October 23, 1656
    If I had merely to reply to the three remaining charges on the
subject of homicide, there would be no need for a long discourse,
and you will see them refuted presently in a few words; but as I think
it of much more importance to inspire the public with a horror at your
opinions on this subject than to justify the fidelity of my
quotations, I shall be obliged to devote the greater part of this
letter to the refutation of your maxims, to show you how far you
have departed from the sentiments of the Church and even of nature
itself. The permissions of murder, which you have granted in such a
variety of cases, render it very apparent, that you have so far
forgotten the law of God, and quenched the light of nature, as to
require to be remanded to the simplest principles of religion and of
common sense.
    What can be a plainer dictate of nature than that "no private
individual has a right to take away the life of another"? "So well are
we taught this of ourselves," says St. Chrysostom, "that God, in
giving the commandment not to kill, did not add as a reason that
homicide was an evil; because," says that father, "the law supposes
that nature has taught us that truth already." Accordingly, this
commandment has been binding on men in all ages. The Gospel has
confirmed the requirement of the law; and the Decalogue only renewed
the command which man had received from God before the law, in the
person of Noah, from whom all men are descended. On that renovation of
the world, God said to the patriarch: "At the hand of man, and at
the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of man. Whoso
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for man is
made in the image of God." (Gen. ix. 5, 6.) This general prohibition
deprives man of all power over the life of man. And so exclusively has
the Almighty reserved this prerogative in His own hand that, in
accordance with Christianity, which is at utter variance with the
false maxims of Paganism, man has no power even over his own life.
But, as it has seemed good to His providence to take human society
under His protection, and to punish the evil-doers that give it
disturbance, He has Himself established laws for depriving criminals
of life; and thus those executions which, without this sanction, would
be punishable outrages, become, by virtue of His authority, which is
the rule of justice, praiseworthy penalties. St. Augustine takes an
admirable view of this subject. "God," he says, "has himself qualified
this general prohibition against manslaughter, both by the laws
which He has instituted for the capital punishment of malefactors, and
by the special orders which He has sometimes issued to put to death
certain individuals. And when death is inflicted in such cases, it
is not man that kills, but God, of whom man may be considered as
only the instrument, in the same way as a sword in the hand of him
that wields it. But, these instances excepted, whosoever kills
incurs the guilt of murder."
    It appears, then, fathers, that the right of taking away the
life of man is the sole prerogative of God, and that, having
ordained laws for executing death on criminals, He has deputed kings
or commonwealths as the depositaries of that power- a truth which
St. Paul teaches us, when, speaking of the right which sovereigns
possess over the lives of their subjects, he deduces it from Heaven in
these words: "He beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister
of God to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." (Rom. 13. 4.) But
as it is God who has put this power into their hands, so He requires
them to exercise it in the same manner as He does himself; in other
words, with perfect justice; according to what St. Paul observes in
the same passage: "Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the
evil. Wilt thou, then, not be afraid of the power? Do that which is
good: for he is the minister of God to thee for good." And this
restriction, so far from lowering their prerogative, exalts it, on the
contrary, more than ever; for it is thus assimilated to that of God
who has no power to do evil, but is all-powerful to do good; and it is
thus distinguished from that of devils, who are impotent in that which
is good, and powerful only for evil. There is this difference only
to be observed betwixt the King of Heaven and earthly sovereigns, that
God, being justice and wisdom itself, may inflict death
instantaneously on whomsoever and in whatsoever manner He pleases;
for, besides His being the sovereign Lord of human life, it certain
that He never takes it away either without cause or without judgement,
because He is as incapable of injustice as He is of error. Earthly
potentates, however, are not at liberty to act in this manner; for,
though the ministers of God, still they are but men, and not gods.
They may be misguided by evil counsels, irritated by false suspicions,
transported by passion, and hence they find themselves obliged to have
recourse, in their turn also, to human agency, and appoint magistrates
in their dominions, to whom they delegate their power, that the
authority which God has bestowed on them may be employed solely for
the purpose for which they received it.
    I hope you understand, then, fathers, that, to avoid the crime
of murder, we must act at once by the authority of God, and
according to the justice of God; and that, when these two conditions
are not united, sin is contracted; whether it be by taking away life
with his authority, but without his justice; or by taking it away with
justice, but without his authority. From this indispensable connection
it follows, according to St. Augustine, "that he who, without proper
authority, kills a criminal, becomes a criminal himself, chiefly for
this reason, that he usurps an authority which God has not given him";
and on the other hand, magistrates, though they possess this
authority, are nevertheless chargeable with murder, if, contrary to
the laws which they are bound to follow, they inflict death on an
innocent man.
    Such are the principles of public safety and tranquillity which
have been admitted at all times and in all places, and on the basis of
which all legislators, sacred and profane, from the beginning of the
world, have founded their laws. Even Heathens have never ventured to
make an exception to this rule, unless in cases where there was no
other way of escaping the loss of chastity or life, when they
conceived, as Cicero tells us, "that the law itself seemed to put
its weapons into the hands of those who were placed in such an
    But with this single exception, which has nothing to do with my
present purpose, that such a law was ever enacted, authorizing or
tolerating, as you have done, the practice of putting a man to
death, to atone for an insult, or to avoid the loss of honour or
property, where life is not in danger at the same time; that, fathers,
is what I deny was ever done, even by infidels. They have, on the
contrary, most expressly forbidden the practice. The law of the Twelve
Tables of Rome bore, "that it is unlawful to kill a robber in the
daytime, when he does not defend himself with arms"; which, indeed,
had been prohibited long before in the 22d chapter of Exodus. And
the law Furem, in the Lex Cornelia, which is borrowed from Ulpian,
forbids the killing of robbers even by night, if they do not put us in
danger of our lives.
    Tell us now, fathers, what authority you have to permit what all
laws, human as well as divine, have forbidden; and who gave Lessius
a right to use the following language? "The book of Exodus forbids the
killing of thieves by day, when they do not employ arms in their
defence; and in a court of justice, punishment is inflicted on those
who kill under these circumstances. In conscience, however, no blame
can be attached to this practice, when a person is not sure of being
able otherwise to recover his stolen goods, or entertains a doubt on
the subject, as Sotus expresses it; for he is not obliged to run the
risk of losing any part of his property merely to save the life of a
robber. The same privilege extends even to clergymen." Such
extraordinary assurance! The law of Moses punishes those who kill a
thief when he does not threaten our lives, and the law of the
Gospel, according to you, will absolve them! What, fathers! has
Jesus Christ come to destroy the law, and not to fulfil it? "The civil
judge," says Lessius, "would inflict punishment on those who should
kill under such circumstances; but no blame can be attached to the
deed in conscience." Must we conclude, then, that the morality of
Jesus Christ is more sanguinary, and less the enemy of murder, than
that of Pagans, from whom our judges have borrowed their civil laws
which condemn that crime? Do Christians make more account of the
good things of this earth, and less account of human life, than
infidels and idolaters? On what principle do you proceed, fathers?
Assuredly not upon any law that ever was enacted either by God or man-
on nothing, indeed, but this extraordinary reasoning: "The laws,"
say you, "permit us to defend ourselves against robbers, and to
repel force by force; self-defence, therefore, being permitted, it
follows that murder, without which self-defence is often
impracticable, may be considered as permitted also."
    It is false, fathers, that, because self-defence is allowed,
murder may be allowed also. This barbarous method of
self-vindication lies at the root of all your errors, and has been
justly stigmatized by the Faculty of Louvain, in their censure of
the doctrine of your friend Father Lamy, as "a murderous defence-
defensio occisiva." I maintain that the laws recognize such a wide
difference between murder and self-defence that, in those very cases
in which the latter is sanctioned, they have made a provision
against murder, when the person is in no danger of his life. Read
the words, fathers, as they run in the same passage of Cujas: "It is
lawful to repulse the person who comes to invade our property; but
we are not permitted to kill him." And again: "If any should
threaten to strike us, and not to deprive us of life, it is quite
allowable to repulse him; but it is against all law to put him to
    Who, then, has given you a right to say, as Molina, Reginald,
Filiutius, Escobar, Lessius, and others among you, have said, "that it
is lawful to kill the man who offers to strike us a blow"? or, "that
it is lawful to take the life of one who means to insult us, by the
common consent of all the casuists," as Lessius says. By what
authority do you, who are mere private individuals, confer upon
other private individuals, not excepting clergymen, this right of
killing and slaying? And how dare you usurp the power of life and
death, which belongs essentially to none but God, and which is the
most glorious mark of sovereign authority? These are the points that
demand explanation; and yet you conceive that you have furnished a
triumphant reply to the whole, by simply remarking, in your thirteenth
Imposture, "that the value for which Molina permits us to kill a
thief, who flies without having done us any violence, is not so
small as I have said, and that it must be a much larger sum than six
ducats!" How extremely silly! Pray, fathers, where would you have
the price to be fixed? At fifteen or sixteen ducats? Do not suppose
that this will produce any abatement in my accusations. At all events,
you cannot make it exceed the value of a horse; for Lessius is clearly
of opinion, "that we may lawfully kill the thief that runs off with
our horse." But I must tell you, moreover, that I was perfectly
correct when I said that Molina estimates the value of the thief's
life at six ducats; and, if you will not take it upon my word, we
shall refer it to an umpire to whom you cannot object. The person whom
I fix upon for this office is your own Father Reginald, who, in his
explanation of the same passage of Molina (l.28, n. 68), declares that
"Molina there determines the sum for which it is not allowable to kill
at three, or four, or five ducats." And thus, fathers, I shall have
Reginald, in addition to Molina, to bear me out.
    It will be equally easy for me to refute your fourteenth
Imposture, touching Molina's permission to "kill a thief who offers to
rob us of a crown." This palpable fact is attested by Escobar, who
tells us "that Molina has regularly determined the sum for which it is
lawful to take away life, at one crown." And all you have to lay to my
charge in the fourteenth Imposture is, that I have suppressed the last
words of this passage, namely, "that in this matter every one ought to
study the moderation of a just self-defence." Why do you not
complain that Escobar has also omitted to mention these words? But how
little tact you have about you! You imagine that nobody understands
what you mean by self-defence. Don't we know that it is to employ "a
murderous defence"? You would persuade us that Molina meant to say
that if a person, in defending his crown, finds himself in danger of
his life, he is then at liberty to kill his assailant, in
self-preservation. If that were true, fathers, why should Molina say
in the same place that "in this matter he was of a contrary
judgement from Carrer and Bald," who give permission to kill in
self-preservation? I repeat, therefore, that his plain meaning is
that, provided the person can save his crown without killing the
thief, he ought not to kill him; but that, if he cannot secure his
object without shedding blood, even though he should run no risk of
his own life, as in the case of the robber being unarmed, he is
permitted to take up arms and kill the man, in order to save his
crown; and in so doing, according to him, the person does not
transgress "the moderation of a just defence." To show you that I am
in the right, just allow him to explain himself: "One does not
exceed the moderation of a just defence," says he, "when he takes up
arms against a thief who has none, or employs weapons which give him
the advantage over his assailant. I know there are some who are of a
contrary judgement; but I do not approve of their opinion, even in the
external tribunal."
    Thus, fathers, it is unquestionable that your authors have given
permission to kill in defence of property and honour, though life
should be perfectly free from danger. And it is upon the same
principle that they authorize duelling, as I have shown by a great
variety of passages from their writings, to which you have made no
reply. You have animadverted in your writings only on a single passage
taken from Father Layman, who sanctions the above practice, "when
otherwise a person would be in danger of sacrificing his fortune or
his honour"; and here you accuse me with having suppressed what he
adds, "that such a case happens very rarely." You astonish me,
fathers: these are really curious impostures you charge me withal. You
talk as if the question were whether that is a rare case? when the
real question is if, in such a case, duelling is lawful? These are two
very different questions. Layman, in the quality of a casuist, ought
to judge whether duelling is lawful in the case supposed; and he
declares that it is. We can judge without his assistance whether the
case be a rare one; and we can tell him that it is a very ordinary
one. Or, if you prefer the testimony of your good friend Diana, he
will tell you that "the case is exceedingly common." But, be it rare
or not, and let it be granted that Layman follows in this the
example of Navarre, a circumstance on which you lay so much stress, is
it not shameful that he should consent to such an opinion as that,
to preserve a false honour, it is lawful in conscience to accept of
a challenge, in the face of the edicts of all Christian states, and of
all the canons of the Church, while in support of these diabolical
maxims you can produce neither laws, nor canons, nor authorities
from Scripture, or from the fathers, nor the example of a single
saint, nor, in short, anything but the following impious synogism:
"Honour is more than life; it is allowable to kill in defence of life;
therefore it is allowable to kill in defence of honour!" What,
fathers! because the depravity of men disposes them to prefer that
factitious honour before the life which God hath given them to be
devoted to his service, must they be permitted to murder one another
for its preservation? To love that honour more than life is in
itself a heinous evil; and yet this vicious passion, which, when
proposed as the end of our conduct, is enough to tarnish the holiest
of actions, is considered by you capable of sanctifying the most
criminal of them!
    What a subversion of all principle is here, fathers! And who
does not see to what atrocious excesses it may lead? It is obvious,
indeed, that it will ultimately lead to the commission of murder for
the most trifling things imaginable, when one's honour is considered
to be staked for their preservation- murder, I venture to say, even
for an apple! You might complain of me, fathers, for drawing
sanguinary inferences from your doctrine with a malicious intent, were
I not fortunately supported by the authority of the grave Lessius, who
makes the following observation, in number 68: "It is not allowable to
take life for an article of small value, such as for a crown or for an
apple- aut pro pomo- unless it would be deemed dishonourable to lose
it. In this case, one may recover the article, and even, if necessary,
kill the aggressor, for this is not so much defending one's property
as retrieving one's honour." This is plain speaking, fathers; and,
just to crown your doctrine with a maxim which includes all the
rest, allow me to quote the following from Father Hereau, who has
taken it from Lessius: "The right of self-defence extends to
whatever is necessary to protect ourselves from all injury."
    What strange consequences does this inhuman principle involve! and
how imperative is the obligation laid upon all, and especially upon
those in public stations, to set their face against it! Not the
general good alone, but their own personal interest should engage them
to see well to it; for the casuists of your school whom I have cited
in my letters extend their permissions to kill far enough to reach
even them. Factious men, who dread the punishment of their outrages,
which never appear to them in a criminal light, easily persuade
themselves that they are the victims of violent oppression, and will
be led to believe at the same time, "that the right of self-defence
extends to whatever is necessary to protect themselves from all
injury." And thus, relieved from contending against the checks of
conscience, which stifle the greater number of crimes at their
birth, their only anxiety will be to surmount external obstacles.
    I shall say no more on this subject, fathers; nor shall I dwell on
the other murders, still more odious and important to governments,
which you sanction, and of which Lessius, in common with many others
of your authors, treats in the most unreserved manner. It was to be
wished that these horrible maxims had never found their way out of
hell; and that the devil, who is their original author, had never
discovered men sufficiently devoted to his will to publish them
among Christians.
    From all that I have hitherto said, it is easy to judge what a
contrariety there is betwixt the licentiousness of your opinions and
the severity of civil laws, not even excepting those of Heathens.
How much more apparent must the contrast be with ecclesiastical
laws, which must be incomparably more holy than any other, since it is
the Church alone that knows and possesses the true holiness!
Accordingly, this chaste spouse of the Son of God, who, in imitation
of her heavenly husband, can shed her own blood for others, but
never the blood of others for herself, entertains a horror at the
crime of murder altogether singular, and proportioned to the
peculiar illumination which God has vouchsafed to bestow upon her. She
views man, not simply as man, but as the image of the God whom she
adores. She feels for every one of the race a holy respect, which
imparts to him, in her eyes, a venerable character, as redeemed by
an infinite price, to be made the temple of the living God. And
therefore she considers the death of a man, slain without the
authority of his Maker, not as murder only, but as sacrilege, by which
she is deprived of one of her members; for, whether he be a believer
or an unbeliever, she uniformly looks upon him, if not as one, at
least as capable of becoming one, of her own children.
    Such, fathers, are the holy reasons which, ever since the time
that God became man for the redemption of men, have rendered their
condition an object of such consequence to the Church that she
uniformly punishes the crime of homicide, not only as destructive to
them, but as one of the grossest outrages that can possibly be
perpetrated against God. In proof of this I shall quote some examples,
not from the idea that all the severities to which I refer ought to be
kept up (for I am aware that the Church may alter the arrangement of
such exterior discipline), but to demonstrate her immutable spirit
upon this subject. The penances which she ordains for murder may
differ according to the diversity of the times, but no change of
time can ever effect an alteration of the horror with which she
regards the crime itself.
    For a long time the Church refused to be reconciled, till the very
hour of death, to those who had been guilty of wilful murder, as those
are to whom you give your sanction. The celebrated Council of Ancyra
adjudged them to penance during their whole lifetime; and,
subsequently, the Church deemed it an act of sufficient indulgence
to reduce that term to a great many years. But, still more effectually
to deter Christians from wilful murder, she has visited with most
severe punishment even those acts which have been committed through
inadvertence, as may be seen in St. Basil, in St. Gregory of Nyssen,
and in the decretals of Popes Zachary and Alexander II. The canons
quoted by Isaac, bishop of Langres (tr. 2. 13), "ordain seven years of
penance for having killed another in self-defence." And we find St.
Hildebert, bishop of Mans, replying to Yves de Chartres, "that he
was right in interdicting for life a priest who had, in
self-defence, killed a robber with a stone."
    After this, you cannot have the assurance to persist in saying
that your decisions are agreeable to the spirit or the canons of the
Church. I defy you to show one of them that permits us to kill
solely in defence of our property (for I speak not of cases in which
one may be called upon to defend his life- se suaquae liberando); your
own authors, and, among the rest, Father Lamy, confess that no such
canon can be found. "There is no authority," he says, "human or
divine, which gives an express permission to kill a robber who makes
no resistance." And yet this is what you permit most expressly. I defy
you to show one of them that permits us to kill in vindication of
honour, for a buffet, for an affront, or for a slander. I defy you
to show one of them that permits the killing of witnesses, judges,
or magistrates, whatever injustice we may apprehend from them. The
spirit of the church is diametrically opposite to these seditious
maxims, opening the door to insurrections to which the mob is
naturally prone enough already. She has invariably taught her children
that they ought not to render evil for evil; that they ought to give
place unto wrath; to make no resistance to violence; to give unto
every one his due- honour, tribute, submission; to obey magistrates
and superiors, even though they should be unjust, because we ought
always to respect in them the power of that God who has placed them
over us. She forbids them, still more strongly than is done by the
civil law, to take justice into their own hands; and it is in her
spirit that Christian kings decline doing so in cases of high treason,
and remit the criminals charged with this grave offence into the hands
of the judges, that they may be punished according to the laws and the
forms of justice, which in this matter exhibit a contrast to your mode
of management so striking and complete that it may well make you blush
for shame.
    As my discourse has taken this turn, I beg you to follow the
comparison which I shall now draw between the style in which you would
dispose of your enemies, and that in which the judges of the land
dispose of criminals. Everybody knows, fathers, that no private
individual has a right to demand the death of another individual;
and that though a man should have ruined us, maimed our body, burnt
our house, murdered our father, and was prepared, moreover, to
assassinate ourselves, or ruin our character, our private demand for
the death of that person would not be listened to in a court of
justice. Public officers have been appointed for that purpose, who
make the demand in the name of the king, or rather, I would say, in
the name of God. Now, do you conceive, fathers, that Christian
legislators have established this regulation out of mere show and
grimace? Is it not evident that their object was to harmonize the laws
of the state with those of the Church, and thus prevent the external
practice of justice from clashing with the sentiments which all
Christians are bound to cherish in their hearts? It is easy to see how
this, which forms the commencement of a civil process, must stagger
you; its subsequent procedure absolutely overwhelms you.
    Suppose then, fathers, that these official persons have demanded
the death of the man who has committed all the above-mentioned crimes,
what is to be done next? Will they instantly plunge a dagger in his
breast? No, fathers; the life of man is too important to be thus
disposed of; they go to work with more decency; the laws have
committed it, not to all sorts of persons, but exclusively to the
judges, whose probity and competency have been duly tried. And is
one judge sufficient to condemn a man to death? No; it requires
seven at the very least; and of these seven there must not be one
who has been injured by the criminal, lest his judgement should be
warped or corrupted by passion. You are aware also, fathers, that, the
more effectually to secure the purity of their minds, they devote
the hours of the morning to these functions. Such is the care taken to
prepare them for the solemn action of devoting a fellow-creature to
death; in performing which they occupy the place of God, whose
ministers they are, appointed to condemn such only as have incurred
his condemnation.
    For the same reason, to act as faithful administrators of the
divine power of taking away human life, they are bound to form their
judgement solely according to the depositions of the witnesses, and
according to all the other forms prescribed to them; after which
they can pronounce conscientiously only according to law, and can
judge worthy of death those only whom the law condemns to that
penalty. And then, fathers, if the command of God obliges them to
deliver over to punishment the bodies of the unhappy culprits, the
same divine statute binds them to look after the interests of their
guilty souls, and binds them the more to this just because they are
guilty; so that they are not delivered up to execution till after they
have been afforded the means of providing for their consciences. All
this is quite fair and innocent; and yet, such is the abhorrence of
the Church to blood that she judges those to be incapable of
ministering at her altars who have borne any share in passing or
executing a sentence of death, accompanied though it be with these
religious circumstances; from which we may easily conceive what idea
the Church entertains of murder.
    Such, then, being the manner in which human life is disposed of by
the legal forms of justice, let us now see how you dispose of it.
According to your modern system of legislation, there is but one
judge, and that judge is no other than the offended party. He is at
once the judge, the party, and the executioner. He himself demands
from himself the death of his enemy; he condemns him, he executes
him on the spot; and, without the least respect either for the soul or
the body of his brother, he murders and damns him for whom Jesus
Christ died; and all this for the sake of avoiding a blow on the
cheek, or a slander, or an offensive word, or some other offence of
a similar nature, for which, if a magistrate, in the exercise of
legitimate authority, were condemning any to die, he would himself
be impeached; for, in such cases, the laws are very far indeed from
condemning any to death. In one word, to crown the whole of this
extravagance, the person who kills his neighbour in this style,
without authority and in the face of all law, contracts no sin and
commits no disorder, though he should be religious and even a
priest! Where are we, fathers? Are these really religious, and
priests, who talk in this manner? Are they Christians? are they Turks?
are they men? or are they demons? And are these "the mysteries
revealed by the Lamb to his Society"? or are they not rather
abominations suggested by the Dragon to those who take part with him?
    To come to the point, with you, fathers, whom do you wish to be
taken for?- for the children of the Gospel, or for the enemies of
the Gospel? You must be ranged either on the one side or on the other;
for there is no medium here. "He that is not with Jesus Christ is
against him." Into these two classes all mankind are divided. There
are, according to St. Augustine, two peoples and two worlds, scattered
abroad over the earth. There is the world of the children of God,
who form one body, of which Jesus Christ is the king and the head; and
there is the world at enmity with God, of which the devil is the
king and the head. Hence Jesus Christ is called the King and God of
the world, because he has everywhere his subjects and worshippers; and
hence the devil is also termed in Scripture the prince of this
world, and the god of this world, because he has everywhere his agents
and his slaves. Jesus Christ has imposed upon the Church, which is his
empire, such laws as he, in his eternal wisdom, was pleased to ordain;
and the devil has imposed on the world, which is his kingdom, such
laws as he chose to establish. Jesus Christ has associated honour with
suffering; the devil with not suffering. Jesus Christ has told those
who are smitten on the one cheek to turn the other also; and the devil
has told those who are threatened with a buffet to kill the man that
would do them such an injury. Jesus Christ pronounces those happy
who share in his reproach; and the devil declares those to be
unhappy who lie under ignominy. Jesus Christ says: Woe unto you when
men shall speak well of you! and the devil says: Woe unto those of
whom the world does not speak with esteem!
    Judge, then, fathers, to which of these kingdoms you belong. You
have heard the language of the city of peace, the mystical
Jerusalem; and you have heard the language of the city of confusion,
which Scripture terms "the spiritual Sodom." Which of these two
languages do you understand? which of them do you speak? Those who are
on the side of Jesus Christ have, as St. Paul teaches us, the same
mind which was also in him; and those who are the children of the
devil- ex patre diabolo- who has been a murderer from the beginning,
according to the saying of Jesus Christ, follow the maxims of the
devil. Let us hear, therefore, the language of your school. I put this
question to your doctors: When a person has given me a blow on the
cheek, ought I rather to submit to the injury than kill the
offender? or may I not kill the man in order to escape the affront?
Kill him by all means- it is quite lawful! exclaim, in one breath,
Lessius, Molina, Escobar, Reginald, Filiutius, Baldelle, and other
Jesuits. Is that the language of Jesus Christ? One question more:
Would I lose my honour by tolerating a box on the ear, without killing
the person that gave it? "Can there be a doubt," cries Escobar,
"that so long as a man suffers another to live who has given him a
buffet, that man remains without honour?" Yes, fathers, without that
honour which the devil transfuses, from his own proud spirit into that
of his proud children. This is the honour which has ever been the idol
of worldly-minded men. For the preservation of this false glory, of
which the god of this world is the appropriate dispenser, they
sacrifice their lives by yielding to the madness of duelling; their
honour, by exposing themselves to ignominious punishments; and their
salvation, by involving themselves in the peril of damnation- a
peril which, according to the canons of the Church, deprives them even
of Christian burial. We have reason to thank God, however, for
having enlightened the mind of our monarch with ideas much purer
than those of your theology. His edicts bearing so severely on this
subject, have not made duelling a crime- they only punish the crime
which is inseparable from duelling. He has checked, by the dread of
his rigid justice, those who were not restrained by the fear of the
justice of God; and his piety has taught him that the honour of
Christians consists in their observance of the mandates of Heaven
and the rules of Christianity, and not in the pursuit of that
phantom which, airy and unsubstantial as it is, you hold to be a
legitimate apology for murder. Your murderous decisions being thus
universally detested, it is highly advisable that you should now
change your sentiments, if not from religious principle, at least from
motives of policy. Prevent, fathers, by a spontaneous condemnation
of these inhuman dogmas, the melancholy consequences which may
result from them, and for which you will be responsible. And to
impress your minds with a deeper horror at homicide, remember that the
first crime of fallen man was a murder, committed on the person of the
first holy man; that the greatest crime was a murder, perpetrated on
the person of the King of saints; and that, of all crimes, murder is
the only one which involves in a common destruction the Church and the
state, nature and religion.
    I have just seen the answer of your apologist to my Thirteenth
Letter, but if he has nothing better to produce in the shape of a
reply to that letter, which obviates the greater part of his
objections, he will not deserve a rejoinder. I am sorry to see him
perpetually digressing from his subject, to indulge in rancorous abuse
both of the living and the dead. But, in order to gain some credit
to the stories with which you have furnished him, you should not
have made him publicly disavow a fact so notorious as that of the
buffet of Compiegne. Certain it is, fathers, from the deposition of
the injured party, that he received upon his cheek a blow from the
hand of a Jesuit; and all that your friends have been able to do for
you has been to raise a doubt whether he received the blow with the
back or the palm of the hand, and to discuss the question whether a
stroke on the cheek with the back of the hand can be properly
denominated a buffet. I know not to what tribunal it belongs to decide
this point; but shall content myself, in the meantime, with
believing that it was, to say the very least, a probable buffet.
This gets me off with a safe conscience.


November 25, 1656 REVEREND FATHERS, As your scurrilities are daily increasing, and as you are employing them in the merciless abuse of all pious persons opposed to your errors, I feel myself obliged, for their sake and that of the Church, to bring out that grand secret of your policy, which I promised to disclose some time ago, in order that all may know, through means of your own maxims, what degree of credit is due to your calumnious accusations. I am aware that those who are not very well acquainted with you are at a great loss what to think on this subject, as they find themselves under the painful necessity, either of believing the incredible crimes with which you charge your opponents, or (what is equally incredible) of setting you down as slanderers. "Indeed!" they exclaim, "were these things not true, would clergymen publish them to the world- would they debauch their consciences and damn themselves by venting such libels?" Such is their way of reasoning, and thus it is that the palpable proof of your falsifications coming into collision with their opinion of your honesty, their minds hang in a state of suspense between the evidence of truth, which they cannot gainsay, and the demands of charity, which they would not violate. It follows that since their high esteem for you is the only thing that prevents them from discrediting your calumnies, if we can succeed in convincing them that you have quite a different idea of calumny from that which they suppose you to have, and that you actually believe that in blackening and defaming your adversaries you are working out your own salvation, there can be little question that the weight of truth will determine them immediately to pay no regard to your accusations. This, fathers, will be the subject of the present letter. My design is not simply to show that your writings are full of calumnies; I mean to go a step beyond this. It is quite possible for a person to say a number of false things believing them to be true; but the character of a liar implies the intention to tell lies. Now I undertake to prove, fathers, that it is your deliberate intention to tell lies, and that it is both knowingly and purposely that you load your opponents with crimes of which you know them to be innocent, because you believe that you may do so without falling from a state of grace. Though you doubtless know this point of your morality as well as I do, this need not prevent me from telling you about it; which I shall do, were it for no other purpose than to convince all men of its existence, by showing them that I can maintain it to your face, while you cannot have the assurance to disavow it, without confirming, by that very disavowment, the charge which I bring against you. The doctrine to which I allude is so common in your schools that you have maintained it not only in your books, but, such is your assurance, even in your public theses; as, for example, in those delivered at Louvain in the year 1645, where it occurs in the following terms: "What is it but a venial sin to culminate and forge false accusations to ruin the credit of those who speak evil of us?" So settled is this point among you that, if any one dare to oppose it, you treat him as a blockhead and a hare-brained idiot. Such was the way in which you treated Father Quiroga, the German Capuchin, when he was so unfortunate as to impugn the doctrine. The poor man was instantly attacked by Dicastille, one of your fraternity; and the following is a specimen of the manner in which he manages the dispute: "A certain rueful-visaged, bare-footed, cowled friar-cucullatus gymnopoda- whom I do not choose to name, had the boldness to denounce this opinion, among some women and ignorant people, and to allege that it was scandalous and pernicious against all good manners, hostile to the peace of states and societies, and, in short, contrary to the judgement not only of all Catholic doctors, but of all true Catholics. But in opposition to him I maintained, as I do still, that calumny, when employed against a calumniator, though it should be a falsehood, is not a mortal sin, either against justice or charity: and, to prove the point, I referred him to the whole body of our fathers, and to whole universities, exclusively composed of them whom I had consulted on the subject; and among others the reverend Father John Gans, confessor to the Emperor; the reverend Father Daniel Bastele, confessor to the Archduke Leopold; Father Henri, who was preceptor to these two princes; all the public and ordinary professors of the university of Vienna" (wholly composed of Jesuits); "all the professors of the university of Gratz" (all Jesuits); "all the professors of the university of Prague" (where Jesuits are the masters);- "from all of whom I have in my possession approbations of my opinions, written and signed with their own hands; besides having on my side the reverend Father Panalossa, a Jesuit, preacher to the Emperor and the King of Spain; Father Pilliceroli, a Jesuit, and many others, who had all judged this opinion to be probable, before our dispute began." You perceive, fathers, that there are few of your opinions which you have been at more pains to establish than the present, as indeed there were few of them of which you stood more in need. For this reason, doubtless, you have authenticated it so well that the casuists appeal to it as an indubitable principle. "There can be no doubt," says Caramuel, "that it is a probable opinion that we contract no mortal sin by calumniating another, in order to preserve our own reputation. For it is maintained by more than twenty grave doctors, by Gaspard Hurtado, and Dicastille, Jesuits, &c.; so that, were this doctrine not probable, it would be difficult to find any one such in the whole compass of theology." Wretched indeed must that theology be, and rotten to the very core, which, unless it has been decided to be safe in conscience to defame our neighbor's character to preserve our own, can hardly boast of a safe decision on any other point! How natural is it, fathers, that those who hold this principle should occasionally put it in practice! corrupt propensity of mankind leans so strongly in that direction of itself that, the obstacle of conscience once being removed, it would be folly to suppose that it will not burst forth with all its native impetuosity. If you desire an example of this, Caramuel will furnish you with one that occurs in the same passage: "This maxim of Father Dicastille," he says, "having been communicated by a German countess to the daughters of the Empress, the belief thus impressed on their minds that calumny was only a venial sin, gave rise in the course of a few days to such an immense number of false and scandalous tales that the whole court was thrown into a flame and fill ed with alarm. It is easy, indeed, to conceive what a fine use these ladies would make of the new light they had acquired. Matters proceeded to such a length, that it was found necessary to call in the assistance of a worthy Capuchin friar, a man of exemplary life, called Father Quiroga" (the very man whom Dicastille rails at so bitterly), "who assured them that the maxim was most pernicious, especially among women, and was at the greatest pains to prevail upon the Empress to abolish the practice of it entirely." We have no reason, therefore, to be surprised at the bad effects of this doctrine; on the contrary, the wonder would be if it had failed to produce them. Self-love is always ready enough to whisper in our ear, when we are attacked, that we suffer wrongfully; and more particularly in your case, fathers, whom vanity has blinded so egregiously as to make you believe that to wound the honour of your Society is to wound that of the Church. There would have been good ground to look on it as something miraculous, if you had not reduced this maxim to practice. Those who do not know you are ready to say: How could these good fathers slander their enemies, when they cannot do so but at the expense of their own salvation? But, if they knew you better, the question would be: How could these good fathers forego the advantage of decrying their enemies, when they have it in their power to do so without hazarding their salvation? Let none, therefore, henceforth be surprised to find the Jesuits calumniators; they can exercise this vocation with a safe conscience; there is no obstacle in heaven or on earth to prevent them. In virtue of the credit they have acquired in the world, they can practise defamation without dreading the justice of mortals; and, on the strength of their self-assumed authority in matters of conscience, they have invented maxims for enabling them to do it without any fear of the justice of God. This, fathers, is the fertile source of your base slanders. On this principle was Father Brisacier led to scatter his calumnies about him, with such zeal as to draw down on his head the censure of the late Archbishop of Paris. Actuated by the same motives, Father D'Anjou launched his invectives from the pulpit of the Church of St. Benedict in Paris on the 8th of March, 1655, against those honourable gentlemen who were intrusted with the charitable funds raised for the poor of Picardy and Champagne, to which they themselves had largely contributed; and, uttering a base falsehood, calculated (if your slanders had been considered worthy of any credit) to dry up the stream of that charity, he had the assurance to say, "that he knew, from good authority, that certain persons had diverted that money from its proper use, to employ it against the Church and the State"; a calumny which obliged the curate of the parish, who is a doctor of the Sorbonne, to mount the pulpit the very next day, in order to give it the lie direct. To the same source must be traced the conduct of your Father Crasset, who preached calumny at such a furious rate in Orleans that the Archbishop of that place was under the necessity of interdicting him as a public slanderer. In this mandate, dated the 9th of September last, his lordship declares: "That whereas he had been informed that Brother Jean Crasset, priest of the Society of Jesus, had delivered from the pulpit a discourse filled with falsehoods and calumnies against the ecclesiastics of this city, falsely and maliciously charging them with maintaining impious and heretical propositions, such as: That the commandments of God are impracticable; that internal grace is irresistible; that Jesus Christ did not die for all men; and others of a similar kind, condemned by Innocent X: he therefore hereby interdicts the aforesaid Crasset from preaching in his diocese, and forbids all his people to hear him, on pain of mortal disobedience." The above, fathers, is your ordinary accusation, and generally among the first that you bring against all whom it is your interest to denounce. And, although you should find it as impossible to substantiate the charge against any of them, as Father Crasset did in the case of the clergy of Orleans, your peace of conscience will not be in the least disturbed on that account; for you believe that this mode of calumniating your adversaries is permitted you with such certainty that you have no scruple to avow it in the most public manner, and in the face of a whole city. A remarkable proof of this may be seen in the dispute you had with M. Puys, curate of St. Nisier at Lyons; and the story exhibits so complete an illustration of your spirit that I shall take the liberty of relating some of its leading circumstances. You know, fathers, that, in the year 1649, M. Puys translated into French an excellent book, written by another Capuchin friar, On the duty which Christians owe to their own parishes, against those that would lead them away from them, without using a single invective, or pointing to any monk or any order of monks in particular. Your fathers, however, were pleased to put the cap on their own heads; and without any respect to an aged pastor, a judge in the Primacy of France, and a man who was held in the highest esteem by the whole city, Father Alby wrote a furious tract against him, which you sold in your own church upon Assumption Day; in which book, among other various charges, he accused him of having made himself scandalous by his gallantries," described him as suspected of having no religion, as a heretic, excommunicated, and, in short, worthy of the stake. To this M. Puys made a reply; and Father Alby, in a second publication, supported his former allegations. Now, fathers, is it not a clear point either that you were calumniators, or that you believed all that you alleged against that worthy priest to be true; and that, on this latter assumption, it became you to see him purified from all these abominations before judging him worthy of your friendship? Let us see, then, what happened at the accommodation of the dispute, which took place in the presence of a great number of the principal inhabitants of the town on the 25th of September, 1650. Before all these witnesses M. Puys made a declaration, which was neither more nor less than this: "That what he had written was not directed against the fathers of the Society of Jesus; that he had spoken in general of those who alienated the faithful from their parishes, without meaning by that to attack the Society; and that, so far from having such an intention, the Society was the object of his esteem and affection." By virtue of these words alone, without either retraction or absolution, M. Puys recovered, all at once, from his apostasy, his scandals, and his excommunication; and Father Alby immediately thereafter addressed him in the following express terms: "Sir, it was in consequence of my believing that you meant to attack the Society to which I have the honour to belong that I was induced to take up the pen in its defence; and I considered that the mode of reply which I adopted was such as I was permitted to employ. But, on a better understanding of your intention, I am now free to declare that there is nothing in your work to prevent me from regarding you as a man of genius, enlightened in judgement, profound and orthodox in doctrine, and irreproachable in manners; in one word, as a pastor worthy of your Church. It is with much pleasure that I make this declaration, and I beg these gentlemen to remember what I have now said." They do remember it, fathers; and, allow me to add, they were more scandalized by the reconciliation than by the quarrel. For who can fail to admire this speech of Father Alby? He does not say that he retracts, in consequence of having learnt that a change had taken place in the faith and manners of M. Puys, but solely because, having understood that he had no intention of attacking your Society, there was nothing further to prevent him from regarding the author as a good Catholic. He did not then believe him to be actually a heretic! And yet, after having, contrary to his conviction, accused him of this crime, he will not acknowledge he was in the wrong, but has the hardihood to say that he considered the method he adopted to be "such as he was permitted to employ!" What can you possibly mean, fathers, by so publicly avowing the fact that you measure the faith and the virtue of men only by the sentiments they entertain towards your Society? Had you no apprehension of making yourselves pass, by your own acknowledgement, as a band of swindlers and slanderers? What, fathers! must the same individual without undergoing any personal transformation, but simply according as you judge him to have honoured or assailed your community, be "pious" or "impious," "irreproachable" or "excommunicated," "a pastor worthy of the Church," or "worthy of the stake"; in short, "a Catholic" or "a heretic"? To attack your Society and to be a heretic are, therefore, in your language, convertible terms! An odd sort of heresy this, fathers! And so it would appear that, when we see many good Catholics branded, in your writings, by the name of heretia, it means nothing more than that you think they attack you! It is well, fathers, that we understand this strange dialect, according to which there can be no doubt that I must be a great heretic. It is in this sense, then, that you so often favour me with this appellation! Your sole reason for cutting me off from the Church is because you conceive that my letters have done you harm; and, accordingly, all that I have to do, in order to become a good Catholic, is either to approve of your extravagant morality, or to convince you that my sole aim in exposing it has been your advantage. The former I could not do without renouncing every sentiment of piety that I ever possessed; and the latter you will be slow to acknowledge till you are well cured of your errors. Thus am I involved in heresy, after a very singular fashion; for, the purity of my faith being of no avail for my exculpation, I have no means of escaping from the charge, except either by turning traitor to my own conscience, or by reforming yours. Till one or other of these events happen, I must remain a reprobate and a slanderer; and, let me be ever so faithful in my citations from your writings, you will go about crying everywhere: "What an instrument of the devil must that man be, to impute to us things of which there is not the least mark or vestige to be found in our books!" And, by doing so, you will only be acting in conformity with your fixed maxim and your ordinary practice: to such latitude does your privilege of telling lies extend! Allow me to give you an example of this, which I select on purpose; it will give me an opportunity of replying, at the same time, to your ninth Imposture: for, in truth, they only deserve to be refuted in passing. About ten or twelve years ago, you were accused of holding that maxim of Father Bauny, "that it is permissible to seek directly (primo et per se) a proximate occasion of sin, for the spiritual or temporal good of ourselves or our neighbour" (tr.4, q.14); as an example of which, he observes: "It is allowable to visit infamous places, for the purpose of converting abandoned females, even although the practice should be very likely to lead into sin, as in the case of one who has found from experience that he has frequently yielded to their temptations." What answer did your Father Caussin give to this charge in the year 1644? "Just let any one look at the passage in Father Bauny," said he, "let him peruse the page, the margins, the preface, the appendix, in short, the whole book from beginning to end, and he will not discover the slightest vestige of such a sentence, which could only enter into the mind of a man totally devoid of conscience, and could hardly have been forged by any other but an instrument of Satan." Father Pintereau talks in the same style: "That man must be lost to all conscience who would teach so detestable a doctrine; but he must be worse than a devil who attributes it to Father Bauny. Reader, there is not a single trace or vestige of it in the whole of his book." Who would not believe that persons talking in this tone have good reason to complain, and that Father Bauny has, in very deed, been misrepresented? Have you ever asserted anything against me in stronger terms? And, after such a solemn asseveration, that "there was not a single trace or vestige of it in the whole book, " who would imagine that the passage is to be found, word for word, in the place referred to? Truly, fathers, if this be the means of securing your reputation, so long as you remain unanswered, it is also, unfortunately, the means of destroying it forever, so soon as an answer makes its appearance. For so certain is it that you told a lie at the period before mentioned, that you make no scruple of acknowledging, in your apologies of the present day, that the maxim in question is to be found in the very place which had been quoted; and, what is most extraordinary, the same maxim which, twelve years ago, was "detestable," has now become so innocent that in your ninth Imposture (p. 10) you accuse me of "ignorance and malice, in quarrelling with Father Bauny for an opinion which has not been rejected in the School." What an advantage it is, fathers, to have to do with people that deal in contradictions! I need not the aid of any but yourselves to confute you; for I have only two things to show: first, That the maxim in dispute is a worthless one; and, secondly, That it belongs to Father Bauny; and I can prove both by your own confession. In 1644, you confessed that it was "detestable"; and, in 1656, you avow that it is Father Bauny's. This double acknowledgement completely justifies me, fathers; but it does more, it discovers the spirit of your policy. For, tell me, pray, what is the end you propose to yourselves in your writings? Is it to speak with honesty? No, fathers; that cannot be, since your defences destroy each other. Is it to follow the truth of the faith? As little can this be your end; since, according to your own showing, you authorize a "detestable" maxim. But, be it observed that while you said the maxim was "detestable," you denied, at the same time, that it was the property of Father Bauny, and so he was innocent; and when you now acknowledge it to be his, you maintain, at the same time, that it is a good maxim, and so he is innocent still. The innocence of this monk, therefore, being the only thing common to your two answers, it is obvious that this was the sole end which you aimed at in putting them forth; and that, when you say of one and the same maxim, that it is in a certain book, and that it is not; that it is a good maxim, and that it is a bad one; your sole object is to whitewash some one or other of your fraternity; judging in the matter, not according to the truth, which never changes, but according to your own interest, which is varying every hour. Can I say more than this? You perceive that it amounts to a demonstration; but it is far from being a singular instance, and, to omit a multitude of examples of the same thing, I believe you will be contented with my quoting only one more. You have been charged, at different times, with another proposition of the same Father Bauny, namely:. "That absolution ought to be neither denied nor deferred in the case of those who live in the habits of sin against the law of God, of nature, and of the Church, although there should be no apparent prospect of future amendment- etsi emendationis futurae spes nulla appareat." Now, with regard to this maxim, I beg you to tell me, fathers, which of the apologies that have been made for it is most to your liking; whether that of Father Pintereau, or that of Father Brisacier, both of your Society, who have defended Father Bauny, in your two different modes- the one by condemning the proposition, but disavowing it to be Father Bauny's; the other by allowing it to be Father Bauny's, but vindicating the proposition? Listen, then, to their respective deliverances. Here comes that of Father Pintereau (p. 8): "I know not what can be called a transgression of all the bounds of modesty, a step beyond all ordinary impudence, if the imputation to Father Bauny of so damnable a doctrine is not worthy of that designation. Judge, reader, of the baseness of that calumny; see what sort of creatures the Jesuits have to deal with; and say if the author of so foul a slander does not deserve to be regarded from henceforth as the interpreter of the father of lies." Now for Father Brisacier: "It is true, Father Bauny says what you allege." (That gives the lie direct to Father Pintereau, plain enough.) "But," adds he, in defence of Father Bauny, "if you who find so much fault with this sentiment wait, when a penitent lies at your feet, till his guardian angel find security for his rights in the inheritance of heaven; if you wait till God the Father swear by himself that David told a lie, when he said by the Holy Ghost that 'all men are liars,' fallible and perfidious; if you wait till the penitent be no longer a liar, no longer frail and changeable, no longer a sinner, like other men; if you wait, I say, till then, you will never apply the blood of Jesus Christ to a single soul." What do you really think now, fathers, of these impious and extravagant expressions? According to them, if we would wait "till there be some hope of amendment" in sinners before granting their absolution, we must wait "till God the Father swear by himself," that they will never fall into sin any more! What, fathers! is no distinction to be made between hope and certainty? How injurious is it to the grace of Jesus Christ to maintain that it is so impossible for Christians ever to escape from crimes against the laws of God, nature, and the Church, that such a thing cannot be looked for, without supposing "that the Holy Ghost has told a lie"; and, if absolution is not granted to those who give no hope of amendment, the blood of Jesus Christ will be useless, forsooth, and would never be applied to a single soul!" To what a sad pass have you come, fathers by this extravagant desire of upholding the glory of your authors, when you can find only two ways of justifying them- by imposture or by impiety; and when the most innocent mode by which you can extricate yourselves is by the barefaced denial of facts as patent as the light of day! This may perhaps account for your having recourse so frequently to that very convenient practice. But this does not complete the sum of your accomplishments in the art of self-defence. To render your opponents odious, you have had recourse to the forging of documents, such as that Letter of a Minister to M. Arnauld, which you circulated through all Paris, to induce the belief that the work on Frequent Communion, which had been approved by so many bishops and doctors, but which, to say the truth, was rather against you, had been concocted through secret intelligence with the ministers of Charenton. At other times, you attribute to your adversaries writings full of impiety, such as the Circular Letter of the Jansenists, the absurd style of which renders the fraud too gross to be swallowed, and palpably betrays the malice of your Father Meynier, who has the impudence to make use of it for supporting his foulest slanders. Sometimes, again, you will quote books which were never in existence, such as The Constitution of the Holy Sacrament, from which you extract passages, fabricated at pleasure and calculated to make the hair on the heads of certain good simple people, who have no idea of the effrontery with which you can invent and propagate falsehoods, actually to bristle with horror. There is not, indeed, a single species of calumny which you have not put into requisition; nor is it possible that the maxim which excuses the vice could have been lodged in better hands. But those sorts of slander to which we have adverted are rather too easily discredited; and, accordingly, you have others of a more subtle character, in which you abstain from specifying particulars, in order to preclude your opponents from getting any hold, or finding any means of reply; as, for example, when Father Brisacier says that "his enemies are guilty of abominable crimes, which he does not choose to mention." Would you not think it were impossible to prove a charge so vague as this to be a calumny? An able man, however, has found out the secret of it; and it is a Capuchin again, fathers. You are unlucky in Capuchins, as times now go; and I foresee that you may be equally so some other time in Benedictines. The name of this Capuchin is Father Valerien, of the house of the Counts of Magnis. You shall hear, by this brief narrative, how he answered your calumnies. He had happily succeeded in converting Prince Ernest, the Landgrave of Hesse-Rheinsfelt. Your fathers, however, seized, as it would appear, with some chagrin at seeing a sovereign prince converted without their having had any hand in it, immediately wrote a book against the friar (for good men are everywhere the objects of your persecution), in which, by falsifying one of his passages, they ascribed to him an heretical doctrine. They also circulated a letter against him, in which they said: "Ah, we have such things to disclose" (without mentioning what) "as will gall you to the quick! If you don't take care, we shall be forced to inform the pope and the cardinals about it." This manoeuvre was pretty well executed; and I doubt not, fathers, but you may speak in the same style of me; but take warning from the manner in which the friar answered in his book, which was printed last year at Prague (p.112, &c.): "What shall I do," he says, "to counteract these vague and indefinite insinuations? How shall I refute charges which have never been specified? Here, however, is my plan. I declare, loudly and publicly, to those who have threatened me, that they are notorious slanderers and most impudent liars, if they do not discover these crimes before the whole world. Come forth, then, mine accusers! and publish your lies upon the house-tops, in place of telling them in the ear, and keeping yourselves out of harm's way by telling them in the ear. Some may think this a scandalous way of managing the dispute. It was scandalous, I grant, to impute to me such a crime as heresy, and to fix upon me the suspicion of many others besides; but, by asserting my innocence, I am merely applying the proper remedy to the scandal already in existence." Truly, fathers, never were your reverences more roughly handled, and never was a poor man more completely vindicated. Since you have made no reply to such a peremptory challenge, it must be concluded that you are unable to discover the slightest shadow of criminality against him. You have had very awkward scrapes to get through occasionally; but experience has made you nothing the wiser. For, some time after this happened, you attacked the same individual in a similar strain, upon another subject; and he defended himself after the same spirited manner, as follows: "This class of men, who have become an intolerable nuisance to the whole of Christendom, aspire, under the pretext of good works, to dignities and domination, by perverting to their own ends almost all laws, human and divine, natural and revealed. They gain over to their side, by their doctrine, by the force of fear, or of persuasion, the great ones of the earth, whose authority they abuse for the purpose of accomplishing their detestable intrigues. Meanwhile their enterprises, criminal as they are, are neither punished nor suppressed; on the contrary, they are rewarded; and the villains go about them with as little fear or remorse as if they were doing God service. Everybody is aware of the fact I have now stated; everybody speaks of it with execration; but few are found capable of opposing a despotism so powerful. This, however, is what I have done. I have already curbed their insolence; and, by the same means, I shall curb it again. I declare, then, that they are most impudent liars- mentiris impudentissime. If the charges they have brought against me be true, let them prove it; otherwise they stand convicted of falsehood, aggravated by the grossest effrontery. Their procedure in this case will show who has the right upon his side. I desire all men to take a particular observation of it; and beg to remark, in the meantime, that this precious cabal, who will not suffer the most trifling charge which they can possibly repel to lie upon them, made a show of enduring, with great patience, those from which they cannot vindicate themselves, and conceal, under a counterfeit virtue, their real impotency. My object, therefore, in provoking their modesty by this sharp retort, is to let the plainest people understand that, if my enemies hold their peace, their forbearance must be ascribed, not to the meekness of their natures, but to the power of a guilty conscience." He concludes with the following sentence: "These gentry, whose history is well known throughout the whole world, are so glaringly iniquitous in their measures, and have become so insolent in their impunity, that if I did not detest their conduct, and publicly express my detestation too, not merely for my own vindication, but to guard the simple against its seducing influence, I must have renounced my allegiance to Jesus Christ and his Church." Reverend fathers, there is no room for tergiversation. You must pass for convicted slanderers, and take comfort in your old maxim that calumny is no crime. This honest friar has discovered the secret of shutting your mouths; and it must be employed on all occasions when you accuse people without proof. We have only to reply to each slander as it appears, in the words of the Capuchin: "Mentiris impudentissime- You are most impudent liars." For instance, what better answer does Father Brisacier deserve when he says of his opponents that they are "the gates of hell; the devil's bishops; persons devoid of faith, hope, and charity; the builders of Antichrist's exchequer"; adding, "I say this of him, not by way of insult, but from deep conviction of its truth"? Who would be at the pains to demonstrate that he is not "a gate of hell," and that he has no concern with "the building up of Antichrist's exchequer"? In like manner, what reply is due to all the vague speeches of this sort which are to be found in your books and advertisements on my letters; such as the following, for example: "That restitutions have been converted to private uses, and thereby creditors have been reduced to beggary; that bags of money have been offered to learned monks, who declined the bribe; that benefices are conferred for the purpose of disseminating heresies against the faith; that pensioners are kept in the houses of the most eminent churchmen, and in the courts of sovereigns; that I also am a pensioner of Port-Royal; and that, before writing my letters, I had composed romances"- I, who never read one in my life, and who do not know so much as the names of those which your apologist has published? What can be said in reply to all this, fathers, if you do not mention the names of all these persons you refer to, their words, the time, and the place, except- Mentiris impudentissime? You should either be silent altogether, or relate and prove all the circumstances, as I did when I told you the anecdotes of Father Alby and John d'Alba. Otherwise, you will hurt none but yourselves. Your numerous fables might, perhaps, have done you some service, before your principles were known; but now that the whole has been brought to light, when you begin to whisper as usual, "A man of honor, who desired us to conceal his name, has told us some horrible stories of these same people"- you will be cut short at once, and reminded of the Capuchin's "Mentiris impudentissime." Too long by far have you been permitted to deceive the world, and to abuse the confidence which men were ready to place in your calumnious accusations. It is high time to redeem the reputation of the multitudes whom you have defamed. For what innocence can be so generally known, as not to suffer some injury from the daring aspersions of a body of men scattered over the face of the earth, and who, under religious habits, conceal minds so utterly irreligious that they perpetrate crimes like calumny, not in opposition to, but in strict accordance with, their moral maxims? I cannot, therefore, be blamed for destroying the credit which might have been awarded you, seeing it must be allowed to be a much greater act of justice to restore to the victims of your obloquy the character which they did not deserve to lose, than to leave you in the possession of a reputation for sincerity which you do not deserve to enjoy. And, as the one could not be done without the other, how important was it to show you up to the world as you really are! In this letter I have commenced the exhibition; but it will require some time to complete it. Published it shall be, fathers, and all your policy will be inadequate to save you from the disgrace; for the efforts which you may make to avert the blow will only serve to convince the most obtuse observers that you were terrified out of your wits, and that, your consciences anticipating the charges I had to bring against you, you have put every oar in the water to prevent the discovery.


December 4, 1656 REVEREND FATHERS, I now come to consider the rest of your calumnies, and shall begin with those contained in your advertisements, which remain to be noticed. As all your other writings, however, are equally well stocked with slander, they will furnish me with abundant materials for entertaining you on this topic as long as I may judge expedient. In the first place, then, with regard to the fable which you have propagated in all your writings against the Bishop of Ypres, I beg leave to say, in one word, that you have maliciously wrested the meaning of some ambiguous expressions in one of his letters which, being capable of a good sense, ought, according to the spirit of the Gospel, to have been taken in good part, and could only be taken otherwise according to the spirit of your Society. For example, when he says to a friend, "Give yourself no concern about your nephew; I will furnish him with what he requires from the money that lies in my hands," what reason have you to interpret this to mean that he would take that money without restoring it, and not that he merely advanced it with the purpose of replacing it? And how extremely imprudent was it for you to furnish a refutation of your own lie, by printing the other letters of the Bishop of Ypres, which clearly show that, in point of fact, it was merely advanced money, which he was bound to refund. This appears, to your confusion, from the following terms in the letter, to which you give the date of July 30, 1619: "Be not uneasy about the money advanced; he shall want for nothing so long as he is here"; and likewise from another, dated January 6, 1620, where he says: "You are in too great haste; when the account shall become due, I have no fear but that the little credit which I have in this place will bring me as much money as I require." If you are convicted slanderers on this subject, you are no less so in regard to the ridiculous story about the charity-box of St. Merri. What advantage, pray, can you hope to derive from the accusation which one of your worthy friends has trumped up against that ecclesiastic? Are we to conclude that a man is guilty, because he is accused? No, fathers. Men of piety, like him, may expect to be perpetually accused, so long as the world contains calumniators like you. We must judge of him, therefore, not from the accusation, but from the sentence; and the sentence pronounced on the case (February 23, 1656) justifies him completely. Moreover, the person who had the temerity to involve himself in that iniquitous process, was disavowed by his colleagues, and himself compelled to retract his charge. And as to what you allege, in the same place, about "that famous director, who pocketed at once nine hundred thousand livres," I need only refer you to Messieurs the cures of St. Roch and St. Paul, who will bear witness, before the whole city of Paris, to his perfect disinterestedness in the affair, and to your inexcusable malice in that piece of imposition. Enough, however, for such paltry falsities. These are but the first raw attempts of your novices, and not the master-strokes of your "grand professed." To these do I now come, fathers; I come to a calumny which is certainly one of the basest that ever issued from the spirit of your Society. I refer to the insufferable audacity with which you have imputed to holy nuns, and to their directors, the charge of "disbelieving the mystery of transubstantiation and the real presence of Jesus Christ in the eucharist." Here, fathers, is a slander worthy of yourselves. Here is a crime which God alone is capable of punishing, as you alone were capable of committing it. To endure it with patience would require an humility as great as that of these calumniated ladies; to give it credit would demand a degree of wickedness equal to that of their wretched defamers. I propose not, therefore, to vindicate them; they are beyond suspicion. Had they stood in need of defence, they might have commanded abler advocates than me. My object in what I say here is to show, not their innocence, but your malignity. I merely intend to make you ashamed of yourselves, and to let the whole world understand that, after this, there is nothing of which you are not capable. You will not fail, I am certain, notwithstanding all this, to say that I belong to Port-Royal; for this is the first thing you say to every one who combats your errors: as if it were only at Port-Royal that persons could be found possessed of sufficient zeal to defend, against your attacks, the purity of Christian morality. I know, fathers, the work of the pious recluses who have retired to that monastery, and how much the Church is indebted to their truly solid and edifying labours. I know the excellence of their piety and their learning. For, though I have never had the honour to belong to their establishment, as you, without knowing who or what I am, would fain have it believed, nevertheless, I do know some of them, and honour the virtue of them all. But God has not confined within the precincts of that society all whom he means to raise up in opposition to your corruptions. I hope, with his assistance, fathers, to make you feel this; and if he vouchsafe to sustain me in the design he has led me to form, of employing in his service all the resources I have received from him, I shall speak to you in such a strain as will, perhaps, give you reason to regret that you have not had to do with a man of Port-Royal. And to convince you of this, fathers, I must tell you that, while those whom you have abused with this notorious slander content themselves with lifting up their groans to Heaven to obtain your forgiveness for the outrage, I feel myself obliged, not being in the least affected by your slander, to make you blush in the face of the whole Church, and so bring you to that wholesome shame of which the Scripture speaks, and which is almost the only remedy for a hardness of heart like yours: "Imple facies eorum ignominia, et quaerent nomen tuum, Domine- Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Lord." A stop must be put to this insolence, which does not spare the most sacred retreats. For who can be safe after a calumny of this nature? For shame, fathers! to publish in Paris such a scandalous book, with the name of your Father Meynier on its front, and under this infamous title, Port-Royal and Geneva in concert against the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, in which you accuse of this apostasy, not only Monsieur the abbe of St. Cyran, and M. Arnauld, but also Mother Agnes, his sister, and all the nuns of that monastery, alleging that "their faith, in regard to the eucharist, is as suspicious as that of M. Arnauld," whom you maintain to be "a down-right Calvinist." I here ask the whole world if there be any class of persons within the pale of the Church, on whom you could have advanced such an abominable charge with less semblance of truth. For tell me, fathers, if these nuns and their directors had been "in concert with Geneva against the most holy sacrament of the altar" (the very thought of which is shocking), how they should have come to select as the principal object of their piety that very sacrament which they held in abomination? How should they have assumed the habit of the holy sacrament? taken the name of the Daughters of the Holy Sacrament? called their church the Church of the Holy Sacrament? How should they have requested and obtained from Rome the confirmation of that institution, and the right of saying every Thursday the office of the holy sacrament, in which the faith of the Church is so perfectly expressed, if they had conspired with Geneva to banish that faith from the Church? Why would they have bound themselves, by a particular devotion, also sanctioned by the Pope, to have some of their sisterhood, night and day without intermission, in presence of the sacred host, to compensate, by their perpetual adorations towards that perpetual sacrifice, for the impiety of the heresy that aims at its annihilation? Tell me, fathers, if you can, why, of all the mysteries of our religion, they should have passed by those in which they believed, to fix upon that in which they believed not? and how they should have devoted themselves, so fully and entirely, to that mystery of our faith, if they took it, as the heretics do, for the mystery of iniquity? And what answer do you give to these clear evidences, embodied not in words only, but in actions; and not in some particular actions, but in the whole tenor of a life expressly dedicated to the adoration of Jesus Christ, dwelling on our altars? What answer, again, do you give to the books which you ascribe to Port-Royal, all of which are full of the most precise terms employed by the fathers and the councils to mark the essence of that mystery? It is at once ridiculous and disgusting to hear you replying to these as you have done throughout your libel. M. Arnauld, say you, talks very well about transubstantiation; but he understands, perhaps, only "a significative transubstantiation." True, he professes to believe in "the real presence"; who can tell, however, but he means nothing more than "a true and real figure"? How now, fathers! whom, pray, will you not make pass for a Calvinist whenever you please, if you are to allowed the liberty of perverting the most canonical and sacred expressions by the wicked subtleties of your modern equivocations? Who ever thought of using any other terms than those in question, especially in simple discourses of devotion, where no controversies are handled? And yet the love and the reverence in which they hold this sacred mystery have induced them to give it such a prominence in all their writings that I defy you, fathers, with all your cunning, to detect in them either the least appearance of ambiguity, or the slightest correspondence with the sentiments of Geneva. Everybody knows, fathers, that the essence of the Genevan heresy consists, as it does according to your own showing, in their believing that Jesus Christ is not contained in this sacrament; that it is impossible he can be in many places at once; that he is, properly speaking, only in heaven, and that it is as there alone that he ought to be adored, and not on the altar; that the substance of the bread remains; that the body of Jesus Christ does not enter into the mouth or the stomach; that he can only be eaten by faith, and accordingly wicked men do not eat him at all; and that the mass is not a sacrifice, but an abomination. Let us now hear, then, in what way "Port-Royal is in concert with Geneva." In the writings of the former we read, to your confusion, the following statement: That "the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ are contained under the species of bread and wine"; that "the Holy of Holies is present in the sanctuary, and that there he ought to be adored"; that "Jesus Christ dwells in the sinners who communicate, by the real and veritable presence of his body in their stomach, although not by the presence of his Spirit in their hearts"; that "the dead ashes of the bodies of the saints derive their principal dignity from that seed of life which they retain from the touch of the immortal and vivifying flesh of Jesus Christ"; that "it is not owing to any natural power, but to the almighty power of God, to whom nothing is impossible, that the body of Jesus Christ is comprehended under the host, and under the smallest portion of every host"; that "the divine virtue is present to produce the effect which the words of consecration signify"; that "Jesus Christ, while be is lowered and hidden upon the altar, is, at the same time, elevated in his glory; that he subsists, of himself and by his own ordinary power, in divers places at the same time- in the midst of the Church triumphant, and in the midst of the Church militant and travelling"; that "the sacramental species remain suspended, and subsist extraordinarily, without being upheld by any subject; and that the body of Jesus Christ is also suspended under the species, and that it does not depend upon these, as substances depend upon accidents"; that "the substance of the bread is changed, the immutable accidents remaining the same"; that "Jesus Christ reposes in the eucharist with the same glory that he has in heaven"; that "his glorious humanity resides in the tabernacles of the Church, under the species of bread, which forms its visible covering; and that, knowing the grossness of our natures, he conducts us to the adoration of his divinity, which is present in all places, by the adoring of his humanity, which is present in a particular place"; that "we receive the body of Jesus Christ upon the tongue, which is sanctified by its divine touch"; "that it enters into the mouth of the priest"; that "although Jesus Christ has made himself accessible in the holy sacrament, by an act of his love and graciousness, he preserves, nevertheless, in that ordinance, his inaccessibility, as an inseparable condition of his divine nature; because, although the body alone and the blood alone are there, by virtue of the words- vi verborum, as the schoolmen say- his whole divinity may, notwithstanding, be there also, as well as his whole humanity, by a necessary conjunction." In fine, that "the eucharist is at the same time sacrament and sacrifice"; and that "although this sacrifice is a commemoration of that of the cross, yet there is this difference between them, that the sacrifice of the mass is offered for the Church only, and for the faithful in her communion; whereas that of the cross has been offered for all the world, as the Scripture testifies." I have quoted enough, fathers, to make it evident that there was never, perhaps, a more imprudent thing attempted than what you have done. But I will go a step farther, and make you pronounce this sentence against yourselves. For what do you require from a man, in order to remove all suspicion of his being in concert and correspondence with Geneva? "If M. Arnauld," says your Father Meynier, p.93, "had said that, in this adorable mystery, there is no substance of the bread under the species, but only the flesh and the blood of Jesus Christ, I should have confessed that he had declared himself absolutely against Geneva." Confess it, then, ye revilers! and make him a public apology. How often have you seen this declaration made in the passages I have just cited? Besides this, however, the Familiar Theology of M. de St. Cyran having been approved by M. Arnauld, it contains the sentiments of both. Read, then, the whole of lesson 15th, and particularly article 2d, and you will there find the words you desiderate, even more formally stated than you have done yourselves. "Is there any bread in the host, or any wine in the chalice? No: for all the substance of the bread and the wine is taken away, to give place to that of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the which substance alone remains therein, covered by the qualities and species of bread and wine." How now, fathers! will you still say that Port-Royal teaches "nothing that Geneva does not receive," and that M. Arnauld has said nothing in his second letter "which might not have been said by a minister of Charenton"? See if you can persuade Mestrezat to speak as M. Arnauld does in that letter, on page 237. Make him say that it is an infamous calumny to accuse him of denying transubstantiation; that he takes for the fundamental principle of his writings the truth of the real presence of the Son of God, in opposition to the heresy of the Calvinists; and that he accounts himself happy for living in a place where the Holy of Holies is continually adored in the sanctuary"- a sentiment which is still more opposed to the belief of the Calvinists than the real presence itself; for, as Cardinal Richelieu observes in his Controversies (p. 536): "The new ministers of France having agreed with the Lutherans, who believe the real presence of Jesus Christ in the eucharist; they have declared that they remain in a state of separation from the Church on the point of this mystery, only on account of the adoration which Catholics render to the eucharist." Get all the passages which I have extracted from the books of Port-Royal subscribed at Geneva, and not the isolated passages merely, but the entire treatises regarding this mystery, such as the Book of Frequent Communion, the Explication of the Ceremonies of the Mass, the Exercise during Mass, the Reasons of the Suspension of the Holy Sacrament, the Translation of the Hymns in the Hours of Port-Royal, &c.; in one word, prevail upon them to establish at Charenton that holy institution of adoring, without intermission, Jesus Christ contained in the eucharist, as is done at Port-Royal, and it will be the most signal service which you could render to the Church; for in this case it will turn out, not that Port-Royal is in concert with Geneva, but that Geneva is in concert with Port-Royal and with the whole Church. Certainly, fathers, you could not have been more unfortunate than in selecting Port-Royal as the object of attack for not believing in the eucharist; but I will show what led you to fix upon it. You know I have picked up some small acquaintance with your policy; in this instance you have acted upon its maxims to admiration. If Monsieur the abbe of St. Cyran, and M. Arnauld, had only spoken of what ought to be believed with great respect to this mystery, and said nothing about what ought to be done in the way of preparation for its reception, they might have been the best Catholics alive; and no equivocations would have been discovered in their use of the terms real presence and transubstantiation. But, since all who combat your licentious principles must needs be heretics, and heretics, too, in the very point in which they condemn your laxity, how could M. Arnauld escape falling under this charge on the subject of the eucharist, after having published a book expressly against your profanations of that sacrament? What! must he be allowed to say, with impunity, that "the body of Jesus Christ ought not to be given to those who habitually lapse into the same crimes, and who have no prospect of amendment; and that such persons ought to be excluded, for some time, from the altar, to purify themselves by sincere penitence, that they may approach it afterwards with benefit"? Suffer no one to talk in this strain, fathers, or you will find that fewer people will come to your confessionals. Father Brisacier says that "were you to adopt this course, you would never apply the blood of Jesus Christ to a single individual." It would be infinitely more for your interest were every one to adopt the views of your Society, as set forth by your Father Mascarenhas, in a book approved by your doctors, and even by your reverend Father-General, namely: "That persons of every description, and even priests, may receive the body of Jesus Christ on the very day they have polluted themselves with odious crimes; that, so far from such communions implying irreverence, persons who partake of them in this manner act a commendable part; that confessors ought not to keep them back from the ordinance, but, on the contrary, ought to advise those who have recently committed such crimes to communicate immediately; because, although the Church has forbidden it, this prohibition is annulled by the universal practice in all places of the earth." See what it is, fathers, to have Jesuits in all places of the earth! Behold the universal practice which you have introduced, and which you are anxious everywhere to maintain! It matters nothing that the tables of Jesus Christ are filled with abominations, provided that your churches are crowded with people. Be sure, therefore, cost what it may, to set down all that dare to say a word against your practice as heretics on the holy sacrament. But how can you do this, after the irrefragable testimonies which they have given of their faith? Are you not afraid of my coming out with the four grand proofs of their heresy which you have adduced? You ought, at least, to be so, fathers, and I ought not to spare your blushing. Let us, then, proceed to examine proof the first. "M. de St. Cyran," says Father Meynier, "consoling one of his friends upon the death of his mother (tom. i., let. 14), says that the most acceptable sacrifice that can be offered up to God, on such occasions, is that of patience; therefore he is a Calvinist." This is marvellously shrewd reasoning, fathers; and I doubt if anybody will be able to discover the precise point of it. Let us learn it, then, from his own mouth. "Because," says this mighty controversialist, "it is obvious that he does not believe in the sacrifice of the mass; for this is, of all other sacrifices, the most acceptable unto God." Who will venture to say now that the do not know how to reason? Why, they know the art to such perfection that they will extract heresy out of anything you choose to mention, not even excepting the Holy Scripture itself! For example, might it not be heretical to say, with the wise man in Ecclesiasticus, "There is nothing worse than to love money"; as if adultery, murder, or idolatry, were not far greater crimes? Where is the man who is not in the habit of using similar expressions every day? May we not say, for instance, that the most acceptable of all sacrifices in the eyes of God is that of a contrite and humbled heart; just because, in discourses of this nature, we simply mean to compare certain internal virtues with one another, and not with the sacrifice of the mass, which is of a totally different order, and infinitely more exalted? Is this not enough to make you ridiculous, fathers? And is it necessary, to complete your discomfiture, that I should quote the passages of that letter in which M. de St. Cyran speaks of the sacrifice of the mass as "the most excellent" of all others, in the following terms? "Let there be presented to God, daily and in all places, the sacrifice of the body of his Son, who could not find a more excellent way than that by which he might honour his Father." And afterwards: "Jesus Christ has enjoined us to take, when we are dying, his sacrificed body, to render more acceptable to God the sacrifice of our own, and to join himself with us at the hour of dissolution; to the end that he may strengthen us for the struggle, sanctifying, by his presence, the last sacrifice which we make to God of our life and our body"? Pretend to take no notice of all this, fathers, and persist in maintaining, as you do in page 39, that he refused to take the communion on his death-bed, and that he did not believe in the sacrifice of the mass. Nothing can be too gross for calumniators by profession. Your second proof furnishes an excellent illustration of this. To make a Calvinist of M. de St. Cyran, to whom you ascribe the book of Petrus Aurelius, you take advantage of a passage (page 80) in which Aurelius explains in what manner the Church acts towards priests, and even bishops, whom she wishes to degrade or depose. "The Church," he says, "being incapable of depriving them of the power of the order, the character of which is indelible, she does all that she can do: she banishes from her memory the character which she cannot banish from the souls of the individuals who have been once invested with it; she regards them in the same light as if they were not bishops or priests; so that, according to the ordinary language of the Church, it may be said they are no longer such, although they always remain such, in as far as the character is concerned- ob indelebilitatem characteris." You perceive, fathers, that this author, who has been approved by three general assemblies of the clergy of France, plainly declares that the character of the priesthood is indelible; and yet you make him say, on the contrary, in the very same passage, that "the character of the priesthood is not indelible." This is what I would call a notorious slander; in other words, according to your nomenclature, a small venial sin. And the reason is, this book has done you some harm by refuting the heresies of your brethren in England touching the Episcopal authority. But the folly of the charge is equally remarkable; for, after having taken it for granted, without any foundation, that M. de St. Cyran holds the priestly character to be not indelible, you conclude from this that he does not believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the eucharist. Do not expect me to answer this, fathers. If you have got no common sense, I am not able to furnish you with it. All who possess any share of it will enjoy a hearty laugh at your expense. Nor will they treat with greater respect your third proof, which rests upon the following words, taken from the Book of Frequent Communion: "In the eucharist God vouchsafes us the same food that He bestows on the saints in heaven, with this difference only, that here He withholds from us its sensible sight and taste, reserving both of these for the heavenly world." These words express the sense of the Church so distinctly that I am constantly forgetting what reason you have for picking a quarrel with them, in order to turn them to a bad use; for I can see nothing more in them than what the Council of Trent teaches (sess. xiii, c. 8), namely, that there is no difference between Jesus Christ in the eucharist and Jesus Christ in heaven, except that here he is veiled, and there he is not. M. Arnauld does not say that there is no difference in the manner of receiving Jesus Christ, but only that there is no difference in Jesus Christ who is received. And yet you would, in the face of all reason, interpret his language in this passage to mean that Jesus Christ is no more eaten with the mouth in this world than he is in heaven; upon which you ground the charge of heresy against him. You really make me sorry for you, fathers. Must we explain this further to you? Why do you confound that divine nourishment with the manner of receiving it? There is but one point of difference, as I have just observed, betwixt that nourishment upon earth and in heaven, which is that here it is hidden under veils which deprive us of its sensible sight and taste; but there are various points of dissimilarity in the manner of receiving it here and there, the principal of which is, as M. Arnauld expresses it (p.3, ch.16), "that here it enters into the mouth and the breast both of the good and of the wicked," which is not the case in heaven. And, if you require to be told the reason of this diversity, I may inform you, fathers, that the cause of God's ordaining these different modes of receiving the same food is the difference that exists betwixt the state of Christians in this life and that of the blessed in heaven. The state of the Christian, as Cardinal Perron observes after the fathers, holds a middle place between the state of the blessed and the state of the Jews. The spirits in bliss possess Jesus Christ really, without veil or figure. The Jews possessed Jesus Christ only in figures and veils, such as the manna and the paschal lamb. And Christians possess Jesus Christ in the eucharist really and truly, although still concealed under veils. "God," says St. Eucher, "has made three tabernacles: the synagogue, which had the shadows only, without the truth; the Church, which has the truth and shadows together; and heaven, where there is no shadow, but the truth alone." It would be a departure from our present state, which is the state of faith, opposed by St. Paul alike to the law and to open vision, did we possess the figures only, without Jesus Christ; for it is the property of the law to have the mere figure, and not the substance of things. And it would be equally a departure from our present state if we possessed him visibly; because faith, according to the same apostle, deals not with things that are seen. And thus the eucharist, from its including Jesus Christ truly, though under a veil, is in perfect accordance with our state of faith. It follows that this state would be destroyed, if, as the heretics maintain, Jesus Christ were not really under the species of bread and wine; and it would be equally destroyed if we received him openly, as they do in heaven: since, on these suppositions, our state would be confounded, either with the state of Judaism or with that of glory. Such, fathers, is the mysterious and divine reason of this most divine mystery. This it is that fills us with abhorrence at the Calvinists, who would reduce us to the condition of the Jews; and this it is that makes us aspire to the glory of the beatified, where we shall be introduced to the full and eternal enjoyment of Jesus Christ. From hence you must see that there are several points of difference between the manner in which he communicates himself to Christians and to the blessed; and that, amongst others, he is in this world received by the mouth, and not so in heaven; but that they all depend solely on the distinction between our state of faith and their state of immediate vision. And this is precisely, fathers, what M. Arnauld has expressed, with great plainness, in the following terms: "There can be no other difference between the purity of those who receive Jesus Christ in the eucharist and that of the blessed, than what exists between faith and the open vision of God, upon which alone depends the different manner in which he is eaten upon earth and in heaven." You were bound in duty, fathers, to have revered in these words the sacred truths they express, instead of wresting them for the purpose of detecting an heretical meaning which they never contained, nor could possibly contain, namely, that Jesus Christ is eaten by faith only, and not by the mouth; the malicious perversion of your Fathers Annat and Meynier, which forms the capital count of their indictment. Conscious, however, of the wretched deficiency of your proofs, you have had recourse to a new artifice, which is nothing less than to falsify the Council of Trent, in order to convict M. Arnauld of nonconformity with it; so vast is your store of methods for making people heretics. This feat has been achieved by Father Meynier, in fifty different places of his book, and about eight or ten times in the space of a single page (the 54th), wherein he insists that to speak like a true Catholic it is not enough to say, "I believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the eucharist," but we must say, "I believe, with the council, that he is present by a true local presence, or locally." And, in proof of this, he cites the council, session xiii, canon 3d, canon 4th, and canon 6th. Who would not suppose, upon seeing the term local presence quoted from three canons of a universal council, that the phrase was actually to be found in them? This might have served your turn very well, before the appearance of my Fifteenth Letter; but, as matters now stand, fathers, the trick has become too stale for us. We go our way and consult the council, and discover only that you are falsifiers. Such terms as local presence, locally, and locality, never existed in the passages to which you refer; and let me tell you further, they are not to be found in any other canon of that council, nor in any other previous council, not in any father of the Church. Allow me, then, to ask you, fathers, if you mean to cast the suspicion of Calvinism upon all that have not made use of that peculiar phrase? If this be the case, the Council of Trent must be suspected of heresy, and all the holy fathers without exception. Have you no other way of making M. Arnauld heretical, without abusing so many other people who never did you any harm, and, among the rest, St. Thomas, who is one of the greatest champions of the eucharist, and who, so far from employing that term, has expressly rejected it- "Nullo modo corpus Christi est in hoc sacramento localiter.- By no means is the body of Christ in this sacrament locally"? Who are you, then, fathers, to pretend, on your authority, to impose new terms, and ordain them to be used by all for rightly expressing their faith; as if the profession of the faith, drawn up by the popes according to the plan of the council, in which this term has no place, were defective, and left an ambiguity in the creed of the faithful which you had the sole merit of discovering? Such a piece of arrogance, to prescribe these terms, even to learned doctors! such a piece of forgery, to attribute them to general councils! and such ignorance, not to know the objections which the most enlightened saints have made to their reception! "Be ashamed of the error of your ignorance," as the Scripture says of ignorant impostors like you, "De mendacio ineruditionis tuae confundere." Give up all further attempts, then, to act the masters; you have neither character nor capacity for the part. If, however, you would bring forward your propositions with a little more modesty, they might obtain a hearing. For, although this phrase, local presence, has been rejected, as you have seen, by St. Thomas, on the ground that the body of Jesus Christ is not in the eucharist, in the ordinary extension of bodies in their places, the expression has, nevertheless, been adopted by some modern controversial writers, who understand it simply to mean that the body of Jesus Christ is truly under the species, which being in a particular place, the body of Jesus Christ is there also. And in this sense M. Arnauld will make no scruple to admit the term, as M. de St. Cyran and he have repeatedly declared that Jesus Christ in the eucharist is truly in a particular place, and miraculously in many places at the same time. Thus all your subtleties fall to the ground; and you have failed to give the slightest semblance of plausibility to an accusation which ought not to have been allowed to show its face without being supported by the most unanswerable proofs. But what avails it, fathers, to oppose their innocence to your calumnies? You impute these errors to them, not in the belief that they maintain heresy, but from the idea that they have done you injury. That is enough, according to your theology, to warrant you to calumniate them without criminality; and you can, without either penance or confession, say mass, at the very time that you charge priests, who say it every day, with holding it to be pure idolatry; which, were it true, would amount to sacrilege no less revolting than that of your own Father Jarrige, whom you yourselves ordered to be hanged in effigy, for having said mass "at the time he was in agreement with Geneva." What surprises me, therefore, is not the little scrupulosity with which you load them with crimes of the foulest and falsest description, but the little prudence you display, by fixing on them charges so destitute of plausibility. You dispose of sins, it is true, at your pleasure; but do you mean to dispose of men's beliefs too? Verily, fathers, if the suspicion of Calvinism must needs fall either on them or on you, you would stand, I fear, on very ticklish ground. Their language is as Catholic as yours; but their conduct confirms their faith, and your conduct belies it. For if you believe, as well as they do, that the bread is really changed into the body of Jesus Christ, why do you not require, as they do, from those whom you advise to approach the altar, that the heart of stone and ice should be sincerely changed into a heart of flesh and of love? If you believe that Jesus Christ is in that sacrament in a state of death, teaching those that approach it to die to the world, to sin, and to themselves, why do you suffer those to profane it in whose breasts evil passions continue to reign in all their life and vigour? And how do you come to judge those worthy to eat the bread of heaven, who are not worthy to eat that of earth? Precious votaries, truly, whose zeal is expended in persecuting those who honour this sacred mystery by so many holy communions, and in flattering those who dishonour it by so many sacrilegious desecrations! How comely is it, in these champions of a sacrifice so pure and so venerable, to collect around the table of Jesus Christ a crowd of hardened profligates, reeking from their debauchcries; and to plant in the midst of them a priest, whom his own confessor has hurried from his obscenities to the altar; there, in the place of Jesus Christ, to offer up that most holy victim to the God of holiness, and convey it, with his polluted hands, into mouths as thoroughly polluted as his own! How well does it become those who pursue this course "in all parts of the world," in conformity with maxims sanctioned by their own general to impute to the author of Frequent Communion, and to the Sisters of the Holy Sacrament, the crime of not believing in that sacrament! Even this, however, does not satisfy them. Nothing less will satiate their rage than to accuse their opponents of having renounced Jesus Christ and their baptism. This is no air-built fable, like those of your invention; it is a fact, and denotes a delirious frenzy which marks the fatal consummation of your calumnies. Such a notorious falsehood as this would not have been in hands worthy to support it, had it remained in those of your good friend Filleau, through whom you ushered it into the world: your Society has openly adopted it; and your Father Meynier maintained it the other day to be "a certain truth" that Port-Royal has, for the space of thirty-five years, been forming a secret plot, of which M. de St. Cyran and M. d'Ypres have been the ringleaders, "to ruin the mystery of the incarnation- to make the Gospel pass for an apocryphal fable- to exterminate the Christian religion, and to erect Deism upon the ruins of Christianity." Is this enough, fathers? Will you be satisfied if all this be believed of the objects of your hate? Would your animosity be glutted at length, if you could but succeed in making them odious, not only to all within the Church, by the charge of "consenting with Geneva, of which you accuse them, but even to all who believe in Jesus Christ, though beyond the pale of the Church, by the imputation of Deism? But whom do you expect to convince, upon your simple asseveration, without the slightest shadow of proof, and in the face of every imaginable contradiction, that priests who preach nothing but the grace of Jesus Christ, the purity of the Gospel, and the obligations of baptism, have renounced at once their baptism, the Gospel, and Jesus Christ? Who will believe it, fathers? Wretched as you are, do you believe it yourselves? What a sad predicament is yours, when you must either prove that they do not believe in Jesus Christ, or must pass for the most abandoned calumniators. Prove it, then, fathers. Name that "worthy clergyman" who, you say, attended that assembly at Bourg-Fontaine in 1621, and discovered to Brother Filleau the design there concerted of overturning the Christian religion. Name those six persons whom you allege to have formed that conspiracy. Name the individual who is designated by the letters A. A., who you say "was not Antony Arnauld" (because he convinced you that he was at that time only nine years of age), "but another person, who you say is still in life, but too good a friend of M. Arnauld not to be known to him." You know him, then, fathers; and consequently, if you are not destitute of religion yourselves, you are bound to delate that impious wretch to the king and parliament, that he may be punished according to his deserts. You must speak out, fathers; you must name the person, or submit to the disgrace of being henceforth regarded in no other light than as common liars, unworthy of being ever credited again. Good Father Valerien has taught us that this is the way in which such characters should be "put to the rack" and brought to their senses. Your silence upon the present challenge will furnish a full and satisfactory confirmation of this diabolical calumny. Your blindest admirers will be constrained to admit that it will be "the result, not of your goodness, but your impotency"; and to wonder how you could be so wicked as to extend your hatred even to the nuns of Port-Royal, and to say, as you do in page 14, that The Secret Chaplet of the Holy Sacrament, composed by one of their number, was the first fruit of that conspiracy against Jesus Christ; or, as in page 95, that "they have imbibed all the detestable principles of that work"; which is, according to your account, a lesson in Deism." Your falsehoods regarding that book have already been triumphantly refuted, in the defence of the censure of the late Archbishop of Paris against Father Brisacier. That publication you are incapable of answering; and yet you do not scruple to abuse it in a more shameful manner than ever, for the purpose of charging women, whose piety is universally known, with the vilest blasphemy. Cruel, cowardly persecutors! Must, then, the most retired cloisters afford no retreat from your calumnies? While these consecrated virgins are employed, night and day, according to their institution, in adoring Jesus Christ in the holy sacrament, you cease not, night nor day, to publish abroad that they do not believe that he is either in the eucharist or even at the right hand of his Father; and you are publicly excommunicating them from the Church, at the very time when they are in secret praying for the whole Church, and for you! You blacken with your slanders those who have neither ears to hear nor mouths to answer you! But Jesus Christ, in whom they are now hidden, not to appear till one day together with him, hears you, and answers for them. At the moment I am now writing, that holy and terrible voice is heard which confounds nature and consoles the Church. And I fear, fathers, that those who now harden their hearts, and refuse with obstinacy to hear him, while he speaks in the character of God, will one day be compelled to hear him with terror, when he speaks to them in the character of a judge. What account, indeed, fathers, will you be able to render to him of the many calumnies you have uttered, seeing that he will examine them, in that day, not according to the fantasies of Fathers Dicastille, Gans, and Pennalossa, who justify them, but according to the eternal laws of truth, and the sacred ordinances of his own Church, which, so far from attempting to vindicate that crime, abhors it to such a degree that she visits it with the same penalty as wilfull murder? By the first and second councils of Arles she has decided that the communion shall be denied to slanderers as well as murderers, till the approach of death. The Council of Lateran has judged those unworthy of admission into the ecclesiastical state who have been convicted of the crime, even though they may have reformed. The popes have even threatened to deprive of the communion at death those who have calumniated bishops, priests, or deacons. And the authors of a defamatory libel, who fail to prove what they have advanced, are condemned by Pope Adrian to be whipped,- yes, reverend fathers, flagellentur is the word. So strong has been the repugnance of the Church at all times to the errors of your Society- a Society so thoroughly depraved as to invent excuses for the grossest of crimes, such as calumny, chiefly that it may enjoy the greater freedom in perpetrating them itself. There can be no doubt, fathers, that you would be capable of producing abundance of mischief in this way, had God not permitted you to furnish with your own hands the means of preventing the evil, and of rendering your slanders perfectly innocuous; for, to deprive you of all credibility, it was quite enough to publish the strange maxim that it is no crime to calumniate. Calumny is nothing, if not associated with a high reputation for honesty. The defamer can make no impression, unless he has the character of one that abhors defamation as a crime of which he is incapable. And thus, fathers, you are betrayed by your own principle. You establish the doctrine to secure yourselves a safe conscience, that you might slander without risk of damnation, and be ranked with those "pious and holy calumniators" of whom St. Athanasius speaks. To save yourselves from hell, you have embraced a maxim which promises you this security on the faith of your doctors; but this same maxim, while it guarantees you, according to their idea, against the evils you dread in the future world, deprives you of all the advantage you may have expected to reap from it in the present; so that, in attempting to escape the guilt, you have lost the benefit of calumny. Such is the self-contrariety of evil, and so completely does it confound and destroy itself by its own intrinsic malignity. You might have slandered, therefore, much more advantageously for yourselves, had you professed to hold, with St. Paul, that evil speakers are not worthy to see God; for in this case, though you would indeed have been condemning yourselves, your slanders would at least have stood a better chance of being believed. But, by maintaining, as you have done, that calumny against your enemies is no crime, your slanders will be discredited, and you yourselves damned into the bargain; for two things are certain, fathers: first, That it will never be in the power of your grave doctors to annihilate the justice of God; and, secondly, That you could not give more certain evidence that you are not of the Truth than by your resorting to falsehood. If the Truth were on your side, she would fight for you- she would conquer for you; and whatever enemies you might have to encounter, "the Truth would set you free" from them, according to her promise. But you have had recourse to falsehood, for no other design than to support the errors with which you flatter the sinful children of this world, and to bolster up the calumnies with which you persecute every man of piety who sets his face against these delusions. The truth being diametrically opposed to your ends, it behooved you, to use the language of the prophet, "to put your confidence in lies." You have said: "The scourges which afflict mankind shall not come nigh unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves." But what says the prophet in reply to such? "Forasmuch," says he, "as ye have put your trust in calumny and tumult- sperastis in calumnia et in tumultu- this iniquity and your ruin shall be like that of a high wall whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potter's vessel that is shivered in pieces"- with such violence that "there shall not be found in the bursting of it a shred to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit." "Because," as another prophet says, "ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and ye have flattered and strengthened the malice of the wicked; I will therefore deliver my people out of your hands, and ye shall know that I am their Lord and yours." Yes, fathers, it is to be hoped that if you do not repent, God will deliver out of your hands those whom you have so long deluded, either by flattering them in their evil courses with your licentious maxims, or by poisoning their minds with your slanders. He will convince the former that the false rules of your casuists will not screen them from His indignation; and He will impress on the minds of the latter the just dread of losing their souls by listening and yielding credit to your slanders, as you lose yours by hatching these slanders and disseminating them through the world. Let no man be deceived; God is not mocked; none may violate with impunity the commandment which He has given us in the Gospel, not to condemn our neighbour without being well assured of his guilt. And, consequently, what profession soever of piety those may make who lend a willing ear to your lying devices, and under what pretence soever of devotion they may entertain them, they have reason to apprehend exclusion from the kingdom of God, solely for having imputed crimes of such a dark complexion as heresy and schism to Catholic priests and holy nuns, upon no better evidence than such vile fabrications as yours. "The devil," says M. de Geneve, "is on the tongue of him that slanders, and in the ear of him that listens to the slanderer." "And evil speaking," says St. Bernard, "is a poison that extinguishes charity in both of the parties; so that a single calumny may prove mortal to an infinite numbers of souls, killing not only those who publish it, but all those besides by whom it is not repudiated." Reverend fathers, my letters were not wont either to be so prolix, or to follow so closely on one another. Want of time must plead my excuse for both of these faults. The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter. You know the reason of this haste better than I do. You have been unlucky in your answers. You have done well, therefore, to change your plan; but I am afraid that you will get no credit for it, and that people will say it was done for fear of the Benedictines. I have just come to learn that the person who was generally reported to be the author of your Apologies, disclaims them, and is annoyed at their having been ascribed to him. He has good reason, and I was wrong to have suspected him of any such thing; for, in spite of the assurances which I received, I ought to have considered that he was a man of too much good sense to believe your accusations, and of too much honour to publish them if he did not believe them. There are few people in the world capable of your extravagances; they are peculiar to yourselves, and mark your character too plainly to admit of any excuse for having failed to recognize your hand in their concoction. I was led away by the common report; but this apology, which would be too good for you, is not sufficient for me, who profess to advance nothing without certain proof. In no other instance have I been guilty of departing from this rule. I am sorry for what I said. I retract it; and I only wish that you may profit by my example.


January 23, 1657 REVEREND FATHER, Your former behaviour had induced me to believe that you were anxious for a truce in our hostilities, and I was quite disposed to agree that it should be so. Of late, however, you have poured forth such a volley of pamphlets, in such rapid succession, as to make it apparent that peace rests on a very precarious footing when it depends on the silence of Jesuits. I know not if this rupture will prove very advantageous to you; but, for my part, I am far from regretting the opportunity which it affords me of rebutting that stale charge of heresy with which your writings abound. It is full time, indeed, that I should, once for all, put a stop to the liberty you have taken to treat me as a heretic- a piece of gratuitous impertinence which seems to increase by indulgence, and which is exhibited in your last book in a style of such intolerable assurance that, were I not to answer the charge as it deserves, I might lay myself open to the suspicion of being actually guilty. So long as the insult was confined to your associates I despised it, as I did a thousand others with which they interlarded their productions. To these my Fifteenth Letter was a sufficient reply. But you now repeat the charge with a different air: you make it the main point of your vindication. It is, in fact, almost the only thing in the shape of argument that you employ. You say that, "as a complete answer to my fifteen letters, it is enough to say fifteen times that I am a heretic; and, having been pronounced such, I deserve no credit." In short, you make no question of my apostasy, but assume it as a settled point, on which you may build with all confidence. You are serious then, father, it would seem, in deeming me a heretic. I shall be equally serious in replying to the charge. You are well aware, sir, that heresy is a charge of grave a character that it is an act of high presumption to advance, without being prepared to substantiate it. I now demand your proofs. When was I seen at Charenton? When did I fail in my presence at mass, or in my Christian duty to my parish church? What act of union with heretics, or of schism with the Church, can you lay to my charge? What council have I contradicted? What papal constitution have I violated? You must answer, father, else- You know what I mean. And what do you answer? I beseech all to observe it: First of all, you assume "that the author of the letters is a Port-Royalist"; then you tell us "that Port-Royal is declared to be heretical"; and, therefore, you conclude, "the author of letters must be a heretic." It is not on me, then, father, that the weight of this indictment falls, but on Port-Royal; and I am only involved in the crime because you suppose me to belong to that establishment; so that it will be no difficult matter for me to exculpate myself from the charge. I have no more to say than that I am not a member of that community; and to refer you to my letters, in which I have declared that "I am a private individual"; and again in so many words, that "I am not of Port-Royal, as I said in my Sixteenth Letter, which preceded your publication. You must fall on some other way, then, to prove me heretic, otherwise the whole world will be convinced that it is beyond your power to make good your accusation. Prove from my writings that I do not receive the constitution. My letters are not very voluminous- there are but sixteen of them- and I defy you or anybody else to detect in them the slightest foundation for such a charge. I shall, however, with your permission, produce something out of them to prove the reverse. When, for example, I say in the Fourteenth that, "by killing our brethren in mortal sin, according to your maxims, we are damning those for whom Jesus Christ died, do I not plainly acknowledge that Jesus Christ died for those who may be damned, and, consequently, declare it to be false "that he died only for the predestinated," which is the error condemned in the fifth proposition? Certain it is, father, that I have not said a word in behalf of these impious propositions, which I detest with all my heart. And even though Port-Royal should hold them, I protest against your drawing any conclusion from this against me, as, thank God, I have no sort of connection with any community except the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, in the bosom of which I desire to live and die, in communion with the Pope, the head of the Church, and beyond the pale of which I am persuaded there is no salvation. How are you to get at a person who talks in this way, father? On what quarter will you assail me, since neither my words nor my writings afford the slightest handle to your accusations, and the obscurity in which my person is enveloped forms my protection against your threatenings? You feel yourselves smitten by an invisible hand- a hand, however, which makes your delinquencies visible to all the earth; and in vain do you endeavour to attack me in the person of those with whom you suppose me to be associated. I fear you not, either on my own account or on that of any other, being bound by no tie either to a community or to any individual whatsoever. All the influence which your Society possesses can be of no avail in my case. From this world I have nothing to hope, nothing to dread, nothing to desire. Through the goodness of God, I have no need of any man's money or any man's patronage. Thus, my father, I elude all your attempts to lay hold of me. You may touch Port-Royal, if you choose, but you shall not touch me. You may turn people out of the Sorbonne, but that will not turn me out of my domicile. You may contrive plots against priests and doctors, but not against me, for I am neither the one nor the other. And thus, father, you never perhaps had to do, in the whole course of your experience, with a person so completely beyond your reach, and therefore so admirably qualified for dealing with your errors- one perfectly free- one without engagement, entanglement, relationship, or business of any kind- one, too, who is pretty well versed in your maxims, and determined, as God shall give him light, to discuss them, without permitting any earthly consideration to arrest or slacken his endeavours. Since, then, you can do nothing against me, what good purpose can it serve to publish so many calumnies, as you and your brethren are doing, against a class of persons who are in no way implicated in our disputes? You shall not escape under these subterfuges: you shall be made to feel the force of the truth in spite of them. How does the case stand? I tell you that you are ruining Christian morality by divorcing it from the love of God, and dispensing with its obligation; and you talk about "the death of Father Mester"- a person whom I never saw in my life. I tell you that your authors permit a man to kill another for the sake of an apple, when it would be dishonourable to lose it; and you reply by informing me that somebody "has broken into the poor-box at St. Merri!" Again, what can you possibly mean by mixing me up perpetually with the book On the Holy Virginity, written by some father of the Oratory, whom I never saw any more than his book? It is rather extraordinary, father, that you should thus regard all that are opposed to you as if they were one person. Your hatred would grasp them all at once, and would hold them as a body of reprobates, every one of whom is responsible for all the rest. There is a vast difference between Jesuits and all their opponents. There can be no doubt that you compose one body, united under one head; and your regulations, as I have shown, prohibit you from printing anything without the approbation of your superiors, who are responsible for all the errors of individual writers, and who "cannot excuse themselves by saying that they did not observe the errors in any publication, for they ought to have observed them." So say your ordinances, and so say the letters of your generals, Aquaviva, Vitelleschi, &c. We have good reason, therefore, for charging upon you the errors of your associates, when we find they are sanctioned by your superiors and the divines of your Society. With me, however, father, the case stands otherwise. I have not subscribed to the book of the Holy Virginity. All the alms-boxes in Paris may be broken into, and yet I am not the less a good Catholic for all that. In short, I beg to inform you, in the plainest terms, that nobody is responsible for my letters but myself, and that I am responsible for nothing but my letters. Here, father, I might fairly enough have brought our dispute to an issue, without saying a word about those other persons whom you stigmatize as heretics, in order to comprehend me under the condemnation. But, as I have been the occasion of their ill treatment, I consider myself bound in some sort to improve the occasion, and I shall take advantage of it in three particulars. One advantage, not inconsiderable in its way, is that it will enable me to vindicate the innocence of so many calumniated individuals. Another, not inappropriate to my subject, will be to disclose, at the same time, the artifices of your policy in this accusation. But the advantage which I prize most of all is that it affords me an opportunity of apprising the world of the falsehood of that scandalous report which you have been so busily disseminating, namely, "that the Church is divided by a new heresy." And as you are deceiving multitudes into the belief that the points on which you are raising such a storm are essential to the faith, I consider it of the last importance to quash these unfounded impressions, and distinctly to explain here what these points are, so as to show that, in point of fact, there are no heretics in the Church. I presume, then, that were the question to be asked: Wherein consists the heresy of those called Jansenists? the immediate reply would be, "These people hold that the commandments of God are impracticable to men, that grace is irresistible, that we have not free will to do either good or evil, that Jesus Christ did not die for all men, but only for the elect; in short, they maintain the five propositions condemned by the Pope." Do you not give it out to all that this is the ground on which you persecute your opponents? Have you not said as much in your books, in your conversations, in your catechisms? A specimen of this you gave at the late Christmas festival at St. Louis. One of your little shepherdesses was questioned thus: "For whom did Jesus Christ come into the world, my dear?" "For all men, father." "Indeed, my child; so you are not one of those new heretics who say that he came only for the elect?" Thus children are led to believe you, and many others besides children; for you entertain people with the same stuff in your sermons as Father Crasset did at Orleans, before he was laid under an interdict. And I frankly own that, at one time, I believed you myself. You had given me precisely the same idea of these good people; so that, when you pressed them on these propositions, I narrowly watched their answer, determined never to see them more, if they did not renounce them as palpable impieties. This, however, they have done in the most unequivocal way. M. de Sainte-Beuve, king's professor in the Sorbonne, censured these propositions in his published writings long before the Pope; and other Augustinian doctors, in various publications, and, among others, in a work On Victorious Grace, reject the same articles as both heretical and strange doctrines. In the preface to that work they say that these propositions are "heretical and Lutheran, forged and fabricated at pleasure, and are neither to be found in Jansenius, nor in his defenders. " They complain of being charged with such sentiments, and address you in the words of St. Prosper, the first disciple of St. Augustine their master, to whom the semi-Pelagians of France had ascribed similar opinions, with the view of bringing him into disgrace: "There are persons who denounce us, so blinded by passion that they have adopted means for doing so which ruin their own reputation. They have, for this purpose, fabricated propositions of the most impious and blasphemous character, which they industriously circulate, to make people believe that we maintain them in the wicked sense which they are pleased to attach to them. But our reply will show at once our innocence, and the malignity of these persons who have ascribed to us a set of impious tenets, of which they are themselves the sole inventors." Truly, father, when I found that they had spoken in this way before the appearance of the papal constitution- when I saw that they afterwards received that decree with all possible respect, that they offered to subscribe it, and that M. Arnauld had declared all this in his second letter, in stronger terms than I can report him, I should have considered it a sin to doubt their soundness in the faith. And, in fact, those who were formerly disposed to refuse absolution to M. Arnauld's friends, have since declared that, after his explicit disclaimer of the errors imputed to him, there was no reason left for cutting off either him or them from the communion of the Church. Your associates, however, have acted very differently; and it was this that made me begin to suspect that you were actuated by prejudice. You threatened first to compel them to sign that constitution, so long as you thought they would resist it; but no sooner did you see them quite ready of their own accord to submit to it than we heard no more about this. Still however, though one might suppose this ought to have satisfied you, you persisted in calling them heretics, "because," said you, "their heart belies their hand; they are Catholics outwardly, but inwardly they are heretics." This, father, struck me as very strange reasoning; for where is the person of whom as much may not be said at any time? And what endless trouble and confusion would ensue, were it allowed to go on! "If," says Pope St. Gregory, "we refuse to believe a confession of faith made in conformity to the sentiments of the Church, we cast a doubt over the faith of all Catholics whatsoever." I am afraid, father, to use the words of the same pontiff when speaking of a similar dispute this time, "that your object is to make these persons heretics in spite of themselves; because to refuse to credit those who testify by their confession that they are in the true faith, is not to purge heresy, but to create it- hoc non est haeresim purgare, sed facere." But what confirmed me in my persuasion that there was, indeed, no heretic in the Church, was finding that our so-called heretics had vindicated themselves so successfully that you were unable to accuse them of a single error in the faith, and that you were reduced to the necessity of assailing them on questions of fact only, touching Jansenius, which could not possibly be construed into heresy. You insist, it now appears, on their being compelled to acknowledge "that these propositions are contained in Jansenius, word for word, every one of them, in so many terms," or, as you express it, "Singulares, individuae, totidem verbis apud Jansenium contentae." Thenceforth your dispute became, in my eyes, perfectly indifferent. So long as I believed that you were debating the truth or falsehood of the propositions, I was all attention, for that quarrel touched the faith; but when I discovered that the bone of contention was whether they were to be found word for word in Jansenius or not, as religion ceased to be interested in the controversy, I ceased to be interested in it also. Not but that there was some presumption that you were speaking the truth; because to say that such and such expressions are to be found word for word in an author, is a matter in which there can be no mistake. I do not wonder, therefore, that so many people, both in France and at Rome, should have been led to believe, on the authority of a phrase so little liable to suspicion, that Jansenius has actually taught these obnoxious tenets. And, for the same reason, I was not a little surprised to learn that this same point of fact, which you had propounded as so certain and so important, was false; and that, after being challenged to quote the pages of Jansenius in which you had found these propositions "word for word," you have not been able to point them out to this day. I am the more particular in giving this statement, because, in my opinion, it discovers, in a very striking light, the spirit of your Society in the whole of this affair; and because some people will be astonished to find that, notwithstanding all the facts above mentioned, you have not ceased to publish that they are heretics still. But you have only altered the heresy to suit the time; for no sooner had they freed themselves from one charge than your fathers, determined that they should never want an accusation, substituted another in its place. Thus, in 1653, their heresy lay in the quality of the propositions; then came the word for word heresy; after that we had the heart heresy. And now we hear nothing of any of these, and they must be heretics, forsooth, unless they sign a declaration to the effect "that the sense of the doctrine of Jansenius is contained in the sense of the five propositions." Such is your present dispute. It is not enough for you that they condemn the five propositions, and everything in Jansenius that bears any resemblance to them, or is contrary to St. Augustine; for all that they have done already. The point at issue is not, for example, if Jesus Christ died for the elect only- they condemn that as much as you do; but, is Jansenius of that opinion, or not? And here I declare, more strongly than ever, that your quarrel affects me as little as it affects the Church. For although I am no doctor, any more than you, father, I can easily see, nevertheless, that it has no connection with the faith. The only question is to ascertain what is the sense of Jansenius. Did they believe that his doctrine corresponded to the proper and literal sense of these propositions, they would condemn it; and they refuse to do so, because they are convinced it is quite the reverse; so that, although they should misunderstand it, still they would not be heretics, seeing they understand it only in a Catholic sense. To illustrate this by an example, I may refer to the conflicting sentiments of St. Basil and St. Athanasius, regarding the writings of St. Denis of Alexandria, which St. Basil, conceiving that he found in them the sense of Arius against the equality of the Father and the Son, condemned as heretical, but which St. Athanasius, on the other hand, judging them to contain the genuine sense of the Church, maintained to be perfectly orthodox. Think you, then, father, that St. Basil, who held these writings to be Arian, had a right to brand St. Athanasius as a heretic because he defended them? And what ground would he have had for so doing, seeing that it was not Arianism that his brother defended, but the true faith which he considered these writings to contain? Had these two saints agreed about the true sense of these writings, and had both recognized this heresy in them, unquestionably St. Athanasius could not have approved of them without being guilty of heresy; but as they were at variance respecting the sense of the passage, St. Athanasius was orthodox in vindicating them, even though he may have understood them wrong; because in that case it would have been merely an error in a matter of fact, and because what he defended was really the Catholic faith, which he supposed to be contained in these writings. I apply this to you, father. Suppose you were agreed upon the sense of Jansenius, and your adversaries were ready to admit with you that he held, for example, that grace cannot be resisted, those who refused to condemn him would be heretical. But as your dispute turns upon the meaning of that author, and they believe that, according to this doctrine, grace may be resisted, whatever heresy you may be pleased to attribute to him, you have no ground to brand them as heretics, seeing they condemn the sense which you put on Jansenius, and you dare not condemn the sense which they put on him. If, therefore, you mean to convict them, show that the sense which they ascribe to Jansenius is heretical; for then they will be heretical themselves. But how could you accomplish this, since it is certain, according to your own showing, that the meaning which they give to his language has never been condemned? To elucidate the point still further, I shall assume as a principle what you yourselves acknowledge- that the doctrine of efficacious grace has never been condemned, and that the pope has not touched it by his constitution. And, in fact, when he proposed to pass judgement on the five propositions, the question of efficacious grace was protected against all censure. This is perfectly evident from the judgements of the consulters to whom the Pope committed them for examination. These judgements I have in my possession, in common with many other persons in Paris, and, among the rest, the Bishop of Montpelier, who brought them from Rome. It appears from this document that they were divided in their sentiments; that the chief persons among them, such as the Master of the Sacred Palace, the commissary of the Holy Office, the General of the Augustinians, and others, conceiving that these propositions might be understood in the sense of efficacious grace, were of opinion that they ought not to be censured; whereas the rest, while they agreed that the propositions would not have merited condemnation had they borne that sense, judged that they ought to be censured, because, as they contended, this was very far from being their proper and natural sense. The Pope, accordingly, condemned them; and all parties have acquiesced in his judgement. It is certain, then, father, that efficacious grace has not been condemned. Indeed, it is so powerfully supported by St. Augustine, by St. Thomas, and all his school, by a great many popes and councils, and by all tradition, that to tax it with heresy would be an act of impiety. Now, all those whom you condemn as heretics declare that they find nothing in Jansenius, but this doctrine of efficacious grace. And this was the only point which they maintained at Rome. You have acknowledged this yourself when you declare that "when pleading before the pope, they did not say a single word about the propositions, but occupied the whole time in talking about efficacious grace." So that, whether they be right or wrong in this supposition, it is undeniable, at least, that what they suppose to be the sense is not heretical sense; and that, consequently, they are no heretics; for, to state the matter in two words, either Jansenius has merely taught the doctrine of efficacious grace, and in this case he has no errors; or he has taught some other thing, and in this case he has no defenders. The whole question turns on ascertaining whether Jansenius has actually maintained something different from efficacious grace; and, should it be found that he has, you will have the honour of having better understood him, but they will not have the misfortune of having erred from the faith. It is matter of thankfulness to God, then, father, that there is in reality no heresy in the Church. The question relates entirely to a point of fact, of which no heresy can be made; for the Church, with divine authority, decides the points of faith, and cuts off from her body all who refuse to receive them. But she does not act in the same manner in regard to matters of fact. And the reason is that our salvation is attached to the faith which has been revealed to us, and which is preserved in the Church by tradition, but that it has no dependence on facts which have not been revealed by God. Thus we are bound to believe that the commandments of God are not impracticable; but we are under no obligation to know what Jansenius has said upon that subject. In the determination of points of faith, God guides the Church by the aid of His unerring Spirit; whereas in matters of fact He leaves her to the direction of reason and the senses, which are the natural judges of such matters. None but God was able to instruct the Church in the faith; but to learn whether this or that proposition is contained in Jansenius, all we require to do is to read his book. And from hence it follows that, while it is heresy to resist the decisions of the faith, because this amounts to an opposing of our own spirit to the Spirit of God, it is no heresy, though it may be an act of presumption, to disbelieve certain particular facts, because this is no more than opposing reason- it may be enlightened reason- to an authority which is great indeed, but in this matter not infailible. What I have now advanced is admitted by all theologians, as appears from the following axiom of Cardinal Bellarmine, a member of your Society: "General and lawful councils are incapable of error in defining the dogmas of faith; but they may err in questions of fact." In another place he says: "The pope, as pope, and even as the head of a universal council, may err in particular controversies of fact, which depend principally on the information and testimony of men." Cardinal Baronius speaks in the same manner: "Implicit submission is due to the decisions of councils in points of faith; but, in so far as persons and their writings are concerned, the censures which have been pronounced against them have not been so rigourously observed, because there is none who may not chance to be deceived in such matters." I may add that, to prove this point, the Archbishop of Toulouse has deduced the following rule from the letters of two great popes- St. Leon and Pelagius II: "That the proper object of councils is the faith; and whatsoever is determined by them, independently of the faith, may be reviewed and examined anew: whereas nothing ought to be re-examined that has been decided in a matter of faith; because, as Tertullian observes, the rule of faith alone is immovable and irrevocable." Hence it has been seen that, while general and lawful councils have never contradicted one another in points of faith, because, as M. de Toulouse has said, "it is not allowable to examine de novo decisions in matters of faith"; several instances have occurred in which these same councils have disagreed in points of fact, where the discussion turned upon the sense of an author; because, as the same prelate observes, quoting the popes as his authorities, "everything determined in councils, not referring to the faith, may be reviewed and examined de novo." An example of this contrariety was furnished by the fourth and fifth councils, which differed in their interpretation of the same authors. The same thing happened in the case of two popes, about a proposition maintained by certain monks of Scythia. Pope Hormisdas, understanding it in a bad sense, had condemned it; but Pope John II, his successor, upon re-examining the doctrine understood it in a good sense, approved it, and pronounced it to be orthodox. Would you say that for this reason one of these popes was a heretic? And must you not consequently acknowledge that, provided a person condemn the heretical sense which a pope may have ascribed to a book, he is no heretic because he declines condemning that book, while he understands it in a sense which it is certain the pope has not condemned? If this cannot be admitted, one of these popes must have fallen into error. I have been anxious to familiarize you with these discrepancies among Catholics regarding questions of fact, which involve the understanding of the sense of a writer, showing you father against father, pope against pope, and council against council, to lead you from these to other examples of opposition, similar in their nature, but somewhat more disproportioned in respect of the parties concerned. For, in the instances I am now to adduce, you will see councils and popes ranged on one side, and Jesuits on the other; and yet you have never charged your brethren for this opposition even with presumption, much less with heresy. You are well aware, father, that the writings of Origen were condemned by a great many popes and councils, and particularly by the fifth general council, as chargeable with certain heresies, and, among others, that of the reconciliation of the devils at the day of judgement. Do you suppose that, after this, it became absolutely imperative, as a test of Catholicism, to confess that Origen actually maintained these errors, and that it is not enough to condemn them, without attributing them to him? If this were true, what would become of your worthy Father Halloix, who has asserted the purity of Origen's faith, as well as many other Catholics who have attempted the same thing, such as Pico Mirandola, and Genebrard, doctor of the Sorbonne? Is it not, moreover, a certain fact, that the same fifth general council condemned the writings of Theodoret against St. Cyril, describing them as impious, "contrary to the true faith, and tainted with the Nestorian heresy"? And yet this has not prevented Father Sirmond, a Jesuit, from defending him, or from saying, in his life of that father, that "his writings are entirely free from the heresy of Nestorius." It is evident, therefore, that as the Church, in condemning a book, assumes that the error which she condemns is contained in that book, it is a point of faith to hold that error as condemned; but it is not a point of faith to hold that the book, in fact, contains the error which the Church supposes it does. Enough has been said, I think, to prove this; I shall, therefore, conclude my examples by referring to that of Pope Honorius, the history of which is so well known. At the commencement of the seventh century, the Church being troubled by the heresy of the Monothelites, that pope, with the view of terminating the controversy, passed a decree which seemed favourable to these heretics, at which many took offence. The affair, nevertheless, passed over without making much disturbance during his pontificate; but fifty years after, the Church being assembled in the sixth general council, in which Pope Agathon presided by his legates, this decree was impeached, and, after being read and examined, was condemned as containing the heresy of the Monothelites, and under that character burnt, in open court, along with the other writings of these heretics. Such was the respect paid to this decision, and such the unanimity with which it was received throughout the whole Church, that it was afterwards ratified by two other general councils, and likewise by two popes, Leo II and Adrian II, the latter of whom lived two hundred years after it had passed; and this universal and harmonious agreement remained undisturbed for seven or eight centuries. Of late years, however, some authors, and among the rest Cardinal Bellarmine, without seeming to dread the imputation of heresy, have stoutly maintained, against all this array of popes and councils, that the writings of Honorius are free from the error which had been ascribed to them; "because," says the cardinal, "general councils being liable to err in questions of fact, we have the best grounds for asserting the sixth council was mistaken with regard to the fact now under consideration; and that, misconceiving the sense of the Letters of Honorius, it has placed this pope most unjustly in the rank of heretics." Observe, then, I pray you, father, that a man is not heretical for saying that Pope Honorius was not a heretic; even though a great many popes and councils, after examining his writings, should have declared that he was so. I now come to the question before us, and shall allow you to state your case as favourably as you can. What will you then say, father, in order to stamp your opponents as heretics? That "Pope Innocent X has declared that the error of the five propositions is to be found in Jansenius?" I grant you that; what inference do you draw from it? That "it is heretical to deny that the error of the five propositions is to be found in Jansenius?" How so, father? Have we not here a question of fact exactly similar to the preceding examples? The Pope has declared that the error of the five propositions is contained in Jansenius, in the same way as his predecessors decided that the errors of the Nestorians and the Monothelites polluted the pages of Theodoret and Honorius. In the latter case, your writers hesitate not to say that, while they condemn the heresies, they do not allow that these authors actually maintained them; and, in like manner, your opponents now say that they condemn the five propositions, but cannot admit that Jansenius has taught them. Truly, the two cases are as like as they could well be; and, if there be any disparity between them, it is easy to see how far it must go in favour of the present question, by a comparison of many particular circumstances, which as they are self-evident, I do not specify. How comes it to pass, then, that when placed in precisely the same predicament, your friends are Catholics and your opponents heretics? On what strange principle of exception do you deprive the latter of a liberty which you freely award to all the rest of the faithful? What answer will you make to this, father? Will you say, "The pope has confirmed his constitution by a brief." To this I would reply, that two general councils and two popes confirmed the condemnation of the letters of Honorius. But what argument do you found upon the language of that brief, in which all that the Pope says is that "he has condemned the doctrine of Jansenius in these five propositions"? What does that add to the constitution, or what more can you infer from it? Nothing, certainly, except that as the sixth council condemned the doctrine of Honorius, in the belief that it was the same with that of the Monothelites, so the Pope has said that he has condemned the doctrine of Jansenius in these five propositions, because he was led to suppose it was the same with that of the five propositions. And how could he do otherwise than suppose it? Your Society published nothing else; and you yourself, father, who have asserted that the said propositions were in that author "word for word," happened to be in Rome (for I know all your motions) at the time when the censure was passed. Was he to distrust the sincerity or the competence of so many grave ministers of religion? And how could he help being convinced of the fact, after the assurance which you had given him that the propositions were in that author "word for word"? It is evident, therefore, that in the event of its being found that Jansenius has not supported these doctrines, it would be wrong to say, as your writers have done in the cases before mentioned, that the Pope has deceived himself in this point of fact, which it is painful and offensive to publish at any time; the proper phrase is that you have deceived the Pope, which, as you are now pretty well known, will create no scandal. Determined, however, to have a heresy made out, let it cost what it may, you have attempted, by the following manoeuvre, to shift the question from the point of fact, and make it bear upon a point of faith. "The Pope," say you, "declares that he has condemned the doctrine of Jansenius in these five propositions; therefore it is essential to the faith to hold that the doctrine of Jansenius touching these five propositions is heretical, let it be what it may." Here is a strange point of faith, that a doctrine is heretical be what it may. What! if Jansenius should happen to maintain that "we are capable of resisting internal grace" and that "it is false to say that Jesus Christ died for the elect only," would this doctrine be condemned just because it is his doctrine? Will the proposition, that "man has a freedom of will to do good or evil," be true when found in the Pope's constitution, and false when discovered in Jansenius? By what fatality must he be reduced to such a predicament, that truth, when admitted into his book, becomes heresy? You must confess, then, that he is only heretical on the supposition that he is friendly to the errors condemned, seeing that the constitution of the Pope is the rule which we must apply to Jansenius, to judge if his character answer the description there given of him; and, accordingly, the question, "Is his doctrine heretical?" must be resolved by another question of fact, "Does it correspond to the natural sense of these propositions?" as it must necessarily be heretical if it does correspond to that sense, and must necessarily be orthodox if it be of an opposite character. For, in one word, since, according to the Pope and the bishops, "the propositions are condemned in their proper and natural sense," they cannot possibly be condemned in the sense of Jansenius, except on the understanding that the sense of Jansenius is the same with the proper and natural sense of these propositions; and this I maintain to be purely a question of fact. The question, then, still rests upon the point of fact, and cannot possibly be tortured into one affecting the faith. But though incapable of twisting it into a matter of heresy, you have it in your power to make it a pretext for persecution, and might, perhaps, succeed in this, were there not good reason to hope that nobody will be found so blindly devoted to your interests as to countenance such a disgraceful proceeding, or inclined to compel people, as you wish to do, to sign a declaration that they condemn these propositions in the sense of Jansenius, without explaining what the sense of Jansenius is. Few people are disposed to sign a blank confession of faith. Now this would really be to sign one of that description, leaving you to fill up the blank afterwards with whatsoever you pleased, as you would be at liberty to interpret according to your own taste the unexplained sense of Jansenius. Let it be explained, then, beforehand, otherwise we shall have, I fear, another version of your proximate power, without any sense at all- abstrahendo ab omni sensu. This mode of proceeding, you must be aware, does not take with the world. Men in general detest all ambiguity, especially in the matter of religion, where it is highly reasonable that one should know at least what one is asked to condemn. And how is it possible for doctors, who are persuaded that Jansenius can bear no other sense than that of efficacious grace, to consent to declare that they condemn his doctrine without explaining it, since, with their present convictions, which no means are used to alter, this would be neither more nor less than to condemn efficacious grace, which cannot be condemned without sin? Would it not, therefore, be a piece of monstrous tyranny to place them in such an unhappy dilemma that they must either bring guilt upon their souls in the sight of God, by signing that condemnation against their consciences, or be denounced as heretics for refusing to sign it? But there is a mystery under all this. You Jesuits cannot move a step without a stratagem. It remains for me to explain why you do not explain the sense of Jansenius. The sole purpose of my writing is to discover your designs, and, by discovering, to frustrate them. I must, therefore, inform those who are not already aware of the fact that your great concern in this dispute being to uphold the sufficient grace of your Molina, you could not effect this without destroying the efficacious grace which stands directly opposed to it. Perceiving, however, that the latter was now sanctioned at Rome and by all the learned in the Church, and unable to combat the doctrine on its own merits, you resolved to attack it in a clandestine way, under the name of the doctrine of Jansenius. You were resolved, accordingly, to get Jansenius condemned without explanation; and, to gain your purpose, gave out that his doctrine was not that of efficacious grace, so that every one might think he was at liberty to condemn the one without denying the other. Hence your efforts, in the present day, to impress this idea upon the minds of such as have no acquaintance with that author; an object which you yourself, father, have attempted, by means of the following ingenious syllogism: "The pope has condemned the doctrine of Jansenius; but the pope has not condemned efficacious grace: therefore, the doctrine of efficacious grace must be different from that of Jansenius." If this mode of reasoning were conclusive, it might be demonstrated in the same way that Honorius and all his defenders are heretics of the same kind. "The sixth council has condemned the doctrine of Honorius; but the council has not condemned the doctrine of the Church: therefore the doctrine of Honorius is different from that of the Church; and therefore, all who defend him are heretics." It is obvious that no conclusion can be drawn from this; for the Pope has done no more than condemn the doctrine of the five propositions, which was represented to him as the doctrine of Jansenius. But it matters not; you have no intention to make use of this logic for any length of time. Poor as it is, it will last sufficiently long to serve your present turn. All that you wish to effect by it, in the meantime, is to induce those who are unwilling to condemn efficacious grace to condemn Jansenius with less scruple. When this object has been accomplished, your argument will soon be forgotten, and their signatures, remaining as an eternal testimony in condemnation of Jansenius, will furnish you with an occasion to make a direct attack upon efficacious grace by another mode of reasoning much more solid than the former, which shall be forthcoming in proper time. "The doctrine of Jansenius," you will argue, "has been condemned by the universal subscriptions of the Church. Now this doctrine is manifestly that of efficacious grace" (and it will be easy for you to prove that); "therefore the doctrine of efficacious grace is condemned even by the confession of his defenders." Behold your reason for proposing to sign the condemnation of a doctrine without giving an explanation of it! Behold the advantage you expect to gain from subscriptions thus procured! Should your opponents, however, refuse to subscribe, you have another trap laid for them. Having dexterously combined the question of faith with that of fact, and not allowing them to separate between them, nor to sign the one without the other, the consequence will be that, because they could not subscribe the two together, you will publish it in all directions that they have refused the two together. And thus though, in point of fact, they simply decline acknowledging that Jansenius has maintained the propositions which they condemn, which cannot be called heresy, you will boldly assert that they have refused to condemn the propositions themselves, and that it is this that constitutes their heresy. Such is the fruit which you expect to reap from their refusal, and which will be no less useful to you than what you might have gained from their consent. So that, in the event of these signatures being exacted, they will fall into your snares, whether they sign or not, and in both cases you will gain your point; such is your dexterity in uniformly putting matters into a train for your own advantage, whatever bias they may happen to take in their course! How well I know you, father! and how grieved am I to see that God has abandoned you so far as to allow you such happy success in such an unhappy course! Your good fortune deserves commiseration, and can excite envy only in the breasts of those who know not what truly good fortune is. It is an act of charity to thwart the success you aim at in the whole of this proceeding, seeing that you can only reach it by the aid of falsehood, and by procuring credit to one of two lies either that the Church has condemned efficacious grace, or that those who defend that doctrine maintain the five condemned errors. The world must, therefore, be apprised of two facts: first, That by your own confession, efficacious grace has not been condemned; and secondly, That nobody supports these errors. So that it may be known that those who refuse to sign what you are so anxious to exact from them, refuse merely in consideration of the question of fact, and that, being quite ready to subscribe that of faith, they cannot be deemed heretical on that account; because, to repeat it once more, though it be matter of faith to believe these propositions to be heretical, it will never be matter of faith to hold that they are to be found in the pages of Jansenius. They are innocent of all error; that is enough. It may be that they interpret Jansenius too favourably; but it may be also that you do not interpret him favourably enough. I do not enter upon this question. All that I know is that, according to your maxims, you believe that you may, without sin, publish him to be a heretic contrary to your own knowledge; whereas, according to their maxims, they cannot, without sin, declare him to be a Catholic, unless they are persuaded that he is one. They are, therefore, more honest than you, father; they have examined Jansenius more faithfully than you; they are no less intelligent than you; they are, therefore, no less credible witnesses than you. But come what may of this point of fact, they are certainly Catholics; for, in order to be so, it is not necessary to declare that another man is not a Catholic; it is enough, in all conscience, if a person, without charging error upon anybody else, succeed in discharging himself. Reverend Father, if you have found any difficulty in deciphering this letter, which is certainly not printed in the best possible type, blame nobody but yourself. Privileges are not so easily granted to me as they are to you. You can procure them even for the purpose of combating miracles; I cannot have them even to defend myself. The printing-houses are perpetually haunted. In such circumstances, you yourself would not advise me to write you any more letters, for it is really a sad annoyance to be obliged to have recourse to an Osnabruck impression.


March 24, 1657 REVEREND FATHER, Long have you laboured to discover some error in the creed or conduct of your opponents; but I rather think you will have to confess, in the end, that it is a more difficult task than you imagined to make heretics of people who, are not only no heretics, but who hate nothing in the world so much as heresy. In my last letter I succeeded in showing that you accuse them of one heresy after another, without being able to stand by one of the charges for any length of time; so that all that remained for you was to fix on their refusal to condemn "the sense of Jansenius," which you insist on their doing without explanation. You must have been sadly in want of heresies to brand them with, when you were reduced to this. For who ever heard of a heresy which nobody could explain? The answer was ready, therefore, that if Jansenius has no errors, it is wrong to condemn him; and if he has, you were bound to point them out, that we might know at least what we were condemning. This, however, you have never yet been pleased to do; but you have attempted to fortify your position by decrees, which made nothing in your favour, as they gave no sort of explanation of the sense of Jansenius, said to have been condemned in the five propositions. This was not the way to terminate the dispute. Had you mutually agreed as to the genuine sense of Jansenius, and had the only difference between you been as to whether that sense was heretical or not, in that case the decisions which might pronounce it to be heretical would have touched the real question in dispute. But the great dispute being about the sense of Jansenius, the one party saying that they could see nothing in it inconsistent with the sense of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, and the other party asserting that they saw in it an heretical sense which they would not express. It is clear that a constitution which does not say a word about this difference of opinion, and which only condemns in general and without explanation the sense of Jansenius, leaves the point in dispute quite undecided. You have accordingly been repeatedly told that as your discussion turns on a matter of fact, you would never be able to bring it to a conclusion without declaring what you understand by the sense of Jansenius. But, as you continued obstinate in your refusal to make this explanation, I endeavored, as a last resource, to extort it from you, by hinting in my last letter that there was some mystery under the efforts you were making to procure the condemnation of this sense without explaining it, and that your design was to make this indefinite censure recoil some day or other upon the doctrine of efficacious grace, by showing, as you could easily do, that this was exactly the doctrine of Jansenius. This has reduced you to the necessity of making a reply; for, had you pertinaciously refused, after such an insinuation, to explain your views of that sense, it would have been apparent to persons of the smallest penetration that you condemned it in the sense of efficacious grace- a conclusion which, considering the veneration in which the Church holds holy doctrine, would have overwhelmed you with disgrace. You have, therefore, been forced to speak out your mind; and we find it expressed in your reply to that part of letter in which I remarked, that "if Jansenius was capable of any other sense than that of efficacious grace, he had no defenders; but if his writings bore no other sense, he had no errors to defend." You found it impossible to deny this position, father; but you have attempted to parry it by the following distinction: "It is not sufficient," say you, "for the vindication of Jansenius, to allege that he merely holds the doctrine of efficacious grace, for that may be held in two ways- the one heretical, according to Calvin, which consists in maintaining that the will, when under the influence of grace, has not the power of resisting it; the other orthodox, according to the Thomists and the Sorbonists, which is founded on the principles established by the councils, and which is, that efficacious grace of itself governs the will in such a way that it still has the power of resisting it." All this we grant, father; but you conclude by adding: "Jansenius would be orthodox, if he defended efficacious grace in the sense of the Thomists; but he is heretical, because he opposes the Thomists, and joins issue with Calvin, who denies the power of resisting grace." I do not here enter upon the question of fact, whether Jansenius really agrees with Calvin. It is enough for my purpose that you assert that he does, and that you now inform me that by the sense of Jansenius you have all along understood nothing more than the sense of Calvin. Was this all you meant, then, father? Was it only the error of Calvin that you were so anxious to get condemned, under the name of "the sense of Jansenius?" Why did you not tell us this sooner? You might have saved yourself a world of trouble; for we were all ready, without the aid of bulls or briefs, to join with you in condemning that error. What urgent necessity there was for such an explanation! What a host of difficulties has it removed! We were quite at a loss, my dear father, to know what error the popes and bishops meant to condemn, under the name of "the sense of Jansenius." The whole Church was in the utmost perplexity about it, and not a soul would relieve us by an explanation. This, however, has now been done by you, father- you, whom the whole of your party regard as the chief and prime mover of all their councils, and who are acquainted with the whole secret of this proceeding. You, then, have told us that the sense of Jansenius is neither more nor less than the sense of Calvin, which has been condemned by the council. Why, this explains everything. We know now that the error which they intended to condemn, under these terms- the sense of Jansenius- is neither more nor less than the sense of Calvin; and that, consequently, we, by joining with them in the condemnation of Calvin's doctrine, have yielded all due obedience to these decrees. We are no longer surprised at the zeal which the popes and some bishops manifested against "the sense of Jansenius." How, indeed, could they be otherwise than zealous against it, believing, as they did, the declarations of those who publicly affirmed that it was identically the same with that of Calvin? I must maintain, then, father, that you have no further reason to quarrel with your adversaries; for they detest that doctrine as heartily as you do. I am only astonished to see that you are ignorant of this fact, and that you have such an imperfect acquaintance with their sentiments on this point, which they have so repeatedly expressed in their published works. I flatter myself that, were you more intimate with these writings, you would deeply regret your not having made yourself acquainted sooner, in the spirit of peace, with a doctrine which is in every respect so holy and so Christian, but which passion, in the absence of knowledge, now prompts you to oppose. You would find, father, that they not only hold that an effective resistance may be made to those feebler graces which go under the name of exciting or inefficacious, from their not terminating in the good with which they inspire us; but that they are, moreover, as firm in maintaining, in opposition to Calvin, the power which the will has to resist even efficacious and victorious grace, as they are in contending against Molina for the power of this grace over the will, and fully as jealous for the one of these truths as they are for the other. They know too well that man, of his own nature, has always the power of sinning and of resisting grace; and that, since he became corrupt, he unhappily carries in his breast a fount of concupiscence which infinitely augments that power; but that, notwithstanding this, when it pleases God to visit him with His mercy, He makes the soul do what He wills, and in the manner He wills it to be done, while, at the same time, the infallibility of the divine operation does not in any way destroy the natural liberty of man, in consequence of the secret and wonderful ways by which God operates this change. This has been most admirably explained by St. Augustine, in such a way as to dissipate all those imaginary inconsistencies which the opponents of efficacious grace suppose to exist between the sovereign power of grace over the free-will and the power which the free-will has to resist grace. For, according to this great saint, whom the popes and the Church have held to be a standard authority on this subject, God transforms the heart of man, by shedding abroad in it a heavenly sweetness, which surmounting the delights of the flesh, and inducing him to feel, on the one hand, his own mortality and nothingness, and to discover, on the other hand, the majesty and eternity of God, makes him conceive a distaste for the pleasures of sin which interpose between him and incorruptible happiness. Finding his chiefest joy in the God who charms him, his soul is drawn towards Him infallibly, but of its own accord, by a motion perfectly free, spontaneous, love-impelled; so that it would be its torment and punishment to be separated from Him. Not but that the person has always the power of forsaking his God, and that he may not actually forsake Him, provided he choose to do it. But how could he choose such a course, seeing that the will always inclines to that which is most agreeable to it, and that, in the case we now suppose, nothing can be more agreeable than the possession of that one good, which comprises in itself all other good things? "Quod enim (says St. Augustine) amplius nos delectat, secundum operemur necesse est- Our actions are necessarily determined by that which affords us the greatest pleasure." Such is the manner in which God regulates the free will of man without encroaching on its freedom, and in which the free will, which always may, but never will, resist His grace, turns to God with a movement as voluntary as it is irresistible, whensoever He is pleased to draw it to Himself by the sweet constraint of His efficacious inspirations. These, father, are the divine principles of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, according to which it is equally true that we have the power of resisting grace, contrary to Calvin's opinion, and that, nevertheless, to employ the language of Pope Clement VIII in his paper addressed to the Congregation de Auxiliis, "God forms within us the motion of our will, and effectually disposes of our hearts, by virtue of that empire which His supreme majesty has over the volitions of men, as well as over the other creatures under heaven, according to St. Augustine." On the same principle, it follows that we act of ourselves, and thus, in opposition to another error of Calvin, that we have merits which are truly and properly ours; and yet, as God is the first principle of our actions, and as, in the language of St. Paul, He "worketh in us that which is pleasing in his sight"; "our merits are the gifts of God," as the Council of Trent says. By means of this distinction we demolish the profane sentiment of Luther, condemned by that Council, namely, that "we co-operate in no way whatever towards our salvation any more than inanimate things"; and, by the same mode of reasoning, we overthrow the equally profane sentiment of the school of Molina, who will not allow that it is by the strength of divine grace that we are enabled to cooperate with it in the work of our salvation, and who thereby comes into hostile collision with that principle of faith established by St. Paul: "That it is God who worketh in us both to will and to do." In fine, in this way we reconcile all those passages of Scripture which seem quite inconsistent with each other such as the following: "Turn ye unto God"- "Turn thou us, and we shall be turned"- "Cast away iniquity from you"- "It is God who taketh away iniquity from His people"- "Bring forth works meet for repentance"- "Lord, thou hast wrought all our works in us"- "Make ye a new heart and a new spirit"- "A new spirit will I give you, and a new heart will I create within you," &c. The only way of reconciling these apparent contrarieties, which ascribe our good actions at one time to God and at another time to ourselves, is to keep in view the distinction, as stated by St. Augustine, that "our actions are ours in respect of the free will which produces them; but that they are also of God, in respect of His grace which enables our free will to produce them"; and that, as the same writer elsewhere remarks, "God enables us to do what is pleasing in his sight, by making us will to do even what we might have been unwilling to do." It thus appears, father, that your opponents are perfectly at one with the modern Thomists, for the Thomists hold with them both the power of resisting grace, and the infallibility of the effect of grace; of which latter doctrine they profess themselves the most strenuous advocates, if we may judge from a common maxim of their theology, which Alvarez, one of the leading men among them, repeats so often in his book, and expresses in the following terms (disp. 72, n. 4): "When efficacious grace moves the free will, it infallibly consents; because the effect of grace is such, that, although the will has the power of withholding its consent, it nevertheless consents in effect." He corroborates this by a quotation from his master, St. Thomas: "The will of God cannot fail to be accomplished; and, accordingly, when it is his pleasure that a man should consent to the influence of grace, he consents infallibly, and even necessarily, not by an absolute necessity, but by a necessity of infallibility." In effecting this, divine grace does not trench upon "the power which man has to resist it, if he wishes to do so"; it merely prevents him from wishing to resist it. This has been acknowledged by your Father Petau, in the following passage (Book i, p.602):. "The grace of Jesus Christ insures infallible perseverance in piety, though not by necessity; for a person may refuse to yield his consent to grace, if he be so inclined, as the council states; but that same grace provides that he shall never be so inclined." This, father, is the uniform doctrine of St. Augustine, of St. Prosper, of the fathers who followed them, of the councils, of St. Thomas, and of all the Thomists in general. It is likewise, whatever you may think of it, the doctrine of your opponents. And, let me add, it is the doctrine which you yourself have lately sealed with your approbation. I shall quote your own words: "The doctrine of efficacious grace, which admits that we have a power of resisting it, is orthodox, founded on the councils, and supported by the Thomists and Sorbonists." Now, tell us the plain truth, father; if you had known that your opponents really held this doctrine, the interests of your Society might perhaps have made you scruple before pronouncing this public approval of it; but, acting on the supposition that they were hostile to the doctrine, the same powerful motive has induced you to authorize sentiments which you know in your heart to be contrary to those of your Society; and by this blunder, in your anxiety to ruin their principles, you have yourself completely confirmed them. So that, by a kind of prodigy, we now behold the advocates of efficacious grace vindicated by the advocates of Molina- an admirable instance of the wisdom of God in making all things concur to advance the glory of the truth. Let the whole world observe, then, that, by your own admission, the truth of this efficacious grace, which is so essential to all the acts of piety, which is so dear to the Church, and which is the purchase of her Saviour's blood, is so indisputably Catholic that there is not a single Catholic, not even among the Jesuits, who would not acknowledge its orthodoxy. And let it be noticed, at the same time, that, according to your own confession, not the slightest suspicion of error can fall on those whom you have so often stigmatized with it. For so long as you charged them with clandestine heresies, without choosing to specify them by name, it was as difficult for them to defend themselves as it was easy for you to bring such accusations. But now, when you have come to declare that the error which constrains you to oppose them, is the heresy of Calvin which you supposed them to hold, it must be apparent to every one that they are innocent of all error; for so decidedly hostile are they to this, the only error you charge upon them, that they protest, by their discourses, by their books, by every mode, in short, in which they can testify their sentiments, that they condemn that heresy with their whole heart, and in the same manner as it has been condemned by the Thomists, whom you acknowledge, without scruple, to be Catholics, and who have never been suspected to be anything else. What will you say against them now, father? Will you say that they are heretics still, because, although they do not adopt the sense of Calvin, they will not allow that the sense of Jansenius is the same with that of Calvin? Will you presume to say that this is matter of heresy? Is it not a pure question of fact, with which heresy has nothing to do? It would be heretical to say that we have not the power, of resisting efficacious grace; but would it be so to doubt that Jansenius held that doctrine? Is this a revealed truth? Is it an article of faith which must be believed, on pain of damnation? Or is it not, in spite of you, a point of fact, on account of which it would be ridiculous to hold that there were heretics in the Church? Drop this epithet, then, father, and give them some other name, more suited to the nature of your dispute. Tell them, they are ignorant and stupid- that they misunderstand Jansenius. These would be charges in keeping with your controversy; but it is quite irrelevant to call them heretics. As this, however, is the only charge from which I am anxious to defend them, I shall not give myself much trouble to show that they rightly understand Jansenius. All I shall say on the point, father, is that it appears to me that, were he to be judged according to your own rules, it would be difficult to prove him not to be a good Catholic. We shall try him by the test you have proposed. "To know," say you, "whether Jansenius is sound or not, we must inquire whether he defends efficacious grace in the manner of Calvin, who denies that man has the power of resisting it- in which case he would be heretical; or in the manner of the Thomists, who admit that it may be resisted- for then he would be Catholic." judge, then, father, whether he holds that grace may be resisted when he says: "That we have always a power to resist grace, according to the council; that free will may always act or not act, will or not will, consent or not consent, do good or do evil; and that man, in this life, has always these two liberties, which may be called by some contradictions." Judge. likewise, if he be not opposed to the error of Calvin, as you have described it, when he occupies a whole chapter (21st) in showing "that the Church has condemned that heretic who denies that efficacious grace acts on the free will in the manner which has been so long believed in the Church, so as to leave it in the power of free will to consent or not to consent; whereas, according to St. Augustine and the council, we have always the power of withholding our consent if we choose; and according to St. Prosper, God bestows even upon his elect the will to persevere, in such a way as not to deprive them of the power to will the contrary." And, in one word, judge if he does not agree with the Thomists, from the following declaration in chapter 4th: "That all that the Thomists have written with the view of reconciling the efficaciousness of grace with the power of resisting it, so entirely coincides with his judgement that to ascertain his sentiments on this subject we have only to consult their writings." Such being the language he holds on these heads my opinion is that he believes in the power of resisting grace; that he differs from Calvin and agrees with the Thomists, because he has said so; and that he is, therefore, according to your own showing, a Catholic. If you have any means of knowing the sense of an author otherwise than by his expressions; and if, without quoting any of his passages, you are disposed to maintain, in direct opposition to his own words, that he denies this power of resistance, and that he is for Calvin and against the Thomists, do not be afraid, father, that I will accuse you of heresy for that. I shall only say that you do not seem properly to understand Jansenius; but we shall not be the less on that account children of the same Church. How comes it, then, father, that you manage this dispute in such a passionate spirit, and that you treat as your most cruel enemies, and as the most pestilent of heretics, a class of persons whom you cannot accuse of any error, nor of anything whatever, except that they do not understand Jansenius as you do? For what else in the world do you dispute about, except the sense of that author? You would have them to condemn it. They ask what you mean them to condemn. You reply that you mean the error of Calvin. They rejoin that they condemn that error; and with this acknowledgement (unless it is syllables you wish to condemn, and not the thing which they signify), you ought to rest satisfied. If they refuse to say that they condemn the sense of Jansenius, it is because they believe it to be that of St. Thomas, and thus this unhappy phrase has a very equivocal meaning betwixt you. In your mouth it signifies the sense of Calvin; in theirs the sense of St. Thomas. Your dissensions arise entirely from the different ideas which you attach to the same term. Were I made umpire in the quarrel, I would interdict the use of the word Jansenius, on both sides; and thus, by obliging you merely to express what you understand by it, it would be seen that you ask nothing more than the condemnation of Calvin, to which they willingly agree; and that they ask nothing more than the vindication of the sense of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, in which you again perfectly coincide. I declare, then, father, that for my part I shall continue to regard them as good Catholics, whether they condemn Jansenius, on finding him erroneous, or refuse to condemn him, from finding that he maintains nothing more than what you yourself acknowledge to be orthodox; and that I shall say to them what St. Jerome said to John, bishop of Jerusalem, who was accused of holding the eight propositions of Origen: "Either condemn Origen, if you acknowledge that he has maintained these errors, or else deny that he has maintained them- Aut nega hoc dixisse eum qui arguitur; aut si locutus est talia, eum damna qui dixerit." See, father, how these persons acted, whose sole concern was with principles, and not with persons; whereas you who aim at persons more than principles, consider it a matter of no consequence to condemn errors, unless you procure the condemnation of the individuals to whom you choose to impute them. How ridiculously violent your conduct is, father! and how ill calculated to insure success! I told you before, and I repeat it, violence and verity can make no impression on each other. Never were your accusations more outrageous, and never was the innocence of your opponents more discernible: never has efficacious grace been attacked with greater subtility, and never has it been more triumphantly established. You have made the most desperate efforts to convince people that your disputes involved points of faith; and never was it more apparent that the whole controversy turned upon a mere point of fact. In fine, you have moved heaven and earth to make it appear that this point of fact is founded on truth; and never were people more disposed to call it in question. And the obvious reason of this is that you do not take the natural course to make them believe a point of fact, which is to convince their senses and point out to them in a book the words which you allege are to be found in it. The means you have adopted are so far removed from this straightforward course that the most obtuse minds are unavoidably struck by observing it. Why did you not take the plan which I followed in bringing to light the wicked maxims of your authors- which was to cite faithfully the passages of their writings from which they were extracted? This was the mode followed by the cures of Paris, and it never fails to produce conviction. But, when you were charged by them with holding, for example, the proposition of Father Lamy, that a "monk may kill a person who threatens to publish calumnies against himself or his order, when he cannot otherwise prevent the publication," what would you have thought, and what would the public have said, if they had not quoted the place where that sentiment is literally to be found? or if, after having been repeatedly demanded to quote their authority, they still obstinately refused to do it? or if, instead of acceding to this, they had gone off to Rome and procured a bull, ordaining all men to acknowledge the truth of their statement? Would it not be undoubtedly concluded that they had surprised the Pope, and that they would never have had recourse to this extraordinary method, but for want of the natural means of substantiating the truth, which matters of fact furnish to all who undertake to prove them? Accordingly, they had no more to do than to tell us that Father Lamy teaches this doctrine in Book 5, disp.36, n.118, page 544. of the Douay edition; and by this means everybody who wished to see it found it out, and nobody could doubt about it any longer. This appears to be a very easy and prompt way of putting an end to controversies of fact, when one has got the right side of the question. How comes it, then, father, that you do not follow this plan? You said, in your book, that the five propositions are in Jansenius, word for word, in the identical terms- iisdem verbis. You were told they were not. What had you to do after this, but either to cite the page, if you had really found the words, or to acknowledge that you were mistaken. But you have done neither the one nor the other. In place of this, on finding that all the passages from Jansenius, which you sometimes adduce for the purpose of hoodwinking the people, are not "the condemned propositions in their individual identity," as you had engaged to show us, you present us with Constitutions from Rome, which, without specifying any particular place, declare that the propositions have been extracted from his book. I am sensible, father, of the respect which Christians owe to the Holy See, and your antagonists give sufficient evidence of their resolution ever to abide by its decisions. Do not imagine that it implied any deficiency in this due deference on their part that they represented to the pope, with all the submission which children owe to their father, and members to their head, that it was possible he might be deceived on this point of fact- that he had not caused it to be investigated during his pontificate; and that his predecessor, Innocent X, had merely examined into the heretical character of the propositions, and not into the fact of their connection with Jansenius. This they stated to the commissary of the Holy Office, one of the principal examiners, stating that they could not be censured according to the sense of any author, because they had been presented for examination on their own merits; and without considering to what author they might belong: further, that upwards of sixty doctors, and a vast number of other persons of learning and piety, had read that book carefully over, without ever having encountered the proscribed propositions, and that they have found some of a quite opposite description: that those who had produced that impression on the mind of the Pope might be reasonably presumed to have abused the confidence he reposed in them, inasmuch as they had an interest in decrying that author, who has convicted Molina of upwards of fifty errors: that what renders this supposition still more probable is that they have a certain maxim among them, one of the best authenticated in their whole system of theology, which is, "that they may, without criminality, calumniate those by whom they conceive themselves to be unjustly attacked"; and that, accordingly, their testimony being so suspicious, and the testimony of the other party so respectable, they had some ground for supplicating his holiness, with the most profound humility, that he would ordain an investigation to be made into this fact, in the presence of doctors belonging to both parties, in order that a solemn and regular decision might be formed on the point in dispute. "Let there be a convocation of able judges (says St. Basil on a similar occasion, Epistle 75); let each of them be left at perfect freedom; let them examine my writings; let them judge if they contain errors against the faith; let them read the objections and the replies; that so a judgement may be given in due form and with proper knowledge of the case, and not a defamatory libel without examination." It is quite vain for you, father, to represent those who would act in the manner I have now supposed as deficient in proper subjection to the Holy See. The popes are very far from being disposed to treat Christians with that imperiousness which some would fain exercise under their name. "The Church," says Pope St. Gregory, "which has been trained in the school of humility, does not command with authority, but persuades by reason, her children whom she believes to be in error, to obey what she has taught them." And so far from deeming it a disgrace to review a judgement into which they may have been surprised, we have the testimony of St. Bernard for saying that they glory in acknowledging the mistake. "The Apostolic See (he says, Epistle 180) can boast of this recommendation, that it never stands on the point of honour, but willingly revokes a decision that has been gained from it by surprise; indeed, it is highly just to prevent any from profiting by an act of injustice, and more especially before the Holy See." Such, father, are the proper sentiments with which the popes ought to be inspired; for all divines are agreed that they may be surprised, and that their supreme character, so far from warranting them against mistakes, exposes them the more readily to fall into them, on account of the vast number of cares which claim their attention. This is what the same St. Gregory says to some persons who were astonished at the circumstance of another pope having suffered himself to be deluded: "Why do you wonder," says he, "that we should be deceived, we who are but men? Have you not read that David, a king who had the spirit of prophecy, was induced, by giving credit to the falsehoods of Ziba, to pronounce an unjust judgement against the son of Jonathan? Who will think it strange, then, that we, who are not prophets, should sometimes be imposed upon by deceivers? A multiplicity of affairs presses on us, and our minds, which, by being obliged to attend to so many things at once, apply themselves less closely to each in particular, are the more easily liable to be imposed upon in individual cases." Truly, father, I should suppose that the popes know better than you whether they may be deceived or not. They themselves tell us that popes, as well as the greatest princes, are more exposed to deception than individuals who are less occupied with important avocations. This must be believed on their testimony. And it is easy to imagine by what means they come to be thus overreached. St. Bernard, in the letter which he wrote to Innocent II, gives us the following description of the process: "It is no wonder, and no novelty, that the human mind may be deceived, and is deceived. You are surrounded by monks who come to you in the spirit of lying and deceit. They have filled your ears with stories against a bishop, whose life has been most exemplary, but who is the object of their hatred. These persons bite like dogs, and strive to make good appear evil. Meanwhile, most holy father, you put yourself into a rage against your own son. Why have you afforded matter of joy to his enemies? Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God. I trust that, when you have ascertained the truth, all this delusion, which rests on a false report, will be dissipated. I pray the spirit of truth to grant you the grace to separate light from darkness, and to favour the good by rejecting the evil." You see, then, father, that the eminent rank of the popes does not exempt them from the influence of delusion; and I may now add, that it only serves to render their mistakes more dangerous and important than those of other men. This is the light in which St. Bernard represents them to Pope Eugenius: "There is another fault, so common among the great of this world that I never met one of them who was free from it; and that is, holy father, an excessive credulity, the source of numerous disorders. From this proceed violent persecutions against the innocent, unfounded prejudices against the absent, and tremendous storms about nothing (pro nihilo). This, holy father, is a universal evil, from the influence of which, if you are exempt, I shall only say you are the only individual among all your compeers who can boast of that privilege." I imagine, father, that the proofs I have brought are beginning to convince you that the popes are liable to be surprised. But, to complete your conversion, I shall merely remind you of some examples, which you yourself have quoted in your book, of popes and emperors whom heretics have actually deceived. You will remember, then, that you have told us that Apollinarius surprised Pope Damasius, in the same way that Celestius surprised Zozimus. You inform us, besides, that one called Athanasius deceived the Emperor Heraclius, and prevailed on him to persecute the Catholics. And lastly, that Sergius obtained from Honorius that infamous decretal which was burned at the sixth council, "by playing the busybody," as you say, "about the person of that pope." It appears, then, father, by your own confession, that those who act this part about the persons of kings and popes do sometimes artfully entice them to persecute the faithful defenders of the truth, under the persuasion that they are persecuting heretics. And hence the popes, who hold nothing in greater horror than these surprisals, have, by a letter of Alexander III, enacted an ecclesiastical statute, which is inserted in the canonical law, to permit the suspension of the execution of their bulls and decretals, when there is ground to suspect that they have been imposed upon. "If," says that pope to the Archbishop of Ravenna, "we sometimes send decretals to your fraternity which are opposed to your sentiments, give yourselves no distress on that account. We shall expect you eitherto carry them respectfully into execution, or to send us the reason why you conceive they ought not to be executed; for we deem it right that you should not execute a decree which may have been procured from us by artifice and surprise." Such has been the course pursued by the popes, whose sole object is to settle the disputes of Christians, and not to follow the passionate counsels of those who strive to involve them in trouble and perplexity. Following the advice of St. Peter and St. Paul, who in this followed the commandment of Jesus Christ, they avoid domination. The spirit which appears in their whole conduct is that of peace and truth. In this spirit they ordinarily insert in their letters this clause, which is tacitly understood in them all: "Si ita est; si preces veritate nitantur- If it be so as we have heard it; if the facts be true." It is quite clear, if the popes themselves give no force to their bulls, except in so far as they are founded on genuine facts, that it is not the bulls alone that prove the truth of the facts, but that, on the contrary, even according to the canonists, it is the truth of the facts which renders the bulls lawfully admissible. In what way, then, are we to learn the truth of facts? It must be by the eyes, father, which are the legitimate judges of such matters, as reason is the proper judge of things natural and intelligible, and faith of things supernatural and revealed. For, since you will force me into this discussion, you must allow me to tell you that, according to the sentiments of the two greatest doctors of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Thomas, these three principles of our knowledge, the senses, reason, and faith, have each their separate objects and their own degrees of certainty. And as God has been pleased to employ the intervention of the senses to give entrance to faith (for "faith cometh by hearing"), it follows, that so far from faith destroying the certainty of the senses, to call in question the faithful report of the senses would lead to the destruction of faith. It is on this principle that St. Thomas explicitly states that God has been pleased that the sensible accidents should subsist in the eucharist, in order that the senses, which judge only of these accidents, might not be deceived. We conclude, therefore, from this, that whatever the proposition may be that is submitted to our examination, we must first determine its nature, to ascertain to which of those three principles it ought to be referred. If it relate to a supernatural truth, we must judge of it neither by the senses nor by reason, but by Scripture and the decisions of the Church. Should it concern an unrevealed truth and something within the reach of natural reason, reason must be its proper judge. And if it embrace a point of fact, we must yield to the testimony of the senses, to which it naturally belongs to take cognizance of such matters. So general is this rule that, according to St. Augustine and St. Thomas, when we meet with a passage even in the Scripture, the literal meaning of which, at first sight, appears contrary to what the senses or reason are certainly persuaded of, we must not attempt to reject their testimony in this case, and yield them up to the authority of that apparent sense of the Scripture, but we must interpret the Scripture, and seek out therein another sense agreeable to that sensible truth; because, the Word of God being infallible in the facts which it records, and the information of the senses and of reason, acting in their sphere, being certain also, it follows that there must be an agreement between these two sources of knowledge. And as Scripture may be interpreted in different ways, whereas the testimony of the senses is uniform, we must in these matters adopt as the true interpretation of Scripture that view which corresponds with the faithful report of the senses. "Two things," says St. Thomas, "must be observed, according to the doctrine of St. Augustine: first, That Scripture has always one true sense; and secondly, That as it may receive various senses, when we have discovered one which reason plainly teaches to be false, we must not persist in maintaining that this is the natural sense, but search out another with which reason will agree. St. Thomas explains his meaning by the example of a passage in Genesis where it is written that "God created two great lights, the sun and the moon, and also the stars," in which the Scriptures appear to say that the moon is greater than all the stars; but as it is evident, from unquestionable demonstration, that this is false, it is not our duty, says that saint, obstinately to defend the literal sense of that passage; another meaning must be sought, consistent with the truth of the fact, such as the following, "That the phrase great light, as applied to the moon, denotes the greatness of that luminary merely as it appears in our eyes, and not the magnitude of its body considered in itself." An opposite mode of treatment, so far from procuring respect to the Scripture, would only expose it to the contempt of infidels; because, as St. Augustine says, "when they found that we believed, on the authority of Scripture, in things which they assuredly knew to be false, they would laugh at our credulity with regard to its more recondite truths, such as the resurrection of the dead and eternal life." "And by this means," adds St. Thomas, "we should render our religion contemptible in their eyes, and shut up its entrance into their minds. And let me add, father, that it would in the same manner be the likeliest means to shut up the entrance of Scripture into the minds of heretics, and to render the pope's authority contemptible in their eyes, to refuse all those the name of Catholics who would not believe that certain words were in a certain book, where they are not to be found, merely because a pope by mistake has declared that they are. It is only by examining a book that we can ascertain what words it contains. Matters of fact can only be proved by the senses. If the position which you maintain be true, show it, or else ask no man to believe it- that would be to no purpose. Not all the powers on earth can, by the force of authority, persuade us of a point of fact, any more than they can alter it; for nothing can make that to be not which really is. It was to no purpose, for example, that the monks of Ratisbon procured from Pope St. Leo IX a solemn decree, by which he declared that the body of St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris, who is generally held to have been the Areopagite, had been transported out of France and conveyed into the chapel of their monastery. It is not the less true, for all this, that the body of that saint always lay, and lies to this hour, in the celebrated abbey which bears his name, and within the walls of which you would find it no easy matter to obtain a cordial reception to this bull, although the pope has therein assured us that he has examined the affair "with all possible diligence (diligentissime), and with the advice of many bishops and prelates; so that he strictly enjoins all the French (districte praecipientes) to own and confess that these holy relics are no longer in their country." The French, however, who knew that fact to be untrue, by the evidence of their own eyes, and who, upon opening the shrine, found all those relics entire, as the historians of that period inform us, believed then, as they have always believed since, the reverse of what that holy pope had enjoined them to believe, well knowing that even saints and prophets are liable to be imposed upon. It was to equally little purpose that you obtained against Galileo a decree from Rome condemning his opinion respecting the motion of the earth. It will never be proved by such an argument as this that the earth remains stationary; and if it can be demonstrated by sure observation that it is the earth and not the sun that revolves, the efforts and arguments of all mankind put together will not hinder our planet from revolving, nor hinder themselves from revolving along with her. Again, you must not imagine that the letters of Pope Zachary, excommunicating St. Virgilius for maintaining the existence of the antipodes, have annihilated the New World; nor must you suppose that, although he declared that opinion to be a most dangerous heresy, the King of Spain was wrong in giving more credence to Christopher Columbus, who came from the place, than to the judgement of the pope, who had never been there, or that the Church has not derived a vast benefit from the discovery, inasmuch as it has brought the knowledge of the Gospel to a great multitude of souls who might otherwise have perished in their infidelity. You see, then, father, what is the nature of matters of fact, and on what principles they are to be determined; from all which, to recur to our subject, it is easy to conclude that, if the five propositions are not in Jansenius, it is impossible that they can have been extracted from him; and that the only way to form a judgement on the matter, and to produce universal conviction, is to examine that book in a regular conference, as you have been desired to do long ago. Until that be done, you have no right to charge your opponents with contumacy; for they are as blameless in regard to the point of fact as they are of errors in point of faith- Catholics in doctrine, reasonable in fact, and innocent in both. Who can help feeling astonishment, then, father, to see on the one side a vindication so complete, and on the other accusations so outrageous! Who would suppose that the only question between you relates to a single fact of no importance, which the one party wishes the other to believe without showing it to them! And who would ever imagine that such a noise should have been made in the Church for nothing (pro nihilo), as good St. Bernard says! But this is just one of the principal tricks of your policy, to make people believe that everything is at stake, when, in reality, there is nothing at stake; and to represent to those influential persons who listen to you that the most pernicious errors of Calvin, and the most vital principles of the faith, are involved in your disputes, with the view of inducing them, under this conviction, to employ all their zeal and all their authority against your opponents, as if the safety of the Catholic religion depended upon it; Whereas, if they came to know that the whole dispute was about this paltry point of fact, they would give themselves no concern about it, but would, on the contrary, regret extremely that, to gratify your private passions, they had made such exertions in an affair of no consequence to the Church. For, in fine, to take the worst view of the matter, even though it should be true that Jansenius maintained these propositions, what great misfortune would accrue from some persons doubting of the fact, provided they detested the propositions, as they have publicly declared that they do? Is it not enough that they are condemned by everybody, without exception, and that, too, in the sense in which you have explained that you wish them to be condemned? Would they be more severely censured by saying that Jansenius maintained them? What purpose, then, would be served by exacting this acknowledgment, except that of disgracing a doctor and bishop, who died in the communion of the Church? I cannot see how that should be accounted so great a blessing as to deserve to be purchased at the expense of so many disturbances. What interest has the state, or the pope, or bishops, or doctors, or the Church at large, in this conclusion? It does not affect them in any way whatever, father; it can affect none but your Society, which would certainly enjoy some pleasure from the defamation of an author who has done you some little injury. Meanwhile everything is in confusion, because you have made people believe that everything is in danger. This is the secret spring giving impulse to all those mighty commotions, which would cease immediately were the real state of the controversy once known. And therefore, as the peace of the Church depended on this explanation, it was, I conceive, of the utmost importance that it should be given that, by exposing all your disguises, it might be manifest to the whole world that your accusations were without foundation, your opponents without error, and the Church without heresy. Such, father, is the end which it has been my desire to accomplish; an end which appears to me, in every point of view, so deeply important to religion that I am at a loss to conceive how those to whom you furnish so much occasion for speaking can contrive to remain in silence. Granting that they are not affected with the personal wrongs which you have committed against them, those which the Church suffers ought, in my opinion, to have forced them to complain. Besides, I am not altogether sure if ecclesiastics ought to make a sacrifice of their reputation to calumny, especially in the matter of religion. They allow, you, nevertheless, to say whatever you please; so that, had it not been for the opportunity which, by mere accident, you afforded me of taking their part, the scandalous impressions which you are circulating against them in all quarters would, in all probability, have gone forth without contradiction. Their patience, I confess, astonishes me; and the more so that I cannot suspect it of proceeding either from timidity or from incapacity, being well assured that they want neither arguments for their own vindication, nor zeal for the truth. And yet I see them religiously bent on silence, to a degree which appears to me altogether unjustifiable. For my part, father, I do not believe that I can possibly follow their example. Leave the Church in peace, and I shall leave you as you are, with all my heart; but so long as you make it your sole business to keep her in confusion, doubt not but that there shall always be found within her bosom children of peace who will consider themselves bound to employ all their endeavours to preserve her tranquillity.


REVEREND SIR, If I have caused you some dissatisfaction, in former Letters, by my endeavours to establish the innocence of those whom you were labouring to asperse, I shall afford you pleasure in the present by making you acquainted with the sufferings which you have inflicted upon them. Be comforted, my good father, the objects of your enmity are in distress! And if the Reverend the Bishops should be induced to carry out, in their respective dioceses, the advice you have given them, to cause to be subscribed and sworn a certain matter of fact, which is, in itself, not credible, and which it cannot be obligatory upon any one to believe- you will indeed succeed in plunging your opponents to the depth of sorrow, at witnessing the Church brought into so abject a condition. Yes, sir, I have seen them; and it was with a satisfaction inexpressible! I have seen these holy men; and this was the attitude in which they were found. They were not wrapt up in a philosophic magnanimity; they did not affect to exhibit that indiscriminate firmness which urges implicit obedience to every momentary impulsive duty; nor yet were they in a frame of weakness and timidity, which would prevent them from either discerning the truth, or following it when discerned. But I found them with minds pious, composed, and unshaken; impressed with a meek deference for ecclesiastical authority; with tenderness of spirit, zeal for truth, and a desire to ascertain and obey her dictates: filled with a salutary suspicion of themselves, distrusting their own infirmity, and regretting that it should be thus exposed to trial; yet withal, sustained by a modest hope that their Lord will deign to instruct them by his illuminations, and sustain them by his power; and believing that that of their Saviour, whose sacred influences it is their endeavour to maintain, and for whose cause they are brought into suffering, will be at once their guide and their support! I have, in fine, seen them maintaining a character of Christian piety, whose power . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I found them surrounded by their friends, who had hastened to impart those counsels which they deemed the most fitting in their present exigency. I have heard those counsels; I have observed the manner in which they were received, and the answers given: and truly, my father, had you yourself been present, I think you would have acknowledged that, in their whole procedure, there was the entire absence of a spirit of insubordination and schism; and that their only desire and aim was to preserve inviolate two things- to them infinitely precious- peace and truth. For, after due representations had been made to them of the penalties they would draw upon themselves by their refusal to sign the Constitution, and the scandal it might cause in the Church, their reply was . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .