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Incontinently, the answer, as recommended by Dr. Norris and Dr. Doyle, is: that Their hope MUST be well founded, BECAUSE the infallible Council of Trent has finally decided the question.
(2.) But, in reality, the persons, who would give as sufficient even this strange answer, must either have themselves paid very little attention to the principles of the Tridentine Council, or must have rapidly concluded that not more attention has been paid to those principles by their antagonists.
Their answer, such as it is, rests upon the avowed basis that The Council of Trent, nakedly and dogmatically, made certain decisions in respect to alleged christian doctrine and in respect to alleged christian practice.
Whence their conclusion is: that, Since the decisions of the Tridentine Council are to be revered as the dictates of the Holy Ghost, those decisions cannot now, without manifest impiety, be questioned or controverted.
But, irrelevant as this answer plainly is to the case in hand; the case, to wit, of an inquirer asking a reason of that hope which a Latin recommends to his acceptance: the very basis of such an answer is palpably insecure.
The Council of Trent did NOT make its decisions nakedly and dogmatically. On the contrary, it rested them, even professedly, altogether upon
AN ASSERTED FACT.
Hence, its decisions were made, not abstractedly, but concretely. They were so framed, as to depend, not upon the simple naked infallibility of a theopneust Ecumenical Council, but upon the previous establishment of AN ASSERTED FACT in history.
Such being the case; by the Tridentine Synod, the cause, even professedly, was ended, ONLY SO far as THE ASSERTED FACT could be established.
Therefore, both on the very ground gratuitously taken up by the Council itself, and likewise on the acknowledgment that the infallibility of an Ecumenical Council extends not to Facts but reaches solely to Doctrines: THE ASSERTED FACT must be historically substantiated, ere our modern romish theologians, even on their own principles, can be allowed to say, that THE CAUSE IS ENDED'.
1 From the authority of Mr. Berington we learn: that It is no article of Catholic Faith, that the Church cannot err in MATTERS OF FACT. Faith of Cathol. p. 154, 155. See below, book ii. chap. 7. § IV.
Should any Romanist, perceiving the consequences of this
Now the FACT, again and again asserted by the Tridentine Fathers, is this.
ALL the doctrines and ALL the practices, which they, the Tridentine Fathers, have decided to be true and obligatory, were ALWAYS the received doctrines and practices of the Church Catholic, in EVERY age, without ANY variation, from the very time of Christ and his Apostles who were themselves the first original inculcators of such doctrines and such practices, down even to the time in which they, the Tridentine Fathers, lived and flourished.
Nor, be it carefully observed, do they barely assert the FACT before us, as a fact.
acknowledgment, wish to draw back from it; he may be promptly met with proof positive.
The second Nicene Council, which sat in the year 787, roundly asserted the FACT; that No one of the antecedent Fathers had ever styled the consecrated eucharistic bread an IMAGE of Christ's body: and, upon this precise ASSERTED FACT, the members of that Council built the doctrine of a material or substantial presence of Christ in the consecrated eucharistic elements. Concil. Nic. ii. act. vi. Labb. Concil. vol. vii. p. 448. 449.
Yet, by Eusebius and Theodoret of the Greek Church, and by Ambrose and Gelasius of the Latin Church, all of whom flourished anterior to the year 787, the consecrated elements had, even verbally, been denominated the IMAGE (ɛikov and imago) of Christ's body and blood. Euseb. Demons. Evan. lib. viii. c. 2. p. 236. Theod. Dial. ii. Oper. vol. iv. p. 85. Ambros. Offic. lib. i. c. 48. Oper. col. 33. Gelas. de duab. Christ. natur. in Biblioth. Patr. vol. iv. p. 422.
The Tridentine Fathers professedly likewise build, upon the ASSERTED FACT in question, their own specific decisions. Therefore, they inevitably make the truth of their decisions to rest upon the anterior fundamental truth of an asserted FACT in history'.
Under such a statement of the matter; a statement, be it duly remembered, made not by me
1 SEMPER hæc fides in Ecclesia Dei fuit. Concil. Trident. sess. xiii. c. 3. p. 124.
Ideo persuasum SEMPER in Ecclesia Dei fuit: idque nunc denuo sancta hæc Synodus declarat. Ibid. sess. xiii. c. 4. p. 125.
Pro more in Catholica Ecclesia SEMPER recepto. Ibid. sess. xiii. c. 5. p.
Universa Ecclesia SEMPER intellexit. Ibid. sess. xiv. c. 5. p. 148.
Persuasum SEMPER in Ecclesia Dei fuit: et verissimum esse Synodus hæc confirmat. Ibid. sess. xiv. c. 7. p. 153.
Sacræ Literæ ostendunt, et Catholicæ Ecclesiæ traditio SEMPER docuit. Ibid. xxiii. c. 1. P. 279.
Cum, Scripturæ testimonio, apostolica traditione, et Patrum UNANIMI consensu, perspicuum sit:-dubitare nemo debet. Ibid. sess. xxiii. c. 3. p. 280.
Cum, igitur, sancti Patres nostri, Concilia, et UNIVERSALIS Ecclesiæ traditio, SEMPER docuerunt:-sancta et universalis Synodus prædictorum schismaticorum hæreses et errores-exterminandos duxit. Ibid. sess. xxiv. p. 343, 344.
Tridentina Synodus,-Sacrarum Scripturarum et sanctorum Patrum ac probatissimorum Conciliorum testimonia et ipsius Ecclesiæ judicium et CONSENSUM Secuta, HÆC STATUIT, FATETUR, Ibid. sess. v. p. 12, 13. Vide etiam sess. xiii.
p. 121, 122.
but by the Tridentine Fathers themselves: it is obvious, that the ASSERTED FACT must be substantiated, ere the decisions be admitted; it is obvious, that, until the ASSERTED FACT be substantiated, the cause is not ended.
Nothing, therefore, can be at once, both more absurd in itself, and more contrary to the very declaration of the Tridentine Fathers, than to assert, with Dr. Norris and Dr. Doyle, that the CAUSE is ended while the FACT yet remains to be substantiated: nothing can be more disgracefully evasive, than to decline all discussion of the peculiarities of Romanism, on the miserable plea; that The principles of the Reformation have been finally set at rest in the Council of Trent.
On the very ground taken up by the Tridentine Fathers themselves, we say : PROVE YOUR ASSERTED
Dr. Norris and Dr. Doyle reply: ROMA LOCUTA EST; CAUSA FINITA EST!
II. To ascribe the inconsistency of Dr. Doyle and the Principal of Stonyhurst to all the gentlemen of their communion, were an unfairness of which I would in no wise be guilty.
Both Mr. Berington, and the present Bishop