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from Bellarmine, under the title of Apologia contra Præfationem Monitorem Jacobi Regis : the cardinal published also a Reply to his majesty's Præmonition.
It appears, that the briefs of Paul the fifth, for some time, withheld the general body of English catholics from taking the oath prescribed by James, and induced some, who had taken it, to retract, as far as it was in their power, their signatures to it. The adversaries of the catholics availed themselves of this circumstance to inflame the popular prejudices; and demanded, that the laws against popery should be carried into execution, with increased severity. The weak prince obeyed the call; and the miseries of the catholics were greatly aggravated. We shall close the history of the oath, with an account, I. Of a petition of eight priests confined in Newgate, to Paul the fifth, for an explanation of his briefs respecting it : II. Of the opinion of several doctors of Sorbonne, in favour of the lawfulness of the oath ; and of Bossuet's sentiments upon it: III. Mention will then be made of the final division of opinion of the romancatholics respecting it: IV. And of the complete rejection, in the declaration of the Gallican clergy in 1682, of the pope's deposing power.
The Petition of eight Priests confined in Newgate, to Paul
the fifth, for an explanation of the Briefs. In the amicting circumstances, which we have mentioned, eight priests, imprisoned in Newgate,
presented a petition to the pope, describing their sufferings in affecting terms; and imploring his holiness, in the most religious and dutiful language, to commiserate their case; and to specify those expressions in the oath which were so substantially objectionable, as to make the taking of it unlawful. It does not appear that any answer was given to this application.
Many representations of the same nature were made to the pope, at different times, by several, both of the English clergy and laity, but without effect.
Opinion of several Doctors of the Sorbonne in favour of the Oath.-Sentiments of Bossuet respecting it.
THE advocates of the oath then laid it before the doctors of the Sorbonne; and asked their opinion,-" Whether roman-catholics could conscientiously take it?" Forty-eight doctors replied in the affirmative. The only clause, which seems to have occasioned any difficulty, was that, by which the party abjured, as "heretical," the position, that princes "excommunicated, or deprived, "by the pope, might be deposed, or murdered, "by their subjects."-The doctors propounded the sense, in which the party, who took the oath, was to understand this clause.
But this opinion did not satisfy the adversaries of the oath; they insisted, that the bulls of Paul the fifth, which forbad it to be taken, because it contained many things openly contrary to faith
and salvation, must ever remain in force ;-that. the clause which has been noticed, did not admit of the interpretation attached to it by the fortyeight doctors ;-that this interpretation proceeded on a distinction, above the capacity of the vulgar: --and perhaps not admitted by the magistrate, who might tender the oath ;-—and that six doctors of the faculty,-men, venerable for their age, and learning, -had objected to the oath, and declared, that it could not be taken conscientiously, by a catholic.
The briefs of Paul the fifth, were confirmed by pope Urban the eighth, by a brief dated the 1st of · February 1608. It was announced by Mr. Birket, who succeeded Mr. Blackwell in the office of archpriest, in a letter, which,“ with wonderful cor
, “ rosive sorrow and grief,” to use his own words, he addressed for this purpose to the secular catholic clergy of England.
On any point of theology, the opinion of Bossuet is important: we are happy to have it in our power to present to our readers his opinion on James's oath. In a letter, dated the 28th October 1682, he says,—“I understand, that the inquisition has “ condemned the sense, favourable to the inde
pendence of the temporal power of sovereigns, " which some doctors of the faculty of theology of “ Paris have given to the English oath. All will “ be lost by this haughtiness. It is not by these
means, that the authority of the holy see will be “ re-established.”
* Benedictine edition, vol. ix. p. 439.
The prelate discusses the oath at length, in his Défense de la Déclaration du Clergé de France*. "I hesitated long," he says, "whether "I should speak of the disputes on the Eng"lish oath respecting our question, because I "knew that a consultation on the subject of the “oath, which James the first, the king of England, "exacted from his catholic subjects, had been put "at Rome into the Index, in 1683. We believe, "and say loudly, that, according to the ancient right of the church of France, often confirmed "in practice, these sorts of decrees do not bind
Bossuet then proceeds to the bull of Paul the third, by which he deposed Henry the eighth, and absolved his subjects from their allegiance t. "In "this bull," says Bossuet, "Paul commanded 66 many things purely temporal, as well to the sub"jects of Henry, as to other christian princes," and even to kings, whom he excepts only from "his censures, without dispensing their subjects "from obeying still, no one, either in England
or elsewhere, took the least step, by land or by sea, to put his orders into execution. The decree "of Pius the fifth, by exciting the English to "revolt, could only have the effect of exposing or "delivering them to a more certain death, without “a pretence, on any solid grounds, to the glory of martyrdom; as they would have been punished, "not as catholics, but as rebels."
Bossuet then states the
* Livre iv. c. 23.
oath of James the first, Ante, vol. i. c. 18, p. 210.
"It is true," he observes, " that a clause, cap"tious, and calculated to render the papal power "odious, was inserted in this oath. Simple indi“viduals were forced by him to condemn, as impious and heretical, the opinion maintained conscientiously, and as probable, by many persons of great merit, by many saints, and even by "the popes themselves,-that the ecclesiastical power may depose kings, at least for the crime "of heresy. Assuredly it was lawful for the Eng"lish, after an attentive examination of the ques"tion, to reject, as we do, this opinion; but it "appeared extravagant and rash, to condemn it "as heretical, without waiting for the judgment "of the church.
"The pope, having reported the oath,-adds, "You must perceive, by the simple reading of the
bull, that persons cannot take it, and preserve " at the same time the purity of the catholic faith, "without exposing their souls to perdition, as it " contains many things manifestly contrary to the faith, and to the salvation of souls.'
"The pope does not say, which are those things, manifestly contrary to the faith, and the salvation "of souls. Many persons thought that the oath "was only contrary to the faith and the salvation "of souls, inasmuch as it condemned, as heretical, "a proposition, which the church has not declared "to be such. But, (to express my opinion with "the sincerity and freedom which becomes a "christian bishop), I believe that the court of "Rome was very glad to employ vague terms, and