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TWO TEMPORAL POWERS.
Reprinted from the “Westminster Review” of 1st January 1868.
1. Ireland and her Churches. By JAMES GODKIN.
. London : Chapman and Hall. 1867. 2. Histoire du Canada depuis sa découverte jusqu'à nos
jours. Par F. X. GARNEAU. zme édition, revue et corrigée; imprimée par P. Lamoureux, No. I
Rue Buade, Quebec : 1859. 3. La Convention entre la France et l'Italie, signée le
15 Septembre 1864. 4. Lettre adressée par le Maréchal Niel, Ministre de la
Guerre, au Colonel commandant la Légion d’Antibes. Paris : le 21 Juin 1867.
WHENEVER the expression “Temporal Power"
” is used, the thoughts of Englishmen revert to Rome. They too often forget that it is not in other lands only that a church exists whose temporal status is opposed to the wishes and liberties of the great majority of the people in whose country that church is established. The temporal power of an ecclesiastical body imposed upon an unwilling nation by force excites the warm disapprobation of Englishmen; they see and condemn such a system in the case of others with that clearness and force which usually characterises persons when judging, not their own defects, but those of their neighbours. Far be it from the writer to deny the justness of such a judgment. But would not Englishmen do well, while condemning the temporal power of the Roman Church in Italy, not to forget the temporal power accorded to the Anglican Church in Ireland ? When we ourselves cease to impose by force of law a Protestant Establishment upon a Roman Catholic country, we shall prove by the most effectual of all means—that of exampleour sincerity in condemning others who are maintạining by force the temporal power of their church in opposition to the will and liberties of an entire people. When we have cast first the beam out of our own eye, we shall see clearly to pull out that which is in our brother's eye. Beginning then at home, let this subject of the “Temporal Power” be first considered as it exists in connexion with the Church Establishment in Ireland, and afterwards as maintained in Rome. Such is the twofold aspect presented by this important question which it is now proposed to examine, so far at least as can be done within the limits accorded to a review article.
It is a noteworthy fact that tithes were first introduced into Ireland, or at least first enforced, by the secular arm, at the time of the conquest of that island by Henry II. in 1156-a conquest made with the approbation of the reigning Roman Pontiff, Pope Adrian IV. The present Lord Primate of Ireland, in a charge delivered to his clergy in 1864, said :
“ To the clergy of the early Irish Church tithes were not paid, though it appears by some ancient canons attempts were made to establish them. In the year 1127 St Bernard complains of the Irish, they pay no tithes ;' and in the year 1172 Pope Alexander III., in a letter dated 20th September, states, among other abuses of the Irish Church, the people in general pay no tithes.' English influence, however, in that year sufficed to introduce them at the Council of Cashel. They formed part of the splendid. bribes which Henry II. gave to the Irish clergy to induce them to conform to the usages of the English Church and acknowledge the Papal supremacy."
However, then, ecclesiastics may dispute about the condition of the early Irish Church as regards its dogmas or its relationship to the See of Rome previous to the English conquest by Henry II., it becomes quite clear that by that conquest the tithe system and the Roman Catholic Church were established together; and further, that the tithe system
so established for the benefit of the Roman Catholic clergy.
The great religious revolution of the sixteenth : century, known as the Reformation, separated both England and Scotland from the Church of Rome. The result of their conversion to the Protestant faith was the establishment in the former country of the Episcopal Church, and in the latter of the Presbyterian
This change, however, was not effected in Scotland without a bitter struggle, on account of the wicked
attempt made by the English government to force upon the Scotch an Episcopal Establishment. The attempt was successfully resisted, to the lasting benefit both of England and of Scotland. For had an established church distasteful to the great mass of the Scotch people been forced upon them, it would assuredly have created and perpetuated all the innumerable evils necessarily arising from so execrable and antiChristian a policy.
The reformed doctrines were not accepted by Ireland; her people remained faithful to the Church of Rome. Then it was that the English government established by force in Ireland a Protestant State Church, handing over to it, without demur, the tithes which had belonged for 400 years to the Roman Catholic Church. Then it was that to old feuds springing out of conquest and antipathies of race were superadded those arising from religious differences, of all roots of bitterness the bitterest. Then it was that England's government, in their endeavours to force Protestantism upon Roman Catholic Ireland, set (during two centuries) its hand to a work as full of oppression and injustice as ever darkened the world's history, or disgraced the Christian faith. Yet, despite all the efforts made, nothing resulted but ignominious failure. Of this no better proof can be given than the fact that, whereas, according to Sir W. Petty, the Protestants in Ireland numbered, in 1672, 300,000, and the Catholics 800,000, in 1861 the Protestants were 1,293,702, and the Catholics 4,505,265. Thus there had been a relative decrease of Protestants
during that period of nearly 200 years. It must be further borne in mind that of these Protestants rather less than 700,000 belong to the Established Church, which possesses an income of half-a-million sterling, while the Roman Catholic clergy depend for their daily subsistence upon the voluntary contributions of their flocks.
The history of Ireland from the Reformation until towards the close of the last century is, speaking generally, that of oppression on the one side and resistance on the other. It would, however, be an exaggeration to say, either that there was no good attempted or perforined by the English government in Ireland during that period, or that the Irish were wholly blameless as regards the ills which came upon their island in the shape of conflicts, rebellions, confiscations, and slaughters, which desolated the land and its inhabitants with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence. Still the great general characteristic of that sad and lengthened period was the misery arising from the wrongful and persevering attempt to force upon Roman Catholic Ireland the church and the rule of the Protestant minority. At length, towards the close of the last century, the cruel penal code which had long been in operation was relaxed in various ways, and the suffrage was accorded to the Irish Roman Catholics, in whose Parliament, however, Protestants alone could sit.
It was after the suppression of the rebellion of 1798 that Mr Pitt determined upon a policy whose large and liberal scope would have cut at the root of