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bribery of the principal courts of Papal Europe, themselves at the time under the influence of the infidel principles which led to the French revolution, Pope Ganganelli shaped his policy in accordance with the wishes of those courts; and, among other measures of compliance, the most famous of which was the suppression of the Jesuit order, he surceased from the annual publication of the Bull Conce.
Whether, among other measures adopted by the Papacy on the revival of its former policy, one of the most striking proofs of which is the restoration of the Jesuit order, the publication of the Bull Cæno has been resumed, is a question of comparatively small importance; as it will hereafter appear that the Bull is in full force at this time, independently of such publication. In the “Moral Theology” of Peter Dens, a Roman Catholic standard work, reprinted at Dublin, in the year 1832, under the sanction of Dr. Murray, the Roman Catholic Archbishop, the Bull is, certainly, described as a Bull “ annually published in Rome on Maundy Thursday.” (See Dens's Theol. Mor., vol. vi., p. 298.) And as late as the 6th of December, 1847, the question having been mooted in the House of Lords, Lord Beaumont, a Roman Catholic Peer, admitted the fact of the annual publication of the Bull Conce Domini.See “ Hansard's Parliamentary Debates," vol. xcv., pp. 674, 675.
We shall now consider its validity as a law, at this time, in force in the Roman Catholic Church generally, and especially among the Roman Catholics of Ireland. The argument of Roman Catholics against the inferences obviously deducible from this Bull is, that it has become obsolete ; to which the Irish Roman Catholic Bishops add the further plea, that wherever else it may be in force, it is not so in Ireland, because there it is “not received.”
The following documentary evidence, taken from undeniable Roman Catholic authorities, will enable the reader to judge what reliance is to be placed on such assertions :
1.—THE VALIDITY OF THE BULL AS PART OF THE ROMAN LAW NOW IN FORCE,
GENERALLY. The Digest of the Roman Canon Law, by one of the first authorities on that subject in the Roman Church, the canonist Reiffenstuel, treats at large of this point.
After giving a brief historical notice of the Bull, and reciting it at full length, Reiffenstuel thus describes its peculiarities and effects :
“ The excommunications of the Bull Conce are peculiar in the following respects :
“1. That they are judgments pronounced.
“ 2. That they are most specially reserved to the Supreme Pontiff ; so that, except in articulo mortis, no Regular, however great his privileges may be, can absolve from them, nor any Bishop, unless he be furnished afresh with a special privilege.
“3. That against them, or rather against the Bull by which they are inflicted, no title or pretext of prescription, of custom, even though immemorial, of non-reception, of privilege, or of dignity, is of any avail; as is evident partly from the Bull itself, partly from what has been said before under tit. vii., De hæreticis, where we have proved at length that against the Bull Coence any title of non-reception, or of custom, or of prescription, &c., is of no avail."-Reiffenstuel, Jus Canonicum Universum, Rome, 1831 -1834, vol. v., lib. v. Decretal. tit. xxxix., n. 130.
“ The inference is, that there are indeed at this time many persons who lie, as a matter of fact, under one of the excommunications aforesaid ; since it is manifest that many transgress one or other of the points prohibited under pain of excommunication by the Bull Cance. Among whom, certainly, are such lay Judges and officers as in any way obstruct the ecclesiastical Judges in the due prosecution of ecclesiastical causes, and the free exercise of their jurisdiction. Furthermore, those also who have recourse to the lay power against the ecclesiastical power, and the officers who assist them. For such things, alas! we see constantly put in practice, notwithstanding that they are prohibited under peremptory pain of excommunication in the Bull Conæ.
“Nor do they stand excused, because, although they be notorious offenders, they are for the most part not proceeded against before the external ecclesiastical tribunal, nor denounced or avoided as excommunicate persons ; seeing they are thereby not in the least relieved froin being still truly excommunicate before God and in their own conscience, and from being liable to the before-recited effects of excommunication before the internal tribunal.
“Much less do they stand excused, because by them and some others such excommunications are not cared for, but are made a mock of, and held in contempt; for a time will come when their laughter shall be turned to weeping and gnashing of teeth ; besides which, sometimes even in this world already, they are, as experience shows, made in many and various ways to feel, apart from the ordinary effects of excommunication, the avenging hand of God, specially for such their contempt, although the ecclesiastical Judges may, either to avoid greater evils, or because no one accuses them, tolerate the excesses prohibited under pain of excommunication.”—Reiffenstuel, ibid, nn. 131, 132, 133.
In the place alluded to in the first extract, the same canonist argues the general question as to the possibility of the Bull becoming invalid through lapse of time, or for want of being duly published, as follows:
“In conversation one sometimes hears men, and that (which is a pity !) even Ecclesiastics, secular and regular, who venture to say that the Bull Coence is not absolutely received, and is, therefore, in these parts (Germany] of no obligation. Which doctrine being not only altogether unsound, but also extremely prejudicial to the clerical estate and to the ecclesiastic immunity and jurisdiction, (whereof the Bull Coenæ is the chiefest and firmest, and almost only-remaining, pillar,) we have thought it useful and necessary expressly to refute it.
“To the objection before stated..........the answer is, absolutely to deny the whole supposition, that in any province or place whatsoever, it can rightfully happen for the Bull Cænæ not to be received; consequently, also, to deny that it is anywhere not received, in such manner as not to be in that place fully, and according to its entire and true meaning, obligatory upon all.”—Reiffenstuel, Jus. Canon. Univ., vol. v., lib. v. Decretal, tit. vii., nn. 80, 81.
Having disposed of the plea of non-reception, the learned canonist next applies himself to the question, whether the Bull might grow obsolete, and so lose its validity by lapse of time. He thus states the objector's plea :
“ Granting that there can be no just cause for not receiving the most holy Bull Conce.........yet it might at least be abrogated by lapse of time, through the lawful prescription of a contrary practice and custom ; seeing that every human law (such as the Bull Cænæ is) may be abrogated by the lawful prescription of custom."
Having thus stated the objection, he proceeds to refute it :
“ Again the answer is, to deny the supposition, namely, that any reasonable or lawful custom can be introduced, or operate in the way of lawful prescription against the Bull Cænæ ;
“In the first place, because a custom against the liberty and immunity of the Church, even though it be an immemorial custom, is at all times invalid and inadmissible, as we have proved at large from one and the other [canon and civil] law. (Lib. i., tit. iv. De Consuetud., n. 61.) But a custom against the Bull Coence would be exceedingly adverse to the liberty and immunity of the Church ; forasmuch as it is for this object chiefly that the Bull has been set forth, and as in fact it is the firmest and almost the only pillar of it.
“In the next place, and chiefly, because the oft-mentioned Bull Conce constantly revokes and annuls all and singular customs,-even though they be immemorial customs, and though their prescription extend over ever so long a period of time,--and all conceivable evasions of whatever kind, by means of a most wholesome clause, which deserves to be quoted at length, and which is to the following effect :
“ • Notwithstanding any privileges, indulgences, indults, and letters apostolic, general or special, granted by the aforesaid See, to the persons aforesaid, or any of them, or to any others, of whatever rank, estate, or condition, dignity, or pre-eminence they might be, even though they should, as aforesaid, be invested with pontifical, imperial, regal, or any other ecclesiastical or worldly dignity; or else to their kingdoms, provinces, cities, or places, for any cause whatever, even though in the way of contract or recompence, and under whatever other form and tenor, and with any clauses whatsoever, even such clauses as should derogate the derogating clauses of this Bull; albeit they should be to the effect, that no excommunication, anathema, or interdict, by apostolic letters shall avail against them, except such letters make mention fully, expressly, and word for word, of such privileges and indults, and of their orders, places, proper names, surnames, and dignities; and notwithstanding any customs, though immemorial, and prescriptions, of however long standing, and any other observance of whatever kind, written or unwritten, by which they inight relieve and protect themselves against this our process and judgments, to prevent their being included under them.'”-Reiffenstuel, l. c., nn. 89, 90. See also the Bull, $ 24.
Even this, however, does not content the canonist: he sees another possible objection, which is this:
“Thou wilt urge, that by this clause only antecedent customs are renounced and annulled ; that is, such as have gone before the Bull Conæ, and that it does not affect subsequent customs; that is, such as were newly introduced after the establishment of this Bull.” –Reiffenstuel, n. 91.
This objection he meets, by reference to the character of perpetuity inherent in the Bull. At the time when Reiffenstuel wrote his Digest, this character of perpetuity was practically exhibited in the fact of its annual republication. But independently of such annual republication, the perpetual validity of the Bull is protected by a clause in the Bull itself, by which it is expressly provided, that the Bull in the form in which it is at any time published, shall remain in force until its republication by the same Pontiff, or by any one of his successors, in the same or a similar form. The clause in question is the following:
“It being our will, that this our present process, and all and everything contained in this letter, shall continue, and be in full force, until another similar process be drawn up or issued, by ourselves, or by the Roman Pontiff for the time being.”— See Bull, $ 21.
And in another clause of the Bull it is provided, that no act, though it were the act of the Pope himself,—no, nor even his express absolution, granted to the parties concerned,-shall be of any avail contrary to its provisions, until the parties excommunicated and anathematized by it shall desist from doing any of the things therein prohibited, and make satisfaction to the Church in those matters in regard to which they have contravened it.
“We declare and protest....... that such absolution, or whatever contrary acts, tacit or express, and likewise the patience and toleration of us, or our guccessors, however long continued, in all and singular, and whatsoever things aforesaid, can or shall in no way operate to the prejudice of the rights of the Apostolic See and the holy Roman Church, whencesoever and whensoever those rights may be derived, or to be derived."-See Bull, § 23.
The whole argument is thus wound up by Reiffenstuel :
“ Hence it manifestly appears, that all practices and customs contrary to the Bull7 which may exist as a matter of fact either in Germany, or in any other provinces, are by no means legitimate, lawful, and valid customs, but mere abuses and corruptions, which have not the least effect in excusing from sin and from censure ; notwithstanding that the Ordinaries of the places do not for the most part proceed against the transgressors, nor declare them excommunicate ; seeing that although they may, as a matter of necessity, wink at such violations of the Bull, even when they are open violations, with a view to avert greater evils, or for other just causes, yet they do not on that account approve them, but leave them to be avenged by God; in whose sight, as no one is free from guilt, on account of the empty pretext that the Bull has not been received, or has been abrogated by custom, or on account of any similar futile reasons, so will no one escape punishment, both here and hereafter.”-Reiffenstuel, 1. c., n. 92.
** “ Reiffenstuel's Digest of the Canon Law” was originally published with the express sanction of the authorities of the Roman Church ; and the recent edition of it, from which the above quotations are taken, bears their reimprimatur, under the date of November the 7th, 1831. 11.—THE RECOGNITION OF THE BULL “ CNÆ" BY THE ROMAN CATHOLIC HIER
ARCHY IN IRELAND, AS PART OF THE ROMAN LAW NOW IN FORCE. From the foregoing exposition of the principles of the canon law bearing upon the validity of the Bull Conce, and of the provisions for its perpetual obligation, contained in the Bull itself, it is evident that no abandonment of the custom of publishing, and no refusal to receive, the Bull Cænæ, can possibly affect the validity of that Bull, in any country where there is a hierarchy owning ecclesiastical allegiance to the Papacy. The practical question affecting the British empire does not, however, depend upon so extreme a case : there is abundant proof that the Bull is recognised by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, and that its principles are incorporated with their system of doctrine and of diocesan government.
This fact is placed beyond doubt or controversy by reference to the standard works adopted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, both in their ecclesiastical seminaries and in their clerical conferences.
In the “ List of the works recommended by the Professors of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth for the perusal of the students, or referred to by them in the course of their lectures," appears under the head of “ Canon
Law” the very digest of Reiffenstuel, whose unanswerable demonstration of the universal and perpetual validity of the Bull Cance has been given in the preceding section.-See Eighth Report of the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry. Appendix No. 67, p. 450.
That the principles set forth by Reiffenstuel, in reference to the validity of the Bull Coenæ, are practically adopted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, appears further froin the compendium of “Moral Theology," by Peter Dens, which is proved by successive announcements in the Roman Catholic Directories for Ireland, to be the standard work and text-book in use at the diocesan Conferences of the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood. The first adoption of this work took place at a meeting of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland at Dublin, on the 14th of September, 1808, when three thousand copies of it were ordered to be printed. In the year 1832, another edition was printed, with a supplementary volume, containing an “ Epitome of the Moral and Canonical Doctrine of Benedict XIV.”.
The sixth volume of Dens's “ Moral Theology" contains in the “ Treatise on Reserved Cases,” pp. 262–324, numerous references to the different provisions of the Bull Coenæ, which is there quoted, along with other documents of the Roman canon law, as the authority for the various propositions of law, and directions to Confessors, laid down by Dens.
See pages 264, 271, 275, 297, 298, 299, 300, 302, 303, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 319, 320, 321, 323.
The eighth volume of Dens,—that is, the Epitome of the Moral and Canonical Doctrine of Benedict XIV.,-in like manner contains references to the Bull Conce, as a document of Roman law now in force, under the following heads :-Excommunication, pp. 73, 74; Heretics, pp. 82–81; Jubilee, pp. 95—101 ; Penitentiary, pp. 164, 165.
One of these references, bearing as it does upon the question, in what light Princes and other public authorities excommunicated by the Bull, are regarded by the Roman law now in force, recognised and inculcated in Ireland, it will not be inappropriate to give at full length. It occurs under the head “Heretics :”
“ Princes or State-governors, under the name of Lieutenants, dominions, and republics, and their rulers, or those who usually rule them, Bishops, and superior Prelates, can, in the cases of excommunication on public grounds contained in the Bull Coenæ Domini, on no account be absolved by the Major Poenitentiarius ;" that is, the Cardinal intrusted with the highest power of absolution, next to the Pope himself, to whom all such cases are reserved by the Bull Conc.-Dens's Theol. Mor., vol. viii., p. 82.
The foregoing quotations leave no room for doubt that the Bull Conce Domini is not only valid on general grounds, but expressly recognised by the hierarchy in Ireland. But the reader may be told, that these documents and facts are contradicted by the assertions of the Roman Catholics, and especially by the evidence upon oath given before Parliamentary Committees, by two Roman Catholic Bishops.
In the examination of Dr. Doyle, before the Select Committee of the House of Lords, appointed to inquire into the state of Ireland, in the year 1825, the following questions and answers occur :
“ Is the Bull In Coenâ Domini now in force ?
“ There are portions of that Bull that were in force from the time of Christ; but the Bull, as a Bull, is not in force, nor ever was in force, in Ireland, and has been rejected from nearly all the Christian countries of Europe : if that were in force, there is scarcely anything would be at rest