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delivered over to the disputations of men. At such a moment, it is proposed, amid the fervid acclamations of one party, the earnest and sorrowful protests of another, the careless acquiescence or sullen indifference of a host of nominal believers, and the triumphant sneers of an amused but unbelieving outside world, to erect Papal Infallibility into an article—and therefore inevitably the cardinal article—of the Catholic faith. Under a profound sense of the range and gravity of the issues involved this work was written, and with a similar feeling, which each day's experience only deepens, it has been translated. Man's necessity, we know, is God's opportunity, and even at the eleventh hour He may stretch forth His arm to save His menaced and afflicted Church. "Oculi omnium in Te sperant, Domine, et Tu das escam illorum in tempore opportuno."
We cannot, indeed, forget that two years elapsed before the ecumenical pretensions of the Latrocinium of Ephesus were formally superseded, and that for more than twenty the Church lay, technically at least, under the reproach of heresy inflicted on her by the Council of Rimini, to which St. Jerome gave expression in the well-known words, “mundus miratus est se esse Arianum.” Meanwhile, it behoves us to possess our souls in patience, as knowing that the Church is greater than any parties or individuals who for the moment may usurp her functions and prostitute her awful name, and that, come what will, truth must ultimately prevail.
It may be well to add that the substance of the earlier portion of this volume appeared in a series of articles on “The Council and the Civiltà,” published during last March in the Allgemeine Zeitung, which attracted very general attention on the Continent. But the whole subject is here worked out in detail, and with constant reference to the original authorities for every statement that is dwelt upon.
1 See Allg. Z. for March 10-15, 1869.
Sept. 10, 1869.
THE immediate object of this work is to investigate
by the light of history those questions which, we are credibly informed, are to be decided at the Ecumenical Council already announced. And as we have endeavoured to fulfil this task by direct reference to original authorities, it is not perhaps too much to hope that our labours will attract attention in scientific circles, and serve as a contribution to Ecclesiastical History. But this work aims also at something more than the mere calm and aimless exhibition of historical events; the reader will readily perceive that it has a far wider scope, and deals with ecclesiastical politics, -in one word, that it is a pleading for very life, an appeal to the thinkers among believing Christians, a protest based on history against a menacing future, against the programme of a powerful coalition, at one time openly proclaimed, at another more darkly insinuated, and which thousands of busy hands are daily and hourly employed in carrying out.
We have written under a deep sense of anxiety in presence of a serious danger, threatening primarily the internal condition of the Catholic Church, and thenas is inevitable with what affects a corporation including 180 millions of men-destined to assume vaster dimensions, and take the shape of a great social problem, which cannot be without its influence on ecclesiastical communities and nations outside the Catholic Church.
This danger does not date from yesterday, and did not begin with the proclamation of the Council. For some twenty-four years the reactionary movement in the Catholic Church, which is now swollen to a mighty torrent, has been manifesting itself, and now it is preparing, like an advancing flood-tide, to take possession of the whole organic life of the Church by means of this Council.
We--and the plural must not here be understood figuratively, but literally-we confess to entertaining that view of the Catholic Church and her mission which its opponents designate by that much-abused term, so convenient in its vagueness for polemical pur
poses—Liberal ; a term in the worst repute with all uncompromising adherents of the Court of Rome and of the Jesuits—two powers intimately allied, and never mentioned by them without bitterness.
We are of their opinion who are persuaded, first, that the Catholic Church, far from assuming an hostile and suspicious attitude towards the principles of political, intellectual, and religious freedom and independence of judgment, in so far as they are capable of a Christian interpretation, or rather are directly derived from the letter and spirit of the Gospel, ought, on the contrary, to be in positive accord with them, and to exercise a constant purifying and ennobling influence on their development; secondly, that a great and searching reformation of the Church is necessary and inevitable, however long it may be evaded.
To us the Catholic Church and the Papacy are by no means convertible terms, and therefore, while in outward communion with them, we are inwardly separated by a great gulf from those whose ideal of the Church is an universal empire spiritually, and, where it is possible, physically, ruled by a single monarch,—an empire of force and oppression, where the spiritual authority is aided by the secular arm in summarily suppressing