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The English Schism, BQR for October, 1858


[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for October, 1858.]

                This able and interesting historical novel is reprinted from the English edition, and has been ascribed, we know not whether justly or not, to the distinguished author of Sunday in London- a convert from Anglicanism, who deserves the thanks of every English-speaking Catholic for the valuable contributions he has made since his conversion, and is still making, to English Catholic literature.  But by whomsoever written, Alice Sherwin is, so far as we know, the most successful attempt at the genuine historical novel by a Catholic author yet made in our language, and gives goodly promise that in due time, we shall take our proper rank in this department of literature, rendered  so popular by the historical romances of Sir Walter Scott.  The author has a cultivated  mind, a generous and loving spirit, and more than usual knowledge of the play of the passions and the workings of the human heart.  He has studied with care and discernment the epoch of Sir Thomas More, or, as we prefer to say, of Henry VIII., and has successfully  seized its principal features, its costume and manners, and its general spirit, and paints them in vivid colors, and with a bold and free pencil, though after all with more talent and skill than genius in its highest sense.  We miss in him that half unexpressed poetry, that magic of romance, which gives to the Waverly Novels their fascination for the readers of all ages, renders each character introduced, not life-life, but living, and fixes in the heart as well as in the memory, each river, lake, burn, hill, or glen, described, and makes it an object of romance interest and literary pilgrimage.  Scott has won the affections of all his readers for his native land, and made every spot touched by his genius hallowed ground. No writer that we are aware of, has done as much for England, and none for Ireland, more abundant than England, one would think, in poetic materials and poetic associations. Gerald Griffin, a true poet, and worthy of Ireland's love and veneration, has indeed spread a halo around the Irish peasant, but he does not, to the stranger, consecrate and render dear and sacred for the affections the soil and scenery of Ireland.  We have never been in Scotland ; it is the land neither of our ancestors nor of our religion ; yet Scott has made us feel towards it almost as we do towards our own native land, and turn fondly to her hills and glens as we do to those with which we were so familiar in our childhood's home, and which we carry with us however far from that home we may travel.  No English writer makes us feel the same towards England, though it was the land of our ancestors, and through them we share in her ikd chivalry, brave deeds, and glorious achievements.  Her language and literature are ours, and we are not without admiration for her bold and adventurous spirit, her brave and energetic character, and the many noble and generous qualities of her heart ; and yet to us she is, after all, prosaic, matter-of-fact, and her poets with their nearly idolatrous worship of nature and natural scenery fail to render her soil poetic, classic ground.  The only spots that are so to us, are those consecrated by her naive old ballads, or those touched by the wand of "the wizard of the North."

                Alice Sherwin, true, beautiful, and rich as it is, is to us more of a prose composition than a poem, and is to be judged in the main as a work of talent, learning, and industry ; not that the author lacks either fancy or imagination ; not that his work has no true poetic interest ; but the thought and the imagination, the history and the fiction, are rather placed in juxtaposition or mixed up together, than chemically amalgamated.  The work in the mind of the reader is not a uniforn whole, and lacks, at least for us, unity of interest.  It contains a beautiful and well-developed love story, but they who read, as we did, for that, are likely to skip the history and the graver matters introduced, and they who read for the history and the graver matters are likely to skip the love story.  We very soon became interested in the destined lovers Aubrey and Alice, and we felt that whatever was not immediately related to them and their fortunes was impertinent, an intrusion, however true, just, or important in itself.  Instead of our interest in them preparing us to take an interest in the graver matter described or discussed, it made us regard these matters as the entrance if a stranger to disturb the delicious tete-a-tete of two young lovers in the first flush of their love.  What to them, all absorbed in their fresh young love, all in all to each other, and what to us who are not ashamed to sympathize with them, are the cardinal, the king, Sir Thomas More, priests and friars, the affairs of state, or of the church, the upheavings of the world itself?  The monk who is welcome is Father Houghton, who wrests the upraised dagger from the false knight, and saves Aubrey from an inopportune death.  That was a good monk, a brave heart and a stalwart arm had he.  We love Aubrey and Alice from the first.  They are two noble and beautiful creations, and make us half qualify the remark, that the author writes with talent rather than with genius, and prove that he is, at least, not without genius.  But he concentrates the interest which readers like us feel too strongly in them, or rather does not sufficiently blend it with the interest we know we ought to take in the grave historical character and events introduced, and which raise the work above a mere tale of domestic affection, and give it its higher character and importance. The two intersts are distinct, do not grow one out of the other, or run one into the other, but sometimes interfere with each other- an objection, by the way, we make also to The Last of the Barons, and which proves that its distinguished author, with all his versatile talent and genius, is not perfectly at home in the historical novel.  It is one thing to mix up a love story with grave historical, political, or religious events, and another to make the interest of one blend in with and enhance the interest of the other.  They who cannot make the two interest one in effect should subordinate one of them to the other.  Yet though Alice Sherwin, judging from the effect its perusal produced on us, is faulty in this respect, it is not peculiarly so, or so much so as most historical novels.

                But leaving Alice Sherwin as a romance, and turning to it as a grave work, for such it is, on the scenes, events, personages, and passions most noteworthy in England at the epoch of the schism, or rather just preceding its full consummation, we cannot easily speak of it in too high terms.  It is deeply interesting, and possesses rare historical value.  There is no work in our language, that we have seen, which within so brief a compass gives the general reader so clear an insight into the characters, passions, and events of the religious revolution which then took place in England, or which, upon the whole, offers so just an appreciation of the principal actors who favored it, and of the noble-minded and leal-hearted men and women who willingly sacrificed themselves on the altar of truth and virtue to advert it.  The real history of so-called Protestant reformation has never yet been written, and we have no expectation that it ever will be.  Its causes were many and often widely divergent, and its chief promoters acted from mixed motives, and from very different motives at different stages in their career.  The author has to a certain extent introduced us behind the scenes, and given us partial glimpses of the state of society in which it took place, and of the secret passions and motives which produced it.   He has read much on the subject, and knows better than most writers its real history, but we think there are deeper views than he takes, that need to be taken, if we would really comprehend the movement.  Our Catholic writers generally, as well as our author, ascribe, in our judgement, too much influence to Henry's divorce case.  We look upon that, as we have often stated, as the occasion rather than the cause of the schism with the Holy See.  We certainly have no sympathy with Henry, but we cannot deny that he was the most intellectual, cultivated, and theologically learned temporal sovereign of his time ; he had a clear mind, strong convictions, and an indomitable will, combined with qualities that made him loved as a man by such men as Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Thomas More ; and however absorbing his love of pleasure or violent and stormy his passions, we do not believer he was a man to take so important a step as separating his kingdom from Rome, unless it had the approval of his cooler judgement and maturer deliberation.  They might hasten or retard the execution of his resolution, but could not have been the governing motives of its formation.

                That Henry had become weary of Katherine, grown old and infirm, and wished to be released from her, so that he might marry another, especially after having felt the fascination of the wit and beauty of Anne Boleyn, we do not deny ; but we have no sufficient reason to assert that the conscientious  scruples he alleged as to his marriage with his brother's widow were all a hypocritical pretext.  There was for him, a king, who allowed himself great latitude, no cogent reason for having his marriage with Katherine annulled in order to solace his unlawful passion for his mistress, any thing but remarkable for her cold and rigid virtue, and whom he himself sent after a brief period to the block for her infidelity.  Henry's marriage with Katherine, Arthur's widow, was unlawful and invalid without the papal dispensation, by the laws of the church and of the state. Both before and after the schism, Henry professed to believe in the Catholic Church, and was in faith, sincerely, we doubt not, as much of Catholic as one can be who rejects the papacy and refuses to obey the pope.  Undoubtedly not to hold the pope to be the vicar of Christ, and visible head, by divine institution, of the church on earth, is to have no Catholic faith at all ; but so it would seem held not and never had held Henry, and so held not his courtiers, the parliament, and the chief men of his kingdom.  Undoubtedly in his book against Luther, in defence of the seven sacraments, for which the pope conceded him the title of Defender of the Faith, he uses strong expressions, too strong for Sir Thomas More, in favor of the papacy ; but he takes very good care not to commit himself to the essentially papal consitution of the church, or to the doctrine that the pope holds his authority by the divine right.  He recognizes the pope as head of the church, but most probably held that he was so only by human right, and therefore might be displaced by a sovereign in his own realm, without breaking the integrity of the church or impairing her faculties.  In such case a papal dispensation could have no force, save when a dispensation from a mere papal regulation, in foro conscientive.  It would not, then, be sufficient to authorize his marriage with Katherine, supposing her previous marriage with his brother Arthur had been consummated.

                Henry comprehended better than most of his contemporaries, the reach of the great movements then in progress on the continent, and not unfelt in his own kingdom.  To him, without firm faith in its divine insititution, the papacy must have appeared as on the eve of being abolished throughout Christendom.  The age was profoundly antipapal. The sovereigns, princes, and nobility of the time hardly believed in God, far less in the papacy.  As far as directed solely against the pope, they even favored Luther's movement.  The Emperor Maximilian had written to the elector of Saxony, to take heed that no harm came to Luther, for they might have occasion to use him against Rome.   Charles V. respected the papacy only as far as he could make it subserve his political interests, and Francis I., who brought the Turks against the emperor in Hungary, Italy, and Spain, was ready to support the pope against Charles, or to league himself with Henry against the papacy.  All the states of Europe seem to have lost sight of the spiritual character of the pope, and to have looked upon him only as a temporal prince in possession of vast ecclesiastical power which he could bring to bear in their favor or against them, as he pleased.  Henry might well believe the antipapal policy would prevail in the conflict of nations and of parties, and papal dispensations come to be counted for nothing.  In such case, the legitimacy of his daughter Mary, which the French ambassador had already affected to doubt, might be questioned, and grave disputes arise as to the succession, accompanied by a civil war perhaps as disastrous as that which was hardly closed between York and Lancaster.  It is not necessary then, if we take Henry's point of view, to maintain absolutely that his alleged scruples and reasons were simply hypocritical, suggested solely by his unlawful passion for Anne Boleyn.  There is no need of painting the devil blacker than he is, and Henry should have the benefit of every reasonable doubt.  Even bad men may on some subjects have honest scruples, and we should remember that Catholic cause gains nothing by representing its enemies as worse than they really were.  Henry was surrounded by men far his inferiors, and whether friends or enemies, though they might state facts, they were quite inadequate to interpret his motives or his character, and we confess we have little respect for their opinions.

                The common theory on the subject is, that Henry till drawn away from his faith and his God, by that "strange woman," Anne Boleyn, was a firm papist, and a loyal servant of the pope.  This theory makes the English schism a very pretty romance, and one which may be read without the trouble of thinking.  We do not deny the fiery and passionate nature of Henry, we do not deny the influence of an unlawful passion,-all the more powerful because unlawful in a man of his temperament, but we cannot accept the romance for history.  Politics, when France was seeking to possess herself of Italy, had made Henry the ally of the pope, as they have his successors even in our own day, and continued to make him so, till the moves on the political chess-board had changed the position of parties, and placed him on the side of France, in opposition to the emperor, whose aunt he had espoused.  When France was at war with the pope, for Italy, Henry joined the league against the French king, and invaded his kingdom, evidently hoping to make himself its real as well as its titular king.  This was his ambition, and as long as he had any prospect of gratifying it, he remained the ally of the pope.  But this ambition was viewed with no favor by Charles V., into whose hands by the fortune of war the French king had fallen.  Charles defeated Henry's ambition by liberating, on comparatively moderate terms, his prisoner, and permitting him to return and defend his kingdom.  This made Henry, stirred on no doubt by Wolsey, who had his own private grievances against Charles, the enemy of the emperor, and the ally of Francis, against him.  When the emperor and the pope became reconciled and agreed in the same line of policy, it made him the enemy of the pope.  But this alliance with the pope was one of political, not religious interests ; and we have no reason to suppose that his successors have been in their alliances with the Grand Turk.  In the ways of wars growing out of the French revolution, we saw England and Russia on the side of the pope, and it was by the aid of Engand and Russia, against the nominally Catolic powers of France and Austria, that Consalvi, in the Congress of Vienna, succeeded in obtaining the restoration and guaranty of the temporal estates of the pope.  Yet these are two great anti-papal states of the modern world.  Nothing can, therefore, be concluded from the fact that Henry supported at one time the papal politics, while they coincided with his own, in favor of his attachment to the papacy, or in favor of his belief in the essentially papal constitution of the church.  The alterations made by his own hand in his coronation oath immediately after having taken it, explanatory of the sense in which he had taken it, afford conclusive evidence that on his ascending the throne he was no papist, and that his convictions were in substance the same that he avowed after the schism.  Even then he placed the royal dignity above the papal, and subordinated the exercise of the papal prerogatives to the civil laws and customs of his kingdom.  Our view of the matter is that Henry's convictions, although they may have been more fully developed in process of time and by the course of events, underwent no substantial change from his coronation to the day of his death, that neither before nor after the schism was he a true, loyal papist.  We place no reliance on what is told us of the new views opened up to him by Cranmer and Cromwell.  Henry had scarcely his superior in theological knowledge in his kingdom, and he was vain of that knowledge and fond of showing it.  He may have flattered as well as used Cranmer and Cromwell as his instruments, but he would never have suffered them to be his masters or his teachers.  With this view of his case, the pretty romance disappears, and the divorce question is important only in its bearings on his relation with the emperor and his alliance with Francis I.  There is no reason to suppose that had Clement VII. without any hesitation declared the dispensation obtained from Julius II. insufficient in consequence of some informality or a false assumption of facts, annulled his marriage with Katherine, and granted him full permission to marry again, whether Anne Boleyn or any other lady he preferred, that it would have retained Henry in his obedience, that it would have materially changed the result, or even delayed the march of events.

                While Henry was the ally of the pope and had favors to ask him, he no doubt did not contemplate breaking with the papal authority.  He then could and did address the Holy Father in respectful and suitable terms, and we presume, if there had been no change in his politics, and if it had not been for the strong anti-papal movements going on especially in Germany, he might have lived and died as good a Catholic as his unamiable and miserly father, Henry Tudor.  These things directed his attention to the subject, and afforded him the opportunity of declaring formally his kingdom independent of the see of Rome, and of withdrawing his clergy from the papal jurisdiction.  In fact, Henry in doing this did far less than is commonly supposed.  He in reality only followed out what long had been the policy of the English government, of the lords and commons, as well as the monarch.  The civil authority had long before Henry, vitually, if not indeed formally, rejected the papacy, and separated the church in England from the chair of Peter.  When Henry ascended the English throne, as a writer of a series of masterly articles in the Dublin Review seems to us to have fully proved, the pope could not, as far as the civil law went, exercise one particle even of ecclesiastical power in the realm without the royal license.  No papal legate could be received or excercise his functions, no appeals could be made to the papal courts, no communication by bishop or priest could be held with Rome without the license of the king.  The constitutions of Clarendon, held always to be in force by the government and crown lawyers, and the terrible statute of proemunire, made the church in England virtually as independent of the papal authority and as dependent on the temporal power as is the present Anglican establishment.  Henry really did nothing so far as we have been able to discover, that transcended the constitution and laws of his kingdom, as he found them on his accession to the throne.  In substance, all he did was to withhold the royal license where he had a legal right to withhold it, and to embody in a declaratory act what was already and long had been the civil law of England as understood by England herself ; he claimed or exercised no power, at least in principle, that had not been claimed and exercised by his predecessors, with comparatively few exceptions from the Norman conquest, and from Edward III. with the consent or acquiescence of all orders in the state.  It would be well for those who pretend that the church in the middle ages held all civil governments in tutelage, and had every thing her own way, to study with a little more care the civil legislation of the period.  They will find that as modern nations were formed and developed themselves, their constant struggle was to destroy  the legal rights and independence of the church in their respective dominions, and to make the exercise of the papal power dependent on the royal or imperial license.  Legislation, wherever there was a legislature, was profoundly anti-papal, and the most so in the states which were freest, or in which the power of the monarch was the most restricted,-a fact which no doubt is the reason why so many European Catholics are still so favorable to monarchy, and so opposed to parliamentary government.  We have no right therefore to throw the whole blame of the English schism on Henry, who only carried out the policy of his predecessors and the English parliament, at least from Edward III.  Though of Welsh and therefore Celric descent, Henry was the best type of the modern English character we have found, and say what we will, "bluff King Harry" is still a special favorite with the genuine Englishman.  His insisting on observing the forms of law in divorcing, condemning, and executing one wife before marrying another, is in strict accordance with the English respect for legal order.  Not improperly has he been called "Henry the Wife-Slayer," but he took good care always to slay his wives by the hand of the public executioner.  It is the English custom to do, through courts of justice and under form of lawm what in other countries, if done at all, is usually done by open violence, secret poisonings, or private assassins.  England seldom fails to find, or to make, a law to her purpose, or to obtain a court and jury prepared to rid her of an individual whose removal she desires.  It is the advantage of self-government.

                The dispute occasioned by the demand of his divorce from Katherine, the political complications of the time, and the anti-papal movements in progress on the continent brought matters to a crisis, and afforded Henry the opportunity to give the coup de grace to the anti-papal policy long adopted and steadily pursued by the English government ; but they did not, in our judgement, change his convictions, or convert him from a sound papist to a devont Anglican.  Our theory is that he simply seized upon the occasion to carry out his convictions, and to place himself and his kingdom openly and avowedly, in the attitude demanded by the civil constitution and laws of England as they already existed.  The success with which he did it, with which he openly excluded the pope from England and appropriated the functions of the papacy to the crown, proves his great personal popularity and influence ; but it proves still more strikingly the low state to which the papacy had fallen in the convictions and affections of the English people.  The usual theory among English and even continental Catholic writers is, that the English schism-we say schism, because during Henry's lifetime, the movement went hardly beyond- was effected by the king and court against the convictions and wishes of the great body of the nations.  We found no evidence of this.  The parliament, lords and commons, the more active, energetic, and influential portion of the people supported the king with alacrity, and would, apparently, have gone much further than he was willing to go, had he not restrained them.  Left to themselves, the great mass of the people, no doubt, would have vegetated, as their fathers had done, in nominal communion with Rome, for the mass of the people usually, when left to their own course, pursue the old beaten track, rumble on in the old ruts, from generation to generation.  We have ourselves seen among the habitants in Canada, oxen at work, with the yoke placed in front of the head, and fastened to the horns.  It is only recently that the mass of the population of any country has begun to live an intellectual life, or to have any thoughts or aspirations of their own.  The great body of the thinking active, representative people of England went with Henry, and the English nation, as a nation, not he alone, must be held responsible for the schism and consequent heresy.  The movement, as far as Henry carried it, was a national movement, if ever a national movement there was ; no order or representative body in the state or kingdom offered in any serious opposition.  The primate, Wareham, arch-bishop of Canterbury, and even Fisher, bishop of Rochester, as far as we can discover, assented in convocation to the declaration of the royal supremacy, which Henry obtained from the clergy, with the cowardly and practically unmeaning salvo, "as far as the laws of Christ allow."  The only voice we hear in convocation protesting against declaring with the salvo the king the supreme visible head of the church within the realm, was that of Tunstall, bishop of Durham.  We hope Fisher was not present in convocation.  If he was, and made no protest, his death a short time afterwards, by order of the king, must be regarded as an expiation, as well as a martyrdom.  The conduct of the great body of the bishops and clergy during the whole struggle, is fearfully instructive as to the profoundly anti-papal character of England at the time, and bears unimpeachable testimony to the false, or defective theological teaching which must have for a long time been current in the kingdom.  Neither king, nor parliament, neither lords nor commons, neither the clergy nor the people, regarded themselves in separating from the pope as separating from the Catholic Church, or as abandoning any substantive portion of the Catholic faith.  Give all the play you will to the base passions of individuals, to pride, ambition, covetousness, bribery, corruption, there remains still the fact of a whole nation separating from the pope, and yet believing itself not separated from unity, or ceasing to be Catholic, to be accounted for, and which you can account for only by assuming that the faithful did not generally believe in the essentially papal constitution of the church.  A thousand Cranmers and Cromwells, armed with all the force of law, and power of the state, could never have separated a nation from the papal authority without the people believing they had separated from the Catholic Church, if they had been taught to hold that the church and the papacy are inseparable and indistinguishable.  All the clergy who adhered to Henry were not cowards, cringing slaves, base time-servers, ready to disavow their honest convictions, at the summons of the king and parliament.  There were in England, as well as elsewhere, brave men, men of learning, strong convictions, and honorable character, who adhered to the so-called reformation, and gave it a prestige in the eyes of the world.  We gain nothing by painting them all as moral monsters, for we must remember that they had all been baptized and brought up, nominally at least, in the Catholic communion.

                The Protestant movement coalesced in the succeeding reign, owes its origin, as we have more that once endeavored to prove, not solely to the personal depravity of the actors, not to the abuses prevalent in the church, not to the general relaxation of manners and morals, or even the scandalous lives of ecclesiastics, whether dignified or undignified- for these were nowhere worse than in Italy, and Italy remained papal- but to the growing influence of monarchical centralism, to the development of distinct nationalities, and their reaction against the cosmopolitan tendency of the papal unity, and to the fact that public opinion at the opening of the sixteenth century was profoundly anti-papal.  It is evident to the students of history, that for whatever reason, the guardians of the faith had failed, for more than one generation, to instruct the faithful, as they should be instructed, with regard to the true police, office, and position of the papacy in the kingdom of Christ, and had suffered them to grow up with the error, -not reduced to a formula, and only vaguely floating in the mind, we grant,-that the church in her essential constitution is episcopal, or presbyterian, rather than papal.  No doubt they taught coldly and formally, that the pope is the visible head of the church, and to be obeyed as such ; but they failed to make them see and understand that the church is essentially papal, and that without the papacy the church as Christ founded it is inconceivable.  The people saw and understood little of the papacy, save in its political relations with their princes, who generally held it to be constituted only by human rights.  They saw their princes almost always in quarrel with the pope, when not waging open war against him, and heard them constantly complaining of his bad faith, his ambition, his arrogance, and his usurpations.  How were the people, though coldly and formally taught that the pope is the visible head of the church, to have a proper appreciation of the papacy, or to preserve for the Holy Father the love and reverence due to his character, when they continually heard him denounced by their princes, and were much more carefully taught to be loyal to the prince than they were to be obedient to the sovereign pontiff ; or when they saw, as they usually did, their own bishops and clergy substaining their temporal prince, blessing the arms of his soldiers, and offering up prayers for his success in open war against  the pope?  When they saw their own bishops and clergy bearing all the arms their state admitted against the sovereign pontiff, how could they regard him, as under God, the source of all ecclesiastical authority, and essential not only to the order but to the very being of the church?

                Incalculable as have been the evil of the Protestant movement, this good has resulted from it, that the pope has, in a measure, been liberated from those political relations and complications which, for so long a time, made the faithful almost lose sight of his sacred character as the head of the spiritual society founded by our Lord, and that the faithful have been brought nearer the Holy Father, and more explicitly taught that to be Catholics they must be papists, that our Lord founded his church on Peter, and that Peter lives, teaches, and governs in his successors in the see of Rome.  The early popes nearly all suffered martyrdom, and in every age the papacy is the first and the last object of attack by the enemies of the church.  Unhappily, too, the papacy is precisely the point on which weak, timid, and worldly-minded Catholics, wise, prudent, and safe men as they esteem themselves, are the most yielding, and the most ready to make concessions which only embarrass the Holy See, and weaken our lines of defence.  Without the pope there is no Catholic Church, without the Catholic Church there is no Christian religion, and without the Christian religion there is no redemption, no remission of sins, no salvation, no eternal beatitude.  All rest on Peter, and Peter rests on Christ, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, perfect God and perfect man.  What greater folly or madness then, than to suffer the very foundation to be undermined, and to busy ourselves, while the sappers and miners are at work, with simply protecting the ornaments and decorations of the temple?  Defend successfully the pope, and you successfully defend all ; lose the pope, and you lose all.  The whole history of the church proves that the only effectual way to defend truth and unity against heresy and schism is, to guard and defend the chair of Peter.  The life-seat of the church is there.  There is the heart which receives and circulates the life-current through even the extremities.  That once broken, that once hindered from performing its functions, death follows, the church is a lifeless mass, a putrid corpse, and the sooner it is buried from the sight, the better.  U bi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, is not a mere rhetorical flourish, but simple, sober truth.  How, then, is it possible to have patience, if we may so speak, with those episcopalian, presbyterian, or Erastian Catholics, who shriek out with alarm whenever the prerogatives of Peter are strongly and boldly asserted, who agree with Rome were to upset Christ's kingdom, and who seek in every conceivable way, and by all manner of subtile distinctions, without absolutely denying the faith, to explain away the rights of the Holy See, and to thwart the pope in the just exercise of his legitimate powers?  On the papacy, if anywhere, there should be true firmness, heroic courage, no compromise, no concession, no hesitation, no quailing, even though opposed by all the craft of politicians, all the wrath of kings, and all the rage of hell. 

                Yet it is on this point that the instruction of the faithful seems to us the most defective, and the most striking want we detect among them in a hearty, unswerving love and devotion to the Holy Father.  We find many who can throw up their caps and shout Evviva Pio Nono! who can never be induced to shout Evviva il Santo Padre!  We know not Pio Nono, but we do know, love, honor, venerate, and, we hope, are prepared to die for il Santo Padre.  In his voice we hear the voice of God speaking to us through his voice on earth.  We may highly esteem the man for his personal virtues, but it is the pope, not the man, we venerate and obey.  To us it seems the only effectual way to guard against heresy and schism is to have the great body of the faithful believe and understand that the church is essentially papal, that to teach and govern in Christ's kingdom are apostolic functions, that the apostolate remains in the successor of Peter alone, and that all who have authority to do either derive it from God though him.  Louis XIV. said L'etat, c'est moi; in a far higher and truer sense, when he speaks as the vicar of Christ, may the pope without pride or arrogrance, say L'eglise, c'est moi, for the church is the body of Christ, even in some sense, Christ himself.  Once thoroughly instructed on this point, no Catholic can be seduced into schism through ignorance, and whoever becomes a schismatic, must become one with his eyes open, deliberately, from malice aforethought, and till prepared for schism, no one can ever become a formal heretic.  This is wherefore, in season and out of season, we so earnestly insist on the papal constitution of the church.

                The author of Alice Sherwin takes, upon the whole, a favorable view of Henry's minister, Cardinal Wolsey, and, for the most part defends him.  There may have been worse men than Wolsey, who have worn the purple, but we think the church could hardly have had a worse representative in England at the time.  We reject the infamous charges preferred against him after his disgrace, though subscribed by Sir Thomas More, and we think not unfavorably of his deportment and sentiments after his fall, though we should respect him more, if he had felt the loss of the king's favor less keenly, and had more distinctly remembered that he was still archbishop of York, and a cardinal of the Holy Roman church.  Wolsey was a vain, ambitious worldly-minded, unscrupulous man, precisely one of those men who bring discredit on churchmen, and tend to alienate the affections of serious and simple minds from the church.  He was magnificent, a lover of the arts, and a liberal patron of learning and the learned.  He was a skillful and in general a successful diplomatist, an able minister, and a passable lord high chancellor ; but he was a crafty politican rather than a great statesman, and carried out in all its perfection the policy set forth and commended by Machiavelli in his Il Principe, and which the moral sense of the workd repudiates.  As a churchman, and as the papal legate, he forgot the interests of religion, subordinated the interests of the church to those of the kingdom, and used her revenues to aggrandize himself and his prince.  He did more to shake the stability of the church in England than the worst of his comtemporaries.  Katherine believed to the last, that it was he who first suggested to Henry the project of a divorce, and it is the certain that he favored Henry's divorce from Katherine, though not his marriage with the giddy daughter of a Norfolk squire.  It coincided with his policy of detaching Henry from his alliance with the emperor, and forming an alliance with the French ambassador raises a doubt as to the legitimacy of the princess Mary, moved thereto not improbably by Wolsey, that we first hear of Henry's scruples.  The political complications, as they are now called in diplomatic language, which led to the open rupture of Henry with the pope, were of Wolsey's formation, though whether of his own motion, or under the intructions of Henry, we are not able to decide.

                However skillful as a diplomatist, able as a politician, or great as an administrator.  Wolsey was not a great man, and is but a dwarf by the great Spaniard, Cardinal Ximenes, archbishop of Toledo and regent of Spain, the only prelate and statesman ofthe time who seems to have appreciated the significance of the Protestant movement, and taken effective measures to counteract it.  Wolsey comprehended nothing of that movement, and intrigued, by means that proved him wholly unfit for the elevation he aspired to, to be raised to the papal throne, when, if he had been a great man, he would have seen that the papacy was already engaged in the most terrible struggle that it had ever encountered, and that the most fearful revolution of the modern world was already in progress.  Till he lost the king's favor, he was devoted to the king, and though a  prince of the church, studied only to advance the interests of his temporal sovereign, and through him his own.  He was for the king against the pope, unless he could be made pope himself.  Henry he regarded as his master, and was ready to serve him in any thing, if, at the same time, he could serve himself.  That he never really lost his faith, his conduct after his fall sufficiently proves, but though aspiring to the tiara, he evidently was but a sorry papist, and regarded the pope, though wielding immense ecclesiastical power and patronage, very much in the light of a temporal sovereign.  Even after his fall and repentance, even in his dying confession, we have no expression of filial love and reverence of the Holy Father, and so far as the papacy is concerned, we recollect no word that might not have entered into the dying confession of any Protestant archbishop of York, or of Canterbury.

                The author call his book a Tale of the days of Sir Thomas More, and of course regards that eminent man as his hero.  Sir Thomas More enjoyed during his lifetime a great reputation, both in England and on the continent, as a scholar, a poet, a wit, and a humorist, and he is generally held in high esteem by Catholics and Protestants.  The author appears to regard him as a model statesman, a model man and a model Christian.  We are sorry not to be able in all respects to agree with him, for Sir Thomas More's death was that of a true Christian hero, since he suffered by order of the king his master because he would not violate his faith and conscience by taking an oath in which was asserted the royal supremacy.  He was not ignorant of Catholic doctrine, but though he lacked not the light of faith, his conduct was not always in accordance with Christian morals.  He was, as Cesare Cantu was well said, "a mixed man ; full of light in his writings, but not so moral in his practice, sacrificing his probity to his greed of honors and emolument, and approving arbitary acts, till his conscience was alarmed by attacks on his faith."  He appears to have held by the constitutions of Claredon and to have offered no opposition to the statute of proemunire, as he was willing to accept and retain office when the king was enforcing it.  He had been brought forward and protected by the cardinal, yet he intrigued against him, accepted his place, and subscribed the charges  against him, know them to be false and malicious.  He accepted the office of lord high chancellor, knowing the relation of the king with Anne Boleyn, and having a full knowledge of the designs as well as of the temper and character of Henry.  He held  his place not long indeed, but till he saw he would be permitted to hold it no longer, and the resigned it on a false pretence.  He was the intimate friend of Erasmus, and without intending harm to religion, was associated with that band of wits, humanists, as they were called, who by their raillery of the monks and the schools and preceding ages, did not a little prepare the way for the religious revolution which followed.  His Utopia is as little Christian as the Republic of Plato, and runs religions liberty into religious indifference, and indicates that when it was written the author thought little of his faith and less of his church.  Up to the last, whatever may have been  his conversations with "Son Roper," or his sad forebodings, he was far from comprehending the revolution in progress, and understood little of its real causes, and less of the means of arresting it.  However, it is hardly fair, save when he is held up as the ideal of a Catholic and a statesman, to make it a fault in him that he was not wiser than his contemporaries, or to condemn him severely for having shared the faults of his age.

                Sir Thomas More and Cardinal Fisher were both beheaded, really, whatever the pretences may have been, for refusing to recognize, unqualifiedly, the king under God as supreme within his realm in all matter of spiritual as well as temporal, and for that we must hold their memories in lasting honor.  Whether Fisher was present in convocation and assented to the qualified declaration of the royal supremacy obtained from the bishops and clergy under the terrors of Proemunire, the historians we have consulted do not tell us.  We would believe he was not, for we should like to regard him as a martyr.  But we cannot, after all, regard Sir Thomas More as having been a true papist.  It is said that when Henry read him his book against Luther, he objected to its strong language in favor of the papacy,  and pointed out to Henry the inconvenience that might arise from it in case they should ever be at war with the pope as temporal prince.  We have no reason to believe that he disapproved of the anti-papal consititution and laws of England, and his conscience seems to have taken alarm less at the restriction on the papal authority than at the assertion of the supremacy of the king, for he was a parliament man rather than a king's man.  Yet his death was for the truth ; if in part expiatory of past laxness, it nevertheless was glorious, and sufficient to redeem a far worse life than any one can pretend his was.

                We are struck in reading the lives of those who under Henry's daughter Elizabeth, and later sovereigns, suffered for their religion in England, to see how few, unloving, and cold were their expressions of devotion of the Holy Father.  They were executed, murdered, we should like to say martyred, for their adhesion to the pope against the king, and yet their expressions of loyalty are warmer and more frequent than their expressions of affection for the papacy.  Even to this day English Catholics seems to regard the church as episcopal rather than papal, and to concede with a sort of reluctance the papal supremacy.  To admit the papal prerogatives seems to cost them a severe struggle with their pride and personal independence as Englishmen, and it would seem that they rarely yield the Holy Father a loving and ungrudging submission.  High-toned papal doctrines are rarely palatable to English Catholics.  Nevertheless, we are not aware that that they need in this respect to be singled out from the Catholics of other countries, while in many other respects they deserve at the present day to be regarded as a model Catholic people.  We only wish that we on this side of the water were equal to them.  Let them, however, never forget that they owe their conversion from heathenism and their civilization to the intervention of the pope in their behalf, and that it is only by their open and manly avowal of papal doctrines, and their affectionate devotion to the Holy Father, that their non-Catholic countrymen can be recalled to unitym and England once more rejoice in that faith which before the Norman conquest made her glory, and gave her the title of "Island of Saints."

                In studying the history of the Protestant movement, we are well-nigh startled by the profound indifference to it or gross misconception of its magnitude and importance  shown even by the most eminent statesman, diplomatists, scholars and philosophers, who remained, after all, faithful to the Catholic Church. It seems to have been comprehended by nobody, neither by its projectors, nor by its Catholic opponents.  Leo X. regarded it in is origin as a local and temporary quarrel between some German monks, and rather admired the genius, the wit, and the spirit displayed by Luther in his writings.  This fact proves how completely the creatures of routine the best of us are, how few in any age think or reason out of the grooves prepared for thought, how little in any sudden emergency what we learn in schools and from books can serve us, and how little we can profit by any experience but our own.  All education presupposes and prepares us only for a fixed state of things, a regular and uniform order.  The best professors can educate only for what is, never for what, though it may be, has not yet come.  The new must come prepare its own chiefs.  The wind rise, the waves roll, the tempest rages.  Our Lord is asleep in Peter's bark, and no one can rebuke the tempest and say to the winds and the waves, 'Peace be still," and be obeyed.  Nothing better proves the devine  origin and support of the church than her living through the storms of the Protestant reformation. Human foresight, human wisdom, human sagacity, human strength, human energy, human courage, failed ; the bark is tempesttossed, and the sea opens to ingulf it.  The pilot for the moment forgets himself ; the crew are mutinous, or paralyzed with fear.  The Lord awakes, calls out to him that wounded Spanish soldier, Ignatius Loyola, and prepares him and his associates for the new work to be done.  Then, but not till then, do we see real, living men, such men as it gladdens and encourages us to see, step forth and take their stand on the side of truth, and offer its enemies the challenge of battle.  Till the truth had for her champions only cunning diplomatists, wily politicians, subtle schoolmen, imbecile scholars in worn-out and cumbrous armor, who were practically, before the energetic captains of the new movement, as chaff before the wind. But then the hosts of error were confronted with bold and determined men ; their advance was stayed, and they were compelled to recoil in confusion upon themselves.  The tempest was rebuked, the winds and the waves were stilled, and with the Council of Trent "there came a great calm."  It is not in human wisdom to prepare fully beforehand men who can effectually serve us in the beginning of such a movement.

                It is far from our thought that in these remarks we are offering any thing in opposition to the author, or suggesting any thing that he will not accept.  We do not suppose that we differ from him unless it be in extending our views a little further than those he expresses.  Our purpose is not to show that we have a better understanding of the Protestant movement than he has, but to draw from it a great practical lesson, the importance of which it is impossible to overrate.  We have our theory of the movement,-inadequate not unlikely,-and we ascribe the real cause of that movement to the failure of the pastors of the church, very extensively, to insist in their primary instructions of their flocks, on the essentially papal constitution of the church.  They may have taught with sufficient distinctness that the pope  is at the summit of the  hierarchy, but they did not with sufficient distinctness that he is also at its basis, is its foundation, the rock on which the whole church rests.  The theories in regard to the papacy of Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun, as well as others, very generally held by the princes, courtiers, and jurisconsults, were suffered to prevail, not in the schools, not in the formal teaching of the church, but in the popular mind, and to become to a fearful extent the public opinion of the Christian world.  These theories still float in the minds of many Catholics, in a vague and unfixed form, indeed, but still float there, the germs of schism, ready to be developed when the occasion comes.  Our aim has been to assert against them, and enforce by the terrible example of the reformation, the real papal doctrine of the church. 

                The faithful priests, monks, and nuns who suffered for their faith, the author introduces, are historical, and their characters and acts are described with a graphic pen and a loving spirit.  The portions of the volume devoted to these, though perhaps a little episodical, are its brightest gems, and those which do the author the most credit, and will endear his work to the heart of every Catholic.  The author has shown in this as well as in other parts of his work, not only great power, but much discrimination and taste.  He has introduced us to a most painful period of history ; but we regard it as a great merit in him that he has known how to relieve its horrors, and to give us now and then a bright spot on which we can rest, and recover our breath.  The only part we have found too painful is the pictures of the wrongs and sufferings, the piety and resignation of the saintly Queen Katherine, the true heroine of the story.  In her case, we find no relief, no consolation, save in looking beyond the grave, to the eternal recompense that awaited her where the wicked cease to trouble and the weary are at rest.

                Although we have opinions on the characters and movements the author sketches, which he may not in all cases accept, we assure him we highly esteem his book, and believe it will do great good in the direction he wishes.  It may not be precisely perfect as a work of art, but it has a manly tone, and breathes a true Catholic spirit ; and is the most valuable contribution yet made in our language to a class of works we have repeatedly urged our Catholic authors to attempt, and of which Mr. McCabe in his Bertha, Florine, and Adelaide, and Mr. McSherry, a countryman of our own, in his Willitoft, and Pere Jean, have given us favorable specimens.  The whole field of history is open to the Catholic novelist, and there is no good reason why we should not have authors who will cultivate it, and do for the church what Scott has done for Scottish history, and spread the charm of romance over Catholics in their various struggles for faith and freedom, which he has spread over Scottish Jacobites and English cavaliers.  Let the historical novelist seize upon the introduction of Lutheranism by Gustavus Wasa into Sweden, and immortalize the massacre of the noble peasants who resisted the innovation, and died en masse in defence of the faith that had abolished  the inhuman worship of Woden, and closed his temple at Upsala, the last stronghold of paganism in Europe.  Let him pass to Helvetia, and paint the persecutions of Catholics in Berne, Zurich, Geneva, and Swiss cantons ; let him signalize the labors of the zealous missionaries in the sixteenth century after the Protestant rebellion broke out, to save the faith in Ireland, to recover it in Poland, Hungary, Austria, and central Germany, and to convert the infidels in the East  and the West, the North and the South.  Here in a wide and rich field, here are topics that abound in touching and romantic interest, wanting only the wand of genius to bring it out.  Let genius do it, and it will afford amusement, and serve at once the cause of literature and religion.  We ought to make the historical novel our own, for though it we may reach and favorably affect the non-Catholic world, too prejudiced, too indifferent, too frivolous, or too engrossed with material interests, in this age of Mormonism and lightning-telegraphs, to read our graver productions.  We have talent and genius enough in our ranks, if excited to activity, to revolutionize the whole literary world.  There are thousands of richly-endowed minds and noble hearts among us, that are preying upon themselves, and consuming their own energy in doing nothing, because they find no outlet, no work.  We live in a fast age, and we must keep at it, or remaining fixed, cry out at the top of our lungs to it, "Stop, stop, good Age, run not so swiftly by us."  It is for Catholic genius to throw itself into the current, and direct its course.