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Art. I.-1. Audin's Life of Luther. Translated by W. B. TURNBULL.
London : Dolman, 1853. 2. Gosselin's Power of the Popes. Translated by the Rev. M. Kelley.
London : Dolman, 1852. 3. A Succinct Account of Luther and his Writings. By Dr. DoelliNGER.
London, Dublin, and Derby : Richardson and Son.
mation arose through abuses in the Church. That this should be the Protestant notion of course is not strange, and one should expect to find it in Roscoe or in Ranke. The former of these writers, speaking of the causes of the Reformation, says: “ Among these may be enumerated the misconduct of Alexander VI. and Julius II. ; the usurpations and encroachments of the clergy on the rights of the laity, and the venality of the Roman
3. And the other of them says, “The pretensions of temporal princes to ecclesiastical power awakened a secular ambition in the Popes; the corruption and decline of religious institutions elicited the development of a new intellectual tendency, until the very foundations of the faith became shaken in public opinion.”). Although at the commencement of this latter passage there is a slight approach towards the truth, the general idea conveyed by both historians, and we need hardly say by others, as by
* Life of Leo X. 90, Bohn's Ed.
† Hist. of Popes, v. i. p. 56. VOL, XXXIX.-NO LXXVII.
Guizot, or even Schlegel, is that the Reformation was the result of, and the reaction from, abuses in the Church. If this idea were correct, if it embodied not only “the truth, but “the whole truth,” and “nothing but the truth,” it would go far of course to create a strong impression that the “Reformation” was indeed a Reformation. As the essence of the Reformation however was a revolt from Papal authority, it could only be vindicated by identifying the alleged abuses with the Holy See, and producing an impression that the Holy See was responsible for them. And such is the pervading impression among Protestants. Nor is this all. It prevails to a considerable extent even among Catholics of a certain class. Thus there are Catholics who profess that the objections of Churches not in communion with the See of Rome when enquired into, are found to be objections not to the fundamental doctrines of that Church, but to the practice in former times of the Court of Rome, and to its constitution even at the present time ;-objections to the election of unwortlıy Pontiffs ; the intrigues against Popes who meditated reforms; the acquisition of great wealth ; the corruption occasioned by cupidity; the evil counsels that have led to Pontifical interference in the affairs of princes; to anathemas, interdicts, warfare, and bloodshed; the desolation of Italy and the estrangement of nations formerly in amity and communion with the Holy See. It may be true, they admit, that these evils are exaggerated; but there is still enough, they think, in the history of the Court of Rome, and something more than might be wished even in its constitution as it exists now, which furnish objections it would be well to remove. And it is not difficult to perceive that the only way of“ removing them in the mind of such writers is, to remove what they term the Court of Rome,” or the temporal power and possessions of the See of Rome. Such sentiments show that the question does not merely relate to the past, but to the present, and has a deep practical importance as regards the feelings of veneration and affectionate loyalty which good Catholics love to cherish for the Holy See. Yet, it would not be difficult to find, even in the pages of these Protestant writers themselves, testimonies tending strongly to invalidate the position they seek to establish, and to awaken a priori, in a candid mind, some suspicion that after all it is not tenable. For Roscoe and Ranke alike bear witness that, for a long time
anterior to the Reformation the Holy See had lost power among the nations, and they do not deny that this must chiefly be ascribed, nor can they conceal facts showing clearly that it is wholly to be ascribed, to the encroachments of the temporal power upon the spiritual, and the corrupting influences exerted, owing to the interference of princes in the affairs of the Church. And it is rather unfair to ascribe to the Holy See abuses which its enemies introduced, and of all power to correct which it had been by royal oppression deprived.
Yet, that such was the case history plainly shows, and even the historians who impeach the Papacy sufficiently attest. Legislation, like the statutes of provisors, and of præmunire in England, and the “Pragmatic Sanction' in France, had for ages deprived the Holy See, in a great degree, of its proper control over the patronage of the Church. And even princes most attached to the Holy See, had long lost the spirit of loyal and implicit obedience to its authority. To quote one instance from among innumerable ones that might be adduced. Muratori, quoted by Ranke, says that “Lorenzo de Medici followed the contumacious license of the greater kings and princes against the Roman Church, allowing nothing of the pontifical rights but as he saw good.”* And this is only cited as one striking authority to establish the general statement of the historian, that a universal tendency to the circumscription of Papal power was at this time manifested throughout Christendom in the south as in the north. It will not do to say that this was the result of Papal corruptions, or a reaction from Papal encroachments;" for these very historians, and others more recent, and equally Protestant, establish that, with exceptions, whichever they admit to be rare, and which researches of Catholic historians are daily showing to be rarer still, even if they exist at all, the Popes were not open to the charge of corruption, and that, as regards their contests with temporal princes, they were, without any exception, in the right. On this subject the great work of Gosselin is invaluable. He says this is the opinion formed of the investiture question, not only by Catholic writers, but by Protestants, whose profound studies have led them to
* Ranke's Hist. Popes, vol. i. p. 31. in notes.
judge the Popes of the Middle Ages with a moderation unfortunately not always found in certain Catholic authors. “ We have already,” he says,
cited the testimony of Voigt, in his history of Gregory VII., and Hurter's, in his history of Innocent II., is not less remarkable. It was in these first struggles of the Popes," he observes,“ defend their independence in all things pertaining to the government of the Church, that Christianity found its preservation from the tyranny of the temporal power, and its rescue from becoming a mere state religion among the pagans."* And speaking of the struggles of the Popes as to their temporal possessions, he says, “ In the opinion of an eminent Protestant Jurisconsult of the last century, all the Popes can be vindicated by the same arguments.' Good reason is there for asserting," observes Senchenberg, “that there is not in history a single example of a pope acting against sovereigns who were content with their own rights, and did not think of exceeding others.” It is established on Protes
't tant testimony, that long before the Reformation, the Popes, who had never wrongfully encroached upon the temporal power, had been, by the wrongful aggressors of that power, deprived of their ancient influence in the affairs of the Church. In a general view this amply suffices to show that the theory which ascribes the Reformation to vices in the Church, is ever, if it be not false in fact, fallacious in reasoning, -for it requires to be proved, in order to burden the Holy See with the responsibility for abuses, (assuming them for the present to have existed to the extent alleged, which we do not admit,) that the Holy See had the power to prevent them ; instead of which it is always assumed against it that their alleged existence is sufficient to criminate it, and to show that the "corruptions” in the Church arose from the corruptions in the Holy See! The current of Catholic literature is now, and has been for some time, tending at least upon the continent to vindicate the characters of Christ's Vicars; and the object of many of the most earnest and elaborate papers in this Journal has been simply to show that the historians who most violently impeach the character of Pontiffs, were in most cases the retainers of those princes, who, having plundered the Papacy, were
* Gosselin, v. ii. p. 349. in notes.
+ Gosselin, v. ii. p. 337, in notes
the most deeply interested in the abasement of the Pontiffs whom they had made victims of their ambition. Now the greatest Catholic and Protestant writers attest the truth of that argument. Thus, Gosselin says, “ All the ambition of the Popes was devoted to one object, the maintenance of the liberty of Rome, and of Italy against the emperors of Germany, who frequently revived the most unjust pretensions on that matter. * To me it appears evident,' observes Voltaire himself, 'that the real cause of the quarrel between the Popes and the Emperors was, that the Popes and the Romans did not wish to have an emperor at Rome,' i.e. adds Count de Maistre, they did not wish to have a master in their own house.' 'It appears evident,' Voltaire continues, that the great design of Frederick II. was to establish in Italy the throne of the new Cæsars; it is perfectly certain that he wished to reign over Italy without control, and without partition. This is the secret spring of all his quarrels with the Popes. Religion was never the cause of the divisions between Frederick and the Holy See.'"* How unjust were the attempts at aggression on the Holy See by the German Emperors, will appear from the fact that they owed their very title to the Holy See. Gosselin establishes that Charlemagne owed the imperial title to the Pope alone, and that when conferring that title the Pope never intended to surrender the right of election in future, t-that the translation of the empire to the Germans was by the authority of the Pope ;I and that after this, though the Pope did not directly elect the emperor, he long continued to have a great influence on the election.|| “The most ancient monuments of German law," says" Gosselin, “establish, or clearly suppose the special dependance of the emperor on the pope.”'S H refers to the Saxon and Suabian codes, and alludes to the custom, to which even Frederick Barbarossa acceded, of the emperor acting at the coronation as the Pope's esquire. I
And nearly, moreover, all Italy originally and by right belonged to the Holy See, as is shown clearly by Döllin
So that the aggressions and occupations could
* Gosselin, v. ii. p. 323. † Ib. p. 283. Ib. 281.
288. ** Hist. Church Vindicated, by Dr. Coxe, v. iii., pp. 114, 138, 150,