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reduced. But what must we think of auricular confession, when he, into whose prurient ear it is poured, lives under the irritation of a vow of virginity ? The wretched being within whose bosom distorted passions are rankling is called daily to listen to tales of licentiousness from his own sex; and, infinitely worse, to the reluctant or shameless disclosures of the other. Let the female penitent be of what class she may, simplehearted or lax, the repetition of her dishonour, while it must seal the moral mischief of the offence upon herself, even if the auditor were a woman, enhances it beyond measure when the instincts of nature are violated by making the recital to a man. But shall we imagine the effect upon the sentiments of him who receives the confession ? Each sinner makes but one confession in a given time; but each priest in the same space listens to a hundred! What, then, after awhile, must that receptacle become, into which the continual droppings of all the debauchery of a parish are falling, and through which the copious abomination filters ?”* To some these remarks may seem severe; but they are more than justified by facts continually occurring in the history of the Romish priesthood. The demoralizing tendencies of auricular confession are too notorious to be denied, and too gross to be palliated. .
It was remarked that the legate did all in his power to prevent any publication of the decrees passed at the fourteenth session. He even hindered the ambassadors and others from obtaining copies.f There was a reason for this, which was not generally known at the time. After the session, certain divines of Louvain and Cologne who were attending the council discovered several errors, both in the decrees and canons. They immediately informed the Archbishop of Cologne, who reported it to the legate. He was excessively chagrined, but found himself compelled to hear the observations of the divines, and refer the matter to a committee. The result was, that the divines established their charge. What was to be done ? Should the decrees be corrected, or should they be permitted to go forth to the world as passed at the session? Of two evils, the archbishop rightly observed, it was wise to choose the least. Some
* « Fanaticism,” by the Author of “ Natural Enthusiasm," pp. 206—21 + Sarpi, 1. iv, s. 29. Vargas, p. 238.
additions and corrections being made, the divines were satisfied; and the publication was allowed to take place. Where was the boasted infallibility of the church of Rome on this occasion ? The council holds its solemn session “under the presiding influence of the Holy Spirit,” and announces its decrees. Theological blunders are detected in those decrees; they are examined, acknowledged to be erroneous, and amended before they are committed to the press. Who, then, were inspired ; the fathers of the council, or the divines of Louvain and Cologne ? If the former, how was it that their labours required correction ? If the latter, who can trust to the decisions of a council ?*
But notwithstanding all the pains that were taken, the decree on penance was far from being satisfactory to Roman Catholics. Hitherto, free discussion had been allowed on this subject; and instead of enforcing absolute uniformity of opinion, the church had permitted her sons to differ from each other in their explanations. This freedom was now at an end. Dogmas invented in the middle ages were constituted articles of faith, and dissent from them subjected to anathema. It was useless to murmur. Those who consent to wear the Romish yoke have no right to complain that it galls the neck.
* Vargas, pp. 79, 80, 243, 257. “Si le Pape se conduit par la raison, cela doit faire beaucoup d'impression sur son esprit. Je crois que D permis cet accident, pour achever de les couvrir de honte et de confusion. Après cela ils ouvriront les yeux, suivant cette parole du Psalmiste, Imple facies eorum ignominia, ut quærant nomen tuum. Dieu veuïlle qu'ils la comprénent bien. Mais je n'ose l'esperer encore. Je l'ai toujours dit, il faut que Dieu fasse un miracle pour cela.”
Pallavicini says, that there is no account of this affair in the acts of the council. He may be believed : Vargas informs us, that even in his time the secretary and notaries were suspected of unfair dealing, p. 62.
It is amusing to read Vargas's professions of entire submission to the council, notwithstanding the chicanery which he daily witnessed. “ Pour moi, je baisserai toujours la teste, et je me soumetrai sans peine à ce qui sera defini sur les matières de foi.” “ J'ai dit que le Saint Esprit ne permettra pas que le concile se trompe dans les articles principaux.”—pp. 235, 245.
Decree on Extreme Unction-Reflections—Decree on Reformation-Arrival
of Ambassadors from Maurice of Saxony-Negotiations respecting a new Safe-conduct-Refusal to meet the Wishes of the Protestants—The Protestant Ambassadors admitted to Audience-Defeat of the Legate's Project to establish the uncontrolled Despotism of the Pope-FIFTEENTH SESSION-Insolent Sermon preached by a Monk-Six Protestant Divines arrive at Trent–Their ineffectual Attempts to obtain a Hearing—War between Charles V. and Maurice of Saxony-SIXTEENTH SessionSuspension of the Council.
The decisions of the council on the subject of Extreme
“ It hath seemed good to the holy council to subjoin to the preceding exposition of the doctrine of penance what now follows concerning the sacrament of extreme unction, which was regarded by the fathers as the consummating act, not of penance only, but of the whole Christian life, which ought to be a perpetual penance. In the first place, therefore, with regard to its institution, the council declares and teaches, that as our most merciful Redeemer, who intended that his servants should be provided at all times with salutary remedies against every dart of their enemies, has in the other sacraments prepared powerful helps, by which Christians may be safely preserved, during life, from all great spiritual evils—so he has fortified the close of their existence with the sacrament of extreme unction, as with a most secure defence. For though our adversary seeks and takes occasion, during our whole life, to devour our souls in whatever manner he may, there is no period in which he so vigorously exerts all the strength of his subtlety to accomplish our utter ruin, and disturb, if possible, our confidence in the divine mercy, as when he sees that we are approaching the termination of our course.
“ Chap. I. Of the institution of the sacrament of extreme
unction. 6. This sacred unction of the sick was instituted as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament by Christ Jesus our Lord; being first intimated* by Mark, (ch. vi. 13,) and afterwards recommended and published to the faithful by James the apostle, brother of our Lord. • Is any man,' saith he, sick among you ? Let him bring in the priests of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.' (James v. 14, 15.) In which words, as the church has learned by apostolical tradition, handed down from age to age, he teaches the matter, form, proper minister, and effect of this salutary sacrament. For the church understands the matter of the sacrament to be the oil, blessed by the bishop ; the unction most fitly representing the grace of the Holy Spirit, wherewith the soul of the sick man is invisibly anointed.+ The form is contained in the words of administration. I
*“ Intimated :"-It is a doctrine of the Roman-catholic church, that the apostles were not made priests before the institution of the Lord's supper. Had it been affirmed that the passage in Mark recorded the institution of the sacrament in question, it would have followed that other persons besides priests might administer it. To avoid this, the word “ intimated” (insinuatum) was employed; so that though the apostles did the very same thing which James afterwards enjoined, in the latter instance it is to be considered as the sacrament of extreme unction ; but in the first as only something like it !- Sarpi, 1. iv. s. 25.
+ “Its element or matter, as defined by many councils, particularly by the Council of Trent, consists of oil of olives, consecrated by episcopal hands. No other sort of oil can be the matter of this sacrament; and this its matter is most significant of its efficacy. Oil is very efficacious in soothing bodily pain, and this sacrament soothes and alleviates the pain and anguish of the soul. Oil also contributes to restore health and spirits, serves to give light, and refreshes fatigue ; and these effects correspond with, and are expressive of, those produced, through the divine power, on the sick, by the administration of this sacrament.”—Catechism, p. 296.
“The sacred unction is to be applied, not to the entire body, but to the organs of sense only-to the eyes, the organs of sight; to the ears, of hearing; to the nostrils, of smelling ; to the mouth, of taste and speech; to the hands, of touch. The sense of touch, it is true, is diffused throughout the entire body, yet the hands are its peculiar seat. This manner of administering extreme unction is observed throughout the universal church, and accords with
“ Chap. II. Of the effect of this sacrament. “ The power and effect of this sacrament are explained in the words— and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.' For this power is the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose unction cleanses away sins, if any remain to be expiated, even the last traces of sin ;* and relieves and confirms the soul of the sick man, exciting in him strong confidence of the divine mercy; by which strengthened, he bears far better the inconveniences and pains of his disorder; resists more easily the temptations of the devil, who does, as it were, lie in wait at his heels; and sometimes obtains the restoration of his bodily health, if the same shall further the salvation of his soul.f the medicinal nature of this sacrament. As in corporal disease, although it affects the entire body, yet the cure is applied to that part only which is the seat of the disease; so in spiritual malady, this sacrament is applied, not to the entire body, but to those members which are properly the organs of sense, and also to the loins, which are, as it were, the seat of concupiscence; and to the feet, by which we move from one place to another.”—Catechism, p. 300.
The unction is applied to all the parts above-mentioned. At each anointing the priest says, “ By this holy unction, and through his great mercy, may God indulge thee whatever sins thou hast committed by sight”-or “smell”—or “ touch,” &c. This is called the “form” of the sacrament. “ The form is to be applied by way of prayer, although the apostle does not say of what particular words that prayer is to consist. But this form has been handed down to us by apostolic tradition, and is universally retained, as observed by the church of Rome, the mother and mistress of all churches.”—Ibid. p. 297. Many other prayers are also used : “ There is no sacrament the administration of which is accompanied with more numerous prayers.”
*“ The grace of this sacrament remits sins, especially lighter offences, or, as they are commonly called, venial sins. Its primary object is not to remit mortal sins. For this the sacrament of penance was instituted, as was that of baptism for the remission of original sin.”—Ibid. p. 301.
+ " However, should this effect not follow, it arises not from any defect in the sacrament, but from weakness of faith on the part of him by whom it is received, or of him by whom it is administered; for the Evangelist informs us, that our Lord wrought not many miracles amongst his countryman, because of their incredulity. It may, however, be proper to observe, that Christianity, now that it has taken deep root in the minds of men, stands less in need of the aid of such miracles in our days, than in the early ages of the church.”—Ibid. p. 303. It would have been well had this observation been better regarded ; fewer“ lying wonders” would have disgraced the pages of Roman-catholic history ,