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charge of heresy, together with that of immorality. It is true, he says, speaking of the period preceding his trial at the Inquisition, that Achilli about this period did begin, if covertly he
had not begun before, to speak against faith, and not only against faith, but also against morals; that his language be? came scandalous, that he perverted others, and that to him
was attributed the sad fall, in morals first, and then in faith, of 'F. Desanctis, a priest of the order of S. Camillus, now in Malta, ' whither we believe he bore him the partner of his guilt. . We have no wish to conceal Achilli's lurking heterodoxy, because 'we believe it to be in him, as in most apostates, a natural result; corrupt morals necessarily beget a corrupt faith. . . . . . Achilli 'therefore was by this time either virtually or in thought, in 'desire, in wish, perhaps even in intention, no longer a Catholic. And therefore he is acknowledged to have been and to continue a Protestant-a Protestant of five years' standing. . . . . Such being the case it is no wonder that he got into troubles with the 'Inquisition, before which he was summoned in 1841. Ile was 'arraigned for his unsound principles, not merely held but openly expressed, in regard to morals and to faith. But he 'was arraigned also for his gross immoralities from the beginning, including those committed in Capua.'
We may safely leave it to the reader, upon this extract, to form his own conclusion as to the share which the doctrinal and the moral grounds respectively had in the trial of Achilli. It states that he had begun to speak against the faith, also to speak against morals; that he had ceased to be a Catholic, and had become a Protestant in heart: that 'such being the case it was no wonder that he got into troubles with the Inquisition.' Here is an alternation of the moral and the doctrinal ground; but which takes the precedence? If the moral, why is it not first of all said that Achilli was brought before the Inquisition to answer for his immoral conduct? Why, when he had been engaged for ten years in a course of licentious acts, is he arraigned in the first instance for his words—for speaking against faith and morals? What is this 'speaking against morals,' which is forsooth so much greater an offence than acting against them ? Certainly, the systematic defence of immorality would ordinarily show a worse heart than immoral conduct alone would; but as showing this, why not have included it in one first and foremost charge against him of immorality, instead of dividing the two and subordinating both to a charge of speaking against the faith. With such appearances, we shall beg leave to consider, until proof appears to the contrary, that the charge which mainly and principally brought Achilli before the Inquisition was a charge of heresy; though when
the heretic already stood before the tribunal, his immoralities obtained a glad notice as the accompaniments of heterodoxy, even if they got none upon their own intrinsic ground. Looking at the facts of the case from the first, it does certainly appear to us far from certain, that had Achilli abstained from the crowning act of heresy, the Court would have given itself the trouble to investigate his morals. He goes on for years in a licentious course, and is not degraded or even reprimanded; he retains his emoluments, his spiritual rank; it is only when he is discovered to be heterodox, that he is brought to judgment: morals may be connived at, but heresy is unpardonable.
And on this subject we cannot but make the remark, that it would have been more satisfactory had the defendant's side, in the late trial before the Queen's Bench, allowed the whole of the record of the proceedings before the Inquisition to have appeared before the Court, instead of a partial description of it drawn up by the notary; all the counts on which Achilli was arraigned, instead of a selection from them. A selection made by an individual officer of the tribunal, upon instructions received from a party in this country, leaves a residue behind the scenes, of which perfect openness and fairness feel the absence. Nor is it easy to avoid the conjecture, that had the record of the tribunal been allowed to appear whole, or a whole description of it to be given, the charge of heresy would have been seen occupying an inconvenient precedence in it. We cannot
" indeed,' as Sir A. Cockburn justly observes, dictate to continental Courts in what form they should draw up their judgments,' but we may fairly require, that however roughly these may be drawn up, the notary who gives us the description of them, should describe the whole of them and not a part. It is certain, from the admissions of the other side, that there were counts against Achilli, at this trial, besides those relating to his immorality. But these latter counts are the only ones allowed to appear in the document produced before the Queen's Bench.
We will take leave of this part of our subject with one remark ; and that is, that however solemn the sentence which this tribunal may have passed on Achilli, and whatever the grounds on which it was passed, there is nothing to make us suppose, that it would have been much more lasting or efficient than that of the Court of Viterbo, had Achilli remained in the Roman Church. There is nothing to show that the profession of orthodoxy, a nominal adherence, and a readiness to give his Church the benefit of his eloquence and talents, would not have negatived the effects of the last trial, as they did that of the first, and Achilli have been seen in a short time going on much the same as before, preaching Lent sermons, and presiding over monastic and collegiate
bodies. His conversion to Protestantism has at any rate precluded this result, and left the judgment of the Roman Court in fossil permanency and force, unshaken but untried.
We have now another task to perform, and that is, to give our own explanation of these facts - this course of connivance and promotion which we have been contemplating. It will not pretend to the certainty of demonstration, but it will at any rate equal in force and probability the explanation which our contemporary has attempted,—in assigning for the motives of this indulgence, the pious design of " reclaiming' the unhappy offender who was the recipient of it.
Examining these facts upon the principles of common sense, we feel it difficult to arrive at any other conclusion than this: that where immoral acts of a certain class, committed again and again by the member of a priesthood and an order, and known to be committed by him, do not prevent him from receiving promotion to lucrative and high offices, and responsible and spiritual cures, there that class of offences is not regarded substantially as being weighty and heinous. Whether this arises from de. fective appreciation of the sin itself, or from an indulgence to the peculiar circumstances and temptations of the offender, or from both, the result which is forced upon us is the sameviz. that the sin is substantially not thought much of; that it is regarded as a slip, a peccadillo, not as a serious sin. We do not say that this is the view of the stricter minds, but that it is the view of those who practically represent and adminster the system. And for such a view we see some causes in operation in the Roman system, very deserving of attention, if we desire an explanation of that state of things which the recent trial before the Queen's Bench has placed before us.
The question of celibacy, its merits and its advantages, as compared with those of married life, is too delicate and large a one to be entered upon incidentally and suddenly. But one observation relating to this question shall be made, because it has a very special and direct bearing upon the particular case before us.
The observation we shall make, relates to the temper, age, and circumstances in which such a state should be embraced, if it is embraced at all, and the source from which we shall draw it will be the text of Scripture itself. The passages of Scripture directly bearing on the question of celibacy, are, we need not say, few : they are mainly two, one in the 19th chapter of S. Matthew, and one in the 7th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians. The language in the former passage is this
All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is 'given ... He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.' The language of the latter is, ‘I would that all men were even as
'I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one
after this manner, and another after that.... Concerning 'virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my
judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be ' faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. ... He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth ' for the things that are of the world, how he may please his
wife. . . . And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may 'cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that 'ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. .:. He that
standeth steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart to
keep his virgin, doeth well.' Now these passages speak first of the unmarried state itself, and secondly, of the qualification for entering into and embracing it. The unmarried state is spoken of as in itself a superior state to the married, and possessing greater advantages for spiritual improvement and the worship of God. The qualification for embracing this state, is the possession of a particular gift of God—a gift not given to all, but only to a select number. And the sign of the possession of this gift is described as a certain state and temper of mind, a sirength and resolution, of which the individual himself is conscious, and at the consciousness of which he arrives after serious and sober examination of himself. No language could describe more strongly than S. Paul's, the solid proof which a man ought to have of his capacities, and the search he ought to have instituted into his own heart, before he ventures upon such a trial. He must be as sure as the nature of such proof allows, that he is steadfast in his heart, has no necessity, hath power over his own will, hath decreed in his heart. These are forcible words. It would be ridiculous to suppose that mere boys could look so searchingly into their own hearts, and attain such a knowledge of themselves. Self-knowledge is not so early an acquisition. Such a search obviously implies that the person making it has arrived at full years of discretion, and is of mature understanding; that he is able to doubt himself, to mistrust temporary emotion, and wait for more solid symptoms. Certain powers and a certain temper, a coolness, a sobriety, a due mistrust, which manhood alone possesses, are implied.
But what is the practice of the Roman Church on this subject? Are not whole masses admitted into the profession of celibacy, before they can possibly know anything about their own strength or weakness? Are not crowds of mere boys systematically driven into it, before their tender unformed minds can have
ever directed one real look into themselves ? The Council of Trent lays down the age of sixteen as a sufficiently mature one for a profession, or the inexorable taking of a vow of celibacy. Now, will any impartial sensible man, who is acquainted with the facts of mental growth, and has observed at what time the human being arrives at maturity, will any father of a family, any tutor, come forward and declare that he thinks a youth of sixteen is able solidly to acquaint himself with his own capacities, and carry on a cool and grave search into himself ?—that he is able to arrive upon satisfactory data at the sober conviction that he is steadfast in his heart, has no necessity, hath power over his own will ? can he be reasonably certain of the decrees of his own heart? Is it then according to the rule of Scripture that a youth should, at the age of sixteen, be sent into this state, and placed in a situation of peculiar temptation without the power of withdrawing from it, for the rest of his life? But the assignment of a regular profession, or taking of the vow, to the age of sixteen, only affects the act of profession itself, and therefore only guards the formal and technical entrance into the state of celibacy. Under the Roman system, the youth is practically handed over to that state long before he is formally admitted to it. He is put at a very early age, while a mere child, into a train which ultimately carries him to the act of profession, a result which he cannot prevent, unless he is endowed with an independence and power of mind which children have not, nor indeed ought to have. How is a mere child to be expected to oppose the designs of his parents, who bring him up to be a priest or a monk as a mode of livelihood ? How can he possibly lift himself out of the circumstances which surround and control him ? He must take what line of education is offered him, or have no education at all. How can he be expected to know, or to think of, the result at all, or find out his objection in the first instance? As a matter of course he finds himself in a train of education for being a monk; as a matter of course he takes the vows when he is told to do so. It may be proper to add, that the assumption of the religious habit,' which is an incipient act of profession, though not attended by the vow, is allowed by the Council of Trent to take place, in the case of girls, at the age of twelve; and that this permission is construed by many, as Thomassinus informs us, to extend to children of the other sex as well. We have no means at present of ascertaining what is the practice of the Church of Rome in this respect, nor is the distinction one of much importance. Practically the religious habit is imposed, when the boy is put into a regular train of education for being a monk. The Council of Trent may lay down formal rules against enforcing NO. LXXVIII.--N.S.