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fcrred to thein, as to their ultimate end ; that he who has power over the end, must have power over the means also, and a right. to command whatever is conducive to the end, and to remove whatever may oppose its attainment; that consequently, on account of Apostacy, Heresy, or any grievous crime which brings mischief on the Church, or is detrimental to the salvation of the faithful, Kings might be cut off from the communion of Christians; and that, this being done, they were so divested of all power and dignity, that no one could conscientiously have with them any sort of intercourse.
But Heaven forbid that any Christian people should imbibe an opinion so fatal to kingly government: far be it from them to embrace an opinion unknown to all antiquity, for which there is not any solid foundation in the Sacred Writings, and which at all times, and in every country where it has been suffered to prevail, has . been the execrable parent of wars and civil discords. If such an arrangement had been suitable and useful to the Church which Christ came to establish on earth, without doubt he would have settled a matter of such moment with particular attention; and the very novelty of a doctrine in religious concerns, is ever a certain argument of its falsehood. The votaries to this opinion have no other principles on which to rest their cause, but either certain allegories, which though they may confirm a doctrine already established, of themselves can afford no evidence of truth, or distorted passages of Scripture, or far-fetched inferences, or facts and precedents, which it were to be wished the Christian Church had never heard, of as they are all in direct opposition to other facts and precedents of high antiquity. From the eleventh century to the present, the Bishops of Rome have sometimes endeavoured to anathematize kingdoms, and to depose princes from their sovereign dominion ; but vain have been their efforts in almost every stance: perhaps, by the particular disposition of the Divine Pro, vidence, that experience itself might convince mankind that the Christian Republic is not to be defended by a military force; and the sheep of Christ are not to be fed in pastures, obtained for them by wars and civil contests; are not to be composed into order by the clangor of arms; but by counsels, exhortations, the preaching of the Divine Word, and other such ineans recommended by our Lord to the Pastors of the Church. That Kings, as well as the faithful of inferior rank, are so far subject to the power of Bishops, that by them they may be separated from the communion of the Church, and delivered to Satan if their crimes provoke s!ich severity, is a truth which must not be called in question, although it would perhaps be more expedient and more discreet never to apply such desperate remedies to the wounds of those who are invested with sovereign power. But princes, even when thus ex. communicated, possess the same authority, the saine right to govern as when they participated the Sacred Rites ; and their subjects are
bound to pay them equal homage, submission, and obedience, unless their orders be evidently unjust; or unless they insist that their subjects shall join them in the guilt, for which they are deprived of ecclesiastical communion; for in that case we must never lose sight of the Divine admonition, “ God is to be obeyed rather than man." This is the system established by Christ Jessus, and confirmed by the writings and examples of our forefathers. They are indeed deluded who picture to themselves any form of a Christian Republic which differs in the least degree from that which has been framed by our great Law-giver; and he must be little conversant in Sacred Literature and Ecclesiastical History, who is yet to be informed that the Church of Christ will ever be tossed about among rocks and shelves ; that it is necessary that beresies should exist in it; that it has ever flourished amidst clouds and storms, never enjoyed a complete tranquillity and peace, nor will enjoy it till settled in the Heavenly Paradise,
That the Christian Republic would not be perfect nor indepen. dent in its operations, unless all temporal rights were subordinate. to the spiritual, and unless excommunicated princes were deposed and their subjects absolved from their allegiance, is a pretence; which receives no countenance either from the Gospel or from thes ancient practice of the Christian Church. In its very origin, Peter, making no mention of a doctrine of such weighty consequence as. that would be, commands the faithful to pay obedience and reverence to Kings and Governors : and Paul will have every soul “ be subject to the higher powers ;” and declares, That he who resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and Christians in the succeeding ages endured hunger, thirst, exile, and every extreme calamity, rather than depart from their allegiance to Julian, Constantius, Valens, and other Roman Emperors, who were Heretics, and protectors of Heresy, But some Divines and Cas nonists, having their minds filled with magnificent ideas, from beholding the present pomp, riches, and power of the Church, have forgotten its former state of subjection, poverty, obedience, and misery. Therefore, the Republic of Christ is perfect and completely independent; not because it can remove every obstacle ta the salvation of men, for it cannot soften obdurate sinners to repentance, nor entirely take away the occasions of sin, nor avoid heresies and schisins, nor a variety of other things which are detrimental to its subjects; but it is independent and perfect, because it has received power froin God to conduct men to eternal life, and likewise the means for accomplishing its object: but then these means are of the same nature and kind with the end propos sed, viz, spiritual, not temporal means; which we are decidedly of opinion, our Redeemer never thought of employing, Seeing, therefore, that the oath of allegiance, which binds subjects to their princes, refers to temporal rights, and may be, and frequent: ly is, imposed equally on believers and unbelievers ; and since the Papes when they have granted to any subjects a dispensation
from it, have always aimed at depriving them of their dominion, which, as we have demonstrated, cannot be done without a violation of civil and natural right,--we, without any hesitation, des clare, That neither the Roman Pontiff, nor the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, nor any Council, nor individual of the Catholic Church, can absolve the subjects of his Britannic Majesty from their oath of allegiance, or dispense with its obligations.
Question the Third.
Among the Articles of the Catholic Faith, is there
which teaches that Catholics are not bound to keep faith with Heretics, or persons of any other description, who dissent from them in matters of religion ?
So far are we from admitting, as an article of our religious creed, any tenet which authorizes breach of faith with
of a different persuasion, that we know we are frequently admonished by St. Paul, as much as is possible, to have peace and charity with all men. The natural rights of men were not intended to þe abridged by the law and doctrine of Christ; but to be confirmed and illustrated. Now, nothing is more clearly engraven on the minds of men by the law of nature than this principle, That all
, men, however discordant their religious tenets, are, to every intent and purpose, in a state of equality with respect to negotiations, alliances, and compacts. The Spaniards, who in points of zeal for the defence and support of the Catholic Faith will yield to no nation under Heaven, have entered into contracts relating both to commerce and to the establishment of peace with the English themselves, and with other Calvinist and Lutheran States ; and it would be an atrocious injury and a vile calumny to assert, that such .contracts have at any time been violated under pretence of religion. Moreover, our late most religious Prince Charles the Third, of blessed memory, whose death can never be sufficiently lamented, made treaties of peace and perpetual alliances, not only with Heretics, but with the Africans and with the Turks themselves, who with wild fanaticism venerate the dreams and ravings of Mahomet as revelations from Heaven, as soon as he found them disposed to lay aside or at least to soften their innate ferocity and inveterate hatred of the Christian name. That wise Prince, the loving Father of his People and strenuous defender of the Church of Christ, did not act thus in consequence of any recent institution, not in conformity to the temper of this age, but moved by the ancient spirit of genuine piety, and the very nature and genius of the Christian Religion, Because we are Catholics, it is not necessary that we should be acted by a perse
cuting spirit against those who are adverse to our religion : meekness and charity are its great characteristics; and the example left us by our forefathers, recomiend us to a contrary conduct : for it is an incontestible fact, that many most holy Bishops in ancient times sold the sacred vessels and ornaments of the Church, that they might redeem men of all denominations, whether Pagans or Christians, from captivity and slavery; so far were those venerable men from teaching that faith was not to be kept by them in compacts and other civil negociations.
A distinction must always be made between the civil and the religious toleration of Heretics : a distinction which is frequently not attended by some ignorant revilers of the Catholic Church. Undoubtedly, those who, grounded on certain and immoveable principles, are persuaded that theirs is the only true Church of Christ; that the doctrines defined by their pastors are so infallibly certain, that they are bound, when circumstances, require it, to spill their blood in their defence; that every man who obstinately rejects one article, loses his faith, and becomes guilty of all, can never hold ecclesiastical communion nor religious concord with men of any other sort or persuasion. But it is far otherwise with respect to communion with Heretics and other enemies of the Catholic Faith in Civil Transactions ; for, if we except the first natural duties by which every man is bound to his fellow 'man,-in other matters we are at liberty either to unite with them or separate from them, as shall appear most conducive to our own interests. In Spain, indeed, for these three hundred years past, no one is permitted to hold any inilitary office, nor to enjoy a perpetual settlement, who is considered as an avowed enemy to the Catholic Church ; because our princes have thought it more eligible to forego certain advantages which might, perhaps, be derived from commercial intercourse with men of different persuasions, or from their improvements in the arts, than either to endanger the faith of their subjects, or expose their empire to frequent broils and contentions about the doctrines of religion. But it never was the doctrine of the Catholic Church, nor was it ever by us believed to be her doctrine, that faith is not to be kept with the enemies of the Church, whatever may be their de. nomination. Therefore, among the Articles of the Catholic Faith, there is none which teaches that Catholics are not bound to keep faith with Heretics, or with persons of any other description, who dissent from them in matters of religion.
Given in the University of Salamanca, in the year of
our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Eighty-nine. Signed, in the name of the whole University, by the Rector
and the Sis deputed Members.