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Bath, Nov. 8, 1813,
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Have not many, holy men, in various ages, resisted
the Bishop of Rome? Has the Gallican Church, in no instance, resisted him?
I HAVE already observed to you, that perfect liberty of opinion is allowed amongst Catholics, on subjects which are unconnected with the integrity of faith, and with the essence of morality. Consistently, therefore, with Catholic principles, it is possible, that amongst holy and virtuous men, much difference of opinion may have prevailed respecting the proceedings of different Popes, and that those opinions may have been expressed, even strongly, to the persons of the Sovereign Pontiffs themselves. But surely it will not be denied, that between, even the boldest language of remonstrance, and the denial of authority, the distance is great. Do we not, every day, behold amongst ourselves, the meas of Government, subjected to the most unqualified censures ? Do we not, every day, behold addresses presented to the Majesty of the Throne, in condemnation of public transactions, which
mea ares are the determinations of that very Throne? And yet is it imagined by any one, that either any denial is intended, or any doubt entertained of the Sovereign's authority itself?
In relation to the Gallican church, if we except the interval, which elapsed betwixt the introduction of schism, by the decrees of the national assembly, and the re-establishment of union with the See of Rome, by the Concordat of Pope Pius VII., I am acquainted with no proceeding, which can go to justify the insinuation, which Mr. * * * * * * *'s question seems to convey. The proceedings of that Church, during the interval, in question, furnish no ground, on which any argument can be supported, against the acknowledgment of Papal Supremacy, in that country, as according to the principles of a Catholic, she had then ceased to be a portion of the Catholic Church. But at no other period of time, can any act, or any opinion of that Church be produced, which can be considered as inconsistent with those sentiments of respect and submission, which are required from Catholics in regard to the Authority of the Sovereign Pontiff.
will not be denied, íhat the Gallican Church It has always regulated her conduct, by some ancient usages, which have a reference to points only of discipline: nor will it be even denied that, in her theological schools, she maintains some opinions
which Rome may not approve, and which are not admitted in some other kingdoms, attached to the cominunion of the Catholic Church. But from these facts, no inference can be possibly drawn, with fairness, either against the integrity of the faith of that church, or against its acknow, ledgment of the Papal Supremacy. In whatever relates to regulations of discipline, or in whatever is not an established article of faith, there is no principle of the Catholic Church, which forbids national churches to differ from each other, or which prevents ancient customs from acquiring the force of laws, after a long lapse of time, with which the authority of Papal power does not pretend to interfere. If Mr. * * * * * * * will understand, that nothing, but the integrity of faith, and an acquiescence, in “ general” points of discipline, are required, as a term of communion with the Catholic Church, he will easily dis. cover, that differences may exist in one country, which are not known in another, and yet that the bond of union may remain unbroken amongst them.
Within the period of the few last years, we have seen an exertion of Papal Authority, in France, of which, perhaps, there is no other similar in. stance, in ecclesiastical history; against which some of the unyielding Prelates have entered a solemn and public protest, and which, per
haps, is the particular instance, to which Mr. *
alludes. But if this Gentle. man imagine, that the protest, in question, amounts to a denial of Papal Supremacy, let him consult that protest, and he will find, that neither such a denial is intimated, by those Prelates, nor one expression employed, of disrespect, or of resistance to the Sovereign Pontiff. In whatever light their conduct may have appeared to Mr.
, or to any other man, from the language of the protest, and from the subsequent conduct of each one of these Prelates, it is evident, that they have never denied the supremacy of the Pope; it is evident, they have never relinquished his communion; it is evident, they have never refused obedience to his Spiritual Authority. I remain, &c.
Bath, Nov. 10, 1813.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
The Papists make a distinction belween venial, and
mortal sins. Where is that distinction to be found in Scripture? Every sin is, in its nature, mortal, “ For the wages of sin is death.” And what sin is not venial to the believing penitent?
FROM the train of reasoning which is pursued by the framer of this question, I should be led to conclude, either that he has not sufficiently attended to, or that he has niisconceived the sentiments of Catholics, on the distinctive nature of mortal, and of venial offences. If, by the denomination of venial sins, we are to understand every sin, which is placed within the reach of remission, then' no sin ought to be considered as mortal, because there is no sin, which cannot be forgiven to the man, who truly and sincerely repents. But the distinction which 'Catholics bé. Jieve is established between sins, which are mortal, and sins which are venial, does not arise from an idea, that any sin is beyond either the power, or the hope of remission ; but from an idea, that the one is totally destructive of, and the other is only