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they oppose, and silently dropped that clause of their Creed, which binds them to undermine, if they cannot openly oppose, every Christian establishment which refuses to acknowledge their head. But we cannot, either for their credit or our own peace, make such a supposition for a moment. "The clause is always retained when the oath is tendered to priests, and always omitted when the oath is tendered to the laity." No! the obligation of the Roman Catholic clergy in England is" to procure that all under them, by virtue of their office (and this office comprehends the whole island, divided between the Roman Catholic bishops by the Pope, who places them at the head of his mission among us), shall hold, teach, and preach, the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church." It is true, that they have so effectually concealed this their bounden duty, that even a layman of your eminence and learning in theological matters among them, was ignorant of its existence. With what view, then, has this policy been resorted to? Shall it be declared uncharitable to say, that it has been done in order that you might so boldly deny the spirit of intolerance
-of active and direct intolerance of your Church, and that, by removing this odious spot from her face, the incautious Protestants should allow themselves to be allured by her shows and spiritual quackeries? Shall I be accused of malice if I declare, that this desperate measure of your clergy has been the result of the growing political claims of their flocks?
Can you otherwise explain why the clause of your Creed most alarming to a Protestant Establishment, the clause, which, being the concluding words of the Profession of Faith, could be omitted with the least danger of detection, is to be found in every copy which you have consulted, and is absent only from those which are in the hands of the people in this country?
"I am confident (such are your words, after having stated the fact which I have been canvassing), that Mr. Blanco White is sufficiently informed of the high character of Dr. Challoner for learning, piety, and integrity, to attribute his omission of the clause in question to any sinister motive*."
* Vindication, p. xxix.
It does not concern me, Sir, to judge Dr. Challoner's motives; I have only to do with the outward act of which that divine stands convicted upon your own evidence. He garbled the most sacred document that ever issued from an authority which he believed to be infallible and divine; and no human ingenuity can acquit him of having abetted a plan of indirect or negative deception, not to disclaim, but conceal or disguise, an important part of his faith and duty: not to free the Roman Catholic laity from the obligation of promoting the exclusive sway of their faith and Church system; but to keep that obligation in abeyance, to cherish it in the bosoms and consciences of the clergy, ready to be instilled into the minds of their spiritual subjects at the confessional, whenever they should have it in their power, by direct or indirect means, to forward the interests of Popery. The high character of the convict" for learning, piety, and integrity," affords an awful proof of the irresistible influence of the Roman Catholic system to pervert the best minds, and give them that degree of obliquity which is required in the service of the wily set of
Italian priests, who lord it over more than one half of Christendom, under the name and title of the only true Church of Christ, the Mother and Mistress of all churches.
In this case, I am persuaded, your forensic dexterity can be of no avail. You must leave either the moral character of Dr. Challoner, or that of your own Church, in my hands, to be exposed to the abhorrence of every mind that loves truth in sincerity.
A most important clause of your creed having been suppressed, a sinister motive must be charged, either on Dr. Challoner or his spiritual superiors. If he believed (as I am perfectly convinced he did) that when acting in favour of his Church the motive could not be sinister, whatever might be the object: that, for the purpose of promoting her interests in these kingdoms; that, with a view of placing members of her communion in Parliament, where they might help their clergy in rescuing their Protestant brethren from the jaws of hell, by penning them up within the Pope's fold, he might not only tamper with the truth upon a plain matter of fact (as that of
delivering an authentic document as it is, or noticing any necessary or convenient alteration), but that he was allowed, though with a trembling hand, to stop the mouth of his own divine oracle, and stifle part of the words of its most solemn answer; then, let the world learn to what degree the best and most pious minds lose sight of the first principles of right and wrong, when they fully give themselves up to the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church.
It would be not uninteresting to know, whether the suppression of the last clause of the creed of Pius IV, when that profession is administered to laymen in this kingdom, has been resorted to with or without the approbation and consent of the Court of Rome. But we cannot expect to be indulged every day with such discoveries as it has been my good luck to bring about. What we do know is most valuable every way; and in none, I hope, more really so, than in helping me to answer your paragraph on the Roman Catholic doctrine of Exclusive Salvation *.
* VI, 5, p. xxxiv.