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Manning's Lectures

(From Brownson’s Quarterly Review for January, 1873.)

            WE read the writings of no contemporary author who seems to us to understand so well the threatening evils of our times in their causes and consequences as the illustrious archbishop of Westminster, the not unworthy successor of the lamented Cardinal Wiseman.  The more we read the works the late cardinal has left behind him, the more are we struck by the richness of his mind, and the extent and variety of his learning and knowledge, the sweetness and unction of his spirit, and the depth and earnestness of his soul.  He was the man for his times in England, and it would be impossible to estimate the services he rendered the Catholic cause in that ultra-Protestant kingdom.  But his successor, in many respects a different type of character, as intellectual perhaps, and apparently less genial and more austere, is, in our judgment, as a man and a prelate by no means his inferior, or less fitted to his country or his times.  His writings are no less profound, broad, or eloquent, and seem to us even more simple, direct, and effective.  He seems to say the right word, at the right time, and in the right place, precisely the word, he makes us feel, that we should like to say, and would say if we could.

            Few prelates were more zealous or more influential in support of papal infallibility, and in obtaining its definition in the holy Council of the Vatican.  Few, if any, saw more clearly the necessity of that definition to recover, even in Catholic ranks, the proper respect for the papal authority, to give a death blow to the liberalizing and compromising tendency that was obscuring the faith in the minds of prominent laymen and even of some churchmen, and rendering their Catholicity weak and puny, only a step removed from Protestantism itself; and we, English0-speaking Catholics, owe him a debt of gratitude for the stand he took and the influence he exerted.  Gallicanism, coupled, as it had begun to be, with the pretence that a Catholic is free to deny any proposition that has not been formally defined to be of faith, was become little different from the less radical forms of Protestantism, and rendered the assertion of Catholicity in its strength and plenitude not a little hazardous.  It had become a reproach with large numbers of nominal Catholics, but real heretics, to defend the papacy, or to be called an ultramontane; and there was a time in our own country when a Catholic could, with less danger to his Catholic standing, speak against the pope than against the emperor of the French.  It was high time that the papal prerogatives should be defined more explicitly than they had hitherto been, since the unity and catholicity of the church are inconceivable without the supremacy and official infallibility of the successor of Peter.  Catholicity depends on unity, and unity, St. Cyprian tells us, in the visible order, is founded in the chair of Peter.

            Now, without any change in faith, but by an explicit definition of what it is and always has been, a great change has been operated in the tone and feeling of Catholics towards the papacy; and every Catholic now understands that to contemn the pope is to contemn the church, and to contemn the church is to contemn Christ, whose spouse she is.  The members are now one with their head, and the church is united and can move as “one man” against the enemies of God and his Christ.  The publication of the syllabus was a great fact, the Council of the Vatican and its decrees is a greater fact still,--one which closes for ever the door to heresy, and makes the issue henceforth under one aspect, between Peter and Caesar, and under another aspect, between the church and infidelity, or between Christ and Satan.  Satan, we think, has gone the length of his tether, and can obscure the issue by no new heresy or new clouds of smoke from the bottomless pit.  Persecutions, perhaps even to blood, may come, and heaven be peopled with new armies of martyrs, but Catholics can no longer mistake their banner or the word of command.  This is an immense gain, and notwithstanding the very nearly universal defection of the temporal powers, the church seems to us never to have been stronger, or in a more favorable position for the discharge of her mission of winning souls to Christ, than she is now.

            The four great evils of the day, according to the illustrious archbishop, are: 1. The revolt of the intellect against God: 2. The revolt of the will against God: 3. The revolt of society from God: and 4. The spirit of Antichrist.--These four evils result from the revolt against the four-fold sovereignty of God.  The divine sovereignty extends over: 1. The intellect of man: 2. The will of man: 3. Society: 4. The course of the world.—God is also sovereign as the divine Head of the church; and the church is sovereign by derivation from her divine Head, or as the representative of the divine sovereignty on the earth.  The spirit of Antichrist is the revolt of man in his intellect and will, and of society against the sovereignty of the Word incarnate as the divine Head of the church; and of the derived sovereignty of the church as his representative.  The four great evils of the times are, then, the complete rejection by man and society of the original and derived sovereignty of God and his Christ in the world, and over and through the church.  They are all included in the spirit of Antichrist, or the rejection, under every aspect and in every relation, of the sovereignty of the Word made flesh,--the one mediator between God and man, or the medium of the divine sovereignty in the government of men and nations, and the course of the world.

            We are apt, even when we believe, love, and obey it, to take too narrow and superficial a view of Christianity, or to forget that, as all things were made by the Word as the medium of the creative act of the blessed and ineffable Trinity, and without him was made nothing that was made, so were all things made, are preserved and governed ad Christum, or the Word made flesh,--the only medium by which the creature is perfected, or attains to and possesses God as his last end.  All things are done through the Son and for the Son, for even the Holy Ghost, the Consummator, the Sanctifier, proceeds a Patre Filioque, not as from two principles, but as from one principle.  Hence the denial either of the blessed and indivisible Trinity or of the Incarnation, is alike to deny the whole of Christianity, and to reject the whole divine order in the creation and government of the world,--the end for which all things exist, the medium by which they are created and sustained, and by which they can attain to God as their final cause or supreme good.  It is not a light thing, then, to deny either the incarnation of the Word who is God, or the ineffable mystery of the Trinity, for to deny either is in reality to deny creation and even God himself.

            The Christian order is neither an afterthought nor an accident in the divine decree, but is the divine order itself, which, from the inception of creation to its consummation, is the glory of the Word made flesh.  The church is integral, not a mere incident in this divine order.  She is teleological, and the medium through which the Word made flesh operates, and the Holy Ghost perfects creation, or consummates all things.  The church, then, is an essential element in the divine order, no less so than the Incarnation, of which it may be regarded as in some sense the visible expression and continuation.  Revolt against the church carries with it, then, the revolt against Christ, the incarnate Word, against the blessed Trinity and therefore against the divine sovereignty, under all its aspects, over the intellect, the will, society, and the course of the world, and generates the four great evils of modern society.   

            But, as we have shown in the foregoing article, the papacy, as defined by the Council of the Vatican, is essential to the very existence and even conception of the church as one and catholic; the denial or rejection of the papacy, or the supreme authority in governing and teaching of the successor of Peter by divine institution, or the rejection of the pope as the true vicar of Christ, is the spirit of Antichrist, and carries with it the rejection of the church, the sovereignty of her divine Head, the whole divine order of creation, and the fourfold sovereignty of God;--as the illustrious archbishop makes evident in these masterly lectures to all who can read and understand them.

            We can from this understand why the archbishop, and all those whom Dr. Newman inconsiderately denounced in his hasty note to Bishop Ullathorne as “a faction,” were in such dead earnest to get the papal question decided by the Council of the Vatican.  It is said that the Jesuits were the principal agents in obtaining the definition of the papal infallibility.  This is perhaps an exaggeration, though they were among its most earnest and indefatigable advocates; but if true, it would be in the last degree to their credit, and constitutes the crowning glory of their illustrious society.  The two decrees of the council,--the one defining the papal supremacy, and the other, the papal infallibility,--opposed the truth directly to the fundamental error of the modern world, the modern error, of which all its other errors against faith  and the divine order are born.  Never did a council, or, rather, the pope, the council approving, emit more important decrees, or publish definitions more needed, or that struck with anathema a greater or a more destructive error; and let us add, that no council ever convoked, or that ever deliberated on matters of faith, ever gave more conclusive evidence of having been guided and assisted by the Holy Ghost.  Satan rallied all his forces against them, induced kings and princes to threaten the fathers assembled, instigated scholars to abuse their erudition and science, and made the timid predict fearful schisms, persecutions, and the ruin of the church, to prevent the adoption of the schema; yet they stood firm, and the Holy Ghost enabled them to rise above all considerations of mere human prudence, and to proclaim in the face of the hostile world the truth that condemns it, and gave them the strength and energy to combat it and save the church and society.  The syllabus and the Council of the Vatican are the redeeming facts of the nineteenth century, and prove that “the Lord’s ear is not heavy that he cannot hear, nor his head shortened that he cannot save.”

            It is now easy to trace the rise and progress of the fourfold error, or the four great evils of the day, set forth clearly, truthfully, and eloquently, by the archbishop of Westminster.  Men did not fall all at once to that lower deep in which we find them now sunk.  They do not begin by denying out and out the divine sovereignty.  They  begin by indulging passions and tendencies which that sovereignty commands them to restrain, and which obscure or dim their intellectual perception of the truth.  They then adopt some error or deny some truth, which they persuade themselves, or are persuaded by Satan, does not necessarily involve the denial in any degree or in any sense of the divine sovereignty, but which Satan knows must, in its logical development, carry with it the denial of the whole.  All heresy logically developed is a denial of the fourfold sovereignty of God, and this shows the terrible evil, the guilt of heresy, as high treason against the divine Sovereign, and why the church always treats it as a more grievous sin than a mere act of disobedience; but men are not always logical, and do not always and at once push their errors and heresies to their last logical consequences.  It is only gradually and with time that they evolved.

            There were many and grievous heresies prior to the sixteenth century, as the Arian, the Nestorian, the Eutychian, the monothelite, &c., in which some specific article, dogma, or proposition of faith, was denied; and though it logically involved the denial of the whole Christian or divine order, their adherents were for the most part content with the specific heresy or denial, and remained in all other respects orthodox; for none of them, though disobedient to it, formally and expressly, as their fundamental and essential denial, which generated all their other denials, ever denied the Catholic rule of faith.  This was reserved for the heretics—reformers, as their followers call them—of the sixteenth century.  Protestantism contained, no doubt, no small number of specific heresies which were condemned by the holy Council of Trent; but, properly speaking, it was itself a generic rather than a specific heresy.  Its fundamental, essential, generic heresy was the denial of the papal supremacy and infallibility.  The denial did not seem to them, any more than it does to Dr. Dollinger, to be a denial of the Catholic Church, far less to be a virtual denial of the Catholic faith, or the divine order of creation, and a universal revolt against the divine sovereignty.  To their minds, obscured and enfeebled by their pride and other passions, the papacy seemed but an unessential element in the church, and without any significance in the divine plan of creation, redemption, and glorification.  They did not understand that all things are created and ordered ad Christum, and therefore ad ecclesiam, and consequently ad Petrum, on whom the church is built, and who teaches, directs, and governs it through his successors in the see of Rome.  They did not see that to reject the papacy was to reject the church, and to reject the church was to reject Christ, the Word made flesh; or that to reject the Word made flesh is to reject the entire Trinity, God himself, or that there is no logical standing-point between the papacy and atheism.  They regarded this as foolishness, and took the pope to be, not the vicar of Christ representing his authority in the visible church or the kingdom of God on earth, but as Antichrist, the “man of sin,” who “put himself in the place of God, and exalted himself above all that is worshipped as God.”

            That the essential principle of the Protestant movement was a revolt from the papacy, not merely disobedience to the sovereign pontiff—as was the case in the Greek schism—but an express and formal rejection of the papal constitution of the church, and the absolute denial of all papal authority, is evident from the fact, that it is the only principle in which all Protestants were agreed in the beginning, and have continued to be agreed down to the present.  There are not wanting in all Protestant sects individuals who will say, as I said while still associated with the Unitarians: “The problem for our age is Catholicism without the papacy;” but none of them will accept the pope as the vicar of Christ on earth, for the moment a man becomes convinced of the divine institution of the papacy, he feels that he is no longer a Protestant, and that he is bound in conscience to seek admission into the church in communion with the holy Roman See.  Many Protestants are led to abjure their Protestantism and to seek admission into the Catholic Church by various other good and satisfactory reasons, and to accept the papacy without any very clear or distinct perception of its importance or its profound significance in the divine order; but no one who is convinced that the pope is the vicar of Christ can honestly remain in a Protestant communion, or outside of the communion of the Catholic Church.

            We are far from pretending that the reformers or their adherents comprehended that the rejection of the papacy logically involved the rejection of the church of Christ, the sovereignty of God, the whole divine order, and even God himself.  The reverse was the fact.  They saw no logical connection, indeed no connection of any sort, between these several propositions; it took the true logical instinct of the atheist Proudhon, to perceive and to tell his readers that, if they admitted the existence of God, they must, to be consistent, admit the Catholic Church, the pope, the holy waterpot, and all.  They thought they could reject the pope and retain, even with advantage, the church, the Christian faith, Christ, the Trinity, the fourfold sovereignty of God, as the so-called Old Catholics, with far less excuse, do now; and it is possible that if they had not so thought, they would have perceived the satanic character of the movement they were following, and recoiled from it with horror.  Satan would be a sad bungler, if, when he wishes to seduce men from their allegiance, he could not mask his design under the affectation of intenser and more single-hearted loyalty; if he could not, after showing the flowery and enticing entrance of the path in which he wishes them to walk, conceal from them the abyss to which it inevitably leads.

            In point of fact, the reformers did not profess, in rejecting the authority of the pope and, therefore, of the church and councils, to reject all authority in matters of faith; but to fall back on the authority and infallibility of the written word, which the popes and councils, the whole church, had always recognized and maintained.  It was an artful dodge, to use an expressive slang phrase.  The pope could not deny either the authority or the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures; and if they could be made to appear in court against him, he could not have a word to say in his own defence; judgment must go against his claims, and the people be emancipated from his usurped authority, and reject him with scorn and contempt.  But the Bible is authoritative and infallible only in the sense of the Holy Ghost who inspired it, and for determining that sense they had, after rejecting the pope as Antichrist, no infallible and, therefore, no authority at all.  They could not agree among themselves, and have never been able to agree among themselves, as to the mind of the Holy Ghost, or the sense in which the Scriptures must be understood in order to be the infallible and authoritative word of God.  They were obliged to fall back on the Scriptures interpreted by private judgment, then on private judgment without the Scriptures, and therefore lost the sovereignty of the Word made flesh, and every thing of Christ but the name, to which they had no right, and which they only dishonor.

            Thus by rejecting, as the spirit of Antichrist induced them to do, the derived sovereignty of the pope as head of the church, they lost the authority of the word of God written or unwritten, the sovereignty of Christ given him by his Father and conquered by his obedience, his cross and passion, and his victory over death and the grave, and, finally, the sovereignty of God over the intellect and will, over society, and the course of the world.  Step by step, the world that revolted against the papacy in the sixteenth century, has traversed every degree of error down to the lowest depths of atheism.  The invincible logic, of which the human mind can never even in error wholly divest itself, has driven them thus far.  Atheism was logically contained in their first denial, and time and events have only developed it, brought it out, and actualized it.  We have the proof of this in the present sate of the non-Catholic world.

            Protestantism being not a specific heresy, but the generic principle of all heresy, the archbishop in some of his writings has said truly, that “there can be no new heresy, or that the era of heresies is closed,” except, we add, with the inert mass of Protestants whom the age leaves behind, who still imagine they are in the middle of the sixteenth century, and who count for nothing in the present and future movements of the world governed by the spirit of Antichrist.  The controversy is now, not between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, but is between God and no God, the universal divine sovereignty, and the universal, intellectual, moral, social, and religious anarchy of Antichrist.  Whoever is able to discern the signs of the time sees and understands this; and we have found no one,--after our Holy Father, Pius IX., now gloriously reigning, although a prisoner in the Vatican,--who understands it better than the illustrious archbishop of Westminster, the real primate of England, we might say of the English-speaking world.  He has a weakness for his former Anglican brethren, and a belief in the good faith and true piety of many of them, that we do not share.  We doubt that there are many souls in the Anglican establishment that will be saved, not in it indeed, but by being gathered out of it, like the archbishop himself, into the one fold, under the one shepherd.  But aside from this, the archbishop seems to be led and assisted by the Holy Ghost to a right and full understanding of our age, its evils, its terrible errors, and its spiritual needs.  The age in regard to what characterizes it has fallen back two thousand years, and sits in the region and shadow of death, mocked by the delusive hopes of the “prince of this world.”

            It is a little remarkable that the holy Council of Trent, though it condemned the specific heresies of the so-called reformers, only indirectly condemned what we have called their generic principle, or the generic principle of all heresies,--so to speak, heresy itself.  Humanly judging, the clear and distinct assertion of the papal supremacy and infallibility, as has since been done by the holy synod of the Vatican, by the Tridentine fathers, would have saved Catholics and Catholic nations from the terrible scourge of Gallicanism, and prevented the downfall of Christendom; but we suppose they were restrained from directly and distinctly raising and settling the question by prudential considerations, such as we heard urged with so much earnestness and force by the inopportunists in the late Council of the Vatican.  The sovereigns had always regarded with a jealous eye the power of the pope, and even the Catholic sovereigns in the sixteenth century would have refused to support the church in her struggles with armed heresy, if the council had taken any action that tended directly to exalt or confirm the papal power.  The fathers may have thought it imprudent in the fearful crisis which then existed, to alienate such powerful princes as the emperor of Germany, the king of France, and the king of Spain, and to throw them into the arms of the reformers.  In a question of prudence, neither the pope nor the council is held to be infallible; but it would be rash for a simple individual to say that they actually erred in their judgment.  The affairs of church and state were so complicated or mixed up with each other at the time, that it is probable it would have been an act of decided imprudence for the fathers of Trent to have done what has been so nobly, bravely, and even prudently, done by the fathers of the Vatican.  The church knows that there is a time for every thing, and that nothing is well done, unless done in its proper time.  She is forced at times to choose between two evils, and we must always presume that when she does so, she chooses the least.

            Another consideration may have had weight with the fathers of Trent.  At the time when the council held its sessions, the generic principle of Protestantism had not been fully explicated, and neither Protestants nor the great body of the faithful could see all or the chief consequences it logically involved, and which time and events would develop; and the reason or necessity, nay, the full meaning of the condemnation would not have been understood by the majority of either party.  In order to render the condemnation intelligible and effective, the fathers may have judged, and rightly judged, it necessary to wait developments, not, as the developmentists inconsiderately maintain, of Catholic doctrine—for that was as well known and as perfectly understood by the church in the first century as in the nineteenth—but of error, the denial of the papacy, or till it had become evident to all the world, that the denial of the sovereignty of the visible head of the church derived from the divine Head, carries with it the denial of the sovereignty of Christ, and, therefore, the entire sovereignty of God.  This, which was evident in the sixteenth century to only a few, had become manifest to all the world, and absolutely undeniable in the nineteenth.  It is easy, then, to see a good and valid reason, why the church,--though always indicating her own mind on the question,--never fully and explicitly expressed it, till events and the inherent developments of the denial had drawn practically and openly its last logical consequences.

            It was not to be expected that the decrees of the Council of the Vatican, defining the papal supremacy and infallibility, would excite no opposition, or at once bring back to the communion of the church the nations that had declared that they would not have God to reign over them, or submit to him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.  The debates of the council developed a serious opposition, at least to the opportuneness of the definition, among the bishops themselves; and though every one, as far as we know, without a single exception, has accepted it, yet we may reasonably suppose that those who had been trained in the Gallican habits of thought, and accustomed to defend the church after the Gallican fashion, would require time to adjust their minds to the new definition, and to comprehend its full reach and bearing on Catholic theology.  Merely nominal, lukewarm, timid, and, especially, liberal Catholics so-called—whose Catholicity had heretofore consisted in their liberal concessions of what is not their own to the enemies of the church, and in their persistent efforts to circumscribe the papal power within the narrowest sphere possible without expressly denying it—would of course be dissatisfied with it, and it was to be expected that numbers of them would go out from us, because they are not and never were of us.  Those outside would certainly not at first be attracted by it, were sure rather to be repelled by it, and to find in it an additional motive of hostility to the truth.  Yet we look upon it as the beginning of an upward tendency in the public mind, and of a real revival of Catholicity in the heart of the nations.

            The first effect, greatly aided by the opposition, must be on the Catholic body, and tend to bind Catholics, especially the bishops and clergy, more closely to the visible head of the church, and to render them more independent of the civil power, freer in their spiritual action, and more earnest and devoted in their zeal for the prosperity of the church and the salvation of souls.  One of the greatest evils the church in all past ages has had to content with, was, that her pastors, especially in the higher ranks, felt that they depended, not on their spiritual chief alone, but in part, and often even, on their temporal or national sovereign, always ready to support them against the papacy.  Indeed this evil has continued down to our own times, until there has ceased to be a national sovereign that acknowledges his allegiance as temporal sovereign to the Holy See; and this is one great reason why we have found Catholics so feeble in old Catholic nations, in need of persecution more or less severe to invigorate their faith, to inflame their charity, and to render them by the grace of God robust and heroic.  Pope Gregory X., in the second Council of Lyons, told the assembled bishops that, if there were evils to be redressed, they themselves were alone the cause.  They were so, because they were more devoted to their temporalities which they held from the prince, than to the pope from whom they held their spiritual functions, and therefore more solicitous of the favor of their temporal sovereign than of their spiritual chief.  The abandonment of their professed protection of the Holy See by the European sovereigns, is not, therefore, an unmixed evil.  The bishops and clergy have now little or nothing to expect from them; and the most they can hope from them, after being despoiled of their temporalities due to the faith and charity of former times, is to be let alone, and in poverty, obscurity, and unrecognized by the civil power, to labor to reconstruct Christendom, and in union with their chief to bring back the apostate nations to their allegiance to the Sovereign of sovereigns.

            The strength and efficiency of the entire hierarchy is in the papacy, in the strict union of its members with, and entire dependence on the supreme pontiff.  This secures them entire freedom and independence, in face of the powers of earth, as all true freedom and independence of every sort, and of all ranks and orders, are in entire dependence on God, and subjection to him alone.  Only they are free whom the Son makes free.  The freedom, energy, and robustness of the faithful are in their intimate union through their pastors with their chief, the vicar of Christ.  This union will be rendered practically more complete by the decrees of the Vatican, which make the pope, as the vicar of Christ, the center and fountain of all life and authority in the church of God.  They make the church the free, independent kingdom of God on earth, and make the members of the hierarchy feel that they are princes, and the faithful people understand that they are free citizens, of a kingdom which is above and over all the kingdoms of the earth, and of whose glory and dominion there shall be no end.  The decrees of the Vatican concerning the papacy tend directly to unite in one body with one soul the whole Christian people, cleric and laic, and to render it strong and invincible against every enemy of God and his Christ, and to prepare it for the conquest, and, where need is, for the reconquest of the world, and its subjection to the divine sovereignty.

            The hope of the world is in Christ, the one-mediator of God and men; and Christ operates only through and for his church, which he loves, and has purchased with his own precious blood.  It is only then through his church,--the congregation of the faithful united together and to him in one faith, under one regimen, and the participation of the same sacraments,--that the world can be practically redeemed, or receive the practical application of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord, and be carried forward to the realization of their beatitude in eternal union with God and a participation of the divine nature, or become, as St. Peter says, naturae consortes divinae.  In rendering the body of the faithful more thoroughly united and compact, these decrees, though for the moment they may apparently lessen the numbers aggregated to the body of the faithful, must, as time goes on, strengthen the church, render her more independent of the world, and more efficient in the discharge of her divine mission to teach and govern in spirituals all men and nations.

            It is precisely in the effect these decrees, coupled with the publication of the syllabus, will have on the faithful themselves,--not in any direct effect they may have on those outside of the Catholic body,--that we see the beginning of the Catholic revival, or renaissance, as say the French.  We in no sense justify or excuse those who remain aliens from the church, or those who apostatize from her communion, and become her bitterest and most relentless enemies.  Nothing can excuse their voluntary blindness, or mitigate their terrible guilt; but it would be a great mistake to suppose that Catholics have no responsibility.  Had Catholics been all and always true, earnest, and devoted Catholics, and been less wedded to the world which they renounce in baptism and more thoroughly animated by the spirit of Christ, and devoted to his vicar, whom they have but too often left to bear alone the brunt of the battle with the enemies of the church, there would be now few heathens and no heretics in the world to convert.  Then, just in proportion as the Catholic body become united and act as “one man,” in the fine scriptural phrase, filled with the burning charity of the Gospel, and elevated to the height of the Catholic mission, the more effective it becomes in the conversion of men and nations to our dear Lord, and in subduing and scattering his enemies.  We catholicize heretics and infidels by becoming thoroughly catholicized ourselves.  Hence this Review has always maintained, that the only way to convert the American people is to labor with all charity, zeal, and energy, to make the Catholic population already in the country intelligent, earnest, self-denying, practical Catholics, adorning their faith by their union and good works.  As Christ converts the world through the church, so is our country to be converted through the Catholic population it contains.  The more this population becomes one compact body, the more truly Catholic it becomes, the greater will be its efficiency in converting the country, though few direct efforts for its conversion should be made.  In this, we apprehend, we only express the conviction and the policy of our own enlightened and devoted hierarchy.

            The reader will perceive that we have made no attempt to review these masterly lectures, nor to give even an abstract of their contents.  We could not condense them, and to review them would be on our part an impertinence; and, besides, all our readers, we presume, have already read and admired them, and profited by their rich thought, profound wisdom, and sound Catholic doctrine.  All we have aimed at is to express our high appreciation of them and their author, and to throw out some thoughts of our own on the subject with which he has inseparably connected his name.  It is not for us to judge, certainly not to speak disparagingly of those prelates who in the council opposed the definition of the papal infallibility for what they regarded as prudential reasons; they were, as the judgment of the church has decided, on the wrong side, but we have no right to say they erred in faith, or in any respect to impugn their motives.  They none of them, if we are rightly informed, opposed the definition on the ground that they do not or did not believe the doctrine.  Overruled on the question of opportuneness or expediency, there could be no inconsistency and no humiliation in their accepting, ex animo, the definition when made.  Their opposition, freely and fully expressed, proves that the council was a free council, deliberated, and decided freely, and thus disposes of the objection so unjustly raised against it by Dollinger and the wretched men who call themselves “Old Catholics.”

            For ourselves: We, when the question was raised, should have been glad to have found these eminent prelates, whom we honor as princes of the church, on the other side, but perhaps it is better that they were not, for their opposition gave ample room for an able and full discussion of the question by the greatest intellects, the profoundest scholars, and most eminent theologians of the world; and their prompt and hearty adhesion to the definition is not only highly edifying, but proves that it was in no uncatholic spirit that they opposed the definition.  They were, as we have said, on the wrong side, but were right at hearty and, as Catholics, above all reproach and suspicion.  We give this explanation in justice to them, after the commendation we have bestowed on the archbishop of Westminster.