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Apostolic See.* But surely in matters which belong to visitation and the correction of manners, the bishops may of themselves ordain and execute those things which they judge necessary for the good of their people, and for the profit of the church: no, but only as delegates of the Apostolic See.† This is the enlargement of the bishops' power which R. H. so much boasts of. I
Many more instances of like nature might be produced, but these
may suffice to shew how palpably untrue that assertion of Pallavicino’s is, viz. that there is not so much as one syllable in this Council for any new emolument to the Pope. § And how unjustly the same cardinal charges Soave with falsity for saying, that this Council hath so established the Pope's power, that it was never so great nor so solidly founded. || And likewise, that R. H. had as little reason to
passage of Dr. Stillingfleet's, viz. that which was intended to clip the wings of the Court of Rome, had confirmed and advanced the interest of it. For as all those degrees, that might otherwise have retrenched their exorbitances, were themselves so clipped by exceptions or restrictions, or by some other counter decree, that they could effect nothing; so many other decrees were made, by which the interest of the Pope and his court were highly promoted; particularly this last mentioned, of deriving all jurisdiction from the Pope, by making all other bishops his vicars and commissaries. And therefore no wonder that his Holiness was transported with joy, and gave immortal thanks, that the Council had such an happy issue.** For (to use the words of Du Ranchin) you shall never read of any Council that was so much to the Pope's honour and good liking as this. Amongst so many bulls and constitutions which have come forth since, you shall scarce find any which doth not make mention of this Council, which doth not name it with honour, which doth not express an earnest desire of the observation of it, and which doth not in some sort confirm it. Among all the Councils that ever were, none can compare with this for reverence and respect. It hath quite defaced and extinguished the memory
of all the rest. It is their minion, their favourite, their champion, their arsenal, their bulwark, their protector, their creature; and good reason why they should make so much of it.ft
* Sess. 22. cap. 10. (col. 140.] + Sess. 24. cap. 10. [col. 165.] # Considerations on the Council of Trent, c. 12. s. 211.
§ In hoc concilio ne una quidem conspicitur syllaba pro novo Pontificis emolumento. Apparat. ad Hist. c. 10. n. 3. (vol. 1. p. 37. Antw. 1670.]
Considerat. c. 12. s. 103. ** Pallav. 1. 24. c. 9. n. 5. (vol. 3. p. 859. ibid.] tt Review of the Council of Trent, 1. 1. c. 1. [p. 3. Oxf. 1638.]
THE STATE OF THE CHURCH OF ROME WHEN THE REFORMATION BEGAN, AS IT APPEARS BY THE ADVICES GIVEN TO PAUL III. AND JULIUS III. BY CREATURES OF THEIR OWN. WITH A PREFACE LEADING TO THE MATTER OF THE BOOK.
The opposition that Luther made to indulgences at first, and soon after to other abuses in the Roman Church, awakened many to inquire into the reasons of several things in which they had hitherto acquiesced, without particular examination : which liberty, so dangerous to the interest of the Roman See, soon brought upon Luther, who was so notable an example of it, no little trouble from thence ; insomuch that he found himself constrained to appeal to a General Council : an expedient no less hated by the Court of Rome, which had not yet forgotten the Councils of Constance and Basil, than it was generally desired by all the better sort of men, as before for the reforming of abuses, so now for the quieting of controversies in religion.
Leo the Tenth being dead, who had not been wanting, for his part, to suppress these beginnings of a new inquisition into the authority of Popes, was succeeded by Adrian Vİ. about four years after Luther's declaration. Adrian, like an honest man, ingenuously confessed that this distress was justly come upon the Holy See, as a punishment of those abominations that had been committed in it, and promised to the world a reformation. But the German princes insisted to have a Free and General Council called, which was by no means well taken by the Court of Rome. Whereupon the secular princes sent their manifesto to the Pope of the Centum Gravamina, or the hundred grievances which they had suffered from that Court. But Adrian died (not without vehement suspicion of foul play) before he had sat two years in the chair, and with him died almost all that was honest and good in the Roman Court.
Clement VII. comes next to the Papacy, who of all things could not endure the thoughts of a General Council, in times wherein he was sure the Pope's authority would be called in
question : he therefore laboured against it with all imaginable industry and artifice. But it being impossible to satisfy those that had not yet openly withdrawn themselves from the obedience of that See, without seeming to condescend to the general desire of Christendom in this matter, he tried at length to pacify them, by making promises of calling a Council, which it was plain to wise men he never intended to perform ; since at first he would neither say whither nor when it should be held; and at length, when the emperor pressed hard upon him, he absolutely insisted that the Council might be held in Italy : a condition which, as things then stood, he was sure would not be submitted to.
Then comes Paul III., as great a dissembler as ever lived, who knew no less than his predecessors how fatal such a Council as was desired must necessarily be to the gentlemen of the Roman See. He found that it was but more passionately desired for being refused, and was indeed put to the utmost. stretch of his talent to keep a temper in so difficult a case; but being the fittest person in the world to do what was possible in this nice juncture, he put off, for some time, the indiction of a Council, under the pretence of an earnest desire to call one ; but when that artifice was stale, he delayed the opening of it after it was called: and when nothing else would do, he knew the best
ways how to manage and govern it, and to make the world believe all the while that it was unconstrained and free.
But in the third year of his Popedom, the clamour of the world, being upon him for neither calling a Council, nor so much as performing his promise of reforming the court and the Church himself, he was forced to make some notable semblance of the latter, that he might a little longer keep off the former. To this end he required four cardinals, and five other prelates, to draw up, in the most impartial manner, a formal catalogue of abuses that needed a reformation ; which accordingly was done in the former of the two following advices that are here published.
The trick was to make the Christian princes believe that he that required, and they who gave this advice, were in good earnest; and so it was sent into Germany, where it produced quite other effects than were hoped from it, for all men's mouths were opened against the court more than they were before : and the court soon shewed that this solemn advice was but mere artifice and collusion to amuse the world, and to keep off the so much dreaded Council as long as it was possible. As
for the Pope himself, how well he was disposed to follow the rules of this advice, appeared by the whole course of things afterwards : for his business all along was to support the absoluteness of the Roman See, and to maintain that all judgment in matters of religion ought to be referred to the Apostolic See; and that divine and human laws, and the consent of ages, had given to the Pope the supreme authority, as of calling Councils, so of determining and ordering things that regard the unity and advantage of the Church :* as he told the emperor roundly in a letter to him about seven years after.
As for the courtiers that gave the advice, one of them was the Theatine cardinal, John Peter Caraffa, who was eighteen years afterwards Pope, by the name of Paul IV., and who therefore had it in his power to put the counsel he gave to Paul III. into execution, if any such thing had been in his mind. But nothing could be more inconsistent with his counsel than his practice was: the advice acknowledged, that the unbounded licentiousness of Popes in breaking laws, and doing whatever they had a mind to do, had reduced Christendom to its deplorable condition. But this man yielded not to any of his predecessors in pride and lawless liberty; he vouchsafed not to allow secular princes fit to be his companions ; he began his Papacy with breaking the oath of capitulation usually made in the conclave, and upon that occasion declared it
be an article of faith, that the Pope could not be bound : he made himself so odious to the world, and especially to the citizens of Rome, by perfidiousness and oppression, that the rage of the people against his name and family could not be appeased, but by doing the most public disgraces to him after he was dead.
Now whether Paul IV., when cardinal, gave some good advice for fashion's sake, or having had some good purposes once, laid them all aside when he came to be Pope, I shall not dispute: but it is a plain case that these men have confessed most horrible scandals against themselves, and that at a time when their obligations to reform them were the greatest that the world could lay upon them, they moved not one step towards a reformation in good earnest, but made it their business to baffle the desires and hopes of all good men ; which shewed it to be the vainest thing imaginable to expect after
reformation by a Council under the influence of the
* Padr. Paol. Aug. 5. according to some copies, Aug. 24. 1544.
Roman court ; which, by their own confession, was guilty of all the disorders of the Church ; or of such Popes as these, who by their own confession had been the chiefest malefactors. The decrees of an Italian Council, under the direction of such managers as these, were not likely to be very holy ones. Nor were matters of doctrine in a fair way to be sincerely deliberated upon and determined truly by those who could not be brought to mend the most notorious faults they confessed against themselves; not such points of doctrine, to be sure, as served to support those abuses in practice which they were resolved not to reform.
Certainly there could be no other reason to imagine that the grace of the Holy Ghost should be present with such a Council, excepting this only, that the managers were brought to it with as much difficulty as if they had been sure to meet the Holy Ghost there.
The bull for intimation of the Council was not published till five years after the advice; nor was it resolved that they would begin till two years after that, when the Pope furnished his legates with powers to dissolve it, if it should not be an obedient Council.* For no man could certainly say with what dispositions, or in what numbers, the German, French, and Spanish bishops might come, and it was good to provide against the worst. It was yet about a year before the Council was opened, and the proceedings were then retarded by artificial difficulties as well as accidental ones, and with all the management, it did not thoroughly please ; and so, after frivolous pretences, was, in two year's time, by a majority of votes, translated to Bolonia, the Imperialists' remaining still in Trent. The Papalins must have it nearer home, that they might tend it the better. But do what they could, they were obliged three years after to reassume it at Trent, the loss of which point was therefore to be supplied with other arts.
Pope Paul dying at this time, was succeeded by Julius III., who thought fit to suspend the Council for two years, the effect of which was that it came not together till ten years after. As for the motives that influenced these counsels, and the artifices that brought them to effect, and the intrigues with princes, and the advantages which the court made of their opposite interests, for bringing the Council to a good end—all this is to be seen in Father Paul's History; but the particulars are too many to be touched here.
* History of the Council of Trent, p. 112.