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Art. VI.Lettre Encyclique du Pape Gregoire XVI. “ Archives

du Christianisme," No. XI., Juin 8. 1844. Paris. 2. Circular Letter from his Holiness the Pope. The “ English

Churchman,” June 20th, 1844. 3. Declaration of the [Roman] Catholic Bishops, the Vicar's

Apostolic, and their Coadjutors in Great Britain, London.

1843. 8vo. 4. A Brief Reply to the Declaration of the [Roman] Catholic

Bishops, the Vicars Apostolic, and their Coadjutors in Great Britain. Ashby-de-la-Zouch: Hextall. London: Sherwood and Co. 1843. 12mo.

IF there be one fact more notorious than another in the practice of the Romish Church, it is the sedulous and incessant care with which—in all countries where Popery is dominant -her bishops and priests keep the holy Scriptures from the people. Where, however, Papists live in society with Protestants, they would gladly conceal this fact, if it were possible ; and they spare no pains to cause it to be believed, that their section of the universal Church never withheld the Bible from the people. Hence the Romish “ bishops, and vicars apostolic, and their coadjutors in Great Britain,” in their “ Declaration," which was first published in 1826, and which has recently been re-printed, * complain that “they are still exhibited to the enemies to the circulation and to the reading of the holy Scriptures (Preamble, p. 4); and that “the Catholic" [Romish] “ Church is held out as an enemy to the reading and circulating of the holy Scriptures.(Sect. 3, p. 7). How justly that Church is so “held out” (even if we had not abundance of historical evidence to prove the fact), will be evident from the vehement denunciations of the present Pope, Gregory XVI., in his Encyclical Letter, against an association instituted (as he states) at New York, called the “Christian League ;" which was

• The mis-statements of the “ Declaration" of the Romish bishops, &c., were exposed and refuted by the Rev. Philip Alwood, in his “ Brief Remarks,” pub. lished in 1826; and paragraph by paragraph by the Rev. George Townsend, in his very able " review” of that pamphlet, published in 1827. The recent reprint of the “ Declaration" called forth the “ Brief Reply” and refutation, pub. lished by the Loughboroug and Ashby-de-la-Zouch (Church of England) Protestant Tract Society, in 1843_a society which, with comparatively small means, we rejoice to say, has hitherto been eminently useful in the district which is within the sphere of its labours. This “ Brief Reply” is admirably adapted for circulation, as an antidote to the “ Declaration" of the Romish bishops.

formed for the express purpose of circulating “among Italians, and especially the Romans," what the Pope is pleased to term "corrupt and vulgar Bibles,” together with Merle D'Aubigné's “History of the Reformation," and Dr. M'Crie's “ History of the Reformation in Italy.” If, indeed, we may judge of the success which, with the divine blessing, has attended the efforts made to circulate the unadulterated Scriptures on the continent, by the opposition which those efforts have excited, we have abundant cause for joy at the bitter hostility against the Bible, which breathes in almost every paragraph of the Pope's Encyclical Letter. The publication of it in the English journals is such an irrefragable evidence of the enmity of Rome to the circulation and reading of the Scriptures, that we are not at all surprised that English Romanists should have expressed "some displeasure” at the reprinting of it in this country. In the United States of America, the intolerant and arrogant tone of this papal epistle has excited only disgust and contempt.

As this Encyclical Letter refers with approbation to the efforts of those pontiffs, his predecessors, who, in the plenitude of their usurped supremacy, denounced all Protestant versions of the Bible; we think (at least we hope that we shall render à service to the readers of our journal, by placing upon record some documentary evidence on this subject: and since Gregory XVI. has thought proper to charge Protestant versions with being “corrupt, we shall proceed to adduce some convincing testimonies, which will demonstrate, that where the Church of Rome cannot altogether prevent the holy Scriptures from being translated and circulated, she has made no scruple of falsifying the text.

One of the earliest proofs on record occurred in the year 1080. Wratislaus, Duke of Bohemia, had requested Saint Gregory VII. (better known by the name of Hildebrandt) to permit the celebration of divine service in the Sclavonian language, which was understood by his subjects. This reasonable request was peremptorily refused by the haughty pontiff, on the pretext that the Almighty thought fit that holy Scripture should be concealed in some places, lest, if it should be accessible to all, it should fall into contempt, and, being misunderstood, should lead the people into error. *

* In the New York Weekly Herald, of July 30, 1844, it is asserted that Gregory XVI. issued his letter at the solicitation of John Hughes, the Romish bishop at New York.

+ The whole life of this man was one unceasing and unprincipled effort to realize the universal dominion of the world, which he claimed as an appendage to the see of Rome. Against his canonization, in the eighteenth century, by Benedict XIII., every government which at that time was in communion with Rome, protested, and rejected his saintship; so that he is acknowledged and venerated only at Rome and in Ireland. --Bishop Phillpotts Supplemental Letter to Charles Butler, Esq., pp. 145-150.

In the year 1229, during the pontificate of Gregory IX., a council was held at Toulouse, in which, besides various enactments against those who were denounced as heretics, and also against those princes who did not extirpate all heretics ont of their dominions, the laity are, by the thirteenth canon, prohibited from having the books of the Old or New Testament, unless any one, out of devotion, should wish to have a psalier, or a breviary for the divine offices, or the Hours of the Blessed Mary. But TIIEY ARE MOST STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO have these books in the vulgar tongue.t

This language cannot be misunderstood. The Romish theologians, who were convened at that council, assumed authority to deprive the people of that divine revelation which had been given to be “a light unto their feet, and a lamp unto their path." Not even such portions, as might be found in a psalter or breviary, were to be allowed, except in a dead language. And no wonder: "for every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works be not reproved." (Anglo-Romish version of John iii. 20). The Church of Rome shuns the light, and shrinks from a free comparison of her doctrines and practices with the only test which God has given of a true and pure Church.

Though calling itself an acumenical or general council, that assembly was wholly composed of divines of the Roman obedience; and the histories of its proceedings prove that they were all regulated, either in pursuance of orders from Rome, or in conformity with the express wishes of the Popes. Its sittings commenced December 3rd, 1545, and were con

*“Quia vero nobilitas tua postulavit, quòd secundum Sclavonicam linguam apud vos divinum celebrari annueremus officium; scias nos huic petitioni tuæ nequaquam posse favere. Ex hoc nempe sæpe volventibus liquet, non immerito sacrain Scripturam omnipotenti Deo placuisse quibusdam locis esse occultam : ne si ad liquidum cunctis pateret, forté vilesceret, et subjacerct despectui, aut prave intellecta à mediocribus in errorem induceret.”—Greg. VII., Epist. lib. vii. Ep. 11, in Cardinal Baronius's Annales Ecclesiastici, iom. 17, p. 496. Lucæ, 1745, fol.

+“ Prohibemus, ne libros Veteris Testamenti aut Novi laici permittentur habere; nisi forté psalterium, vel breviarium pro divinis officiis, aut Horas beatæ Mariæ, aliquis ex devotione habere velit. Sed ne prætermissos libros habeant in vulgari lingua translatos ARCTISSIME INHIBEMUS." _Labbè et Cossart, Concilia, tom. xi., part 1, col. 430.

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tinued (with interruptions, caused by suspension and removal to Bologna, from March 25th, 1547, to September 1st, 1551,) until December 4th, 1563; thus completing a period of eighteen years, during which it was under the infallible direction of Paul III., Julius II., and Pius IV.*

In the eighteenth session of the Council of Trent, it was referred to a committee to prepare an index of prohibited books; but as they had not finished their labours at the close of the session, that business was entrusted to Pope Pius IV., under whose auspices the first index was published in 1564.t Ten rules are prefixed to this index, which are retained in all subsequent impressions of it. We extract a few passages, to show the rigour with which the Romish Church, like the pharisees of old, takes away the key of knowledge, by depriving the laity of the word of God:-

“RULE IV.-Inasmuch as it is manifest from experience, that if the holy Bible, translated into the vulgar tongue, be indiscriminately allowed to every one, the temerity of men will cause more evil than good to arise from it, it is, on this point, referred to the judgment of the bishops or inquisitors, who may, by the advice of the priest or confessor, permit the reading of the Bible, translated into the vulgar tongue by Catholic authors, to those persons whose faith and piety, they apprehend, will be augmented, and not injured by it; and this permission they must have in writing. But if any one shall have the presumption to read or possess it without such written permission, he shall not receive absolution until he have first delivered up such Bible to the ordinary. Booksellers, however, who shall sell or otherwise dispose of Bibles in the vulgar tongue, to any person not having such permission, shall forfeit thic value of the books, to be applied by the bishop to some pious use; and be subjected to such other penalties as the bishop shall judge proper, according to the quality of the offence. But regulars shall neither read nor purchase such Bibles without a special licence from their superiors."*

* An accurate analysis of the proceedings of each session of the Tridentine assembly will be found in the Rev. J. Mendham's “ Memoirs of the Council of Trent, principally derived from manuscript and unpublished Records.” London, 1834, 8vo.

of A full account of the expurgatory and prohibitory indexes of the Romish Church will be found in Mr. Mendham's “Literary Policy of the Chuich of Rome, exhibited in an Account of her Damnatory Catalogues or. Indexes ;" (second edition, London, 1830. 8vo.); and in his " index of Prohibited Books by command of the present Pope, Gregory XVI., in 1835. London, 1840.” 8vo. We may add, that another edition of the Roman Index (from which our qnotations are made) was published at Rome in 1841.

“Regula IV.–Cum experimento manifestum est, si sacra Biblia vulgari lingua passim sine discrimine permittantur, plus inde, ob hominum temeritatem, detrimenti, quam utilitatis oriri ; hac in parte judicio episcopi aut inquisitoris stetur, ut cum consilio parochi, aut confessarii, Bibliorum a catholicis auctot 6 Regula VII.-Libri qui res lascivas seu obscenas ex professo tractant, omnino prohibentur; qui eos habuerint severe ab episcopis puniantur. Antiqui vero, ab ethnicis conscripti, propter sermonis elegantiam et proprietatem, permittantur : nulla tamen ratione pueris prælegendi erunt.” (Ibid, p. xi.)

That part of the preceding rule, which allowed “the reading of the Bible translated into the vulgar tongue by Catholic authors," was qualified by the following proviso of Benedict XIV.: “ But if versions of this kind of books in the vulgar tongue are approved by the apostolic see, or are edited with annotations drawn from the holy fathers of the Church, or from learned and Catholic men, they are allowed."* Liberal, however, as this proviso seems, real effect it has none. The slightest reflection upon its conditions will at once convince the reader that, though it might suit the pontiff to make à demonstration of the semblance of liberality, yet the reins were kept in his hands as effectually as ever. Let any unwelcome application be made for a license; and here are the conditions as strait, as numerous, and as dependent on interpretation as could be desired. No such thing as the simple word of God," which is able to make us wise unto salvation," is to be permitted !

“Rule VII.-Books professedly treating of lascivious or obscene subjects, or narrating or teaching them, are utterly prohibited ;........ and those who possess them shall be severely punished by the bishop. But works of antiquity, written by the heathens, are permitted to be read, on account of the elegance and propriety of the language ; though on no account shåll they be suffered to be read by young persons.”+

The reader will not fail to observe the easy virtue of Rome in thus giving permission for the reading of " obscene works of antiquity, on account of the elegance and propriety of the language;" while the infinitely purer morality of the Scriptures is prohibited to be read, because, forsooth, if " the holy Bible,

ribus versorum lectionem in vulgari lingua eis concedere possit, quos intellexerint ex hujusmodi lectione non damnum, sed fidei atque pietatis augmentum, capere posse; quam facultatem in scriptis habeant.

“Qui autem absque tali facultate ea legere, aut habere præsumpserit, nisi prius Bibliis ordinario redditis, peccatorum absolutionem percipere non possit.

“ Bibliopolæ vero, qui prædictam facultatem non habenti Biblia idiomate vul. gari conscripta vendiderint, vel alio quovis modo concesserint, librorum pretium, in usus pios ab episcopo convertendum, amittant; aliisque poenis pro delicti qualitate, ejusdem episcopi arbitrio, subjaceant. Regulares vero, non nisi facul. tate a prælatis suis habita, ea legere aut emere possint.”—Page x. of “ Index Librorum Prohibitorum sanctissimi Domini nostri Gregorii XVI. Pontificis Maximi jussu editus. Romæ, MDCCCXLI. Ex Typographia Reverendæ Cameræ Apostolicæ. Cum Summi Pontificis privilegio.” 8vo.

“ Quodsi hujusmodi librorun versiones vulgari lingua fuerint ab apostolica sede approbatæ, aut editæ cum annotationibus desumptis ex sanctis ecclesia patribus, vel ex doctis catholicisque viris, conceduntur. Decret. Sacr. Con. gregationis Ind. 13 Junii, 1757.” (Index Librorum Prohibitorum, p. xv. Romæ.


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