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example in the essay, the whole of which, however, your correspondent does not give, and after the phrase “The application is easy (obvious)”; he then makes that application in the following manner.
“We must then go back to the maxim of St. Paul, that everything which is permitted is not expedient. Because this prince who would pardon the guilty would only do as he had a right to do, for I suppose him a sovereign; but he would use his right indiscreetly. So with indulgences. No Catholic doubts but that the Church can grant them: nor that she ought to do in certain cases, what she has always done: but it is the duty of her ministers to dispense these favours with wisdom, and not to create a useless profusion, or perhaps a pernicious one."
Your notably candid correspondent, however, instead of giving us Fleury's explanation and application, flies off from his fourth discourse which he quotes, and adds a passage of his sixth, which is also distorted by its unnatural juxtaposition with what the author never intended to place it near. In his sixth discourse he treats of the Crusade, which your correspondent calls by some very ugly names, concerning the propriety of which I shall not now dispute. Another time perhaps, and a more fit occasion, might induce me to give my reasons for differing very widely with him upon this subject. But even this passage he garbled also. Fleury begins his paragraph by stating that it was not Pope Urban alone, but the council of two hundred bishops assembled at Clermont, that for reasons previously assigned, looked upon it as the will of God that the expedition should be undertaken, and then continues :
“To carry it into execution, and to put the people in motion, the great resource was a plenary indulgence; and it was then that this commenced. At all times, the church had left to the discretion of the bishops, to remit some part of the canonical penance, according to the fervour of the penitent, and other circumstances; but until now it had not been seen, that in favour of one single work the sinner was discharged from all the temporal punishment for which he might be amenable to the justice of God. It required no less than a numerous council, at which the Pope presided in person to authorize such a change in the usage of penance; and doubtless it is believed that there existed good reasons for it. For more than two hundred years, the bishops had found it very difficult to bring sinners to submit to the canonical penances: it had been even made impracticable by multiplying them according to the number of sins, whence arose the invention of commuting them, so as to redeem entire (buy off many) years, in a few days. Because amongst the commutations of penance, for a long time were used, pilgrimages to Rome, to Compostella, or to Jerusalem ; and the Crusade added to these the perils of war. Persons, upon this ground, believed that this penance was equivalent to the fasting, the prayers, and the alms which each penitent might in particular offer, and that it would be more useful to the church, without being less agreeable to God."
Such is Fleury's paragraph in which he does not assert that it was then for the first time a plenary indulgence was given; but that then was the first time that it was granted for the performance of one single work. In his fourth discourse he had, as we see, stated, that "if many
(works) were united, the entire (canonical penance] could be redeemed." And in the very earliest ages, instances are found of the full remission. Fleury states also the remedies applied not only by the Council of Trent, but also by previous councils, and mentions them with approbation.
Your correspondent then, instead of taking up either of the propositions which he undertook to confute, has garbled Fleury, quoted Mosheim, and concluded with a notorious falsehood, “That indulgences are still to be had in the Roman Catholic Church under the authority and at the discretion, in general of the Pope for money applicable to the usages of the Church.”
It is no argument, it is no proof, to write, “Will any pretend to question this?” when we not only question but deny its truth. “Can it be unknown to any ?” is no proof, when it is denied that it is known to any. I do as firmly and as determinedly and as plainly, deny that at the present day “indulgences are to be had in the Roman Catholic Church for money applicable to the uses of the Church," as I assert that I have proved your correspondent to be guilty of garbling, misrepresentation, and dishonesty. I am aware that the assertion is made: but to make an assertion is not to prove its truth. I have the authority of the Bishop of Charleston to make the following statements upon his responsibility for their truth. That he has received from very highly respectable witnesses, the names of some persons belonging to ancient and wealthy families in this state, who solemnly declared upon their honour that they read upon the doors of the cathedral notices from him of the sale of indulgences; and yet that he never did give any such notice, and that no publication had even to his knowledge or suspicion been ever so exhibited as to give any pretext for such a charge upon him. Number 236 of the Miscellany, published on the 5th of July, 1828, contains some documents regarding one of those calumnies. Look to that, and say what remedy could be applied if the person who was capable of publishing this of the Church of Charleston, should, after returning from a European tour, report the occurrence of a church in Italy !
The Bishop also authorizes me to state that the indulgence mentioned in paragraph 46, is one of which he has full and intimate knowledge. He was at the period alluded to, Secretary to the Diocess of Cork, and the present Bishop of Cork was then its Archdeacon; the execution was committed to the archdeacon, and secretary, by the then Bishop of Cork. The pastoral letter was drafted by the secretary, and all the details of the exercises were superintended by him, and not one cent of money was looked for, upon any pretext whatever, save the usual collections applicable to the usual purposes, except one extra collection
which he made by his own authority, to relieve the family of a poor man who was crushed to death in the crowd, leaving his family, consisting of a wife and seven children, totally destitute. But so far as the spiritual benefits of the indulgence exhibited themselves in fervent and renewed piety, in the restitution of property dishonestly acquired, in the oblivion of ancient and inveterate enmities, in the sedulous attention to prayer and instruction, he never did, and probably never will, witness a more gratifying and edifying scene than continued at that time, during four successive weeks. Nor was there found in the city, as far as he could discover, a single Protestant who did not proclaim, that if the Catholic religion always exhibited itself in such a manner, no one could resist its influence. · Such, gentlemen, is the testimony of Dr. England. Upon what then does your correspondent found his assertion, that indulgences might now be had for money?
In paragraph 44, your correspondent introduces, “in relation to the prayers for the dead in purgatory as well as indulgences,” a passage from Daubney's Protestant Companion. But “the respectable author of our own times,” has really made a very curious exhibition of himself. Were I not to know from other sources the meaning of the notice which he saw, and attempts to translate, I could never make out from his exhibition what it meant: for the translator not knowing the language of the country, or phraseology, or facts, or doctrine of our church, made perfect nonsense of the entire. There is no such phrase as “receiving the prayers of a mass," intelligible amongst us: and you may go through half Christendom asking how a man “could receive two Cantatas,” or “the prayers of two Cantatas,” before you could get any Catholic to suspect what you meant, or to look upon you to be in your sound senses.
The entire notice in plain English amounts to nothing more than the following. That this was not a public church of a parish, but one maintained by a private subscription, the clergy who officiated in which were supported out of the contributions of the benefactors: and that the sum required for such support, was regulated at certain rates for the various duties, so that persons desirous of having the benefit of the services therein performed, must contribute accordingly, either monthly, or as life members, and that the benefactors would also be specially prayed for and remembered in the services after their death, with a recommendation to persons rather to join the society of that church, than to depend upon the casual affection of surviving relations.
Paragraph 45 regards an indulgence, but for what? For money! No. For repentance for sins, confessing, going to communion, and pray. ing—Yes, such is our doctrine, that in consideration of those acts of virtue, God will, through the merits of Jesus Christ, not only remove the guilt, and the eternal punishment, but also the temporal punishment which might remain due to the repentant sinner. But the nonsense of the translation in the previous paragraph is really common sense when compared to the multiplied blunders of this. Surely it was not Barretti that taught "this respectable author of our own times” to translate Quarante “forty-eight.” I profess myself completely unable even to guess at what is meant by “his professed confession being confirmed." I know the foundation of the ridiculous blunder of “acquire ten years,” but the superlative ignorance of the “respectable author of our own times,” who gives “moreover forty indulgences for each time,” would be really capping the climax, but that “the Breviary of Paul the Fifth” places a pinnacle even above the cap. Do,—good gentlemen, for mercy sake, tell your correspondents to take up our American prayer-books, and save our country at least, the disgrace of those exhibitions of the lowest ignorance. Those expressions are downright nonsense: you can if you will, find in several of our churches in Maryland and Kentucky, I believe also in Louisiana and Missouri, that this “devotion of the forty hours" is practised and understood as well as it is in Rome. We will ourselves give you our books and explain our doctrine and practices, upon your application, and then when you assail us, you will do so without making yourselves ridiculous..
In paragraph 47, your correspondent founds his conclusion upon a false assumption, that “the confessing penitent may buy himself off from the necessity of that which is imposed to satisfy the divine justice,” hence the conclusion that "it operates as a license to commit sin,” is not true. But surely “the gratuitous discharge” will so operate. Be it so, good gentlemen! What then shall we say to you who have granted a total and a gratuitous discharge? You say that Jesus Christ has granted to the repentant sinner, a total and gratuitous discharge for all satisfaction to the divine justice. We say he does not always grant a total discharge, but that generally he substitutes a temporal for the eternal punishment, and that sometimes, he afterwards, in consideration of some acts of virtue, remits the temporal punishment also. Which is more like “a license to commit sin?”
Recollect, gentlemen, that not even an attempt was made to prove a single allegation of mine respecting indulgences to be incorrect. The whole of your charges are day-dreams of fancy. I remain, gentlemen,
Your obedient, humble servant, B. C.
So saying, with extended wings,
CHARLESTON, S. C., Sept. 14, 1829. To the Editors:
Gentlemen :-I am now arrived at the fifth essay in your number for June. The object of your curious correspondent was stated by him not to be controversy, but to show that what I called misrepresentations were not so. In this essay as in the previous one, he seems altogether to lose sight of his professed purpose, for he is quite controversial, and somewhat facetious. His wit sparkles in his forty-ninth paragraph; and the exhibition has been so rarely and so modestly made that it would be cruel to sport with it. Should I tell him that the passage, which at the close of that paragraph he quotes from Bellarmine, Praef. de Rom. Pont., is not a translation of Bellarmine's words, though crotcheted as such, the glittering arrows of his satire would dazzle the beholders and terrify me his unfortunate victim; yet it is true that Bellarmine's words are not accurately represented in the translation.
But what shall I say to the note which purports to be an extract from A Pastoral Instruction of Archbishop Troy, the late Primate of Ireland ? Surely it is blasphemy for him to mention the celestial primacy of the Pope! I shall only insinuate that it would have been more satisfactory, if instead of referring us to a pastoral, we had been directed to the particular one which contained the passage. I shall, however, again refer to the testimony of the Bishop of Charleston, who authorizes me to state: “that he was during some years well acquainted with Archbishop Troy, and was frequently in his company; that his impression is that he was the last Irish prelate whose hospitality he experienced, and with whom he had much intercourse during the last week of his being in Ireland; that he thinks he read every pastoral instruction issued by that prelate; that he is confident no one that he ever read contained such an expression as that put forward in the note; that from his knowledge of the deceased Irish primate, he is perfectly certain, that he never did, nor would use such an expression, and is quite convinced that the word celestial has been substituted for ecclesiastical,