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the publication of the Brief, “Dominus ac Redemptor." The Church is still upon her Rock, the Jesuits increase and multiply. ET NUNC REGES INTELLIGITE.
Art. V.-1. The Tablet, 1855.
N action against a Catholic Priest or Prelate must
prima facie suggest the suspicion of persecution ; for there is a strong presumption that men invested with such a sacred character are not likely to have committed any such wrong or injustice, as appears to be implied in a liability to an action. An accurate acquaintance, indeed,
ith the law of England, might inform us that, as it is not always identical with justice, its infraction might not necessarily involve any infringement of moral right; but there would, of course, be no very material difference between the false imputation of that which would be a moral wrong, and the unjust enforcement of a legal right. So, that any how, one is naturally disposed to suspect that an action against a Catholic ecclesiastic is likely to prove a piece of persecution. And any one who has been engaged in a suit, even as the party suing, and knows that even that is such a cause of anxiety and annoyance; so wearing and worrying in its effects, that it can scarcely be compared to anything else in civilized life, can well conceive that to be the party sued, must be a source of such vexation as to make the suit, if unjust, no slight piece of persecution. Nor will it be much mitigated by the consciousness of its injustice. On the contrary, that is the very sting of the injury. Upon the hypothesis we assume—that the party sued is a person of conscience—of course there could scarcely be a just suit against him ; for if he felt, not merely that there was any sort of right to compensation, but that compensation could be conceded without compromise to character—the conceding it would be a cheap means of purchasing peace and exemption from an annoyance less endurable than any mere pecuniary loss. But it is the sense of the injustice of the suit, coupled with the sense of the glorious uncertainty of the law—the “law's delays”—and the state of intermediate suspense as to the ultimate issue—it is all this, which, even in any case of an unjust suit, contributes so great a cause of vexation as often to induce even laymen to make great concessions to avoid litigation. And the annoyance would, of course, be greater in proportion to the sacredness of the party's character, and the sensitiveness of his nature. Such an one will feel more keenly the vexation, while, on the other hand, the very sacredness of his character, and the sense of what is due to it. will make him more averse to the least approach to anything like the compromise of a charge ; so that the very same conscientiousness which would preserve him from a just suit, will render him less likely to get rid of an unjust
These are considerations which must make an action at law against a Cardinal Archbishop (we believe the first on the legal annals of England ; certainly the first legal procedure against a Catholic Prelate of such rank, since the information filed against Cardinal Wolsey under Henry VIII.) a matter of no small interest. The fact that the action was brought against him by one of his clergy, has, of course, painfully enhanced the interest: the farther fact that the action was notoriously promoted by Protestants, has lent to it still more of public and Catholic interest, and stamped upon it unmistakeably that character, which, even apart from such positive evidence, would have been a priori, a matter of fair presumption. To all this it may be added, that even independent of any reference to the parties, there have been points in the history and nature of the action calculated to impart to it great legal and moral interest. Nor is this all, for the greatest organ of English feeling, the Times, thought the occasion worthy of repeated endeavours to attract public attention to the suit, and excite public expectation to the hoped-for issue, as likely to prove discreditable to the illustrious Prelate, and thus to "inflict a heavy blow and great discouragement” upon the Catholic Church in this country. Now, under these circumstances we are disinclined to let it pass away without any further reference or record than has been afforded in the columns of our excellent hebdomadal contemporaries.
A few words by way--as the lawyers say—of preamble. Some years ago, the Cardinal, then Bishop or Vicar Apostolic of the London district, thought it right to remove the priests of the Islington mission, (which was then in a state of some embarrassment,) with the view of effecting a change of system. The senior priest, the pastor of the mission, an excellent and worthy man, at once acquiesced in his Bishop's desire, and departed in peace. There was an assistant priest, answering to a licensed curate in an Established Church ; not the pastor of the mission : not even attached to the diocese—a priest who had lately been led to leave the Jesuits, and had been placed upon the mission by Dr. Griffiths. This priest resided in the missionhouse, to fit up which that venerable Prelate had given him £150, and he now objected to leave, at all events without receiving " compensation” for monies he alleged he had laid out on the house. A correspondence ensued between
* Indeed we understand that he had applied to be removed. † By means of their tendering to him one of the vows of their order which he declined to take ; the consequence being, as he knew, that he must leave the order. This was in substance the account he himself gave at the Kingston trial ; there is no English word to express precisely the effect of such a mode of leaving. It is not exactly expulsion; and most certainly it is not a voluntary departure. The French language afforded au expression suited to the case, and the Cardinal used it ; renvoyé.
# The claim was £600!!! We should be curious to see thie items of which this claim was composed, and deeply regret that reluctant coyness which led the reverend gentleman to withhoid them. It would be edifying to know how, (in addition to £150. received from the bishop,) the assistant priest of an embarrassed mission could have laid out £600, in fitting up a house! Seven hundred and fifty pounds were represented as lost or laid out in repairs, furniture, or fittings; by which must be understood, wo presume, fittings such as could not be removed; for surely the reverend gentleman could hardly expect compensation for things he could remove and carry away with him! No wonder the bishop asked for items, and no wonder they were not forthcoming. Moreover the fact that Bishop Griffiths gave £150. for the purpose, surely serves to signify wliat he deemed sufficient for it. Does it not stir ono's blood to think of a noble-minded and generous prelate
him and Bishop Wiseman, of which the upshot was this; that the Right Rev. Prelate invited him to lay an estimate before the Diocesan Board or Council, (composed, as we ail know, of some of the most respected and experienced priests in the diocese,) but this the priest declined to do: and still objected to leave the mission house, until, after preparations were made with a view to legal procedure, he ultimately left, and published the correspondence by way of appeal to the congregation and the Catholic public. Of this step he afterwards professed to see the impropriety, and, generally upon the whole transaction, made a submis
а sion to the Bishop, upon which a reconciliation took place. He had declined, however, other mission work which was offered him by the Bishop,* and so matters remained. This was about the time of the hierarchy. Some time afterwards there appeared in the Ami de Religion letters signed by the editor, the Abbé Cognat, violently assailing the Cardinal for arbitrary conduct towards his clergy, and especially commenting on the case of this priest as one of great cruelty on the part of the Cardinal; drawing a pathetic picture of a venerable priest” driven out of his sacred duties by the Cardinal, compelled from necessity to betake himself to secular employment to support himself ! Surely the most saintly man might not only be excused, but justified in feeling an honest indignation at being so held up to execration before all Europe, in a charge for which there was not the least shadow of foundation. Moreover, there was internal evidence on the face of the
being held up to the world as “arbitrary” or harsh, because he did not concede such a claim as this! And yet this was the gravamen of the plaintiff's grievance. The libel was the technical formal ground cf complaint ; but the real cause of the action, after years of interval, was the removal.
It was represented in the speech of the plaintiff's counsel, (in which we hope he exceeded his instructions,) that all compensation had been refused. This
an egregious and calumnious untruth, as the printed correspondence proves. The Cardinal had asked for particulars of the claim, and was willing that it should be submitted to a body of brother priests of the claimant’s. What could be fairer ? And could calumny go further than representing this as harsh or unjust ? Surely the force of slander could no further go!
. And we believe also by another prelate.
letter that it could not have been written by the French editor, the Abbé, whose name it bore, but that its authorship was English. Further, as the facts of the case it referred to could only have been derived, mediately or immediately, from the priest in question, and he had declared upon his submission and reconciliation, that he had suppressed his pamphlet, containing the correspondence, the only record of the case that had been published; the inference was a most natural one, that he had written, or been concerned in writing the article in the Ami de Religion ; an inference, however, not very important, as it was manifest that the materials for the charge must have come at all events mediately and remotely from him.*
The Cardinal deemed, (and who can doubt,) that it was necessary for the vindication of his character, in the eyes of the French episcopate, and of all Europe, that he should publish an explanation of the case. And he wrote such vindication in English accordingly, and placed it at the disposal of the Univers. Be it observed that the
gravamen of the accusation was arbitrary and unjust conduct to his clergy. The instance adduced was the removal of Mr. Boyle. And this was made the means of aiming a blow at the Cardinal's conduct in regard to the hierarchy, for it was said that Mr. Boyle had been removed on account of his opposition to the “ ultramontane” party, to whom the hierarchy was ascribed, and that he was (a venerable and oppressed priest,) a specimen of many others, (equally venerable and experienced, if not equally oppressed,) who were opposed to the establishment of the hierarchy, and chiefly upon that ground disapproved of the conduct of the Cardinal, who had promoted the measure. It was not, therefore, only the character of the Archbishop but the conduct of the Holy See which was attacked, for the establishment of the hierarchy was the act of the Holy See; and the wisdom of the Chair of St. Peter was not the less impeached because it was suggested that it had
* We have heard that a priest, well known in Paris, informed a friend of the Cardinal's that he had seen one of the letters in its original English, and that the name of the author was like Doyle. It is not a point of any importance, but it is a curious fact that in the Guildford cause list, the name of the plaintiff was actually spelt Doyle.