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to express my full conviction, that if fair opportunities were afforded to the people of this country of judging this question on its merits, without having their prejudices studiously fostered, twelve months would not elapse before they would see their own injustice, and join with the bar of England in petitions to the legislature for the total remission of the laws in force against us. The question is not now whether the Catholic Claims shall be granted, but when they shall be granted? Whether it is better to prolong a system of irritation and insult, producing exasperation and violence; or whether it be not more wise, and more just, to allay the discontent without loss of time? Were the law in Ireland accessible to all, equal to all, and mildly administered, the people would soon learn to regard it as a protection, and not as a scourge. Their acquired propensity to violence would soften into habits of patient industry; and that overgrown army, which helps to impoverish England, and to prolong the discontent of Ireland, would convert their swords into plough-shares, and join in promoting the common prosperity.
DR. POYNTER'S OBSERVATIONS ON THE
The following observations on that declaration in the oath of supremacy, which says that “ No foreign Prelate ought to have
Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Pre-eminence, or Authority, ECCLESIASTICAL or SPIRITUAL, within these Realms," were made by the late Dr. Poynter in March, 1821, and transmitted by him to the Managers of Mr. Plunkett's late Catholic Relief Bill. He has herein placed the distinction between spiritual and temporal, ecclesiastical and civil, power and jurisdiction, in so clear a point of view; and has so happily illustrated his positions by one or two cases, in which the two powers would seem to conflict, that our most strenuous adversaries may rectify their confused or erroneous notions on this subject, and thus be induced generously to cease from alarming the ignorant, the prejudiced, and the bigotted part of the community, by the unfounded versions they are continually promulgating of this article of our doctrine.
“ If the pope ought not to have any ecclesiastical or spiritual jurisdiction, &c. within these realms, he ought to have none at all; for he has no civil jurisdiction here. The above clause denies the divine right of the pope, as head of the church of Christ, to govern the universal church.
“What is the proper and obvious meaning of the terms ecclesiastical and spiritual ?
“ The term spiritual does not here mean the same as incorporeal or internal : but it means that which in its nature directly tends to a supernatural end, or is ordained to produce a supernatural effect. Thus, sacrifice, which is an external oblation of a sensible victim to God; and the sacraments, which are visible rites, are spiritual things, because they tend to the worship of God and to the sanctification of souls. That is called temporal, which in its nature and institution tends directly to the good order of civil society.
“ The power of the church is spiritual ; and the power of the state is temporal.
“ By the term ecclesiastical is properly meant whatever in its own nature belongs to the spiritual power and government of the church—as by the term civil is meant whatever in its own nature belongs to the temporal power and government of the state.
“This is the proper and limited meaning of the terms ecclesiastical and civil, when the two powers are in a state of separation from each other, and act without any mutual co-operation. Such was the ecclesiastical power of the church under the heathen emperors; such was the civil power of the Roman state during the same period.
“ When the two powers are associated together by a friendly concordate, the ecclesiastical power has sometimes exercised acts of a civil nature, by the concession of the
state; and the civil power has sometimes exercised acts of an ecclesiastical nature, by the concession of the church. In these cases, the term ecclesiastical, when applied to courts and causes of a mixed nature, under the jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical person as judge, is to be understood in a less strict and less proper sense.
In this sense some of our courts in England retain the name of ecclesiastical. It is not in this mixed sense, that the spiritual power of the pope, and of Catholic bishops in England, is now called ecclesiastical.
“At the change of religion in England, the state totally divorced and separated itself from the Catholic church, and withdrew every portion of civil power from the pope and Catholic clergy, which they had ever exercised in England by the concession of the state. Consequently, the spiritual powers which the pope and Catholic clergy now hold and exercise over the Catholics in England, are PURELY ecclesiastical without the least mixture of any civil or temporal power whatever.
“ This power and authority, purely ecclesiastical, is that which Christ gave originally to his apostles; and which was, by his ordinance, to be transmitted from them to their legitimate successors, to the end of time, for the purpose of enabling them to preach his faith, to promulgate his new law, to administer his sacraments, to govern his church, and to enforce the observance of his general commands by particular and efficacious regulations. By the exercise of this ecclesiastical power, the church, from the earliest ages, without the co-operation of the civil power, has issued many laws and ordinances relating to the form of divine worship, to the manner and circumstances of administering or of receiving the sacraments, to the observance of the great Christian festivals, to the rules of abstinence and to the fast of Lent, to the impedi
ments and celebration of matrimony, to the conduct of the clergy, to the qualifications requisite for holy orders, to the limits of the jurisdiction of the different orders of the hierarchy, &c. Many such external and purely ecclesiastical regulations, were made by the church, and enforced among the faithful in different parts of the world, before the church had any where any connection with the state. The object of the church in making them was, to enforce the observance of the commands and institutions of Christ; which are not of a temporal nature, but which tend directly to the worship of God and to the sanctification of the souls of men. The means by which the church enforced the observance of them, were not of a civil nature, but were ecclesiastical and spiritual ; viz. the influence of her authority, and the privation of the benefits of her communion. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.' 2 Cor. x. 4.
“In establishing and enforcing these ecclesiastical laws and regulations, the pope has from the earliest ages borne a principal part. Every Catholic must acknowledge that the pope, as head of the church, has ecclesiastical and spiritual authority over all the members of the Catholic church. This authority, which he now exercises over the Catholics in England, is purely ecclesiastical and spiritual; it has not the least mixture of any portion of civil or temporal authority annexed to it. It is chiefly exercised here in appointing bishops, and in giving them powers for the spiritual government of the Catholics in their respective dioceses or districts; in superintending the religious conduct of the Catholics; and in granting dispensations from the ecclesiastical impediments of matrimony, when necessity requires. But this ecclesiastical and spiritual authority of the pope in England, as well as that of the Catholic bishops here, is not invested with any civil formality, nor