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On Indulgences. The Catholic Church is charged with encouraging guilt, by giving leave to commit sin, and granting an anticipated pardon for sins to come by indulgences.
The Catholic Church rejects with abhorrence the imputation, that by granting an indulgence, she grants permission to commit sin, or a pardon for sins to come. An indulgence, in the sense of the Catholic Church, is no pardon for sin at all; it is only a remission of the whole
of a part of the temporal punishment, which the justice of God often reserves to be undergone by the sinner, after the guilt of the sin has been remitted. The power of granting the remission of this temporal punishment was given by Christ to St. Peter and his successors, and has been exercised from the earliest ages. An indulgence, so far from exempting sinners from works of penance and piety, is an encouragement to the performance of such works, since they are prescribed as conditions for gaining the benefit of an indulgence.
Surely, therefore, the doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the sacrament of penance, confession and indulgences, does not tend to relax Christian morality, nor to encourage guilt, nor facilitate the commission of crime, but rather to put an end to sin, and to promote the exercise of every Christian virtue amongst men.
On the Obligation of an Oath. CATHOLICs are charged with holding that they are not bound by any oath, and that the Pope can dispense them from all the oaths that they may have taken.
We cannot sufficiently express our astonishment at such a charge. We hold that the obligation of an oath is most sacred: for by an oath man calls the Almighty searcher of hearts to witness the sincerity of his conviction of the truth of what he asserts; and his fidelity is performing the engagement he makes. Hence, whosoerer swears falsely, or violates the lawful engagement he has confirmed by an oath, not only offends against truth or justice, but against religion. He is guilty of the enormous crime of perjury.
No power in any Pope, or council, or in any individual or body of men, invested with authority in the Catholic Church, can make it lawful for a Catholic to confirm any falsehood by an oath; or dispense with any oath, by which a Catholic has confirmed his duty of allegiance to his sovereign, or any obligation of duty or justice to a third person. He who takes an oath, is bound to observe it, in the obvious meaning of the words, or in the known meaning of the person to whom it is sworn.
to the Pope.
Allegiance relates not to spiritual but to civil duties; to those temporal tributes and obligations, which the subject owes to the person of his sovereign, and to the authority of the state.
By the term spiritual, we here mean that, which in its nature tends directly to a supernatural end, or is ordained
produce a supernatural effect. Thus the office of teaching the doctrines of faith, the administration of the sacra
ments, the conferring and exercising of jurisdiction purely ecclesiastical, are spiritual matters.
By the term temporal, we mean that which in its nature tends directly to the end of civil society. Thus the right of making laws for the civil government of the state, the administration of civil justice, the appointment of civil magistrates and military officers, are temporal matters.
The allegiance which Catholics hold to be due and are bound to pay to the sovereign, and to the civil authority of the state, is perfect and undivided. They do not divide their allegiance between their sovereign and any other power on earth, whether temporal or ecclesiastical. They acknowledge in the sovereign, and in the constituted government of these realms, a supreme civil and temporal authority, which is entirely distinct from, and totally independent of the spiritual and ecclesiastical authority of the Pope and of the Catholic Church. They declare that neither the Pope nor any other prelate or ecclesiastical person of the Roman Catholic Church, has in virtue of his spiritual or ecclesiastical character, any right, directly or indirectly, to any civil or temporal jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, within this realm ; nor has any right to interfere, directly or indirectly, in the civil government of the United Kingdom, or any part thereof; nor to oppose, in any manner, the performance of the civil duties which are due to his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, from all or any of his Majesty's subjects; nor to enforce the performance of any spiritual or ecclesiastical duty, by any civil or temporal means. They hold themselves bound in conscience to obey the civil government of this realm, in all things of a temporal and civil nature, notwithstanding any dispensation or order to the
contrary had, or to be had, from the Pope, or any authority of the Church of Rome.
Hence we declare, that by rendering obedience in spiritual matters to the Pope, Catholics do not withhold any portion of their allegiance to their King, and that their allegiance is entire and undivided; the civil power of the state, and the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church, being absolutely distinct, and being never intended by their Divine Author to interfere or clash with each other,
“ Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Church Establishment in England.
We consider such a charge to be totally without foundation. We declare that we entertain no pretension to such a claim. We regard all the revenues and temporalities of the Church Establishment as the property of those on whom they are settled by the laws of the land. We disclaim any
right, title, or pretension with regard to the same.
On the Doctrine of Exclusive Salvation, Catholics are charged with uncharitableness, in holding the doctrine of exclusive salvation.
Catholics are taught by their Church to love all men, without exception: to wish that all may be saved; and to pray that all may be saved, and may come to the knowledge of the truth, by which they may be saved.
If the Almighty himself has assigned certain conditions, without the observance of which man cannot be saved, it would seem to be an act of impiety to attempt to annul those divinely-established conditions: and an act of great uncharitableness towards a fellow-man to tell him, that he may be saved without complying with the conditions prescribed by the Almighty.
The doctrinal principle of exclusive salvation belongs to the law of Christ.
Has not Christ, who commands the belief of his revealed doctrines, pronounced, that he that believeth not shall be condemned? (Mark xvi. 16.) Has not Christ, who instituted baptism for the remission of sins, declared that except a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, he CANNOT enter into the kingdom of God? (John iii. 5.) Has not St. Paul enumerated a list of crimes, such as adultery, idolatry, hatred, seditions, heresies, murders, drunkenness, &c., of which he declares, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God? (Galat. v 21. Are not these exclusive conditions ?
Whoever professes the law of Christ must profess the principle and doctrine of exclusive salvation. It is not the Catholic, it is God himself who will exclude from heaven those who are not duly qualified for it by faith and good works.
But the Catholic, whilst he is bound to admit, and with firm faith to believe this doctrinal principle, is bound also by the divine commandment not to judge. He is not allowed therefore to pronounce sentence of condemnation on individuals, who may live and die out of the external communion of the Catholic Church: nor to pronounce sentence of condemnation against those who may die in an apparent state of sin. All those he leaves to