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laity, on the one hand; on the other, a regularly constituted hierarchy. This hierarchy is of divine institution, being founded by the Apostles, and ultimately by Christ Himself. In the election of successors ia this divinely appointed hierarchy, people and clergy alike take part. With the clergy, however, rests the election or appointment properly so-called (karáctaois); the people merely give their consent (συνευδόκησις). Much more difficult is the question as to the number of grades in the hierarchy. In the Prima Clementis the term bishop (émiO KOTOS) seems to be synonymous with that of priest (peoBútepos). A hierarchy of two senses or grades seems supposed also in the Didache. The terminology of the New Testament is uncertain. Indeed, the Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch (+107) are the first documents, in which the episcopal is clearly distinguished from the priestly order. The question, however, is mainly one of terminology. Quoad rem, the episcopacy, as distinct from the priesthood, goes back to the Apostles, and to Our Divine Lord Himself. And if some Churches, as Corinth, Ephesus, and Philippi, seem to have been governed, for a time at least, by a body of bishop-priests, others, like Rome, Antioch, and Jerusalem, had, according to well-founded tradition, the monarchical episcopate from the beginning. But let us return to our
In what we may call a panegyric of divine love, St. Clement reveals, as it were, his whole soul. In this eulogium of charity, there is an evident echo of that hymn to the queen of virtues which the Apostle poured forth in his letter to the same Corinthians (1 Cor. xiii.):
Let him who has love in Christ [writes St. Clement] perform the commandments of Christ. Who is able to explain the bond of the love of God? Who is sufficient to tell the greatness of its beauty ? The height to which love lifts us is inexpressible. Love unites us to God; love covereth a multitude of sins. Love beareth all things, is long
a . suffering in all things. There is nothing base, nothing haughty in love; love admits no schism, love makes no sedition, love does all things in concord. In love were all the elect of God made perfect. Without love is nothing pleasing to God. In love did the Master receive us; for the
1 Cf. xliv. 1, 4, and xliv. 5, liv. 2, lvii. 1.
Cf. Polycarp, ad Phil. v. 3.
Cf. Batiffol, Etudes d'Histoire et de Théologie positive, p. 225 sqq. ; Dictionnaire Apologétique. art. 'Evêques’; 8. Thom. 2o, 2 , Q. 184, a. 6 ad. 1.
sake of the love which he had towards us did Jesus Christ Our Lord give his blood by the will of God for us, and his flesh for our flesh, and his life for our souls. See, beloved, how great and wonderful is love, and that of its perfection there is no expression.1
In chapter Lix he addresses a final warning to the dissidents. The Church of Rome, now that it has admonished them, will be innocent of their sin. Moreover, “We will pray with eager entreaty and supplication that the Creator of the Universe may guard the number of the elect.': Then follows a sublime prayer to God for help, for mercy, for peace, and in behalf of rulers. Our readers will forgive us, I am sure, if we quote in full this touching supplication, so beautiful is it, and so suitable, too, in these sad times in which we live. The saintly pontiff thus addresses Almighty God :
Grant us 3 to hope in thy name, the source of all creation, open the eyes of our heart to know thee, that thou alone art the highest in the highest and remainest holy among the holy. Thou dost humble the pride of the haughty, thou dost destroy the imaginings of nations, thou dost raise up the humble and abase the lofty, thou makest rich and makest poor, thou dost slay and make alive, thou alone art the finder of spirits and art God of all flesh, thou dost look on the abysses, thou seest into the works of man, thou art the helper of those in danger, the saviour of those in despair, the creator and watcher over every spirit ; thou dost multiply nations upon the earth and hast chosen out from them all those that love thee through Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, and through him hast thou taught us, made us holy, and brought us to honour. We beseech thee, Master, to be our help and succour. Save those of us who are in affliction, have mercy on the lowly, raise the fallen, show thy self to those in need, heal the sick, turn again the wanderers of ihy people, feed the hungry, ransom the prisoners, raise up the weak, comfort the fainthearted ; let all nations know thee, that thou art God alone, and that Jesus Christ is thy Son and that we are thy people and the sheep of thy pasture. For thou through thy operations didst make manifest the eternal fabric of the world; thou, Lord, didst create the earth. Thou art faithful in all generations, righteous in judgment, wonderful in strength and majesty, wise in thy creation, and prudent in establishing thy work, good in the things which are seen, and gracious among those that trust in thee. O merciful and compassionate, forgive us our iniquities and unrighteousness, and transgressions and shortcomings. Reckon not every sin of thy servants and handmaids, but cleanse us with the cleansing of thy truth, and guide our steps to walk in holiness of heart, to do the things which are good and pleasing before thee, and before our rulers. Yea, Lord, make thy face to shine upon us in peace for our good that we may be sheltered by thy mighty hand, and delivered from all sin by thy uplifted arm, and deliver us from them that hate us wrongfully.
1 xlix., l. 1.
8 lix. 2. 3 These two words are not in the original text, but some such words seem necessary as a connexion with what precedes.
Give concord and peace to us, and to all that dwell on the earth, as thou didst give to our fathers who called on thee in holiness with faith and truth, and grant that we may be obedient to thy almighty and glorious name, and to our rulers and governors upon earth. Thou Master, hast given the power of sovereignty to them through thy excellent and inexpressible might, that we may know the glory and honour given to them by thee, and be subject to them, in nothing resisting thy will. And to them, Lord, grant health, peace, concord, firmness that they may administer the government, which thou hast given them, without offence. For thou, heavenly Master, king of eternity, hast given to the sons of men glory and honour and power over the things which are on the earth; do thou, O Lord, direct their counsels according to that which is good and pleasing before thee, that they may administer with piety in peace and gentleness the power given to them by thee, and may find mercy in thine eyes. O thou who alone art able to do these things and far better things for us, we praise thee through Jesus Christ, the High Priest and guardian of our souls, through whom be glory and majesty to thee, both now and or all generations and for ever and ever. Amen.1
Some patrologists think that this beautiful prayer formed part of the liturgy of the Roman Church in the time of St. Clement. However this may be, its power, its sublimity, and its simplicity without, are such as to stir our hearts to their very depths. It was thus they prayed in the early Church ; it was thus they prayed in the catacombs. St. Clement prayed in this wise, and our hearts go out in love and veneration for the great Pope, from whose soul came forth so beautiful a supplication. It forms a fitting ending to the Epistle proper.
Over the Epilogue (LXII-LXV) we need not delay. Suffice it to quote the final blessing and doxology : The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and with all, in every place, who have been called by God through him, through whom be to him glory, honour, power, and greatness and eternal dominion from eternity to eternity. Amen.
That the foregoing pages have no claim to originality is abundantly clear. We have simply striven to put before our readers one of the great Christian classics. If history tells us little about the life of St. Clement, his beautiful Letter tells us much as to what manner of man he was. Le style, c'est l'homme. What a beautiful soul his must have been ! Obedience, concord, peace, charity, of these he is the advocate, sweet and powerful. Full of clemency, truly was he worthy of his name. Verily might he be called as St. Catherine of Siena lovingly called the Pope of her time-The Sweet Christ on earth.'
THOMAS E. GARDE, O.P.
1 lix. 3 ;lxi.
2 Tixeront, Histoire des dogmes, vol. i. p. 122.
3 lxv. 2.
THE SPECIFIC DISTINCTION OF SINS
BY REV. DAVID BARRY
As it is a most important part of the priest's duty in the tribunal of Penance to ascertain the nature of the sins that are told to him, and to discriminate the species of their malice, it is manifest that a knowledge of the principles by which theologians are guided in distinguishing one class of sins from another is of the highest importance. It is true, of course, that a priest may have à sufficient and substantial knowledge of this matter by merely memorizing the different treatises of theology, without obtaining any grasp of the underlying principles. But mechanical and superficial attainments of this kind are not compatible with a proper appreciation of our sublime function, as judges, in the sacrament of Penance.
According to the opinion associated with the name of Vasquez,' the basis of the division of sins into different species is their opposition to different laws or precepts. Thus if a person has one mortal sin to tell that is a violation of the First Commandment of God and another that is a violation of the Fifth, it is evident that a formula of confession that would be applicable to either of them, or to a sin against another Commandment as well, would not be sufficient to satisfy the requirement of the Council of Trent that eas circumstantias in confessione explicandas esse, quae speciem peccati mutant, quod sine illis peccata ipsa neque a poenitentibus integre exponantur, nec judicibus innotescant.
Or, again, if a person has injured someone, unless his confession is beset by an impediment, that would make it impossible for him to go into detail, he is bound to state whether the sin was directed against his neighbour's person or property or character. For our rights in these three matters are protected by three different Commandments ;
1 In 2 Sentent., dise 37, q. 1. n. 9. 2 Sess. xiv. cap. 56
and to sanction a confession that would apply equally to the three of them would be only a step removed from the recognition of a purely generic accusation.
In many cases the use of this principle of Vasquez for discriminating between one class of sins and another is easy, and gives clear and definite results. For, as a rule, if a certain act is clearly a mortal sin there cannot be much doubt as to the particular law or precept that covers it.
Sometimes, however, this is not the case; and the respective spheres of moral conduct regulated by different laws cannot always be exactly defined. For instance, the obligations and sins with which the First Commandment is concerned, as distinct from the Second, are not always easily recognized. Thus, according to some theologians, blasphemy is forbidden by the First Commandment, and according to others by the Second.2
And again, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between sins against the Sixth and Seventh Commandments and against the Ninth and Tenth, respectively-where forbidden thoughts and desires are partly but not entirely materialized. Of course, if a person carries into execution the thoughts and wishes in question his sin is undoubtedly to be confessed as one against the Sixth or Seventh Commandment, as the case may be. Whereas, if the sin be purely one of thought and of the corresponding affection of the will, it certainly takes its malice from its opposition to one of the Commandments forbidding us to covet.
But there are some acts that intervene between the conception of the injustice or impurity and its external consummation. And if the sinner's malice extends to these acts, and does not go beyond them, it is not always easy to say whether it is against the Commandment forbidding evil deeds, or that forbidding evil desires that he has sinned. If, that is to say, he has been guilty of more than a velleity of sin, and has partly but not entirely put his plan into execution.
Any ambiguity, however, or want of precision as to a penitent's obligation to go into detail, due to the working of this principle, is removed by using another canon that is ancillary to it, namely, that acts that violate the very same law or precept, but in a substantially different manner, are quite distinct in their specific character.
1 Lehmkuhl, Theologia Moralis, i. n. 506, 11th ed.