Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

was unpleasant to the seculars. It is not within our object to enter into a more than necessary detail of the little feuds, the jalousies d'amitié,—(for

the writer wishes to believe them nothing more, which, in almost every stage of their history since

, the reformation, have distracted the councils of the English catholics, and weakened their efforts to obtain relief. Even when the wicked quarrel, it is an object of pain to the truly good man; but, when animosities and dissentions arise among the virtuous and the holy, who does not wish the agitation terminated and forgotten? who does not wish the arrival “ of the reign of heavenly love, where,” to use the words of Fénélon, there will be no error,

no division, no scandal; where we shall breathe “ the pure love of God, and he will communicate “ to us his everlasting peace *?

*“I protest,” says Fuller, (Church History, book ix. p. 224),

though uncertain to find belief, that I'take no “ delight, in relating these discontents between the secular " and regular priests, much less shall my pen widen the wound “between them; for though I approve the opinions of neither,

yet am I so mạch a friend to the persons of both parties, as “ not to make much to myself of their discords: the rather “ because no christian can heartily laugh at the factions of his “ fiercest enemies, because that, at the same time, paineth “ him with the sad remembrance that such divisions have

formerly, at the present, or may hereafter be among those " of his own profession : such is the frailty of human nature

on what side soever.”-A generous sentiment, and a just observation !

66

:

LIII. 2.

[ocr errors]

Appointment of a Vicar Apostolic. PERCEIVING the universal wish of the clergy, for episcopal government, Dr. Harrison, with his twelve assistants, signed a petition for it to Rome, and Rome approved the proposal. It remained to settle what form of episcopacy should be established.

The canons of the church require, that no bishop shall be ordained, unless the flock of the place, for which he is ordained bishop, is committed to his care; and that his jurisdiction shall be confined to that precinct. At the consecration of every

. bishop, the officiating prelate puts the gospel into his hands,—and says,—" receive the gospel-and “go! preach it to the people committed to thy " care! for powerful is God, to increase his grace "

on thee!”

But the calamities of christendom made frequent infractions of this rule necessary. The irruptions of the barbarians, and particularly the conquests of the Saracens, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, disturbed the

of many dioceses, and confounded the limits of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. It was often difficult, and sometimes impossible to appoint new sees with regular pastors. To supply the want of them, the see of Rome adopted the following plan:-a person was consecrated the bishop of a place, which had once been an episcopal see; but which, in consequence of the dispersion, the

economy

heresy, or the schism of the flock, had ceased to be the residence of a bishop. The person, thus consecrated, was delegated by the pope to exercise episcopal functions in some place, where a prelate was wanted; but which had not its regular bishop. The bishops, thus appointed, are called titular, from their having the name,-and nothing more than the name,―of the church, to which they were ostensibly appointed; they are also called vicars apostolic, because their power, in respect to the territory, over which it is to be really exercised, is wholly vicarial, being delegated to them by the holy see, and held at his pleasure. Such an institution is dissonant from the general spirit of church discipline; but, what necessity requires, necessity excuses :-Van? Espen admits, that "where necessity calls for it,

66

a resort to this institution is proper and salutary."; In February 1623, Dr. Bishop was declared bishop-elect of Chalcedon; in the following month, a bull issued for his consecration; it was followed. almost immediately by a brief, conferring on him episcopal jurisdiction over the catholics of England and Scotland. "When thou shalt be arrived," says the brief," in those kingdoms, we give thee "license, ad nostrum et sedis apotolicæ bene pla"citum, at the good-will of ourselves and our suc"cessors in the holy see, freely and lawfully to enjoy and use all and each of those faculties, " committed by our predecessors to the archpriests, "as also such as ordinaries enjoy and exercise, in "their cities and dioceses." Thus, Dr. Bishop

66

⚫ Jus Ecclesiasticum Universum, par. i. tit. xv. ch. iv.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

had ordinary jurisdiction over the catholics of England and Scotland; but revocable at the pleasure of the pope:-in the language of curialists, he was vicar-apostolic, with ordinary jurisdiction. . In exercise of his powers, he instituted a dean and a chapter, as a standing council for his own assistance, with power, during a vacancy of the see, to exercise episcopal ordinary jurisdiction, professing, at the same time, that, “what defect might be in his own

power, he would supplicate his holiness to make "good, from the plenitude of his own."

Universally respected and beloved, he died in April 1624; and Dr. Richard Smith was appointed his successor, with the same powers, though expressed in language seemingly different.

From several letters published by Dodd*, it appears that the instrument, by which Mr. Birkett was appointed archpriest, did not contain the injunction imposed upon Mr. Blackwell his predecessor, to abstain from communicating respecting the matters of his government with the members of the society of Jesus, but that, from the first, this, injunction was implied, and that an express order to this effect was afterwards issued. One of the last acts of the life of Mr. Birkett was, to address the following letter, dated the 3d of September 1614, " to the English jesuits in general.” We shall immediately present it to our readers : and afterwards insert three letters, which father Persons wrote with his dying hand :-one to Mr. Birkett, may be considered as a reply to this letter.

ut Vol. . p. 483.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Very rev. F. F.

"The great desire I have had, since my first calling by his holiness to this place, to keep unity " and peace amongst the labourers of this vineyard, "besides the testimony of my conscience, the "effects that have followed my endeavours, are good witnesses to the same. What difference "I found, at my first entry, between your fathers, "who labour with us, and the chiefest and most "sufficient priests, as I have found by experience 65 of my own body, I would rather in silence they "were wrapt up, never to be thought of, than by

T

!

unfolding of them, to bring that into memory, "which will not be so easily forgotten. It resteth now only, on my part, who, wearied with age, " and sore weakened with sickness, as that I am "ready to take my last farewell, that nothing should "be moved, or said by me, which did not altogether "tend to the glory of God, and good of our country: "which in few words (my weakness considered, 66 being not able to use many), is, to entreat, that

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

66

66

you would lovingly concur, and charitably help "the clergy of this kingdom; for whose assistance you were first sent into this harvest. I know your profession is honourable in God's church; your labours against heresy and sin commendable: but if peace and charity guide not your endeavours, "we labour in vain; and all will perish, and come "to destruction and ruin, that we have undertaken. "I have dealt with the chiefest of my own, who, "I know, you have held in greater jealousy than "there is cause. And to deal plainly and sincerely

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »