30.  It is in this section of his Pamphlet that Dr. Schulte shows us most clearly that the position in which he places himself with regard to the Vatican definition is the very reverse of mine.  I will endeavour to point out the contrast.

We both begin by taking for granted that the whole controversy originates in the de fide definition of the Vatican Council, on the Infallible teaching office of the Roman Pontiff.  Out of this definition he deduces the following proposition, which, however, he omits to define more accurately: ‘What the Popes have declared to be the doctrine of the Church, that is true, and must be believed and followed in practice by all Catholics.’

To this he appends a long list of Papal declarations drawn from documents of the most different kind—briefs, laws, concordats, citations, penal judgments, &c.

Of these documents he asserts that, if a person receives the Vatican definition, they must, one and all, be regarded by him as Papal definitions, must be believed in and followed in practice.

The reply that this is an incorrect statement, and that, in stating his proposition so generally, he has started with an error, which has led him into further erroneous assertions and conclusions, he turns aside by saying, that ‘such pleas are merely devised to quiet the conscience.’

This, then, is his position.

Mine, however, has been: (1) To lay plainly before my readers the Definition: (2) to weigh carefully its wording and its sense: and (3) to give my reflections upon it; and I say that these reflections show us plainly that the utterances of the Pope are to be received as infallible definitions only under certain conditions, and that these conditions have been exactly specified in the Vatican Council itself.

Dr. Schulte, in presenting for our consideration numerous Papal expressions and Papal doings which he himself regards as so many infallible utterances, has enabled us to see that, with one single exception,[97] the conditions which the Vatican Council has declared to be requisite for an infallible definition, are not to be found in these documents which he parades before us, and therefore that all the Papal expressions and Papal acts, therein spoken of, cannot, according to the Vatican definition, come into the class of infallible Papal definitions.

This I consider that I have demonstrated, and I am compelled to say, that what Dr. Schulte really means by the term ‘pleas devised to quiet the conscience,’ is the true and essential meaning of the definition of the Vatican Council, and this is of itself sufficiently remarkable.  By using this term he refuses to allow the validity of those essential restrictions by which the Infallibility of the Pope is limited, as it is necessary it should be, in order that the true Catholic doctrine on faith and morals may be preserved in its purity.

Such a proceeding on the part of a learned Catholic professor must meet with the most decided condemnation of the whole Catholic Church.  How can a man, who lays claim to the name of Catholic, venture to say of a definition of an Ecumenical Council, that its essential restrictions are mere ‘pleas to quiet the conscience’?

31.  As the first of these ‘pleas to quiet the conscience,’ Dr. Schulte brings forward the distinction which has been drawn between the Pope acting as a private person, but not as Pope, and that it is admitted that he may possibly, as a private person, have erred in commanding, or in directing by law, something which cannot be justified.

Here I must remark first, that nobody really has the folly to assert, as Dr. Schulte lays to the charge of the advocates of Papal Infallibility, that they say, ‘The Pope may, as a private person, have commanded, or directed by law, something which cannot be justified.’

The first step then in a controversy, in order to relieve yourself of the burden of a proof, is to find out some nonsense, lay that nonsense on your adversary’s shoulders as a target, and then discharge your weapons at it!  What we really do says is,—that the Pope may err as a private person, and as such may give utterance to his error (cf. above, No. 17(8)); not that he can either command, or by law direct, anything to the Church ‘as a private person.’

Dr. Schulte proceeds further to say: ‘It is beyond all doubt that every proceeding which the Pope has ever been taken in hand, or which he now takes in hand, relating to the province of his teaching office or to Church governments, is really not the act of a private person, x, but is the act of the Pope as Pope, and that the Pope acts as Pope, whether the act in question is an act done for the diocese of Rome or for some other diocese, or for the whole Church.  But this conclusion which he draws is by no means so certain as he assumes it to be.  For the sake of brevity, I will but refer to one of the greatest authorities in the Catholic Church, viz. the learned Pope Benedict XIV., who asserts the very contrary, a fact which may at least be permitted to make Dr. Schulte’s view somewhat doubtful.[98]

This Pope says in his preface to his celebrated work, De Synodo Diœcesanû, published at the time when he actually was Pope, that ‘In this work he desires to define nothing in respect of that for which he does not adduce Papal definitions, even if he expresses his own view upon the subject (sententiam Nostram proponents), just as his great predecessor, Innocent IV., expressed his own opinions only as a private person and scholar[99] in the commentary he published upon the Decretals, adding also that this was the view he wished to be generally taken of his commentary.’  Surely from this it is pretty clear that the distinction, which Dr. Schulte casts aside as mere words, has been so long known and is so well founded in the Church, that I may spare myself any further explanation of it. 

32.  Dr. Schulte next brings forward the following proposition as his second instance of a ‘plea devised merely to keep people’s consciences quiet:’  The Council decrees Infallibility to belong only to utterances which have reference to doctrine, of faith, or morals, but that Infallibility has nothing to do with legislating or governing.’

In the somewhat lengthy discussion upon this proposition there is a regular torrent of repetitions of propositions and assertions already brought forward in previous pages of his pamphlet, all of which have been examined one by one, and as I think sufficiently refuted.  So I might content myself with referring my reader to what I have already said, since I must take care how I weary him by a repetition of what has been already sufficiently refuted.  I think, however, it may be worth while just to extract the principal propositions out of this part of Dr. Schulte’s pamphlet, and to set them I their proper light, so far as there is anything new in them, which might possibly perplex and trouble some of the less observant of his readers.  He has, he tells us, collected them all together in this part of his treatise, in order to show that the Catholic Church at the Vatican Council could not possibly define the Infallibility of the Pope only in that limited sense in which it did define it, viz. as having reference only to doctrine respecting faith and morals (p. 53 of his pamphlet).[100]  This new assertion of his Dr. Schulte endeavours to prove out of Holy Scripture, and from the nature of the Primacy.  Strange position for a man to claim for himself!  He understands the nature of the Primacy better than the Primate himself and the 500 bishops.  He says that in Holy Scripture there is not a word of any special teaching office of St. Peter, and he adds, ‘the Vatican Council has not been able to appeal in its definition to any such passage.’  But however Dr. Schulte may deny this, the Council has appealed to such a passage, and that passage contains the words of our Lord to St. Peter, ‘I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and do thou in turn one day strengthen thy brethren.’[101]  This passage is taken from St. Luke xxii. 32, and to this passage the Vatican Council expressly refers by quoting it verbatim in the definition.

33.  Again, Dr. Schulte asserts, ‘It will not do, on the one hand, to base the Infallibility upon the Primacy of the Roman Bishop, and at the same time, on the other hand, to exclude from the operation of Infallibility the giving of laws and all other Papal acts, except mere theoretical doctrinal definitions’ (p. 54).[102]

(1)  Upon this remark that, since the supreme power has various operations in the Church, God hath vouchsafed to its one most important operation a special grace.  I call the teaching office the most important operation, because it is by teaching that faith comes, and because the right faith is the foundation of the whole work of salvation in man; as also for this reason, because teaching is the guide, the norma, both as regards the sacraments, and as regards the giving of laws and governing.  The truth of salvation, revealed by God and preserved from error, is the foundation of all the other operations which the Church exercises for the salvation of man.  Herein lies the reason for the possibility and for the fitness of the gift of a special grace to the highest teaching power in the Church,—viz. to exclude thereby all error from the doctrines of the Church.  That this gift has actually been conferred, rests on the words of Christ as they are given us in Holy Writ, according to the declaration and tradition of the Holy Church.  Thus, then, from this true doctrine disciplinary laws are deduced through the operation of man; in accordance with this true doctrine the Church is governed; and thus, in both discipline and government, we confidently hope and believe that the divine assistance is not wanting to the Pope.

From this we see the wisdom of the Church’s action, that on the one hand all her definitions of faith should be unalterable, and that on the other hand, it should be lawful for bishops to make representations as regards Papal disciplinary laws, even when they have been issued for the whole Church—if, that is, they have reason to fear that such and such laws would have a prejudicial effect on their subjects in some way or other—in order that special alterations, exceptions in behalf of particular countries or regions, relaxations of penalties, &c., may be brought into action.[103]

Further, it is admitted that these laws may be entirely set aside, under certain conditions, after a proper length of time has elapsed, by a legitimate contrary custom.[104]  How and why on certain occasions even the formal revocation or partial modification of laws passed in former times can be effected by Popes themselves, has already been shown above in a striking example (No. 22, p. 86).[105]

(2)  Dr. Schulte endeavours to help on his cause by saying that several of the Papal constitutions which he has brought forward under the head of Papal doctrinal propositions have certainly reference to the faith, as for instance “Law against heretics refer to the propagation of the faith’ (p. 57 of his pamphlet, or, as he says in another place (p. 59), ‘a number of such constitutions belong exclusively to the faith.’  This assertion, however, rests on a mere play of words.  Of course, it may be said, in a certain sense, penal enactments and condemnations of heretics do refer to the faith, because they punish a lapse from the faith.  But the definition of faith of the Vatican Council says expressly Infallibility is promised to the Pope if he defines a dogma on faith or morals (doctrinam de fide vel moribus definit).  Who does not see that it is quite a different thing for the Pope to pronounce a definition upon a doctrine of the Church on faith or morals, and to direct or apply this or that means in order to protect people from falling away from the Catholic faith, or to bring back or punish those who have fallen from it?  The first belongs to the teaching office, the latter to jurisdiction.

(3)  Hereupon Dr. Schulte tries another shift; he says, ‘It is from these Papal laws and acts of Papal governments that we can learn the principles upon which the Popes have acted, as they have taken them for granted in making their laws and when acting as rulers of the Church; thus these laws and acts are after all real definitions on Church doctrine.’  To this I answer, granting even that we can draw more or less certain conclusions out of Papal laws and acts of Papal governments as to the principles to which such laws owe their origin, yet we are by no means justified in viewing these principles so inferred, as the definitions on faith and morals of which the Vatican Council is speaking in its definition on Infallibility.

By that definition it was clearly meant to make definitions of the Pope ex cathedrâ as plainly and as readily recognizable as possible; whereas according to the artificial and unreal interpretation of Dr. Schulte a person would have not wade through an interminable field of endless controversies and contradictory assertions in order to attain, by the road along which Dr. Schulte conducts him, to the knowledge of what doctrine has been defined by the Church de fide et moribus.  Why, Dr. Schulte enumerates above a hundred propositions, all the hundred, he says ‘dogmatic utterances,’ out of those Bulls alone which he quotes.  Surely this fact of itself ought to have shown him, nay, must have shown him, and made him say to himself, ‘The Pope and the bishops never could by any possibility have meant or willed such an absurdity.’

Again, the Papal laws do not always rest their motivum or principle on divine teaching alone, but not unfrequently on a human view of the Jus publicum, as it was regarded in the period in which they were passed, or after thorough consideration of the measures which, according to human wisdom, were the best that could be adopted.  We can easily see what a wild-goose chase we should be led if, every one for himself, we had to hunt up the supposed motives for ever so many Papal laws, in or to make out of them so many Papal infallible and unalterable definitions of faith!

  (4)  In close connection with the foregoing is Dr. Schulte’s further assertion that ‘no one of the constitutions brought forward by him has in view mere ecclesiastical discipline, because he designedly omits all such mere matters of discipline.’

Perhaps Dr. Schulte really believes this is the case.  But his assertion, that there is no one of these constitutions which has in view mere ecclesiastical discipline, is a statement utterly without foundation.  If, according to the plain statement of the definition of the Vatican Council, we are bound to hold that infallible definitions of faith are unalterable, and if, on the other side, we have before our eyes the fact that Dr. Schulte’s Papal constitutions are, with one exception, alterable, and, indeed, have in time past, been either altogether revoked, or have had important modifications made in them by other Papal constitutions, then it is as clear as day, that his assertion is utterly without foundation.  Are we to suppose that the Bull for the organization of the College of Cardinals belongs not to a mere disciplinary law of the Church, but really constitutes a dogma of faith or morals?

It may serve as further proof how utterly void of foundation this assertion is, that among these constitutions there are several, which pronounce excommunication upon different persons.  Now the Council of Trent expressly says[106] that excommunication is ‘the  is ‘the nerve of the Church’s discipline.’  Then, if this be so, bulls of excommunication must belong to the discipline of the Church.

(5)  Hereupon Dr. Schulte tries to prove that in the Church’s laws we find the particular formulas adopted which the definition of the Vatican Council required for an infallible definition.  He brings all sorts of reasons for this, none of them good reasons, and many of them have been already disposed of.  Still there are some which require a more careful treatment.

When he says, that the formulation requisite for a definition of faith really exists whenever the constitutions of the Pope are directed ‘generally to the whole Church,’ or ‘when they are sent out by virtue of his supreme apostolical power,’ I maintain it in no way follows from this that these constitutions, by reason of these expressions, are definitions of faith.  The Pope has the supreme authority in the Church even in other respects besides matters of faith and morals; if accordingly he makes use of the supreme authority which he possesses over other provinces of that power which he holds in the Church, even towards the whole Church,—still, this is not such a case as the definition of the Vatican Council had in view; no, not even if the constitution is directed to the whole Church, and is issued by virtue of the supreme apostolical power.

When Dr. Schulte lays such special weight upon the introduction to these constitutions, because, as he says, ‘it is from these that we may gather the doctrine of the Popes,’ I must positively declare that Popes never do smuggle their definitions of doctrine in this underhand way into the introduction of this or that Bull (a Bull, too, which perhaps does not treat of faith or morals), in such a manner that such a supposed definition may run the risk of remaining for centuries unnoticed and acknowledged.[107]

Finally, when Dr. Schulte denies that the word definire, ‘to define’—which is of such special weight in the Vatican Council—is not a technical expression having a special reference to definitions of faith, and strictly confined to them, I must most decidedly deny that assertion.  When he says the Council of Trent has not made use of this word to designate its ‘definitions of faith,’ I answer: ‘Is the Council of Trent the only general council?  Are there not other councils?  Let him examine them.  He will then be able to convince himself that these ancient councils did commonly designate a definition of faith as definition fidei or definition, and used the word definire without any other addition.  So did the General Council of Chalcedon; so did the Third Council of Constantinople; so did the Second Council of Nicæa.[108]  To say nothing of other councils, it ought to be enough to settle the matter to mention only the celebrated definition of the Council of Florence, in which the de fide proposition on the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his supreme teaching power in the Church was defined with the consent of the Greeks.[109]  Perhaps Dr. Schulte may find reason to soften his own crabbed assertion: “Definire is not a technical word in the Church’s language in deciding a doctrine; to make capital out of it, is as false in fact as it is absurd in theory,’ if he will but peruse the acts of the councils I have mentioned, to say nothing of the use of the word in the science of theology and in the celebrated Papal definition de fide in our own times.[110]

(6)  Again, Dr. Schulte asserts that ‘any one may see for certain from the addition of the anathema whether a constitution of a Pope is a law or a doctrine, or both combined.’  This, however, is quite untenable, because the ‘anathema,’ or, in other words, the penalty of excommunication, is pronounced for two reasons, either for deliberate unbelief in the fact of a solemnly expressed and defined doctrine on faith or morals, or for disobedience to the Church’s injunctions on some other matter.  If the sincere recognition of a dogmatic proposition is demanded under the threat of an ‘anathema,’ then it is to be regarded as a sign of a definition.  But if the threat of excommunication is annexed to a mere disciplinary law issued by the Pope, then submission, true obedience, is required in virtue of that power of jurisdiction which the Pope possesses in the Church.[111]  This I will make plain by an example with which Dr. Schulte himself provides us.  Alexander VI. drew a line in the ocean from the North Pole, and assigned to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain all the continent and all the islands to the west of this imaginary line.  He did this under the threat of excommunication against all those who should endeavour to encroach upon those countries without their permission.[112]  Well, it is here quite clear that, in order not to fall under this excommunication, it was enough to keep your distance from the lands which the Pope had thus assigned; this most assuredly was no definition of faith.

(7)  I cannot conclude these remarks upon the particular assertions in this portion of Dr. Schulte’s work without a general remark on the extraordinary way in which, in this Pamphlet, he assails the definition of the Vatican Council on the Infallible teaching office of the Roman Pontiff.  He gives out that he is attacking one thing; but all the while he is really attacking something else.  He professes to be assailing the definition of the Vatican Council; but in reality he is only assailing a theological opinion of the schools, which was in existence long before the Vatican Council, and which is neither confirmed nor rejected by the definition of the Council, but remains just what it was before.  However, even amongst those theologians who defended the thesis that the Infallibility of the Church extended even to general laws of the Church upon matters of discipline, decreta disciplinæ, there never was any one who, as Dr. Schulte supposes, went so far as to assert that every expression in the laws issued by the Pope, even when merely introductory, a declaration of the intention of punishing, the words of the judgments, the penal sentences passed, nay, even the motives leading to the issuing of such laws, must all looked upon as infallible utterances of the Pope ex cathedrâ.  Dr. Schulte stands alone in this extravagant assertion.  The Vatican Council never taught this, nor did the science of theology ever teach it.  Dr. Schulte assails what never existed, save in his own imagination.

34.  And now I come to the last of what he calls ‘our evasions.’  He feels himself obliged to call it a mere evasion to say that no conclusion can be drawn from the particular acts or dealings of Popes as to what is and is not the doctrine of the Church.  Supposing Popes have even deposed sovereigns, given away nations and countries, dissolve subjects from their solemn oaths of allegiance, &c., it does not follow that these transactions were doctrines of the Church, or that they rest upon an unalterable infallible definition.  ‘This, too,’ he adds, ‘was what in former times I have always myself asserted, believed, and taught; as I can prove any moment by several quotations from my earlier works, and the expressions I made use of, as the occasion presented itself, in reviews.  But since the 18th of July 1870, there has remained for me and for everybody the alternative: This definition of chapter iv. (and iii) of the Vatican Council, the so-called Constitutio dogmatica de Ecclesia, is not to be recognized as the conclusion of a truly Ecumenical Council; or I must also acknowledge as unalterable doctrine of the Church those principles which the Popes have either directly enunciated, or which present themselves to us with logical cogency as the irresistible presumptions created by their proceedings in the government of the Church’ (p. 62 of Dr. Schulte’s work).

There is more than one thing to answer here.  First and foremost I will give Dr. Schulte the consoling assurance that whatever he says he formerly asserted, believed, and taught about the deposition of sovereigns, he may now, after the Vatican definition, as far as that is concerned, go on asserting, believing, and teaching.[113]  In saying this perhaps I expose myself to the danger of being classed with those good people whom he designates as ‘mere children,’ ‘the ignorant multitude,’ &c., p. 63; but for all that I must run this risk, and am unable, in spite of my danger, to refrain from stating this conviction.  But then I must go on to say that I most emphatically decline the alternative he has offered me in such decisive language.  I decline it as altogether unsound; and I confidently assert the Vatican Council is undoubtedly a truly Ecumenical Council, and its definition is to be accepted and acknowledged by every Catholic as the definition of an Ecumenical Council; and yet that it by no means follows (as Dr. Schulte says) that we are obliged to acknowledge ‘as unalterable Catholic doctrine those principles which the Popes have either directly enunciated, or which present themselves to us with logical cogency as the irresistible presumptions created by their proceedings in the government of the Church;’ but that the only thing which does follow from receiving the Vatican definition is,—that everybody must accept as a doctrine of the Church’s faith and morals whatsoever the Pope in the exercise of his supreme teaching office declares and defines (definit) to be held by the Universal Church as doctrine of faith and morals.[114]

If, however, Dr. Schulte is determined to stand by his assertion, that from the irresistible presumptions created by acts in the government of the Church, principles must be inferred which must themselves be regarded as the doctrine of the Church, then I would call his attention to the fact that General Councils too have deposed sovereigns and released subjects from their allegiance; as for instance the first General Council of Lyons, in the year 1245.[115]  Thus the point of his proof is directed not against the Popes, but against the Universal Church.  Among other reasons for his assertion that it is a mere evasion to say the Vatican definition of the Infallible teaching office of the Roman Pontiff has no reference to his proceedings in the government of the Church, but only to his definitions of doctrine, Dr. Schulte, besides repetitions of what he has already said, mentions one which I cannot pass over in silence.  He says, ‘The “clausula” form into which the Infallibility is thrown is a thoroughly arbitrary proceeding;’ and he adds in confirmation of this sentiment, ‘Where has Christ bound up His word in clauses and formulas?’  This is plainly to give the Church a downright slap in the face, and to condemn all General Councils from Nicæa to Trent.  For they have one and all, as often as they made a definition on faith or morals, expressed it in the most definite terms (what Dr. Schulte calls ‘clauses’ and ‘formulas’), in order to obviate, as far as possible, all error, doubt, and misunderstanding.  It was precisely because the Vatican Council wished to prevent, as well as it could, erroneous interpretations of its definition, that it declared in the simplest and most easily intelligible words, in what kind of operations, and under what conditions, the Pope was to be looked upon as Infallible.  It is sheer perversity to assail a definition of the Church which precisely defines and limits its subject matter, in order to remove all occasion of giving unfounded anxieties, misapprehensions, and misapplications, which might tend to disturb the conscience, simply because of its very definiteness; to reject its putting its definitions into clauses, and to talk of its being arbitrary; and then afterwards, rejecting its own prescribed limitations and doing violence to its plain language and its true signification, to extend the definition perversely in a most unwarrantable manner to provinces with which it has nothing whatever to do; and all this to the great disturbance of men’s minds, and to the injury of the Church.


[96] It must not be forgotten that Bishop Fessler places at the head of his chapters the titles of the very chapters of Dr. Schulte which he refutes.  The ‘Pleas’ here spoken of are the replies supposed to be made by Ultramontane defenders of Infallibility, not Fessler himself, to the view maintained by Dr. Schulte.  TRANSLATOR.

[97] Part of the Bull Unam Sanctam.

[98] For instance, Pope Benedic XIV. Says: ‘Romanus Pontifex qui (according to Theodorus Studita) est omnium Capitum Caput, atque Christi Eccleiæ Princeps, Moderator et Pastor, est etiam Patriarcha Occidentis, Primus Italiæ, Archiepiscopus et Metropolitanus Romanæ Provinciæ, atque Episcopus urbis Romæ; quod scite considerant, Sirmondus, Morinus, Leo Allatius, Hallier, Natalis Alexander, et passim alii.  Non inde tamen, quod Romanus Pontifex insitam sibi habeat dignitatam et prærogativam supreme Capitis totius Ecclesiæ, consequitur, omnia, quæ ab eo fiunt, fieri tanquam ab Ecclesiæ Capite, siquidem aliquando solum gerit personam vel Primatis Italiæ, vel Metropolitæ Romanæ Provinciæ, quandoque se tantum exhibit Episcopum urbis Romæ, ea unicè peragendo, quæ cuilibet Episcopo in suà diœcesi peragendi  jus est; aliquando demum suam supremam explicit dignitatem, et tanquam totius Ecclesiæ Præses, Moderator et Princeps illam exercet potestatem et jurisdictionem, qua non nisi ut Christi in terris Vicarius potitur.  Neque quod quis pro loco et tempore diversas induat  personas, et modo unâ modo alterâ ex iis utatur potestatibus, quibus diverso nomine præstat, res est adeo nova et inusitata, u tab heterodoxies irrideri queat.’  P. Benedict XIV. De Synodo Diœcesanû, lib. li. cap. i.  Ferrariæ, 1760, pp. 29, 30.

[99] ‘Opiniones suas quas tanquam privatus Doctor propsuerat.’  P. Benedict XIV.  I Proœmio, op. cit. p. ix.

[100] This also is the place to state Dr. Schulte’s view, ‘that the ex cathedrâ theory is a mere invention of the schools and has no foundation either in itself, and is utterly worthless in law.’  One cannot but be surprised at hearing a learned man speak so recklessly and contemptuously of the science of theology.  For the term ex cathedrâ—by which is meant that sometimes the Pope speaks ex cathedrâ  and sometimes not, and that ex cathedrâ utterances have quite a different import from those statements which are hot ex cathedrâ—is a conclusion arrived at by the science of theology; and since the formula has been received by the Church, it has as much claim on our acceptance as is possessed by any older formula or expression, which although not in Scripture, and not in use in the first centuries, has nevertheless been selected by the Church, when making a solemn de fide definition in later times, as the most appropriate term to designate a definition de fide.  Instances of this kind of formulas are well known to all theologians.

[101] See Preface, conclusion, for the reason why Bishop Fessler adopted this translation.  TRANSLATOR.

[102] We call our readers’ attention to this expression, ‘,mere theoretical doctrinal definitions.’  If Dr. Schulte means to say or imply that such theoretical acts are of no importance, he is greatly to be blamed.  The faith of a Catholic is directed by such definitions of doctrine, and his life by his faith,—‘Justus ex fide vivit.’ Rom. i. 17; Galat. Iii. 11; Heb. x. 38.

[103] So Pope Benedict XIV. De Synodo Diœces. lib. ix. c. viii. nn. 1 and 3, where he speaks in quite a different manner on the one hand— ‘De Pontificiis Constitutionibus, que ad fidem pertinent, cum in his irreformabile sit Romani Pontificis judicium’—from what he does on the other, ‘De Constitutionibus ad disciplinam pertinentibus,’ in respect of which last he expressly concedes the right of bishops to make representation about them, in order to obtain alterations. 

[104] P. Benedict XIV. De Synod. Diœcesanâ, lib. xiii, cap. v. nn. 4-5.

[105] Any one who is well acquainted with Papal Bulls of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will recall a great number of examples of this sort.

[106] Canones et Decreta Concil. Trident., session 25, c. iii. De Reformat.  Compare the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX., cap. v. De Consuetudinibus (i.4).

[107] Dr. Schulte really attributes to the Popes this absurd conduct, saying: ‘It is to be regretted that people have not attended to the introductions to Bulls, principally, I suppose, on account of their lengthiness.  This is a grate mistake; as they are often the quintessense of the Bull.  And yet this introduction itself shows that canonists up to this have not known the proper meaning of the Cardinals.  Even Phillips,’ &c. (p. 36 of his Pamphlet).  The Bull of which Dr. Schulte is here speaking is now nearly 300 years old, and it has been the good fortune of Dr. Schulte to discover a most important definition in its introduction, which up to this time has escaped the notice of all canonists.  And this precious discovery is a definition de fide!

[108] Concil. Chalcedon. Act. v. and vi. in Harduin’s Acta Concil., t. ii. col. 451, 455, 466; Concil. Constpl. III., Act xviii. (Harduin, l. c. t. iii. col. 1394, 1399, 1455); Concil. Nicæa. II., Act vii. and viii. (Harduin, l. c. t. iv. col. 451, 455, 483, 486).

[109] See Definitio s. Œcumenicæ Synodi Florentine, in Harduin, l. c. t. ix. col. 419; and in the same Council Definimus s. Apostolicam Sedem et Romanum Pontificem, &c (ibid.col. 423), we may read the same words in cap. iii. of the Constitutio Dogmatica Concilii Vaticani of July 18, 1870.

[110] See the Dogmatic Bull of Pius IX., Ineffabilis Deus of Dec. 8, 1854.  In which is defined the Immaculate Conception of the most holy Virgin Mary, with the words: ‘Auctoritate declaramus, pronunciamus et DEFINIMUS doctrinam,’ &c.

NOTE:  The editor of the French translation here says, much to the purpose: ‘In wirting the above lines Mgr. Fessler, whose theological and historical erudition is so complete and so trustworthy, has failed to recall to mind several passages even more decisive against M. Schulte than those which he has quoted.  M. Schulte asserts that this word “definire” has not been employed even once by the Council of Trent as a technical expression applicable to fix once for all a dogma.  Instead of not being employed at all, it is, to our certain knowledge, employed at least six times; session 13 and 21, at the end of the proœmium, “Definitum;” session 14 in the proœmium, “definitionem;” session 25 and last, at the end, twice “definita.”  Here is one of these passages: ‘Sacrosancta Synodus . . . omnibus Christi fidelibus interdicit, ne postea de sanctissimæ eucharistiæ sacramento aliter credere, docere et prædicare audeant, quam u test hoc præsenti decreto declaratum et definitum’ (Sess. 13 proœm.).  In another passage, session 14, proœm, the Council sets forth how important it is to give the sacrament of Penance ‘pleniorem definitionem.’  In this decree De Recipiendis et Observandis Decretis Concilii, at the end of the twenty-fifth and last session, the Council declares that it has had a special case, ‘ut præcipuos hæreticorum nostril temporis errores damnaret et anathematizaret; veramque et Cahotlicam doctrinam traderet et doceret, prout damnavit anathematizavit et definivit.’  It cannot then be said that in these passages of the Council of Trent the word ‘definire’ is nto used as a technical expression to fix a dogma once for all. TRANSLATOR.

[111] In another place Dr. Schulte makes another assertion, resting, as he says, upon Papal ex cathedrâ declarations, ‘Acts purely of jurisdiction have a dogmatic character’ (p. 55 of his work).  This he endeavours to prove from the excommunication attached.  But, I ask, what does he mean by the expression ‘have a dogmatic character’?  This is the one of those vague expressions neither theological nor canonistic, the meaning of which has to be determined before it can be intelligible.  It does not occur in anyone of the passages which he quotes in proof of his assertion; and Dr. Schulte’s conversion of the condemned propositions into positive de fide definitions and Papal utterances has thus had the unfortunate result of preventing him from ever seeing their real meaning.

[112] Bullar. Rem. Ed. cit. t. iii. p. iii. pp. 234-235.

[113] On July 20, 1871, after the publications of Bishop Fessler’s pamphlet, Pope Pius IX. received a deputation of the Academy of the Catholic religion.  He exhorted its members to do their best to refute with all possible care the statements of those who made it their business to misconstrue the meaning of the Infallibility of the Pope, declaring it to be a pernicious error, to represent the Infallibility as comprising in itself the right to dethrone sovereigns, and release their subjects from their oath of allegiance.  ‘This right,’ the Pope said,’ has, indeed, been exercised by Popes in extreme cases, but the right has absolutely nothing in common with Papal Infallibility.  It was a result of the Jus publicum ten in force by the consent of Christian nations, who recognized in the Pope the supreme judge of Christendom, and constituted him judge over princes and peoples even in temporal matters.  The present situation is quite different.  Nothing but bad faith could confound things so different and ages so dissimilar; as if an infallible judgment delivered upon some revealed truth had any analogy with a prerogative which the Popes, solicited by the desire of the people, have had to exercise when the public weal demanded it!  Such statements are nothing but a mere pretext to excite princes against the Church.’  The Pope’s approbation of the Pastoral Instruction of the Swiss Bishops, in which this declaration of his is referred to, renders its authenticity indubitable.  FRENCH TRANSLATOR.

[114] Accordingly not all, by a great deal, that the Popes has, it may be, even directly expressed, as Dr. Schulte says, still less what can be gathered indirectly from acts of ecclesiastical government, can be considered as affording ‘an irresistible presumption.’  The Popes often express or infer principle which are acknowledged in the Jus publicum of the age in which they lived, when those principles were by no means doctrines de fide et moribus.  In Ballerini (Devi et ratione Roman Pontificis, c. xv. § x. n. 38 and 41) we may find an exposition of this as complete as it is instructive.

[115] Harduin, Acta Concil. t. vii. col. 385, 386.