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ti.6o—<PQetns of Vope Leo XIII-^^-^o


Praised and recommended by all the leading literary organs, both Catholic and non-(3atholic,

as a book for all. "It gives a splendid view of the interior life of one whom the world

has learnt to revere. " — ' * The volume is to be welcomed and its translator

to be congratulated. * ' — * ' By all means let Leo XIII be known as

these exquisite compositions, as well in the original as

in their English rendering, make him known."

ametican Cccleisia^tical Betiielti


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Pope Leo XIII

Including the Revised Compositions of His Early Life
in Chronological Order.

H. T. HENRY, Lit.D.

Overfarook Seminary

I 902

E might go and quote from the leading American and
foreign reviews the words of high praise this volume has
elicited. But why should we? The world knows the
purity and elegance of the Holy Father's Latin composi-
tions, the strength and sweetness of his muse. And our readers
know Dr. Henry's happy faculty of giving the English equivalent in
thought) expression, and metre of the various Latin verses.

It is a book for every library, class-room, studio and family circle.
It has been aptly styled an ** AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF POPE

$1^0 ORDER FROM $|^0

i^mmcan ecclesiastical laetiietD



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Third Series— Vol. VII.— (XXVII).— September, 1902.— No. 3.


ON the loth of December, 1869, the Fathers of the Ecumen-
ical Council of the Vatican met together in their first Gen-
eral Council* By the Apostolic Letter Mtdtiplices inter, the
Supreme Pontiff, Pius IX, had prescribed the rules of procedure
to be followed in the deliberations of the Council. According to
the directions of this Pontifical document, the general assemblies
in which all the Fathers met were of two kinds : General Con-
gregations, presided over by five Cardinal-Presidents, and Solenm
Public Sessions, under the presidency of the Holy Father him-
self In the General Congregations, the Fathers were called upon
to decide by vote whether, or in what form, or with what altera-
tions and emendations, the various schemata proposed to them
should come up for final and definite judgment in the Solemn
Public Sessions. In the latter this final judgment was to be
passed, after which nothing further was needed to give the
decrees thus passed the full force of Conciliar Constitutions
than confirmation by the Apostolic authority of the Holy See.
The schemata presented to the Fathers in General Congregation
set forth those matters of which, by the will of the Supreme Pon-
tiff, the Council was to treat, and proposed to them certain state-
ments of Catholic doctrine, canons, and disciplinary decrees, con-
sidered to be specially necessary or useful in view of prevalent
errors and doubts. Previous to the assembly of the Council,
these schemata had been drawn up, with extensive annotations,

* For a detailed account of the procedure of the Council, see Granderath, Con-
stiiuiumes Dogmaticae SS, Cone. Vat,, Prolog. I.

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by a commission of theologians and canonists specially selected
by the Holy Father ; and by the provisions of the letter Multi-
plices inter, each schema was to be delivered in print to all the
Fathers some days before that sitting of the General Congrega-
tion in which it was to be discussed.

The object of this early distribution was, of course, to give
the Fathers opportunity for consideration and private discussion,
so that they might come to the sittings with their minds pre-
pared, and with some knowledge of the probable course of the
debates. Those who desired to speak were to give notice to the
Cardinal-Presidents at latest on the day before the sitting, and to
be ready with any proposals or amendments they wished to bring
forward. At the same time, if any Father made up his mind dur-
ing the debates to make any observations, he could do so with
leave of the Presidents. When the proposals and emendations
brought forward were numerous, or raised difficulties which could
not be adjusted in one sitting of the General Congregation, they
were referred, according to their subject-matter, to one of four
deputations or committees appointed to revise the schemata in ac-
-cordance with the wishes of the Fathers as made known in debate,
and to present them anew in their amended form at a future sit-
ting. This process of amendment and repeated presentations
was to be continued until the vote of the majority was obtained in
favor of the final subjection of the schema to solemn suffrage in
public session for Condliar ratification. While the order of dis-
cussion and voting was thus prescribed, the Holy Father ex-
pressed his will that the Fathers should not hesitate to bring
forward freely any proposals of their own that they should con-
ceive to be of public utility.

The first schema submitted to the Council was entitled
^' Schema constitutionis dogmaticae de doctrina Catholica contra
multiplices errores ex radonalismo derivatos." Printed copies of
this schema were distributed in the first General Congfregation, and
the discussion upon it conmicnced in the General Congregation of
December 28. It was not till April 21, 1870, in the Twenty-ninth
<ieneral Congregation, that the Constitution de Fide was passed, in
the form in which we now know it,* and it received final approba-

« Vat Cone, Consdtutio Dei FUius,

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tion and confirmation by the Holy See in the Third Solemn Ses-
sion, held on Low Sunday. In the course of the long debates
upon this Constitution, a point was raised which is of great inter-
est to English-speaking Catholics, as touching upon a practical
difficulty which is sometimes brought home to us. No part of
the first chapter of the Constitution de Fide aroused so much dis-
cussion as did its opening words, in which the Church is desig-
nated.* As it now stands, the chapter opens with these words r
"Sancta Catholica Apostolica Romana Ecclesia credit et con~
fitetur," etc.

In the schema as first submitted to the Fathers the first words
of this chapter were simply " Sancta Romana Catholica Ecclesia."'
Two emendations were proposed. One Father wished to omit
the word *' Romana," on the ground that the expression might be
taken to mean the particular Roman Church in Alma Urbe, An-
other proposed the form " Catholica atque Romana Ecclesia," or,
as an alternative, the insertion of a comma between the words
" Romana " and " Catholica." These emendations were in due
course referred to the Deputation de Fide, who, however, came to
the conclusion that the original words ought to stand. The
Bishop of Brixen, as Relator, or spokesman of the deputation,
held a dissertation before the General Congregation in which the
emendations were to be put to the vote. He advised the rejec-
tion of the first emendation, and was of the opinion that there
would be no danger of the name " Ecclesia Romana Catholica "
being understood of the Ecclesia Romana particularis as distin-
guished from the Universal Church. With regard to the first
suggestion of the second emendation, by which it was proposed
to substitute the words " Catholica atque Romana Ecclesia," he
also recommended that the original wording of the schema should
be retained, though he saw no objection to the alternative pro-
posal to insert a comma, since this might be a safeguard against
the danger of giving any handle to those who might wish to inter-
pret the words as designating a Roman "branch " of the Catholic
Church as opposed to, e,g,, an Anglican or Greek branch. When
the votes were taken, an almost unanimous consent of the Fathers

' Grandenth, p. i, ch. 2.

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was obtained for the retention of the original wording ;* but on the
question of the insertion of a comma between ** Romana " and
" Catholica," opinions were so equally divided as to necessitate a
count. While the count was proceeding, a request was made to
the Presidents by several Fathers for the postponement of this
point till the meeting of the next General Congregation, so that
the Fathers might in the meantime have an opportunity of coming
to some agreement. The request was granted, and on the following
day, in the thirty-seventh General Congregation, the Bishop of
Brixen again spoke on the subject, and announced that, after
mature deliberation before God, and having taken counsel with
many of the Fathers, amongst whom were several members of the
Deputation de Fide^ he had decided to recommend the omission of
the comma. He justified his change of opinion by the following
explanation of the phrase *' Romana Catholica Ecclesia." The
words signified, he said, " The Roman Church, Mother and Mis-
tress of all the Churches, joined with the Church Catholic, that
IS, with that Church which is throughout the whole world ; and,
indeed, so joined, that the Roman Church is Catholic, and the
Catholic Church Roman." • He recognized, at the same time,
the possibility of a difficulty on account of the error of the
" Branch Theory," according to which the One True Church is
divided into distinct and separate communions, which are, so to
speak, different species of the Church Catholic ; but added that
this error would be sufficiently refuted in the Dogmatic Constitu-
tion on the Church which would be proposed later to the Council.
After this a large majority of the Fathers voted for the omission
of the comma, but when, at a later stage, the Constitution de Fide
came before the forty-fifth General Congregation for approbation
as a whole, forty-five of the Fathers gave their " Placet " in the
conditional form " Placet juxta modum** adding the condition that
the opening words of the first chapter should be changed. Seve-
ral reasons for such change were given, which one of the Fathers

* See Granderath, Prolog, i, note i.

^ The Deputation de Fide included Archbishop Spualding of Baltimore, Cardinal
(then Archbishop) Manning, Archbishop Leahy of Cashel, and the late Prefect
of Propaganda, Cardinal Ledochowski.

* Granderath, p. i, chap. 2, comment I.

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summarized to the following effect:^ " The word * Roman' is not
to be approved, first, because it is unnecessary to insert it thus
early in the Conciliar Decrees, since the Church will be the object
of ex professo treatment in a later Constitution ; secondly, be-
cause the word * Roman ' gives countenance to the error which
distinguishes the three ' Branches ' of the Catholic Church,
namely, the Roman, the Greek, and the Anglican ; thirdly, be-
cause the same term * Roman * is used in the Profession of Faith
put forth by Pius IV,* to designate the particular Roman Church,
the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, and it is consequently
an ambiguous term ; fourthly, because the use of the term ' Ro-
man ' as a designation of the Catholic Church is not customary
(the speaker here added * per quantum sciam*) either in Creeds
or General Councils."*

On hearing these reasons, the Deputation withdrew their rec-
ommendation to leave the original words of the schema untouched,
and gave their adhesion to the formula, " Sancta Catholica Apos-
tolica Romana Ecclesia" which was, at this juncture, proposed by
one of the Fathers. This secured the votes of the whole assem-
bly with scarcely an exception. No further difficulty was raised
on the point, so that in solenm Public Sessions and by Papal con-
firmation, the name, " Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church,"
became an official designation of the Church of God, approved
and sanctioned by supreme authority. This sketch of the course
taken by the discussion on the designation of the Church has been
somewhat lengthy, but the matter is not without interest in view
of the position of English-speaking Catholics in the face of Angli-
can claims.

The ** Branch Theory ** is not dead, though it is now more ex-
plicitly acknowledged than formerly by its supporters, that some-
thing else than the bare retention of valid Orders is necessary to
constitute a right to the Catholic name. The appeal is now, more
directly than in the past, to Catholic consent in doctrine and piiac-
tice, though the only authority competent to voice that consent
is still repudiated. Hence the conception of the Church's Con-

^ Grendereth, I. c. Comment 2.
• Denziger, Enchiridion^ No. 867.
» Ibid.

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sdtution now prevalent in Anglican circles is something more like
the actual reality than once it was. Nevertheless, the " Branch "
theory of the Divine plan of the Church is as necessary as ever
to the Anglican contention that they belong to a Church, the vast
majority of whose bishops, clergy, and laity utterly repudiate such
a claim. " Roman Catholic " is still a title thrown in the face of
Catholics as an unwilling admission on their part of other
" branches '* of the Catholic Church ; it is still, on various occa-
sions, public and private, pointedly used and insisted upon in a
wrong and perverted sense for the support of a pet theory. Ap-
peal is still made to the Creeds, which call the Church " Catho-
lic " and nothing more, while the Anglican popular controver-
sialist still descants upon the favorite theme of *' Catholic not
Roman." Thus it comes about that Catholics sometimes feel a
difficulty in meeting the plausible objection drawn from the addi-
tion " Roman." "^

It is a difficulty, indeed, which is only occasionally of practi-
cal moment, and which is forced upon us by a controversial sub-
terfuge, which, though not of the most honest sort, may perhaps
be charitably excused on the score of dire necessity ; still the dif-
ficulty does sometimes occur, and it is necessary to be prepared
to meet it. To point out that ** Roman Catholic " and " Catho-
lic " are one and the same thing ; to say, with the illustrious
Bishop of Brixen, that Roman is Catholic and Catholic £5- Roman,
is easy enough ; but it is not so easy to make this clear to the
supporters of a theory which depends for its very existence upon
a denial of our statement. It will be of assistance to inquire into
the reasons which led the Fathers of the Vatican Council to adopt
the term " Roman " as an integral part of the official designation
of the Church, and so overrule the not unreasonable objection
that a difficulty was likely to arise from such adoption.

*• Cf. Tlu Anglican Brief against the Roman Claims (London : . Moore &
Brinckman, 1893, p. 4), where ^^ objection is put thus: << To describe 'the same
Church as < Roman ' and < Catholic * is like describing anything as at the same time
< particular ' and < universal ; ' . . . the designation, *■ the Catholic Church * was
only usurped by the Church of Rome when she began to usurp supremacy over other
Churches. The two words, * Roman * and * Catholic,' are inconsistent with each
other, and have two different histories. The terms are not identical, either in their
origin or meaning.*'

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All through the history of the discussion on the description of
the Church there is evident a great and decided reluctance on the
part of the Fathers to give up the designation " Roman/* They
were not moved even by the rather strong objection brought from
the use of the term in another sense in the creed of Pius IV ; nor
did the danger of countenancing the " Branch " theory, nor the
apparent novelty of the use of the word " Roman" by a Council
alter their fixed determination to retain it The only alteration of
the words originally proposed to them to which they would con-
sent, consisted, not in the omission of anything, but in the addition
of the word "Apostolic " and a change of the relative position of
" Roman " and *' Catholic," so that the latter came first. Hence
the phrase finally adopted : " The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman
Church." That this, in view of the difficulties put before the
Fathers, is an improvement on the original formula, " The Holy
Roman Catholic Church," will hardly be denied.

Another fact that stands out prominently in the proceedings
is that the Fathers themselves acknowledged a difficulty, and
adopted the opening words of the first chapter of the Constitution
de Fide (as they now stand) as at least sufficiently guarding against
error, and as a reasonably efficient way of providing against mis-
interpretation. Indeed, the Conciliar designation of the Church
seems to be as complete and exhaustive as possible, so that one
can hardly imagine any error which could make it necessary, in
any future Council, to describe the Church in terms more express
and unmistakable.

All the four great traditional notes by which the true Church
is outwardly and visibly distinguished from counterfeit religious
bodies are included in the phrase — three of them by explicit, and
one — that of Unity — by implicit mention. The Church is explicitly
called Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic ; but when we look for the
note of Unity, we find it introduced, not by mention of the note
itself, but of the foundation upon which the Church's unity rests,
the living, active, energizing principle from which it springs, by
which it is maintained, and which, by its controlling force, binds
the whole Church to itself as the centre, even to the utmost
bounds of her world-wide circumference. This would appear to
be the true significance of the retention of the title *' Roman," so

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strongly insisted upon by the Fathers as one of the designations
of the Universal Church of God. The word implies the position
of the particular Roman Church as Mother and Mistress of all
the Churches of the world, in virtue of the prerogatives of her
Bishops, the successors of St. Peter ; it implies the fact that the
essential visible unity of the Church — the sacramentum Unitatis —
unity at once of faith, of obedience, and of inter-communion — lies
in the adhesion of all to that one centre, takes its rise from that
adhesion to its original and root-principle, cannot be maintained
without it, and is renounced the moment such adhesion is repudi-
ated. By a most natural and logical transference, the term
" Roman " is applied to the Universal Church, which, according
to the Divine plan conceived from the beginning in the Mind of
Her Founder, is rendered truly and effectually one by subordi-
nation to the chief Pastor and the mutual inter-communion result-
ing from that subordination. Thus it is no stretch of language,
but strictly and literally true to say, with the Bishop of Brixen,
" The Roman Church is Catholic and the Catholic Church is

It may be remarked here that while this conclusion of the
eminent Prelate is perfectly sound, there would appear {pace tanti
viri) to be some confusion in his interpretation of the words
** Romana Catholica Ecclesia." He does not distinguish between
the two senses in which the word " Roman*' can be used. It may
mean either the " Particularis Ecclesia Romana in Alma Urbe,"
or the one Church diffused " per orbem terrarum,'* the essential
principle of whose unity is found in communion with the Roman
Pontiff. This obvious distinction is used by Fr. Perrone" in
answer to the very objection brought by the Anglicans, that the
use of the name " Roman " involves the surrender of the title
" Catholic." He replies that this would be so if the name " Roman "
could rightly be restricted to the Church in the Roman Diocese ;
but that when it is taken to signify, as it does, the Churches

Online LibraryCatholic University of AmericaAmerican ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 → online text (page 28 of 78)