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on the other, to lend my most fervent and cordial support to the measure now before you,—to open, to my Catholic fellow-countrymen, the same road to preferment along which I have been so generously borne ; and to display to continental Europe our determination to follow the example she has set us, by putting an end to the reign of bigotry and exclusion for ever. My lords, it is a great additional gratification to me, to advocate these principles, in conjunction with a distinguished member of my family, so lately at the head of the government of his native country; a country ever dear to me from the recollections of my infancy, the memory of her wrongs, and the bravery of her people. I glory, my lords, in the name of Ireland, and it is the highest pleasure I can ambition, to be thus united with the rest of my kindred, in the grateful task of closing the wounds which seven centuries of misgovernment have inflicted upon that unfortunate land.
As those parts of the Oaths and Declarations required of members of Parliament, which touch upon controverted points of Religion, form the basis of this discussion, I will begin with the tenets recited therein, taking them in the order in which they are there introduced.
The Oaths and Declarations to which we object, are as follows:
“And I do declare, That no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath, or ought to have, any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Preeminence, or Authority, Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, within this Realm.”
THE TEST DECLARATION.
“I, A. B. do solemnly and sincerely, in the Presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, That I do believe, that in the Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper, there is not any Transubstantiation of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, at or after the Consecration thereof, by any Person whatsoever; and that the Invocation or Adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous. And I do solemnly, in the Presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, That I do make this Declaration, and every Part thereof, in the plain and ordinary Sense of the Words read unto me, as they are commonly understood by English Protestants."
I will observe, in passing, that we are hereby called upon not only to renounce Catholicity, but to swear to a belief in doctrines, in the sense in which they are commonly understood by English Protestants ; hence the necessity of not only shewing, Why we cannot renounce our own Faith, but also, Why we cannot renounce it in favour of other tenets, which we are called upon to embrace in its stead.
I. In the first place, therefore, I cannot either conform to Protestantism, or take the Oaths in question, inasmuch as both call upon me to declare that no Foreign Prelate hath, or ought to have, any Spiritual Jurisdiction or Pre-eminence, within this Realm: Whereas, I do solemnly and
sincerely declare, and am ready to attest it with an oath, that I firmly and truly believe in the Primacy of the successor of St. Peter, as regulated by the usages and Canons of the Catholic Church.
The spiritual supremacy over the Christian world was conferred upon St. Peter, by these words of our Saviour :- Thou art Peter [a rock), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it ; and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven :(a) and again : Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.co There is scarcely any instance in which St. Peter is mentioned in the sacred writings without a marked pre-eminence being shown to him over the other apostles; and consequently over the church of Christ, which they then constituted, or at least represented. This spiritual superiority, (and I beg the reader to bear in mind that it is only spiritual, since the kingdom of Christ is not of this world()) consists in a right of general superintendence over all orders of the hierarchy; it is an authority to see that the faith which is preached, is that which was revealed by the Almighty and delivered to us by his Church :
(a) St. Matt. xvi. 18, 19.-N. B. The texts and references from Scripture will be found to correspond with the Douay version of the Bible.
(6) St. John, xxi. 16, 17. (6) St. John, xviii. 36.