclesiastique du XIX siécle, page 307. Le Saint Pere nous a repété plusieurs fois, qu'il n'etait pas dans son intention de rien faire de contraire a la declaration en 1682; ajoutant, que si il ne s'agissait que du premier article, qui concerne la temporalité, et qui seul importe a la tranquilité des etats, il y souscriverait sans difficulté. Derniere lettre addressée par les Eveques Deputés A. S. E. le Ministre des Bulles, a leur retour de Savonne.
+ See Historical Memoirs of the English, Irish and Scot* Cath. Vol. I. ch. VI.
Vol. I. c. VII.