Images de page
PDF
ePub

tell so much, and that so truly, we are aware that many of the most potent influences at work upon the national character and prospects elude the grasp of the statistician and defy the measurements of numbers, and that these might tell far different tale than that of England's prosperity. Such sobering reflections will not have escaped the reader, though it has been beyond our plan to give them prominence here, where our only design has been to put him in possession of some of the facts brought to light by the recent Census, satisfied that they will be esteemed of interest and importance enough in themselves to dispense with elaborate comment or philosophical inquiry.

38

ART. II.-1. Theologia Moralis S. Alphonsi de Ligorio, Fundatoris Congregationis SS. Redemptoris ac olim Episcopi S. Agathe Gothorum. Editio novissima; curavit P. MICH. HEILIG, Congr. SS. Redempt. Presbyter et Professor Theol. Moralis. Parisiis, 1845.

2. Homo Apostolicus, sice Praxis et Instructio Confessariorum. Auctore illustrissimo et reverendissimo D. Alphonso de Ligorio, Editio nova. Moguntiæ, 1842.

3. Compendium Theologia Moralis S. Alphonsi Maria de Ligorio, Auctore D. Neyraguet, Presbytero Diocesis Ruthenensis Missionario. Liburni, 1851.

4. A Treatise of Equivocation: wherein is largely discussed the question whether a Catholicke, or any other person, before a Magistrate, being demaunded uppon his oath whether a Prieste were in such a place, may (notwithstanding his perfect knowledge to the contrary), without perjury, and securely in conscience answere, No, with this secreat meaning reserued in his mynde, That he was not there, so that any man is bounde to detect it. Edited by DAVID JARDINE, Esq. London, 1851.

5. Cases of Conscience, or Lessons in Morals. Sixth Edition. London, 1853.

[ocr errors]

PERHAPS there is scarcely anything which has had such weight in inducing a certain class of minds to pass from the communion of the Church of England to that of Rome, as a supposed holiness, and a high standard of piety, which the latter has been imagined to possess. The late Mr. Pugin's vision has floated through many a mind; Pleasant meadows, happy peasants, all holy monks, all holy priests, holy everybody-such unity and such charity, where every man was a Catholic.' How this opinion originated we will not linger to point out. Doubtless it arose from many sources which flowed together into one stream. The depth of religious fervency found in Roman Catholic books of prayer was compared with the sober expressions in the writings of our own Divines. The devotion apparent in the conduct of the worshippers of S. Peter's, S. Ouen, Milan, and Seville, during the time of the Easter ceremonies, at which they were alone visited, was contrasted with the frigidity of our own too often verger-governed cathedrals. Many of our writers, struggling against errors of an opposite nature, did not wait to point

out those to which their readers were not then exposed, and in drawing attention to the evils of the nineteenth century, they cared not to paint more than the bright features of the fifteenth. But, above all, the forward and delusive faculty' of Imagination came into play. People took to idealizing. They built themselves fairy palaces, and drew themselves fairy pictures of what the Church must be. Prophet and apostle were called up as witnesses, and an ideal holiness and unity were made necessary conditions of the Catholic Church. Then the eyes were turned from within to the strange scene of turmoil without, which this world of ours, and the Church militant in it, always present. The consequence was a cold shiver, and a conviction, grounded on the feelings, if not on the understanding, that this, at least, was no adequate realization of the glories depicted within. But yet the enchanted palace was not to be shivered so easily. The realization must be somewhere. True, it was not here, and therefore it must be looked for at some further spot-a spot sufficiently far removed for the mist to cover all inequalities in the appearance, and to give means of still dreaming on securely and cherishing a belief in the actual existence of the Ideal. And so, though England was fallen, yet Rome must be perfect.

This could not last long. History, and the testimony of living writers, spoke too unmistakeably. Mr. Gladstone's Letters to Lord Aberdeen cleared off a world of mist from Italy, and there were others who did the same good service for Spain and France. But even so the dream would not be cast out. The ideal, it had to be acknowledged, was not realized even there-but that might be the result of counteracting circumstances. It was the King of Naples, or the Grand Duke of Tuscany, or the Court of Spain, or the French Revolution. But still none of the evils must be traced to the Church, and the Church's own teaching and practice. She must still be, in herself, the great Perfection to which weary mortals may ever have recourse, to learn truth from her unstammering lips, and duty from her unchanging code of morals.

That the existence of such a living teacher-an ever-abiding oracle, ready to give the same responses to all comers-preaching the one true faith, and laying down one uniform system of pure and high-toned morality, is a captivating dream, cannot be denied; and if Rome is, in a special manner, such a living teacher, then the controversy between us and her is brought into very narrow compass. But we need not say that there are here two assumptions of no slight importance. Our present object shall be to examine what truth there is in the notion that Rome's

[ocr errors]

teaching does even aim at a high standard of practice and as morality is the necessary antecedent of piety, our investigation shall be into the tone and nature of that morality which is authoritatively inculcated by the Church of Rome.

[ocr errors]

No fairer exponent of Roman teaching can be had than S. Alfonso Maria de' Liguori, as the following facts will show. In 1787 he died. In 1803 the Sacred Congregation of Rites decreed, that in all the writings of Alfonso de' Liguori, edited ' and inedited, there was not a word that could be justly found 'fault with.' Pius VII. ratified the decree, and proceeded, in less than thirty years after Liguori's death, to his beatification. Monsignor Artico, Bishop of Asti, and Prince Prelate of the Papal Household, published a letter declaring that the examination of Liguori's work had been conducted with particular severity, that his System of Morality had been more than twenty times discussed by the Sacred Congregation, and that all had agreed voce concordi, unanimi consensu, una voce, 'una mente.' In 1831 Cardinal de Rohan-Chabot, Archbishop of Besançon, propounded the following questions for the oracular response (oraculum requirit) of the Sacred Penitentiary:1. Whether a professor of sacred theology may with safety follow and profess the opinions which the Blessed Alfonso de' Liguori professes in his Moral Theology? 2. Whether a Con'fessor should be disturbed for following all the opinions of the 'Blessed Alfonso de' Liguori in the confessional, simply on the grounds that the Holy Apostolic See had declared that it found nothing in his works worthy of censure? The answer given to the first question was in the affirmative. Liguori's opinions might be followed and professed with safety. The answer to the second was in the negative. No such Confessor was to be disturbed in his course. This decision was formally signed and dated as issuing from the Sacred Penitentiary on the 5th of July, 1831. Immediately the Cardinal Archbishop wrote to his Clergy requiring that the judgment of Rome should be fully adhered to, and that the opinions of the Blessed Alfonso de' Liguori should be followed and reduced to practice, all doubt whatever being thrown aside.' Pope Gregory XVI. confirmed the decree in a few weeks, and in 1839 Alfonso exchanged his title of Blessed for that of Saint. His life, full of adulation, has lately been published in England with Cardinal Wiseman's approbation; and it was but last year that his Glories of Mary were cordially recommended to the faithful' by Nicholas Card. Wiseman, Archbishop of Westmin'ster. Given at Westminster on the Feast of Saint Alphonsus 'de' Liguori, 1852.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Thus we have a Roman Bishop, who has been beatified and canonized, whose works, together with all the opinions in them, have been commended by Cardinals, approved by the Sacred Congregation, and ratified by Popes. Nor has this taken place long ago. Liguori is Rome's last saint, and his teaching is, on Rome's own showing, the latest authoritative exponent of her moral system, put into the hands of her confessors and directors with her special approbation and sanction.

No more need be said to prove that if Liguori's teaching is lax, if it falls short of a high standard, if it is subversive of the plain principles of morality, Rome's teaching is so too. Our present purpose is not to exhibit the most revolting features of his books: the laws of decency would forbid that. Abstaining from all quotations which would have to be veiled under a dead language, we shall confine ourselves almost wholly to the examination of a single question, What is Rome's theory of truthfulness and of lying? This lies at the very foundation of morals. Our first extract will contain her doctrine of Amphibology.

We must distinguish between Amphibology or Equivocation, and Mental Restriction. Amphibology can be in three fashions: 1. When a word has two senses, as the word volo means both to wish and to fly. 2. When a sentence bears two main meanings, as this book is Peter's, may mean that the book belongs to Peter, or, that Peter is the author of it. 3. When words have two senses, one more common than the other, or one literal, the other metaphorical.. Thus, if a man is asked about something which it is to his interest to conceal, he can answer, No, I say; that is, I say the word, no. Cardenas doubts about this, but, saving his better counsel, he seems to do so without reason, for the word I say really has two senses; it means to utter [make use of a word] and to assert. We here employ it in the sense

...

of utter.'-4. 2. 151.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Simple examples of these three forms of equivocation would be the following:-1. While we were making these arrangements the heir was present,' meaning the air was present. 2. The old, Aio te Æacida Romanos vincere posse,' or, Mr. H. is a man_about town,' meaning, that he is frequently in London. 3. Is the grass green?' If you reply It is not,' you have told a lie; if you answer No, I say,' you have used an equivocation, because you mean that you are employing the word No.

6

'Well then,' continues S. Alfonso, it is certain, and held by all doctors alike, that for a good reason it is allowable to use equivocation in these ways which have been explained, and to confirm it with an oath. So say Lessius, Cardenas, and the Salamanca Doctors. The reason is, that thus we do not deceive our neighbour, but, on good reason, allow him to deceive himself; and again, we are not bound to speak according to the understanding of others if there is good reason; and any honest object, such as keeping our goods spiritual or temporal, is a good reason.

« PrécédentContinuer »