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Ultramontanes indeed generally allege, that all good Catholics at that time believed, more or less explicitly and consistently, in Papal infallibility. To this common allegation Mr. Renouf makes a reply, which is worth noticing, because it indicates another serious error into which he has fallen. He fancies that the Church teaches nothing as of faith, except that which she may have expressly defined. In his well-known Munich Brief, Pius IX. thus reproves this error:-"Even if the question concerned," he says, "that subjection of intellect which is to be yielded in an act of divine faith, yet such subjection ought not to have been limited to those things which have been hitherto defined by express decrees of Ecumenical Councils or of Roman Pontiffs and this Apostolic See, but extended to those things also which are delivered as divinely revealed by the ordinary magisterium of the whole Church dispersed through the world." Now the dogma that Christ has a human will and a human principle of operation, was taught by the Church as of faith from the very first. Yet Mr. Renouf argues that S. Sophronius and S. Maximus did not believe Papal infallibility, because they would not express their readiness to abandon that dogma at the Pope's bidding. F. Bottalla's remarks on this are so admirably expressed and so practically important, that we will give the whole passage:
There are two kinds of cases in which doctrines may be said to be defined by the Pope. One regards doctrines which are not contained in a clear manner in the universal magisterium of the Church, and which are disputed on both sides; as was for several centuries the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, with many others. The second concerns doctrines clearly revealed and universally believed as dogmas of faith, although they have never been defined explicitly and under anathema by the authentic magisterium. Such was the doctrine of the Consubstantiality of the Divine Word, and generally all the doctrines concerning the Incarnation.* Now, the denial of a doctrine of the first class, before its infallible definition, does not constitute a sin of heresy and if either of the two rival schools seek the supreme judgment of the Pope upon the question, it must be prepared to submit to that judgment, and be ready to reject the doctrine till then defended, and even to embrace the contrary teaching were it proposed by the Pope ex cathedrâ. But it is not so with doctrines of the other kind. A doctrine universally believed in the Church is infallibly de fide; the consent of the Church being equivalent to a formal and explicit definition. Therefore the Arians, the Nestorians, and the Eutychians were generally looked upon by the Catholics as heretics,
*It will be seen that F. Bottalla here draws the same distinction which we drew in our last number (p. 547), in reference to a certain argument urged against Mr. Liddon.
even before any infallible sentence had been pronounced against them. In such cases, when a definition is required either from the Pope or from an Ecumenical Council, the request is made not properly for the instruction of the orthodox as to what they should believe in the matter, but only to crush and destroy error with the overwhelming authority of a supreme judgment. As to Catholics, those who, from ignorance or prejudice, have been led into error, are bound to wait for the infallible decree, and must hold themselves in readiness to submit unreservedly to the same; but others, who are fully acquainted with the teaching of the Church, must be steady in their adhesion to it, while expecting that infallible decision which will finally confirm their faith. For the divine truth proposed in a decree of faith cannot possibly differ from the divine truth believed in the Universal Church. Consequently in such cases, when Catholics, already in possession of the Catholic truth, apply to the Pope or a General Council for a definition necessary to ensure the triumph of the Faith over heresy, they should not harbour in their heart the smallest doubt concerning the doctrine laid before the Apostolic See. Much less should they say, as Mr. Renouf would have them do, that they will change their opinion if the Pope decides the other way!-(pp. 42, 43.)
We are still engaged with Mr. Renouf's first proposition, that Honorius taught heresy or error ex cathedrâ. We pass to his second argument for this proposition. It is plain, he considers, from intrinsic evidence and contemporary circumstances, (1) that the Pope's Letters to Sergius express Monothelism; and (2) that the doctrine of those Letters was imposed on the Church by their writer, in his capacity of Universal Teacher. There are hardly any facts in history more certain, than are the contradictories of these two allegations. It will be more convenient however if we defer to the later part of our article our argument against the former. Here therefore we will only maintain-which is amply sufficient for the issue now before us-that Honorius's Letters to Sergius were not put forth ex cathedrâ at all. This particular part of the subject has been so exhausted by previous writers such as Orsi and Mazzarelli, that very little is left for F. Bottalla (as very little was left for ourselves in July) except to repeat their arguments. This however he does with great force and perspicuity. Thus first as to the extrinsic proof that Honorius was not speaking as Universal Teacher :
According to the discipline and practice of the Church in ancient times, which was preserved for many centuries, there are some solemnities which were ordinarily observed when dogmatic constitutions were despatched by Roman Pontiffs. They were previously read and examined in the synod of the bishops of Italy, with whom the prelates of neighbouring provinces were sometimes associated; or in the assembly of the clergy of the Roman Church. Again, they were sent to the patriarchs, or even to the primates and metropolitans, that they might be everywhere known and obeyed. Finally, the VOL. XII.—NO. XXIII. [New Series.]
signatures of all the bishops were often required to those papal constitutions, to show their submission and adhesion to them. We do not now mean to spend time in demonstrating these points of ancient ecclesiastical discipline ; they will be found proved beyond all question in the learned works of Coustant, Thomassin, and Cardinal Orsi. It must be distinctly understood that we do not maintain the absolute necessity of the above-mentioned characters, as if no Papal utterance of that age could be ex cathedrâ if any one of these marks were wanting; but we maintain affirmatively, that Papal utterances bearing all these characters were to be regarded as certainly issued ex cathedrâ; and negatively, that no Papal decree could be considered at that time as ex cathedrâ, if wanting in all and each of those characters.-(pp. 18, 19.)
Secondly, as to the intrinsic proof that the Letters to Sergius were not ex cathedrâ. On this point it seems to us that our author speaks more consistently and intelligibly, than most of his predecessors. For these, in their desire to rid themselves of responsibility for such utterances as Honorius's, have often laid down tests of an ex cathedrâ Act, which in their obvious sense would equally exclude S. Leo's Dogmatic Letter and many other such documents. Nowhere have we seen the thing better expressed than by F. Bottalla :
In order that a Papal utterance may have the character of a teaching ex cathedrâ, it is requisite first, not only that it should treat of a question of faith, but that it should propose a doctrine to be believed or condemned; secondly, that the Pope should show the intention of teaching as Pope, and of enforcing his doctrinal decrees on the Universal Church. If either of these two qualities be wanting, the letter cannot be said to contain any teaching ex cathedrâ. This is what all Catholics, without exception, admit as necessary and essential to an infallible document issued by Papal authority. (p. 18.)
But what doctrine can Mr. Renouf even allege, as having been proposed in either of Honorius's Letters? Why, the Pontiff declared again and again that he intended to define no doctrine at all; but, on the contrary, as F. Bottalla well expresses it (p. 31), to "quiet the controversy by an economy of silence." In July we drew out this argument at length (pp. 213, 4), and shall here therefore say no more on the subject.
Mr. Renouf indeed argues (p. 20) that S. Sophronius had expressly applied for an ex cathedrâ judgment, and that Honorius's first Letter was a reply to that application. Now even if he had applied for such a judgment, it would be monstrous to infer from that circumstance that the Pontiff thought fit to give one. But F. Bottalla conclusively shows (pp. 36-41) that Mr. Renouf has confused two totally different embassies,
sent by S. Sophronius to Rome; and that the one sent through Stephen of Dora, to which Mr. Renouf refers, did not reach Rome until after Honorius's death. Indeed, F. Bottalla (p. 40) retorts S. Sophronius's authority against Mr. Renouf. For it was after Honorius's first Letter to Sergius had been received, that S. Sophronius solemnly declared that "the foundations of orthodox doctrine rest on the Apostolic See." Most certainly then he did not think that Honorius's response had committed the Apostolic See to any unorthodox doctrine.
Through the whole range of controversy then there can hardly be found a more certain fact, than that which by itself abundantly suffices for the Ultramontane argument: we mean the fact, that Honorius did not teach heresy or error ex cathedrâ. But in real truth there is no shadow of pretext for alleging, that he was personally infected with the heretical leaven at all. We are here to examine Mr. Renouf's arguments against this position; while in the course of doing so, we trust to show that the position itself is absolutely impregnable.
We will first consider the only one of these arguments, which possesses even any colourable or superficial plausibility; viz. that derived from the language of the Sixth Council, and again of the Eighth. Now Mr. Renouf is arguing, not of course against Gallicans, but against Ultramontanes; and Ultramontanes hold that no doctrinal decree of a Council is infallible, except so far as, and in the sense wherein, a Pope may confirm it. It is interesting doubtless, as a point of history, to consider what the bishops assembled at Constantinople intended to declare; but the only inquiry of doctrinal importance is, which of their decrees received Pontifical confirmation and in what
We will begin with the otiose historical question. What did the bishops intend to declare? As we said in our former article, we think it more probable that in some of their statements they intended to accuse Honorius of heresy. F. Bottalla adopts a conclusion less discreditable to them. "No one of them," he considers (p. 97), "believed that the Pope held the impious doctrines which were execrated." "In the decree" of the 13th Session "Honorius was not condemned for any heretical tenet" (p. 107). Still he thinks (ib.) that there was "a Greek faction in the Sixth Synod, which it was impossible to keep in thorough control;" and which not improbably "contrived to vent all its bitterness against Honorius in the final synodical exclamations: " though he denies that this faction prevailed in the previous decrees. Nay even as to the decrees, he recognizes and "strongly denounces" "the exaggeration
and bitterness of expression" which they display (p. 108): due, as he thinks," to a strong faction which exercised its influence in that Council and carried the day." It is with great diffidence that on any question of ecclesiastical history, however comparatively insignificant, we differ from F. Bottalla; but we still think the other view more probable. We think it more probable, that the majority of bishops intended, in their decrees no less than in their acclamations, to declare Honorius heretical; though they were careful to insert no such expression in their definition. This latter of course they did not attempt; for they well knew how hopeless it would be to expect Pontifical confirmation of any such
We will not however argue this little point with F. Bottalla. Nor indeed should we have referred again to the question at all, were it not for the great importance of making perfectly clear to Mr. Renouf and his sympathizers, that it is one of no controversial importance whatever, and one freely debated among Ultramontanes themselves.
There is nothing then about the Sixth Council which concerns our argument, except S. Leo's confirmation thereof. Now S. Leo II.'s infallible judgment contained two different portions he confirmed a certain declaration of the Council, and he added a certain elucidation of his own. What was that declaration of the Council? Exclusively the definition. F. Bottalla proves this with irrefragable cogency from p. 108 to p. 110. In addition to the testimonies for this conclusion which we cited in July (pp. 219, 220), he mentions that the bishops themselves, in petitioning the Emperor to acquaint the patriarchal sees with what had been done, requested him only to send to those sees an authentic copy of the definition.
It has sometimes been urged indeed, that S. Leo, by not expressing any disapproval of the Acts when he received them, implied assent to every single portion of their contents. We cannot for a moment acquiesce in such reasoning. We have more than once had occasion to comment on the inexpressibly difficult task, which in each successive century devolves on the Holy Father. He must not permit anything which shall compromise the Truth; yet, on the other hand, he must so defend the Truth, that there may be the smallest possible dissension. among Catholics, and that unstable minds may be exposed to the smallest possible temptation towards rebellion and schism. It was in this critical and most anxious navigation between Scylla and Charybdis, that Honorius himself made the one mistake of his otherwise illustrious Pontificate. And the ties between East and West were even looser in the time of S.