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ON THE PARTICULAR ERRORS IN THE MATTER OF CATHOLIC FAITH WHICH THE KING OF ENGLAND PROFESSES
ITHERTO we have spoken of the true foundations of our faith on which the whole Catholic doctrine is, under God, supported. On these the rest can easily be built, if indeed he who hears the Church also hears God, but he who spurns the Scripture, as handed on and explained by the Church, spurns its authority also. For the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, and, as Paul Orosius very gravely says, VII.33, “he who attacks it is an enemy; and he who is not joined to it is an alien.” But because the most serene King of England strives greatly to shatter the things that have been built on this foundation, we will try, to the best of our ability and our grasp, to defend and confirm them; and therefore not all the dogmas of the faith must be treated, but those that from page 44 of his Preface the king attacks in his confession; nor will we touch on all of these but those that seem to be chief and have bearing on the cause. The order will not be his but that of doctrine and we will begin from what is chief; the other things we will pursue in the due order that I have said. Only those things that pertain to the primacy and to ecclesiastical monarchy, to the exemption of clerics, and to the Antichrist, will we remit to subsequent books, because they demand their own and more extended disputation.
INDEX TO THE CHAPTERS OF BOOK II
CHAPTER 1 ON THE PRESENCE OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IN THE SACROSANCT SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST
CHAPTER 2 THE SUBSTANCE OF BREAD AND WINE DOES NOT REMAIN UNDER THE CONSECRATED APPEARANCE
CHAPTER 3 ON THE TRUTH OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION
CHAPTER 4 THE EUCHARIST IS WITH THE ADORATION OF WORSHIP SUITABLY ADORED AND ELEVATED FOR THIS PURPOSE AND BORNE ROUND IN PROCESSION
CHAPTER 5 ON THE COMMUNION OF THE LAITY UNDER THE APPERANCE OF BREAD ALONE
CAPUT 6 ON PRIVATE MASSES
CHAPTER 7 ON THE ERRORS ABOUT THE CULT AND INVOCATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN NOTED IN THE KING’S PREFACE
CHAPTER 8 ON THE THINGS NOTED IN THE KING’S PREFACE ABOUT THE CULT OF THE SAINTS
CHAPTER 9 ON THE INVOCATION OF SAINTS
CHAPTER 10ON THE CUSTODY AND VENERATION OF HOLY RELICS
CHAPTER 11 ON THE TRUE VENERATION OR ADORATION OF HOLY IMAGES
CHAPTER 12 SATISFACTION IS MADE TO THE OBJECTIONS OF THE KING AGAINST THE VENERATION OF IMAGES
CHAPTER 13 ON THE IMAGES OF GOD AS GOD
CHAPTER 14 ON THE ADORATION OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST
CHAPTER 15 ON THE ERROR ABOUT PURGATORY
CHAPTER 16 ON ERRORS ABOUT THE RITES AND BENEDICTIONS OF THE CHURCH
SUM AND CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE BOOK, WITH AN ADDRESS TO THE KING OF ENGLAND
ON THE PRESENCE OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IN THE SACROSANCT SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST
1. Five errors of the King of England about the sacrosanct sacrament of the Eucharist. 2. First conclusion. 3. The assertion is shown from the ancient fathers. 4. An evasion of the heretics is met. What Ambrose understands by the figure of the body. 5. To represent is the same as to make re-present. 6 - 7. Augustine is vindicated from an improper interpretation. 8 - 10. By figurative signification Augustine understands mode of sacramental eating. Places in which Augustine teaches the Catholic truth simply. 11 - 15. The same is shown from the Greek Fathers.
HE most serene King of England, desiring to show that the title of Defender of the Faith, in which he desires to glory, is true and has a foundation in reality itself, has put forward a confession of his faith whereby is evidently proved how much he errs from the truth of the Catholic Faith. For after what he had said in general about the foundations of the faith, he numbers one by one several articles of the Roman Faith and rebuts them as recent and novel, nay as pernicious too. And having reviewed several things, to which we will afterwards return, he in this way subjoins: “Among these articles I number private Masses in which the sacrificing priest bears the person of the people and of the priest at the same time. Among these too there is mutilation of the sacrament, whereby a half part of it has been taken away from the laity; transubstantiation; elevation for the purpose of adoration; processions carrying around the sacrament during supplications.” In these words five errors are contained, which I will review in different order so that we may begin from the foundation. The first is that in the consecration of the Eucharist transubstantiation does not take place; the second is that the Eucharist is not to be adored and that therefore it is a corrupt custom to elevate it, for the sake of adoration, in the sacrifice; the third is that the usage of carrying round the sacrament during supplications is an abuse; the fourth is that the custom of the laity communicating only in the appearances of the bread is to be condemned as against divine right; the fifth is that private Masses are not to be admitted. The first of these errors supposes two others, one of them indeed the chief in this matter and the foundation of the rest. It is that Christ the Lord is not really and substantially present under the sacramental appearances of the Eucharist; as I reasonably believe this to be the opinion of the king, who is said to profess, in chief part, the sect of Calvin; but it seems that the king has been made ashamed of that man's infamy and therefore has blushed to confess in express words an error already long ago condemned. The second error is included in the denial of transubstantiation, namely that after the consecration the substance of bread and wine remain; for if the substance of bread and wine were to remain there, even if the flesh and blood of Christ the Lord were to become present under the same appearances, the assertion of transubstantiation would without any doubt be false.
2. So as to lay down, then, the first and chief foundation of this mystery, we assert that according to the Catholic Faith the body and blood of Christ the Lord must be believed to be truly and really contained under the legitimately consecrated appearances of bread and wine. This faith cannot be said by the king to be novel and recent, nor to have come from human or unwritten tradition alone; for it is founded on the express words of Christ related by the three Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and by Paul, namely: “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” or, which is the same, “This is the cup of my blood” or “in my blood.”Nor need we delay in reporting and refuting the tropes, figures, and metaphors wherewith the Protestants have tried to corrupt these very clear words; both because, as I said, I have not assumed the province of refuting these controversies on set purpose; and also because, as Tertullian warned, to dispute from the words alone and from private spirit about the sense of some Scripture with heretics, who revere neither the Church nor the Fathers, is useless. Although they could most from this place be convinced how vain the private spirit is they are led by in expounding the Scriptures so as not to contradict their own opinions. For in these words, considered in themselves, there is no trace of figurative speech; nor does the occasion of establishing the new testament, on which Christ pronounced them, permit metaphor; for the prudent are on like occasions not wont, especially without sufficient explication, to speak metaphorically and obscurely. Add that Christ the Lord added rather words that are sufficiently able to exclude metaphor; for he says: “This is my body which is given for you,” and “This is my blood which is shed for many.” Paul too says, 1 Corinthians 11:27: “Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” And later, v. 29: “[he] eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." Lastly, the concord and conformity of these words of Christ with the promise he made, John 6, and with his preaching and the figures of this mystery and with other words of Paul, 1 Corinthians 10, greatly confirm and illustrate the same sense.
3. But passing over, as I said, disputation about the Scriptures alone, enough now is it for us to reply to the king that this faith is not new, nor was the aforesaid sense of Christ's words discovered after the five hundredth year of Christ, but has been handed on by all the Fathers of the first five centuries who touched on the words of Christ or explained the mystery. Of which truth we will bring forward, not all the witnesses who could be adduced, but those who are sufficient; for he who does not hear them would not even believe if a thousand were brought forward. The first witness, then, is Hilary, Book VIII De Trinitate, where he first prefaces: “We must in the things of God not speak in human or secular sense &c.” And after having adduced the words of Christ in John 6 he concludes: “About the truth of the flesh and blood there has no place been left for ambiguity, for now, by both the profession of the Lord himself and by our faith, it is truly flesh and truly blood, and when taken and drunk they make us to be in Christ and Christ to be in us. Can it be that this is not the truth? Let it not be true, to be sure, for those who deny that Christ Jesus is true God.” Calvin, then, for whom this is not true, has no less impiously than ignorantly denied the truth and consequently the divinity of Christ.
4. A second very grave and rich witness is Ambrose, De Sacramentis IV.4, where, among other things, he says: “This bread is bread before the words of the sacraments; when consecration is added, from the bread the flesh of Christ comes to be.” And next, so as to take away astonishment, and to dissolve with a single word the ratiocinations of infidels fetched from vain philosophy, he subjoins: “When the time comes to accomplish the venerable sacrament, the priest does not use now his own words but the words of Christ; therefore the word of Christ accomplishes the sacrament. Which word of Christ? Surely the one whereby all things were made &c.” And afterwards, in ch. 6, he so explains the words of Christ and concludes: “Ought we then to have doubt about his faith and testimony?” But perhaps there will not be lacking a heretic to try to inflict violence on the very clear words of Ambrose, because at the beginning of his fifth chapter he relates that the priest in the Mass says the following words: “Make this offering consecrated, reasonable, acceptable, because it is made into the figure of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” For, because he said “into the figure,” an impudent man may turn all the other things to a figure, though it be in open conflict with them. But the true and clear sense is that, through consecration, the body of Christ is truly made to be under the appearances, whereby also the appearances are made to be a sign of the body and blood which they contain under them, and this Ambrose called being made into the figure, that is, into the sacrament of the body and blood lying hid there but truly and really existing. And this fact is to be noted by the by to explain the rather obscure words, if they sometimes turn up, of the Fathers, which words are to be explained from places of theirs that are clear and contain the full doctrine, and not, conversely, the full doctrine satisfactorily explained elsewhere to be obfuscated because of one obscure word. And the same sense and the whole truth of the mystery ar e explained by the same Ambrose in his book De Initiandis ch. 9. But the Catholic Church, to avoid the calumny, does not use that mode of speaking in the canon of the Mass, “made into the figure &c.,” but it says: “so that it may become for us the body and blood of your most dear Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
5. Let the third witness be Jerome expounding the words of Christ in Matthew 26, where he thus speaks: “After the Passover in type was completed and he had eaten the flesh of the lamb with his disciples, he took bread, which strengthens the heart of man, and moved on to the true sacrament of Passover, so that, as in his figure Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God, had made an offering of bread and wine, he himself too might represent the truth of his body and blood.” Where also perhaps a heretic will spring up to interpret the word 'represent' into some fiction or metaphor. But the force of the word and the mind of Jerome are clear; for to represent is the same as to make a thing present, especially a thing that was before promised or was predicted as future or was longed for. Which fact we can expound from the words of Seneca, epist.95 at the beginning: “You seek from me that, what I had said I must do on your day, I should represent and write to you &c.,"” that is, “that I should fulfill by writing &c.” Sufficiently suited to the thing are also the words of Cicero, Philippic v: "“ would gladly have offered my body if freedom could, by my death, be represented to the city,” that is, restored or made to be present. In this way, then, did Jerome say that Christ, by representing, that is, by making present, the truth of his body and blood, and by offering it thus present to the Father, he had fulfilled what, in the offering of bread and wine by Melchizedek and in the immolation of the Paschal lamb, had been prefigured. And this true sense is more explained by the same Jerome, in epist .150 to Hedibias, question 2, saying: “Let us hear that the bread, which the Lord broke and gave to his disciples, is the body of the Lord, since he himself says to them: ‘Take, and eat, this is my body.’” And later: “Moses did not give us the true bread, but the Lord Jesus did, himself the guest and the banquet, himself eating and the one eaten; we drink his blood and without him we cannot drink, and every day in his sacrifices we tread out the red wine from the fruit of the true vine.” “Than which words,” says Marianus Victor, “nothing more lucid and more clear could be said about the truth of the body and blood of Christ.” But it is further confirmed by the same Jerome when he says in other places that the priests make the body of Christ with their holy mouth, epist. 1 to Heliodorus, epist. 85 to Evagrius, and almost the same on Malachi 1, and on Galatians 5 he says: “I know moreover that the wine is consecrated into the blood of Christ.” And best on the words of Titus 1:8: “But a lover of hospitality &c.,” he says: “There is as much difference between the shew-bread and the body of Christ as there is between a shadow and bodies, between image and reality, between patterns of future things and the things themselves which are figured by the patterns.”
6. Let the fourth witness by St. Augustine, who in innumerable places teaches this truth. But he seems to me to be perspicuous, and to admit of no tergiversation, in Contio 1 on Psalm 33 , where, after a very extensive discussion of the sacrifice of the Lord's body and blood “which the faithful and those who have read the Gospel know, and which is now diffused through the whole world,” he says that, “in it Christ has changed his face from his humility,” that is, “because the word, which is the bread of angels, is made flesh, is become the bread of men, because in his body and blood he wished our salvation to be.” After these, I say, which he pursues in many words when explaining the truth of this mystery, he at last adapts to this mystery the words of 1 Kings [1 Samuel] 21, as he himself reads them, v. 4, “He was borne in his own hands,” and he says: “Who is carried in his own hands? In the hands of others a man can be carried, but no one is carried in his own hands; how it may be understood of David himself according to the letter we do not find, but in Christ we find it. For Christ is borne in his own hands when, commending his own very body, he says: ‘This is my body;’ for he was bearing that body in his own hands; humility itself belongs to Our Lord Jesus Christ, humility itself is much commended to men.” Where greatly to be weighed is what he says, that in this mystery and in Christ alone is it fulfilled, according to the letter, that he carried himself in his own hands; for when he says ‘according to the letter,’ he excludes figure and trope. For to carry himself in his own hands in figure or image is no miracle, nor a great work, nor proper to Christ; for David could carry himself in his hands in his own image. Neither too would by such a work the humility of Christ be much commended, but his humility was very great because the Word made flesh became also the bread of life so that it might truly and really be eaten by men. And so rightly does Guitmund urge this place, Book III De Sacramento at the beginning. But one must note too that Augustine in Contio 2 on the same psalm added this phrase, “in a certain way,” when he says, “he took into his own hands what the faithful know, and he himself carried himself in a certain way, when he said: ‘This is my body.’” Which phrase some man perhaps among those who live in shadows might maliciously seize on and overturn the whole truth. But there could scarcely be a blindness so great as to suppose Augustine said contrary things in so brief a discussion, or that he added something which would destroy the whole mystery he had explained. Therefore by that phrase “in a certain way” (which in my judgment is better read in separation and with the force of a substantive than as a combined phrase and adverbially) Augustine only wished to signify that Christ did not carry himself in his own hands in a bodily, that is, a visible way, and by feeling and holding in his own hands the weight of his body, but in a mystical way, yet in a true and a real and a so singular way as could not be saved by mere figure or image. And this is very much to be observed in the doctrine of Augustine, that he often conjoins those two things, namely the truth of the body with the sacramental and mystical mode, and therefore the one is not to be excluded, or badly explained, because of the other.
7. And thus there is a very good testimony of the same Augustine in tract. De Cataclysmo, where he first says that, “blood and water, which flowed from the side of Christ, are the twin sacraments of Mother Church.” Which he expounds by adding: “This blood inebriates the mind so that I forget the love of the world &c.” And more clearly later, when expounding the words, Exodus 16:19, “Let no man leave of it till the morning,” he says: “This now is done, for the lamb is eaten in the night of this age, so that, when the morning has come which will not have evening, the sacrifice of the image of the lamb may no longer be offered, but that the lamb himself, whom we daily immolate, eat, and whose blood we drink, we may find there to be him, the perfect priest, who, it is clear, was slain here for our salvation.” Which place can also suffer cavil because of the words, “the sacrifice of the image of the lamb.” To obviate this difficulty someone might perhaps understand those words of the sacrifice of the type, the paschal lamb, for the following words are expressly about our sacrifice, “the lamb himself, whom we daily immolate, eat.” But the exposition does not square with the context. For Augustine had said: “This now is done, for the lamb is eaten in the night of this age,” Where he openly embraces the time too of the law of grace, for he also adds that this age endures up to that morning which will not have evening, that is, to that state of glory where we will find (as he subjoins) the lamb, the perfect priest, “who, it is clear, was killed here for our salvation.” And on that morning, he says, there is no longer to be offered the sacrifice “of the image of the lamb,” because, namely, during this age it is always being offered. Therefore the sacrifice of the Eucharist too he calls the sacrifice of the image of the lamb. But by this he does not exclude the truth of the presence of the lamb whom he affirms is daily immolated and eaten, but because this sacrifice is not bloody but mystical, and because in this way it is the offering of an invisible lamb under a visible appearance, so that it may also be a remembrance of the same lamb visibly immolated, therefore the calls this mystical sacrifice the sacrifice of the image of the lamb, that is, a sacrifice representing the lamb slain for us, according to the words of the same Lamb, 1 Corinthians 11“25: “This do ye, as oft as ye do it, in remembrance of me.”
8. When a like observation is applied, there is a sufficiently open testimony of the same Augustine, at Contra Adversarium Legis et Prophetarum II.9, where he says: “The Mediator of God and men, Jesus Christ, giving us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink, we receive with faithful heart and mouth, though it seem more horrible to eat human flesh than to destroy it, to drink human blood than to shed it.” These words are very express. But he adds at once a certain general rule, which the Calvinists can abuse, when he says: “In all the Sacred Scriptures, according to the rule of sound faith, if anything said or done is expounded figuratively about things or words of any sort which are contained in the sacred pages, let that exposition not be taken contemptuously but heard wisely.” But let them pay attention to and understand the words, “according to the rule of sound faith,” which is the Catholic Church, the unanimous consent of the Fathers, and agreement with other Scriptures and mysteries of the faith, the propriety of the words being retained where it can be done without unsuitability. And thus, in the aforesaid words of “eating the body and drinking the blood of the Lord,” Augustine admits the figurative and mystical signification as to the mode of eating and drinking, namely the sacramental mode, whereby the horror that there could have been in such eating and drinking is taken away; for this figurative signification is according to the rule of faith and necessary for the truth of the mystery. Yet Augustine does not admit a figurative signification as to the, so to say, substantial eating of Christ, and therefore he adds: “whom we receive with faithful heart and mouth,” because such a figure is neither necessary nor according to the rule of faith, rather it is contrary to it. And according to this rule Augustine, in tract. 26 and 27 on John, expounds at large the words of Christ, 6:3: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,” together with the words, v. 63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” But in many other places the same holy doctor simply affirms that Christ has given us his body to eat and his blood to drink, as in his exposition on Psalm 33  near the end, and Contio 1 on Psalm 48  near the beginning, and Enarratio on Psalm 65  before the middle, and his exposition of Psalm 93 near the beginning, and Sermo 2 De Verbis Apostoli, ch.1, and Book L Homiliarum the final one, elsewhere De Utilitat. Poenitent. ch. 4, and Contra Litteras Petiliani II.37, and De Peccatorum Meritis ch. 24, where he says: “Without baptism and the body and blood of the Lord, salvation and eternal life are to be hoped for by no one.” And therefore he says that the Christians in Carthage were wont to call baptism salvation and the Eucharist life; and sometimes he adds, to make it more plain, that we drink the blood whereby we are redeemed, as in Contra Faustum XII.10 he very well says: “The blood of Christ has a loud voice on earth, when, after it has been received, all the nations reply, ‘Amen.’ This is the clear voice of the blood to which the blood itself gives expression in the mouth of the faithful, who are by the same blood redeemed.” Finally, writing against the same Faustus, XX.13, he says: “Let the bread and the cup, not any at all, but the one with sure consecration made mystical, be for us the body of Christ. Accordingly, what is not made so, although it be bread and cup, is food for refreshment, not a sacrament of religion, except in that we give blessing to the Lord and do him thanks in each of his offices.” And thus too in De Peccatorum Meritis II.26, he says about blessed bread, or the bread of catechumens, that it is holy, and holier than common foods, “since it is a sacrament,” that is, a sacred sign, “although,” he says, “it is not the body of Christ, because, that is, the body is in a far higher way the very sacrament of the Eucharist.”
9. Let the fifth witness be Cyprian, who, in his sermon De Coena Domini, broadly thus explains this divine mystery, and, among other things, says: “The Master sets inconsumable food before the disciples.” And later: “A food of immortality is given that differs from common food.” And much later: “That common bread, changed into flesh and blood, procures life and increase for bodies, and therefore, the infirmity of our faith, aided by the accustomed effect of things, is taught by a sensible argument that in visible sacraments there is the effect of eternal life, and that we are united to Christ not so much by a corporeal as by a spiritual transition.” And later: “That bread, which the Lord handed to the disciples, becomes, when changed not in appearance but in nature, the omnipotent flesh of the Word.” Which he immediately explains with the example of divinity lying hid under humanity, and adduces very good reasons for so great a mystery. And, after interposing a few things, he says:“The Universal Church is invited to this feast, an equal portion is given to all, it is handed out whole &c." By all which things he gives evident witness of the presence of the Lord in this Sacrament. But if anyone should call into doubt whether the work be Cyprian’s, we reply, to begin with, that it has by almost all the graver theologians and expert authors been attributed to Cyprian, because the style, phrasing, and doctrine sufficiently point to him. Next, if perhaps it not be Cyprian’s, no one surely can doubt that it is of some very grave Father of the same period. And lastly, in very many undoubted places the same Saint, though in fewer words, shows the same faith of the same Sacrament, as in epist. 11 he expounds the Eucharist, that is, “the holy body of the Lord,” and more broadly in epist. 63 he says: “Christ offered a sacrifice to God the Father, and offered this very thing which Melchizedek had offered, that is bread and wine, namely his own body and blood,” which he pursues through almost the whole letter. The same in epist.54, 56, and 75, and De Lapsis at the beginning and often elsewhere.
10. A sixth and very grave witness is Pope Leo in Sermo 6 De Ieiunio Septimi Mensis, who writes: “Since the Lord says, ‘except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,’ you ought so to communicate in the sacred table that you doubt naught in any way about the truth of the body and blood of Christ; for that is taken up in the mouth which is by faith believed, and in vain is ‘Amen’ said in reply by those who dispute against what is received.” He hands on the same in Sermo 4, Quadragesimae, and Sermo 7, De Passione. And in epistle 23, to the clergy and people of Constantinople, he says, against the heretics who deny the truth of our flesh in Christ: “In what darkness of ignorance, in what torpor of indolence do those fellows lie, that they neither learn by hearing nor recognize by reading what in the Church of God is so unanimous in the mouth of all that not even by the tongues of infants is the truth of the body and blood of Christ left unmentioned among the sacraments of the common faith.” Very good too is the opinion of Optatus, Contra Parmenianum Book VI: “What is the altar save the seat of the body and blood of Christ?” and this: “You have broken the cups that carry the blood of Christ.” Many things can also be read in Tertullian, who is older than those reported above, De Resurrectione Carnis ch.8, and De Pudicitia ch. 9, and Contra Marcion III.19, and IV.40, where n. 662 of Pamelius collects many other places of his and joins Lactantius to him, and defends both from the calumnies of heretics, up to n. 668. There are also testimonies grave and altogether to be noted in Gaudentius, tract. 2 on Exodus, and in Paulinus, epist. 3 to Senerus near the end, and epist.4 to the same a little from the middle, who are equally ancient with the former. Nor must Gregory be omitted, Dialogi IV.58, and Book II on 1 Kings not far from the beginning, nor Bede, De Mysteriis; for although these Fathers lived after the five hundredth year of Christ, they only teach what they have received from earlier Fathers. Which continuous tradition is later shown by Paschasius, in his book De Corpore et Sanguine Domini, and by those next who rose up against Berengarius, especially Lanfranc, Guitmund, and Alger, with whom must be numbered Anselm too, De Corpore Christi, and Bernard, in epist. 190 at the end, and St. Thomas Bonaventure, and others. For from all of them can be made evidently clear the universal and perpetual sense of the Catholic Church, as far as Latin writers are concerned.
11. There remains for us to skim a few things from the Greek Fathers, a rather few words from whom, in the interest of brevity, I will report, for many are very clear and sufficiently obvious. But I will in particular keep quiet about the older Fathers, Dionysius the Areopagite, Ignatius, and Martial, because their writings, although sufficiently received and mentioned by the most ancient Fathers, are called into doubt by heretics. Therefore let Chrysostom be the first, in Homilia 60 to the people, and 45 on John, wherein these very choice things, among others, are contained: “So that we might not only through charity become this (that is, one body with Christ) but might also in very reality be mingled with that flesh, this is effected through the food which he has bestowed upon us, wishing to show the longing which he has in our regard. Wherefore he mingled his very self with us and mixed his body into us.” And later: “Parents indeed hand their sons over to others to be nourished; I however, he says, do not so, but I nourish with my own flesh and set my very self before you.” And again: “I wanted to be your brother, I assumed for your sake flesh and blood, to you my very flesh and blood in turn, by which I am made your kindred brother, I hand over.” Which opinions, indeed, if they are carefully weighed one by one, will furnish individual and very good reasons for the institution of this marvelous Sacrament, which, through the effects of this Sacrament, he copiously declares. Next, he confirms the same truth from the virtue of the institutor, both there and in Homilia 83 on Matthew, where he says: “Not of human virtue are the works put forward; he who then did them in that supper, the same does them also now. We hold the place of ministers; but he who sanctifies and makes the change is himself.” And later: “Let us hear, and let us dread; he has given us to be filled with his holy flesh; he sets himself immolated before us.” Many like things are contained in the Homilia De Proditione Judae at the end, vol. III, and Homilia Ad Neophyt. Vol. V, and Homiliae 24 & 27 on 1 Corinthians, and Homilia 3 on Ephesians 1, and many things in De Sacerdotio at the beginning, especially from the words: “O miracle, O kindness of God, he who sits above with the Father is, in that moment of time, felt by the hands of all, and gives himself over to those who wish to receive and embrace him &c.”
12. Second, there is a striking testimony from St. Cyril in epist. 10 to Nestorius: “We complete an unbloody cult in the Church, and in this way do we come to the mystical blessings, and are sanctified, made partakers of the holy flesh and of the precious blood of the Savior of all of us, Jesus Christ; nor do we receive it as common flesh, God forbid!, nor as flesh of a man sanctified and conjoined to the Word by a unity of dignity, or as possessing a divine habitation, but as truly vivifying and made proper to the Word himself.” And in this way he at once explains the verse of John 6:53, “except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man.” Now this letter is referred to in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus, and in the ancient Councils it is inscribed as the letter of the Council of Ephesus to Nestorius, and therefore Lanfranc and Guitmund mention this testimony under the authority of the Council of Ephesus. But in the complete Council of Ephesus found by the efforts of Theodore Peltan and given by him in Latin, vol. I, ch.14, the same letter is referred to under the name of Cyril and of the Synod of Alexandria, which seems to have happened before that of Ephesus. But afterwards in the same Council of Ephesus, vol. II, ch. 5, the same epistle of Cyril to Nestorius was read and although, as Peltan notes at the place, the Fathers are not read there to have acclaimed it as they did the other epistle of Cyril to Nestorius, ch. 3, yet there can be no doubt that the epistle was approved in the same way by the whole Council. Hence in the Council of Chalcedon we often read that the doctrine of Cyril was approved in the Council of Ephesus and, at the end of the whole Act of the Council, his two epistles are said to have been approved, and the twelve anathemas are specifically confirmed that are contained at the end of the same epistle to Nestorius. Therefore this testimony has greater force from the authority of the Council of Ephesus, which is one of the four first Councils that the king admits,
13. But further, the same Cyril, in his book to Euoptius, responding to Theodoret on behalf of his anathemas, he refers, in defense of the eleventh, to the words of Nestorius, that we eat the flesh of Christ, which remark Cyril approves, understanding the words of Christ literally. But he reprehends Nestorius insofar as he separated the body of Christ from his divinity; but he himself teaches that, “for this reason we receive vivifying flesh and food remaining unto eternal life, because we receive flesh united to the Word of God.” Which he also repeats in De Fide ad Reginas, under the title “That Christ is the life, from the Gospel of John,” and it too is referred to in the Council of Ephesus, vol. I. He says the same at large and very well, Book IV, on John 12: “The Lord gave his body for the life of all, and through it he again causes life within us, and in what way I will say briefly according to my strength, for, since the vivifying Son of God lived in the flesh, he refashioned it into his own goodness, that is, into life, and, joined to it in his totality, so to say, by an ineffable mode of union, he made it vivifying, because his nature is vivifying, and therefore this flesh vivifies those who partake of it.” Which point he pursues at length through the following chapters up to ch. 17. But especially to be noted is the thirteenth chapter, where he reprehends the heretics who imitate those of Capharnaum when they demur, John 6:52: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” He says: “For they cry with great impiety against God, nor does it come into their mind that nothing is impossible with God &.” But in chapter 17 he admirably describes how Christ remains in us, and we in him, when we eat him, with the example of liquefied wax into which another is poured so that the one is with the other mixed all through; for by that example he is striving to make clear that we eat Christ, not by faith alone, but truly and really and corporeally.
14. This very thing too is what Cyril of Jerusalem, in Catechesis 4, connects together with the words put forward by Christ: “Since Christ himself thus affirms and says of the bread: ‘This is my body,’ who may thereafter dare to doubt? And when the same confirms and says: ‘This is my blood,’ who may doubt and say that it is not his blood?” And later: “Wherefore, with all certitude, let us take up the body and blood of Christ, that we may be made joint partakers of his body and blood and become Christo-phers, that is, Christ-bearers, since we will have received his body and blood into our members.” Which he pursues extensively. And in Cathechesis 5 he says: “So that the tasters are bidden, not to taste bread and wine, but that which is under the appearances, that is, of bread and wine, the body and blood of the Lord.” And in like manner are the words of Christ expounded by Epiphanius in his Ancoratum. “And there is no one,” he says, “who does not have faith in the word, for he who does not believe that it is truly he, as he himself said, that man has fallen from grace and salvation.” Next, the same truth is confirmed by Athanasius, in bk. De Incarn. Christi at the end, where he says: “We are admitted into the communion of the body of the Lord, as he himself said, John 6:51: ‘The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world;’ for the vivifying spirit is the flesh of the Lord, since it was conceived from the vivifying spirit.” Gregory Nazianzen also, Orat. 3, which is the first against Julian, and Orat. 4, which is the second on the holy Passover, towards the end: “Without shame,” he says, “and without doubt, eat the body, drink the blood, provided you are held by desire for life, &c.”
15. The same thought is in Gregory of Nyssa, in De Vita Moysis, or on the perfect life, about the middle, when he says: “We are to take up the heavenly food, which no action by arts of agriculture has produced for us, but bread without plowing, without any human work, is prepared for us. Flowing down from above it is found on earth, for the bread which descends from heaven, which is true food, which is through manna obscurely signified, is a certain incorporeal thing; for by what manner does an incorporeal thing become food for the body, yet a thing, which is not incorporeal, is wholly body?” And later: “That miraculous bread, therefore, without agriculture, changes its virtue by variety of quality to the condition of those who receive it.” By which words he sufficiently indicates how highly and exaltedly he thought of that food. Also many other things are contained in Basil, in his Exhortatione ad Baptismum, where he calls the Eucharist “living bread,” saying: “Nor would Israel ever have drunk from that spiritual rock if they had not been baptized in a figure, nor will anyone provide you with true drink unless you are truly baptized. They received the bread of angels after baptism, and you, how will you eat the living bread if this sacrament has not been received?” And in his book De Baptismo in its third part, wherein he shows that, “he who is regenerated through baptism ought thereafter to be nourished with participation in the divine mysteries,” he understands Christ’s words, both of the promise in John and of the institution in the other Evangelists, literally and simply. And like things are contained in Regulis Moralibus rule 21. Justin Martyr too, in his second Apologia pro Christianis at the end, teaches this truth very openly, and confirms it from the very ancient tradition and custom of the Church. Next the same is contained in Irenaeus, Contra Haereses II.34, some of whose words I will refer to immediately, and at V.2, refuting those who deny the truth of the flesh and blood in Christ the Lord and his assumed nature, he says: “And thus, in accord therewith, clearly neither has the Lord redeemed us with his blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist a communion of his blood, nor is the bread, which we break, a communion of his body.” In these words the equivalence is very much to be noted. For this holy martyr judged it equally absurd and contrary to the true faith to deny that the true body and blood of Christ is communicated to us in the sacrament of the Eucharist as to deny that we are redeemed by the true blood of Christ. And he gestures toward a proof, that just as the Apostle says we have redemption through his blood, “so Christ has firmly made the cup to be his blood, which is shed, and the bread, which is from the creature, to be his body.” Hence he concludes: “When therefore the mixed cup and the broken bread receive the word of God, they become the Eucharist of the body and blood of Christ.” By these evident testimonies, then, it is sufficiently proved that the most ancient faith of the Church, and the genuine sense of the words of Christ, were that Christ himself is truly and really present in the Eucharist.
THE SUBSTANCE OF BREAD AND WINE DOES NOT REMAIN UNDER THE CONSECRATED APPEARANCE
1 - 3. From the Fathers it is shown that this truth was believed in the first five centuries. 4. An evasion of heretics is rejected.
SECOND A second truth is, in the assertion of transubstantiation, included in the Eucharist, that, after the consecration, the substance of bread and wine do not persist, which is embraced as de fide certain by the Church Roman and Catholic, founded too on the words of Christ and perpetual tradition, as the Council of Trent recently declared, and many other Councils before it, which now do not need to be referred to since they are not admitted by the king. Therefore we will put forward only the testimonies of the ancient Fathers, so that it may by them be clear that this sense of Christ’s words and this faith is not new or recent, but was believed in the first five hundred years in the Catholic Church and was accordingly handed on by the apostles. All the Fathers, then, who teach that through consecration the bread is changed, converted, or crossed over into the body of Christ, likewise openly contend that the common bread does not remain after consecration. Because what crosses over or is converted into another does not remain in its own essence, which it had before, as is evident of itself; and many of the same Fathers made it plain in express words. Justin especially, in the said Apologia 2 Pro Christianis, when he says, speaking of the Eucharist: “For neither do we take common and ordinary bread or ordinary drink, but in like manner as the Word of God became the man Jesus Christ our Savior and possessed flesh and blood for our salvation, so too have we received that the food, which is consecrated by the prayers of the speech we have received from him and by communion in which our blood and flesh are fed, is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, of him who was made man;” and immediately he adduces the words of Christ and gives manifest witness that they were in this sense handed on by the apostles.
2. In the same way Irenaeus, IV.34, says: “In like manner as the bread from earth, when receiving the invocation of God, is not now common but the Eucharist, consisting of two things, an earthly and a heavenly (that is, the appearances of bread and the body of Christ), so too our bodies, when receiving the Eucharist, are not now corruptible, having hope of resurrection.” In which words he openly denies that common bread remains under the consecrated appearances, but a celestial one does, made of the flesh of Christ and the appearances of bread. In the same sense too did Cyril of Jerusalem speak, Catechesis 3, ‘mystagogica’: “The bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, is no more common bread, but it is the body of Christ.” And in Catechesis 4 he says: “At one time he changed water into wine, which is close to blood, by his mere will; and he in whom we believe, will he not be worthy to have changed wine into blood? Just as, therefore, after the transmutation of water done in Cana of Galilee, the substance of water did not remain, so neither does the substance of the wine remain in the chalice after it is changed into the blood of Christ.” Hence he later concludes: “Let my soul exult in the Lord, knowing this and holding it for certain, that this bread, which is seen by us, is not bread, even if taste perceive it to be bread, but is the body of Christ.” And almost in the same way speak Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, and Eusebius of Emesa, whom I referred to elsewhere. And there are some very good words of Epiphanius wherein he insinuates the same truth, Sermo ‘On the Praises of the Virgin’, to whom he thus speaks: “Hail, most holy Virgin, who, like an intellectual bush, hold the fire of divinity without burning. Intellectual offering, which brought fire and the hot bread of life for the world to eat, about which Christ, the Savior of the world, says: ‘Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you for remission of sins.’” Which words he so understands that he believes and professes the bread to be nothing but the bread of life.
3. But among the Latins this is very wisely explained by Ambrose at De Scrament. IV.4, where he thus writes: “You say, perhaps, my bread is ordinary. But that bread is bread before the words of the Sacraments; when consecration has arrived, from the bread the flesh of Christ comes to be.” And later: “If there is so great force in the word of the Lord Jesus that things which were not should begin to be, by so much more effective is it to make things that were change into another.” And later: “Therefore, that I might respond to you, it was not the body of Christ before consecration; but after consecration, I say to you, that it is now the body of Christ; he himself said, and it was done; he himself commanded, and it was created.” Which he repeats again later. And in ch.5 he confirms the same from the principle, “that the word of Christ is able to change a whole universe of things.” And in his book De Initiandis ch. 9 he says: “We use so many examples to prove that it is not what nature formed but what blessing consecrated, and that there is greater force in blessing than in nature, because by blessing is nature too itself changed.” And later: “But if human blessing is strong enough to change nature, what do we say of divine consecration itself when the very words of the Lord Savior are operating?” which he pursues more extensively in the same place. It is also signified by Augustine, Contra Faustum XX.13, when he says: “The bread and cup, not any at all but with sure consecration, are made for us the mystical body of Christ, not born.” This final word Alger, in De Sacramentis I.6, accurately thus considers: “Since mystical bread is not born, nor is it in this divine sacrament of grace created by any origin or condition of earthly nature, but it so becomes the body of Christ that it ceases to be bread, how is Christ said to be em-breaded in bread which no longer exists?” Lastly Cyprian, in his sermon De Coena Domini, speaks in the same way, saying: “The nourishment of immortality is given, different from common food, retaining the appearances of corporeal substance, but proving by invisible effect the presence of divine virtue.” And later: “That common bread, changed into flesh and blood, procures life and increase for the body.” And later: “That bread, which the Lord handed to the disciples, changed not in appearance but in nature, is, by the omnipotence of God, made flesh.” And several like things in what follows he hands on, whereby he confirms the same truth.
4. In the same sense too did Tertullian speak, Contra Marcionem IV.40: “The bread taken and distributed to the disciples he made to be his own body saying, ‘this is my body.’” He appears, the Protestants will say, to destroy the sentence when he adds, “it is the figure of my body.” But without doubt he did not understand the words in the sense in which the adversaries take it; otherwise, in the same context too, he would say conflicting things and he would be contrary to himself in many other places. Either then, he understood that, not the bread now consecrated, but the bread offered long ago or in some way sanctified was the figure of the body of Christ, as in the offering of Melchizedek or in the shew-bread, because Christ was to be given to us as food under the appearances of bread; because of which too body is by Jeremiah called by the name of bread when he says, 11:19: “Come, let us put wood on his bread” [alt.: “let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof”], which place is there mentioned by Tertullian, and from it and from other words the same Tertullian calls it there “the old figure.” And this sense is extensively confirmed by Pamelius along with Gagneus and others. Or, to be sure, if Tertullian called consecrated bread the figure of the body of Christ, by figure he understood nothing other than the sacrament; for although the body of Christ is truly in the consecrated host, nevertheless it is at the same time a sign of the body of Christ there contained; and in this way Tertullian wished to explain that the consecrated bread was not true or material bread, because only the appearances of it are there containing, and thus figuring, the body of Christ, because for that reason was it also once called bread and by bread was it prefigured in former times. And this sense he confirms when he adds: “But it would not have been figure if it was of a truth not body.” Again: “Or if for that reason he feigned bread to be his body, because it lacked the truth of body, then it was bread he should have delivered for us.” For by these words he explains that Christ not fictively but really made the bread his body, not merely by imposing it for sign thereof, nor by uniting it to himself by way of the body, but by converting the same into his very own true body. This then was the opinion of Tertullian, which in De Orat. ch. 6, and 2 Ad Uxorem II.5, he confirms, where is this remark: “And if he know, he believes it not to be the bread which is spoken of.” And like things are contained in bk. De Pudicitia, De Resurrectione Carnis, and other similar ones. In addition also to the aforesaid more ancient Fathers, everyone who flourished after the five hundredth year of Christ embraced the same truth: Damascene, Theophylact, Gregory, Bede, Remigius, Paschasius, Alger, Lanfranc, Anselm, Bernard, Bonaventure, and others whose testimonies are obvious, and so I point to their names only through the window, so that, from the continuous consent in diverse times of the Fathers, it may be clear that the sense of the Church has always been the same, and that no novelty has been introduced in this mystery by more recent Pontiffs.
ON THE TRUTH OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION
1. Transubstantiation is shown to have been maintained in all centuries. 2 - 3. The name of transubstantiation is ancient and was also introduced by the greatest authority. The Council of Florence, in place of transubstantiation, used its definition.
INALLY, from these two Catholic and very ancient principles, that, under the consecrated appearances, the substance of Christ’s body is present and that the substance of bread is absent, the truth of transubstantiation, which the king wrongly mentions among recent novelties, evidently follows. For since he carps at transubstantiation, is he, I ask, running from the thing itself or is he only avoiding the name? If the question is about the thing, the testimonies of all the Fathers of the first five centuries prove overwhelmingly that transubstantiation is not new, but was the tradition in all centuries. For by transubstantiation the Church understands nothing other than the conversion or transition of the bread into the body of Christ, or (which is the same) the departure of the bread not simply into nothing but the body of Christ succeeding in its place. Or, conversely, transubstantiation is nothing other than a marvelous action whereby the body of Christ is constituted under the appearances of bread, and the substance of bread is expelled. But, certainly, the conversion of bread to body is even in these words confessed by the ancient Fathers mentioned, and they often use in the same sense the name of transmutation of bread to body, or they assert that the bread becomes body, or finally they distinctly deny that after consecration the natural bread remains, and they testify that it is the mystical, heavenly, and true body of Christ; therefore they teach, in the thing itself, nothing other than transubstantiation; therefore the thing transubstantiation is not new but very ancient and Catholic truth.
2. But if the king finds novelty in the word of transubstantiation alone, he is without doubt wrong to be offended, because although it does not have the antiquity which he wants, the Church used it over four hundred years ago, and approved it with the greatest agreement and authority in the Lateran Council under Innocent III [1213 A. D.], at which were present almost 480 Greek and Latin patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and many other abbots and prelates, and the legates of the emperors of Rome and of the East, and of the kings of Spain, France, England, and others, along with the Supreme Pontiff and the cardinals. But in its first chapter there is thus written: “Truly there is one Universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved. In which the same Jesus Christ himself is priest and sacrifice, whose body and blood in the Sacrament of the altar is truly contained under the appearances of bread and wine, bread being transubstantiated, by divine power, into body and wine into blood, so that, for perfecting the mystery of unity, we ourselves from his should take what he himself took from ours.” Nor must one think that the word was invented by the said Council, for we find before that time that Gaufred, a Cistercian monk, used it in an epistle to Cardinal Atanensis, as Baronius reports for the year 1188 n.18, where he also indicates that it was then received in common use by theologians. And we find the same word in a certain authentic history which the same Baronius reports for the year 1192, at the end. The beginning, then, of the custom of using this word for the mystery of the Eucharist is unknown. But yet it was, before the Lateran Council, not confirmed by public authority, but there the Universal Church did consent to the use of the word ‘transubstantiation’ for explaining this mystery. And later, the Council of Florence, though it did not use the word, put in place of it its definition or description, saying: “The substance of the bread is converted into the body of Christ and the substance of the wine into his blood.” For nothing else did the Lateran Council mean by the word ‘transubstantiation’ than the conversion of the whole substance into another complete substance, since indeed this conversion’s kind was very well signified and expressed by that word. For it both prescinds from the word ‘mutation’, which, in physical strictness, is wont to require a subject, and excludes any error asserting that there remains, under the appearances of bread, either the complete nature of bread, or a part of it as matter or form, or anything of it, as the very being or subsistence of the bread. And therefore rightly did the Council of Trent, session 13 ch.4 and canon 2, assert that the conversion of the whole substance of bread into the body, and of the whole substance of wine into the blood, of Christ “is agreeably, properly, and most aptly called by the holy Catholic Church transubstantiation.”
3. Finally, in the previous book it was shown that the Church devises new words, especially in ecumenical Councils, to declare and defend ancient mysteries of the faith against insurgent heretics and their new opinions, tergiversations, and calumnies; why then could not the Councils of the Lateran and of Trent, with a like institution or approval of terms, imitate the ancient Councils of Nicea I and Ephesus I? What then does the king have to complain of in the word ‘transubstantiation’, since he cannot deny the thing if he wishes to be Catholic not only in name but, which we greatly wish, in truth as well? Or how can he deny that transubstantiation is very ancient by the fact that the word itself is less ancient, since in not dissimilar cases similar tergiversations by heretics were very gravely reprehended by Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, and other Fathers their equals? And let this, according to the convenience of the present place, be enough about the substance and truth of this mystery, and let us pass on to the other errors mentioned.
THE EUCHARIST IS WITH THE ADORATION OF WORSHIP SUITABLY ADORED AND ELEVATED FOR THIS PURPOSE AND BORNE ROUND IN PROCESSION
1 - 2. It is shown that Christ the Lord is to be adored with the cult of worship. 3 - 4. This article is shown from the Fathers to be wrongly reckoned among the recent ones by the king. 5 - 6. The elevation of the Eucharist is very laudable and ancient. 7. The bearing round of the Eucharist in supplications is shown not to be blameworthy but rather very laudable. Reason taken from the end. 8. An evasion of heretics is refuted. The Church is able to establish whatever is suitable to the greater cult of God. 9. In the beginning of the Church this bearing round was not useful.
T is not difficult to draw this truth clearly from the principle of faith laid down, and to refute with sufficient evidence the other error of the Protestants, whereby they tax or deny the adoration of the sacrosanct Eucharist. For that Christ the Lord, the true God man, is to be adored with the singular and perfect adoration of worship is expressly taught by Cyril along with the Council of Alexandria in his epistle to Nestorius about excommunication, when he says: “Since we confess that the Word is united to the flesh by way of hypostasis, we adore the one Son and Lord Jesus Christ.” And in anathema 8 he condemns this way of speaking, “the man assumed together with God the Word is to be adored and glorified;” and he pronounces anathema on him “who no more with one adoration honors Emmanuel or adapts to him one glorification in the way the Word was made flesh.” Which doctrine was approved by the first Council of Ephesus and by the Council of Chalcedon, as I related above, and was received by the Church; nor can it be denied by the King of England, who professes to venerate the first four Councils. Especially because we often read in the Gospel that this sort of adoration was given not rarely to Christ the Lord, and was not refused by him but rather approved, as is clear from John 9 in the blind man by Christ enlightened who, when now believing, v.38, “fell down and worshipped him;” and 20.28 in Thomas saying, “My Lord and my God.” And Paul, Philippians 2.10, speaks of adoration when he says: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” And in Romans 14“11 he interprets of Christ the verse of Isaiah 45:23, “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” It is therefore de fide most certain that Christ the Lord in his visible appearance is to be adored with the most perfect cult. Since, therefore, it has been shown that the same Christ, God man, is truly and really present in the Eucharist, no one who really believes the mystery of the Incarnation and the Eucharist can deny that the Eucharist is to be adored.
2. Or perhaps, because Christ does not exist there in a natural and visible way and is hidden under the sacramental appearances, is he then, at last, not to be adored as if he were an object for bodily eyes? But this only happens to those who for faith use merely their senses, who, to be sure, would not adore Christ in visible appearance because they do not see the divinity of the same. He then who is led by true faith in his religion and his adoration, just as he adores the invisible Word along with the flesh under which he is hidden, so he adores the Word made flesh although hidden in sacramental appearances. Hence, just as Christ the Lord said to Thomas, John 2:29: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed,” for, by seeing Christ’s body and his wounds, he believed him to be God and as such adored him, so any Catholic giving faith to the words of Christ and seeing the appearances consecrated by the words of the same, looks by faith upon God under them, and thus he adores the sacrament.
3. For which cause this religion and adoration of the Eucharist is also very ancient in the Church, which no one can deny who has read the ancient Fathers; whom I will briefly call to mind so that by this reason too it may be clear that the king of England does not rightly count this article among those that are new and recent. And, to begin with, Ambrose, De Spiritu Sancto III.12, first says about the angels that they worship not only the divinity of Christ but also “his footstool,” which he understands of the mystery of the Incarnation, and he interprets footstool as “that earth which the Lord Jesus took up in his assumption of the flesh,” and thus does he expound the words of Psalm 98 :5: “Worship at his footstool,” when he says: “By footstool is understood earth, but by earth the flesh of Christ, which today also in the mysteries we adore, and which the apostles adored, as we said above, in the Lord Jesus, for Christ is not divided but one.” Where he openly speaks of the perfect adoration of worship, and he makes this adoration of him lying hid in sacramental appearances equivalent to the adoration of Christ existing in his proper appearance. And in the same way are the aforesaid words of Psalm 98  expounded by Augustine on that place, when he moves the same question, in what way we are commanded to adore the footstool of God, which is said to be earth [stone] in Matthew 1:3, and he replies: “Being tossed about I turn myself to Christ.” And later: “For from the earth he took earth, for flesh is from the earth, and from the flesh of Mary he took flesh, and because in this flesh he walked here, and gave his very flesh to us to eat for salvation; but no one eats that flesh unless he has first adored; the discovery is made of how such a footstool of God is adored, and how we do not sin in adoring but sin in not adoring.” Which I would that the King of England would attentively read and consider. In like manner does Augustine, in Contio 1 on Psalm 21 , understandabout this sacrament the words, v.29: “And they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship,” which he expounds in the same way in epist.120 ch. 7, and in epist.118 ch. 3, when, comparing him who comes frequently to the Eucharist with him who for reverence’ sake abstains, he says: “Let each do what according to his faith he piously believes should be done; for neither of them dishonors the body and blood of the Lord, if they contend earnestly to honor the most salutary sacrament.”
4. In addition, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 5 ‘mystagogica’, where he generally describes the rite of the liturgy, he first teaches, when he treats of communion, with how much reverence the body of the Lord is to be received, and next, after communion of the body of Christ, he says: “Come also to the cup of his blood, not extending your hand, but bowing forward by way of adoration and veneration.” Many things does Chrysostom pass on in Homilia 24 on 1 Corinthians, especially at the end, where he says: “This body was also revered, when lying in the manger, by the Magi, and adored by them with great fear and trembling; let us, then, citizens of heaven, imitate even the barbarians.” And later: “Not only do you see this body as they did, but you know his virtue and dispensation;” later still: “Let us therefore stir up ourselves, and let us fear, and let us show a reverence greater by far than those barbarians.” Where also is to be considered the equivalence between the adoration of the visible Christ in his proper appearance and in the sacrament. In addition, Homilia 3, De Incomprehensibili Dei Natura, near the end: “The angels too,” he says, “bow the knee to the Lord in this sacrament, interceding for men and saying: ‘for them we supplicate for whom you lavished your blood, for them we pray for whom you sacrificed this body.” He also adds there that, “the deacon in the Mass is wont at the time of the consecration to bring the ‘energoumenoi’,” whom he calls the ‘afflicted’, that is by the demon, “and he commands them,” he says, “to bow their head.” Gregory of Nazianzen can also be looked at, Orat. 11 ‘De Sancta Gorgonia,’ and Origen, Homilia 6 on Joshua, and Eusebius of Emesa, Homilia 5 on Easter, Theodoret, Dialogus 2 & 3, and John Climacus, who in Gradus 23, Dominum, says, “receiving the heavenly thing I adore;” and Damascene, De Fide IV.13. Nor does the king adduce anything against this truth, nor could anything, I am easily able to conjecture, be brought against it.
5. From which foundation that is overthrown, without any trouble indeed, which the king adduces on this point about the elevation of the Eucharist, for the sake of adoration, after the consecration. For this cannot be reprehended as bad, just as not as new either; the first point is plain from what has been said, that if it is thought holy to adore the Eucharist, to bring it forward and display it to the people for adoration cannot be bad; therefore to elevate the same sacrament for the same end cannot be reprehensible but is rather very laudable. For what in the substance of that act or in its mode can be thought of as worthy of blame? But that the custom is not new is clear from Dionysius 3 ch. De Ecclesiast. Hierarch. p. 3, where he says about the consecrating priest: “And thus he consummates the most reverend mysteries, and in signs holily displayed he exposes it to the eyes,” and Basil, De Spiritu Sancto ch. 27, places this among the apostolic traditions, although he calls it, not elevation, but “display of the divine body and of the holy cup.”
6. And although the thing not be so old, nothing prevents it being received with all faith and reverence once the Church approves it. And therefore rightly did the Council of Vienne condemn, among other errors of the Beguardi and Beguinae, this error “that they ought not to rise at the elevation of the body of Jesus Christ nor do reverence to the same.” Which, however, they asserted not of all the faithful but of certain very perfect ones, because they said it was a mark of imperfection to descend from the highest contemplation to the ministry of the Eucharist, which error was a ridiculous mockery by demons. And for that reason too it is a very laudable custom of the Church that, at the time when the body of the Lord is elevated, the bell is rung, whereby those standing around are stirred up to adore the Lord. Nor likewise is this so new but that it was approved more than four hundred years ago by Gregory IX, on the evidence of Nauclerus, Generat. 42. And Ivo of Chartres more than five hundred years ago gave thanks to the queen of the English for the bells which she had donated as a gift to the church of Chartres, indicating that they were wont to be rung at the time of the consecration. Customs of this sort, then, since they are ordered to the best end and contain in them nothing improper or unfitting to the divine cult, are, whether they possess little or much antiquity, to be held as altogether laudable.
7. Now hence there is response also to the third article noted by the king, namely about the usage of bearing round the divine sacrament in supplications, which Protestants are wont to condemn as superstitious, because new and invented by human ingenuity and introduced for the cult of the Eucharist. To which we will briefly reply confessing, to begin with, that it is not a very old custom, although neither is it altogether very recent; since it was introduced more than three hundred and fifty years ago by the authority of the Supreme Pontiffs Urban IV and Clement V along with the General Council of Vienne, as is contained in Clement’s single De Reliquis et Venerat. Sanctorum. And it was by universal consent of the whole Church and with marvelous acclamation and profit immediately taken up, and was confirmed and has increased day by day. Which that it was done not without the special providence and thoroughly divine approval of the Holy Spirit can be doubted by no one who has given faith to the promises of Christ, whereby he promised that he and the Holy Spirit would be present as perpetual governor and protector of his Church. Next, in this point too has place the reason given, that an institution of this sort, and the solemn bearing round of the Eucharist, has the best end, and in the action itself there is no shadow of superstition, but rather great utility and very great aptness for the end proposed to it. For the end of that solemnity is to excite, by remembrance of so great a benefit, the Christian people to the giving of thanks, and to move them to perceive more richly the grace and fruit of so great a sacrament, as the aforesaid Pontiffs in the exordium and discussion of that chapter with the greatest piety made plain. But the action is of itself indifferent, hence, when done for a good end and with due faith and reverence, it becomes very honorable and religious, as we read in figure about the bearing round of the Ark in Numbers 14 and especially in 2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6, and 1 Chronicles 15.
8. What, then, the adversaries find fault with in this solemn rite I know not. Perhaps they will say that the Church could not introduce a new rite of this sort. But this is asserted by them without Scripture, without reason, without any foundation at all, nay contrary to Scripture and reason. For Scripture has never prohibited this; nay everywhere it signifies that things which pertain to the cult, to the ceremonies, and to the rites of this sacrament have been committed to the providence and disposition of the Church, according to that verse of 1 Corinthians 11:34: “And the rest will I set in order when I come.” Next, in the Old Law there was a power of instituting some new feast, as is clear from 2 Maccabees 4 and Esther and Judith last chapter; and accordingly does this power much more exist in the Church, and thus the Church has from the beginning been accustomed to institute feast days for praising God in his saints; therefore, with greater reason it could institute a special day in honor of the Saint of saints and in remembrance of so great a benefit, as Clement V above virtually argued. Then, the natural condition of human nature requires variation and change in these things, hence it is incredible that Christ left his Church, congregated from men, without power of this sort.
9. At the beginning, then, of the nascent Church this celebration could not only not be necessary but also not even useful, because Christians, living among infidels and subject to them, could not without danger honor this sacrament with so public and solemn a rite. But afterwards, although it could have been done, yet for a long time this sort of solemnity was not judged necessary, because this mystery was with pure and sincere faith held by all those who professed Christ, and every day, or at least on individual Sundays and feast days the remembrance of it was recalled with great devotion and fruit. But afterwards, when advancing errors against the truth of this sacrament were multiplied, and the charity too and devotion of the faithful seemed to be abating, very prudently indeed was a solemnity of the sort instituted, so as to confirm the minds of the faithful more in the faith of so great a sacrament, and to excite them to more ardent gratitude and love. Wherefore rightly did the Council of Trent pronounce an anathema on those who asserted that this sacrament was not to be adored, and who altogether denied that it was to be venerated in a special festive celebration and solemnly borne around in supplications. For in all these things either there was supposition of error in opposition to the contrary truth of the presence of Christ in this sacrament, or at any rate other errors were included not less in opposition to the true faith, as that the Universal Church could err in morals, or could not command save what was found commanded in Scripture, or, which follows therefrom, that all the ceremonies instituted by the Church are superstitious, and the like things, which have in other places been sufficiently refuted, and which will, in what follows, rather often arise to be confronted.
ON THE COMMUNION OF THE LAITY UNDER THE APPERANCE OF BREAD ALONE
1. The king wrongly finds fault with the communion of the laity under one kind. Objection of the heretics. 2. Solution. In the use of the Eucharist under one kind two things are to be considered. To the sacrificing priest communion under one kind is not permitted. 3. Communion in the appearances of bread alone was in use from the beginning of the Church. Serapio as an old man received the Eucharist in the appearances of bread alone. 4. Ambrose similarly. 5. To take the Eucharist home with them was once permitted to the faithful. 6. This mode of communicating was not forbidden by Christ. 7. Christ the Lord communicates the whole effect of the sacrament under any kind. 8. There is no precept given about communicating under both kinds. Evasion of heretics. The evasion is rejected and the true sense of the precept about performing the Eucharist is stated. 9. A place in Luke 22 is brought forward as objection. It is explained. 10. A place in John 6 is brought forward as objection. It is explained. 11. The exposition handed down is confirmed. 12 - 13. The same is confirmed from the Fathers. 14 - 15. The same sense is proved by the custom of the Church. 16 - 17. The very ancient custom of the infirm communicating under the appearances of bread has also the same sense. 18. To a sick person, unable to swallow, a host dipped in unconsecrated wine was administered. 19. To receive in sacrifice, or from superstition, the body without the blood is forbidden. 20. The established truth is confirmed by reason.
HEN the king in his fourth article accuses the Catholic Church of novelty in that it presents the Eucharist to the laity in the appearances only of bread, he seems to be stuck in the same rut; for he relies on the fact that in its usage and rites the Church cannot add or subtract anything, which taken universally and without limitation has been shown by us to be contrary to reason and Scripture. For although the Church is not able to change things which are of the substance of the sacraments and were instituted by Christ, nevertheless things which pertain to the accidentals of the rite and to the manners of the users are capable of variation and can be changed by the authority of the Church according to the opportunity of times. But in the present article the adversaries are wont to say and urge that this change was contrary to Christ’s institution and precept. For Christ prescribed to all the reception of both kinds in the words of John 6:53: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” That these words were thus understood at the beginning of the Church seems to be proved by the ancient usage of all the faithful communicating. Add too that the mutilating of the sacrament seems to be contrary to its institution, and hence, on the supposition of such institution, to be intrinsically evil.
2. But in these objections too the heretics do not leave behind the proud presumption whereby they prefer their own judgment to the authority of the Catholic Church, and they dare to say that, in expounding the true sense of Scripture and of Christ, it can err, nay has in fact erred. Because, therefore, they must, in this article, be chiefly proved wrong from the contrary foundation, and because that was sufficiently confirmed above, therefore we will, for the present, give satisfaction to the said objections in brief, and we will at the same time show that the custom of the Church is neither new nor foreign to the words of Christ. But, so that we may proceed more clearly, two things in the Church’s usage of one kind only must be distinguished. One is whether it is licit sometimes to eat the body separately from the use of the chalice, or whether this is always and, as it were, intrinsically bad; the other is whether it is licit to deprive the faithful of the use of the chalice for the whole of their life, because, although we posit that it is possible sometimes licitly to receive one kind without the other, nevertheless a question can remain whether it is licit never to receive both, for it might sometimes, or in the course of one’s life, be necessary to receive both even if it is sometimes licit to receive one kind only. Next, one must distinguish between the offering of the Eucharist as it is a sacrifice, and participation in it as it is a sacrament. For, as often as this sacrament is performed, a sacrifice is offered to God, as the Catholic Church teaches (whatever heretics think, which is not now to be treated of), and because this unbloody sacrifice is an image of the bloody sacrifice offered on the cross, which Christ the Lord wished to be represented by the consecration of each kind being done separately, therefore the Church never permits either the sacrament to be performed in one kind only or the sacrificing priest to consume in one kind only. And thus, about the mutilation of the sacrifice, or of the priestly or sacrificial communion (so to express the thing), there is no question, for we confess that it is never licit; and it is probable, although not de fide certain, that it is forbidden by divine right, or perhaps that, on the supposition of the institution, it is intrinsically evil. But these things we leave to the theologians; for we are only dealing now with lay communion or participation in the sacrament outside the sacrifice.
3. On the usage then of communicating in the appearances of bread alone from what has already been consecrated, we say, to begin with, that it is neither evil in itself nor was it ever forbidden in the Church, nay neither is it new but was from the beginning of the Church in use therein. And since from this usage the rest is sufficiently proved, and sine the king most reprehends novelty of this sort, we will make chiefly the usage clear. First, from the ancient usage of reserving the Eucharist under the appearances of bread alone and of ministering it to the infirm, and of carrying it home or on a journey, that is, for consumption at an opportune and necessary time. Now we collect this custom first from what Eusebius, bk.6 Histor. ch.36, narrates from Dionysius of Alexandria about the old man Serapio, who, since he had done penance, having being deprived a long time of communion on the ground he had sacrificed to idols, being finally on the point of death, bade a priest to be called to him; but since the priest, being troubled too by sickness, could not come to Serapio, “he gave a very small particle of the Eucharist to a messenger, bidding him to put it moistened into the old man’s mouth,” which, when it was done, the old man departed happily from among the living. From which history is clearly bequeathed that the particle was of consecrated bread, and was reserved for time of necessity, and was given without wine or blood in place of full communion, and that communion had been waited for not without miracle or singular grace from Godby the holy old man, and it was accordingly pleasing to God, as is indeed proved by the holy death of the old man immediately following.
4. Not dissimilar is what Paulinus writes about Ambrose conducting his soul at the end of his life, that Honoratus, a priest of the church of Vercelli, heard, while lying on his bed, a voice three times saying to him: “‘Arise, hurry, because he is soon going to depart.’ Who, going down (Paulinus says), offered to the saint the body of the Lord, which, when he received, he gave up the spirit, carrying a good viaticum away with him.” Where there is no mention of blood. Besides, the same custom of the Church is shown by a history that the same Ambrose reports of his brother Satyrus, in his funeral oration for him, namely, that he carried with him from the shipthe body of Lord, by whose virtue he was saved from shipwreck, as we have already twice touched on above. Again Gregory of Tours, in De Sancta Patrum Vita ch. 3, reports of the bishop St. Gallus, since he had received a revelation of his approaching death and that he would depart after three days [or: after the Triduum (of Easter)], “called the people together, and having broken bread for them all, shared out communion with holy and pious will.” This is also confirmed by the ancient custom of conserving the Eucharist for the infirm, which is taken from the second Council of Tours under Pope John III, celebrated in the year 570, and from the Council of Macon a little later under Pelagius IV canon 6, and from Bede, Histor. Anglor. IV.24. For it is not likely that the Eucharist was ever reserved under the appearances of wine, since it would easily in a brief time turn sour and be corrupted; it was reserved, then, only in the appearances of bread, as is done even now.
5. There was also another ancient custom whereby it was free for the body of the Lord (which men received in their hands, women in clean linen cloths, from Augustine, Sermo 252 De Tempore) either to be consumed by the faithful in Church or to be taken home with them for private communion at an opportune time; which communion happened without doubt in the appearances of bread alone. And thus is it taken from Tertullian, Ad Uxorem II.5, where he says: “Let not your husband know what you taste in secret before all food; and if he knows, he believes it not to be the bread that is so called.” And in the same sense can be understood the words of the same, in De Orat. final chapter: “Having received the body of the Lord and having reserved it, each is saved, both participation in the sacrifice and execution of the office;” although these words might best be understood of the prior reservation for the infirm. The said custom is also collected from the words of Cyprian, De Lapsis not far from the end, where he relates about a certain woman, “since she tried with unworthy hands to open her pyx, wherein was the holy thing of the Lord, she was frightened off from daring to touch it by fire flaring up therefrom;” which he reports among miracles of the Eucharist. That holy thing, then, closed up in her private pyx was nothing other than the body of the Lord carried to her own home according to the aforesaid custom, which he also mentions in his book De Lapsis when he says: “Sent forth and still bearing, as was his wont, the Eucharist with him.” Which custom seems to have lasted only in the first five hundred years. For in the Council of Saragossa, in the year 518, ch.3, he is anathematized who is proved “not to have consumed the received grace of the Eucharist in Church.”
6. It is manifest, then, that the usage of communicating only in the appearances of bread was very ancient in the Church; therefore it cannot be blamed as a novelty by the King of England, since it is proved to have existed in the first five centuries. And for the same reason it cannot be blamed because of abuse or some disorder, since even the heretics themselves confess that in those former centuries the customs of the Church were pure and in agreement with the word of God. Now the theological and Catholic reason is that Christ the Lord never forbade the taking of one kind without the other, nor is it perverse by force of institution and from mere consideration of the nature of the thing. The first part we sufficiently prove against adversaries by seeking from them a place of Scripture where the prohibition is written down. For since they cannot show it, they are sufficiently refuted in their own principles that no such prohibition was specially laid down by Christ. But we add that it cannot be had even from the tradition of the Church, but rather the opposite, as we will see. Nay, if the opinion is true of those who say that Christ after his resurrection gave consecrated bread to the two disciples, Luke 24, we have thence by the example of Christ that this sort of communion in one kind is approved; and certainly Augustine plainly supposes it, De Consensu Evangelistarum III.25, and Sermo 140 De Tempore, and Bede and Theophylact on that place.
7. But the second part, besides its being sufficiently approved by the authority of the Church, can also be shown from the principles of the faith, because Christ the Lord, who is as if the substance of this sacrament, exists whole under the individual appearances, and is able to give life to the receiver under each of them even when separately received; therefore the taking of the bread alone suffices for receiving Christ, and for receiving the effect of the sacrament, and for the sacramental signification which is found in the usage of the Church, insofar as it is a sacrament. For in whatever way this sacrament is taken, it always signifies a perfect banquet sufficient for restoration of the soul because of the excellence of the heavenly bread contained and signified under the appearances of earthly bread. Just as this sacrament too, as it is the bread of angels, was sufficiently signified by the manna or by the shew-bread without the addition of drink or wine, although, when it was prefigured under the idea of sacrifice and oblation, both appearances intervened, as in the oblation of Melchizedek when he offered bread and wine.
8. What remains is that we connect together, at least cursorily, some things about the proposed second part, namely about the continual removal or separation of the non-consecrating faithful from the use of the chalice. On this point we say briefly that Christ never prescribed to the pastors of the Church that they should at any time communicate their subjects under both appearances, nor did he establish this sort of communion for the faithful themselves under necessity of law or salvation. We prove the first part, to begin with, because such a precept is not found written down, for this is enough for the adversaries, as I have already said. Perhaps they will say that this precept was given by Christ to the pastors of the Church when he said to his apostles on the night of the Supper: “Do this in remembrance of me.” By which words he commanded them to do what he himself had done; but he himself “took, blessed” and “gave” both kinds to them as they reclined; therefore he wished and prescribed the same to be done by his ministers. But, to begin with, since Protestants do not wish, against the universal sense of the Church, either the substantial rite of this sacrament nor the offering of sacrifice to be proved by these words, assuredly they can by no likely reason collect thence a precept of communicating under both kinds; especially because there is not even contained in those words a precept of communicating as often as one assists at the sacrifice of the Mass, as we showed elsewhere, and as we will touch on below from the ancient Councils. Therefore, by those words Christ did not prescribe that deed to be imitated as to all the circumstances which he then observed according to the opportunity of time and occasion, otherwise it would be necessary to communicate always at night and after supper, nay after the washing of feet too. Again it would be necessary by divine right to carry it out with unleavened bread, as Christ did. Again, as often as the sacrament is carried out, it would necessarily have to be bestowed to others, and for the same reason the priest would have to distribute all the bread which he had consecrated, and it would have to be received from that priest alone who carried out the sacred act, and as soon as he had finished the consecration, and then it would be necessary to distribute it before the consecration of the chalice; for thus did Christ the Lord do; but all these things are incredible and against the abiding custom of the Church. Therefore, only the substantial rite of this sacrifice and sacrament is prescribed in those words, as the Council of Trent taught, session 22, ch. 1; for the rest, which is accidental, the Lord committed to the disposition of the Church, as I said already, and as Augustine, epist. 118, affirmed.
9. But there are not lacking among the adversaries those who would collect this precept from other words of Christ the Lord in Luke 22 [Matthew 26:27]: “Drink ye all of it,” which they plead are understood not only of those who were then present but also of all the future faithful; and they say that not without mystery and as it were prophetic spirit was that word added in the distribution of the blood rather than of the body, so as to warn in advance and prohibit the future custom in the Roman Church of excluding the faithful from participation in the chalice. But this weighty thinking is frivolous; for although we concede that the words comprehend men in the future, they ought in no way to be understood about all the faithful, but at most about all priests, because only the apostles were there, who were then ordained priests, as the Council of Trent sufficiently indicated, session 22, ch.1 and canon 2, saying that Christ consecrated the apostles priests at the Supper; saying to them, and to their successors in them, “Do this &c.,” where, although he does not expressly make the consecration exclusive, yet by naming only the apostles he sufficiently signified that they alone were there present at it. And the same is collected from Matthew 26 and John 13 and the other evangelists. For he names only the disciples, and Matthew expressly added the number twelve (26.20), and those whom he names in particular were all the apostles. And next, it is the common sense of the Church that Christ washed the feet, not of all the disciples, but only of the twelve apostles; therefore he only had them present at the Supper, and to them alone he said: “Do this;” therefore only to them did he say: “Drink ye all of it.” Next, it is silly to refer the word ‘all’ to the future faithful, since Christ spoke to those present alone, and about the chalice alone, which he offered to them, which could not be divided except among those present. And thus did Mark expound that what Christ prescribed was immediately there fulfilled, when he says, 14:23: “and they all drank of it.” Neither is there in that word or sign any mystery found, but because Christ first broke the bread and divided it into twelve pieces and handed his bread to each one, it was not necessary to say: “Take ye all and eat;” but because he offered one chalice for them all to drink of, therefore he expressed that fact in his words. Which is expressed in other words, and without that distributive, by Luke when he says, 22:17: “Take this, and divide it among yourselves;” where the word ‘yourselves’ designates only those present and not people in the future.
10. Now the second part, about the necessity imposed on the faithful of communicating at some point under both kinds, is wont especially to be founded on the words of Christ in John 6:53: “Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” But this place cannot be urged by Calvinists, since they themselves commonly deny that Christ the Lord was in the whole of that chapter of John speaking of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Next, many Catholics too have denied that the words are to be understood of the sacramental eating of the body and blood of the Lord, whose opinion the Church has not hitherto condemned, nor has it declared the sure sense of those words, but has only excluded the one thing as false that heretics now approve. Hence the Council of Trent, session 21, ch. 2, said that, “from the speech of the Lord is not collected that communion under both kinds was prescribed by the Lord, in whatever way it be according to the various interpretations of the holy Fathers and doctors understood.” But the more probable exposition seems to be that there indeed is imposed on the faithful the necessity of communion in Christ in the Eucharist, but that there is no obligation imposed on the faithful all and singly of communion in both kinds, but only of receiving the flesh and blood of Christ, whether it be taken in one act or in many. Because the whole necessity is placed on union with Christ through reception of this sacrament, which suffices for salvation and life; but for life the eating of the whole Christ suffices, as we will confirm immediately by eliciting it from his words. Just as belief in Christ is sufficient for salvation, and that is to believe his flesh and his blood, although these not be believed in individual or distinct acts, so, because the whole Christ is contained under the individual appearances, the reception of the Eucharistic bread alone suffices for salvation, because in it the whole Christ is received, and (so to say) his blood is in very fact drunk, though it not be received by way of drink. Hence it happens that he wholly fulfills the precept who receives the body of the Lord; and, contrariwise, it follows that he alone violates the precept, and incurs the threat of Christ, who abstains from the body and blood of the Lord, as is rightly expounded by Fulbert of Chartres, epist.1 to Deodatus at the end. And Christ’s words do admirably contain this sense, such that the negation included in the word ‘except’ falls on the whole of the following sentence: ‘if ye do not eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.’ And thus does Ambrose read it, bk. De Commun. Essentia Patris &c.: “He who does not eat my flesh or drink my blood will not have eternal life.” And in the same sense does Augustine expound it, tract. 26 on John, whose words I will relate a little later.
11. By those words, then, the Lord wished only to show how necessary it was for the faithful to receive the very Christ into themselves through this sacrament. But he wanted distinctly to explain the receiving of his body and blood, not because it was necessary to receiving them in distinct acts, but either so as distinctly to put this sacrament forward, or to signify his passion, in whose remembrance this Sacrament is always to be celebrated, or because in the future it would be necessary in the Church for his flesh and blood to be received under diverse appearances, although this necessity was not to be imposed on all but on those who do the sacrifice. But that this intention of Christ the Lord in the words mentioned is the one we said is proved from the mind of the Council of Trent in this way. For Christ the Lord himself said that the eating of the heavenly bread suffices for salvation; therefore he did not establish as necessary the receiving of wine in its proper kind and as distinct from the receiving of the bread. The consequence is evident because one kind cannot be sufficient if both are necessary. But the assumption is clear from many words of Christ the Lord in John 6, namely, v. 50: “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” And later, v. 51: “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” And later, after the aforesaid words in which he taught the necessity of flesh and blood, he adds, v. 56: “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” Where the word ‘and’ is indeed taken as copulative, not however conjunctively but disjunctively (as the dialecticians say), according to the property of the word and the requirements of the matter, and according also to the common usage of Scripture. For when it is said in Exodus 2, according to the Hebrew reading, v. 15: “He that smitteth his father and his mother shall be surely put to death,” the sense is not conjunctive, that whoever kills both parents together, but disjunctive, that as well he who kills his father as he who kills his mother shall die. Thus, therefore, in the present case the sense of the said words of Christ is: “He that eateth my flesh dwelleth in me and I in him, and he who drinks my blood dwelleth in me and I in him;” therefore the receiving of either kind suffices for salvation. And the reason is indicated by Christ in the following words, v.57: “he that eateth me, even he shall live by me;” as if he were to say, whether someone eats my flesh or whether he drinks my blood, he receives me whole, and therefore because of me he lives. Hence again he subjoins, v. 58: “he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”
12. In addition, the ancient Fathers understood there to be no other precept under those words than that we should receive Christ sacramentally and spiritually; nor do they put the force on his being received under one or both kinds but only on our being united to him by eating or receiving him. Thus does Cyril of Alexandria, Book IV on John 14, render the reasoning of those words in these words: “Nor can they be sharers in faith along with sanctification in blessed life who have not received Jesus through mystical benediction.” And later: “Because the body of Christ is able to make alive and to renew what is corrupt with its touch alone, how may we not live who taste and eat that flesh? For those who share in him he will altogether remake to his immortality.” Where the word of exclusion placed in the antecedent is to be noted; for by the force of the inference its sense is carried over also to the consequent. The same too in Chrysostom, Homilia 46 on John, where he thinks that by these words, as well as by the following ones, Christ wanted to teach nothing other than that what others thought impossible was necessary, and to persuade them that he was the true food which saves the soul: “So that they might not think he was speaking obscurely in parables but might know that it was altogether necessary for them to eat his body.” And Theophylact has almost the same on that place.
13. In addition, Augustine, tractat. 26 on John, expounds the aforesaid words of Christ, “Except ye eat &.” by those that follow, v. 54, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life,” when he says: “This life he then does not have who does not eat the bread nor drink the blood.” And later: “He who does not eat his flesh and drink his blood does not have life in himself.” He is only deprived of life then if he receive neither kind; but, contrariwise, both “he who eats his flesh and he who drinks his blood has life,” as the same saint adds. And tract. 27 he says generally that Christ gave his body to eat on account of eternal life, and “the sign,” he says, “that someone eats and drinks is this, if he remains and is remained in, if he abides and is abided in.” But Christ remains in him who eats only the bread and he in Christ, as Christ himself testified; therefore, on the testimony of Augustine, he eats and drinks sufficiently because he receives the whole Christ and is perfectly restored, which is most of all signified by that distinction of words, as is taken from the same Augustine, Sermo 1 De Verbis Apostoli, and from Eusebius of Nicea, Homilia 5 ‘De Paschate’, and Cyprian, in Sermo De Coena Domini, who says among other things: “Drink and food pertain to the same idea: just as by these the corporeal substance is nourished and lives and is preserved safe, so is the life of the spirit nourished by this proper food, &c.”
14. Nor is the ancient custom of the Church foreign to this sense of the words of Christ, but rather confirms it. For although it is true that in the primitive Church the use of both kinds was frequent and common to the faithful, nevertheless it is certain too that the other use of eating in one kind was begun from that time. For what Luke reports in Acts 2:46 about the use of the breaking of bread is referred by many to communion under one kind. And indeed from the force of the words nothing else can be collected. Hence, although it is certain that all the faithful then communicated in the breaking of bread, it is not certain, nor can it be proved, that all communicated under the appearances of wine; nay, it is more likely that not all were compelled to this. For (to keep silent about the rest for the present) those who were converted to the Faith from among the Nazareans were not then prohibited from observing the legal prescriptions; therefore it is not likely that they were compelled to receive the chalice, since, by their special profession, they abstained from wine. The same can also be thought about the many abstinent, who either never used wine or had a horror of it. Although, therefore, the use of the chalice was then in use, that it was of necessity imposed on all, either always or sometimes, cannot be shown by any sufficient testimony nor by any sufficient conjecture. Nay rather, that the use of the bread alone was general and common to all is indicated by the aforesaid words of Luke and confirmed by those of Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:17: “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
15. And likewise the ancient Fathers, although they sometimes make mention of the use of both kinds, more often speak of the eating of the body of Christ alone, because that use was more general and was judged sufficient. As is clear from Ignatius, epist. 13 to the Ephesians, where he first says: “Take care to congregate frequently for the Eucharist, and the glory of God.” And at the end he subjoins: “Obedient to the bishop and priest, breaking one bread with unbroken mind, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote to death, procuring life in God through Jesus Christ, the remedy that purges vices and repels all evils.” The same is taken from Jerome, epist. 50 to Pammachius, which is an apology for his Books Contra Jovinianum, near the end: “Let each prove himself, and thus come to the body of Christ, not because communion put off for one or two days makes one a holier Christian, as because today I was not worthy I will be worthy tomorrow or the day after, but because, while I grieve that I did not communicate in the body of Christ, I may abstain a little from the embrace of my wife, so that I may put love of Christ before love of spouse.” And Book II Contra Jovinianum: “As if we too do not equally receive the body of Christ.” Like things are read in his dialogue Contra Luciferianos. Again in Augustine epist.180 to Honoratus, where he says that the devil often persuaded apostasy on the faithful “who were absent from the daily ministry of the Lord’s body.” Hence later he exhorts the pastors of the Church with these words: “Let us more fear that the members of Christ, deprived of spiritual nourishment, be killed than that the members of our body, crushed by enemy assault, be tortured.” Finally the same is signified by Tertullian, De Orat. last chapter, where he says: “One’s station is to be quitted after receiving the body of the Lord.” And later: “After the body of the Lord is received, and reserved.” Which words are clearer about the body alone, because the blood under the appearances of wine could never be suitably reserved.
16. Hence this custom is very greatly confirmed from the communion which was always handed to the infirm by way of viaticum. For if at any time the Eucharist is necessary by divine right, it is most of all so at the moment of death, as is the common opinion, very agreeable to reason, of theologians, because affirmative precepts then most strongly oblige when necessity is also most urgent, and when the time suitable for fulfilling the precept is coming to an end. But at that moment the Church was not accustomed to give both kinds but only the body of the Lord; it is a sign then that the Church always thought that communion under one kind was sufficient for salvation. For that the custom was very ancient is collected from Ambrose, from Gregory of Tours, and from the others adduced on the preceding point, and more clearly so from the Council of Nicea, ch. 12 point 14, otherwise chs. 13 and 18, for in chs. 12 and 13 it is said about those who are departing the body: “The rule of the ancient law will be observed even now, that they not be cheated of the final and necessary viaticum of their life.” But in ch.14 a deacon is prohibited “from handing the body of the Lord to others,” and there is added: “But if there be no bishop or priest in attendance, let the deacons proffer it, and let them eat.” And like words are in the Gelasius’ epist.6 to the bishops of Lucania: “in the distribution of the sacred body he does not, in the presence of a bishop or a priest, have the right of exercise,” that is, a deacon does not. In which places mention is not without cause made of the body alone of the Lord, because a deacon, since he cannot consecrate, cannot give the Eucharist except from preconsecrated and reserved elements, but the body of Christ was only reserved under the appearances of bread. And the like, as reported by Gratian in ch. ‘Pervenit’ De Consecratione dist. 2, is the fact that in the Council of Rheims ch. 2 priests are reprehended “who hand over to a layman or a woman the sacred body of the Lord for carrying off to the infirm.” Where too there is mention of the body alone, because it had to be reserved from a consecration done before, and only the body was reserved. Since, therefore, this sacrament was reserved chiefly as viaticum for the infirm, it was always judged sufficient to be given as viaticum under the appearances of bread. Therefore it was also judged sufficient for fulfilling the divine precept about communion in this Sacrament.
17. On which point can be noted a history reported by Bede, Anglicanae Historiae IV.14, about a certain monk to whom, when ill, Peter and Paul appeared and revealed to him his approaching death. “But first,” they said, “you must wait until the Masses are celebrated and thus, when you have received the viaticum of the body and blood of the Lord, you may be raised up, loosed from illness and death together, to eternal joys in heaven.” And yet later there is added about the prelate of the monastery, “He ordered Masses to be said and all to communicate in the accustomed way, and at the same time a particle from the same sacrifice of the Lord’s oblation to be carried off to the sick boy.” Where I weigh the word ‘particle’, which signifies only some small part of consecrated bread, and the fact that it was given for viaticum of the Lord’s body and blood, because through it the whole sacrifice was participated, and in it each kind was contained; I weigh also that he says that all communicated in the accustomed way. But the same Bede reports, in Book II of the same history ch. 5, that the custom in England then was “to give the Eucharist to the people under the appearances of bread which, when the barbarians saw, they called it shining bread,” and they begged it from the priest, who replied to them: “If you wish to be washed in the saving font, you can be sharers in the holy bread.”
18. On behalf of the same custom can also be noted a decree of the second Council of Toledok ch. 11, where a canon of the first Council of Toledo is referred to, which says: “That if anyone not take the Eucharist received from the Priest let him be expelled as sacrilegious.” Which canon the later Council explains must be understood if someone does it by will and not if it happen by impediment of infirmity. For many of the infirm, as is said there, reject the Eucharist offered to them, not from disbelief, but because “apart from the drinking of the Lord’s cup they cannot swallow down the Eucharist handed to them.” In which words is sufficiently indicated that the ordinary custom was of giving the infirm the Eucharist without drinking from the cup, and a second canon of the older Council seems to understand it in the same sense. But some collect thence that to the infirm who could not swallow the host viaticum was to be given in the appearances of wine alone; but that it is indeed not repugnant to divine right is however not there said. It might be more collected from the fourth Council of Carthage, ch. 76, where about the infirm in a like case it is said: “If the dying man has constant belief, let the Eucharist be infused in his mouth;” for infusion is of something liquid. But nevertheless it could be understood of a particle of the host which, when placed in a cup with unconsecrated wine, can properly be said to be infused in the mouth of the infirm. And, if one pays attention to the present custom of the Church, such an infirm person should receive communion rather in this last way than under the appearances of consecrated wine, because it both has less of danger and is more in accord with the custom of the Church; for the use of the cup outside the sacrifice is generally forbidden, and there is no necessity that compels to the use of equity, since the other mode of communicating, which is not per se forbidden, is sufficient. For although, in the third Council of Braga, ch.1, that mode of communicating seems to be prohibited, as the Gloss seems to have understood, on ch. Is qui 26 q. 6, because it is said there that “intincted Eucharist” is not to be given to the people; nevertheless that prohibition is either not extended to a case of necessity or (which I consider truer) is not laid down in that sense but is against certain people “who were handing intincted Eucharist to the people as complement to communion.” For they were immersing it in consecrated wine, or they were moistening the Eucharist and giving it as complement to communion, which was superstitious because communion is sufficiently complete in the appearances of bread alone administered without any intinction, and when both kinds were to be received, as they sometimes could be, they were administered separately, in the same way that Christ the Lord offered them.
19. Nor is it an obstacle to this custom that sometimes the taking of the body without the taking of wine was prohibited, as Gratian reports from Pope Gelasius on ch. Comperimus, De Consecrat. dist. 2, which others attribute to Leo; but I find in neither of them the epistle to Maioricus and John from which it is cited. But whosever was the prohibition, it is not an obstacle, either because it is referred to the sacrificing priests, as there Gratian along with the Gloss intended and which some of the scholastics follow, for such a prohibition was laid down in this way in the 12th Council of Toledo ch.5, or (which is more in agreement with the text and with history) what was prohibited there was only doing it from superstition, as is said in the text, “since they learn the obligation from some superstition or other,” that is, judging the taking of wine not to be licit. Which seems to have been the error of the Manicheans; for as Pope Leo relates in Sermo 4 Quadragesima ch. 5, since they felt that in Christ there was no true flesh, so as to hide their infidelity, they did not dare to be present at our mysteries. “But,” he says, “in order more safely to escape detection, they moderate themselves in the communion of the sacraments in this way: they receive the body of Christ with unworthy mouth but the blood of our redemption they altogether refuse to drink.” To abstain from the cup in this spirit and error, then, was not only prohibited but was always per se evil and sacrilegious. But this same fraud and hypocrisy of those heretics shows that communion in the body without the cup was then usual among the faithful, and that the custom was reckoned holy and religious, otherwise the Manicheans would not have dared to introduce that usage, if it was new, to hide their error. Hence then too the Pontiff might prescribe that the body not be taken without the blood, where it would be necessary to avoid that scandal, for although it is not clear to me that it was done, nevertheless the power was not lacking. And yet therefrom it cannot be collected that Christ prohibited the receiving of one kind without the other, but the inference only is that the Church could prescribe or prohibit something which Christ did not prescribe or prohibit, which is very likely; and from the same principle we conclude that the Church, when occasion of time and general reason demanded it, could have prohibited the use of the cup to the laity, although Christ did not prohibit it but gave it without precept.
20. Hence this truth may, lastly, be made convincing with reasons, whereby it can be shown, in the first place, that it was not fitting for Christ to prescribe and establish under necessity of salvation the use of the cup for the faithful all and singly. Both because the whole Christ was going to be under the individual appearances and can bestow all the necessary and fitting effect of this sacrament to those who receive him under any kind; and also because it could scarcely be done without great disadvantage and danger against the reverence due to this sacrament, which, either because of the multitude of communicants or because of their variety, both in conditions and affections of body as in prudence and caution of soul, or lastly because of the careless of the ministers, could in no way, according to the human condition, be avoided. Next, it might by the contrary reasons be proved that the Church acted most prudently in introducing and approving this custom of the laity communicating under the appearances of bread alone, because there came thence to them no spiritual disadvantage that might pertain to the effect of this sacrament; nay, this mode of communicating might be more useful to the same, both for exercising their faith more perfectly toward this sacrament, namely by seeing with the eyes of faith that Christ was in the whole sacrament and that the same Lord was whole in the individual parts of the sacrament; and also for greater observance and purer worship of the same sacrament, as has been sufficiently explained. For it is not worthwhile to delay over explaining these and other reasons, because we have provided it fully, according to our ability, in our theological commentaries, to which these reasons more belong than to a disputation about the foundations of the faith.
ON PRIVATE MASSES
1. The king abhors private Masses. The mass, even if it is done in secret, is a true sacrifice and of itself a public act. 2. The Mass as to its substance is always a public action. 3. Various ways in which a Mass can be said to be private. First from defect of an assembly of people. 4. A Mass private in this way is altogether irreproachable. 5. No ecclesiastical precept obliges to sacrificing in the presence of many persons. 6. Secondly, a mass is said to be private because only the priest communicates in it. 7. Thirdly a mass is said to be private from circumstances of time and place. These circumstances do not render it illicit. 8. The custom of celebrating in private places is confirmed by miracles. 9. The custom of celebrating mass at any opportune time is confirmed by examples.
COMEto the last point touched on by the king concerning the divine mystery of the Eucharist, about private Masses, whose use he places among novel and recent rites and finds fault therewith. But the words of the king must be noted when he says: “I number among these articles those private Masses, in which the sacrificer assumes the person of the people and of the priest at the same time.” For in those words the king seems to speak about the Mass as about a true sacrifice, otherwise he is wrong to insert the nouns of ‘sacrificer’ and ‘priest’, and to suppose that the priest in the Mass intercedes for the people and so needs to be distinguished from them. For this reason I am in doubt whether, in those words, he is speaking from his own opinion, believing what it supposes about the sacrifice of the Mass, since Luther, Calvin, and other Protestants deny it, or whether instead he only intends to refute Catholics from their own principles. We, however, presuppose the Catholic doctrine about the truth and propriety of this sacrifice and say, to begin with, that the Mass, whether it be done publicly or in secret, is always a true sacrifice, and accordingly that it is never so private that it is not in itself a public action, for it is done by the priest as by a public minister constituted by the authority of Christ and in the name of the Church for things relating to God, so that he may offer sacrifice to God for the whole Christian people. And therefore rightly did the Council of Trent say, session 22 ch. 6, that: “masses, although none communicate in them, must be considered truly common, partly because in them the people communicate spiritually, but partly because they are celebrated by a public minister, not for himself alone, but for all the faithful who pertain to the body of Christ.”
2. According to this Catholic doctrine, then, there is no Mass which (so to explain the thing) is per se and substantially private; for as to the one principally offering, who is Christ, and as to the minister, who is the priest, and as to the thing offered, which is the flesh and blood of Christ, and as to God, to whom the offering is made, and as to the Catholic Church, for which the offering is made, the Mass is common; but these are the things that most pertain to its substance, and can be said to be per se appropriate to it. Some Masses, therefore, can only be called private from the conditions or circumstances which are found in the celebration thereof. But since these circumstances can be multiple, they must be discussed and considered one by one whether in any sense the blame or rather calumny of Protestants against the Catholic Church might have any likely foundation.
3. And first indeed a Mass can be said to be private which is celebrated without an assembly of the people. Which sense is indicated by the king when he affirms that he calls Masses private “in which the sacrificer assumes the person of the people and of the priest at the same time.” But this, if it be carefully considered, can be neither necessary nor strictly true unless it be supposed that the priest is altogether alone when he sacrifices; for if he have ministers, or at least a minister, the latter will assume the person of the people and not the priest alone. But such private Masses, wherein no one ministers to the priest, are not permitted nor have ever been permitted by the Church; for the Church forbids Mass to be said by a priest without a minister. For in the Council of Mainz under Leo III ch. 43 it is said that no priest can rightly perform Mass alone, and thus is it observed by the universal custom of the Church and taught by all Catholic doctors. But this is enough for the priest not to be said to assume alone the person of the people and of the priest at the same time; for the minister, whether on his own or together with the person of the priest, assumes the persons of the people. For since Paul says in Hebrews 5 that the Pontiff [high priest] is created to make offering, as for the people, so also for himself, there is nothing inappropriate in at least the priest himself assuming, together with the minister, the person of the people. Nay rather, if we consider the general idea of sacrifice on its own, no necessity is, from the force of it, collected for any minister or any people standing by; for it is clear that Abel, Abraham, and other patriarchs in the law of nature sometimes offered sacrifice alone without other ministers or assistants, because although the priest was alone he could, in the name of the people, make offering both for himself and for all of them at the same time. Hence, that now someone is required to minister to the priest is by special institution, which seems to be more ecclesiastical than divine, because it is required more on account of accidental ceremonies than the essential rite of consecration.
4. Hence, therefore, it happens that no likely cause can be given for being able to blame a private Mass for this circumstance, that is, which has no one assisting at it besides a single minister, because in such a mode of offering nothing is done either against natural law or against precept or custom of the Church. The first point is clear from what was said, and it is manifest of itself, because neither the common idea of sacrifice nor the special mode or dignity of the Eucharistic sacrifice requires the presence of many, for it can with due reverence, devotion, and completeness of rite be done by a priest along with one minister alone. Again, no precept of Christ can be pointed to, because neither his action on the night of the Supper nor the words which he then spoke to the apostles contain such a precept, as can, by a likeness of reasoning, be collected from what we delivered on the previous point. Again from what Cyprian hands down, epist. 62 to Caecilius towards the end, and Augustine, epist. 118 ch.6, who say that Christ did not prescribe the observance to us, when we perform this mystery, of all the circumstances which he observed, but those which pertain to the substantial rite. Thus, therefore, although he celebrated it in the presence of many, he did not for that reason prescribe it always to be done so. Otherwise at least twelve people assisting would always be necessary, or also no more should be permitted, because Christ did not call all the disciples but only the twelve apostles to the Supper, and for similar reason this sacrifice ought not to be offered in the sight of women but only of men. Next, the multitude of assistants or of the number of them necessary for the performance of this sacrifice cannot be designated; therefore neither was precept given that it should be done absolutely in the presence of many; because it cannot be shown to have been written or handed down more in one way than in another.
5. Now by ecclesiastical precept it can seem to have once been established that Masses not be said except in the presence of at least two witnesses, as is contained in the Council of Nantes ch.30, and others report it from Anacletus, in epist.1, where he says generally about priests: “Let them not sacrifice alone but let there be witnesses with them;” but afterwards more are required among bishops. However, this right either was not generally introduced in the Church by way of rigorous precept or was abrogated by the contrary custom, because in things which are accidental there can be variety in the Church, as reason or occasion of time requires. And so, where priests were multiplied, it could have been judged either necessary or more convenient for one minister to suffice, lest on account of the mere paucity or penury of assistants the divine cult should be lessened in the Church and priests themselves be deprived of the fruits of the sacrifices.
6. In a second way a Mass can be said to be private wherein only the priest consumes the sacrament and communicates; and against this Protestants bring much violence, feigning that it is not only contrary to the ancient custom of the Church but also against divine right. But they are led only by the spirit of contradicting and calumniating the Roman Church, because they feign such a precept without foundation, as can easily be shown by what has often been discussed. For from the deed or words of Christ no divine precept about this thing can be collected, as the testimonies adduced and reason prove, because the mere deed of Christ does not induce a precept, nor is it by any words of Christ sufficiently indicated. Next, although it be true that at the beginning of the Church there was more frequent observance of the faithful who assisted at the breaking of bread participating therein, yet that this was done by obligation of a precept especially divine can be shown by no indication, and it is more likely that it came from the devotion and fervor of the faithful at that time. Especially since Paul says, 1 Corinthians 11:28: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,” for there could even then be many present at the sacrifice who, when examining themselves, found they were not disposed for communicating, and therefore it was also always easier in the Church to hear Mass than to communicate in it; which would not be so if, as often as Mass is heard, it was necessary to communicate, because there is not the same examination of conscience and the same state of justice required for each. Next, a little after the departure of the apostles from this life, times began to be designated at which alone the faithful were obliged to communicate, although however outside those times, and at least on Sundays, they were bounf to hear Masses. Rightly, then, did the Council of Trent condemn those who say that Masses are illicit at which only the priest communicates. On which point we discussed many things in our scholastic disputations.
7. Third, a Mass can be said to be private from other circumstances, as from the place, because it is said in a private house and not in a public temple deputed to the whole people; or from the time, namely because it is not at the accustomed hour at which the people are wont to come to sacrifice, but at some other hour convenient for the one sacrificing; or from the mode, because it is not done with singing or other like solemnities. And about all these ways it is certain that a private Mass is not made illicit unless something is done against a special prohibition of the Church, or against the reverence due to the sacrament. The general reason is that in these accidental rites there is nothing defined by divine positive right, and therefore whatever is not per se evil, or prohibited by the Church, is indifferent. Hence, as far as regards the place, the only per se necessity is that the place be approved by the pastors of the Church, according to the ancient canons very gravely commended and renewed by the Council of Trent. But I say ‘per se’ because it was always customary in the Church that, for prudent cause or necessity, Masses in private places or houses might be said according as time and opportune occasion was offered.
8. That this custom has also been confirmed by miracles is revealed by ancient histories. For Paulinus in his life of Ambrose reports that, when he was once at Rome, he offered sacrifice in the house of a certain noble matron, and a paralytic lying on a bed was miraculously cured. And Augustine, De Civitate Dei XXII.8, reports that a certain priest offered his sacrifice of the body of Christ in a certain private house that was suffering the noxious violence of demons, and that by his prayers the inhabitants of that house were freed from the vexation of the demon. Theodoret too, in Historia Religiosa ch. 20, tells about himself that he offered the mystical sacrifice in the private house of a certain man called Mar (Sea) for his consolation. Finally the Supreme Pontiff Pius I, in his epist. 1 to Justus bishop of Verona, has: “Euprepia has assigned to the poor the title to her house, where we now staying performed Mass along with our poor.” Which Masses indeed, as regard their mode at least, seem to have been private, but as to place there can be doubt, because by titles are signified houses transferred to the divine cult, as Baronius notes for the year 112 n. 4. But because Pius does not say that the house had been dedicated to the divine cult but that it was assigned to the poor by Euprepia and that she still lived in it with the poor, it is likely enough that it was not a Church dedicated to public divine office, but was a house intended for the habitation of the poor wherein Masses were said privately. And this was very much wont to happen at the time of persecution by tyrants or heretics, as is taken from many things mentioned by Victor, Book III De Persecutione Vandalica, and Sozomen, Historiae VII.5, and Augustine, in Breviculo Collation., ch. 17. Again, at that time Masses were said in crypts. Hence Pope Cornelius, stressing to Lupicinus bishop of Vienne the violence of the persecution, says: “Nor in the better known crypts is it licit for Christians to perform Mass;” where I weigh that word ‘better known’, for it signifies that Masses could be said privately and secretly in more hidden ones. Next, Masses were then said in prisons, as Cyprian testifies in epist.5, in whom must be noted the prudent warning: “In such a way that the priests too, who there make offering among confessors, alternate in turn one by one with the deacons;” by which words he also signifies that those Masses were private as to mode and as to assembly of persons.
9. Wherefore, by these examples can easily be proved that it was by custom received that Masses might be said at any opportune time, because it was neither necessary nor morally possible to observe in so great a variety of occasions and places a definite hour for celebrating. Add that it was always licit for priests to celebrate daily, if they wished, as we read said of the apostle Andrew: “I immolate daily to the Almighty God not the flesh of bulls nor the blood of goats but the immaculate Lamb on the altar.” Jerome too, in epist. 150 to Hebidias, q.2, says of himself: “Daily in his sacrifices we tread the red wine from the fruit of the true vine.” Which must necessarily be understood of private Masses which were said by him daily. For about the same Jerome Epiphanius says, epist. to John of Jerusalem, which is number 60 among the epistles of Jerome, that he was not accustomed to celebrate public Masses. About Cassius too, bishop of Narni, Gregory reports, in Homilia 37 on the Gospels, that it was his custom “to offer daily hosts to God, so that hardly any day of his life went by on which he did not immolate the host of reconciliation to God.” And like things are frequently found in the histories of the lives and doings of the saints, from which can manifestly be collected that they did not observe a certain day of the week or a public and definite hour of the day for celebrating, but according to their own devotion or convenience chose an hour within the time of day permitted by the Church. And hence it is a fortiori clear that Masses private as to intention of offering or other circumstances were in the same way always licit and in use; both because there is about them the same reason, and also because Masses could not otherwise be so frequently celebrated. And this suffices for the present point, wherein I find no reason for doubt or difficulty which pertains to the dogmas of the faith; but other things, which have regard to the sacrifice of the Mass, are not touched on by the king, and have been elsewhere, namely vol. III, p.3 disp. 73ff., expressly treated of by us.
ON THE ERRORS ABOUT THE CULT AND INVOCATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN NOTED IN THE KING’S PREFACE
1 - 3. What the difference is between the words ‘honoring’, ‘adoring’, and ‘venerating.’ 4. Several kinds of adoration. Worship (latria). Service (dulia). With what adoration the Blessed Virgin is to be adored. 5. What the king argues against in the veneration due to the Blessed Virgin, and his objection. The objection gathered from the words of the king. Satisfaction is made to the objection. The true sense of Nazianzen is reported. 6. King James argues against the invocation of the Blessed Virgin. Foundation of King James. His triple objection against the mode of invoking the Blessed Virgin. 7 - 10. This mode of invoking the Blessed Virgin is very ancient in the Church. 11 - 13. Response to the words of the king. The beatific vision consists very well with knowledge and love of creatures. The Blessed Virgin can intercede for us without losing her felicity. 14. The first objection against the mode of invoking the Blessed Virgin is dissolved. The Church does not attribute to the Blessed Virgin command over Christ the Lord. 15. The second objection is solved. 16. Satisfaction is made to the third objection; and declaration is given of how the Blessed Virgin repels demons. 17. How the Blessed Virgin destroys heresies.
MONG other things that King James, in giving reason for his faith, writes in his Preface, he makes confession of some things that he has taken from Catholic Doctrine, with which, however, he in other things disagrees, and these latter we must briefly consider and show that they are not less certain than the former ones. First, then, when he calls Mary the most holy Blessed Virgin, he seems to think about her perpetual virginity rightly, for she who kept her virginity at some time cannot be called simply Virgin if she afterwards lost it. Next, he recognizes that she was true Mother of God from the fact that it pleased our Savior to take from her a human body for himself, and that in Christ human nature could not be separated from divinity; which is said rightly, as being borrowed from the firstt Council of Ephesus along with Leo the Great and Cyril of Alexandria. In addition, he says that “he piously and frankly confesses and constantly contends that the Virgin has been raised to a heavenly glory above all orders of blessed men and spirits, with the exception of her son at once God and man.” In which confession I praise and embrace the truth; yet I ask for the sure faith of it and require its foundation. For if the king, when he says that he piously and frankly confesses that truth and constantly contends for it, means to signify that he has only a certain pious credulity and constant opinion of that truth, he does not satisfy confession of Catholic Faith. For the very ancient tradition sprung from the apostles and delivered right up to us by the unanimous consent of the Fathers, and received from the Universal Church without any dissent or hesitation, is what for Catholics makes certain faith in that truth. But if the most serene king wished to indicate this truth by his words, he must necessarily confess that something is to be firmly believed which is not expressly written down in the canonical books. Nevertheless, because we agree in truth of doctrine as to this part of it, and enough was said above about the mode and rule of believing, therefore I do not delay over confirming this truth and remit the reader to what we wrote elsewhere.
2. Next, the king professes to venerate the most Blessed Virgin, which we also read and admit gladly. Nor do we move question about the word ‘venerate’ or ‘adore’, although perhaps the king was purposely eager to admit first but later to be cautious; for this too we do not doubt could be done without blame, if it was done with sound mind and in a legitimate sense. For the Council of Trent, session 25, in the decree on the invocation and veneration of saints, observed this way of speaking when it said: “let us adore Christ and venerate the saints.” Epiphanius, Contra Haeresim 78, although he teaches that the Virgin is to be presented with honor and veneration, denies that she is to be adored, that is, with the adoration of worship or with divine cult, of which he there treats, and which by antonomasia is wont to be signified by the word ‘adore’ stated simply.
3. For greater clarity, therefore, and to explain purely and sincerely the sense of this dogma without ambiguity of words, there are three words to be noted, namely, ‘honor’, ‘adore’, and ‘venerate’; for the two first are distinguished by Augustine, Contra Sermonem Arianorum ch. 23: “For,” he says, “everyone who adores honors; but not everyone who honors adores;” for we honor not only those superior to us but also equals; nay inferiors too, moreover a king sometimes honors a subject, as is said in Esther 6. But adoration seems to be shown only to one more powerful and superior, as a sign of dignity and excellence. Honor, therefore, is a testimony of virtue absolutely considered, in whatever way it be compared to the one honoring. But adoration too is witness of virtue, with, however, recognition of superior dignity and excellence, and therefore he who honors does not at once adore; but contrariwise, he who adores necessarily also honors. But the word ‘venerate’, although it seem to come closer to the propriety of adoring, because it indicates the showing of reverence and observance, is sometimes however wont to be taken for the word ‘honor’ and with the same signification, as is clear from Latin propriety and usage. In the present case, therefore, care must be taken lest we take the word ‘venerate’ only in this last signification; for to honor the Virgin is too little, unless it be done with due submission of mind and due estimation of her excellent virtue and dignity. But honor shown in this way is properly veneration and reverence, and can also be called a kind of adoration.
4. For the word ‘adoration’ itself too is general and has various grades or kinds; for a certain kind is shown as sign of supreme and uncreated excellence which is called ‘worship’ (latria), and it is sometimes wont to be signified by the word ‘adoration’ stated simply; but there is another kind, which is shown for indicating a lesser excellence, in which signification the word ‘adore’ is sometimes taken in Scripture, as in 1 Kings [1 Samuel] 24 and 25 and 3 Kings [1 Kings] 1, and often elsewhere. And in the same way theologians make a distinction between an inferior adoration (which they call ‘service’ [dulia] by an accommodation of words) and the supreme adoration of worship, and under the first member they establish, with a certain singular excellence and perfection, the observance due to the Virgin and call it hyper-service [hyperdulia]. Which words will perhaps not please the king, but we will not dispute over them provided the thing is not displeasing, and provided by the word ‘venerate’ we signify not any honor but that which is shown to the Virgin with due estimation and submission of mind as sign of her singular excellence and sanctity. For rightly did Augustine say, De Genesi ad Litteram ch. 4: “Provided that what needs to be understood is understood, there is no great need to care about what it is called.” We therefore in this mind confess that the Blessed Virgin is to be venerated and we refrain from the word ‘adore’ lest it offend anyone weak in the faith. Nor does the king seem foreign to this sense; for he immediately confesses that the Virgin is the true Mother of God, which no prudent man can deny to be a singular excellence; and he adds in addition that the Virgin is placed in heavenly glory above all orders of blessed spirits; therefore he must, when he says he venerates her, be showing her honor with recognition of the excellence of the same and in witness and signification of it.
5. But these things notwithstanding, the king murmurs something in protest or finds some fault in the cult and veneration which we Catholics bestow on the Blessed Virgin when he says: “But I would not dare have her in derision nor pronounce impious words against God, attributing to her not only the name ‘divine’ but the name ‘Goddess’ too.” To which he adds other things which properly pertain to invocation, and therefore they will more agreeably be handled later. But this blame seems to contain this objection more or less: for cult or adoration is exhibited not only in deeds but also in words signifying divinity; therefore since those words signify divinity in the Virgin, they contain adoration simply, or adoration of worship; therefore they have regard not to honorable and due observance but to the disgrace of idolatry. But this objection has no foundation nor is of any importance. I deny it has a foundation because never has the Church Roman or Catholic used those words in praising or invoking the Blessed Virgin, and therefore if anything of this sort is found in some private doctor it is wrongly bestowed on her. I add too that similar words are very rarely found in Fathers or learned theologians who are of some authority with us. I remember only to have read the word ‘Goddess’ in Gregory Nazianzen in a tragedy about the suffering Christ, at the end, where he thus speaks: “O venerable Virgin, chaste, most happy, blessed now in the celestial vault of the blessed, your human seat having put off whatever decay it had, adorned with the cloak of eternity, held as a Goddess immune from old age.” But from these sorts of words or similar ones a frivolous occasion, I say, is taken for blame or objection, because it is clear from the faith and wisdom of the writer as well as from the preceding and following words that it was not used for signifying true Deity by essence but by a certain excellent participation therein. Hence we can reply to the king with the words of Christ the Lord, John 10:35: “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came &c.” Since, therefore, Scripture calls just men, princes, and judges gods because of a certain participation, what wonder that Gregory Nazianzen, for signifying, among all created things, the excellence, dignity, and nearness (so to say) of the Virgin to God, used the name of Goddess? For that reason indeed most of all, that he did not assert simply she was Goddess but was held as a Goddess, for the word ‘as’ diminishes and names only a certain participation and imitation. Just as Christ the Lord said, Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father is perfect;” and John 17:22: “That they may be one, even as we are one.” Lastly we can add that Nazianzen, by using as it were poetic license and being compelled by necessity of sung verse, faithfully inserted that word beyond accustomed practice, not fearing any danger, as in fact there was none, that he would lead readers into any error. And these things now are enough for what the king touches on about the veneration of the Virgin.
6. Now against the invocation of the same Virgin the king inveighs more seriously, for he blames both the substance, so to say, and the mode. For he denies, to begin with, that we should pray to the Virgin, and he indicates the egregious foundation of the dogma and marvelous reason, or rather conjecture, when he says: “Not even that fact do I bring into my mind, that she is living so idly in heaven that she is open to the absurd prayers of any stupid man whatever, and involves herself in his affairs and business.” And later: “In heaven, in the eternal refuge of holy souls, is she placed in eternal felicity, never called away from such great joys by any care or worry about earthly things.” From which things this reason seems to be summarily collected: the Blessed Virgin cannot have care for our affairs or attend to our prayers except by being called away from her felicity; but this cannot happen; therefore we must neither do nor try it. Next, in the manner of interrupting the Virgin, he taxes three things most strongly. First, that we pray to her, so that she acts not only by prayers but also by command along with her son, and that she has command over him and dominates him. Second, that we hold her in ridicule when we feign that she descends to earth for the kisses and embraces of priests. Third, that we similarly believe that she contends on our behalf with the demons in sharp and stubborn altercation. Others lastly add that we make her omnipotent by attributing to her that she alone destroys all heresies in the whole word, and by asking her to make us blessed by showing us her son, and finally by calling her our hope, which is proper to God, and our mediatrix and advocate, which is proper to Christ.
7. However, as to what concerns the first part, Protestants have therein followed Constantine Copronymus, about whom the Suda thus transmits to memory: “The most impure of all mortals dared to prescribe that no one should make imploring intercession to Mary.” See Baronius vol. IX for the year 767, n. 27. Which error the Church at once held in detestation, and the authors who report the error show sufficiently that the custom of invoking the Virgin was very ancient in the Church. For thus says Theophanes, that if anyone falling or grieving uttered the wonted cry of Christians and said: “Mother of God, help,” he was condemned as an enemy of the emperor. And Theosterictus, a writer of that time speaks, in Nicetas, thus: “She whom Christ chose for his domicile, I mean his most glorious Mother, superior to all created things, the safety of all men, the protection of the world, who, because of the excellence of her virginity, stands next to God, her venerable name, I say, he strove in every way to expel from the Church; yes intercessions to her, whereby the world stands, he wished not even to be named, since he said that she was unable to help anyone.” Against which error it will be enough now to display this way of invoking the most holy Virgin from the holy and more ancient Fathers as from witnesses of apostolic tradition.
8. Let the first, then, be Ambrose, in prayer 2 in preparation for Mass, where, after he had prayed to God to obtain charity, he subjoins: “And so that this prayer of mine may be efficacious, I seek the support of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom you made to be of such great merit that she first among women should offer the new gift and none beside her should receive it so new.” To this I adjoin Augustine, who in his bk. Meditationum ch. 35, after a long prayer to Christ the Lord, concludes thus: “Because of your goodness, receive the prayers of your servant, and give me the effect of my petition and my desire, with the intercession and prayer and effective request of the glorious Virgin, your bearer Mary, my Lady, together with all your saints. Amen.” And in ch. 40 he thus prays the Virgin: “Holy and immaculate Virgin, Mary bearer of God and Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, deign to intercede for me with him whose temple you deserved to be made.” And in sermon 18 about the saints, he has an outstanding prayer to the Virgin, from which the Church has taken the words, “Holy Mary, succor of the wretched, &c.” Now it is to be noted that in the Antwerp edition that sermon is by some attributed to Fulgentius; but I do not find it among his works, and therefore rightly have the theologians of Louvain placed it, not in the appendix, but among the true works of Augustine. But Fulgentius himself in his sermon ‘De Laudibus Mariae ex Partu Salvatoris’ says: “Come, virgins, to the Virgin, come, mothers, to the Mother;” and after many like things he concludes: “Therefore every course of nature did the Virgin Mary in our Lord Jesus Christ receive, so that she might come to the aid of all women who flee to her &c.”
9. To these may be added Gregory Nazianzen, who in Orat. 18 relates about Saint Cyprian that blessed Justina, when harried by the demon, fled to God, and afterwards he adds: “And praying as a suppliant to the Virgin Mary, that she might bring help to a virgin in danger, she fortified herself with fasting and sleeping on the ground &c.” And in the cited tragedy near the end he adds this: “Immune from old age, from the highest ether, be present, kind to my wishes, accept my prayers, O renowned Virgin, when to you, parent of the Word, but beyond measure and law, alone among all this honor belongs.” Which prayer he most piously and elegantly pursues to the end, and concludes it with these three verses: “Queen, Mistress, boon of the human race, be always Friend to mortals, and Greatest safety in every place for me.” With the same faith and piety Chrysostom, in his preface to Psalm 118  station 3 at the end, says: “These, brothers, are the monuments and teachings of the Fathers, drawing from which we have, with the attention it was right to use, imparted to you the commandments, that is, of God which may be to your profit, so that, according to your sincere faith and religion, your actions too may be honest. In which the Lord God will confirm you, giving to you his rich mercies, and through the intercessions of our undefiled Lady, the God-bearer and ever Virgin &c.” I omit Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and others, whom I mentioned when disputing of this matter elsewhere. It pleases to add here Basil, archbishop of Seleucia, who was present at the Synod of Constantinople, although also in the Council of Chalcedon action 1, at the end, it is said he was deposed, not however because of the faith, and was a little after restored, as is collected from action 5. He therefore in his Orat. 1 De Annuntiatione Deiparae, among the many other things that he says about the praises and intercession of the Virgin, finally concludes with this prayer: “O thrice sacrosanct Virgin, look on us from heaven with propitious eye, and now indeed lead us hence with peace; and at the throne of the judge make us stand free of confusion, and make us at last partakers of the place at your right hand &c.”
10. To these can be added many things from Damascene, Orat. 1 De Nativitate Mariae at the end, and Orat. 1 De Dormitione of the same, and Epiphanius, in his Sermo De Laudibus Virginis, and Ephrem De Laudibus of the same, Bede in a like homily De Sancta Virgine, Anselm in his book De Excellentia Beatae Virginis, especially the last chapter, and Bernard in his homilies on Missus Est, and his sermons De Assumptione, and Ildephonsus in his bk. De Virginitate Mariae, Laurentius Justinianus, and very many other Fathers, whether more ancient or more recent. For in all of them will frequently be found most devout prayers to the Blessed Virgin, along with great reverence, praises, and encomia about her excellence, and exhortations to the faithful to pray for the Virgin’s intercession with great confidence. And from all these we collect evidently that this custom is not new but very old, and did not even at any time grow old or change, but was preserved always in the hearts and mouth of the faithful. Wrongly therefore does the king seem to place it among the customs which he calls recent and novel.
11. Now the reason which he objects to it seems truly to be unworthy of the royal genius, and appears rather to belong to another man little versed in the mysteries of the faith and things theological. For those who know how to contemplate the felicity of the saints are not ignorant that the vision of divinity, which makes men and angels blessed, does not prevent them from being able to know and care for what is done among us. For that beatific vision is a certain eminent participation in the divine knowledge whereby God comprehends himself, and therefore just as the contemplation which God has of himself does not prevent him from considering our affairs and from very exactly providing for all, so the contemplation of the blessed in its own grade and proportion does not necessarily exclude knowledge of our affairs; nay rather it confers it on each according to the grade and status of his felicity. Hence also it happens that, without diminution or interruption of their felicity, the blessed might love us and intercede for us according to the grade of their charity. For thus about the holy angels did Christ say, Matthew 18:10 that they “do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven;” and nevertheless he calls them angels of men, saying “their angels,” that is, guardians, according to that verse of Psalm 90 :11 “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” If therefore the blessed angels can guard men and are not by this care and concern for earthly things called away from the eternal joys of their felicity, who can think that the Blessed Virgin cannot hear our prayers and intercede for us without being distracted from her felicity?
12. But if this seem rather difficult to someone, because he believes the Blessed Virgin to be far more felicitous and more intent on eternal joys, he is manifestly deceived; for along with that very felicity and its joy there also increases both the power of considering human things together with divine ones and the affection of charity for taking up care for them, according to the nature of her status, and for the greater glory of God. Hence Christ too himself, although from the beginning of his conception he was happier by far in his soul than is now the Blessed Virgin, nevertheless he always had the highest care and concern for our salvation, and he interceded for us and now also hears our prayers and has care for us; nor on that account is he called away from such great joys of his eternal felicity.
13. However, as to what the king says that he cannot bring into his mind that the Virgin is living so idly in heaven that she is open to the absurd prayers of any stupid man whatever, I ask what he understands by absurd prayers, or in what sense does he says that the Virgin is open to them? For prayers can be said to be absurd whereby something absurd or indecent is asked of the Virgin, and the Virgin hears these prayers but does not comply with them. Nor is it foreign to the perfection of the Virgin or to her outstanding felicity that she has a leisure wherein she can hear these prayers; for God himself has leisure that he too is open to prayers of this sort, and sees them, not so as to receive them, but so as rather to punish them. Because that leisure is not vain or vicious, but is the leisure of contemplation, free indeed of all labor, but not destitute of knowledge and of very deep providence for all things; that leisure then the Blessed Virgin in her own grade participates. But if the king calls absurd all those prayers that are made by low and mean men, or even by great sinners, this does not at all stand in the way of their finding an entrance open to the Virgin, if they are made faithfully and honorably, and they are not only known by her but also accepted, as far as she judges it expedient according to the order of divine providence, which is common also to the other saints, as we will say in the following chapter.
14. But to the first objection against the mode of invoking the Virgin, founded on the word ‘command’, we give the same response which we presented above about the name ‘Goddess’. For the Church was not accustomed to ask of the Virgin that she give command to her son; nor to teach that the Virgin has this power or that she was sometimes accustomed to use it. But yet Augustine, De Symbolo ad Catechumenos II.5, signifies that the Blessed Virgin, when she said to Christ, John 2:3: “‘They have no wine’, made trial that she could command her son as mother,” but for that reason Christ replied, v. 4: “‘Woman, what have I to do with thee?’ so as to distinguish between God and man,” and to signify that the virtue of doing miracles was from divinity, according to which he was not subject to his mother. Hence Augustine tacitly blames those who say that the Blessed Virgin can make requests of her son by command. But neither must it be thought that the Virgin spoke to her son at the marriage in this way, but by humbly asking and from charity requesting, as we have with Hilary, Ambrose, Cyril, and other Fathers reported elsewhere. Nor also is it likely to us that this was suspected by Augustine of the Virgin, since there is, in his words, no foundation or trace of such suspicion. Augustine, therefore, only seems to indicate that Christ responded thus so as to take away the suspicion from everyone. Or certainly Augustine used the word ‘command’ in a wider sense for a word of asking with maternal confidence, hence he says at the same time: “she made trial to command as mistress who recognized herself to be handmaid.” She could not then ask from proper command if she recognized herself to be handmaid. Thus, therefore, the Church never requests of the Virgin that she order or command. And I have only found Peter Damian, Sermo 1 De Nativitate Mariae, saying: “She came not only asking but also commanding, Mistress not handmaid;” not for that reason, however, does the Church approve that way of speaking; nay, she neither permits it to the faithful, if they should wish commonly to use it. And nevertheless Christian piety teaches that the words, which are said by way of trope and exaggeration, are interpreted with sound mind. For in Joshua 10:12, at the voice of Gedeon, “Sun, stand thou still,” it is said that the sun stood still, v. 14, “the Lord hearkened [alt. obeyed] unto the voice of a man;” but if God obeyed, man commanded. But the locution is metaphorical, to exaggerate the efficacy of the prayer of a man with God. Thus therefore did Peter Damian speak, by exaggerating how great is maternal confidence with a son.
15. To the second objection we reply that it is founded on a false calumny perhaps made up by some Protestants; for in the books of Catholics I do not reckon anything of the like is found. For although it often be said, and is pious and likely, that the Blessed Virgin sometimes, at their supplication, appears for their spiritual consolation and speaks, whether of herself or through the ministry of angels, never however have I read that something unbecoming or something not most modest has happened in apparitions of this sort. Or certainly if something has been read anywhere of this sort, which may not receive a pious and prudent interpretation, one must believe either that it was the work of the demon transforming himself into an angel of light, or (which often happens) that they are deceptions of malicious men who, to escape the authority of revelations or to stamp a note of ignominy or infamy on these celestial visitations, do not fear to make up fables of like sort.
16. To the third objection, about putting demons to flight, we reply that this effect often happens through the prayer of the Virgin, and therefore it is often attributed to her by the Fathers; for Cyril of Alexandria, Homily 6 Against Nestorius in the said Council of Ephesus, among many other things that he preaches about the excellence and efficacy of the Virgin, says: “Hail, through whom heaven exults, through whom angels and archangels are made glad, through whom demons are put to flight.” And Laurentius Justinianus, in his sermon ‘De Annuntiatione’ calls her, among other things, “she who puts demons to flight.” The Church too prays to the Virgin: “Mary, Mother of grace, do thou protect us from the enemy.” And Surius reports that St. Richard, the English Cistercian bishop, at the moment of his death always had those words in his hear and voice together, and commanded them to his chaplains, so that they might not cease to pronounce them in his ears. Finally, Christ said about his faithful, Mark 16:17: “In my name shall they cast out devils.” What marvel is there, then, that the most blessed Mother of Christ should be powerful in putting demons to flight? But, as to what is said in the objection about the stubborn and sharp altercation of the Virgin with the demon, it smacks of the novelty of innovators, and is a way of speaking invented by them for mocking the piety and devotion of the faithful; for it was never asserted by Catholic doctors that the Virgin had altercation with the demon, but either that she gave command to him or (which is more frequent) secured his flight by prayer to her son.
17. Moreover, in this way too the Virgin is said to conquer all heresies, namely through Christ, who is the true light that lightens every man who does not wish to be condemned by his own judgment. And thus too many other effects of grace are attributed to the Virgin, not because she effects them of herself, but either because she bore for us Christ the author of all graces, or because she achieves them for us through him and from him. And thus too is the Virgin said to be our hope, either because through her we obtained Christ who is our hope, as Epiphanius expounded in his sermon De Laudibus Virginis, or for explaining the great confidence with which we have recourse to her. And in this way can easily be understood very many other locutions of the saints, wherein things which, according to their excellence, are proper to Christ, are through singular participation attributed by them to the Virgin, by imitating the phraseology and mode of speaking in Scripture. Which sense is so well known to the faithful and is per se patent that it may suffer no calumny nor does it need greater interpretation or persuasion. Which response Canisius, Book V De Beata Virgine chs. 10ff, and other Catholic writers have copiously and eruditely made; and we too in other places have touched somewhat on it. But about the name of Advocate or Mediatrix we will speak generally in chapter ix, about the Saints.
ON THE THINGS NOTED IN THE KING’S PREFACE ABOUT THE CULT OF THE SAINTS
1 - 2. Scripture and the Fathers testify that there should be a cult of the saints. 3. King James recoils from the word “adore” 3. King James seems to honor the saints with civil honor rather than religious. The Catholic Church venerates the saints with a holy and religious cult. 5. Proof from the Fathers that the custom of honoring the saints with a holy cult is very ancient. 5. Tacit objection of the king. 7. Satisfaction is made to the king’s objection, and it is shown that there should be a cult of all the saints approved by the Church. 8 - 9. The custom of celebrating the feast days of the martyrs draws its origin from the apostles. 10. On what authority the Church rests in the cult of the saints.
HERE are many things that the king, in his Preface and his profession of faith, objects against the true doctrine which the Catholic Church believes and professes about the saints who have finished their life; and they can be reduced to four heads, namely to the cult and the invocation of saints, the adoration of relics and of images, which we will pursue in brief because we do not intend to give a full disputation but only a sufficient response, showing by the by that what the Church observes in these matters is not only not recent or new, but rather that those cannot be excused of pernicious novelty and rash error who have dared to find fault therewith.
2. About the cult, then, of the saints the king has been thus pleased to state in his Preface, “I cultivate indeed their memory, for honoring which our Church has therefore publicly instituted as many solemn days as by the authority of Scripture we read are reported in the register of the saints. But I do not suffer my credulity to be deluded by the great number of trifles written down in the acts and legends of the more recent saints.” From which words we accept the royal confession in respect of the part which he at least in general contends for, that holy men reigning with Christ are by us to be cultivated as worthy of honor and veneration. For that is taught not only by Scripture and the holy Fathers and the tradition of the Church, but by natural reason too, as those words of Psalm 138 :17: “But greatly honored are your friends to me, God [alt. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God].” that is, I think thus that the friends of God are greatly to be cultivated and honored, or your friends, God, I cultivate greatly and venerate. Which testimony was used for confirming this truth by Jeremias of Constantinople in his response to the Protestants ch. 15, and so also is it expounded by Basil when he says in his scholium: “You knew me beforehand, he says, even when I yet was not, you led me, and I give payment in turn, so that I may escort with honor those who love you.” Where much to be noted is what Basil indicates and what he collects from the words of David, that so pleasing is it to God to honor his friends that it might be offered as service in gratitude for the benefits received from him. For as Ambrose rightly says, in Sermo 1 De Sanctis: “Whoever honors the martyrs honors Christ too, and he who spurns the saints spurns the Lord too, since he himself says to his saints, he who honors you honors me, and he who spurns you spurns me.” Thus too Jerome, epist. 53 to Riparius: “We honor the servants so that their honor might redound to the Lord who said: He who receives you receives me.” Which is also in this way explained by Athanasius, De Virginitate near the end. Other things I purposely omit because we have frequently and elsewhere treated of them, and because, as I said, the king of England professes that he too cultivates the memory of the saints.
3. But I will not omit to notice that here too the king has abstained from the word ‘adore’ and has used the word ‘honor’. But we, according to what we noted in the previous chapter, avoiding questions of words, do not insist on them provided their sense be true and Catholic. Therefore, if the word ‘adore’ by antonomasia signify the cult of worship [latria], all Catholics know that in this sense the saints are not to be adored, in which sense Jerome above asserted that the saints are honored by us, not adored; for rather, by honoring them, we adore God; and Book I Contra Vigil., when he said: “Who has adored the martyr?”, adds in explanation of it: “Who has thought a man to be God?” And in the same way speak Justin, Epiphanius, Damascene, and often Augustine. And nevertheless, when the word ‘adore’ is taken in more ample signification, the same Augustine did not doubt to say, in Sermo 25 about the saints: “The most blessed Peter, the fisherman, now the multitude of believers adores on bended knee, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Contrariwise, however, when the word ‘cult’ is taken in a stricter way, the same Augustine said, epist. 44 to Maximus the Grammarian: “Lest it escape your notice and draw you imprudently into sacrilegious abuse, know that none of the dead receives cult from Catholic Christians;” yet in explanation of it he subjoins that: “Nothing finally is adored as divine which is made or fashioned by God.” For by adding the word ‘divine’ he declares that he is speaking about the cult and adoration of worship.
4. Besides this ambiguity of the word ‘cult’ and ‘adore’, there is also another that one must beware of, because the words of the king are slippery and redolent in this part too of Calvinism. For Calvin conceded that civil honor and cult was to be paid to the saints who have finished their life; but he denied that sacred and religious cult could be given them without idolatry. But the king’s words are such that they could easily be understood of civil cult, for the solemn days too, which he says have been instituted in his pseudo-church for honoring the memory of the saints, are said to have been instituted only on account of civil honor, in the way that these are also wont sometimes to be instituted for the birthdays of secular kings and princes. But if the king is only in this sense speaking of the cult of the saints, wrongly does he limit these solemnities of his only to those who are reported by the authority of Scripture in the register of the saints; for we can cultivate dead benefactors and illustrious men with civil cult, even if we are not certain about their felicity, provided at least that it not be certain they are damned. But the Catholic Church judges that not only civil but also sacred and religious cult is to be bestowed on the saints; although it not be the cult of worship but of an inferior nature, for the signification of which theologians have adapted the name of ‘service’ [dulia], as we explained in the cult of the Blessed Virgin, for the reason is the same in the other saints in their degree. For we venerate them because of a certain excellence superior to every civil dignity, and we acknowledge that they are established in the height of eternal felicity, as in their mode superior to us and singularly excellent in that order; rightly, therefore, do we profess that they are to be adored with a cult that is sacred and more excellent and distinct from the civil.
5. That this doctrine indeed is not recent but very ancient we can easily prove by the testimonies of the holy Fathers. For Ambrose in the said Sermo 1 De Sanctis, which is for the feast of St. Luke, concludes thus about the treasure hidden in a field: “Therefore, brothers, as often as we celebrate the memory of the martyrs, we should, leaving aside all other secular acts, come together without any delay to render honor to them who brought forth salvation for us with the pouring out of their blood, who were with so sacral a victim offered for our propitiation to the Lord.” The honor of the saints, then, on the testimony of Ambrose, is not only civil; for that is wont to be shown to secular acts, but this one is to be bestowed for actions that are religious and sacred, in conformity with faith and the sacred cause for which it is given. Hence Damascene sai, at De Fide IV.16: “The things that God is honored by are the same that his servants take delight in, wherefore we honor the saints with psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles.” Therefore this cult, which is presented for spiritual actions, is in its own way spiritual; nor is it for that reason equal with the divine, because always the spirit and intention in adoring is far different. But this cult is most conjoint with the divine cult, and it redounds wholly to the supreme reverence of God, as Athanasius, Jerome, and Ambrose above note, and Basil in Orat. for the forty martyrs. Therefore too the Church is wont to honor the saints with almost the same things that God is honored with, as fasts, vigils, prayers, and other like actions, as is taken from the third Council of Toledo ch. 23, from Jerome Contra Vigilantium, from Cyprian epist. 34 and 37, and from Augustine Contra Faustum XX.21. Hence rightly does Eusebius of Caesarea, at De Praeparat. Evangelica XIII.7, thus say: “Honoring the soldiers of true piety as friends of God, we come also to their monuments, and we make our vows to them as to holy men, by whose intercession to God we profess to be not a little aided.”
6. Nor are Protestants wont to object against this mode of veneration and cult of saints anything that seems to be of any moment; and of whatever sort it is, we have replied to it elsewhere. In the present case, however, the king tacitly objects that the Catholic Church is wrong to venerate publicly any man who has finished this life whose eternal felicity is not clear from the authority of Sacred Scripture, and therefore he says that his Church (which he does not dare to name Catholic, nay he distinguishes it, willy nilly, from the Catholic) keeps the solemnities only of those who are said to be saints by the authority of Scripture. And he virtually confirms it, in that otherwise the faithful are exposed to the danger that their credulity may be deluded by adoring a damned man as a saint, which seems to be a great absurdity, contrary to a prudent way of operating. But, to persuade of this danger, he adds that “in the acts and legends of the saints are very many trifles written down.”
7. However, the king is always stuck in the error that nothing can or should be believed for certain except what can by the authority of Scripture be immediately (so to say) or proximately proved; but that this is contrary to the same Scripture and contrary to the authority of the Church confirmed in the same Scripture was shown above abundantly enough. And in the present it can be sufficiently proved by the example of the Innocents killed by Herod, who can by no authority of Scripture indeed be proved to have been sanctified by death and to be reigning now with Christ; and nevertheless, resting on the authority of the Church, we have a cult to them without danger or falsity. As Augustine rightly hands on, De Libero Arbitrio III.23, and at De Symbolo ad Catechumenos II. and III.4, and in his sermons on the Innocents, which are numbers 8 and 9 on the saints; and Origen, Homilia 3 on diverse persons, near the end, speaking about the same Innocents says: “Always, as is proper, their memory is celebrated in churches in accord with the full order of saints.” And later: “Therefore well and according to the will of God have the holy Fathers commanded their eternal memory to be celebrated in churches, either as dying for the Lord, or for Jews and gentiles who were going to believe, or even for their own parents, so that the intercession of their sons should be of the greatest benefit to them.” And many things can be seen in Cyprian, Sermo De Stella, Magis, et Innocentibus.
8. In addition, it has clearly been a custom of the Church from the time of the apostles to make in sacrifice memorial for some of the martyrs in particular, and to note the day of martyrdom so that it might be solemnly celebrated from year to year, as is taken from Cyprian, epist. 34 and 37, from Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 5 ‘mystagogica’, from Eusebius, Histor. IV.14, elsewhere ch. 15, where he makes special mention of the martyr Poycarp, and from Tertulllian, . De Corona Militis ch. 3, where he puts this among the written traditions, which has the highest authority in the Church, and it is confirmed by Pope Clement, Constitut. VIII.39. It is not a new thing, then, in the Church to have a cult of some of the saints, although their sanctity and felicity cannot be proved by the authority of Scripture. The thing is excellently confirmed by the words of the bishops of Europe in their epistle to Leo, and it is testified by the speeches, or addresses, or homilies of the ancient Fathers given in the honor and cult of many saints in particular, wherein they often speak excellently of the honor due to saints. There is in Gregory Nazianzen, for instance, oration 18 on St. Cyprian, and orations in praise of Basil and Athanasius, and in Gregory of Nyssa there is an oration on the martyr Theodore, and there are many similar ones in Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, and others, as about St. Ignatius, St. Laurence, St. Gervase, St. Protasius, St. Philogonus. But especially to be noted are the words of Chrysostom in a sermon on the martyrs Iuventus and Maximus, vol.3, which he begins thus: “Yesterday blessed Babylas with three children brought us here together, but today a part of the holy soldiers in the battle line displays the army of Christ; their ages are unequal but their faith equal; those were earlier in time, these more recent. And although the Church, possessed of pearls new and old, has so great a treasure, yet of all there is one grace.” And later: “Knowing this you do not honor the old saints in one way and the more recent in another, but all of them with the same alacrity. For you do not search out the time but you search for the courage, the faith, the fervent zeal, and the virtues that the saints bear before them, for whose honor we today come together.”
9. Let the king, therefore, cease to despise the saints whom he calls novel, because it is not antiquity but true sanctity and felicity that makes them worthy of such cult and honor. Nor let him fear to be in error or deceived by honoring as saints those honored by the Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth; but rather let him be afraid of the censure given by Augustine, which I think should in this our time be held before the eyes and very often repeated. For in epist.118 ch.5, when he distinguishes the morals of the Church into three orders, he puts in the first order those things “that the authority of divine Scripture prescribes,” about which he says that “it is not to be doubted but that we should do as we read.” But in the third order he puts those things “that vary by places and regions,” about which he says that in each province that is to be kept which is wont to be done neither against faith nor against honest manners. But in the middle order he puts those things “that the Church keeps in the whole world, which,” he says, “to dispute that it should not so be done is a mark of the most insolent insanity.” Not, to be sure, for any other reason than that the Catholic and Universal Church, in things that it approves and observes by common consent, is not allowed to err by the Holy Spirit whom Christ peculiarly promised to it so as to be especially ruled by him. Therefore, when the Universal Catholic Church does not doubt about the felicity of any saint and agrees on his cult, it is not licit for a Catholic and prudent man “to dispute that it should not so be done.” For since truth and purity are no less necessary in the cult and correct judgment of saints than in other moral matters, each Catholic, without any doubt, can and should say with Bernard: “What I have received from the Church, I too hold and pass on with security; what I have not received, I confess I would admit with more scruple.” He is speaking to the canons of Lyon about this very matter of honoring the saints which we are treating of.
10. Wherefore, what the king adds about the trifles written down in the acts and legends of the saints makes no difference to the cause; for whether it be true or said by exaggeration, the cult which the Church offers to some saint not canonized in Scripture is not founded on any human history, even a grave one, much less one of suspect authorship, but is founded either on ancient tradition with the universal consent of the whole Church, or in the authentic declaration of a Pontiff, which we call canonization, which is done with such great examination of morals and miracles, and with such grave inquisition and diligence, that by itself it might be able to confer a certain moral certitude and security; but when joined with the assistance and government of the Holy Spirit, which we believe to have been promised by Christ, the certitude is made far greater, and it excludes all moral danger and all prudent doubt. But without this certitude no one is compelled to honor a man who has finished life. But if one believes by one’s own special opinion that someone is a saint and honors him privately, he is not to be at once condemned but warned to examine the thing prudently first, and afterwards to show due circumspection in the manner of honoring. For if these things are observed, no trifles will harm the true faithful, if perhaps there were any in the lives of the saints; because if the faithful are able to discern them they will not put faith in them, or if in anything they are perchance deceived, the error is not wont to be pernicious but about things indifferent. Nay, even in these things great care and diligence is exercised by the pastors of the Church so that, as far as may be, histories of the saints emended and purged of errors circulate in the hands of the faithful. But we have heard that there are in circulation in England certain histories about the doings of the saints that are not only of uncertain authorship but have even been for the most part made up by enemies of the faith, and we do not wish the royal credulity to be deluded by them. Therefore we warn the king, who so religiously refuses to allow his credulity to be deluded in these things, that he should with far greater care not tolerate his faith in matters that are necessary for the salvation of the soul to be corrupted, I do not say by the trifles, but by the very pernicious errors of Calvin, Luther, and the Protestants.
ON THE INVOCATION OF SAINTS
1. By what conjectures King James looks down on the invocation of saints. 2 - 3. The antiquity of the custom of invoking saints is deduced from the Fathers. 4. Augustine makes satisfaction to the objection of heretics. 5 - 6. Other testimonies from the Greek Fathers. 7 - 10. Before the Lord’s advent the saints were not invoked, and for what cause. 11. The prayer of one person for another is pleasing to God. 12. To ask another to pray on one’s behalf is a holy thing. 13. By parity of reasoning the conclusion is drawn that it is licit to pray to saints who have finished life. 14. The objection of the king against this doctrine. Solution. Christ the Lord is invoked as Redeemer, but the saints as mediators to him. 15. A second objection from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians. Solution. 16. The sense of Paul. 17 - 19. Third objection. 20. Response. 21. Someone who thinks badly of the invocation of saints is not benefited by invoking God through Christ. 22. The invocation of some saint can sometimes be necessary for salvation. 23 The invocation of saints is safer and more useful. 24 - 25. An evasion of heretics is excluded.
LTHOUGH the king, as he himself says, numbers this invocation of saints among the novel and recent articles of the Roman Church, and although therefore he does simply neither approve it nor admit it, yet he does not sufficiently explain in what degree or for what very weighty cause he rejects it. For sometimes he signifies only that it is superfluous and that the other way of invoking God through Christ alone is safer and more efficacious for salvation, yet sometimes, by raising objection, he indicates that this invocation of saints is superstitious and prohibited. Three things, therefore, we must briefly show. First, that this custom is not new in the Roman Church but very ancient, and by perpetual tradition constant in the Catholic Church. Second, that it is not disordered but pious and religions. Third, that to make use of this invocation of saints is not less safe but more safe and more useful by far than to lack it. So we will show these things and make satisfaction to the objections that the king insinuates.
2. The antiquity, then, of this custom of praying to the saints who have finished life is shown first by the testimonies of the Fathers, whereby they hand down that the saints are to be honored; for they also teach at the same time that they are to be invoked by us and sometimes they place this very prayer as part of the cult and honor of the saints; but at other times they assign, among other causes for the cult, that, since the saints are solicitous for our salvation and pray for us, it is just that we honor them, or conversely they say that we honor them so that they may help us by their prayers, as Augustine says, Contra Faustum XX.21, and he has almost the same at De Civitate Dei XXI.27. Hence they frequently suppose, or openly teach, that the saint in heaven intercede with God for us. Which fact is handed on in general, although as if dealing with something else, by Popes Cornelius epist.1 to all the faithful, Anacletus epist.3, Leo Sermo 2 Apost. Petrus et Paulus, and Sermo 1 and 4 De Ieiunio Pentecost., and Sermo 5 De Ieiunio Septimi Mensis. Hilary on that verse of Psalm 124 :2: “As the mountains are round about.” Ambrose epist. 39 to Horatianum, and Book X on Luke 21 a little from the beginning, and best in bk De Viduis after the middle, and De Iacob et Vita Beata II.10, Gaudentius. Sermo De Petro et Paulo, Augustine, Quaestionum in Exodum II q .108. Again (best) on Psalm 85  at the end: “The Lord Jesus Christ still makes request for us; all the martyrs who are with him make request for us. Their requests do not pass away unless our sighs pass away.” And about St. Cyprian he said, De Baptismo VII.1: “They help us with their prayers.”
3. Thus too Jerome more diffusely against Vigilantius says: “If the apostles and martyrs when still constituted in the body can pray for others, when they still had to be concerned for themselves, by how much more after their crowns, and victories, and triumphs,” which he pursues at large. Hence, in epist. 25 to Paula on the death of her daughter Blesilla, he says: “For you the Lord makes request, and for me, as I am secure about his mind, he secures pardon for my sins.” In which words of the Fathers two things are to be considered: one is that the saints not only in general but also in particular pray for us and our necessities. The other is that from the fact the saints pray for us is very well collected that they can also be very honorably prayed to by us, because when we pray to them we most seek from them that they intercede for us, for as they know our necessities, so that they may pray for them, thus also do they hear our prayers, which they present to God, and because of them they are inclined to pray for us. Hence, the same Jerome, in his life of Hilarion at the end of the whole book, mentions the devotion of a certain holy Constantia who “was accustomed to spend nights in vigil at the tomb of Hilarion, and conversed with him as if with one present to help her prayers.” Cyprian finally, in his book De Mortalitate at the end, speaking of our heavenly fatherland says: “A great number of dear ones wait there for us, parents, brothers, sons; for us a populous and copious crowd longs, already secure of their immortality and still solicitous for our salvation.” And in his sermon De Stella, Magis, et de Innocentibus he says: “Translated from their cradles to heaven they are made senators and judges of the supernal capitol, obtaining pardon for many who are undeserving.” And epist. 57 to Cornelius he writes: “If any of us have already gone before from here by the swiftness of the divine regard, our love perseveres with the Lord, our prayer with the mercy of the Father does not cease for our brothers and sisters.” In which words (as Pamelius excellently notes) Cyprian openly supposes that the saints reigning with Christ, just as they pursue with the same charity the living whom they knew here, so also do they pray for them. And the same faith is shown by Cyprian, in De Habitu Virgin., when he says to virgins in his final words: “Be mindful then of us, when virginity begins to be honored in you.”
4. In St. Augustine there are infinite testimonies for the antiquity of this truth, some of which I will note. One is in tract. 1 on 1 John 2.1 about the words: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ,” which heretics are wont to object to us on this matter, and Augustine himself also objects to himself, saying: “But someone says: Therefore the saints do not ask on our behalf; therefore bishops or superiors do not ask on behalf of the people.” He responds, however: “But pay attention to the Scriptures, and see that superiors too commend themselves to the people; for the Apostle says to the people, ‘praying at the same time also for us’; the Apostle prays for the people, the people prays for the Apostle, we pray for you, brothers, but you too pray for us, let all the members pray for each other in turn, let the head for the members make request,” namely in a more excellent way, as he who is alone the propitiation for our sins, and through whom all others pray, whether they intercede for themselves or for others. Nor does it matter that there Augustine seems to be speaking about saints here living, both because in truth he does not restrict his words but speaks about saints absolutely, and also because the reason he insinuates when he says, “let the members pray for each other,” is general, because wayfarers are members, not only among themselves, but also with the blessed, in the one mystical body of Christ, and finally because, excepting Christ as singular advocate, Augustine establishes a general rule about the members, that they might be intercessors for their brothers, if others are in need. Add that in Sermo 44 De Tempore he speaks about the holy dead when he says: “Then without any doubt do the holy martyrs intercede for us when they recognize in us anything of their own virtues.” And in a certain tract about the exposition of the Creed, which was once Sermo 181 De Tempore, and is now placed 59 in the appendix, because it seemed to those in Louvain not to be Augustine’s but taken from the writings of Gregory, though to me it is redolent more of the phraseology and doctrine of Augustine than of Gregory, but however it be, certain is it at least that it is of great authority. In that place, then, ch. 13, “the communion of saints” he thus explains, “that is, we are with those saints who have died in the faith which we received, bound in society and communion of hope. If therefore we wish to have communion with the saints in eternal life, let us think about imitating them; for they should recognize in us something of their own virtues, so that they may deign to supplicate the Lord on our behalf.” In which two testimonies Augustine supposes another foundation for this truth, namely that after this life the saints know our actions and are, according to the exigencies of them, moved to pray on our behalf, which moving can most be done by prayers and petitions offered to them. There are also other places wherein Augustine, not only by teaching but also by praying, displays the antiquity of this custom, as in De Baptismo VII.1, after he said about blessed Cyprian that: “Now not by his body, which is being corrupted, weighed down, his soul gazes on truth,” he adds: “May he by his prayers help us who labor in the mortality of this flesh as in a murky cloud, so that, by the gift of the Lord, we may, as much as we can, imitate his works.” But especially in him can be seen chs. 24 and 40 Meditationes, where he most devoutly prays to all the saints in general and to several in particular. And although in his words many things can be noted whereby both the reason for, and the fruit of, prayers to the saints are made plain, yet to avoid prolixity I dismiss them and I will add some few things from the Greek Fathers.
5. Among these Fathers, Chrysostom very often commends the prayers for us of the saints, and he requires at the same time our cooperation through imitation of them, as in Homilia 79 to the people, at the end, and in a certain Sermo 2 Contra Desperationem, and on Psalm 48 :7 about the words: “A brother will not redeem, a man will redeem [alt. None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him],” where he asks, “What then? Are the prayers of the saints vacuous? By no means, but they have even great strength when you also bring help to them.” Which words someone might restrict to the saints here living; but in fact Chrysostom is speaking simply, and the reasoning is the same, as I will now say. He also speaks in the same way in Homilia 5 on Matthew. But especially to be noted is a place in Oratio 8, among the ten recently translated, near the end, where are contained these words: “We have our Lady, Holy Mary, Bearer of God, but we need the prayers of the apostles too. Let us also speak to Paul in the way that they of ancient times also did [Acts 16:9]: ‘Come over into Macedonia, and help us.’” In which words I note, by the by, that Chrysostom thinks that we can now speak with Paul in just the same way as others spoke with the same here living. And he subjoins: “Let us pray, as I said, to the holy, glorious Virgin and Bearer of God, Mary, let us pray to the saints and the splendid apostles, let us pray to the holy martyrs.” And later he elegantly teaches that we must not wait for a time of necessity to honor the saints and win them over to us, but we must anticipate them with honor and imitation. Which he also very aptly makes plain with human examples, and concludes: “Let us be, therefore, friends of the martyrs, not for necessity but for love; before the storm, when afflicted by storms, but in the storm so that we may find peace.”
6. Many like things can be taken from Basil, Homilia 20, which is about the forty martyrs, where among other things he says: “Help is prepared here for Christians. You have often labored to find one who prays for you; these are forty, uttering one voice of prayer, for where two or three are gathered in the name of the Lord there God is, but where there are forty, who may doubt that God is present? He who is oppressed by some difficulty, let him flee to these; he again who is glad, let him pray to these; the former to be freed from his evils, the latter to persist in his gladnesses.” Cyril of Jerusalem too, Catechesis 5 ‘mystagogica’, says: “In the unbloody sacrifice we make mention of the prophets, of the apostles, and of the martyrs, so that God by their entreaties and supplications may take up our prayers.” Again, Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus XII.10, expounding that verse of 1 Timothy 2.5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ,” says that Christ is the sole mediator naturally and substantially. “For otherwise,” he says, “how could Paul have said that Christ was the one mediator? For many of the saints have made use of the ministry of mediation.” And he adduces as example Paul and Moses, whose ministry was of another nature besides prayer; but he adds Jeremiah 18.:0, saying: “Chiefly when he called to God, ‘Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them.’” And in this way too he says that other apostles and prophets were mediators. And although he seem to be speaking about those here living, yet not only; for about the same Jeremiah already dead Onias already dead also said, 2 Maccabees 15:14: “This is a lover of his brothers and of the people of Israel, this is he who prays much for the people and the whole of the sacred city, Jeremiah the prophet of God.” And about the same Onias it is said, v.12, that he was seen stretching out his hands and praying for the people. And in this way is that testimony for confirming this truth used by Eusebius, De Praeparatione Evangelica XII.1
7. But one must notice that although, before the advent of Christ, dead saints might pray for the living, yet it is not read that living men prayed at that time to the dead, but to God, so that he might “hear the prayer of the dead,” as is said in Baruch 3:4; because dead saints did not then see God and thus they could not know the prayers of the living, except perhaps by special privilege. But now those established in the state of felicity are rightly prayed to, because by reason of their state they know all that pertains to them. For as Gregory said: “What do they not see who see him who sees everything?” Hence Apocalypse 5 twenty four elders were offering to God the prayers of the saints, which they could in no way do if they did not know those prayers. And therefore the angels too were always able not only to pray for men but also to be prayed to by men, because they always saw God; and thus also they could always know the prayers of men, however hidden, as is taken from Tobit 12, Daniel 10, Zachariah 1, and Apocalypse 8.
8. This is, finally, confirmed by the ancient Fathers in their speeches, or homilies, or even in their histories of saints; for very often, while speaking or writing, they either pour out prayers to the saints whom they are praising, or exhort the people to pray to them, or sometimes write that the saints themselves while living here promised their prayers after their death. Thus may one see from the saints cited in Ambrose in his second prayer before Mass, from Chrysostom in the place cited in the preceding chapter about the most Blessed Virgin, from Basil in the said homily 20, from Nyssa in his oration for the martyr Theodore, from Ephrem in the said oration about the praises of the Virgin, and from Nazianzen in oration 18 on Cyprian, 20 on Basil, and he thinks the same in oration 24 about Athanasius. There is also a very good oration in Victor of Utica ‘De Persecutione Vandalica’ Book III: “Entreat, patriarchs; pray, holy prophets; be supporters, apostles, especially you, blessed Peter, you, holy Paul master of the gentiles, and groan universally for us, holy apostles. We prostrate ask that you spurn not us your wretched sinners.”
9. Eusebius too, Historiae VI.4, elsewhere 5, about the virgin Potamiaena going to martyrdom reports that she bade a certain Basilides, one of the followers, who had treated her more humanely, to be of good heart. “For,” Eusebius says, “as soon as she departed from life she would beg from her God pardon and grace for him;” and VIII.17 about the virgin Theodosia he reports that she went up to certain holy confessors, who were sitting bound before the tribunal of the tyrant, “to implore them to remember her when they were with God,” and by that occasion she underwent martyrdom. Lastly Augustine, De Civitate Dei XXII.8, narrates about Petronia and Palladia and others that by their prayers at the tombs of the martyrs, and by the intercession of them, they miraculously obtained salvation. And like things we will touch on in the following point, and many other things are read in the ancient Fathers, which they themselves report as true and known to them, and therefore by no prudent person can they be thought frivolities but reckoned most worthy of human faith, some things from which we will refer to in the following point. Add, and this is chief, that the Fathers who report these things most certainly believed that that way of praying, obtaining, and doing miracles was very honorable and used frequently in the Catholic Church.
10. From these the result is manifest that faith in the intercessions of saints and the custom of invoking them to ask for their intercessions are not new things but very ancient in the Catholic Church, which is what we proposed as needing in the first place to be proved. Hence, indeed, that remains to be proved which we promised in the second place, that this rite of praying to the saints is neither superstitious nor evil but holy and pleasing to God. For who would rather believe Luther, Calvin, and the like innovators, who reject the prayers of the saints and in this respect are followers of the heretics Vigilantius, Constantinus Copronymus, and others similar, than Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Basil, Nazianzen, Chrysostom, and other similar Fathers, who by word and example approve of this prayer; nay who also report that God has approved and confirmed it with the great miracles that Christ placed among the most powerful signs of his Church? But such is this truth that it might not only be believed by authority but also made convincing by reason among those who do not corrupt any of the foundations or principles of our faith.
11. For one of the principles, contained even in Scripture itself, is that it is holy and pleasing to God that one person intercede for another with God by prayer. For Paul, 1 Timothy 2, beseeches for prayers to be made for king, princes, &c., and Ephesians 6 he prescribes prayer for all the saints, that is, for the faithful, and James 5 says, v.1 6: “Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Which he confirms with the example of Elias, 3 Kings [1 Kings] 17. And the primitive Church teaches us the same by its own example when it prayed to God for Peter, Acts 12, nay Christ the Lord by his own example shows the same, John 17 and Luke 22 and 23. Hence therefore do we manifestly collect that it is holy and pleasing to Christ that men who are reigning with him should intercede with him for pilgrim men, because in both, namely in wayfarers and the blessed, there is need of the same integrity and religion in respect of God, and of charity in respect of those for whom prayer is made; nor can a reason be imagined on account of which this reason should be admitted in a man living in a mortal body and not admitted in a glorious spirit more pleasing to God, for this intercession is not incongruous to the state of the blessed but most decent and fitting. And therefore Sacred Scripture also commends this prayer as well in the blessed angels as in holy or glorious souls, or even souls not yet having secured glory, as we proved above from the books of the Maccabees, and the Apocalypse, Tobias, and Daniel.
12. Another principle of the faith is that it is holy and accordingly pleasing to Christ for one man to ask of another that he pray for him for something that is lawful and that has the other conditions requisite for honest prayer. This, to be sure, is evident by natural reason, because he who asks of another that he pray for him requests of him a lawful act, which both cedes of itself to the glory of God and can be useful to each, namely to the asker and to him whom he asks; why then will that prayer not be most honest? Next, the most serene James [ = the apostle James, not King James?] acted rightly in admonishing the faithful to pray for each other, and in most holy way did Paul prescribe vigils in entreaty for all the saints, Ephesians 6, where he also adds, v.19: “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me &c.” and in Colossians 4:2 - 3: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, &.” And the like is contained in 2 Thessalonians 3; therefore it is similarly licit for any wayfarer to ask of a faithful other to pray for him, for this is not more prohibited to us than to Paul, nor can we have less need of others’ prayers than Paul.
13. From these principles, therefore, we evidently collect that it is holy and pleasing to God to ask men who have finished life, whom we believe to be holy and already blessed, to pray for us. The inference is proved, because no reason or occasion of malice or disorder can be thought of in this act more than in the petition which is made by a man living among us; for the difference that can be thought up by adversaries can only be founded on a defect of faith. For either they believe that just men departed this life do not see God nor are made blessed until the end of the world, but this is against the Catholic Faith as well as against that which for the most part is received by English Protestants. Or perhaps they fear that they to whom we pray are not just and happy, and this hesitation with respect to the saints whom the Universal Church venerates is also against the integrity of the faith, as we have shown. Or finally they fear that dead men, even if they are happy, do not hear our prayers, and this too is against sound doctrine sufficiently approved by the Church. Apart from the fact that such suspicion or fear has no likely foundation, because it is very easy for God to provide this knowledge to the saints reigning with him, and it is very conformable to the providence of God himself that he should provide it, both for fulfilling their just desire, and also because it is very conformable to their and our state that we should be able to have some spiritual communication between us, since we are members of the same body whose head is Christ, as is taken from Paul, Ephesians 1 and 4.
14. .From these, then, we at length thus conclude, that to pray to and invoke the saints reigning with Christ is neither bad from the nature of the thing nor even is it prohibited, hence altogether it is good and licit. The consequence is per se evident. The major has been demonstrated by running through all the circumstances of this action and by comparing it with like petition among the living. But the minor is also easily shown, because the prohibition is not of divine positive right, because it is not found in Scripture, and the tradition of the Church shows rather that divine right permits or approves this rite of praying; nor even is it prohibited by ecclesiastical right, as is known per se; for rather the contrary error has been condemned in many Councils and most recently in the Council of Trent. Hence although the Church does not wholly prescribe praying to saints, yet it prescribes to everyone to think rightly about the invocation of saints, and it counsels prayer of this sort to all, and sometimes it prescribes this prayer to some of its ministers, by instituting a special mode and rite of praying to the saints in divine and public offices, which priests and ministers of the Church are bound to observe. On every head, therefore, prayer of this sort is holy and religious.
15. Now against this Catholic doctrine the king indicates certain objections, which, although they are proposed by him cursorily and as it were timidly, must not be omitted. The first he takes from the words of Christ in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” From which words he seems to have wanted to collect that only Christ must be approached to intercede for us and to aid our necessities. However, the sense of Christ’s words is that he himself is the sole Redeemer who can take away the burden and labors and punishments contracted from sins, and the same is author of the grace of the Law of the Gospel which has freed us from the burden of the Old Law. Therefore Christ calls us to himself as to the physician and author of salvation. And in this way the exclusive proposition is true, namely that Christ so calls us to himself that he permits us to go to no other. But by this he did not prohibit us from invoking the saints as intercessors with Christ himself, or with God through himself; nor did any of the holy Fathers make an inference of this sort, or accommodate those words to the present matter, or otherwise understand them. The fact can be seen in St. Jerome on that place, in Chrysostom, Homilia 39 on Matthew, in Augustine Sermo 9 and 10 De Verbis Domini, whom other expositors, Latin and Greek, imitate. And this place can be made plain from other places in which coming to Christ signifies the same as to believe in him. For in this sense he said in John 6:35: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” And again, v .37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” that is, I will receive him into my grace, and I will communicate to him the fruit of my redemption. In this way, then, are we bidden to come to Christ alone, because, Acts 4:12, “there is none other name…given among men, whereby we must be saved.” But this does not prevent us being able to approach the saints in prayer, so that they might, from him and through him, obtain help for us, so that we should come to him, or, if we have already come, that we should not go away from him. For in this way we have, notwithstanding the sufficiency of Christ’s redemption, rightly sought from the living that they should pray for us.
16. A second objection is that Paul, in Colossians 2.18-23, “prohibited humility and religion of angels, and all cult of veneration of this sort in superstition and humility, not for sparing the body, not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.” In this way does the king put forward Paul’s words, and does not further declare how anything may from them be collected against the invocation of saints, although however they are for that purpose referred to by him; for otherwise wrongly and irrelevantly would he there put them forward. Yet the intention of Paul is very different, as is manifestly clear from the context and the exposition of all the Fathers. For Paul had warned the Colossians that, as they had received Jesus Christ the Lord, so should they walk in him, rooted and built up in him [vv. 6 - 7]. Hence he later infers, v. 16: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat &c.” By which words he teaches them to beware of Jewish ceremonies and legal observance; but next he adds, v. 18: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping [alt. religion] of angels,” by which words he does not prohibit due veneration and invocation of the holy angels, as the innovators think, for this can neither be collected from Paul’s words nor from the Fathers and expositors. Hence some conjoin the latter clause with the preceding one and understand everything of legal observances. However, the more common and more literal exposition is that the former words are said by Paul against the error of certain heretics, who said that the angels were the makers of this world and that one must go to God through them and not through Christ. Which is reported by Epiphanius, Haeresis 21, to have been the heresy of Simon Magus; and the fact that the Apostle wanted to condemn it was taught on that place by Chrysostom, Homilia 7, whom Oecumenius and Theophylact follow, who explain that those heretics said, by a pretended humility, that one should not be brought to God through Christ because this was greater than what we could accomplish, but that it was more suitable for us to go to him through angels, and therefore they introduced a special cult and religion of angels; and this, they affirm, is what Paul prohibited.
17. But Theodoret a little differently says there that the same persons who were defending observance of the Old Law gave inducement to the cult of angels by saying that the law was given through them, and he reports that the Council of Laodicea for this reason prohibited the cult of angels. For he seems to have in this way read canon 35 of that Council which, according to the ancient version and that of Gentianus, contains thus: “One should not leave the Church of God and go away and name angels and make congregations, which things are known to be prohibited. If someone, then, will have been found in service to this idolatry, let him be anathema, because he has left our Lord Jesus Christ.” But another translation does not read ‘angels’ but ‘angles’ and it condemns those who were congregating in corners to honor idols. However the first reading is more likely since Theodoret, a Greek author and close to that time, so reports the canon. Yet it is clear that not every cult of angels was there condemned, but the one which separates from the Church and from Christ, preferring the law given by angels to the law of Christ, as Theodoret intends. But in another way Tertullian, in his book De Praescriptionibus ch. 33, says generally: “Simon’s doctrine of magic, in the service of angels, was itself too certainly deputed among idolatries.” Hence it is a likely conjecture that Paul understood by religion of angels every superstitious cult that is by the art of magic given to the bad angels. But whatever it was that is called ‘religion of angels’ by Paul, it is certain that it was superstitious and belonged to idolatry, as Jerome expounds epist. 151 to Algasia, q.10, who expounds the words of the Jews who, after the death of Christ and the abolition of the law, “whatever victims they offer, do not offer them to God but to fugitive angels and impure spirits.” But Augustine epist.59 to Paulinus says generally that the words were said by Paul, “because of the superstitions of the gentiles, wishing (he says) that by angels be understood principalities which, as placed over the elements of this world, they think should be honored in these observances;” and about these observances he says that through them it happens “that the heart of man is rendered humble as if by religion with a false humility, that makes more puffed up,” as he says later. Very far distant, therefore, is such superstition from the cult and invocation of the saints, whether men or angels.
18. Next must be pondered the words which say, vv. 18 - 19: “Let no man beguile you…in a voluntary humility,” that is, a false one, “and worshipping of angels,” that is, bad angels, “things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” For these words cannot fit the Catholic Church insofar as it honors and invokes the saints. Because this does not make things vainly puffed up by fleshly mind, but things taught by the examples and doctrines, founded on divine Scripture, of the holy Fathers. Nor does it depart, through this cult, from the Head, which is Christ, but rather refers to him the whole cult of the saints, for it professes that all the saints make entreaty through him and intercede to him also for us. And thus neither does it introduce a false humility nor a false religion, nor does it impede the increase of the body of Christ through the influx of grace flowing from him, but rather, though this knitting together and communication of all the members, the unity and sanctification of this whole body is better perfected. Wherefore, indeed, such words can by greater reason be turned against Protestants, and we can with these words address the most serene king: “Let no man beguile you &c.” for Protestants are indeed beguiling the king, “puffed up by their fleshly mind,” because they do not wish to be taught either by the Church or by the Fathers, “but by the sweet name of knowledge” (as Augustine above says) “they beguile” the king “and turn him away from the light of truth, which is Christ Jesus.” Hence, although they confess Christ with their mouth, they do not in fact hold the Head, from which all the body increases in the Lord, because they cannot hold the same head who do not wish to be in his body, nor can they increase in him by joints and bands who refuse the union and communication of the saints. Next, although these fellows do not openly invent a religion of angels to worship, yet they do invent a religion of the angels by whom they are deceived, and through whom they beguile others. The said words of Paul, then, if they are considered according to their proper sense, contain a rebuke to the gentiles not to the Catholic Church. But if they are looked on according to the general doctrine which they include, they refute and convict all heretics, and especially Protestants.
19. The third objection is indicated in these words by the king: “But with what confidence or by what author recourse is had to those household or tutelary gods, courtiers and familiars, as it were, of God Greatest and Best, I for my part know not. I would leave it to them to prove who have corrupted theology with a new way of disputing and philosophizing.” Not unjustly indeed, before I respond, can I with Augustine, epist. 44 to Maximus, ask: “Is something serious at issue between us, or does it please you to jest?” For I cannot believe that the king wanted to renew the memory of household and tutelary gods unless he preferred to jest rather than to raise a serious issue. But if these things seem so light to the king, we do not have leisure to jest. But if these are thought to be grave matters, it is a wonder that he wished by the absurdity or paganism of the names of household and tutelary gods to terrify the ignorant. For the king cannot be ignorant that no dead man is by Catholic Christians called God or honored or invoked as divine. “And no otherwise,” says Theodoret, Book VIII Contra Graecos, “are guardians over cities and presidents over places venerated, by use of whose prayers and intervention with God divine services are at last secured.” And a little later: “Why then do you conceive indignation against us, since none, indeed, of our men do we refer to as gods, although we pay due honors to martyrs as to witnesses of God and his most dear servants?”
20. We set aside, then, and contemn the name of gods; but that the king says he is ignorant of the confidence wherewith we have recourse to the intercession of saints is, surely, no wonder; for faith is the foundation of confidence, and therefore where true faith is not confidence cannot be. We, however, believe that the just who have finished life and reign with Christ intercede with God for men who are pilgrims in this life, and that God hears their prayers because of Christ; and with this confidence do we go to them, not doubting but that they hear our petitions, and receive them kindly with great charity. We can also ask the king whether sometimes he request of his subjects, whom he believes to be faithful, to pray to God for him. For if he condemns this he contradicts Paul who both requested prayers for himself and admonished that prayers be said for kings; but if he approves of it and does it, I ask with what confidence he does it; certainly with no other than with that founded on some faith; with similar confidence, therefore, we go to the saints who have finished life, because we believe that they can with God care neither less nor with less charity for our affairs. Hence when again the king asks with what author we dare this, we confidently reply, in the first place, that we do it with the Holy Spirit as principal author; for he is the principal author who teaches the Church of Christ, and suggests all truth to it. Next, that we do it also with Christ as author, both because he himself tells us to hear his Church; and also because he taught us through his apostles to pray for each other, and through the successors of the apostles, whom he himself gave to the Church as pastors and doctors, he has, not only by their word but also by their example, taught us to invoke also the saints who have finished life. For it is in these ways that I have hitherto shown with what faith the saints are invoked. Nor do I fear to be comprehended in the number of them whom the king, deceived by the false calumny of Protestants, calls corruptors of theology. For this is not a judgment of truth but the abuse of heretics, in which a Catholic theologian and doctor accordingly glories.
21. There remains for us to show that the invocation of the saints not only lacks superstition but is also safer and more useful, for this we proposed in the final place, since the king’s words demand this of us; for he subjoins: “Enough is it for me to invoke God through Jesus Christ as we are bid, and to tread this safer and so, in things that have regard to the faith, more effective way.” In which point it is necessary to separate the work from the faith, and the use from the judgment. For although it could perhaps be enough for salvation for someone to invoke God through Jesus Christ, even if he do not invoke the saints, yet invocation through Christ will not alone be enough for salvation if he think or judge badly about the invocation of saints. Because by this judgment he is established a stubborn heretic; but for an heretic man the invocation alone of Christ cannot be of benefit, because it can be neither from true and Catholic faith nor joined with charity. Next, although on a man who thinks rightly about the faith of invoking saints the use of such invocation cannot be imposed under necessity of precept, and therefore invoking God through Christ could for him be enough, yet for many people, on whom there is incumbent, by office and debt and precept, the necessity of invoking the saints, invoking God through Christ is not enough, unless, by invoking the saints, they satisfy the obligation and precept imposed on them. Because although the redemption and intervention of Christ be of itself sufficient for our salvation, yet it requires our cooperation and obedience to the precepts, and therefore, although he be invoked by some despiser of the precepts, it is not enough for salvation, nor is such invocation heard by Christ himself or by God through Christ.
22. We add besides that, although the invocation of some saint, considered absolutely and in itself, not be necessary for salvation, it can sometimes happen that by divine ordinance and marvelous providence it is necessary. But if the king do not understand or believe this, let him read Augustine in Sermo 1 and 4 De Sanctis, when he says: “If Stephen had not thus prayed the Church would not have had Paul; but therefore was Paul raised up from the earth because Stephen bent to the earth was heard.” Although, then, it could have been enough for salvation for Paul to invoke God through Christ, nevertheless, on the witness of Augustine, the intercession of Stephen was necessary for him for salvation; namely, because it was well pleasing to God to call Paul through such a medium, and not otherwise, to the knowledge and invocation of Christ. Thus, therefore, could it happen in other men and predestined persons, that the salvation of one saint be preordained through the intercession of another saint; and that the saint would not intercede for him unless he was invoked by him. In this way, then, the intercession of one man for another, and consequently the invocation, can, by reason of divine providence, be necessary for him who invokes a saint, and for whom the saint intercedes, effectively to obtain salvation. Wherefore neither securely nor piously is it said that it is more satisfactory to invoke God through Christ alone, because although the one is commanded the other is not excluded, and because there is need of divine help for invoking God through Christ as one should, which help is sometimes to be obtained through the invocation of some saint.
23. From which the conclusion is more evidently drawn that it is not only safer but also more useful to use invocation of the saints sometimes than altogether to pass it over. Safer indeed, both because he who altogether passes it over seems to despise or contemn it, which is dangerous, and although perhaps he not contemn it, he exposes himself to the danger of it, which is not safe. And most of all because in this invocation, when done from correct faith, there can be nothing of danger to salvation, since it is pious and pleasing to God; and, from another perspective, it can happen, as I said, that God has determined to save someone when he prays through this medium, or to give him the good he desires; therefore, so far from being safer, it is not sufficiently safe to abstain from imploring the patronage of the saints. The multiple utility, indeed, of this invocation is sufficiently indicated in many prayers of the Church. One is, “that what we cannot do by our own merits, we may achieve by the patronage of the saints;” another could be, that God lavishes on “a multiplication of intercessors” what perhaps he would not concede to the request of someone praying alone.
24. But the Protestants say that God is not like a man, that he should respect persons, for God is not an acceptor of persons, and therefore neither the quality of the one praying nor the multitude of those interceding confers anything on obtaining requests. But this is advanced both against reason and against Scripture. For it is one thing to accept a person and another to weigh the dignity of a person or his condition as it pertains to the business. For the acceptance of persons in common usage, and in the mentioned words of Scripture, bespeaks a vice of distribution or donation, wherein the condition of a person is taken into consideration when it is of no importance to the cause and does not render the person suitable or worthy of such offering or gift. But in the present case, to be sure, such acceptance of persons has no place; for the sanctity of the person praying or interceding is such a condition of a person as renders him more worthy of obtaining his request, and consequently a multitude too of persons entreating, insofar as in them both greater merits and some increase of sanctity are considered, renders their prayer more efficacious with God. For not without cause did James ch. 5 say that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, but because, although the prayer of a sinner sometimes obtains its request, the prayer of a righteous man is much more easily heard. Otherwise, if God does not respect the face of the one praying, and does not consider his condition, why did he say to Job’s friends, 42:8: “Go to my servant Job…and my servant Job will pray for you; for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly,” except because he was, on account of Job’s sanctity and patience, going to hear his prayer rather than theirs? And conversely, to magnify his anger, the Lord said through Ezekiel 14:13 - 14: “When the land sinneth… Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it &c.” As if he were to say, although they might please me most, still I will not hear them praying for such a people; because the intercession of many and very holy men is not enough if he for whom they pray does not cooperate, as Chrysostom noted, Homilia 79 to the people, where he nevertheless shows that the prayer of many is more effective; which he also pursues at large in Orat. 3 De Incomprehensibili Dei Natura.
25. Also much to be noted for this proposition is the prayer of Gregory of Nyssa to the martyr Theodore near the end when, after he had asked many things from the martyr, he subjoins: “But if there is need of greater support and entreaty, compel also the choir of your brother martyrs and pray together with them all; may the prayers of many just men purge the sins of multitudes and of peoples; admonish Peter, stir up Paul, John too the theologian and beloved disciple, so that they may be solicitous for the churches they established &c.” Much more, then, are our prayers, when joined with the intercessions of the saints, made more effective and hence more useful. Nor for that reason is the cult of God or Christ diminished but increased, because while we invoke the saints we revere more the divine majesty and we recognize our own unworthiness, and through the saints we desire to honor and glorify God more, and to give him thanks for so many benefits. Because, as Ambrose rightly said, Sermo 14 De Sanctis Nazario et Celso : “His immense piety, multiple in goodness and an artisan for salvation, proposing the arduous palm of the virtues, precious to the rare seeker, sees ahead in the triumphs of the few to the advantages of the many, since indeed it wishes their merits to be our suffrage.” Which he later magnifies adding that, although some saint “be thought to be, by the privilege of his tomb, peculiar” to some place, “yet he belongs to all by the communion of suffrage, for he is not enclosed in places who is diffused in his merits. You have called on the martyr everywhere; everywhere he who is honored in his martyr will hear you.” Rightly, then, has the Catholic Church chosen and always retained the invocation of the saints as more pious and pleasing to God and as safer and more useful to itself.
ON THE CUSTODY AND VENERATION OF HOLY RELICS
1. What cult King James attributes to the relics of saints. 2. That the relics of saints are adored by Catholics with the cult of worship is falsely invented by Protestants. 3. The calumny of heretics is refuted from the Fathers. 4. Catholics venerate saints and their relics with the same cult. 5 - 6. The relics of saints are to be approached with a higher than civil cult. 7. The veneration of relics is pleasing to God. 8. The same truth is confirmed by miracles. 9. By the relics of saints demons are put to flight. 10 - 15. The public display of parts of relics is ancient and holy. 16. Relics, although not parts of saints, claim for themselves the same veneration.
N this point the king carps most strongly at two things, namely at the veneration of relics and the practice of keeping separately small parts of the bodies of saints so that they might be seen or touched by the Christian populace. First, however, to hide his wound and so as not to seem to be thinking in company with Julian the Apostate and Constantinus Copronymus and other heretics, who detest the relics of saints, he prefaces certain words wherewith to show that he does regard with honor the relics of saints, saying: “But as to the relics of saints, if I were to have any of the sort that are clearly parts of holy bodies, I would inter them solemnly in honorable tombs.” Here I praise the zeal of the king; but I grieve that it may not be according to the faith. For in that he judges the relics of saints to be worthy of some honor he judges rightly; yet he insinuates that the relics of saints are to be buried not with religious cult but only with civil honor; but if he thinks thus, he does not think rightly, nor according to the Catholic Faith. That he did indeed speak in this sense is made sufficiently plain by the words he a little later subjoins, wherein he says that “the adoration of relics he holds for intolerable idolatry, and he abominates it.”
2. Now in these words I take note, in the first place, that although, when dealing above with the cult of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, he did not use the word ‘adore’ but ‘venerate’ and ‘honor’, here, changing the locution, he abominates the ‘adoration’ of relics. I ask, therefore, in what sense or with what signification he accepts the name of ‘adoration’; for if he understands by the name of ‘adoration’ that perfect and absolute and highest worship which is due to God alone, rightly indeed does he abominate them who adore the bones or bodies of martyrs with the true worship due only to God; and wrongly does he attribute such mode of adoring to the Church. Which assuredly he will be convicted of doing, since the adoration of relics which he abominates he intends to number among the articles of the Roman Church.
3. Let him know, then, that this calumny is neither new nor needs other response than the one given by the ancient Fathers. For Augustine in reply to the gentile philosopher Maximus, who in epist. 43 had so written to Augustine that he seemed ignorantly to brand Christians with this note of idolatry, says thus in epist. 44 near the end: “In sum, however, lest this should escape you and draw you imprudently into sacrilegious abuse, know that by Catholic Christians, whose Church is established in your town too, none of the dead is honored with cult, nor finally is anything adored as a god that is made and built by God, but the one God himself, who made and built everything.” Jerome indeed against Vigilantius, who more impudently imputed the same calumny to the Church, speaks in this way in epist.53, that: “he opens his stinking mouth again and brings forth his most foul smell against the relics of the holy martyrs, and us who take them up he calls ash-warmers and idolaters because we venerate the bones of dead men.” And later: “But we honor and worship, I do not say the relics of martyrs, but not even the sun or the moon, nor angels, nor archangels, nor cherubim, nor seraphim, or any divine presence that is named, neither in the present age, nor in the age to come, lest we serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. But we honor the relics of the martyrs so that we may adore him of whom they are the martyrs.” In which words I note that Jerome purposely used the words ‘venerate’ and ‘honor’, so as to avoid the calumny of the heretic, and he reserved the word ‘adore’ for God. And he observes the same in another book against Vigilantius, where he calls relics “venerable bones,” which veneration Vigilantius denied, imputing the stain of idolatry to the Church because of it; against whom Jerome says: “Who, O insane head, ever at any time adored the martyrs? Who supposed a man God?” From which words too, and from those said above, an evident reason is concluded. For if the faithful do not adore in that way the martyrs themselves or their blessed spirits, as was declared above, much less will they thus adore their relics and dead bodies. Which reason does not thus proceed of relics pertaining to Christ the Lord, because to Christ is owed special adoration; but how his relics are to be vener ated we will say below.
4. But if the king does not so strictly understand the name ‘adoration’, why did he not use the name ‘veneration’ to avoid the invidiousness and ambiguity of the word? Or (which comes more properly to the thing), what is it that he abominates in the adoration of relics, since he himself confesses that the relics of saints are worthy of some honor? I certainly do not see what could displease him except that relics as things sacred we also venerate with sacred and religious acts. But in this point also (if so he thinks) he contradicts the whole antiquity of the Church, and does not differ from condemned ancient heretics, Eunomius, Vigilantius, and the like. Which can in various ways briefly be shown. First, because the Fathers teach for this reason that relics should be venerated, because their honor is the veneration of the saints whose relics they are, and hence the Fathers make plain that the saints and their relics are to be honored with the same signs, actions, and things. Because the cult of relics is so conjoined with the honor of the saints that one cannot be at all separated from the other, because the reason for each is the same, namely the excellence of sanctity, which properly and, as they say, formally exists in the mind, and by a certain participation and relation redounds to the body and other relics. Which true and Catholic doctrine is in these words very eloquently declared by Ambrose, in the said Sermo 14 at the end, where at the same time he proposes and overturns the foundation of the adversaries: “But if you say to me: What do you honor in flesh already undone and used up, for which God has now no care? And where is that, most dear ones, which Truth itself speaks through the Prophet [Psalm 116:15]. Precious, he says, in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. And again [Psalm139:17]: how precious also are thy friends [alt. thoughts] unto me, O God! We should honor the servants of God, how much more the friends of God? Of whom it is in another place said [Psalm 34:20]: the Lord, he says, keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. I honor, therefore, in the flesh of a martyr the scars received in the name of Christ; I honor the memory of one who lives with the everlastingness of virtue; I honor the ashes made sacred by confession of the Lord; I honor in ashes the seeds of eternity; I honor the body which showed me how to love my Lord, which taught me not to fear death on account of the Lord. But why may not the faithful honor the body which even demons revere? Which they also afflicted with suffering but glorify in the grave? I honor therefore the body which Christ honored in the sword but which will reign with Christ in the heavens.”
5. By the reason, then, for honoring these relics, which is much higher than any human justice or political dignity, we rightly collect that the honor too is higher and is thus sacred, and ought to be furnished through sacred things. And thus does the same Ambrose, epist. 58 to the faithful in all Italy &c., report that there was revealed to him the building of a church in the name of Gervasius and Protasius wherein to put their bodies, which without doubt pertains to sacred honor. At the end of the epistle too he places these words reported from a book found with the relics: “I, the servant of Christ, Philip, together with my son took away the holy bodies secretly at night, and in my house, God alone being my witness, I buried them in this stone coffin, believing that by their prayers the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ follows me.” He honored them, therefore, with a higher mind and faith than the bodies of the dead are wont to be treated by merely civil honor, but it is the mind and affection that constitutes and distinguishes the quality of the cult. And in the same way the same Ambrose, epist. 55 at the end, to the same people of Italy about the finding of the relics of Saints Vitalis and Agricola, thus concludes: “These few things and in brief, most beloved brothers, we have cared to signify to you about the finding of the bodies of the holy martyrs, so that you may be able to make memorial of them in the churches.”
6. And Eusebius thinks in a like way and for the same reason about the cult of relics, De Praeparatione Evangelica XIII.7 near the beginning, where he says: “These things we do daily, we who, honoring the soldiers of true piety as friends of God, go also to their monuments and make vows to them as to holy men, by whose intercession to God we profess to be not a little aided.” How, finally, vows can and should be made to saints has been explained by us elsewhere. But it is certain that they contain sacred cult and are made properly to God in honor of the saints reigning with Christ. But Eusebius adds that they are wont specially to take place around the monuments of the saints, so that the same cult may in some way redound to the honor also of relics. And many like things are contained in Theodoret Book VIII to the Greeks, and in Gregory of Tours, De Historia Francorum II.37, and there is collected also from these what Augustine relates in Contra Faustum XX.3. About this sacred honor, indeed, the Fathers speak as often as they speak about the honor of relics, as can be seen in Jerome epist. 7 to Laeta at the beginning. “The people pour in,” he says, “and run to the tombs of the martyrs before the half ruined shrines; if prudence does not extort faith, shame at least does so;” and epist. 7 to Eustochius: “Everywhere,” he says, “we venerate the tombs of the martyrs, and putting holy ash to our eyes, if it be licit, we touch them even with our mouth.” There are like things in his life of Hilarion, and in his epitaph on Paula, and often elsewhere. Augustine too, De Cura pro Mortuis Agenda chs. 17 and 18, Basil Homilia on the forty martyrs, Gregory of Nazianzen Orat. 18 on Cyprian, and, the best Chrysostom, Homilia 66 to the people, where among other things are these most worthy of note: “Even he who has put on purple comes to embrace the tombs, and setting his grandeur aside he stands to make supplication to the saints;” and Homilia on Psalm 115: “Behold,” he says, “the citizens &c.”
7. Finally, that in this kind of cult nothing is done contrary to the religion of God, nay that it is most pleasing to God, is made perspicuous by reason, and God has himself often given approval by miracles. The reason is clear from what was said, that the bones of dead saints are not given the cult of divine honor; therefore, on this side, there is nothing done in this cult against the religion due to God. Next, the bones are not honored from false estimation or superstition, as if they perceived the honor done to them, or had an excellence in themselves because of which the honor was shown; for to offer with this mind even civil honor to them would be plainly discordant and foolish. They are honored, then, from the faith whereby we believe that they are instruments and vessels which the Holy Spirit has used for good works, as Augustine wrote rather shrewdly, De Civitate Dei I.13. And because the whole of it redounds to the honor of holy souls, which we also believe are not ignorant and hold the service to be pleasing which is done them in their bodies by the faithful; therefore no one using right reason can accuse this cult of but the slightest disorder even against service [dulia] much less against worship [latria].
8. The multiple testimony, next, of God through miracles is referred to by the ancient holy Fathers, and Ambrose should especially be looked at in the said epist. 53 and 55 and epist. 54 to his sister Marcellina, where among other things he says: “While we were transferring the bodies of the saints, a blind man was cured &c.” Which miracle along with others he defends against the calumnies of heretics most constantly in Sermo 5 on the same saints Gervasius and Protasius, which should by all means be looked at. And the same miracles (so that in the mouth of two eye-witnesses and of very great authority this word might be indisputable) are recognized by Augustine in Confessiones IX.7, and also in the said book De Cura pro Mortuis Agenda ch. 17, and De Civitate Dei XXII.8, where he reports many other things about the relics of Stephen and other saints. And therefore in epist. 103, commending Galla and Simpliciola to bishop Tincianus, he says: “They carry the relics of the most blessed and most glorious martyr Stephen, which your holiness is not ignorant how you ought suitably to honor, even as we also did.” Many other things too are related by Theodoret in the said Book VIII to the Greeks.
9. The Fathers in addition frequently confirm this truth with the example of Elisha, whose bones woke up a dead man, as one may see in Clement, Book VI, Constit. last chapter, in Chrysostom Orat. in praise of the martyr Ignatius, and particularly in Cyril of Jerusalem Catechesis 18. For he says it was done: “So that not only might the souls of the saints be honored, but that it might be believed that there is also in the bodies of the dead virtue or power, because they were inhabited for so many years by the just souls which used the ministry of them.” Next, to this testimony has regard the efficacy of the relics of martyrs against demons, both for expelling them and for coercing them not to give responses in idols. In which class there is a beautiful story about the relics of the martyr St. Babilas, which the impious Julian ordered to be transferred out of a certain tomb, because they were impeding Apollo from giving responses in a nearby place to the gentiles; but the church of the faithful, with great faith and alacrity, runs together to transfer the coffin of the martyr, which they carried off singing psalms with loud clamors, saying in exultation: “Let all be confounded who adore graven images and confide in their statues.” So is it reported in the life of Athanasius from Sozomen bk.5 Historiae chs.18 and 19; and the same is reported by other ecclesiastical histories, Ruffinus II.35, Theodoret III.9, and Socrates III.16. So far, then, is the veneration of relics from idolatry that it is rather a most efficacious argument for confounding it.
10. But because the King of England is particularly offended and upset by the custom of separating pieces of relics or holy bodies and showing or presenting them publicly, for that reason it is necessary to give special demonstration also of the antiquity and piety of this custom. For so ancient is this religious practice toward the martyrs that Theodoret thus writes about them in the said Book VIII: “The souls indeed of the triumphant martyrs lead now their life in the heavenly fatherland, placed among the choirs of angels, but their bodies are not indeed individually buried in individual monuments, but cities, towns, and convents in the country have divided them by lot among themselves, and do not cease to confess that they are beneficial for souls in trouble and diseased bodies.” And the same custom and its reason is in a brief but grave and remarkable opinion explained, as is his wont, by Ambrose in the said Sermo 4 on the saints Nazarius and Celsus, where he first said: “The happy peoples of individual cities rejoice if they are fortified by the relics of at least one martyr. Behold we possess peoples of martyrs.” But next he thus subjoins: “Blessed Nazarius, therefore, the martyr of Christ, although he retain with him his whole body in the holy Church of Milan, yet he has to the world too transmitted it whole in benediction.” And he adds the reason, which we now give: “For this is the glory of the holy martyrs, of whom although a portion is sown in ashes throughout the whole world, yet their fullness in virtues remains complete.” As if he were to say that with great prudence and piety are the relics of the martyrs communicated part by part to the faithful, since also the whole nature of veneration can be observed in them singly, so that the saints are wholly honored in them, and their whole virtue too for obtaining benefits and miracles from God through such instruments and intercessions of saints is found in them singly.
11. Thus too did Basil say in the said Homilia 20, on the holy forty martyrs: “These are they who, in possession of our region, furnish refuge like sorts of towers against the incursions of adversaries, nor do they shut themselves in one place but, received as guests in many places, they have adorned the fatherlands of many; nor yet separated but mixed together; they do not, if you divided them into individuals, exceed their proper number.” And later: “For if these forty are one, they are also all among each.” Thus again Gregory Nazianzen, in Orat. 3, which is the first against Julian, § Non Victimas, adds, among other praises of the martyrs: “Whose bodies even alone have the same power as their holy souls, whether they are touched or honored, whose drops of blood even alone and the tiny signs of their passion have the same power as their bodies.” And in his iambic poem 18 he thus writes: “Even a speck of dust has as it were the truth of great veneration, the way even some particles of old bones, or a little hair, or clothing, or some marks of shed blood, have equal cult with the whole body.” Hence in like manner Orat. 18 on Cyprian while narrating his miracles says that: “even the ashes of Cyprian performed miracles.”
12. And Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. on the martyr St. Theodore, with greater exaggeration says that “he may permit the taking away of the dust which covers the repository where the body of the martyr rests; the dust is received as a gift and the stored earth is collected as a thing of great price. For how much touching the relics themselves is to be longed and wished for, if it happen to be licit so to do, and is the gift of the highest prayers, they know who have experienced it and have been granted their longing.” But, from the words which he subjoins, we can learn the cause for which some parts of the relics of the martyrs are kept separate, so that they may be looked on with faith and piety and, if there be need, embraced for spiritual fruit. For as the same saint subjoins: “Those who gaze on them embrace a body as if living and flourishing of itself; and apply it to their eyes, mouth, ears, all the organs of the senses; next pouring out tears of duty and affection on the martyr, as if he were whole and were visible, they offer suppliant prayers so that he might intercede in prayer for them.”
13. Next, this is rightly confirmed and very openly shown to be an ancient custom by Jerome against Vigilantius, not far from the beginning, where he reports him saying the words: “What need is there for you to adore it? Something or other you honor carrying around in a little vase, some dust or other surrounded by linen cloth you kiss in adoration.” Against whom, after Jerome has made clear that it is not the adoration of worship or divine adoration, he subjoins: “And you dare to say that ‘something or other you honor carrying around in a little vase’. What is that ‘something or other’? I long to know, expound it more clearly, so that you may blaspheme with full liberty. A little bit of dust, he says, in a tiny vase surrounded by a precious veil. He is grieved that the relics of martyrs are covered with a precious veil &c.” And later: “We are sacrilegious, then, when we enter the basilicas of the apostles? All bishops are not only to be judged sacrilegious but also fatuous who have carried a thing most cheap, loose ashes in silk and a golden vase.” He could not, to be sure, in clearer words, with the testimony and example of all the bishops of his time, approve the practice now of the Church. Let the King of England see whether he dare condemn them as sacrilegious and fatuous, a thing that Jerome abandoned as most absurd and thoroughly incredible.
14. Hence also is easily shown how frivolous and unworthy is the comparison the king proposes, as if in mockery, between this way of venerating relics and the penalty with which malefactors are wont to be punished, their heads or other parts of their corpses suspended in public and prominent places for a perpetual infamy and penance that will endure after death. For no one locates the relics of martyrs in public for infamy, except he who makes martyrs of the faithful by persecuting them and afterwards tries to obscure the glory of martyrdom by like infamy and penance. Wherefore not unjustly can we imitate Jerome and exclaim: “Is it we, who honor the saints, or is it he, who denies to those who honor them a habitation when alive, a sepulcher when dead, who demands exile for brothers (that is, the faithful)?” And a little later: “Who allows the bones of the saints and innocent ashes to be hitherto beaten with storms?” Certainly, as I said, none but he who makes martyrs of the faithful by persecuting them. But not for image of infamy, the way the king makes fun of, but for greater honor and for display of love and for exciting faith and devotion, does the Catholic Church preserve in that singular way the relics of saints and place them before the faithful for seeing and touching. Nay I add further that this very custom shows that the Church thinks in a far higher way about the relics of saints than the dead bodies of common men are wont to be regarded. Which Gregory of Nyssa in the said oration about St. Theodore explained for me in these words. For after he said that: “The body of St. Theodore, valued and concealed as a dear thing and of great worth, is kept for the time of regeneration, endowed with many singular and outstanding things, wherefore with other, bodies that are dissolved in general and common death, it is not even to be compared; that too in a similar matter of nature,” he subjoins: “For other relics indeed are abominable for most men, and no one gladly passes by their tomb or, if he come on it unexpectedly opened, he runs by it. But if he come to some place like this one, where is held today our assembly, where is the memory of a just man and holy relics, first indeed he is delighted by the magnificence of the things he sees.” And later: “He desires next to approach the coffin itself, believing the touching of it to be sanctification and blessing.” The Church, therefore, consulting this piety of the faithful, puts sometimes publicly before them parts of relics to be seen and touched, and prudently judges that it contributes to the greater glory of saints, whatever the calumny of adversaries.
15. Nor will I omit on this point to add that there are many relics of saints which are not parts of their bodies, and therefore ought not to be buried with them but preserved with due honor, of which the king seems to have made no mention, because he could not adapt to them that infamy he has of images. Of such sort are the clothes of saints which, when touched by hands, sometimes expel diseases, as about the clothes of St. Gervasius and St. Protasius is affirmed by Ambrose, epist. 54, and as about the napkins of St. Vitalis and St. Agricola is said by the same in epist. 55, where too he puts among these relics the nails and crosses of martyrs. Many too of the Fathers referred to make mention of holy clothes, and equate them with other relics, and hold them in the same honor, as can be understood especially from Nazianzen and Augustine. Hence Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 18, says: “Even the napkins and half-girdles existing outside the body, when touched by the sick, would free them from their infirmity.” Now a moral reason can be taken from Augustine, De Civitate Dei I.13: “Because paternal clothing, and a ring, and anything of this sort, is so much the dearer to descendants the greater the affection toward the parents.” Thus, therefore, affection and reverence for holy clothes shows love and veneration toward the saints themselves. Hence in the life of Anthony is read that Anthony in dying had thus commanded: “The sheepskin and the worn cloak, on which I lie, give to bishop Athanasius, because he himself brought it to me new.” The same Athanasius, when writing his life, thus subjoins: “Now the legatee of the blessed Anthony, who merited by his command to receive the worn cloak with the sheepskin, embraces Anthony in the gifts of Anthony, and as if enriched with a great bequest gladly remembers the vestment, the image of sanctity.”
16. And in this order of relics are to be put others which the saints in this life familiarly used, as are books and like things, for there is the same reason about all of them. And thus the chair of St. James the Apostle and first bishop of Jerusalem was preserved with great appreciation by James’ successors right up to his own time, as reported by Eusebius, Historiae VII.14 at the end, and he adds: “Hence he clearly declares how the old Fathers up to our own age both attributed and do not cease still to attribute due veneration to holy men because of their true piety toward God.” This tradition is kept by the Church holy, Catholic, and Roman, which religiously preserves not only the relics of the bodies of Peter and Paul but also Peter’s chair and chains right up to the present day, and on their proper feast days puts them before the Christian people to see, touch, and venerate.
ON THE TRUE VENERATION OR ADORATION OF HOLY IMAGES
1 - 4. England is stirring up the heresy of the iconoclasts. 5. The faithful never pray to images. To pray before an image and to supplicate an image are very different from each other. 6 - 7. Catholics recognize in images no intrinsic sanctity. 8. Images are said to be holy from something extrinsic. 9 - 10. To give the cult of worship [latria] to images is prohibited. 11 - 14. The adoration of images had its beginning from the apostles. 15. An evasion is refuted. 16. The end of images. Prayer in no way tends to the image, but adoration can deal proximately with it. 17. Only intellectual creatures receive on their own account the honor of cult. 18. The veneration of images is concluded to be as ancient as the use of them. 19. The veneration of sacred images is approved by miracles. 20 - 21. Insulting images is a very grave sacrilege. 22. Natural reason commends the veneration of images.
HE King of England inveighs rather vehemently against sacred images, and he calls the veneration of them, as also of relics, “intolerable idolatry,” though he does not wish to be held an iconoclast; for he always avoids the name and note of heretics, whose doctrine he disdains to follow. Now he proves he is not an iconoclast, “because I do not,” he says, “blame anyone who wishes to make statues or paint images whether for public splendor or domestic uses of private men.” But this is not enough for him not to be an iconoclast, unless he also admits that sacred images are to be venerated and confesses that they are to be retained, not only for external splendor and domestic uses, but most of all for sacred uses, for the honor of God and the saints, and for the good of the soul. For the first and chief heresy of the iconoclasts was that the images of Christ and the saints were not to be venerated, and the author of it was the Persian Xenaias, who although he was a servant and not yet baptized, was made bishop by Peter Gnapheus, as Nicephorus relates Historiae XVI.28, and he subjoins: “He first (O audacious mind and impudent mouth!) vomited out the saying that the images of Christ and of those who pleased him were not to be venerated.” And, from the lector Theodore, a more ancient writer, the same story and the same origin of the heresy was held by Anastasius in the seventh Synod, action 1. In the same sense too was the same heresy afterwards followed by Leo Isauricus, Constantinus Copronymus and others later.
2. Then was the heresy in the same sense condemned by the Church. For if it was enough for integrity of faith to confess that images are suitable for human splendor and domestic and private uses, scarcely, I believe, might a man of sound reason be found who condemned all use of images, even a human one, as if the art of painting were intrinsically evil or specifically forbidden to Christians. Or certainly, if the Manicheans or other more ancient heretics taught that error, as many wish, it would have been enough, to condemn such error, for the Church to define that not all use of images was evil or that the civil and private use of them was permitted. But because the error of the iconoclasts was hereby not sufficiently condemned, therefore a definition against them was made that sacred images are to be venerated, and that the public and sacred or ecclesiastical use of them is to be retained. If, therefore, the King of England deny this, he will be able indeed not to be a Manichean, but he cannot deny that he is an iconoclast.
3. Besides the chief error of the iconoclasts was to accuse and condemn the Church of idolatry on the ground that it honored or venerated the images of Christ and the saints; hence they used to call the images themselves idols, and for this reason they took them out of temples and treated them all with ignominy and eventually threw then into the fire. All which things are clear from the ancient histories, and from the seventh Synod action 1 and more broadly from the following ones, which Photius reduced to its sum in his epistle about the Seven Synods, which is prefaced before the same Synod in the third volume of Councils. But the King of England expressly says that he holds the adoration of images as intolerable idolatry and abominates it, meaning by adoration, without doubt, what the Roman Church is accustomed to give to images; and a little later he tries to prove that an image is an idol, and to give persuasion of both points he makes use of the Scripture testimonies which the iconoclasts too used to allege against ecclesiastical tradition, as is contained in the same Synod, actions 3 and 7. Therefore the king cannot deny that he himself is defending the opinion that was condemned in the iconoclasts. What then does he lack to be an iconoclast? Is it perhaps that he does not break images, treat them with ignominy, or burn them? Certainly, though this be so, it does not excuse him of the heresy of the iconoclasts, since heresy is in the mind and in stubborn opinion, even if it do not advance to exterior effects.
4. However, it is known about Protestants, as Sander writes, Books I and II De Schismate Anglicano, that in violating images they were not unequal to the ancient iconoclasts, as even the English themselves sufficiently experienced, and as their own more recent histories copiously testify; therefore the king, who adheres to the same sect of Protestants and furnishes them his royal authority, approves the same insults to images, and should be considered the author of them. I think it superfluous to launch now against this heresy a new disputation, since it is not a new heresy, and it was condemned, as soon as it formerly arose, with the fullest erudition and the highest authority in the seventh General Synod. Damascene too wrote books in favor of images, which are sufficient for impugning the heresy. Besides the fact that in our times many Catholic men have disputed on this argument most fully and effectively. Yet, nevertheless, we cannot omit to weigh the individual words of the king in order to make satisfaction to the objections he indicates, for thereby will Catholic truth be confirmed.
5. First, then, he accuses the Church of novelty in these words: “That it is necessary to adore them (that is, images), to make supplication to them, to attach some opinion of sanctity to them, is indeed a thing unheard of among the ancients.” In these words one must distinguish the false from the true, or make plain the obscure and ambiguous, lest the contention be an empty one and error be thought or imagined to be where it is not. And, in the first place, by the words “to make supplication to them” is signified that there is in the Church, or approved by it, a custom of praying to images or supplicating them; but this is not so, for in no ecclesiastical decree or grave Catholic writer will that mode of speaking be found. Nay, the Council of Trent session 25, in the decree on the veneration of images, expressly says that: “images are to be possessed and retained, and due honor and veneration imparted to them, not because it is believed either that anything is to be asked of them or that confidence is to be placed in images.” But it is known that all Catholics of this sacred Council without any doubt embraced the doctrine; therefore falsely is it attributed to Catholics that they pray to images themselves and make requests of them. But perhaps he who said this erred because he believed it the same thing to pray before an image as to supplicate it, although they are however very different. For one of the faithful who prays, for example, before an image of the Virgin has his mind fixed on the Virgin and prays to her not the image, although he look on it with the eyes of his body. For he is not ignorant that only he is to be prayed to who might hear prayers and act or intercede in the way asked; he prays, however, before an image so as to be moved by sight of it to greater devotion and attention. But he would be supplicating the image if he entreated it as something having hearing and mind, which not only Catholics instructed in the faith but even rustic fellows are unable to think; and therefore, although we pray before images, yet we do not pray to the images themselves. But to pray before them was very ancient in the Church, as can be understood from the liturgy of Chrysostom, and from others, and also from the histories that we will adduce below.
6. Next, in the words: “That it is necessary to attach some opinion of sanctity to them,” is something unheard of not only among the ancients, as is there said, but also among all present-day faithful and true Catholics, and it is being falsely attributed to them by Protestants who, in this matter as in others, are perniciously imposing on the king, unless perhaps in the word ‘sanctity’ either some ignorance or some deception lies hid. For, to begin with, the same Council of Trent said equally in the place cited: “Not because it is believed that there is any divinity or virtue in them because of which they should be honored with cult.” Where, through excluding divinity from images, it principally excludes true sanctity in its essence; but while it says that they do not have any divinity, it signifies that neither is there in them any true participation in divine excellence and sanctity. And it makes this clearer when it subjoins that there is not in them any virtue, for that was the same as to say that there is not in them true sanctity even of a created kind. Therefore the opinion of sanctity attached to images is a fabrication of the Protestants who have imposed on the king, for it is foreign to the sense of Catholics, since it has been condemned in an orthodox Council.
7. But I said “unless in the word ‘sanctity’ something lies hid.” For according to the doctrine of Augustine, De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissionibus II.26, “sanctification is not of one mode,” and thus too “there are many modes to sanctity,” as the same Augustine said, Sermo 14 De Verbis Apostoli ch. 9. For even common foods were said by the Apostle, 1 Timothy 4:3 - 5, to be sanctified by the word of God and by prayer; and about blessed bread, which was once given to catechumens, the same Augustine says that it is holy and more holy than are common foods, even when privately blessed; and the shew-bread in the Old Law was said to be holy, and the Ark of the Covenant was deemed holy, according to the verse of Psalm 98 :5: “Adore his footstool, for it is holy [alt. Worship at his footstool, for he is holy];” which according to the letter is rightly understood of the Ark, which is called the footstool of the Lord 1 Chronicles 28:2. The Ark of the Covenant is also called the Ark of Sanctification, Psalm 131 .7-8. Feast days too are called “holy and venerable,” Exodus 12:14 - 17, and priestly vestments are called “holy”, Exodus 28:2. Finally the temple itself, and especially the more sacred part of it, and the sacred vessels, and other things dedicated to the divine cult were called “holy”. In all these things, then, some sanctity must be thought of, because nothing is named holy except from some holiness. But the sanctity is not true or formal or intrinsic (as they say), but a certain relation to some true sanctity, as the theologians more fully make plain.
8. When it is said, therefore, that some opinion of sanctity must be conceived about images, if it be understood not of true sanctity, which is proper to intellectual things, but of analogous and as it were metaphorical sanctity, by relation or extrinsic denomination (as they say), we admit it as true not only without blushing or fear, but we will even show that it was handed down by the Fathers and is evident by natural reason, especially once the principles of the faith have been supposed. For sacred images, by the very fact that they are formed for representing persons truly holy, and are instituted and deputed for showing some honor to the same holy persons and for the decent and religious adornment of temples, and for the spiritual advancement of souls, ought rightly to be reckoned among holy sacred things. Hence, just as places, vessels, and sacred vestments, and other things proximate to the divine cult are reckoned to share some extrinsic sanctity, as I said, and thus are they called holy in Exodus and Leviticus and other places of holy Scripture, so too images of saints are on an equal footing in kind of sanctity with these sacred things. Which the seciond Council of Nicea often handed on, and especially in action 2. Pope Adrian in his epistle to the emperors says: “One must not doubt that everything set up in the churches of God for the praise and ornament of the building is holy and to be honored.” And it can easily be understood from likeness of reasoning, and will be clearer from the testimonies of St. Methodius, Orat. 2 De Resurrect. and of St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto ch. 18, which we will immediately report. Finally it can be made plain by human and moral reason and from the example of the royal image, which the saints on this matter often use; for the image of a king is not indeed the king, nor does it have in it the true excellence of a king; yet because it represents the king, and stands as it were vicariously for him, it is valued as something royal, and therefore it procures a special reverence for itself. Therefore, in a higher way and reason the images of the saints, as far as these represent them, participate in a certain shadow of sanctity by reason of which they are, through a certain analogy, named holy and sacred. Over these two points, then, I consider it not necessary to delay further.
9. I come to the word ‘adore’ which has regard to the substance, so to say, of the cause. Wherein again I note that the king changed the word ‘venerate’, which he began to use at the beginning of his confession, into the word ‘adore’, so as to exaggerate, or to render more apparent, the cause of his blame. But we, to take away the invidiousness and amphiboly of the word, as we did in the case of relics, thus ask here too what he wished to signify by the word ‘adore’. For if he is using it to signify antonomastically the supreme and absolute cult of worship due to God alone, we confess indeed frankly that it was unheard of among the ancients that images should be adored. Nay, we add that it was not only unheard of but even very often denied, not only by the ancients but also by those Fathers whom the king himself calls more recent, even if they preceded us by over a thousand years. For Gregory, Book VII, indict.3 epist.53 to Secundinus, who had sought images from him, says, praising his desire: “I know that you do not for this reason seek an image of our Savior, that you should honor it as God, but so that by the recollection of the Son of God you may become inflamed with his love; and we indeed do not prostrate before it as before divinity, but we adore him, in his birth or suffering, through the image, but we recollect that he is seated on the throne.” And later in epist.109 to Serenus, and more fully bk.9 epist.9 to the same, he blames him for breaking the images but praises his zeal since he had thought that they were not to be adored, namely as Gods or idols, wherein some were erring; but Gregory says that they ought to have been taught and instructed, but that images ought not, because of private error, to have been broken.
10. And in this sense the ancient Fathers often use the word ‘adore’, as I noted above, and in the same sense is it said in the seventh Synod, action 7, in the definition of faith, that “according to our faith true worship is not shown to images.” And later Tharasius in his epistle to Constantine and Irene, although he uses the word ‘adore’, at once explains that he does not understand it of divine adoration; and therefore he shows that the word ‘adore’ according to the propriety of Greek also comprehends lesser adorations. And in the same Council action 3, Constantine the bishop of Constantia, who had been an iconoclast, on abjuring the heresy thus speaks: “I embrace venerable images, but the adoration, which accords with worship, that is the cult of God, I reserve for the Trinity alone.” And Pope Adrian, in his epistle to Constantine and Irene, and in a second letter to Tharasius, accurately distinguishes the mode of venerating images, and sometimes attributes the word ‘adore’ singularly to God, namely in comparison with images, which he says are to be honored, although sometimes too he says they are to be adored. Next the Council of Trent too said in the place cited about images, “due honor and veneration is to be imparted to them; but through them,” it says, “we adore Christ and venerate the saints.” Therefore, when the word ‘adore’ is taken in this restricted signification, wrongly does the king attribute to the Catholic Church that it adores images or teaches that they are to be adored. But it seems incredible that the King of England labors under so great an ignorance of Roman things that he has persuaded himself that the Roman Church adores images in this way, or that the Councils and the Fathers, who fought for the veneration of images, spoke in this sense. Nor is it more credible that the king wished through calumny to impose this crime on Catholics. It is therefore more likely that the king believes that any veneration whatever of images, especially under the appearance of sanctity and religion, is perverse and inseparable from idolatry, and therefore he has seized on the word ‘adore’ in its broader signification.
11. If the king, then, understood the word ‘adore’ in its general signification and about any sacred veneration at all, it is assuredly not less wonderful how he dared to say that the adoring of images or their needing to be adored was unheard of among the ancients, since the opposite is so common and evident that it could scarcely be ignored. For, to begin with, in the aforesaid 7th Synod, and by Damascene in his books De Imaginibus, and by the Pontiff Adrian I, in bk. De Imaginibus contra Libros Pesudocarol., and by John of Orléans, and by others more recent, so many things from the ancient Fathers have been brought together for showing the antiquity of this faith and custom, that no one who reads them could doubt that this tradition had its beginning from the times of the apostles, and that it has been retained in the Church through a continual series and perpetual succession. For, first, that Christ himself sent an image of himself not made with hands to Abagarus in Edessa is related by the ancient ecclesiastical histories, Evagrius Hist. IV.26, Nicephorus, II.7, and Damascene De Fide IV.17; and it is accepted by the said second Council of Nicea, action 5, and is defended by Pope Adrian in epist. 3 to Charlemagne ch. 18, and he also affirms that his predecessor Pope Stephen approved that history.
12. Next in the same second Council of Nicea. action 1, a certain Gregory, bishop of Pessinos refers to an apostolic canon about placing images in temples at the Council of Antioch, convened during the time of the apostles, which Innocent I mentions epist.18 to Alexander; and the Council’s canons from the discoveries made by Pamphilus in the library of Origen is reported by Turrianus, Contra Magdeburgenses I.25, where he reports this canon about images more fully than it is reported in the seventh Synod, and it contains thus: “Let not the saved (that is, the faithful) be deceived on account of idols, but let them, in opposition, paint the divine and human hand-made and unadulterated effigy of the true God and our Savior Jesus Christ and of his servants, against the idols and against the Jews, and let them neither err among idols nor be made like to the Jews.” Where, by the by, can be noted that so far were images from being idols that they were introduced rather for the refutation of idols and as if to hold a mean between Judaism and Paganism, as I will explain below. Again, a history is known about a very ancient image of our Savior, set up in Caesarea by a woman whom the Lord set free from an issue of blood, Matthew 9:20 - 22, which Eusebius reports, Histor. VII.14, who adds that it is no marvel the woman did this in recognition of the benefit she received, “since we too,” he says, “have beheld images of the apostles Peter and Paul and also of Christ himself portrayed in paintings with a variety of colors, and preserved.” The same history about a statue erected to Christ by the aforesaid woman in memory of the benefit is reported by Nicephorus, X.30, and he adds that it was taken away by Julian the Apostate and contemptuously broken up, but that the Christians, as they were able, transferred it into a church and treated it with fitting cult.
13. In addition, the fact that Constantine, when he began to build churches, adorned them at the same time with various images and silver statues of the apostles and other saints, is delivered to memory by Damasus on the Pontiffs, on Sylvester, and by Paulinus in epist.12 and in others. Added to these things is that Augustine, Contra Faustum XX., mentions that an image of Abraham sacrificing his son was depicted in many places, and in Book I of De Consensu Evangelistarum he affirms the same about images of Christ and the apostles Peter and Paul. Ambrose too, in epist. 57 says that to him there appeared along with Gervasius and Protasius a grave person “who was similar to blessed Paul, whose face had been taught me by an picture,” that is, an image of Paul, which he seems to have held intimately. Which is also related of blessed Chrysostom by Damascene, Orat. 1 De Imaginibus, who says: “Now he had an effigy of the apostle Paul in an image, in a place where, because of his weakness of body, he used to rest.” Gregory of Nyssa too, Orat. on the martyr Theodore, reports that the contests of the blessed martyrs and of their guardian Christ could be read in churches depicted in artificial colors as if in a certain book. And St. Basil, Homilia on St. Barlaam which is number 18, after he had depicted with his tongue the fortitude of the martyr, concludes thus: “Rise up now, O splendid painters of athletic deeds. Illustrate with your artifice the broken image of your Leader, and render with the colors of your industry the crowned athlete who has been more obscurely depicted by me. I will depart, conquered by the image you put up of the contests and victories of the martyr, I will rejoice, overcome today by your skill in such a victory.” And later: “Let there be painted together on the panel also the president of the contests, Christ, to whom be glory for ages of ages.”
14. Nazianzen, Orat. 23 near the beginning, can also be read, where he mentions that angels were wont to be painted in bodily form with white vesture, “to signify,” he says, “their natural purity.” And the same use of images is collected from epist.49 of the same to Olympius, and infinite other things we could adduce from the Fathers and the histories. But if perhaps the Protestants reject the aforesaid histories as uncertain, nevertheless the writings and testimonies of the Fathers, which suppose and prove the use of images, they cannot deny. Next, although in one or another history there could be some error or defect of truth, yet where so many examples concur, confirmed by many and very grave witnesses, it would be exceedingly rash, from the mere obstinacy of one’s own opinion in the absence of any proof, to charge them all with falsity. Lastly, although the Protestants may not admit these things, at least they lay down without any foundation that the cult of images was unheard of by the ancients.
15. Perhaps they will say that the use of images is indeed proved by the aforesaid histories and testimonies, but not the cult or adoration that the king in the aforesaid places speaks of. But let them note, I beg, that not any political or private use is demonstrated from the said tradition, but an ecclesiastical and sacred use, and that therewith was conjoined the veneration of images, which is often expressly shown in the same places. Which fact indeed the Fathers of the seventh Synod very diligently weighed, and therefore, after they had in action 7 defined that salutation and complimentary adoration was to be shown to images, they at once added: “For thus is it held by the best discipline of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church;” and at the end the holy Synod exclaimed: “We all thus believe; this is the faith of the apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers. We stand on the legislation of the ancient Church, we guard the decrees of the Fathers.”
16. Now this can be made plain in this way, for images are not indeed per se and principally made so as to be adored but rather that through them the persons they represent may be treated with cult and honor, and that at the same time they may serve for the sacred cult of temples and the spiritual usefulness of the faithful. But hence has it arisen, by a certain even natural necessity in conformity with reason, that images also are to be venerated and treated with due honor. Which can happen by a twofold manner and reason. First, because in them and through them the prototypes are adored toward which the intention of the one adoring is principally carried, as the Councils of Nicea and of Trent declared. Hence it happens that he who, for instance, adores Christ in an image does it at the same time by venerating the image, performing a sign of reverence in regard to it, as kissing, greeting &c. In which there is to be noted a distinction between prayer and adoration; for prayer, whether done in mind or voice before the image, in no way pertains to the image nor reaches it (so to explain the thing), because it can be referred only to someone who understands; but adoration, which is shown through action of the body, although it be directed to the person, can proximately be performed about the thing, distinct from the person, insofar as it is joined to the person, whether in fact, as is clothing or a throne on which a king sits, or by relation, as is an image, relics, and the like. And therefore, when these are adored as instruments of the person, the instruments or images too must in some way be adored along therewith.
17. In another way images can and should be treated with veneration as often as some action is performed about them, although then it not be proper and formal adoration of the person but the image is only regarded as a certain sacred thing, which should be treated with due veneration just as other sacred things “are approached reverently by us” as the seventh Synod said in its definition. And thus also did Gregory say, Book VII, indict.2 epist.5: “The image of the God-bearer and the cross borne aloft with the veneration that is due.” And nevertheless this respective reverence too is in relation to the image, because it is wholly performed on account of the thing represented. And thus it happens that all this veneration of images is lessened and relativized in respect of the veneration of the prototypes. And the effect consequently is that the veneration of images of any angels or men, under Christ the Lord, not only fails of true worship [latria] but also of service [dulia] proper speaking simply, which is an absolute veneration because of proper excellence. Hence the veneration too that is shown to the image of Christ, although it be conjoined with adoration of God himself, is yet not absolute worship as far as it is concerned with the image, but is respective and relative, because it wholly tends toward God and is founded on his excellence. And for this reason the Fathers sometimes say that only persons with understanding are to be venerated or adored, namely, absolutely and for themselves; but at other times they assert that even inanimate things can be adored, namely with a respective cult and because of another, as one may see in the said epistle of Adrian to Constantine and Irene, and often in other places of the same Council. And thus too did Augustine say, De Trinitate III.10 that: “The marvelous signs of the works of God, especially those done by divine virtue and that are permanent, possess both astonishment as marvels and honor as things religious; but those that are done by men can possess honor as religious although they do not effect astonishment.”
18. When therefore this veneration of images is so understood, the conclusion by right reason is drawn that it is in the Church as ancient as the sacred use of images is ancient, the way Nicephorus of Constantinople said in his orthodox dialogue De Imaginibus, in Turrianus above, where he says among other things: “When a heretic asks where it is written about adoring the image of Christ, one must reply that it is written there where it is written that Christ is to be adored, because the image is one with the prototype, not by nature but by relation, and therefore it has communion also both in name and in honor,” namely in the aforesaid way. Which doctrine is confirmed by the authority of Athanasius and of other Fathers. The same can in addition be collected from the ancient use itself of sacred images; for they were always placed in temples and on altars, as is clear from the testimonies cited and from epist. 3 of Pope Adrian to Charlemagne; but this pertains to religious cult and veneration; because, besides, they were also placed in sacred chalices, as is clear from Tertullian, De Pudicitia chs. 7 and 10. Again, in sacred litanies and processions there was a custom for images of the cross and the saints to be carried; and Bede, Historiae Anglorum I.25 reports that Augustine and his companions entered to preach the Gospel “carrying for standard a silver cross and an image of the Lord painted on a panel.” The same is shown by the use of burning lamps before images, as is gathered from Fortunatus, Book IV of De Vita Sancti Martini at the end.
19. Add that God often approved this veneration of images with miracles or marvelous signs, such as was in the image of Christ set up at Caesarea by way of statue, because at its foot a certain herb sprang up and, when it reached its edge, it received power for expelling sicknesses, as the historians and Fathers above mentioned report, and Gregory of Tours in De Gloria Martyrum I.21, and similar divine benefits conferred through the image of Christ sent to Abagarus are reported in the histories above cited. Related to this too is that often by a single anointing of oil from lamps burning before images the infirm have been cured, as is clear from Fortunatus above and from others. Again, worthy enough of admiration is what Damascene, Book III of De Imaginibus near the end, reports about Theophilus of Alexandria, who because of the hostilities which he waged in his life with Chrysostom was not permitted to die “until an image of Chrysostom was brought to him which when he had adored he gave up his spirit.”
20. In addition, injuries to sacred images or insults were always regarded as a very grave sacrilege against the due cult of saints and sacred things; therefore, contrariwise, it is a manifest sign that the cult due to them was always judged sacred. The consequence is certainly evident. But I collect the assumption in the first place from the words of Simeon Stylites in his epistle to the emperor Justin reported in the said seventh Synod, action 1. “This wicked deed,” he says, “exceeds every blasphemy, because they have perpetrated it against God the Word made incarnate for us, and against his Mother, and against the venerable and holy cross. For since we see that your pious laws punish with the extreme and just suffering of death those who treat the image or statue of the emperor with infamy, by what penalty should they ultimately be punished who have advanced in abominable crime against the image of our Lord and his Mother?” Where he clearly thinks that this offense exceeds a civil injury redounding even against the person of the emperor. Hence sometimes the bitterness of this crime is pointed out by a heavenly sign, such as was the abundance of blood that flowed from an image of the Crucifix when pierced with a spear by a Jew, as Sigebert reports in Chronic. for the year 568, and Gregory of Tours, De Gloria Martyrum I.22. And something similar is reported from Athanasius in the seventh Synod, action 4.
21. Next, the same Fathers speaking in the same places about images often call them sacred, holy, and venerable, and sometimes they use the word ‘adore’ of them, sometimes the word ‘venerate’ or ‘greet’, as is plain from those mentioned, and from Anastasius of Sinai, in Orat. de Sacra Sinaxi, when he says that, “it is not enough to enter the Church and to venerate the divine forms of holy images and the precious and venerable crosses, if the uncleanness of sins are not also washed away by confession and tears.” Which oration, turned into Latin, was offered to the Pontiff Gregory XIII by Achilles Statius the Lusitanian, as Baronius reports for the year of Christ 599 nn. 9 and 10. He also reports for the year 656, from the acts and life of St. Maximus, a beautiful history and colloquy between Maximus and certain legates of the emperor who were sent to him, which is concluded in these words: “After everyone rose up with tears of happiness, they bowed also with humble reverence to each other and prayer was said. And each of them greeted the holy Gospels, and the precious cross and image of our God and Savior Jesus Christ and of his Mother our Lady the God-bearer.” These words more or less are recalled by Euthymius bishop of Sardis in the said Synodm action 4. And in them too can be pondered the oath, a sacred and religious act, which was made on the Gospels and on the images as on things sacred and worthy of religious veneration.
22. It is manifest, then, from the tradition of the Fathers that the ancient Church always observed, along with the use of images, the sacred veneration of them. And certainly natural reason demonstrates the same, because the honor is of the same sort as the excellence on which it is founded; but the reason for venerating images of Christ or the saints is the same excellence or sanctity of the prototypes; therefore the veneration of them has regard to the same order or the same virtue to which pertains the honor of the persons, because it is altogether referred to them. Just as the honor to the royal image is in a way royal and injury to it is judged to pertain to the crime of lèse majesté, which example and argument, as I said, the Fathers and the Councils use.
SATISFACTION IS MADE TO THE OBJECTIONS OF THE KING AGAINST THE VENERATION OF IMAGES
1. King James’ words of astonishment against the veneration of images. 2. First, second, and third objection. 3. Satisfaction is made to the first objection. The veneration of images is not prohibited by any positive divine precept. 4 - 5. There is no natural precept to prohibit the veneration of images. From the places in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 it is shown that no conclusion follows. 6. Satisfaction is made to the second objection. The veneration of images is very far distant from idolatry. 7. For what reason an idol is said to be nothing. 8. The adoration of some creature is consonant with Scripture. 9. The third objection is met. 10 - 11. Satisfaction is made to the second example.
UT King James does not cease to marvel in his Preface, p. 49: “what ingenuity of men, what so daring fraud of Satan, tried to force this fiction on the Christian Church.” And he strongly doubts, ibid. p. 59, “whether in the last judgment excuses of such sort, drawn from those ineptitudes of sophistry, are, since Christ reproves idolatry, to receive approval.” These more or less are the words of the king, and it is harder for me to obviate them prudently and as the cause deserves than to respond to very strong and very clear reasons and testimonies. For if I do it lightly, I fear that I may seem more remiss than is proper in dealing with the cause of the Catholic Faith; but if I set myself in opposition to so great harshness of words with the same liberty of speech, I fear that the king might take thence occasion for some offense; and therefore I think it more satisfactory to pass over these sorts of words that do not contain a reason pertaining to the cause, and to give satisfaction to the objections which the king gestures to. First, however, I will not omit to advise the most serene king to consider how more secure it is simply to believe the Catholic Church, the Councils, and the ancient Fathers than to pass sentence on their opinion and authority by one’s own judgment. Wherefore again and again I humbly beg that he accept for himself the advice he offers to others, and meditate very attentively on what reason or, as he himself says, defense or excuse Christ our Savior will accept in the last judgment, whether his who, in giving cult to God, the saints, and their images, follows in the footsteps of the Fathers and fits his actions to their doctrines; or his who prefers new doctors to old and does not fear to condemn by his own judgment the traditions of the Fathers.
2. Yet the king says that one must obey God rather than men, but God in the Scriptures forbids all adoration of images and the cult of a likeness of anything made by God. Next, every image is an idol, for an idol is not nothing; “for it was not nothing that God forbade cult to be given to;” therefore every image of God or of any created thing is an idol; therefore all adoration of an image is the adoration of an idol, and hence is idolatry. Finally, neither the bronze serpent nor the body of Moses were nothing, yet the former was ground down and the latter was hidden.
3. The response is that it cannot be that what is approved or prescribed by a definition and the tradition of the Catholic Church be contrary to the divine precept, since the Church is ruled by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit cannot go against his own self. We deny, therefore, that the use and veneration of images is contrary to the divine precept. For the precept is alleged either from the New Testament or from the Old; in the New it cannot be pointed to, unless perhaps it be held included in the prohibition of idolatry, which we will immediately show is frivolous and empty. But if it is alleged from the Old Testament, I will ask in turn whether it is adduced as a positive mandate of that law or as a natural mandate. For in the prior sense we do not wish to examine whether there was or was not such a positive precept in the Old Law, because this does not pertain to the dogmas of the faith. For thence to infer, on that datum, that the veneration of images which the Church approves is contrary to the divine precept contains the Jewish error, because, if there was such a precept, it was a ceremonial one; either then the belief is that it obliges now, and this is the Jewish error; for according to the faith the ceremonial laws are dead, nay are even bringers of death; or the belief is that it has been abrogated, and thus, by reason thereof, the veneration of images cannot be regarded as contrary to the divine precept, because an abrogated precept is no longer a precept, nor can a deed contrary to it be said to be repugnant to the legislator’s will.
4. But if the precept be regarded as natural and moral, we deny that such a precept is found in the Old Testament. For it could most of all be taken from the words of Exodus 20:4 and Deuteronomy 5:8: “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth.” But, in these words, either not all images of things are prohibited but those that are ordered to undue cult (as many believe with probability, even among the ancient Fathers), and thus indeed it was a natural precept; we deny, however, that under it are included images of the saints; for these have been instituted not for an undue but for a very honorable cult, as we have shown. Or by that precept all images simply and absolutely and instituted for any use whatever are prohibited (as others wish), and thus the precept was not natural, and so nothing from it can be inferred as obligatory in the present time, as has already been declared. And Protestants, who allege it in that sense and nevertheless affirm it to be a moral precept, certainly cannot prove it from Scripture; for this is not said there, yet with them no other prove is strong, nor are we bound to admit it. Yet even so the conjecture, because the prohibition was inserted in the promulgation of the Decalogue, is insufficient; for proposed in many words there too is the third precept about the observation of the Sabbath, which nevertheless, as regards such determination of time, was not moral but ceremonial. Next, there is none among the holy Fathers who said that the words, when understood in the said absolute sense, contain a natural moral precept and not rather a positive precept adapted to that time. Finally, by no likely reason can it be shown that the prohibition belongs to an intrinsic dictate of natural law.
5. Certainly too, even the king himself is compelled to concede this same thing; for he says that some use of images is not now prohibited, and consequently that it is not by natural right, and he necessarily confesses the same about the making of images; although however the word of God was absolute: “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image.” Therefore either by those words not only was that prohibited which was per se evil, and thus the words contained a positive precept which has ceased; or if it be said that by them was not absolutely prohibited the making of images but the making of them for veneration, by parity of reason the words will have to be restricted to undue and superstitious veneration. For not every veneration of images is of itself evil or contrary to divine honor, as was shown above, and as will be more fully declared in the following point. And therefore those who understand the words of the absolute prohibition of images say as a result that the making and use of images and statues was so prohibited that the per se painting or making of them was not licit; but this is manifest, that it was not of natural right, though it could be of positive right, which now is not our concern because it is of no relevance to the present cause.
6. In his second part the king confounds an idol with an image, and on this he founds an objection which is accordingly of little moment; for the sacred images of Christ and the saints are not idols, and the opposite statement was condemned in the seventh synod, action 7. For although the likenesses made by the gentiles, which were idols, were in fact images, not for that reason is any image an idol, but only the one “which is the likeness of a false God,” as Augustine said, Quaestionum in Librum Iudic. 441. And almost the same is the opinion of Tertullian, . De Idolatria ch. 4, who says: “idols are images of those things that human error honors with cult.” Although these words are more general and comprehend every image invented or proposed for honoring what is not worthy of cult or veneration. There is therefore a difference between an idol and an image, because an idol is a false image, that is, of a thing which is not, or which is not worthy of adoration, as is the common interpretation of the Fathers when they are writing about idols; but it is called an image even if it has a true representation. But, by restricting the general idea of image to sacred and ecclesiastical images, to its idea belongs that it be of a thing true and truly holy, and accordingly truly worthy of adoration. And thus did Pope Adrian say in his epistle to Constantine and Irene, in the seventh synod, action 2, that: “images are to be painted, venerated, honored for remembrance only of the saints about whom it is clearly agreed that they are servants of God and entreat and intercede with the Deity for us.” Hence also it is clear how distant the veneration of sacred images is from idolatry; for all cult of idolatry either halts at an idol as at the true God, or tends, through the likeness, to honoring him for God who is not, or to honoring as divine someone impious or a demon; but the veneration of images tends proximately either to the honor of God or at least of some person truly holy, which honor ultimately redounds to God as well.
7. Nor is it an obstacle here whether an idol is said to be something, as the king contends, or to be nothing, as he himself objects to Catholics. For no one ever denied that the idols of the gentiles, as to their bodily likenesses, were also certain material things and open to the senses, which is also common to sacred images; therefore in this sense an idol is something. And nevertheless because of the false representation it can be said to be nothing (as it is called by Paul, 1 Corinthians 8 and 10), because the thing it represents either is no true thing or has no true excellence for which it is to be honored, as Origen, Homilia 8 on Exodus, and other interpreters of Paul understood that remark of his. Although too an idol may be said to be nothing because it has no virtue or power, as was interpreted on that place by Chrysostom, Homilia 20, whom Theophylact and others follow. And thus too did Augustine assert, Contra Faustum XX.5, that the things the gentiles honor are something, because they are idols, in which demons are adored, or are some parts of the world, because they are true bodies, yet they are not to be honored “but,” he says, “are nothing for salvation.” Just as elsewhere too the same Augustine said that a sin is nothing, not because the act of sin is nothing, but because the malice of it, whereby it is established in the nature of sin, is not a something but a privation of good. And in like manner Jerome on Hosea 7 at the end says that: “Heretics when constructing most impious heresies are turned into nothing,” according to the Septuagint translation in the same place: “Not in that they have ceased to be, but in that by comparison with God all who think against the Lord are said not to be; for if God is truth, whatever is contrary to truth is a lie and is called nothing.” And thus too does he in the same place understand the verse of Esther 14:11: “‘Give not, O Lord, thy scepter to them that are not:’ there is no doubt,” he says, “but that it signifies idols;” namely, because they are false, and a lie is, as such, nothing. An idol then is something, as it is an image and a certain material thing, and it is nothing insofar as what it represents is nothing, whether it be altogether nothing or no true thing, or whether it be nothing insofar as it represents something divine or holy which is not in fact holy. And hence idolatry has in it that it is evil and that it is idolatry, and therefore it is much different from the veneration of sacred images.
8. But responses of this sort are despised by the king as sophistical and argumentative subterfuges: “For Scripture,” he says, “forbids the honoring of a likeness of anything made by God.” But the king’s words move us not at all, both because those distinctions were not made up by us but by the Fathers, and also because they are very much in consonance with natural reason. But as for Scripture we reply, in the first place, that it must be understood according to the tradition of the Fathers and of the Church and according to right reason. Next, we deny that Scripture prohibits the veneration of any likeness of a created thing, for nowhere can this precept be pointed to, unless perhaps it is understood to be included in the prohibition on making a graven images or any likeness. And in that case we return to the response given; for either it was positive, and then it does not oblige; or if it contains a natural and moral obligation, it is understood of the making of idols, or (which is the same thing) of the making of images that are to be honored with cult as Gods or as likenesses of Gods. And this is in conformity with Scripture, which permits some adoration of the creature, or sometimes commands it. Which argument is confirmed, in the said epistle to Constantine, by Pope Adrian along with the authority of Jerome who asserts by way of example, Exodus 25, “the two golden Cherubim,” he says, “and the engraved things which Moses made.” And he says that God conceded to the Jews the worship of them. For although it is not expressly read in Scripture, yet it seems to be collected from the fact that they were sacred images, or certainly because they were parts of the mercy seat, which also was worthy of veneration, and thus in epist. 17 among the epistles of Jerome, which is that of Paul and Eustochius to Marcella, and the style indicates that it was written by Jerome, it is thus said: “The Jews formerly venerated the Holy of Holies, because there were Cherubim there and the mercy seat and the ark of the covenant, the manna, the rod of Aaron, and the golden altar;” and it is added: “Does not the sepulcher of the Lord seem more venerable to you?” Which latter words make plain that the former ones too are understood of sacred veneration. About which more clearly is it said in Psalm 98 .5: “Adore his footstool, since it is holy [alt. Worship at his footstool, for he is holy],” where (as I said above) by ‘footstool’ is understood the ark of the covenant, and it is clear from the idea of adoration proposed that the words are about sacred veneration. And that this was the will of God is clear from the way in which he wanted the ark to be treated with reverence, Deuteronomy 10, Joshua 3, 1 Kings [1 Samuel] 6. And the idea of sanctity in the same words shows that other things too dedicated to the divine cult, which are called holy in the Scriptures, were to be treated with like veneration, as Damascene openly thinks, De Fide IV.17. Therefore not every veneration of a created thing was prohibited in Scripture, but that only which could not be referred to the cult of the true God.
9. Next, to the examples which the king adduces about the bronze serpent and the body of Moses we reply that they are taken partly from things uncertain and partly from things not pertaining to the cause. For although it be true that king Hezekiah broke the bronze serpent because the children of Israel were burning incense to it, as is contained in 4 Kings [2 Kings] 18, yet it is not certain that there was a prohibition in the law against adoring the serpent in any way at all. Nay, many think it was permitted and that at the beginning it was done in due manner, namely by venerating in it and through it God the author of so great a benefit. Which, that it could be rightly done, is testified by Augustine, De Trinitate III.10, and it is not clear that it was specifically prohibited by God. But afterwards Augustine says, De Civitate Dei X.8: “When the erring people began to honor as an idol the serpent that was kept in memory of the event, King Hezekiah, serving God in religious power, ground it down with great praise of piety.” But when the fact is thus explained, it has no relevance to the cause about the images of the Church, because the images are not adored by the faithful as idols, nor does moral danger of this evil threaten. And when some error were to happen anywhere, it should be repelled, not by the breaking of images, but by the doctrine and light of the Gospel, and the pious use of images should be preserved, as Gregory said in the said Book IX, epist. 9 . But others think that the Jews never venerated the serpent, nay that it was prohibited in the Old Law, not by natural precept but by positive, and not by a special law but by the general one by which these others believe, with probability, that then the veneration of all images was prohibited, but that the people began to act against the precept and therefore Hezekiah broke the serpent to take away the occasion. When this opinion too is admitted, the example has nothing in common with the cause of images, both because that precept, if it existed, ceased in the Law of Grace, and also because the occasion for error, which there was in the time of the law, from the propensity to idolatry that came partly from the custom and example of the gentiles, partly from ignorance and weakness of faith, is not found in the time of the Law of Grace, as Damascene rightly noted, at the said IV.17, and more fully in Oratio 1 De Imaginibus.
10. But in the other example of the body of Moses, we have only from Scripture that he died at the command of God and was buried by the same, and that his sepulcher was hidden from men, Deuteronomy final chapter. But for what cause God wished to hide the body of Moses Scripture does not make plain. Protestants, however, seem to think that the cause was lest the Jews take occasion of committing idolatry by venerating the body of Moses or his sepulcher. And on this the argument of the king seems to be founded, that images too should be taken away, at least for taking away the occasion. To whom we can, in the first place, reply by denying the inference and the likeness, because it has already been shown that the Church is not to be equated with the synagogue in this imperfection. Otherwise, even the sepulchers of the apostles and martyrs ought to be unknown to the faithful; nay the relics of all the saints should be burnt up, lest the faithful be induced to idolatry by the occasion, which is not only impious but even ridiculous.
11. Next can be replied that the argument is not founded on Scripture but more on personal conjecture, and therefore is of little moment. For the reason is indeed probable, as Abulensis weighs it, accommodating to it the contention between the Archangel and the devil over the body of Moses, which the apostle Judas makes mention of in his canonical letter, v.9. And the same reason is insinuated by Chrysostom, Homilia 5 on Matthew, although he does not say that God hid the sepulcher of Moses for that cause, but says that, “Moses did not introduce the people into the land of promise, lest the Jews attribute to him altogether all the benefits which they had received through him from God;” and he adds: “So that therefore this sort of occasion might be cut off, his very sepulcher too was hidden.” And the same reason is indicated by Augustine, or the author of the work De Mirabilibus Sacrae Scripturae, Book I, last chapter. But nevertheless the reason is not a necessary one. For the same author of De Mirabilibus Sacrae Scripturae adds another, namely, “so that the face, which had been made to glow by consorting with God in speech, should not, when oppressed with the sorrow of death, be seen by anyone.” It can also be said that it was done as if for the completing and adding up of the punishment enjoined on Moses because of his guilt of unbelief at the flowing of water from the rock; for it was for that reason he was deprived of the land of promise, Numbers 20, as Chrysostom rightly ponders, Book IV De Sacerdotio near the beginning, and Augustine in Book L of Homiliarum, Homilia 27, and Enarratio on Psalm 98 near the end. But it seems that God, for the greater fear of the people, wanted Moses to enter neither living nor dead into the land, and therefore he hid his sepulcher lest the Jews carry his bones with them, as they carried over the bones of Jacob and Joseph. It can be said, in addition, that God hid the body of Moses to make him to be held in greater admiration and inner reverence. For this was insinuated by Jerome on Amos 6 saying: “The Lord ascended with Moses, the place of whose sepulcher, because it had ascended into heaven, could not be found on earth.” Finally it can be said, and perhaps more securely, that this is one of the things that God does according to the counsel of his own will, the causes of which we cannot find out, and which to inquire into is superfluous; which is what Chrysostom insinuated, Orat. 20 on Hebrews when he says that: “some bones of the ancient Fathers were carried over into the promised land, but the bones of Moses were sown in foreign land, and not only his, but also those of Aaron, Jeremiah, and Daniel. And likewise,” he says, “of certain apostles, as Peter and Paul, we know the sepulchers, but of others we do not, the reason for which thing it is superfluous to enquire.” That conjecture, then, in so grave a cause, is also superfluous.
ON THE IMAGES OF GOD AS GOD
1. Objection of the king against adoration of the image of God. The image of God is double. 2. The proper and formal image of God cannot be described. 3. A description of the metaphorical image of God is not evil and not prohibited. 4. Exposition of the places of Scripture speaking about the images of God. 5 - 6. Instance of the king. Explanation.
ESIDES general objections about the veneration of images, two others in particular are proposed by the king, one against the image of God, that is, as he is God, the other against adoration of the cross of Christ; about this latter we will speak in the next chapter, here the first must be weighed. Therein he says: “Not only is it prohibited (namely, in the Old Testament) to adore the image of God, but also to make it, and the reason added is that God has never fallen under the appearance of anything.” However, on this point a common distinction of images of God must be put first. One image is proper, as if anyone wished through a painted from to express to the life the proper form or nature of God, which can be said to be the formal image; but the other is the metaphorical image, in which, through some bodily figure, the properties of a superior thing are in some way and by analogy represented, as through the figure of a young man having a white garment angels are represented.
2. As to what regards the first class of images, then, it is de fide certain that it is not licit, nay it is very foolish, to try to depict the image of God. Because, since God lacks a body, it is impossible by a corporeal image, whether sculpted or painted, to represent God to the life. And this is what is said in Isaiah 40:18: “To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare to him?” And 46:5: “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like.” Which words, if they are attentively considered, do not so much contain a form of prohibition as declare that it is per se evil and impossible to form such likeness or image of God. And therefore, not only in the Old Testament but also in the New, the same thing is in almost the same way prohibited, when Paul says Acts 17:29: “We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” About this class of image of God there is no controversy, for in this sense too the Fathers, whom it is not necessary to refer to, commonly, and the seventh synod, actions 3 and 5 and all the scholastics very constantly, teach that all these images of God are altogether to be rejected as contrary to the true understanding of God.
3. But about the second class of images of God nothing has hitherto been established by sure faith, and the Council of Trent of set purpose, when dealing with the images of Christ, of the God-bearer, and of the saints, said nothing about the images of God, and the second Council of Nicea, while rejecting the former images of God, was silent about the latter, and thus there are among Catholic doctors various opinions on this point. Since therefore we are here dealing only with dogmas of the faith, we can omit this objection of the king, so that in this part he may have his own sense to the full. But because he intends to teach that the use of such images is impious and against divine precept, and we believe that it is far more probable that it is neither evil nor prohibited; nay that it is honorable and more pious, if it is done prudently, and more consonant with the use of the Church; therefore each must be briefly proved. The first, then, we more or less showed in the discussion given above, because to depict such an image of God is not prohibited in the New Testament by a special positive precept, because about the image of God there are in the New Testament only found the words of Paul cited, which openly declare a natural right alone.
4. But if it be said that this prohibition is contained in the Old Testament, we must ask about it again of what sort the prohibition was. For the thing is doubtful, both as to the sense and as to the kind of the precept. Hence, if the prohibition be said to be moral and of natural law, it will be understood of the proper image, and not of the metaphorical, because there is no likely reason to show that to give a metaphorical depiction of God is per se and intrinsically evil, as I will immediately say. And indeed in the places of Isaiah cited, in which the natural right itself is explained, the words are about proper images of God; for, as Jerome notes, on ch.40, Isaiah mocks the foolishness of the gentiles who thought that their own idols were gods, or represented the proper form of God. Hence to the words: “To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare to him?” Jerome adds: “He who is spirit and is in all things &c.” But in ch.46 the Jews who imitate the foolishness of the gentiles are blamed. Again, about this form can agreeably be understood the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 4:12: “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude.” Although the sense could also be that they saw no form altogether or sensible person as it were, but heard only the voice of one speaking; for this is more indicated by the other words which Moses repeats later, vv. 15 - 16: “For ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image.” And thus it is probable that there, and in Exodus 20, it was prohibited to make any image of God under any pretext, because that rude people would easily suppose it was the proper form of God, and would adore very statues as gods. Now such a precept thus understood was positive and ceremonial and agreeable to that people because of their imperfection, and it has therefore now ceased; and it was also, when the state of things changed, not necessary, because the occasion or danger was taken away, as I said above. Of which thing too a sufficient sign is that, in the Church of Christ, the use of such images is permitted, not only now, but over one thousand three hundred years ago, as can be understood from various poems which Paulinus has about these images in epist. 12. But the Church would not have permitted them over so many centuries if they had been prohibited by divine right.
5. But the king gives as instance that making such images is prohibited, not only because of the danger of adoration, but also because it is unseemly and useless. For “since God,” he says, “cannot be expressed to the life, it is superfluous labor and vain effort to corrupt with a false adumbration what you cannot imitate; which thing no one, I do not say no prince, but scarcely any common man would put up with tolerating in his own effigy.” But these reasons are not read in Scripture but thought up by Protestants. And in the first of them something is supposed that is false and contrary, not to say injurious, to holy Scripture. For if all metaphorical images, which cannot imitate their prototypes to the life, are said to corrupt them with false adumbration, “all parables too, and figures for signifying certain things, which must not be taken in their proper character but one thing in them is to be understood from another, will be said to be lies,” as Augustine said in simile in his book Contra Mendacium ch. 10. Thus, therefore, when the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove, or when he is sent under the appearance of tongues as of fire, his form is corrupted by a false adumbration. And the same must be said of the image of Christ under the appearance of a lamb, although however the use of that image is very ancient in the Church. Again, the image of an angel under the appearance of a young man &c., would be a corruption of the angelic form, which is not only against the 7th Synod but also against Scripture, insofar as in it we read of images of the Cherubim, Exodus 25, 3 Kings [1 Kings] 6. Nay, it is even contrary to all right reason, because we do not grasp incorporeal things except by a resemblance of corporeal things, as is rightly made plain by Dionysius, ch.2 and last chapter De Coelesti Hierarchia, and by Tertullian In Apologet. ch. 29. Next, all the sensible apparitions of God or angels in Scripture would be false corruptions of their forms. Because, therefore, there is in metaphorical representation no falsity, therefore metaphorical images of God cannot be accused of falsity. Nor even can the use of them be reckoned vain or superfluous, since they can serve to lead man’s intellect as if by the hand to recognize invisible things in the resemblance of visible ones, and to remember mysteries which God has under visible appearance performed.
6. Hence too is readily clear the response to the other conjecture, that no prince, no nor private man, would permit such deformation of his own form; for they would in the same way blame God who often appeared under visible form. Nay, they would even blame Scripture, because it often speaks of God as of a man, attributing to him pain, repentance, bodily members, and the like. For the reason is the same about the words of Scripture as about images, because (as Gregory rightly said) what scripture is for doctors that an image is for the unskilled. The conjecture, then, is a weak one, both because in those images there is no base deformation, but metaphorical signification, and also because it is not done without grave cause and necessity, arisen partly from the divine excellence, which cannot be otherwise represented, partly from the need of man, who cannot conceive spiritual things as they are in themselves, although nevertheless he needs to be stimulated through the senses to the knowledge or memory of them. And therefore the argument taken from men is neither alike nor of great moment, because a man has a sensible form capable of a proper image, and yet a man, even a prince or an emperor, does not disdain to have his excellence or fortitude represented through the metaphorical image of an eagle or a lion or something similar.
ON THE ADORATION OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST
1. Objections of King James against the adoration of the cross. 2. Dilemma of the king attacking the adoration of Christ’s cross. First, second, and third confirmation. 3. No power of accomplishing miracles has from contact with the body of Christ on the cross been derived. 4 - 5. The Catholic doctrine about the adoration of the cross of Christ is explained. 6 - 7. The dilemma of the king is met. 8. Response to the first, to the second, and to the third confirmation.
ASTLY the king inveighs against the adoration of the cross of Christ. But lest perhaps I should delay over this matter longer than is necessary or than is right, I will unravel this point briefly, both because the reason about the cross is almost the same as about other relics and images, and also because the king makes no objection about this except certain verbal trickeries that Claudius of Turin and Wycliffe had formerly objected and that have been reckoned empty by Catholics. There is, then, about the cross a triple consideration, as I have said elsewhere, namely about the sign of it expressed on one’s own person by the finger or hand, or about the image of the cross made from lasting material, or about the very cross itself on which Christ suffered, whether whole or some part of it. About the first consideration the king touches on nothing, and I spoke about it in the place cited, §3. The second consideration too the king has omitted, because there is the same reason about the image of the cross as about relics.
2. Against the cross considered in the third way, however, that it is not to be venerated, he tries to prove in many words with this brief reason. Surely if it ought to be venerated, it should be by touch most of all; for this reason is the one scholastics are chiefly wont to assign; “By reason of all contact, then, or some?” The first cannot be said, both because, although the woman who had the issue of blood, by touching the hem of Christ’s clothing, felt his virtue, not for that reason did all those who were in the press around Christ feel it, Luke 8; and also because otherwise the lips of Judas betraying Christ with a kiss, and the hands of the soldiers smiting and crucifying Christ, and the land of Canaan touched by Christ’s daily clothing, should be adored by us, which to say is impious and profane. But if not all contact but some individual case suffices for this class of adoration, one must show which it is and where Christ poured out this benediction on the wood or conceded to it the privilege. And he increases the objection in these ways. First, because to the woman who said, Luke 11:27: “Blessed is the womb that bare thee,” Christ replied, v. 28: “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God.” Second, because although Christ gave to his cross power to do miracles, it is not for that reason to be adored; for the shadow of Peter performed miracles, which cannot for that reason be adored. Third, because the prophets curse those who give cult to images, which have eyes and do not see, and ears which do not hear; therefore these words are said more harshly against those who venerate a piece of wood formed to the likeness neither of ears or eyes.
3. The king seems in his objection to suppose or to reckon that we imagine or think that the cross of Christ and the individual parts of it have, from contact with the body of Christ, drawn forth some force or virtue for doing miracles or for conferring extraordinary benefits, or that Christ himself, by special concession and will, conferred a like force or dignity on that contact. But this is foreign to the sense of the Catholic Church. For, to begin with, although it be most true, and sufficiently approved by the histories and testimonies of the Fathers, that Christ through his cross has produced many miracles, which it is not now necessary to relate, nevertheless none asserted or thought that Christ put into his cross some virtue for effecting miracles, and established by a sure law and promise the doing of signs when someone is present or in contact with it; for this can be affirmed on no foundation, nor is it held to be necessary for veneration of the cross. Neither even is it necessary to imagine that Christ, by a special will and as it were positive institution, gave the cross a special dignity because of which it is to be honored; for this invention too is not only unable to be given foundation but even to be satisfactorily understood; and for the truth and reality that we are now treating of it is superfluous and also impertinent.
4. The doctrine, then, of the Church and of Catholic theologians is that, just as the relics of saints are to be venerated, not from a superadded virtue or institution, but because, on the supposition of the true sanctity of the souls, or persons, with whom they had a special connection or a sufficient relation such that they should be reckoned to be something of them, it follows from the nature of the thing that, because of the excellence of such soul or person, they should be held in veneration; so too, for greater reason, the cross of Christ, and any part of it whatever, should be considered by true and pious Christians as precious relics of the Savior. Because it was, by bearing up Christ himself, an instrument of our redemption, and is sanctified by him. As is signified by 1 Peter 2, Paul Colossians 1 and 2, who also in Hebrews 9 indicates that it was as if the altar on which Christ offered himself for us. And accordingly, because of love and reverence for the same Christ, it is venerable. And thus is the reason for venerating the cross of Christ explained by Damascene IV.12, who says: “This wood of great price and venerable, on which Christ offered himself for the sake of sacrifice for us, as having been sanctified by contact with the holy body and blood, is wont to be adored for the best of rights.” And later: “For if of those, with love for whom we are aflame, the house, the bed, the clothing is dear, by how much more the things that are of God and the Savior, through which salvation was gained for us.”
5. That this also was the mind of the ancient Church is sufficiently collected from canon 73 attributed to the sixth synod, and from the seventh Synod, and from Jerome epist. 17, from Ambrose, Orat. ‘De Obitu Theodosii’, and from Chrysostom Homilia Quod Christus sit Deus, where he says that: “the whole globe strives to have something of that wood. And those who have,” he says, “men and women, encase it in gold so as to fit it to their necks, and from it they get great honor and excellence and defense and protection.” And Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. De Sancto Baptismate, not far from the beginning: “The wood of the cross,” he says, “is salvific for everyone.” By which word he indicates the benefits which God, through these sorts of relics of the cross, is wont to confer on those who seek them with true faith and pious veneration. For although miracles alone do not contain sufficient reason for adoration, yet they do show that this sort of veneration is pleasing to God, and hence that the cross is itself worthy of veneration. The said Fathers also add, especially Damascene, that the same holds of the other relics of Christ, as are “the nails, the lance, the crib, the garments, and the life-giving sepulcher.” Damascene also adduces that verse of Psalm 131 :7: “We will adore in the place where his feet stood [alt. we will worship at his footstool].” And the same is confirmed by that verse of Isaiah 11:10: “His sepulcher shall be glorious [alt. his rest shall be glorious],” which is by all of them understood of the sepulcher of Christ, and rightly, because the possessive ‘his’ refers to the “root of Jesse”, which, that it is Christ, is expounded by Paul Romans 15. Now the sepulcher is said to be glorious in the future, not only at the time when the body of Christ lay in it, but also perpetually by reason thereof. And thus Jerome, epist. 17, says that, “it is there preached that the place of the burial of the Lord is to be honored by all.” This truth, therefore, is collected from the principles of the faith and from Scripture, and it is consonant with natural reason, and no precept can be shown whereby such veneration of the cross is prohibited. What, then, is there for Protestants to find fault with in so pious a work of religion?
6. Now to the objection of the king, and to the question asked in it, a certain venerable Englishman replies that not every contact with the body of Christ was sufficient reason for this veneration, “but innocent touch,” and thus he avoided the absurd inference from the kiss of Judas. But others add, for greater explication, that if the idea of contact is viewed precisely, there is not lacking in it sufficient cause for relative veneration, on account of the excellence of Christ, but that the impiety of the person impedes it, lest the adoration should redound to the impious man. And, in like way, where there is indecency or occasion for scandal, adoration will have to be avoided, notwithstanding the contact, which thing is adapted to the example of the ass on which Christ sat. But about the earth of that region, which Christ touched with his feet, if it be clear that it now remains as to the parts which Christ touched, it is to be held in the same veneration. For Augustine too, De Civitate Dei XXII.8, testifies that in his time “miracles were performed by holy earth brought from Jerusalem,” and that it was held in reverence and honor by the faithful. But at this time it is likely that the earth has so changed that that reason of contact has ceased. And nevertheless if someone with living faith and recollection of Christ and of his steps were to venerate it, he will act piously and will be worthy of no rebuke, because the whole action is referred to Christ, and that relation, so to say, has a sufficient foundation in the actions and steps of Christ.
7. Hence, to the dilemma of the king, we reply that contact is per se sufficient for this relative veneration, unless something according to prudent judgment impedes it. And therefore it is not necessary to show where Christ conferred this prerogative on his cross, because by his works he showed it sufficiently to those who use right faith and reason; nor is this a privilege of the cross but is a property common to all the relics of Christ. Hence the example there adduced about the woman who touched and the crowds that pressed around Christ, when the things aforesaid are rightly weighed, in no way urges that this reason for veneration, which is taken from contact, is not some miraculous work, as was that woman’s health, which Christ conferred only on one in need and asking from faith, just as he wished and, by the most high counsel of his own will, disposed.
8. Of the other confirmations, the first makes nothing to the cause, because when Christ responds, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God,” he taught indeed that the most Blessed Virgin was more blessed in believing and loving Christ than in corporeally conceiving him; he did not, however, deny that it was a great dignity of the Virgin that she carried Christ in her womb, nor did he deny that the woman truly and faithfully said: “Blessed is the womb that bare thee,” although he did not explain every, nor the chief, reason for that beatification, as Bede elegantly touched on, Book IV on Luke, ch.49. But the other confirmation, about the shadow of Peter, is easily explained by denying the likeness of the example, both because a shadow is nothing and also because, as I said, the reason for this adoration is not some virtue of performing miracles. Lastly, very far from the curses of the prophets against those who adore idols are those who venerate the cross, because they do not have regard to the form or the figure of the wood, as do idolaters, but to Christ, whom they adore on the wood and, because of whom, they adore the wood.
ON THE ERROR ABOUT PURGATORY
1. King James mocks purgatory. First and second foundation. 2 - 5. The error of Protestants about the redemption of Christ and about the justification of the impious. 6 - 9. The application of the merits of Christ to men is not done through the non-imputation of sins. 10 - 11. Some sins also exist in just men, which do not take away grace. 12. Not any sin at all cuts off friendship with God. 13. It is shown from the Fathers that the article about purgatory is very ancient. 14 - 22. After the day of judgment there will remain no place for purgatory. 23 - 25. Indulgences on account of the merits of Christ are lavished on the Church by God.
MONG the other dogmas of the Catholic Faith wherein the king admits that he dissents from the Roman Church he puts the article about purgatory on p.52 of his Preface; however, he touches on it so lightly that he seems to be playing rather than dealing with a cause of faith. For although he mocks and contemns the article of purgatory (which he himself calls a fiction), yet he adduces nothing solid to impugn it; nay, although he does not believe it, yet he does not absolutely deny that there is a purgatory. But “if perhaps it exists,” he says that “it is unknown to us and that it is enough for us to believe those seats for souls, which God has revealed to us in Scripture,” namely, “heaven and hell, and we should not probe further into the hidden things of divine providence.” Wherefore the chief foundation of the king is that the assertion of purgatory cannot be shown from Scripture. “Certainly,” he says, “Bellarmine could lay down no foundation for it from Scripture.” Hence he infers: “It will certainly be enough for us to recognize those seats for souls which God in his word has wished to be revealed to us.” But beside this foundation he hiddenly inserts another, dealing with it tacitly and as if of something else, saying of Christ: “He himself is the true expiation and the true purgatory for our sins;” as if implicitly inferring: therefore another purgatory is not necessary. Now in these words is hidden the root, not only of this error, but also of several others on which that one depends; and therefore we must begin from it, and the whole ulcer must be cut open, so that the full connection of errors may be uncovered, so that thence indeed the king may understand that he is not judging rightly about the things necessary for salvation, since these things “he considers unworthy of having time and effort spent on them.”
2. Protestants, therefore, for the most part at least, so judge about the redemption of Christ and the justification of the impious, or the remission of sins, that they put the whole of our justification in the remission of sins. Now this remission they teach consists only in this, that sins are, because of Christ, not imputed to us by God; not in this, that either they not exist or not come to be. They next add that sins are then not imputed when someone believes with firm faith that, because of Christ, sins are not imputed to him, whether those he did before, or those he is, along with such faith and understanding, actually in the present committing; for Christ has merited this on our behalf, by making sufficient satisfaction for our sins. And to give proof of this they twist the words of Paul and other Scriptures to their own perdition, as Peter forewarned [2 Peter 3:16].
3. Now from these principles they infer that, as often as anyone has faith, which suffices that sin not be imputed, sin is altogether not imputed and all its penalty is remitted. For either a sinner believes with firm faith that the justice of Christ is enough for his sin to be altogether and totally taken away and not to be imputed for any penalty, provided he so believe; or he thinks otherwise about the justice of Christ and about the non-imputation of sin through faith. If in this second way he limps in that special faith, he does not truly believe, and therefore sin is neither wholly nor in part remitted to him, or not imputed to him; but if he conceives a full faith in non-imputation, sin will be reckoned for absolutely no penalty; and thus the remission of penalty, to which mortal sin might be imputed, is always either complete or null.
4. Next, from these same principles they infer that in a just man there is no venial sin, but either it is mortal, which takes away justice, or there is no sin. For if a just man do any work whatever, however slight, believing it is imputed to him for some guilt, by that very fact he is an infidel and sins gravely, and he inflicts grave injury on Christ by distrusting in his merits and satisfaction; but if he does these works firmly believing that they are imputed for no even the least penalty, he does not even commit a slight sin (namely one which is imputed), for it is purged through Christ by his, so to say, prevenient purgation or non-imputation. And in this sense the king seems to have called Christ our purgatory. Therefore, if these things are true, all need for purgatory ceases, because in the just man nothing is left to be remitted, and so, if he die in that state, he does not need purgation; but if he die without justice, he will perish for ever.
5. These are the monsters and portents invented by the heretics so as to be able to take purgatory out of the way, so that indeed therefrom the king may see whether the assertion of purgatory is of little moment since, to overturn it, it is necessary to overthrow the strongest foundations of the faith; nay there is even need to fabricate very many things against divine justice and ordered providence, even, I add, against natural reason. The Catholic Faith, then, subsists in principles and foundations altogether the opposite, which I will indicate briefly and only through the window, so as to reach the intended aim; for if each foundation had to be expressly proved and disputed of, a proper and complete book would have been necessary. The first foundation of faith, then, is that, although Christ has of himself sufficiently and copiously redeemed all men and has made satisfaction for them all, nevertheless he does not in fact save all, as he himself teaches in Matthew 25 [24?], and as is known self-evidently in our faith, and the King of England supposes it in the cited place, when he confesses that there are two domiciles, heaven and hell, established for ever for the human race. From which foundation another openly follows, namely, that notwithstanding the redemption of Christ there is need for men, so as to obtain salvation, to do something or that something be done in them, whereby the merit and satisfaction of Christ is applied to them. The proof is that, although there exist an infinite merit and satisfaction of Christ, who wishes to save everyone, as Paul says, and therefore who offers himself for the salvation of all, nevertheless some are saved but others are destined for the eternal fires. Therefore this difference cannot come from anywhere except that, in addition to the actions and sufferings which Christ himself supplied, it is necessary for something to be done on our part whereby the infinite redemption of Christ might be applied. And this too is sufficiently recognized by King James, since he concludes that article by saying: “Let us so act that we may obtain the one and escape the other.”
6. The difference, then, between Protestants and Catholics begins from this necessary application of the merits of Christ, namely, by what action, knowledge, or affection it is done. Let it be, then, according to the foundation of the faith, that this application does not happen through that special faith which the Protestants feign about one’s proper justice, or the non-imputation of sins; nor are past sins through it remitted or present ones not imputed, nor does true justice, which we receive because of Christ, consist in that non-imputation. All which things are sufficiently proved against the king and Protestants in their own principles, because nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find imposed on men the necessity of believing that sins are not imputed to them by the very fact that such non-imputation is believed; otherwise let them produce where either that credulity is prescribed, or its object, or where that non-imputation is revealed. For we hear Paul saying that, Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God;” and we hear the underlying reason: “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” This faith of dogmas, then, is what is necessary for salvation, not faith about a proper justice that is nowhere required. Christ the Lord too, in the last chapter of Mark, 16:15 - 16, said: “Preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” And in the last chapter of Matthew, 28:20, he adds: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Faith, therefore, of the Gospel or of dogmas, and baptism along with obedience to commands, are the means or actions prescribed by Christ for participating in his redemption; but about a special faith, or faith in the non-imputation of sins, he himself neither spoke a word nor did he hand it on to us through the apostles or through his Church.
7. Add that it is per se incredible that sins, although they are being really committed, even by transgressing the divine and natural law, are remitted by God for the very fact that they are reputed even as nothing, because he who commits them so believes and is doing wrong in that confidence. For what is this but to give men a free license to sin? Assuredly, nothing can be thought of more contrary to the justice and most wise providence of God. Nor is it less repugnant to the redemption of Christ, for thus he would not have come to dissolve, but to foster and multiply, the works of the devil. But 1 John 3:5 says: “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins;” and later, v. 8: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil;” and 1 Peter 2:21 - 22: “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps, who did no sin &c.;” and Paul Galatians 5:13: “Ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” The merit of Christ is not, then, applied to men through that falsely devised special faith, but through “faith which worketh by love,” Galatians 5:6. And from this faith we conceive the hope of justice, with penance for previous sins interceding, along with observance of the commands, without which true justice cannot subsist. For not he who reputes himself just but he “who doeth justice is just,” as in the place above mentioned John says, 3:7. And thus too all the other things that I said are very frequent in the Scriptures, and have been expressly dealt with in their proper places.
8. Third, the Catholic Faith teaches, and it follows from what was said, that the fruit of the merits and satisfactions of Christ is not always applied equally to all believers and all the just; and hence it is not the case that, as often as mortal sins are remitted as to guilt, they are thus remitted as to penalty, so that they are imputed for absolutely no penalty, even temporal. Both are taught by the Council of Trent. The first in session 6, chs. 7 and 10, and canon 14. Which is also taken from Paul 1 Corinthians 15 when he says, vv . 41- 42: “For one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead;” and from the words of Christ, John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Which are the various and unequal seats of the blessed, as all the Fathers expound, and in particular Augustine, Tractat. 67 on John, who says: “The many mansions signify the diverse dignities of merits in the one eternal life.” Just as, therefore, there are unequal crowns in the fatherland, so in life there is inequality in grace and justice, and consequently also in participation in the merits of Christ. For all internal justice and its operation are conferred through the grace of Christ, and so is the fruit and participation in its merits; there is therefore inequality in this participation.
9. Now the second is taught by the same Council of Trent in the same session 6, ch. 14 and canon 30, and session 14, and it follows manifestly from the first; for the reason whereby the merit of Christ is not always equally applied as to perfection of justice, by the same reason does the satisfaction of Christ not always have in us an equal effect as to remission of temporal penalty. The reason indeed is that the remission of penalty happens by the intervention of some disposition or satisfaction on the part of man; but this disposition or operation can be greater and lesser; therefore the remission of penalty too. Therefore mortal sins committed after baptism (for about baptism there is different special reason), although by penance they are remitted because of Christ, are not always remitted altogether as to temporal penalty, but according to the mode of the penance and of the disposition. And therefore David used to pray, Psalm 50 :2: “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity;” and for the same cause all the Scriptures counsel penance for sins, even for sins remitted, and works of mercy and other good works for obtaining full remission of them. And the same is the common doctrine of the saints, as one may see in Augustine, De Vera et Falsa Poenitentia ch. 15, and Chrysostom, Homilia De Poenitentia especially ch. 5. And best Ambrose, Book VII on Luke at the end of ch. 12, who says: “Just as those who pay back money return a debt, and the name of interest is not then purged until the whole quality of the total allotted sum is by some sort of payment or other paid right up to the smallest amount, thus by the compensation of charity and of other acts, or by some satisfaction or other of sin, the penalty is paid off.” He who has not made full satisfaction, then, although he be just, is debtor to some penalty.
10. To these is added another foundation of the faith, namely, that there are in men, even just men, certain sins which grace does not take away and which do not make a man an enemy of God or guilty of an eternal penalty, and are therefore called venial. So taught the Council of Trent in session 6, ch.15, and it receives sufficient proof now from that verse of Proverbs 24:16: “A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” Those falls, then, of just men are some sorts of sin, but not such as to take away justice, otherwise the just man too would fall into mischief as often as he thus sinned. Hence Augustine rightly in Sermo 41 De Sanctis calls these “small sins, from which in this life the saints are not immune, which do not kill the soul, though they disfigure it;” and epist.103 at the end, he calls them “light sins of the just, which are taken away by ordinary remedies.” And because of the same he asserts, De Peccator. Merit. II. 7, that John stated, 1 John 1:8: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, &c.” Again, to the same sins pertains that verse of James 3:2: “For in many things we offend all,” as Bede notes on that same place, and Augustine in Enchiridion ch. 78, where he posits many examples of such sins, and more in . De Natura et Gratia chs. 36 and 38.
11. Natural reason also proves this, because prudent and perfect friendship is not dissolved because of some slight negligence or offense; therefore it is incredible that friendship with God is lost because of any slight defect whatever, or that some very slight defect or other renders a man worthy of divine hate and eternal punishment. But although these sins do not deserve so bitter a punishment, nevertheless, by the very fact that they are sins, they deserve some definite penalty, as is rightly noted by Augustine, Octoginta Trium Quaestionum q. 26; because to any guilt, according to the due order of justice and in line with its quality, there is some mode of penalty responding; but God is most just; and therefore these sins too, which detract in some way from his law, he does not allow to go unpunished, according to that verse of Matthew 5:26: “Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing.” Where Jerome says: “This is what he says, you will not come out of prison until you have paid also for the smallest sins.” And almost in the same way is it expounded by Ambrose, Book VII on Luke, at the end of ch.12. Finally, as Augustine said in the said Sermo 14, although these sins “do not kill the soul, they so disfigure it that they permit it, either scarcely or with great confusion, to come to the embrace of the heavenly Spouse.” Which is to be understood, I think, about the state of this life, and about the contemplation and love of God that can be had in this life; for if it be understood of the embrace of the Fatherland and of the blessed vision, such embrace can be had, not scarcely, but not at all, unless the disfigurement of such sins be first taken away. Because as is said in Apocalypse 21:27: “And there shall no wise enter into it any thing that defileth;” and in that state will be most fulfilled what Paul said Ephesians 5:25: “Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it.” And later, v. 27: “That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle.”
12. From these principles, therefore, the necessity of purgatory may be plainly concluded in this way. Just men, while they live in this life, have, together with justice, some guilt of temporal punishment that is due either for sins remitted or for venial sins committed afterward; but it often happens that the just die in this sort of state, either because, after many and grave sins, they did penance late or lightly or remissly, or because, although for a long time before death they are living in grace, they are frequently sinning venially, and they are negligent in applying remedies and doing works of satisfaction. Therefore it is necessary that there be, after death, a time and place of purgatory, wherein they may be able to be cleansed of these stains and pay the due penalties and enter into paradise; since indeed, according to the faith, no one is admitted to beatitude without complete remission of guilts and sins, as has been shown. Which reason suffices to confirm this dogma of faith, even if it cannot be expressly proved from Scripture, because the principles of this discussion are founded on Scripture itself, and are to some extent, as far as they depend on fact, even very well known by experience, and the inference is also necessary, and evidently known. But these things suffice, both for rendering the assertion altogether certain, and also so that it could be defined by the Church and proposed to the faithful for them to be bound to believe de fide, as was shown above. Now, that the Church has thus defined this truth is clear from the Councils of Florence and of Trent. And although so express a definition was not made, universal consent together with the very ancient tradition of the Catholic Church suffice for making the faith.
13. Hence I infer further that wrongly does King James reckon the article about purgatory among those that he calls recent and novel, since neither Augustine, nor Jerome, nor the other Fathers equal with them, who are certainly not recent, could not have ignored a truth supported on so many foundations of the faith. Which even is not difficult to show from their words. For Augustine on Psalm 37  at the beginning, expounds about purgatory the words, v. 1: “O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath (or as he reads) in thy indignation: neither correct me in thine anger [alt, chasten me in thy hot displeasure],” for thus he reads, and he says that: “This correcting in anger, through which the corrected are saved, will be after death, yet so as by fire.” Hence he thus expounds: “May you in this life purge me, and render me such that I should now not need the correcting fire.” In addition, bk Octoginta Trium Quaestionum q. 26, speaking of venial sins, he says that a definite punishment is due to them, both in this world and in the future one, where the particle ‘and’ he either put as a disjunctive, or he understood it under the condition that the penalty is due in the future age if it is not paid in the present one. More clearly, however, in the said Sermo 11 ‘De Sanctis’, treating of the same sins, he says: “Whatever of those sins has not been redeemed by us must be purged by that fire of which the Apostle said, 1 Corinthians 3:13 and 15, ‘because it shall be revealed by fire, and if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss;’ for either, while we live in this world, we ourselves weary ourselves through penance, or certainly, by the will and permission of God, we will with many tribulations be afflicted for those sins and, if we give thanks to God, be set free.” And later: “Sins are themselves so purged in this age that in the future that purgatorial fire either does not find them or certainly finds a little of them, which it burns away. But if we neither in tribulation give thanks to God, nor redeem sins with good works, we will ourselves be delayed in that purgatorial fire for as long as the aforesaid little sins are being consumed like wood, hay, stubble.”
14. Again, in De Octo Quaestionibus ad Dulcitium, although in q.1 he only says that: “Some are saved, yet so as by fire, and it is not incredible that so it happens to some after this life; but whether it is so can be inquired into;” however in q. 2 he repeats the things he said, De Cura pro Mortuis Agenda ch.1, which he mentions, and he teaches definitely and as certain that the suffrages of the living profit some of the dead, who were neither so evil that these cannot profit them, as are the damned, nor so good that they are not in need of them, but of a certain middle status, whom he calls “not greatly bad, because although they loved the goods that pass away, yet they were not such as those are of whom it is said that they will not possess the kingdom of God, but they are the just in need of some purgation.” And he teaches the same in Enchiridion chs, 68 and 96, where he says: “It is not to be denied that the souls of the dead are relieved by the piety of their own who are alive.” And therefore glorious Monica, the mother of Augustine, being well instructed in the Catholic Faith, while she was giving up her soul, asked nothing from her son and his companions but that they should keep her memory at the altar of the Lord, as he himself relates, Confessions IX.11, and in Book III he commends her conspicuous faith and piety and prays for the soul of his mother, and asks others to pray. Besides, at De Civitate Dei, XXI.16, where he says, about infants dying with baptism only, that they are so disposed for beatitude that not only are they are not made ready for eternal punishments, “but they do not even suffer any purgatorial torments after death.” In which words he openly supposes that there are after this life purgatorial punishments, about which he later says: “But who may think there will be no purgatorial punishments except in the presence of that last, terrible judgment?” namely the universal one. For after it a place of purgatory will not be necessary, because before it the complete purgation of sins will happen in all the just, and therefore in that judgment all those who are to be judged are divided into only two places that will last for ever. And thus is Scripture to be understood whenever it speaks of those two ultimate ends. Also can be seen in the same Augustine (if it is his work) Hypognosticon V.5 and 6.
15. Next, in his book Quinquaginta Homiliarum, Homilia 16 near the end, the same Augustine teaches this truth very fully, some of whose words I will report, because they both confirm all the foundations posited above and sharply pierce the adversaries: “Those who have done things worthy of temporal punishments, about which the Apostle says, 1 Corinthians 3:15, ‘if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire,’ they will cross through the fiery stream (which the word of the prophet mentions, Daniel 7:10) and the fords horrible with boiling and bubbling. As great as was the matter of sin, so great will be the delay in passing through; as much as guilt exacts, so great will some discipline of rational flame make claim from a man for itself.” And later: “There idle speech, and unjust or unclean thoughts, there a multitude of slight sins, which had infected the purity of noble nature, will gush forth; there the lake or leaden weight of the diverse offenses that creep in unawares, which have obscured the divine image, will be consumed; all which here could, in a brief transaction, have been separated from the soul by works of mercy and tears.” And so that the king may understand how Christ may be our purgatory, he concludes: “Behold thus does he have reason to exact of man who gave himself for man and, pierced with nails, joined himself to the law of death.” And in this Catholic sense did the same Augustine say, De Civitate Dei X.24, that: “The Lord Jesus Christ is the principle by whose incarnation we are purged; him indeed (that is, the devil) he contemned in his own flesh, which he assumed for the sacrifice of our purgation.” And later: “Him the Platonist did not recognize to be the principle, for then he would acknowledge purgatory.” Nothing else, then, is purgatory in Christ than to be redeemer, through whom men can in this life be most perfectly cleansed, if they wish to dispose themselves; otherwise, if in this life they have not attained it, in the future life, if they be just, they will be purged by condign punishments according to the rigor of justice, if they are not in some respect assisted by the suffrages of the living.
16. Besides ,St. Jerome elegantly affirms that there exists after this life some temporal punishment of fire, in the last chapter of Isaiah, almost in the last words, and he teaches that the works of some Christians must be tried and purged by fire, such that the purgation is temporal and ends. Also, in his book Contra Jovinianum, he expounds in the same way a place of Paul 1 Corinthians 5, and concludes: “If he, whose work burns and perishes and he suffers a loss of his labor, will indeed lose the reward of his labor, though he himself shall be saved, not however without the trial of fire; therefore he, whose work abides, which he hath built thereupon, shall be saved without the trial of fire, and between salvation and salvation there will be indeed some diversity.” Which words are to be noted, for they confirm the discussion given above, although in altered order. For by the diverse way of obtaining salvation, through the purgatorial fire or without it, Jerome collects from the latter a diversity of merits and rewards; but we contrariwise from the diversity of the works, whether bad or good, that dispose to justice, have deduced the necessity of purgatory. And in ch.1 Ezekiel the same Jerome thus concludes: “From which is shown that after punishments and sufferings and the purgation of sins there will be mercy, at least in those who have merited to see God in his kingdom.”
17. The same truth is taught by Ambrose, on ch. 14 Apocalypse about the words, v .5: “For they are without fault,” saying: “The souls of the saints are without fault, because if they have contracted any uncleanness from worldly habitation, it has either through penance and tears and works of charity, or through flagellation and certainly by purgatorial fire after death, been destroyed.” And like things are contained in ch. 20 on the words, v. 5: “This is the first resurrection.” I know it has been called into doubt whether the work is of Ambrose; but no one doubts but that it is of some grave and sufficiently ancient Father. However, the second prayer in preparation for Mass is beyond doubt of Ambrose, and yet in it he thus prays to Christ: “Remember, because you yourself who judge are my advocate. But if something still in this age too you hold in me that needs to be avenged, do not hand me to the power of demons while you are wiping away my crime with purgatorial punishment.”
18. To these let St. Cyprian be added, who, in epist. 52 to Antonianus, says: “It is one thing to stop for pardon, another to advance to glory; one thing, having been sent to prison, not to come out thence until you have paid the uttermost farthing, another to receive at once the reward of faith and virtue; one thing to be for sins cleansed by the long pain of torments and purged much time by fire, another to have all sins purged by a passion.” The same is taken from Tertullian, De Anima chs. 35 and 58 at the end, where he thus expounds the said place of Matthew 5 when he says: “We understand the prison to be the infernal regions, and we interpret the uttermost farthing to be even a small fault that needs there to be paid by delay of resurrection.” Which is more or less the exposition that Athanasius has too in Variarum Scripturarum Questiones q. 62. And several other things from the Greek Fathers for this truth are brought together by Gennadius Scholarius, patriarch of Constantinople, in his Defensio Concilii Florentini ch 3. Chief too, both in the Greeks and the Latins, are where they assert that sacrifices, prayers, and alms, and other good works of the living help the dead for some remission of punishments, if they have departed in the state in which they are capable of that help. Which places of the saints approving this very ancient tradition are so frequent that it seems superfluous to refer to them, especially when the article requires a proper disputation. But those who hand it on must have believed that some souls of the faithful are so punished after death that they could be freed from those punishments, and this is what we call purgatory. But about the dogma can be seen especially Augustine in the said book De Cura pro Mortuis Agenda, and Cyril of Jerusalem Catechesis 5 ‘Mystagogica’, Cyprian epist. 66 to the clergy &., and Ambrose Orat. De Obitu Theodosii and Orat. 2 De Obitu Fratris sui Satyri, and Damscene Orat. De Defensione Fidei.
19. From these things one may in addition understand that without cause did the King of England wish to lay down that Bellarmine could not prove purgatory from the Scriptures; for as the holy Fathers did not lay it down without the Scriptures, although at the same time they teach it from apostolic tradition, so too did the most illustrious Bellarmine wisely and learnedly prove this truth from the Scriptures by understanding them as the holy Fathers interpreted them. But if this does not satisfy the king, because his sure knowledge understands them otherwise, it has already been replied that that knowledge, which differs from the sense of the Fathers and of the Catholic Church, is not true knowledge, nor is it from the spirit of God, on the ground even most of all that (as I have often said and as, along with Paulinus, Augustine in almost the same cause says, in his book De Cura pro Mortuis Agenda ch. 1), although Scripture were lacking, the authority of the Church would suffice. For certainly when Scripture teaches that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, and that the apostolic traditions are to be believed, it virtually contains the assertion of purgatory, which both the Church and tradition teach. Next we add that this truth is sufficiently contained in those places of Scripture wherein God is said to reward each according to his deeds, according to that verse of 2 Corinthians 5:10: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” For hence we have that no evil is left unpunished by God, and therefore, if it is not punished in this life or satisfaction made for it, it must be avenged in a future life with punishment condign and commensurate with the guilt, and hence by temporal punishment, if the person is otherwise just and pleasing to God.
20. Next we say that this truth is also proximately and immediately proved in the New Testament from the place often cited, 1 Corinthians 3:13: “The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” And later, v. 15: “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” For although we do not deny that those words are sometimes expounded otherwise by some Fathers (whose interpretation there is not leisure now to weigh), nevertheless it can in no way be rejected, because it is both very consonant with the text and sense of the Church, and is approved by many Fathers, as by Augustine and Jerome, whom we have already reported, and by Ambrose on Paul, where many others also prove it, and Origen copiously Homilia 6 on Exodus and best Paulinus in epist. 9 to Severus, where he calls purgatory “wise fire”, and in the poem containing the paraphrase of Psalm 1, where he calls it “the arbiter fire”. And thus too did Gregory expound it in his chapter on 3 Kings near the end, and in bk. IV Dialog. ch. 39, and Caesar of Arles Homilia 8 on the same place. The place too in Matthew 5:25 - 26: “Lest…thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,” if it is pondered with right reason, does not a little help, especially since it is thus also understood by the Fathers mentioned, by Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose, and Jerome, to omit the more recent ones. Next, that this is also insinuated or supposed by Christ in the words of Matthew 12:32: “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come,” is understood by the Fathers, as Augustine, De Civitate Dei XXI.13, who is imitated by Gregory in the said ch. 39, and Bede on that place, and Bernard. And if the prudent way of speaking is carefully considered, no one speaks about a certain thing according to two times unless the thing is wont in either time or state to be done.
21. From the Old Testament too some testimonies were touched on above. Of which sort is that verse of Psalm 37 :1: “O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath; neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure,” according to the interpretation of Augustine reported above, which is also handed on by Gregory on the first penitential psalm. But most convincing of all are the testimonies in which is either asserted or supposed that the dead can be helped by the works of the living. Among them indeed the more known and clearer is what is contained in 2 Maccabees 12:46: “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” Which the king cannot escape except by denying that the book is canonical. But this is a most miserable refuge, and disputing it now would go on a long time or rather to infinity. Sufficient, then, are the things which we said in the previous book about the rule for discriminating canonical books from non-canonical, and that the Fathers commonly use the book as canonical; and that Augustine in particular, in the said book De Cura pro Mortuis Agenda ch. 1, confirms therefrom this truth. Since, therefore, this truth about purgatorial punishments has been confirmed by so great a weight of authority and reason, let the king see by what spirit he is led when he dares to call it “a fiction unworthy of having effort spent on it.” Nor let him think that Catholics have a contention with heretics either about the state or the place of purgatory, or whether it is one or many, nor about the mode or quality of the punishments; for although these are soberly and prudently disputed by theologians (as that they can also be inquired into was sometimes said by Augustine mentioned above), yet if meditation on these things does not please the king, we do not contend with him about them, provided he not deny that temporal punishments after death are designed for some of the just, the imperfect.
22. About the things, however, that the king subjoins as consequent to purgatory, and that he calls frivolous, since they are not impugned by him, there is not now need to say much. But because in the margin of his book these things are said to be frivolous, “indulgences, jubilees, and satisfactions for the dead,” I will say briefly that only by Protestants, trifling men assuredly and very impudent, who perverted the king in his infancy, could these things be reputed frivolous. For either they are called frivolous because they have no foundation of truth, or because, although true, they are of little or no moment. This latter could not come into the mind of any man who does not lack right reason. For who would think it of little moment to be freed from the debt of the gravest punishment? Or who would think it a thing to be despised, or deny it to be a work of charity, to free one’s neighbor, by prayers poured out to God and by personal afflictions and alms, from the gravest punishment? Or who would not value greatly the power almost divine of applying with effect the satisfactions of Christ and the saints in compensation for the punishments of purgatory? Certainly these and the like things are thought to be frivolous by Protestants, not because they are of little moment, but because infidels think them incredible. Let them, therefore, consider that they have no foundation of truth. But if it is true, as the king thinks, that these things are consequent to the assertion of purgatory, since it has been shown that purgatory is supported on the greatest and infallible authority, certainly the other things that follow that assertion cannot fail to be founded on a great weight of authority; therefore by this reason too they can be said to be, not frivolous, but most certain dogmas of the Catholic Faith.
23. Now if those pseudo-theologians, who have imposed on the king in this matter, were versed in sacred doctrine, they would not assert that suffrages and indulges follow on purgatory; for they are not founded on it nor do they have a necessary connection with it. For God could, if he wished to use the rigor of justice, exact the punishments of purgatory from the men who are dead and are guilty of them, without any remission or compensation. But indulgences and satisfactions are nothing other than certain remissions and compensations for the punishments of purgatory, which God, because of his infinite goodness and the outstanding merits of Christ, has conceded to his Church, both so that those punishments might through Christ be made milder and so that there might be among the members of Christ a greater and more excellent communication of mutual charity. Wherefore, although purgatory, satisfactions for the dead, and indulgences have one common matter, namely the debt of temporal punishment which in some of the just sometimes remains after this life, and therefore one of these can in some way be collected from another, nevertheless, properly speaking, one is not founded on another, but each one per se has a very grave foundation of truth. For the punishment of purgatory is founded on the order of divine justice that, by the rules of faith, is made sufficiently manifest to us and very consonant with reason, as has been shown.
24. Suffrages, however, on the other hand, or satisfactions are founded on the “communion of saints” which we profess in the creed. For that that communion exists, not only among mortals living here, but also with the just already dead, according to the state of each, is handed on by the authority of the Church and has a sufficient foundation in Sacred Scripture. Which has been shown in previous chapters about the communion between us and the saints reigning with Christ, insofar as we showed both that they help us by their intercessions and that we can and should request intercessions of them, and venerate and praise them and give thanks to God for their glory. But our communion with the just dead who are not yet blessed, but detained in prison for certain debts, is founded also on the perpetual tradition of the Church and on Sacred Scripture, as can be understood from what has been said in this chapter. For prayer, alms, sacrifice, and similar works offered to God for the dead, so that they may be released from sins, pertain to this communication; but Scripture and the custom of the Church teach that it is best to pray and work for the dead. Hence rightly does Augustine already mentioned collect that sufficient authority proves that this is not done without fruit; satisfaction for the dead, therefore, is not frivolous but very satisfactorily founded. Add that this kind of communication is very consonant with charity as well as with reason, and very worthy of kind divine providence; he then cannot be held for a Catholic who thinks this so Catholic truth, received by the Universal Church, is frivolous.
25. The concession of indulgences, indeed, to which also jubilees pertain, has two very solid foundations. One is the infinite treasure of the merit and satisfaction of Christ the Lord and the saints, which treasure, at least as to the riches of Christ and their sufficiency, I do not reckon is denied by Protestants; which now is sufficient for us, because the satisfactions of the saints are not so necessary but are added on out of abundance, which to explain further and prove does not belong to the present place. The second foundation is the supreme power of binding and loosing which Christ conceded to his Vicar, which is sufficiently founded on the Gospel, as we will show in the following book. But that the power extends to this dispensation and concession of indulgences is sufficiently shown by ecclesiastical tradition and the very ancient use of the same power by the common consent of the Church, as we have treated of more at large in our theological disputations, in vol. IV. p. 3 disp. 48 and following.
ON ERRORS ABOUT THE RITES AND BENEDICTIONS OF THE CHURCH
1. The blessing of bells and other like benedictions seem trivialities to Protestants. 2. The institution and use of bells. 3 - 4. Use of this sort was introduced in the Church over one thousand years ago. 5 - 8. It is shown that nothing can be faulted in the blessing of bells. 9. The objection of heretics is solved. 10. Instance.
MONG other examples that the king puts down as articles which he calls novel and recent, he adds these words on p.58 of his Preface, at the beginning: “The baptizing of bells and a thousand trivialities besides;” but what trivialities they are he neither declares himself nor expounds in the margin. Hence it seems that under these words he comprehends all similar benedictions, for Protestants are wont to make trifles of all of them. Although about this one, which he calls the baptizing of bells, the Magdeburgians have said, with great exaggeration, that it is a horrendous error and a great sacrilege against the institution of Christ. Thus does Bellarmine report, De Pontif. IV cont.10 ch.6. And therefore, to complete this book, it has seemed worth the effort to say a few things about these rites by responding to his own objection from the particular example and, on occasion thereof, by touching on something about the whole class of such benedictions.
2. Two things, then, in signs of this sort, which are called bells, can be looked at, namely the use of such an instrument for agreeably exercising certain public actions, and the rites instituted by the Church for the blessing of bells; and each must be spoken of individually. At the beginning, then, it is certain that the ancient custom of the Church was that Masses and other offices should happen in sacred places and temples, so that the Christian people might gather for them at definite hours or on definite days. Hence it was necessary also that there be in the Church some sign on the giving of which the people might come to the Church. For this function bells were instituted, which for that reason were wont sometimes to be signified by the name of signs absolutely, as in ch. “Solent,” De Consecrat. d. 1 and in chs. 1 and 2 De Offic. Custodis’ Therefore, on consideration of this proper and, as it were, literal reason for the institution of the use of bells, no prudent man can doubt but that it was both very useful and very agreeable, because some public sign was morally necessary. Hence too in the Old Testament God said to Moses Numbers 10:2: “Make thee two trumpets of silver…that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps &c.” And from Leviticus 23 is collected that on feast days the people was wont to be summoned or admonished by the blowing of trumpets. The same is indicated by the words of Joel 2“1: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion.” There was, then, a moral necessity for some sign also in the Church of Christ. But the determination to the sound of bells depended on human choice, and therefore rightly and legitimate could it be done by the Church as it was done, and in a thing per se indifferent the custom of the Church was sufficient, so that no prudent and moderate man might be offended in it. Especially since the instrument is very apt for the aforesaid end, both because it can be rung easily and without great effort, and also because its sound is widely diffused, and finally because it is more durable and almost perpetual.
3. Add that this use of bells is not new in the Church. For although, as learned authors testify, it is certainly not clear at what time they began, there is yet no doubt but that their use was common in the Latin Church over a thousand years ago. For in the year 615 lived St. Lupus bishop of Sens, in whose acts it is related that at the time of a certain siege of the city of Sens “the holy bishop betook himself to the temple of the protomartyr Stephen and struck the sign to summon the people,” as is in Surius vol.5 for the first day of September. Where also he relates the marvelous works of God displayed in connection with that sign or bell. Again, in the year 665 died St. Eligius bishop of Noyon, in whose life, bk.2 ch.21, is related that when he had prohibited a priest from performing sacred acts in the church, and the priest, despising the prohibition, tried to ring the bell to summon the people, it did not make a sound, until the priest did penance and the holy bishop lifted the prohibition. Surius reports it vol.6 for the first day of December. In addition Bede, Histor. Anglicanae IV.23, makes mention of a bell at whose sound certain women religious were wont to be summoned and stirred to prayer whenever one of them departed this world. But some conjecture that at the time of Anastasius the Persian martyr the use of bells had not yet been introduced, because in the seventh Synod, act. 4 from his miracles, it is reported that on a certain solemn supplication the faithful were summoned, not by the sound of a bell, but through “the beating of sacred wooden signs.” But this is both not much of an obstacle, because that saint suffered in the twenty seventh year after the sixth century, and besides the words are said about the Greek Church where those wooden signs are believed to have lasted until the year of our Lord 865. For in that year they say that the Doge of Venice sent bells to the emperor Michael and that then their use commenced among the Greeks, the wooden signs having been abandoned, as Baronius notes for the same year at the end, although he says elsewhere that the wooden signs were not in common use for summoning the people of any church, but only among religious for summoning monks in monasteries.
4. But whatever may have happened here, it is certain that some signs of this sort were always deemed necessary, which (and this is not to be overlooked) were also called sacred; and among them the use of bells prevailed as more useful and more lasting. Now rightly does Walfridius Strabo note, in his book De Rebus Ecclesiasticis ch.5, that these public signs could not have been agreeably in use in the primitive Church; because the divine offices, on account of the multitude of gentiles and especially on account of the violence of persecutions, could not be so public, for rather care was taken to make them secret. And therefore the faithful were invited in other ways, as by announcing in one meeting a next future one, or by recording it on written tablets, as Strabo says in the place cited, or by individuals or a deacon privately going around and giving reminder, as Baronius conjectures from letters 11 and 13 of Ignatius. But after peace was given to the Church and after its increase, the use of public signs was necessary, and so it is likely that a little after Constantine’s time the rite of bells was introduced, which was afterwards approved by perpetual tradition. On which can be seen what Coccius reports in his Thesaurus vol. II, Book III, article 6.
5. Since therefore it is clear that there is nothing in the simple use of bells that heretics can carp at, let us see what they find fault with in the blessing and, so to say, symbolic use of them. For either they universally detest as superstitious any blessing and ceremonial consecration of sacred things instituted by the Church, or they find some particular thing worthy of blame in the blessing of bells; but we might refute both with a single word of Augustine, who says, “If there is anything the Church preserves throughout the whole globe, to dispute that it should not so be done is a mark of the most insolent madness.” And what he says elsewhere: “One should not believe that a thing is vainly done where there is the plain authority of the whole Church.” But further, the first general alternative is repugnant, not only to tradition, but also the Scripture and reason. For Paul says that every creature is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer, 1 Timothy 4. Hence we read that Christ, for multiplying the loaves, used blessing by looking up to heaven, Matthew 14. And Mark 6 adds that he blessed the fish, and in Luke 24 Christ blessed the bread by the breaking of which he wished to be made known to the disciples. Why then is it that the Church cannot either sanctify things by blessing them, or in this imitate Christ? Or what moral or natural reason can be thought of to which this is repugnant? For the Church in these sorts of blessings chiefly uses the sign of the cross and prayer, of which prayer was greatly commended by Christ the Lord, the sign of the cross, however, received great power of sanctifying from his death, for it contains a certain virtual invocation and supplication on account of Christ’s death; therefore by both titles the blessings of the Church are religious and pleasing to God.
6. And this is also confirmed by the ancient blessings of holy water, of bread, of oil, of the paschal candle, and other like things, about which here is not the place to speak. But it is certain that they are not new but customary in the Church, as could easily be shown from the Fathers; but I omit it as foreign to this place, and I conclude this place with the illustrious testimony of Gregory Nazianzen. For in Ora t.1 against Julian And this is also confirmed by the ancient blessings of holy water, of bread, of oil, of the paschal candle, and other like things, about which here is not the place to speak. But it is certain that they are not new but customary in the Church, as could easily be shown from the Fathers; but I omit it as foreign to this place, and I conclude this place with the illustrious testimony of Gregory Nazianzen. For in Orat.1 against Julian the rites and sanctions of the Church (for thus he calls them) he so praises that he says that: “they most aptly harmonize with it, and are such that none of those who desire to follow in our footsteps can be jealous of; since indeed they have not more by human genius and invention than by divine force and the firmness of time acquired their strength.” And we can add this rite of bells has also sometimes been confirmed by God with miracles, as can be seen in Sigebert, in his Chronicle for the year 1081, and in Baronius, vol.8 for the year 615 n.14, and in Durandus, De Ritibus Ecclesiae I.22 the rites and sanctions of the Church (for thus he calls them) he so praises that he says that: “they most aptly harmonize with it, and are such that none of those who desire to follow in our footsteps can be jealous of; since indeed they have not more by human genius and invention than by divine force and the firmness of time acquired their strength.” And we can add this rite of bells has also sometimes been confirmed by God with miracles, as can be seen in Sigebert, in his Chronicle for the year 1081, and in Baronius, vol. VIII for the year 615 n. 14, and in Durandus, De Ritibus Ecclesiae I.22.
7. But if we consider the peculiar rite of blessing a bell, it contains nothing besides certain prayers whereby the peculiar benefits of God are requested for the faithful through the sound of bells; in which there is nothing that is not very pious and religious. For when first certain psalms and the common rite of blessing water have been prefaced, this prayer is interposed: “May the virtue of the Holy Spirit attend upon it, so that when this instrument prepared for inviting the sons of the holy Church has been dipped in it, whenever afterwards the ringing of it sounds, the power of those who lie in wait may depart far off &c.” And afterwards petition is made that in the Christians who hear such sign the growth of devotion may increase and that they may in the Church worthily pray and praise God; and these petitions are repeated in other prayers, and especially that “all who convene at its sound may be freed in body from all temptations of the enemy, and be purified in mind from corrupt thoughts, and always follow the teachings of the Catholic Faith, and deserve to receive the grace of thy consolation, Savior of the world &c.” All which petitions are very pious and show great faith. And from them one may collect that, although the first reason or occasion for inventing these signs was the moral necessity of summoning the Christian people, yet afterwards the Church, by faithful thought and wise institution, ordained them to spiritual effects, and assumed them, so to say, as instruments by which the faith of the faithful might be aroused, through the intervention of which they might obtain those sorts of effects from God through Christ. Wherefore, although the instruments of signs be made for a corporeal effect, so to say, namely for summoning the faithful, yet they are blessed for the spiritual effects of warding off demons and all the harms, both spiritual and corporal, which come to us through their plottings, and of exciting the faithful to the increase of faith and devotion.
8. But Protestants urge that this is a kind of superstition, because without a precept or divine authority it is vain to aim at spiritual fruit through the material sound of bells from the force of solely human blessing. But we easily reply that a divine precept is not necessary, for it is enough that the act is not evil of itself nor specially prohibited by God. Next, we say that the authority of God is not lacking, at any rate in its root and origin, because he himself gave authority to the pastors of the Church for ruling the Church and for making disposition of the things that pertain to the accidental rites of the Church. And in things that are approved for the Universal Church there is not lacking even the authority of the Holy Spirit teaching the Church and governing it. Finally, the confidence with which the like blessings are done is founded on the faith of Christ and of his promises, and so it is far distant from all superstition. Because the spiritual effect is only expected from God through the prayers of the Church, which are founded on the blessing; and although they seem, as regard us, to be transient and to leave no virtue in the blessed thing, they always remain in the divine knowledge. And therefore, although they do not always infallibly obtain the effects requested, they do nevertheless often procure them, when other opportune conditions occur, because this is generally promised to a just prayer, of which sort that prayer must most be thought to be which is founded on the name of the whole Church.
9. Yet the adversaries will instance that in this blessing not only do entreaties intervene but also certain actions, which can have no effect, and therefore they seem to be vain and superstitious. And Protestants especially calumniate the washing of bells, for these are commanded to be washed everywhere, within and without, with blessed water. And that is why perhaps the king calls this rite not with the name of blessing but with the name of baptizing, or perhaps because Calvin thought all use of blessed water to be a sort of profanation of baptism. But this is altogether vain, since in such use neither the intention nor the form of baptism is involved. One should not, however, care about the name, both because the Church neither in the rite of baptizing bells nor in any other decree used the word ‘baptizing’ but the word ‘blessing’ of bells; and because it contains nothing deserving fault, and it is not new but sufficiently ancient, as can be understood from what Durandus reports De Ritibus V.22 n. 6.
10. Putting aside the term, then, we admit about these sorts of actions that they are not done for some effect which they cannot properly bring about or obtain; and nevertheless we deny that they are done vainly or superstitiously, because they are done for some agreeable signification, to excite the memory or affection of the faithful. Which reason is very much consonant with the human condition, and therefore God himself observed it both in the ancient sacraments and in the new, which the Church imitates in its own way and according to its own grasp in instituting things and rites of its own. And so, through that washing of a bell, there is signified, in the first place, a certain dedication of to a sacred use and a separation from other profane signs. Again, there is signified with how much purity and decency, internal and external, and how much integrity of faith they ought to come to Church who are summoned to the Church on the sound of such signs. But over the antiquity of this rite I do not delay; for although some attribute it to the Pontiff John XIII while others judge it to be older, the thing itself, however, is uncertain, and matters little for the truth of the doctrine. For in these things, which depend on human institution, there can be change and novelty, as I said above. For not all novelty but only profane novelty is to be detested; but there could be a pious one, prudently and by legitimate power introduced; but such is the use and rite of which we are treating, and therefore, at whatever time it began, it is irreproachable.
SUM AND CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE BOOK, WITH AN ADDRESS TO THE KING OF ENGLAND
BOUT the mysteries of our faith, which King James touches on in his Preface, we have strictly treated those that can seem sufficient for a man ready prudently to believe, but too much for a man who will not believe. For although these divine and sacrosanct mysteries, those especially that pertain to the divine Eucharist and to the cult and invocation of the most Blessed Virgin and other saints, so exceed the limits of human reason and the bounds of nature that, for the understanding of them, nothing that might be said by a man can be deemed sufficient, yet, for persuading pure and sincere faith against the writings of the King of England, we have judged it enough and more than enough to show the antiquity of our faith and the agreement therein of the holy Fathers. And therefore it was that alone we also promised to demonstrate, and we have fulfilled the promise with what diligence, certainty, and clarity we could.
2. It remains, most serene king, that just as we have with the greatest fidelity produced what we promised, so we require of you too, with the humility we ought, what you also promised. For these are your words in your Preface to Christian princes: “I indeed frankly make this pledge, that as often as any head of that religion which I profess be shown not to be ancient, Catholic, and apostolic but novel (in matters, that is, that have regard to the faith), I will at once depart therefrom.” And later (he says): “I will thus conclude this place, that no dogma of the faith, which indeed is necessary for salvation, will I ever refuse to embrace that the whole Catholic Church has already right from the times of the apostles without intermission for many centuries afterwards constantly taught and believed.” Since, therefore, not one only but many very grave dogmas of the faith, namely about the truth of the body and blood of the Lord in the Eucharist, about the cult, due use, and sacred oblation of the same, about the invocation of the saints reigning with Christ and especially of the most holy Virgin, about the punishments and suffrages of the faithful souls in need of purgation, and other like things, which the Roman Church teaches and believes, we have shown manifestly to have been very ancient in the Catholic Church, and since that the King of England denies them and professes the contrary as true and Catholic is manifest, he assuredly cannot deny that the condition required by himself, by us and by other Catholics before us, has been fulfilled, and hence that he is held by his pledge, whose performance in accordance therewith we by many titles require.
3. First, because the promise is royal, which it is fitting should be most firm. Next, because on the supposition of the state of Anglican affairs, it was very consonant with prudence and religion. Add to these, most serene king, that unless you acquiesce in manifested truth a very great danger to your salvation threatens you; for to be ignorant of truth is human, but not to wish to acknowledge it when it has been made plain, or to attack it when acknowledged, is most dangerous, since eternity is balanced on the scales of faith. Finally, because by no honest reason, or by no pretext, can you escape the bonds of your words. Or do you require clearer light or greater testimony? Hear Chrysostom saying: “Just as always to be learning is a sign of never being able to advance; so always to ask for testimony is a sign of never being able to believe.” Or are you unsure of your strength and power against the enemies of the faith? But if the promptitude of your will be not lacking, there is no reason to fear lack of power; for what prudence persuades, and what faith teaches, and religion commands, that royal power can accomplish with surely no trouble; especially because if your spirit is not lacking, God certainly will not be lacking, whose gift faith itself is and defense of the faith. Or do you fear the scandal of perverse men? Hear Augustine: “If truth gives rise to scandal, more usefully is scandal allowed to come to be than truth abandoned.” Blind, therefore, are they and leaders of the blind, contemn them, they are yours, cut them off; easily will that be done which for God, for your own affairs and for theirs is done. Or, finally, you suffer something human, and you fear lest, if you are subject to the Pontiff, something may be taken from your authority? Do not be troubled; the Roman Pontiff does not seek what is yours but you; for the obedience of faith does not diminish a kingdom, but increases rather the temporal one and lays open the eternal one, whose keys have been committed to the Roman Pontiff, and therefore is he anxious for your salvation. But that you may be persuaded of the fact, the following book will shown what is your right and power and what is his.
THE END OF THE SECOND BOOK
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