By Father Vincent –Toussaint BEURRIER


Sacred Orators , by M. l'Abbé MIGNE, T. 66, 1855, pp. 1966-1989

Super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, and portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam. (Matth., XVI, 18.)

On this stone I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it

From what Jesus Christ promised to prevent the gates of hell from prevailing against the Church, it follows not only that this Church must be perpetual, because without it the infernal powers would not fail to destroy it. , but it still follows that it must be infallible, because otherwise the same powers, by allowing it to exist, would render it as useless as if it did not exist.

Indeed, if these enemies of our salvation, not being able to overthrow the Church as they have so many times tried to do, had at least been able to seduce her by suggesting a false doctrine to her, they would also have come to their goal. The second method would have been as advantageous to them as the first; we can even say that it would be even more so, and that a Church which was not infallible would harm men much more than it would benefit them. It would be better for a disciple not to have a master than to have one who would teach him error;

it would be better for a traveler not to have a guide, than to have one who would lead him astray. So the Church is incapable, either of deceiving us in the faith, or of deceiving us in morality. She infallibly teaches us all that is necessary for salvation, that is, what to believe and what to practice.

We read in chapter XVII of Deuteronomy, that God ordered the Jews, when they had some difficulties with the law, to go to the place he would have chosen (which was later Jerusalem) to consult the priests and especially the sovereign pontiff of that time, so that they would indicate to them the truth they should follow: Venies ad sacerdotes, et ad judicem qui fuerit illo tem pore quoeresque ab eis, qui indicabunt tibi judicii veritatem. (Deut., XVII, 9.) In the same way we see in the Gospel that Jesus Christ commands Christians who will have some dispute between themselves on the faith, to address themselves to the Church:Dic Ecclesioe. (Matth., XXVIII, 17.)

But there is this difference between the one and the other, that the infallibility of the Synagogue was to last only until the time of the Messiah, and that, as then it would abandon God, God would abandon him in his turn; instead that the Church must endure forever, and that Jesus Christ has promised to be with her until the consummation of the ages.

We therefore have no reason to fear making mistakes in following the Church. It is, as Saint Paul says, the pillar and the support of truth: Columna et firmamentum veritatis. (1 Tim., III, 15.) Let us lean on this pillar, and like it we will become unshakeable; we will be infallible in our submission as it is infallible in its teaching. It is this infallibility, third property of the Roman Church, which will be the subject of this present conference, after we have, according to custom, implored assistance.

of the Holy Spirit through the Blessed Virgin, saying to her with the angel: Ave, Maria.

Saint Jerome once said when speaking of heretics that in order to dispel all theirs, only the authority of the Church was needed: Unico possum Ecclesiae radio siccare omnes rivulos errorum. We can say the same thing: to dispel all the darkness that schism and heresy try to spread over the luminous doctrine of the Christian religion, we only need the infallible authority of the Church.

We do not always have enough penetration to discover the fallacy of the fallacies used by the partisans of different sects. Most of them, subtle in the dialectic, employ, to support their false dogmas, reasoning as far as the eye can see, to which only the most skilful are often able to answer. But, without being a profound theologian, one can give them all an answer which, although indirect, is no less solid; there she is.

To support your system you allege the authority of Scripture to me, and you quote to me several passages from the Holy Fathers. I, a simple craftsman, I a poor servant, I a man of the people, I am not in a position to discuss either the Holy Scriptures or the Holy Fathers; but what I cannot do, the Church does for me. She understands the books of Sacred Scripture and those of the Fathers better than you and I; and your doctrine must not be contained in either one, since the Church condemns it. I stop there, and I condemn it with it: Unico possum Ecclesiae radio siccare omnes rivulos errorum.

Here, my brothers, is an easy means and within the reach of everyone , to shorten the controversies; it is not to go into the root of the questions. But to end them with the authority of the one whom God commands us to listen to like our mother: Dic Ecclesiae. This is my rule, and it is from God Himself that I hold it. But is it of course that the Church is infallible! This is a question which must be clarified all the more, since on it depend an infinite number of others. So let's do it as exactly as the importance of the material requires. Now, we have to do it methodically, we only need to answer three questions that we can suggest about it.

Was Jesus Christ able to give infallibility to his Church? Did Jesus Christ have to give infallibility to His Church? Did Jesus Christ Effectively Give Infallibility to His Church? To these three questions three answers, all three affirmative, Yes, my brothers, Jesus Christ could, Jesus Christ had it, Jesus Christ did it. We will not dwell long on the first; it is too obvious to need a full discussion.

Jesus Christ could . - Indeed, there is no one among Christians who can reasonably doubt whether Jesus Christ had the power to give infallibility to his Church. Jesus Christ, who as God is almighty himself; Jesus Christ, to whom all power in heaven and earth has been given as a man, certainly had the power to enlighten his Church to the point of not allowing her to ever fall into error, I do not believe that there is any man among heretics or schismatics who can question such a palpable truth. So there is not, at least as far as I know, that disputes it to us. So let's move on to the second question, which requires a little more detail.

Jesus Christ had to .- Did Jesus Christ have to give infallibility to his Church? Yes, my brothers, and that in consequence of the plan he proposed for the redemption of mankind. God was not obliged to grant men the benefit of redemption: this grace being purely free, he had no obligation to do it to us, and we had no right to it. But, supposing once the execution of this mystery, and the sight which God had, by executing it, of procuring the salvation of men, it was necessarily necessary that Jesus Christ establishes his Church; and consequently he had to give him what was necessary for him, so as not to deceive us in the two objects which are essential to salvation. Indeed, two main things are essential: to believe all the truths that God teaches us,and practice all the precepts it imposes on us. Now, for both of them, it is to the Church that we must address ourselves, in the event that any dispute arises between us:Dic Ecclesiae. Jesus Christ therefore had to give his Church the privilege of teaching us infallibly all that we must believe and all that we must observe.

This divine Master, being infinitely wise, must have done, in establishing his Church, what a prudent legislator would have done in establishing any State. Imagine, my brothers, the founder of a new state. He begins first by giving his subjects a form of government, either monarchical or republican, or one that depends on both; but, whatever form it gives to sovereign power, it must necessarily establish in the State a tribunal to which the citizens can resort in the disputes which arise between them: otherwise its subjects would inevitably fall into an anarchy in which there would be only disorder and confusion, Even if he would have provided for the harmony which must reign between the members of the moral body which he wishes to form by the wisest laws, if he does not add to this precaution that to establish magistrates who, after having studied the letter and the spirit of the laws,can pronounce legally and without appeal which of the contenders the law favors and which it condemns, each of them will claim that the law is for him, and the disputes will never end.

From this talk, let's see how Jesus Christ established His Church. Everyone knows that he gave it the form of a monarchical government tempered by aristocracy; that is, the sovereign pontiff is its head and the bishops are its main members. This is what constitutes the body of the teaching Church; this is the tribunal to which he wants us to resort, when he tells us in the Gospel: Dic Ecclesiae.Now, if Jesus Christ had not given this tribunal the right to decide in the last resort the questions which may arise and which frequently arise among Christians concerning faith and morals, he would not have sufficiently provided for the peace of his Church: he would have left it in the grip of disputes and disputes, which could never have been definitively ended.

Although this divine Savior gave the Church, in the collection of canonical books, a very wise code of laws, something more was needed. Why? This is because written laws, however wise they may be, are, after all, only a dead rule, which, not explicable by itself, can be taken in different senses, as happens everyday. It was therefore necessary that Jesus Christ, in addition to this dead rule, give the Church a living rule, that is to say judges who pronounce on the meaning of the laws, to fix their understanding, in the event that two opposing parties would not agree. Now this living rule, these spiritual magistrates, who must do in the hierarchical order what secular magistrates do in the civil order, are the pope and the bishops,whose decisions must fix the interior belief of the faithful on all that concerns faith and morals, but they could not fix the interior belief if they were subject to be mistaken. Why? This is because if they were subject to making a mistake, there would always be reason to fear that they were not mistaken, and their decision would be of no use.

It was therefore necessary for Jesus Christ to give them that infallibility which placed them and which, like them, sheltered us from all error: they, sheltered from all error in their teaching; us, immune to any error in our submission. If Jesus Christ had acted otherwise, he would not have acted as a wise lawgiver. He had therefore, consequently to the plan which he had to save men, grant infallibility to his Church and this is my second proposition. I have put forward a third one, which requires much more development, and which consists in saying that Jesus Christ gave infallibility to his Church.

Jesus Christ did it . - First, it is certain that the proof of the second proposition essentially establishes that of the third, and that we could stop there: because finally, if Jesus Christ had to give infallibility to his Church, he follows obviously he did, since it cannot be said without blasphemy that he failed to do what he had to. However, as this article, despite its evidence, is challenged every day by innovators, let's go into the details of the evidence that establishes the certainty,

When we have no other proofs to demonstrate this truth than the words of my text, nothing more is needed. In fact, what does Our Lord mean when he tells us that the gates of hell will not prevail against his Church? Does he not promise there precisely that to protect it against the infernal powers which would endeavor to destroy it? He makes this promise to her, in truth, and this is the foundation of his perpetuity; but he promises her moreover to defend her against the snares which the lying spirit would throw at her in trying to seduce her; and this is the basis of its infallibility. If he had only promised the first without promising the second, he would not have succeeded in his plan, which was to make his Church a firm pillar and an unwavering support of the truth:Columna and firmamentum veritatis.

But we have even more detailed proof of this in the place in the Gospel where Jesus Christ, near ascending into heaven, commands his apostles to spread throughout the universe, and to teach all the nations there. After giving them this order, he adds: Here I am with you every day until the end of the century:

Ecce ego vobiscum sum usque ad consummationem saeculi. (Matth., XXIII, 20.)  This is undoubtedly a very formal promise made by Our Lord to assist his Church until the end of the world. But this text requires a fuller explanation; there she is:

This divine savior, after having commanded his apostles to preach the Gospel to all the nations, is supposed to prevent a difficulty which they could have caused him. Lord, they might have said, you order us to go and teach your doctrine to all people.

We have done this to the people of Palestine while you have been with us: supported by your divine presence, we have carried out our ministry; but when you have left us to go up to heaven, what will become of us? Do not be afraid, replies Jesus Christ to them; here I am with you; Ecce ego vobiscum sumo. And not only am I there in the present moment, but I will be there every day: omnibus diebus. Not only will I be there for a while, but always will be. Now, as you do not always have to live, and as you will have successors who will perform after you, until the end of the world, the functions with which I have entrusted you, I will be with them as well as with you until the end of the world. 'consumption of the century:usque ad consummationem saeculi.

From this text it obviously follows that the Church received from Jesus Christ the gift of infallibility. Why? This is because if she could make mistakes in her decisions, Jesus Christ, who is the very truth, would not be with her every day, since he would sometimes let her give in lies. It still follows that the Church of the eighteenth century is as infallible as that of the first. Why? This is because if she was no longer so today, Jesus Christ would not be with her until the end of the century, as he had promised her.

And notice the singular expression used by Jesus Christ in making this wonderful promise. One would be tempted to believe that this divine Savior should have said to his apostles: I will be with you. No, he said to them: I am with you: Vobiscum sum.

Why does he express himself like this? This is where he speaks in God. With regard to God there is neither past nor future; everything is present. He therefore shows them the rest of the centuries as a moment he has before his eyes, using the demonstrative term here, a term which marks something currently present. Here I am with you until the consumption of the century: Ecce ego vobiscum sum usque ad consummationem saeculi.

Jesus Christ is therefore with his Church every day, and he will be with her until the end of the world. He was with Saint Peter and with all the members of the apostolic college; he is with the sovereign pontiff who reigns today, and with all the bishops who are united to him in communion; he will be with all his successors, and with the episcopal body of which they will be the heads. The last will not be able to be more mistaken than the first in the decisions which will concern the faith and the morals; without it Jesus Christ would not fulfill his promise. So the Church has always been, is now, and always will be infallible in her judgments. Saint Peter was quite convinced of this infallibility, when in the first council held in Jerusalem he said, after having consulted the other apostles:It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us:Visum est Spiritui sancto et nobis. (Act., XV, 28.) It is in fact the Holy Spirit who presides over general councils, where the bishops, meeting with the sovereign pontiff their head, pronounce a final judgment on matters of religion which are brought to their attention. court. And one can rightly say to all those who persist in rejecting their decisions what Saint Stephen said to the Jews: You always resist the Holy Spirit: Vos semper Spiritui sancto resistitis. (Act., VII, 51.)

Let the Protestants, or any other heretics whatsoever, therefore not come and tell us that the Pope and the Bishops are only men, and that men are always subject to error. We will answer them that the Pope and the Bishops are men, but specially assisted by the Spirit of God, men to whom Jesus Christ promised not to let them fall into error, and therefore men. whose doctrine is irrefutable, and whose judgment in matters of religion is infallible.

Despite this the heretics condemned by the general councils, and especially the Protestants condemned by the Council of Trent, continued to support their false dogmas.

One of these, Minister Jurieu, claims to justify the revolt of his fathers and his against this holy assembly by the following reasoning: Each bishop in particular, he says, is very fallible, and the papists agree. Now, if each bishop, taken separately, is fallible, how will the collection of bishops gathered together cease to be so?

One could be satisfied with answering him that, although a single soldier cannot take a city by assault, it does not follow that an army of twenty thousand men cannot do it (159); but here is another answer to that, which we give all the more readily as it is by the famous M. Bossuet against Jurieu himself.

We read in the Old Testament, he told him, that God sometimes commanded his people to attack their enemies, and that he promised them victory. As a result of this promise, the army of Israel was invincible; there was no doubt that she would win the battle. But although the army corps was invincible, not every individual member was invincible. It could happen, and did sometimes happen, that not only soldiers, but some of the principal leaders, were wounded or killed by the enemies. It is the same with the Church. She

is, according to the expression of the Scriptures, an army drawn up in array. She has to fight against the infernal powers. In her battles she is invincible, that is to say, she is infallible in her decisions. God promised him. But this promise concerns only the body of the Church in general, and not each member in particular. May some bishops fall into error, as has happened more than once, this fall does not prejudice the infallibility of the episcopal body.

The Protestants still try to justify their revolt against the Council of Trent, by accusing the bishops of this council of having been judge and party in the same cause. But if it is only necessary to challenge a judge to invalidate his sentence, who will be the citizen who can be condemned? I suppose an individual is taking it into his head to dispute in a tribunal the power he has received from the sovereign to judge cases in the last resort. Will this claim prevent this tribunal from condemning him? Will this individual have good grace to maintain that this sovereign court being in its part, it does not have the right to be its judge?

This is the position of the Protestants vis-à-vis the Church. Jesus Christ gave this Church the power to decide, without appeal, on matters of faith. Because Protestants like to dispute this power with her, does it follow that she is not entitled to use it? No, no doubt; and this imprescriptible right, it will always preserve it, in spite of the chimerical pretensions of its enemies who dispute it to it. They are therefore wrong to claim that the bishops are their judges and their parties. Who are the parties against which the Protestants argue? They are the simple faithful; but the bishops are those whom Jesus Christ established as judges between one and the other: Dic Ecclesiae.

If this reason, that the bishops are the parts of the heretics whom they condemn were valid, there would not be, in the Church, a single heresy which would have been legitimately condemned, since all the heretics could regard the bishops as theirs. parts. The Arians, for example, were condemned at the first general council held at Nicaea, and the Protestants agree with us that this condemnation was very just. But the Arians could have said against the three hundred and eighteen Fathers of Nicaea, that they were their judges and their parties, as the Protestants say today against the bishops assembled at Trent. If the former had the right to condemn the former, why would they not have had the right to condemn the latter? The cause of both is exactly the same.

And what shows even more invincibly the frivolity of this pretext, is the behavior which the Protestants held in their famous synod of Dordrecht (in 1618), with regard to those whom they regarded as heretics. The Arminians, mixed Calvinists, taught a doctrine which the rigid Calvinist Gomarists regarded as opposed to the principles of the reform. These assembled in synod against the former, and condemned them as heretics. In vain did the Arminians say that their parties were their judges, their clamors were disregarded, and they were irreparably condemned (160). Is this not doing themselves what they have reproached the Church for having done? You have allowed it, O my God! To show our estranged brethren, in their own conduct, theinjustice of their claim. Deign to use it, Lord, to make them open their eyes to the wrong they have done in abandoning your Church.

“But, someone may say here, if the Church is infallible, is not this infallibility reserved for the time when she is assembled in council? When it is dispersed, and the bishops are each in their seat, does it still have the same prerogative? " This, my brothers, is a question that was never discussed in the past. Without distinguishing these two states of the Church in council or out of council, of the Church assembled or dispersed, it was agreed that it was infallible in all circumstances; and it was hardly until the beginning of the century in which we live that we took it upon ourselves to challenge what we had hitherto regarded as incontestable. Let us therefore examine, since it is necessary, a question which should not make one,and let us see if the foundations which we find in the Gospel in relation to the infallibility of the Church, must be limited to the time when it is assembled in an ecumenical council.

The scattered Church is infallible. - I open it, this holy Gospel, and I see in it that Our Lord, near ascending to heaven, promises to always be with his apostles, that is to say and with them in their own person, and with them in that of their successors: Ecce ego vobiscum sum. But I see more, that he promises to be with them every day: omnibus diebus. Now, if this divine Savior were only with his Church when she is gathered in an ecumenical council, he would not be with her every day, since ecumenical councils are not every day.assembled. The first general council was held in Nicaea in 325; Hadn't Jesus Christ been with His Church before this time? The last general council was held at Trent for eighteen years, and ended in 1563; Hasn't Jesus Christ been with his Church since that time? There is not a true Catholic who has never had the slightest doubt on this point. The infallibility of the Church is therefore not restricted to the circumstance of a general council: it is for every day, it is until the end of the century, that this divine Savior has promised to assist her Church and to be with her: Omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem saeculi.

Without this, the Son of God would not have sufficiently provided for the needs of this Church. Indeed, there are times when it is impossible to convene general councils. In times of war, for example, a king would not suffer for the bishops of his kingdom to be in a city under the rule of another king, his enemy. However, these wars can last for several years; it would not even be impossible for them to last half a century. The Church will therefore, during all this time, be deprived of the assistance of Jesus Christ! What to think of a principle from which follows such a false consequence? No, my brothers, the promise that this divine master made to his Church is not restricted to the time of general councils.

It is true that there are circumstances in which these general councils are extremely useful, either for condemning more solemnly contested articles, or for jointly taking the means most suitable to repress error, or for reasons other than the Church herself considers it appropriate; but that they are absolutely necessary to condemn new heresies; but that without it their condemnation be illegal; but that until that time the heretics can suspend their submission, and that we do not have the right to compel them, that is what Saint Augustine considers entirely false. It is therefore certain that the Church, either when it is assembled in council, or when it is dispersed in the different dioceses, is always essentially infallible.

We can even say that if there was more or at least in infallibility, the dispersed Church would be more infallible than the assembled Church. Why? This is because the assembled Church is only the representation of the dispersed Church, as we see in the Council of Trent, where we find this clause: Haec synodus repraesentans Ecclesiam universalem.Now if the representative Church is infallible, it seems that all the more reason the represented Church must be. From all this it follows that the dispersed Church is as infallible as the assembled Church; and it follows again, by a further consequence, that to call from the first to the second is an illusory call. Indeed, a notice of appeal, to be legitimate, must be lodged from a lower court to a higher court. We call from a bailiwick to a presidial, and from a presidial to a parliament; but we do not call from a parliament to the same parliament. We should not therefore call from the dispersed Church to the assembled Church; that would be to call from the Church to the Church; this would be to introduce a jurisdiction of the second over the first; which cannot be, since bothothers are the same Church and have the same authority.

So it is not out of respect for the authority of the council that heretics appeal to this tribunal. The conduct they have taken on this at all times proves it. For example, the Protestants, condemned by the sovereign pontiff and by the bishops, appealed to the future council, following the example of Luther. The council was held: it condemned them. Did they submit to it? No; and we did not expect it. It is obvious that their appeal had no other purpose than to authorize their rebellion.

When Luther called from the bull of Leo X to the general council, one could have said to him, as well as to all those who imitated him afterwards, what Saint Augustine said to the Pelagians, who had called decrees of the pope Zozimus at the future council. They appeal to the council, said this holy doctor, as if there was always a need for a council to condemn heresies. But the Pelagians, not having been able to pervert the world, at least wanted to set it in motion: Cum orbem pervertere non potuerint, vertere saltem voluerunt.What need is there, continues Saint Augustine, to oblige all the bishops, whose presence is so necessary for their dioceses, to abandon their flocks, in order to condemn a heresy which is as palpable as that of the pelagians? Rome has spoken, he said again, the cause is finished: please God that error ends in the same way Roma locuta est; causa finita is : utinam finiatur error!

These words of the doctor of grace have become so famous in the Church that they are regarded as a kind of axiom, which, from the pen of this great saint has passed into those of all the writers who have treated these words. subjects: they all say, according to him: Roma locuta est; causa finita est.We could stop there with regard to heretics, and especially with regard to those who, like the Protestants, authorize themselves of the name of Saint Augustine: For it is the ordinary of the heterodox who are came after this holy doctor, to allow himself the credit he has in the Church. To hear them, it is only they who can boast of the glorious title of true disciples of Saint Augustine. Oh ! Gentlemen, one might say to them, if you are the disciples of Saint Augustine, listen to the lessons of your master. Here is one that could stand in for all of the others. I would not believe in the Gospel, said this holy bishop, if the authority of the Church did not commit me to it: Non crederem evangelio, nisi me Ecclesiae catholicae commoveret auctoritas

But no: these pretended disciples of Saint Augustine only declare themselves for him when they imagine that they find him favorable to their system; and as soon as they obviously see that he is contrary to them, they abandon him, they treat him as a petty genius, a superstitious man, who blindly gave into popular credulity, This is what the Protestants have said, on everything with regard to what Saint Augustine wrote on Purgatory. Now what we say about his doctrine

on purgatory, we could say it of that which he held on the death of Jesus Christ for all men, on the possibility of fulfilling the commandments of God, on the resistance that one can bring to interior grace and on a large number of other articles on which Protestants are directly opposed to Saint Augustine.

On these matters and on many others, the innovators allege texts of the holy bishop, to whom they make say whatever they want: they add to his words and remove from them what they like; they detach from their place the passages which, together with what precedes and what follows, would mean something quite different from what they make them mean. By this means they delude the simple faithful who, imbued with respect as they should be for the authority of the holy doctor, are tempted to attribute to him feelings that he never had. done on it to seduce them,

It seems to assume the infallibility of the Church, and said, 1l is certain that the Church has approved the doctrine of St. Augustine : or our doctrine is the same as that of St. Augustine; therefore the Church has approved our doctrine.

How will a simple believer respond to this paralogism? He does not have the works of Saint Augustine. When he had them, he would not find the time to read them; and when he found the time, ordinarily he would not be skilled enough to hear them. So what can be done to avoid the trap that is being set for him? Nothing is that easy. Without confronting the passages, without arguing over the different meanings to be given to them, he has only to use his enemy's weapons to fight him, saying to him: It is certain that the Church has approved the doctrine of Saint Augustine. Now the same Church has condemned your doctrine; therefore your doctrine is not the doctrine of Saint Augustine.This means, short, easy, and within everyone's reach, comes down to what Saint Jerome used to say, that in order to dry up the streams of all errors, only the single ray of infallibility of the Church is needed: Unico possum radio Ecclesiae siccare omnes rivulos errorum.

We find modern writers who, forced to admit the infallibility of the Church, (for how can we not agree with what is so formally expressed in the Gospel?) Restrict it to the entire unanimity of the bishops, and claim that when among these prelates there are some who do not think like the others on the contested matter, this small number is enough to prevent the decision of the major part of the episcopal body from being supposed to make an irreformable judgment of the Church.

But if this claim were valid, it would follow that there would hardly be any heresy which had been legitimately condemned by the Church. In fact, there is hardly any heresy which has not had bishops for its partisans. In the Council of Nicaea there were five or six Arian bishops: around the time of the synod of Diospolis there were eighteen Pelagian bishops: at the famous conference of Carthage there were more than two hundred Donatist bishops. This did not prevent all these heretics from being regarded as legitimately condemned: and saint

Augustine said to these latter, who authorized themselves from the large number of bishops they had on their side: Quid sunt hoec contra tot millia episcoporum (161)?

The perfect unanimity of the episcopal body is therefore not absolutely essential to form a judgment of the Church; moral unanimity is sufficient: and it is the same with all other tribunals. If, in a parliament, one required the physical unanimity of the votes, there would be hardly any finished trials, because it is extremely rare that all the judges are exactly of the same opinion on the same cause.

Thus, when a party condemned by the Church had a few bishops among its supporters, it would take nothing on the legitimacy of the condemnation. The privilege of infallibility is attached to the episcopal body and this body is supposed to be located where the head and most of the members are located.

We can even add to what we have just said, that even if the major part of the body of the teaching Church would not have formally consented to a dogmatic decree, it would be enough for this decree emanating from the leader and approved by a part considerable number of bishops, was not contradicted by the other prelates of the Christian world.

The reason is that, as a great Pope says, the Church can neither expressly teach error by her words, nor approve it by her silence; and it is even a legal maxim that not to oppose something that one knows is to be supposed to consent to it: Qui tacet, consentire videtur.

The truth of this maxim on the present matter has been recognized by an author whose testimony is all the less suspect, as he has not always acted accordingly. This writer, whose writings in the faith made a lot of noise, said several years before his defection, speaking of the dispute which had arisen between some semi-Pelagians of our Gauls (162) and the zealous defenders of the doctrine St. Augustine in Africa: the rest of the Church was content to see enter the fray Africans and Gauls ... This tacit consent, when there would be no more, made a decision that n it is not allowed not to follow(163). We take note of this, and we gladly say with him, that when a decision has been made by most of the bishops of the place where the dispute began, were it not, on the part of the other bishops of the world, other accession to the decree than a tacit consent, this alone is sufficient to form a decision which it is not permissible not to follow, But all the more so, when the consent of the bishops of the place is joined by an acceptance formal of those of foreign countries, one cannot, without openly attacking the infallibility of the episcopal body, refuse to submit to it.

I say the infallibility of the episcopal body, because it is to this respectable order, exclusively to any other, that this privilege is attached. So do not come to oppose the feeling of the majority of bishops on an object of dogma, that of a large number of priests and religious who might think differently. Whatever respect we owe to these when they are united to the prelates, we no longer owe them when they are contrary to them. Why? It is because it is neither priests nor religious, but the bishops alone, who must be our teachers in the faith: it is they, and they alone, that the Holy Spirit has established to govern the Church of God: Spiritus sanctus posuit episcopos regere Ecclesiam Dei. (Act., XX, 28.)

This is what shows the falsity of the subterfuge of some heterodox who, when they have been reproached in the past that they had very few bishops for them, and that they are now reproached for not having no longer have any, reply that if they have no bishops, they have a great number of pious second-order ecclesiastics, and learned cenobites, whose enlightenment and virtues can serve as a guide to them in the road that 'they took.

To this I say: Lights and virtues as long as you please; but if both are not accompanied by submission to the Church, they can only lead to misguidance (164) Now, one has no submission to the Church when one contradicts the body of bishops. These are our only guides in the path of salvation, our only pastors in the objects of religion; and if the clergy of the second order performs the function of pastors with regard to the faithful, it is only with subordination to the principal heads of the flock: it is towards them only in the rank of simple sheep.

No, my brothers, it is not to the priests that the Holy Spirit has given the charge of leading us in the faith; it is up to the bishops: Spiritus sanctus posuit episcopos. It is true that these rather often consult the first in their decisions, and that they find in several of them insights which prudence does not allow them to neglect: so they hardly fail to have recourse to it. on occasion: but these voluntary consultations of the chief pastors do not give the subordinate pastors the quality of judges in matters of dogma,

It is almost the same with the august tribunal established by Jesus Christ in his Church, as with those of the sovereign courts established by kings in their States. In these secular tribunals, the magistrates who compose them quite often have recourse to the enlightenment of the skilful jurisconsults who, after having paled on the laws, have deepened the letter and the spirit: they question them and take their opinions, especially in matters important and difficult: but, besides not having to do it, when they do, they are always free to follow their advice or not to follow it; and even when they follow it, it is not the authority of the jurisconsult, but that of the magistrate, which makes law. The lawyer does not become a judge; it is the latter alone to whom the sovereign has entrusted his authority;only he can use it.

Here the application is not difficult to do. The bishops, who are the only judges in matters relating to faith and morality, consult the priests when they want; and they want it quite commonly, because they are sure to find in several of them the light which can be very useful to them in deciding on the most embarrassing questions of dogma or morality: but, besides that they have no obligation to have recourse to them, they are absolutely the masters of conforming to the advice they receive from them, or of rejecting them; and even when they conform to it, it is always they alone who speak the final judgment, because it is only to them alone that Jesus Christ has entrusted the privilege of being infallible in their judgments; it is onlyto them he said in the person of the apostles:Go, teach all the nations; here I am with everyone until the end of the century,

We must conclude from what we have just said of priests with regard to decisions of faith, that all this must be understood, with much more reason, of simple laymen, however virtuous and however learned they may be. No, my brothers, whatever 'enlightened laymen say some modern writers (165), have nothing to do with the teaching of doctrine. Since they are children of the Church, and the bishops are their fathers, they must obey their orders: since they are but sheep in the flock of Jesus Christ, and the bishops are their pastors, they must allow themselves to be led by their voice: since they are only disciples in the school of Jesus Christ, and the bishops are its masters, they must make themselves docile to listen to their lessons;lessons which will never teach them error, because these teachers whom they received from Jesus Christ, themselves received from this divine Savior the right to show infallibly to the faithful all that should bring about their salvation.

Three things are absolutely essential to salvation. We must firmly believe all the truths that God has found honor to reveal to men. We must do exactly what God has commanded us to do. We must, and worship God the way he wants to be worshiped, and pray to him the way he wants to be prayed. Now it is the Church who prescribes to us everything that concerns these three objects. We must believe; infallibility in dogma. We have to do; infallibility in morality. We must worship and pray; infallibility in the kitchen. In believing what she teaches us about all of this, we should not be afraid of making mistakes; instead of following any other guide, there is always reason to apprehend that it does not lead us astray.

Indeed, my very dear brothers, what have we to fear by believing point by point all that the Church teaches us, and by practicing with exactness all that she commands us? If, by impossible, she could deceive us, we could, on the day of judgment, exonerate ourselves of our errors, by saying to Jesus Christ concerning his Church, what a pious teacher said concerning religion: Lord, if I was wrong, it was you who seduced me: Domine, si error est, a te deceptus sumo(Richard DE SAINT-VICTOR.) You ordered me to listen to your Church, I did it: I believed punctually what she taught me, I faithfully practiced what she taught me. recommended; I loved it, I prayed the way she saw fit to prescribe it to me. Would you, O my God, condemn me for having carried out your orders? Ah! Lord, you are too righteous and too good for me to apprehend anything like it from you.

But it will not be the same with those who have been either disobedient to the instructions of the Church, or refractory to her commandments. How will they respond to the sovereign judge when he reproaches them for their disobedience? Will they allege the authority of those who have led them out of the way of salvation? Will they say to him: Lord, men whom we regarded as full of lights and virtues, have prescribed to us the way in which we have walked? This Supreme Judge would not fail to answer them: Were these the masters I told you to listen to? Were these the guides I told you to follow? These men of lies showed you a way, your true pastors prescribed you another; which, first or second, should you give preference?

Ah! My dear listeners, we will all find ourselves there one day, before the formidable tribunal of this sovereign judge, to whom we must give an account of both our beliefs and our rnoeurs. What would we like to have done if, as I speak to you, he summons us to appear before him, and asks us about our obedience to the Church? 0 you, if there were anyone here, who hesitated for so long in the decisions of this holy Church, and who praise yourselves for your resistance, open your eyes to the obvious danger that you run of getting lost: there is your eternal happiness or unhappiness goes. Ah! My dear brothers, I implore you by the precious blood that Jesus Christ shed for you, and by the desire that you must have for your salvation, return to the obedience that thewe owe to a Church out of which we cannot hope to obtain it.

For you, faithful Christians, who you praise your docility to listen to the lessons of this Church your mother, bless God that he has given you in her a pillar of truth on which you have only to lean to be steadfast in the faith, and to have nothing to fear from seduction, Living Members of this august body of which Jesus Christ is the head, be convinced that while you will continue to be united by a living faith and through perfect charity to the militant Church in this world, you will have the right to hope to one day be part of the triumphant Church in heaven, where the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit lead us. So be it.