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Old Roman Catholicism is the modern revival of Catholicism, as it was understood in the first centuries - not an attempt to perpetuate the faults either of doctrines or of works, revealed by history in the Christian Church of the early centuries, but an endeavour, on the part of our supporters, while conforming to our own times and our own countries, to be guided by the spirit of Christ, our only leader, and to labour, by this spirit, to put an end to the imperfections and vices that have defiled the Church in the course of time.

The Church is called 'Old' not to disown the improvements which reason and the gospel declare to be necessary, but to show fundamental dependence on Christ and His Gospel. We have no intention whatever of founding a new religion or of joining one of the sects that dreams of a fanciful Christianity in the future. We are faithful to the Church founded by Christ and preached by His Apostles, as it appears in the books of the New Testament and in the Christian writings of the first centuries. We try to live by the spirit of our fathers and the saints worshipped by our ancestors, and thus to unite the Christian past with the Christian present and the Christian future.

When we speak of the first centuries, we speak especially of the first three. But in thought we include the next five also, because, in reality, the Church of the first eight centuries, in spite of its turmoils and its numerous dissentions, succeeded in remaining one in both East and West. It was not until the 9th Century that Pope Nicholas I fell away from the Eastern Church and cause schism. Although we are Westerners, Old Roman Catholics do not accept the inheritance of the faults of this pope. And claim to go further, by extending the hand to Christians of the East and inviting them to labour with us for the restoration of union between the Christian Churches of the East and the West.

The Old Roman Catholic Church is a legitimate part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, having provable unbroken Succession of Orders from, and teaching the full faith of the undivided Church. She adheres to the forms and formulae established by the early Church Fathers in order to preserve for succeeding generations the deposit of Faith received from our Lord and His Apostles.

The remark is often made that the clergy of the Old Roman Catholic Church lays an exaggerated stress on the validity of our orders - the underlying implication being that we are hypersensitive on the subject because of a subconscious fear regarding our standing. The explanation is quite different. The Old Roman Catholic clergy are forced by the very nature of things to present their credentials at every turn. We are few in numbers, relatively unknown by the public at large, educated or otherwise, and the rare references to us in religious publications most often than not brand us as a 'sect'. It is no wonder that our first concern be to establish our identity. There is perhaps no body of clergy in the world so well versed in the historical facts pertinent to their Apostolic Succession [see Appendix I] as is the clergy of the Old Roman Catholic Church.

We cannot deny that there have been scoundrels among the men who have received and handed down Old Roman Catholic orders. Men with no other religious purpose than to deceive the ignorant and unwary, whose sole aim in life is to profit temporarily by the privileges, honours and life of ease so easily attained by those who 'wear the cloth'. But we cannot remain silent if this is made a general accusation. The majority of Old Roman Catholic bishops and priests are men who dedicate their life to the growth of an ideal in a particularly difficult field. Let the accusers look into the history of their own religious group and they will cease throwing stones. To link holiness of life with the validity of orders is to strike at the very foundation of the Catholic structure -- in any Church.

The chain of Apostolic Succession has been dragged through the mire of worldly ambition many times in the past. That such may have been the unhappy experience of some sections of the Old Roman Catholic Church in relatively recent times does not impair the spiritual solidarity of every link. And our Church is making every effort to restore to it the shining beauty it should always have possessed, and is doing so in full acceptance of the facts, in humility and in truth.

So, as we do not attempt to whitewash some of the personages who link us with the past, neither do we attempt to explain away or conceal the evils that have disgraced the Church of Rome or the Eastern Churches. These evils had for their punishment the explosive fragmentation of Christian Europe at the Reformation. We only maintain that in spite of these weaknesses and these crimes, the Roman and Eastern Churches are to be regarded historically and until the Reformation the only legitimate messengers of the Gospel. As far as we are concerned, the history of the first eighteen centuries of the Roman Church is the history of our Church. The spiritual glory of the Roman Catholic Church of history is a glory, which we have inherited. Its Saints are our Saints.

The Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches were, until the Reformation, the only religious bodies claiming to be 'Catholic' in virtue of Apostolic Succession. They claimed to belong to the True Church of Christ because their clergy held an unbroken succession of orders back through the ages to the Apostles and to Christ. The Old Roman Catholic Church bases her own right to this exalted membership on the historical fact of the Apostolic chain of Succession uniting it, through the Roman Catholic Church of the past, to the Divine Master. [See Appendix II]

Chapter Two

Many persons and groups, ecclesiastics and laymen, saints and fanatics, prudent men and enthusiasts, have in every century attempted to reform the Roman Catholic Church. Some did so while remaining within the pale, others by declaring their independence and working from without. Compare a Saint Francis of Assisi and a Martin Luther.

There is no doubt that in a Church founded by Christ, no individual can set himself above the commissioned representatives of its Founder and lay down the law. "Obey them that rule over you and submit yourselves," says Saint Paul [Hebrews 13: 17]. Saint Francis realized this. Whatever mental agony he experience at the contemplation of the worldly atmosphere of the Church of his day, at the corruption of many churchmen, at the abuse of many religious practices, he still was able to practice and counsel a deep respect for the men who dispensed the Sacraments and "in whose hands the Saviour of the world comes down upon our altars".

His 'Little Brothers' [Friars Minor] were never to undertake any religious activity without the consent of the local clergy. At a time when the Order of the Dominicans were penetrating in all the countries of Europe on the strength of papal authorizations overriding any decision of the local bishops, Saint Francis persistently refused for himself or his followers any papal privileges and honours. He sent his humble brothers to knock at the local bishop's door for permission to preach. A refusal was to be taken with obedience and humility. When, near the end of his life, the Cardinal Protector of the Franciscans succeeded in imposing the Roman will on the Order of which Francis was no longer the head and to transform the Friars into deputies of the Holy see, he cries out: "We must begin anew, create a new family who will not forget humility, who will go and serve lepers and, as in the old times, put themselves always, not merely in words, but in reality, below all men". These are not words of revolt but of infinite disappointment.

Martin Luther was a priest, a monk and a scholar of the Roman Catholic Church. That he may have been sincere in his decision does not make that decision objectively right. It is quite possible to be sincerely mistaken. Now, the error of Martin Luther was basically to have let himself become so disgusted with the decay and abuse in the Church that he lost the spiritual sensitivity which would have kept him aware of its invisible spiritual structure, enduring always and certainly reformable. Had he been humble in his ambitions for reforms, we might have had a Saint Martin Luther as well as a Saint Francis of Assisi. As it is, his dubious title to fame is the role he played as the scourge of the Church.

What Saint Francis was on the individual plane, the Church in Holland was on the corporate level. Under inspection of history of its dispute with Rome, the Church in Holland emerges uncondemned because it held the line of Christian moderation.

The Bishopric of Utrecht, which until the sixteenth century had been the only Bishopric in what is now Dutch territory, was founded by Saint Willibrord, an English missionary bishop from Yorkshire. After having been educated, like all the most learned men of that period in Ireland, he was consecrated at Rome by Pope Sergius I in 696, and given the pallium of an archbishop. Pepin, Mayor of the Place to the Merovingian dynasty, gave Willibrord the fortress of Utrecht on the Rhine, which has ever since been the ecclesiastical capital of the Northern Netherlands. After fifty years missionary work among the pagan Friesians, Saint Willibrord died, and was buried at his favourite monastery, Echternach in Luxembourg, where his relics are still shown. His feast is kept on November 7th. His friend Saint Boniface, born at Credition in Devonshire succeeded him, who had given his life to the Church in Germany. He had been Archbishop of Mainz, which continued until the French Revolution to be the primatial see of Germany.

In the last year of his life Saint Boniface resigned his archbishopric and retired to do pioneer missionary work in Frisia, where he suffered martyrdom, June 5, 754. His body and the book he was reading when he met his death - the De Bono Mortis [On the Advantage of Death] by Saint Ambrose - were carried to Fulda, near Frankfurt-on-the-Main, where they still remain. After this the Pope recognized the claim to the See of Cologne to jurisdiction over Utrecht, and Utrecht remained a simple Bishopric in the province of Cologne until 1559.

In the eleventh century the Bishops of Utrecht became temporal princes, charged with the duty of defending the frontier of the empire against the Northmen and other invaders. They gave their support to the imperial cause against the claims of Pope Gregory VII. In 1145 the right of electing the Bishops was taken away from the people because of their turbulence, and was confined to the Chapter of Utrecht, which consisted of the members of the chapters of the Cathedral of Saint Martin and Saint Saviour's Church. It was afterwards extended to include the chapters of three other collegiate churches. Pope Eugene III granted this right and the Fourth Council of the Lateran confirmed this grant in 1215.

The history of the See was marked during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by several deplorable disputes between rival candidates, which often led to civil wars. In 1520, Pope Leo X in the Bull, Debitum Pastoralis, granted to the See of Utrecht and its 57th Bishop, [Philip of Burgundy, who reigned from 1517 to 1524], giving to him and his successors, and to the clergy and laity of the diocese, the privilege of freedom from the claim of the Popes to "evoke" local causes to be heard at Rome. Any attempt to evoke any church case from Utrecht was to be null and void. [The Theological Faculties of Paris and the Louvain, in 1717, verified this privilege, known as the Leonine Privilege. Both of these grants have been exercised by the See of Utrecht from the time of their promulgation and were of extreme importance during the period of the Counter Reformation when the ultramontane party questioned the rights of the See of Utrecht].

Philip's successor, Henry of Bavaria, was driven from Utrecht by the partisans of the Duke of Gelderland; and in 1528, four years after his election, he had not yet been consecrated. With the consent of his Chapter, and of the nobles of the province, he surrendered his temporal sovereignty to the Emperor Charles V on condition that the Emperor should restore him to his See. From this time the Bishops of Utrecht ceased to be prince-bishops.

Chapter Three

During the fifteenth century Utrecht had been remarkable for the society known as "The Brothers of the Common Life", which was founded by Gerard the Great [Geert Groote], who died in 1378, for the purpose of teaching the young, sending out preachers, and recommending the study of Holy Scripture. It was not a monastic order, but a voluntary association, the members of which did not take vows.

The parent house was at Deventer; the most famous member was Thomas a Kempis, usually regarded as the author of the Imitation of Christ, who spent most of his life at Mount Saint Agnes, near Zwolle. The Brothers of the Common Life laid great emphasis on the study of Scripture; they tried to have a translation if it made into Dutch, and they were particular about using the best manuscripts available. Among their pupils were Johann Wessel Gansfort, who had considerable influence over Luther and Erasmus, who as educated in one of their schools.

The type of piety encouraged by the Brothers of the Common Life persisted in the Netherlands, and was one of the causes of opposition to the very different type of piety encouraged by the Jesuits. Thomas a Kempis says, "Before all arts, learn to read and understand the Holy Scriptures"; but the Bull 'Unigenitus', [see Appendix III] condemned the opinion that the laity are bound to read the Bible. Another pupil of the Brothers of the Common Life was Pope Hadrian VI, who was born at Utrecht [where his house is till shown], was educated either at Deventer or Zwolle, became tutor to the Emperor Charles V, and in 1522 was elected Pope. He was the last non-Italian Pope until 1978, and is celebrated for having given as his private opinion that the Pope is not infallible.

In the sixteenth century, the Netherlands, like the rest of Germany, England and indeed nearly all Northern Europe, had far too few Bishoprics. The remoteness and the secular duties of the bishops were one reason why the Reformers did not value the episcopacy. Philip II of Spain, on succeeding to the hereditary possessions of his father Charles V, decided to reorganize the Church throughout the Netherlands, and in 1559, when the war with France was over, persuaded the Pope to set up a number of new provinces and dioceses. Utrecht became an Archbishopric, with the five new sees of Haarlem, Deventer, Grininen, Leeuwarden and Middelburg under it; they were endowed out of the revenues of wealthy abbeys, on the suggestion of Cardinal Granvelle, President of the Council of State at Brussels.

But this necessary reform came too late, and only precipitated the revolution. The provinces of the Netherlands were full of men who had learned from Erasmus to study the Bible and to adopt a critical attitude towards the abuses of the Church. The Reformation therefore found fruitful soil there. Luther, indeed, did not appear to have exercised much influence; it was the extremer forms of the Reformation that spread through the Netherlands. Charles V did what he could to surpress heresy; but there was something in the character of the burghers of the Netherlands cities which was attracted by the austerity and the independence of Calvinism, and it spread rapidly after 1550.

The seventeen provinces, which were only united because one sovereign had inherited them, were beginning to develop a national consciousness. They had their common language [except the French-speaking districts in the south], they had their States-General at Brussels, and they had the same interest. The difference between Holland and the Flemish part of Belgium which we see to-day was not in the first place due to a difference of religion or of culture, but simply to the fact that the Spaniards recaptured the southern provinces, but were unable, for geographical reasons, to recapture the northern ones. There was at first a "reformed" movement in Flanders and Brabant, as strong as in Holland and Zealand; there was all along, as there is today, a very large Roman Catholic minority in Holland [in early days a majority]. But consisting largely of villagers. Holland has never been a Protestant country in the same sense as the Scandinavian countries.

Charles V had been born in the Netherlands and spoke the language. Philip II was by birth and character a Spaniard who had not the least sympathy with his subjects in the Netherlands. His main object in setting up the new Bishoprics was to have a better organization for suppressing heresy; and the Spanish Inquisition was introduced in 1565. National hatred of the Spaniards, combined with an independent attitude towards religion, as hateful as it was unintelligible to the Spanish king and his ministers, and with a determination to maintain the ancient privileges of provinces and cities, which the king was equally determined to destroy in the interests of autocracy, led to the Dutch War of Independence [1568-1648], carried on by both sides with horrible atrocity; it became a religious war in which both sides had great numbers of martyrs.

The most celebrated martyrs on the Catholic side were the nineteen Martyrs of Gorcum [eleven Capuchins, four members of other orders, and four secular priests]. Finally the seven northern provinces - Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overyssel, Friesland, and Groningen - became a republic, and adopted the reformed religion. The independence was recognized by Spain by the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648.

Meanwhile the new bishops took possession of their Sees. Frederick Schenk, Baron von Teutenburg, was consecrated in 1560, as the first Archbishop of Utrecht since Saint Willibrord and the fifty-seventh occupant of the See. His suffragans were Nicolas Nieuwland, Bishop of Haarlem, who had been coadjutor to the last Bishop of Utrecht; John Mahusius, Bishop of Deventer; John Knyff, Bishop of Groningen; Cunerus Petersen, Bishop of Leeuwarden [the first bishop, Dirutius, was appointed to Bruges before he had been consecrated]; and Nicolas de Castro or Verburgh, Bishop of Middelburg.

On October 12, 1565, Archbishop Schenk held a provincial synod, which accepted the decrees of the Council of Trent, on faith, the Sacraments, and morals; the Chapter protested against interference with its rights and privileges, but the Synod rejected its protest.

The Revolution began in 1565; it was at first a movement for the defence of the rights of the provinces, "with no other design but to preserve the Catholic religion in its purity" [William the Silent]. But the most ardent and successful of its promoters were Calvinists, who, whenever a city fell into their hands, stripped the churches of their ornaments and handed them over to the Reformed ministers, while the practice of the Roman Catholic religion was prohibited, in spite of all guarantees to the contrary. The change was effected at Haarlem on May 29, 1578, when the garrison attached the congregation assembled in the cathedral, and the bishop had to flee for his life.

According to the terms of the Union of Utrecht, January 23, 1579 [from which date the independence of the Dutch Republic is reckoned], the rights and privileges of the Roman Catholic religion were guaranteed. But on June 14, 1580, the practice of that religion was forbidden by the magistrates of Utrecht, and the Cathedral of Saint Martin was taken from the archbishop and his Chapter. In truth the Prince of Orange and the Government were unable to control the extremists.

On August 25, 1580, Archbishop Schenk died, and the See remained vacant until 1602. The Bishop of Haarlem, Godfrey de Mierio, a Dominican who had succeeded Nieuwland in 1569, took refuge at Bonn, and died there in 1587; he had no successor til 1742. John Mahusius, Bishop of Deventer, was succeeded by Aegidius van den Berge [de Monte] in 1570, both were Franciscans. Van den Berge died at Zwolle, May 26, 1577. He had no successor til 1758. Philip II did indeed nominate Gisbert Coeverinck as Bishop of Deventer in 1590, but he was never consecrated, as there was no money to pay even his fees to the Pope.

Cunerus Petersen, Bishop of Leeuwarden, founded a Cathedral Chapter there, but it did not survive his death in 1580, at Cologne. He had no successors. John Knyff, Bishop of Groningen, who was not so violently opposed as the others, died in his cathedral city in 1576. He had no successors; for John de Bruherzen, Dean of Utrecht, who was appointed to succeed him was elected Archbishop of Utrecht, though never consecrated; and Arnold Nylen, who was then appointed, had to flee to Brussels and died there in 1603, without having been consecrated. Nicolas Verburgh, the first Bishop of Middelburg, died there in 1573, and was succeeded by John van Styren, who, though consecrated, was never able to live in his diocese, and died at Louvain in 1594. Thus the six sees of the ecclesiastical province of Utrecht were not all left vacant.

The diocesan organization, however, continued especially at Utrecht and Haarlem. Although Roman Catholic services were forbidden, a large proportion of the people was still Roman Catholic. It was the duty of the Cathedral Chapter to appoint "Grand Vicars" or Vicars General to administer the diocese during the vacancy of the See, according to the directions of the Council of Trent; but at Utrecht the Dean of the cathedral was by statue Vicar General ex-officio. John de Brutherzen, Dean of Utrecht therefore became Grand Vicar on the death of Archbishop Schenk; he was elected archbishop, but the Pope never confirmed the election. He had been banished from the country, because he had refused, as President of the Council of Utrecht; to invite William the Silent to the city; and he died at Cologne in 1600. He was succeeded as Vicar General in 1583 by Sasbold Vosmeer, Dean of Saint Mary's Church, The Hague, who was also, in 1592, appointed by the Pope Vicar Apostolic [a post not to be confused with that of Vicar General] for the whole of the United Provinces. The Chapter of Deventer, removed to Oldenzaal in 1591, continued until 1665.

Chapter Four

It was in 1592 that the Jesuits first entered the country; and the difference between their policy and that of Vosmeer and the national clergy, which ultimately led to the separation, began at once.

The Roman Catholics of Holland had their own diocesan organization; the Chapters had the right to elect bishops and present them to the Pope for confirmation. They regarded the Pope as their lawful superior, but held that he was bound to respect their canonical rights. A parallel may be drawn, perhaps, between their attitude towards their ecclesiastical and their civil ruler. They recognized the King of Spain as their sovereign, but held that he was bound to respect the privileges of the provinces; they regarded the Pope also as a constitutional sovereign, bound to respect the canonical rights of local churches. But neither King no Pope would recognize these limitations. Both were convinced believers in the Renaissance ideal of absolute monarchy; both demanded blind obedience to their edicts.

The Jesuits were the new papal militia, vowed to absolute obedience to their General. Their conception of the Church left no room for local rights, or for diocesan organizations. Their policy was to abolish the hierarchy and the dioceses, and to secure that the Roman Catholic mission in the Netherlands should be controlled entirely by the Congregation de Propaganda Fide at Rome - that is, in practice, by them.

With this object, the Jesuits did their utmost, from the moment of their arrival in the country to prevent the Bishoprics from being filled. They held that the bishop who was needed for ordination and confirmation should be only a Vicar Apostolic appointed by the Pope and removable at his direction; not a diocesan bishop with canonical rights of his own and power to hinder the designs of their Society.

The Chapters, on the other hand, and the majority of the clergy and people, while perfectly loyal to the Pope, did not want to be directly controlled from Rome. They valued their ancient rights, and were determined to maintain them. They detested what they regarded as the moral laxity of the Jesuits. And they thought that their countrymen were more likely to return to the Church if the ancient constitution and the ancient type of piety were retained, and the bishops were elected by their clergy, than if the Church were entirely administered by Jesuits, whose moral teaching and exotic piety were alike repugnant to the Dutch. Moreover, the Jesuits, who were believed to be in favour of political assassination, were particularly odious to the government.

This was the real cause of the dispute, which began more than forty years before the publication of Jansen's Augustinus.

The accusation of Jansenism was brought against the Chapter of Utrecht much later, on the principle of "Give a dog a bad name and hang him". But from the first to last the real issue was the rights of the Chapters; and, behind it, the claim of the Papacy to unlimited obedience.

As early as 1598 the Jesuits successfully prevented the appointment of Vosmeer to the See of Haarlem. In 1602 he went to Rome to protest against the intrusion of the Jesuits on the rights of the secular clergy, and to ask for the appointment of an archbishop. The Archduke Albert, who had married the daughter of Philip II, and to whom the sovereignty of the Netherlands had been left by the King's will [Philip died in 1598], believed [mistakenly] that he had the right to nominate the Archbishop of Utrecht under an edict of Charles V. He nominated Vosmeer, who was also elected archbishop by the Chapter, and, much against his will, was consecrated at Rome, September 22, 1602,with the title of Archbishop of Philippi [in order not to offend the Dutch Government], but with the condition that he might assume the real title of Archbishop of Utrecht when circumstances would permit.

Neale, History of the Church of Holland, Appendix 2, gives the evidence that he was indeed Archbishop of Utrecht at length. The following are some examples of it. On January 11, 1603, the archbishop wrote to his brother, Tilman Vosmeer [who had been suggested for the See of Haarlem]: "The Pope wished to promote me by a foreign title: but he gave me the people of Saint Willibrord, that I may be truly called Archbishop of Holland, Zealand and Utrecht". In 1609 he wrote to Gravius, his agent at Rome, that the Archduke had nominated him as Archbishop of Utrecht, but the Pope, in giving him the title of Archbishop of Philippe, and said to him, "You may change your title as soon as your Archduke pleases". [From the standpoint of the Roman Catholic clergy, the Archduke was the lawful sovereign of the whole of the Netherlands and the Dutch Government mere 'insurgents'.] In 1613 Vosmeer told Gravius that his title of Philippe referred, not to Philippi in Macedonia, but to King Philip!

He was banished by the government for having sought and accepted nomination to the Archbishopric of Utrecht from the Archduke Albert: which was naturally regarded as high treason by the Republic. [Dr. Neale thinks the Jesuits themselves denounced him to the government]. Moreover, the Jesuits ordinarily addressed him as Archbishop of Utrecht - e.g., Louis Makeblyd, August 6, 1611, Gerard Contonnel, September 18, 1613. He himself used the title regularly, often in the form Archiepiscopus Ultrajectenis et Philippensis. Besides his 'ordinary' jurisdiction as archbishop, he had his special jurisdiction, as Vicar Apostolic of the Pope; these two separate forms of authority are carefully distinguished in his official documents.

Having been banished from the United Provinces, Vosmeer had to govern his diocese from abroad, first from the Spanish Netherlands, later from Cologne, though he visited it when he could at the risk of his life. He had continually to struggle against the intrusion of the Jesuits and the mendicant orders; he once wrote to his brother, "The inconvenience caused by the Protestants is less than the trouble due to the Jesuits". There were only eight Jesuits in the country in 1609, but in that year the republic agreed to a truce with Spain for twelve years, and the Jesuits were able to enter the country more easily.

By every means in their power they encouraged the clergy and people to ignore the authority of the archbishop, with the object of increasing the power and wealth of their own order. They complained to the internuncios at Brussels that the archbishop was hindering their work; but, as Vosmeer's correspondence shows, they left the really labourious and dangerous work of ministering in the villages to the parish priests.

On December 16, 1609, the archbishop formally inhibited the Jesuits and the mendicant orders from the administration of the Sacraments and from preaching, and forbade the people to have recourse to them. The Jesuits complained to the Pope, who deprived Vosmeer of his Vicariate Apostolic, but the archbishop made a complete defence of himself and the Pope gave way.

Chapter Five

Archbishop Vosmeer died on May 3, 1614, and was buried in the Franciscan church at Cologne. The Chapters of Utrecht and Haarlem had already recommended that Philip Rovenius, Dean of Oldenzaal, should be consecrated as his coadjutor. Rovenius was unwilling, and the Chapter of Utrecht recommended Henry Vorden; but the Chapter of Haarlem insisted on having Rovenius, and the dispute was decided in favour of Rovenius by Jacobus Jansonius, then President of Hadrain VI College at Louvain.

Rovenius was elected by the clergy immediately after the death of Vosmeer and was consecrated Archbishop of Utrecht, November 8, 1620 at Voorst near Brussels, by the Papal Nuncio. He had already been Vicar Apostolic for six years.

In 1583 there had been about 600 priests in the United Provinces. By 1614 the number was reduced to 170. But from that time the number, both of priest and people, began to increase. In 1663 there were 383 parishes in the six dioceses. The cause of the increase seems to have been the cessation of the persecution after the truce with Spain had been agreed to.

The new Archbishop had the same titles as his predecessor. Since the sovereignty of the Netherlands [according to the legitimist view] had reverted, on the death of the Archduke Albert, to Philip III of Spain, the clergy asked Cornelius Jensesn, who was going to Madrid on other business, to request the King formally to confirm the election of Rovenius as Archbishop of Utrecht. It does not appear that the King ever did so; but on March 10, 1640, Rovenius was banished by the magistrates of Utrecht for having taken the title of Archbishop of Utrecht. Until then he had lived at Utrecht, in secret, in the house of Mademoiselle de Duivenvoorde, a lady of noble birth who had bound herself by a vow of chastity; and he had at least one narrow escape from the officers of the Burgomaster.

Rovenius continued his predecessor's struggle against the intrigues of the Jesuits; he even had to go to Rome to get his rights over the Jesuits and other orders confirmed. They were compelled to sign an agreement promising obedience, but they did not keep the promise.

The principal work of Archbishop Rovenius was the reconstitution of the Chapter of Utrecht. The canonries had never been suppressed, but most of the members were not Calvinists; the chapter still had its estates, and held regular meetings. In 1622 the Government of Utrecht ordered that only Calvinists should be presented in future. Archbishop Rovenius then chose nine of the few priests remaining in the chapters, added to them two others whom he had intended to present shortly to canonries in the months when he had the right of patronage and constituted this body with the "Vicarinate" of the Chapter of Utrecht, with all the ecclesiastical rights of the old Chapter.

This reorganization, which was completed on June 9, 1633, was necessary if the Chapter, as a Roman Catholic institution, was not to come to an end. No protest was raised at the time; most of the canons, which were priests but had not been selected by Rovenius, had left the country to avoid persecution. Rome accepted the nominations made by the reorganized Chapter, down to the death of Archbishop Codde in 1710; and the chapter itself was recognized expressly, on many occasions, by Papal Nuncios. After this, Rovenius and his successor'' ceased to use their right of appointing members of the legal chapter, which had ceased to have any significance for them.

Another important achievement of Rovenius' episcopate was the foundation of the "Klopjes" or "Knocking Sister", who, wearing ordinary dress and living in their own homes, did the work of teaching and nursing among the persecuted Roman Catholics in the villages. In 1639 the government forbade them to teach children; but after 1667 the laws against them fell into disuse. The last of them died in 1853. They were called "Knocking Sisters" because they went from house to house to summon the people to church.

In 1641 Rovenius, with nine of his priests, gave their approval to the Augustinus of Cornelius Jansen. It seems that he also made certain liturgical changes. During his episcopate, in spite of the persecution, the number of Roman Catholics increased from 200,00 to 300,000. In 1647, Jacobus de la Torre was elected by the Chapters of Utrecht and Haarlem to be his coadjutor, and consecrated with the title of Archbishop of Ephesus; but he was shortly afterwards banished, and went to live at Antwerp.

When Rovenius died in 1651, de la Torre succeeded him. He was a weak man, and was induced by the Jesuits to sign a document, known as the "Concessiones Ephesinae", which allowed them to increase their missions, although they had done their best to hinder his appointment. He was out of his mind for some time before his death, and had a coadjutor, Zacharias de Metz [appointed by the Pope, though last on the list sent in by the Chapter], whose hasty temper caused much trouble, but who died two months before the archbishop. Johannes van Neercassel was elected to succeed Metz, and as coadjutor, had the right to succeed on the diocesan's death, but when the archbishop died on September 16, 1661, Baldwin Catz was appointed archbishop and Vicar Apostolic by the Pope, with Neercassel as his coadjutor. They were consecrated together at Cologne on September 8, 1662, Catz as Archbishop of Philippi, and Neercassel as Bishop of Castoria. But Catz soon became an imbecile, and died on May 18, 1663, when Neercassel came into possession of the Archbishopric.

Chapter Six

Archbishop van Neercassel was the last and greatest of the Archbishops of Utrecht who died in full communion with Rome. He succeeded in solving an important problem of marriage for the whole Roman Communion. The Council of Trent, in order to prevent secret marriage had decreed that no marriage should be recognized as valid without the presence of a priest.

This was interpreted as meaning that all Protestant marriages were invalid. That a married person, on joining the Roman Communion must leave his or her spouse until the should be remarried; and that if the other spouse refused to repeat the marriage the Roman Catholic spouse might then marry any other person. Archbishop van Neercassel, on the other hand, taught that marriages between persons not in communion with Rome were by natural law valid and indissoluble; and that if such persons afterwards joined the Roman Communion, their previous marriage only required the Church's blessing to make it sacramental. The view was accepted by the Roman Penitentiary in 1671, and was made the law of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741.

van Neercassel continued to suffer from the attacks of the Jesuits, who boasted that they would drive the secular clergy out of Holland and were always trying to discredit him by accusing him of false doctrine. In 1670 he found it necessary to go to Rome to defend himself. Taking with him letters of recommendation from the French ambassador at The Hague, M. de Pomponne [Simon Arnauld, brother of Antoine], the Princesse de Contil [a niece of Cardinal Mazarin], the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Christina, the former Queen of Sweden. He was completely successful, and obtained from the Congregation de Propaganda Fide two decrees in his favour. He at once returned to Holland. During his stay in Rome he was much ridiculed for his simplicity of life, because he had only one servant with him. During his journey to Holland he took every opportunity of preaching, especially in the diocese of Munster, where great crowds assembled everywhere to hear him; the Prince-Bishop, who could not preach himself, was delighted to find a bishop who could.

In 1748 Spain had recognized the independence of the Dutch Republic, so that the Dutch Roman Catholics no longer felt bound to regard the King of Spain as their real sovereign, and no longer felt obliged to risk being accused of high treason by seeking his confirmation for Church appointments. On the other hand, the war with France caused some difficulty. In 1672, when the French occupied Utrecht, the cathedral was restored to the Roman Catholics; and when they retired, the Archbishop thought it wise to take refuge at Huissen in the Duchy of Cleves, where he founded a diocesan seminary.

Some of the French Jansenists took refuge in Holland at this period. In particular, Antoine Arnauld, who was an intimate friend of Archbishop van Neercassel, wrote, during his retirement at Huissen, a book called Amor Poenitens, defending the thesis of Arnauld, that contrition, founded on the love of God, is necessary to penitence and salvation, and that attrition, or sorrow due to punishment is not enough.

This book was attached with great violence by the Jesuits, but it was formally sanctioned by thirty French bishops, and received the commendation of Pope Innocent XI, who remarked, "The books is a good one, and the author is a saint." Under Alexander VII a decree was published forbidding the distribution of the book "until corrected"; but it was never formally condemned and the author published in 1685 a new and corrected edition.

In 1685 the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the arrival in Holland of crowds of Huguenot refugees from France, led to the last persecution of Roman Catholics. It was not very severe, because the Roman Catholics have liberally to the funds raised for the support of the French exiles.

On June 6, 1686 the archbishop died of fever at Zwolle while visiting the eastern part of his jurisdiction. According to Bellegarde, the episcopate of van Neercassel was the golden age of the Church of Utrecht; the persecution was just severe enough to keep the Church pure, the priests were united, obedient, and devoted to their work, and the number of adherents steadily increased. Out of two million in the territory of the United Provinces, 330,000 were Roman Catholics. [In England at that time the number of Roman Catholics was only 30,000].

On the death of Archbishop van Neercassel, the Chapters of Utrecht and Haarlem unanimously elected Hugo Francis van Heussen as his successor; Peter Codde and John Lindeborn were appointed Vicars General to administer the diocese during the vacancy of the See.

Heussen was the favourite disciple of van Neercassel, who called him his "Timothy", and he had already in 1682 been elected coadjutor-bishop. To prevent his consecration the Jesuits had denounced a treatise on indulgences, which he had written in 1681 as heretical.

The Holy Office at Rome was still examining this book when he was elected by the Chapters to succeed van Neercassel. The result of this attack was the condemnation of the book on May 15, 1687. But this decree was found to be full of mistakes and the Pope suppressed it. However, the Chapters saw that there would be difficulty in getting the election of Heussen confirmed at Rome, so they sent in three alternative names, of which that of Peter Codde was the first.

All four, however, were accused of Jansenism and of supporting the Four Galican Articles by the other side. On September 29, the Congregation de Propaganda Fide rejected Heussen. They decided that in future the Church in the civil provinces of Utrecht, Holland, Zealand, and Gelderland should be placed under Bassery, the Vicar Apostolic of Hertogenbosch [Bois-le-duc], and the other provinces under a Vicar Apostolic to be chosen by the nuncio at Cologne and the internuncio at Brussels.

Cardinal Howard [uncle of the Duke of Norfolk] prevented this arrangement which would have brought the ancient dioceses to an end. He had been a friend of Archbishop van Neercassel, and who used his influence as agent of King James II [this was a year before the English Revolution] to persuade the Pope to reject the decision of the cardinals.

Various other proposals were made, but in the end Peter Codde was chosen. Heussen was being rejected solely on account of his book on indulgences. Heussen was profoundly thankful that he had not been made archbishop; he had now leisure to write two large historical works, Batavia Sacra and History of the Bishoprics of the United Netherlands, upon which his fame chiefly rests.

Chapter Seven

Peter Codde was born at Amsterdam, November 27, 1648 and educated at Louvain, where he joined the Congregation of the Oratory. He lived for some time in devout retirement in the Oratorian houses at Paris and Orleans.

Archbishop van Neercassel called him back to the Netherlands and in 1683 put him in charge of the most important parish at Utrecht. Codde had published a Dutch translation of Bossuet's Exposition of the Catholic Faith, and he was also a celebrated preacher. The Archbishop of Malines and the Bishops of Antwerp and Namur, on Septuagesima consecrated him at Brussels Sunday, February 6, 1689 with the title of Archbishop of Sebaste. Before the consecration, the internuncio, De Via asked him to sign a document condemning Jansenist beliefs: this was the "Formulary" [Ad Sanctam Beati Petri Sedem], [see Appendix IV] though Codde did not know it. He replied that he had not studied the Jansenist controversy and that he must consult his friends before signing such a document.

The internuncio said that it was of no importance and changed the conversation. However, Archbishop Codde's work was continually interrupted by the complaints made by the Jesuits at Rome that he was a Jansenist and a Galican. As early as 1691 the worry caused by these complaints, together with overwork, threw him into a serious illness of which he nearly died. Pope Innocent XII appointed a commission to inquire into these charges and presided over it himself. The Archbishop was unanimously and unconditionally acquitted.

However, the attacks continued, and in 1699 the cardinals secretly decided to get rid of Codde, and to appoint Theodore de Cock in his place. The Chapters had sent this priest to Rome in 1686 to defend their interests; but since then personal ambition had led him to change sides.

The archbishop was invited to come to Rome for the Jubilee of 1700. He did not want to go, but decided that it was less dangerous to go than to stay. Before he went, rejecting the suggestion of the internuncio at Brussels that he should appoint Theodore de Cock as his deputy during is absence, he appointed four "Pro Vicars" to take charge of his province; Catz and Heussen for Utrecht, Deventer and Middelburg; Groenhout and Swaen for Haarlem, Leeuwarden and Groningen. This shows that the six sees, though all but Utrecht had been vacant for over a century, were regarded as still in existence.

On his arrival at Rome the archbishop found that Innocent XII was dead, and that Cardinal Albani, who was entirely devoted to the opposite party had succeeded as Clement XI. Codde was well received but fresh accusations were brought against him and his clergy.

A protest in support of the archbishop was signed by 300 of his priest, headed by the four Pro Vicars, and sent to Rome; among those who signed it were Steenoven and van der Croon, who afterwards became Archbishops of Utrecht themselves. These 300 constituted the majority of the priests in the six dioceses of whom there were altogether 470, 340 secular and 130 regular.

The commission appointed to decide the truth of the charges against Codde was equally divided [December 1701]; nevertheless, in the following May; Theodore de Cock was appointed Pro Vicar Apostolic of the United Provinces, in the place of Peter Codde, deposed. No mention was made of any reason for the deposition; the brief was not published at Rome, and Codde only heard of it by letters from his friends in the Netherlands. The commission appointed to try the case had not yet issued its report. Even the Ultramontane canonist, Hyacinth de Archangelis, issued a formal opinion that a Vicar Apostolic with the rights of an ordinary, as Codde undoubtedly was, could not be arbitrarily deposed.

Precisely how this event occurred will probably never be known, for all the members of the commission were ordered to be silent, on pain of excommunication.

The Chapters of Utrecht and Haarlem unanimously decided not to recognize the authority of de Cock on the grounds that the Pope had no canonical right to deprive even a Vicar Apostolic, still less an archbishop without trial and condemnation.

From This Point Begins The Schism Between The Two Parties In The Dutch Roman Catholic Church.

In some places the adherents of the Archbishop and the Chapters and those of de Cock ceased to communicate with one another. There were popular disturbances; and the Dutch Government, having summoned Van Erkel, one of the leaders of the archbishop's party, to explain the position, issued a decree forbidding Theodore de Cock to exercise any jurisdiction over the Roman Catholics in its dominions.

It is clear that at this point the question at issue was not doctrinal, but the demand for blind obedience. According to the canons, bishops could only be deposed after a proper trial and condemnation with full opportunity to defend themselves. But to the Jesuits and their pupils the Pope was an absolute monarch, and any rights or privileges interfering with his will were intolerable.

The Counter-Reformation, of which the Jesuits were the chief agents, had practically put the Roman Communion under martial law.

Meanwhile the archbishop found himself in a difficult position at Rome. The Jesuits announced in the Netherlands that he was in the hands of the Inquisition, and would be imprisoned for life, beheaded, or burned. In reality, he was not interfered with but the Italian clergy could not understand his lack of personal ambition or his refusal to sign what he called "equivocal documents", even to further his own cause.

However the Dutch government, urged on by his three nephews, who were among the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, commanded him to return within three months. And warned the Court of Rome that if he were prevented from coming the Jesuits would be banished from the country and de Cock confined to his own house. De Cock accordingly begged the Pope to allow Codde to return and on April 12, 1702, the archbishop left Rome with special passports from the Emperor and the Republic of Venice, and with permission from the General of the Dominicans to celebrate Mass in every house of their order. After travelling by Vienna and Dresden in order to avoid the war then raging in Europe, he arrived in the Netherlands on June 27. He had four priests with him, one of who was Cornelius Steenoven, afterwards his successor.

de Cock, who had rashly accused the government of being bribed by the secular clergy was banished and fled to Rome, where he was given a canonry in the Basilica of Saint Lawrence.

The Chapter of Haarlem was in a different position from the Chapter of Utrecht. The Archbishop was not their diocesan; his authority over them was that of a Metropolitan. To make sure that they were right in rejecting the authority of Theodore de Cock as Vicar Apostolic, they consulted Van Espen, the great canonist of Louvain. His formal answer, the Motivum Juris pro Capitulo Cathedrali Haarlemiensi, laid down that the authority of a Vicar Apostolic could not override the right of the Chapter to govern the diocese during the vacancy of the See [which in the case of Haarlem had been vacant since 1587]. But that in any case the authority of even a diocesan bishop reverted to the Chapter is he were exiled, just as it would if he died; therefore, whatever authority de Cock had possessed had ceased when he was exiled.

Though de Cock had been banished, his party remained; and Archbishop Codde found his flock divided by a schism. He had been deprived, unjustly and uncanonically, of his powers as Vicar Apostolic of the Pope, but he was still Archbishop of Utrecht. He had before him three possible courses:-

  • a] to submit to the decision of Rome, and retire into private life. But this would have been to desert his friends and to surrender the rights, and even the existence of his See.

  • b] to continue to exercise his authority as archbishop, while appealing against his suspension as Vicar Apostolic. As archbishop he had diocesan jurisdiction in Utrecht, and Metropolitan jurisdiction in the other dioceses; as Vicar Apostolic he had diocesan jurisdiction wherever there was no bishop or Chapter. This was the course that Van Espen advised him to follow. It would have led to an immediate breach with Rome; but this was in any case inevitable.

  • c] to retire from the exercise of his office, while protesting against his suspension. This was the course advised by Quesnel, and this he did, because he was afraid of hurting the consciences of simple people if he continued to resist the Pope.

As the archbishop had retired, his jurisdiction reverted to the Chapters, and they appointed the four Pro Vicars as Vicars General of the See of Utrecht. However, the internuncio at Brussels had received orders, even before the archbishop's return to declare Jacob Catz, the first of the four Pro Vicars to be excommunicated. In consequence, a protest was issued April 1, 1703 and was signed by more than 150 priests which shows the strength of the party of the Chapters at that time.

Meanwhile, the government anxious to restore peace banished Van Beest and Van Wyck, two of the archpriests appointed by de Cock. They also threatened to take more serious measures beginning with the banishment of all Jesuits; for they were convinced Pere La Chaise, the Jesuit confessor of Louis XIV was the origin of the trouble.

The Jesuits were much alarmed and tried to put pressure on the government by means of the ambassador of the Emperor but in vain. Bussi, the internuncio at Brussels, went to The Hague and finding that there was no hope that de Cock would be allowed to return, recommended the appointment of a new Vicar Apostolic. Gerard Potcamp, the parish priest of Lingen, and a friend and supporter of the archbishop unwillingly accepted the post November 11, 1705. He was recognized by Archbishop Codde [though without any withdrawal of his protest against his suspension], by the Chapter of Utrecht, whose rights he entirely accepted and by the government. But he died a month later, December 16, 1705.

The Chapter of Utrecht appointed Catz and Van Heussen Vicars General, since the See was vacant through the resignation of Archbishop Codde. They begged the internuncio to appoint a new Vicar Apostolic from the candidates nominated by them but he refused.

At this point the Pope arbitrarily transferred the government of the Church in the Dutch Republic from Bussi, the internuncio at Brussesl, to Piazza, the nuncio at Cologne. Piazza announced his appointment to the Grand Vicars; they answered that they could not recognize his immediate jurisdiction over themselves, to the prejudice of the rights of the Chapters, but offered to have the point at issue decided by the Church Courts. The result was that Van Heuseen was forbidden, on pain on excommunication, to exercise any jurisdiction; he replied that such a prohibition was uncanonical, and that the Chapters could not recognize it.

Piazza was made a cardinal, and Bussi was transferred from Brussels to Cologne. He proceeded, without consulting either the Chapters or the Dutch Government to appoint Adam Daemen as Vicar Apostolic, and to consecrate him Christmas Day, 1701 with the title of Archbishop of Adrianople.

Daemen was a canon of Cologne, born at Amsterdam of foreign parents. The Chapter refused to accept him as archbishop, considering his character unsuitable [for he had received 15,000 ducats for his vote in the Chapter of Cologne]. The government forbade him to enter the country because he had illegally accepted consecration without its permission and Holland and West Friesland banished all the Jesuits.

The controversy now grew hotter; the priests who supported the Chapters were all summoned to be tried at Cologne but the government forbade them to leave the country. Bussi then excommunicated all whom refused to recognize Daemen, declared the appointments recently made by the Chapters invalid, and poured in fresh priest of the Jesuit party who took possession of the parishes. The Chapter of Haarlem, weary of strife, passed a resolution that it would in future perform no capitular act.

The Chapter Of Utrecht Was Left To Carry On The Struggle Alone.

Daemen seeing that he would never be allowed to enter Dutch territory resigned in 1710. In the same year, on December 18, Archbishop Codde died after a long and painful illness. He was condemned by the Roman Inquisition after he death for his refusal to sign the Formulary of Alexander VII, which had been presented to him on his deathbed and he was declared unworthy of the prayers of the faithful and of Christian burial. It was too late, for he had already been buried beside Gerard Potcamp in the church at Warmond.

Chapter Eight

At this point it must be clearly defined the difference between the Chapter of Utrecht and the Jesuits, who were now in control of the papal policy. The Chapter of Utrecht maintained that the province and diocese of Utrecht with all the ancient and canonical rights and privileges, were still in existence. That the Vicariate instituted by Archbishop Rovenius was the ancient Chapter of Utrecht and possessed all the rights of the Chapter including the right to elect the Archbishop of Utrecht. And that the later archbishops, from Vosmeer to Codde, were not only Vicars Apostolic of the Roman See, but also Archbishops of Utrecht, the canonical successors of Saint Willibrord.

The Jesuits and their party held, as Rome holds to this day, that the Province of Utrecht and all its dioceses, as well as the ancient Chapter of Utrecht had ceased to exist at the time of the Reformation. That the Roman Catholic Church in the Dutch Republic was a mere mission, governed by a Vicar Apostolic who was appointed and removed by the Pope at his discretion and subject to the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, where the Jesuits were then all powerful.

Behind this constitutional issue lay a profound difference in political philosophy. The Chapter of Utrecht, like other Galicans, held that the Church was a community of communities, in which each diocese, province and national church had its own rights and privileges; the Pope was monarch, but his monarchy was limited by the canons and by the rights of the local churches.

The Jesuits, on the other hand, held that the Church was a centralized despotic kingdom, in which the local churches were mere departments, and the bishops and other officers simply the local representatives of the papal authority. It was a new conception, closely akin to the despotism in civil affairs, which at that period was steadily increasing in most European countries; but it was also the natural consequence of the development of the Papacy for many centuries.

It is significant that the only country where it was successfully resisted, though at the cost of schism, was the Dutch Republic, the one great European Power that owed its origin to the Reformation, and the earliest instance of a modern constitutional State.

There were other differences as well. It is true that the charge of doctrinal heterodoxy brought against the party of the Chapters were false, their continual protest that they taught all the dogmas of the Roman Church taught was sincere, and it was true. But they denied the right of the Pope to enforce new doctrines without the assent of a General Council; and they were unwilling to assent to statements of fact which they did not believe, simply because they were told to do so. It was for this reason that they refused persistently to sign the Formulary of Alexander VII and the Bull "Unigenitus" [see Appendix II]. It must be added that most of them had been trained at Louvain, and were in close contact with the French Jansenist party, the leaders of which, such as Arnauld and Quesnel, had taken refuge in the Netherlands.

There were also devotional and ethical differences. We are learning today that different types of piety mark the divisions of Christendom quite as much as differences of doctrine. There was a great difference between the austere piety of the Dutch secular clergy, derived from the Brothers of the Common Life, and the new sentimental cults which the Jesuits were teaching everywhere, such as devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Conception.

How far these devotions were sometimes pushed is shown by an instance of slightly later date. In 1740 strips of paper, on which praises of the Immaculate Conception were written were being sold in Naples, to be dissolved in water and given to hens that they might lay more eggs! Saint Alfonso Liquoir [created a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX] sanctioned this descent to Central African superstition when he swallowed one of these strips during a serious illness. Rome never condemned it, though acceptance of the condemnation of Quesnel's 101 propositions was enforced on all Roman Catholics as necessary to salvation.

There was also a difference between the Dutch secular clergy and the Jesuits about ethics. The former were strongly opposed to the Jesuit system of casuistry, especially to the doctrine that sorrow based on fear, not on love, is sufficient for repentance and absolution. They held that the Jesuits encouraged sin by giving absolution too easily.

The Chapter of Utrecht was therefore fighting, not merely for its own constitutional rights, but also for the right of local churches to reject novelties contrary to truth and common sense, and unsuited to the temperament of their people.

The Dutch Government, being Calvinist, had no direct interest in the dispute, except the maintenance of order. But it naturally preferred that is Roman Catholic subjects should be governed by a Dutch archbishop elected by Dutchmen, rather than by a Vicar Apostolic appointed by the Pope's representative at Brussels or Cologne. It was fortunate that the religious dispute was not affected, as in France, by the ever-changing diplomatic relations between the Government and the Vatican.

An attempt was made at reconciliation, but Cornelius Steenoven and William Dalenoort, the representatives of the Chapter found when they reached Cologne that they were required to submit to Daemenn as Vicar Apostolic, to deny the existence of the Chapters, and to sign the Formulary of Alexander VII. The first they were ready to do, as soon as the Dutch Government should allow it, with the condition that the Chapter should retain its ancient right to elect the archbishop; the second they rejected absolutely, and the third, after some hesitation, they rejected also.

The question of the Five Propositions was only beginning to be understood by the Dutch clergy, and Heussen published a defence of the rejection of the "Formulary". On May 18, 1712, Jacob Catz, the Dean of Utrecht, died and was succeeded by Hugh van Heussen, the other Vicar General. Cornelius Stakenberg became Vicar General in place of Catz. In the same year Bussi was made a cardinal and recalled to Rome and the government of the Ultramontane section of the Dutch Church was transferred back to the internuncio at Brussels, an Italian named Santini.

The Chapter was now finding great difficulty in getting fresh priests. No ordination had been held in Holland since Archbishop Codde's departure for Rome in 1703; their opponents could easily introduce priests from other countries, but the Chapter had no means of filling vacant parishes, and their party was in danger of dying out. They had to get their candidates ordained on letters dismissory to foreign bishops, and it was difficult to get any bishop to run the risk of ordaining men whom Rome regarded as schismatic.

In 1714 an Irish Carmelite priest named Marison, visited Heussen. Filled with pity for the plight of the Church of Utrecht, he approached Bishop Giffard, the Roman Vicar Apostolic in London, who sympathized, but did not venture to do anything. Marison then went to Ireland and persuaded Bishop Fagan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, to ordain some candidates on letters dismissory from Heussen.

The first three were ordained in the spring of 1715. The utmost secrecy was observed, and Fagan was much alarmed because the young men had informed others, contrary to his orders. Twelve priests were ordained by Fagan at different times, including Hieronymus de Bock, afterwards Bishop of Haarlem, and Peter Meindaerts, afterward Archbishop of Utrecht.

The nuncio at Cologne was furious when he heard of the ordinations, and summoned before him fourteen persons whom he though had been ordained; but in reality some of them were married, and one or two were apparently Protestants! Finding that he was making himself ridiculous by these proceedings, as well as annoying the government, the nuncio made John van Bylevelt, his deputy for this purpose, and on October 2, 1717 appointed him Vicar Apostolic. But when Bylevelt instituted priests to take the places of those who have been appointed by the Chapter, riots ensured at Amsterdam, Hilversu, and other places. Whereupon the States of Holland, Zealand, West Friesland, and later Utrecht banished him from their territory, fined him, and forbade their subjects to recognize his jurisdiction. He retired to Arnhem in the province of Gelderland, and governed those who recognized him from there. He was the last Vicar Apostolic in Holland for 100 years.

In 1715 the theological faculties of Paris and Louvain were invited to answer the following three questions:

  • 1] Has the Church of Utrecht been reduced to the status of a mere mission?

  • 2] Has the Chapter of Utrecht survived?

  • 3] Does the Vicariate set up by Rovenius represent the ancient Chapter?

The answer given by Van Espen and four other doctors of Louvain was "No" to the first question and "Yes" to the others. It was dated May 25, 1717. Soon afterwards 102 doctors of theology at Paris and the whole faculty of law associated themselves with their answer, giving additional reasons for it.

Supported by these answers from the Universities, three French bishops declared themselves will to ordain priests for the Chapter of Utrecht. Soanen ordained four in 1718, one of whom was Barchman Wuytiers, afterwards Archbishop of Utrecht, and others later. Lorraine ordained three in 1720-21, the first of who was ordained at Paris, with the formal permission of Cardinal de Noailles; and Caumartin also ordained some.

Chapter Nine

Now at last, by unexpected means, a way was found to fill the long vacant Archbishopric.

Dominique Marie Varlet was a devoted missionary priest who had been since 1712 in charge of the French missions in "Louisiana", the name given to the vast region beyond the Allegheny Mountains, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico, in fact, the region now known as the "Middle West". He had come to Quebec to report to his bishop on the state of his mission, and was about to go back there with three young priests from the seminary at Quebec when he received orders from Rome, dated September 17, 1718 to go to Persia as coadjutor to the Bishop of Babylon.

Accordingly he sailed for France and on arriving at Paris, received instruction to get himself consecrated as soon as possible, and to go to Persia at once. The consecration was to be private, and he was to travel incognito. He was consecrated with the title of Bishop of Ascaion in the chapel of the Seminary of the Foreign Missions at Paris on Quinquagesima Sunday, February 19, 1719 by the former Bishop of Condom, assisted by the Coadjutor-Bishop of Quebec and the Bishop of Clermont.

On the same day he received news of the death of the Bishop of Babylon, which had taken place at Ispahan on November 20, 1717 so that he was no longer coadjutor, but Bishop of Babylon. He left Paris on March 18, without having received any further instructions from Rome. When they were already at sea, the consul decided to land at Amsterdam, where they arrived on April 2. They had to wait there for ten or twelve days, which included Holy Week and Easter.

Now, foreign priests were not allowed to say Mass in Holland without special permission from the government, for which the Bishop of Babylon could not apply because he was incognito. One of the parish priests, Jacob Kyrs, asked him to stay with him, and told him that he could say Mass safely in his house, because he had influence with the magistrates. Accordingly he stayed with Kyrs. His host, and other priests who heard that the bishop was there, begged him to confirm a large number of candidates who had never had an opportunity of being confirmed; for no bishop had been there since the departure of Archbishop Codde eighteen years before.

The bishop consented to confirm 604 orphans and other poor children, who could not go to other countries to be confirmed. Having done this, he sailed immediately for Russia, as it was impossible to travel through Turkey. He arrived in Persia on October 9; his residence was at Schamake, in the province of Shirwan [now Shemakh near Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan].

On March 26, 1720, a Jesuit, Father Bachou, called on him and handed him a paper which he found to be a formal suspension from his office, sent by the Bishop of Ispahan by order of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide. The reasons given for his suspension were:

  • 1] that he had not called on the nuncio at Paris and given his adhesion to the Bull "Unigenitus";

  • 2] that he had not called on the internuncio at Brussels and obtained permission to perform episcopal functions in the Netherlands, and yet had performed episcopal functions there to the scandal of Catholics.

After careful consideration and prayer, the bishop decided that he would never be able to carry on his work because he would not be supplied with money from home and because the refusal of the Jesuits and Capuchins in his diocese to recognize his authority would make his work impossible. He therefore returned to Europe, and settled at Amsterdam; he felt that he would have more time for study there than in France his native country.

He at once did all he could to get the suspension withdrawn. He pointed out that having just come from Canada, he knew nothing about the question of the "Unigenitus". That he had been ordered to live as privately as possible, therefore he did not call on anyone; that it was at that time illegal for any French subject to sign the "Unigenitus; [and indeed the order from Rome on the subject had not reached Paris before he left]. And that as he had been invited to give confirmation by the representatives of the Chapter of Utrecht, who had jurisdiction there during the vacancy of the See, he had not hesitated to do so. Moreover, the form of his suspension, and the manner in which it had been served on him were both highly irregular; nor was it in accordance with the canons that a diocesan bishop should be arbitrarily suspended, without trial or opportunity of defence.

Pope Clement XI, the author of the "Unigenitus"; died in 1721 and the bishop's friends at the Paris Seminary though that he might get better terms from the new Pope if he went back to France. Accordingly he went to Paris, and then to the house of Bishop Caylus at Auxerre. He obtained an opinion on his case from M. Gilbert, a well known French canonist, that the suspension was null and void, and that he might well have ignored it completely; this opinion was supported by several theologians at Paris and Louvain. Van Espen in particular declared that there was no case in all antiquity of such extraordinary treatment of a bishop. But when Bishop Varlet told his agent at Rome that he would never in any case accept the "Unigenitus", apologize for having given confirmation at Amsterdam, or resign his See, the agent answered that in that case all his appeals were quite useless.

After this he returned to Holland, settled down at Amsterdam, and set to work on an elaborate defence of his action and of the nullity of his suspension.

Meanwhile the Chapter of Utrecht had decided to provide themselves with an archbishop if possible. Twice they begged Pope Innocent XII to allow the election and consecration; but he did not even answer their letters. They obtained from Van Espen and two other doctors of Louvain an opinion proving that they had the right in the special circumstances, to elect their archbishop and get him consecrated without the consent of the Pope. There were recent precedents both in France and Portugal. Moreover, in case of necessity one bishop alone might consecrate. This opinion was signed by nineteen doctors of the theological faculty of Paris [the Sorbonne], and others from Nanes, Rheims and Padua. Van Espen with two other doctors of Louvain had already given their agreement in their Dissertation on the Miserable Condition of the Church of Utrecht.

The Chapter having obtained the permission of the government met at The Hague, April 27, 1723, and after a Mass of the Holy Ghost, elected with all the canonical forms, Cornelius Steenoven, Canon and Vicar General, to be Archbishop of Utrecht. Steenoven had been educated at Rome, and had taken the degree of Doctor of Divinity there; he had also been at Rome with Archbishop Codde as we have seen. He was elected as the candidate likely to be least obnoxious to Rome. Both the Chapter and the archbishop-elect asked the Pope to permit the consecration, but they received no answer.

Meanwhile Van Erke, the Dean of Utrecht, had written some popular tracts on the rights of a national church to have a bishop if its own, and these were widely circulated. On March 9, 1724, the Chapter sent a circular letter to all Roman Catholic bishops on the sufferings of their church. At this moment Pope Innocent XIII died, and the cardinals, fearing that his successor might be more lenient, issued a violent attack on the Chapter, while the internuncio wrote a letter to all the Roman Catholics in the Dutch Republic, in the same sense. The Chapter appealed to all Chapters everywhere and to eleven universities. They wrote to the new Pope. Benedict XIII, but in vain.

They asked the neighbouring bishops and the Jansenist bishops in France to consecrate Steenoven. Three French bishops certainly, and eight others probably, were in favour of the consecration but did not venture to carry it out. Three bishops in the Austrian Netherlands, those of Antwerp, Arra and St. Omer, were almost persuaded to act but not quite. The Bishop of Antwerp, to show that consecration by a single bishop was lawful without a papal dispensation, consecrated his brother Bishop of Rhodes in paritbus without any assistance; a strange way of showing sympathy!

The Chapter then entreated the Bishop of Babylon to consecrate Steenoven. "What will be your praise in the Catholic Church', they wrote, "if you raise up a church that has almost fallen, a church which God has perhaps preserved free from certain new bondages and scandals, that when He shall renew His signs, and shall do wondrously, it may minister to the execution of His counsels."

The Bishop of Babylon consented. Permission was obtained from the government for the first consecration of an Archbishop of Utrecht under that title, and in Dutch territory, since the Reformation.

On October 15, 1724, the 19th Sunday after Trinity, at 6AM [in order that the parish priests might be free for their duties later on], the Bishop of Babylon, in his private chapel at Amsterdam, in the presence of the whole Chapter, consecrated Cornelius van Steenoven to be the seventh Archbishop of Utrecht and canonical successor of Saint Willibrord. The deed was done: the Church of Utrecht, though as yet she did not know it, had begun her career as a church independent of the See of Rome.

As soon as the news of the consecration of Archbishop Steenoven became known, he received letters of congratulation from friends in France, as well as from the Austrian Netherlands [for what is now Belgium had been transferred from Spain to Austria in 1713] and Holland itself. The Bishops of Auxerre, Bayeau, Macon, Montpellier, Pamiers, and Senez all of them prominent in the struggle against the Bull "Unigenitus", congratulated him themselves; the Bishops of Bayonne, Castres, Dax, Lombez, Lucon, Rhodes, and Tarbes did so by deputy. One friend, Chassaigne, wrote, "If the consecrator had never performed any other episcopal act than this, I should regard him as the first bishop in the Church". Another, Ruth d'Ans, writing from Brussels, told the archbishop that he might justly call himself Archbishop of Utrecht by the grace of God, for what other grace could have overcome the obstacles which had opposed the happy consummation of so great a work?

The new archbishop at once wrote to Pope Benedict XIII and to the chief Roman Catholic bishops everywhere to inform them of his consecration. He also published a manifesto addressed to the whole Church, explaining the principles on which he and his clergy had acted and with it a formal appeal to the future General Council confirming the appeal of May 9, 1719.

On February 21, 1725, the Pope issued a brief, declaring the election of Steenoven null and void and his consecration "illicit and execrable". Forbidding the Roman Catholics in the United Provinces to recognize him as their archbishop or to have any dealings with him, especially in matters of religion, and pronouncing the severest censures on the Bishop of Babylon and his assistants. Surprise was caused by the Pope's accusation of false doctrine against the Church of Utrecht, an accusation that was indignantly repudiated.

When the brief reached Holland, Steenoven was already seriously ill. After making a solemn declaration of his belief in the Catholic Faith, including the prerogatives of the Roman See, and appealing for himself and his flock to the future General Council, he died April 3, 1725.

Chapter Ten

On May 15, Cornelius John Barchman Wuytiers, a priest of noble family who had been one of those ordained by Bishop Soanen of Senez, was elected unanimously by the Chapter of Utrecht to fill the vacant See.

As in the case of Steenoven, the Chapter announced the election to the Pope, and asked for the confirmation of the archbishop-elect and for a dispensation for consecration by a single bishop. Every effort was made by Rome to prevent the consecration.

Already diplomatic pressure had been applied to the Dutch Republic by Venice, and by the Roman Catholic Electors of the Empire to induce it to forbid the consecration of a successor to Steenoven. The Dutch Government replied to the Doge of Venice that it intended to protect both parties among its Roman Catholic subjects. Because it believed that in matters of religious persuasion and not constraint should alone be practiced, and that it could not admit the right of the Pope to exercise unlimited authority over its subjects.

On this the Ultramontane party asked that they might be allowed a Vicar Apostolic and there was a rumour that Rome might permit him to take the title of Bishop of Haarlem; but the Government though this would only prolong this schism and refused its consent.

Persuasion having failed, an attempt was made to try force. The Bishop of Babylon [upon whom, of course, the possibility of the consecration depended] was staying with the parish priest, Pastoor Verheul, at Helder, at the entrance to the Zuyder Zee. He was told that a lady warmly attached to the other party had boasted that he would not trouble the country much longer. A few days later he was invited to dinner by the captain of an unknown ship. On his refusal, the ship set sail, and he had no doubt that there had been a plot to kidnap him.

An attempt was next made to reconcile the Bishop of Babylon to Rome by means of his old friend, M. de Montigny, the agent at Rome of the Society of Foreign Missions at Paris. But he said clearly that the sole aim of this attempt was to delay or prevent the consecration of Barchman Wuytiers. On August 23, however, a papal brief was published which condemned the election of Barchman Wuytiers in still more violent terms than that of Steenoven. Which made the Pope ridiculous by mentioning as visible signs of Divine vengeance, not only the death of Archbishop Steenoven, but also that of "the laymen Doncker", and by asserting that the archbishop had been consecrated in his house. Theodore Doncker, one of the assistants at the consecration of Steenoven, was a priest, not a layman, and was not dead, but alive and well.

It will be remembered that one of the points of issue was the duty of good Roman Catholics to accept without doubt facts officially stated by the Pope, such as the presence of the Five Propositions in the "Augustinus." Doncker, standing in his pulpit at Amsterdam, with the brief in his hand, asked his people how the Pope, who had declared him to be dead, could expect his own decrees to be treated as infallible oracles.

As before, the neighbouring bishops were invited to consecrate the new archbishop, but no answer was received from them. The Bishop of Babylon was then approached, and on September 30, 1725, the 18th Sunday after Trinity in the Church of St. James and St. Augustine at The Hague [which is still in use], he consecrated Cornelius John Barchman Wuytiers as Archbishop of Utrecht. As before, the archbishop announced his consecration to the Pope, who replied by excommunicating him and all his clergy and all that should in any way assist or encourage him. He answered by appealing to the future General Council and by a letter to the Pope in which he offered to resign for the sake of peace. But only on condition that he and his clergy should not be asked to accept the "Formulary" or the "Unigenitus", and that the rights of the Chapters should be recognized.

In the meantime, the Chapter of Haarlem, which, though maintaining it right to exist [denied by Rome], had deserted the cause of Utrecht, had elected a Vicar General on the express condition that he should not exercise the functions of his office in any way. But before it did this, the Chapter of Utrecht, after inquiring of the canonists of Louvain whether it had a right, as Chapter of the Metropolitan See, to appoint a Vicar General for Haarlem if the Chapter of Haarlem refused or delayed to do so, appointed Barchman Wuytiers, [afterwards Archbishop] as Vicar General for Haarlem. As archbishop he continued to govern the parishes in the dioceses of Haarlem, which recognized his authority, in the capacity of Vicar General as well as of Metropolitan.

Archbishop Barchman Wuyties received more letters of congratulation and communion after his consecration than any of his predecessors or successors. They numbered more than 100 and were signed by at least 2,000 ecclesiastics in France and the Austrian Netherlands. Among them were all the bishops who had congratulated Steenoven, and there were said to be thirty others in France who were in sympathy a list of these were sent in October 1725 to the archbishop by M. Dilhe. There were also letters of congratulation from many distinguished laymen. Thirty-one Carthusian and fourteen Cistercian monks, driven from France because they had refused to accept the Bull "Unigenitus", fled to Holland and placed themselves under the Archbishop of Utrecht.

As the Bishop of Babylon was getting old, the archbishop was anxious to secure the succession by consecrating a Bishop of Haarlem. After consulting Van Espen and others, he gave notice to the Chapter of Haarlem that unless they elected a bishop within three months he would exercise his right as Metropolitan and nominate one. The three months passed, the archbishop assembled the Chapter and Theodore Doncker was unanimously elected. But owing to a controversy about usury, which was then raging, the consecration was postponed and Doncker died in 1731. On May 13, 1733, Archbishop Barchman Wuytiers died suddenly at his house at Rhynwyck, near Utrecht.

On July 22 in the same year, Theodore van der Croon, parish priest of Gouda, who had been associated with the party of the Chapter since the days of Archbishop Codde, was unanimously elected archbishop. The same formalities and excommunications took place as in the case of Steenoven and Barchman Wuytiers. An attempt was made by the French and Portuguese ambassadors to bribe the Bishop of Babylon to return to France. An interview was arranged at the castle of Zeist. The bishop was accompanied by M. Jube, but instead of finding there the Portuguese ambassador as he expected he found the French ambassador who offered him, in the name of Cardinal Fieury [who was practically Prime Minister of France], benefices sufficient for him to live in episcopal state. The bishop asked for two days to consider the offer, as a polite way of refusing; but Acunha, the Portuguese ambassador, bitterly reproached his French colleague for not having kidnapped the bishop. He answered that such methods were not to his taste, and also might offend the Dutch Government.

On October 28, 1734, the Bishop of Babylon consecrated Theodore van der Croon. The new archbishop was a man of particularly gentle disposition and he asked the Archbishop of Malines to use his influence at Rome in his favour. This only provoked a violent controversy in which, as in all the other controversies on the subject, the supporters of the Chapter had the last word. The archbishop died on June 9, 1739.

He was succeeded by a man of much more determined character, Peter John Meindaerts, who had been ordained in Ireland by Bishop Fagan, and who was now Archpriest of Leeuwarden and Dean of Friesland. The usual forms were observed and Meindaerts was consecrated on St. Luke's Day, October 18, 1739. He announced his consecration to the Pope, and declared himself ready to resign if by doing so he could bring peace to the Church.

It is from Archbishop Meindaerts that all the later Old Roman Catholic bishops derive their succession, for the Bishop of Babylon, after having consecrated four archbishops, died on May 14, 1742 at The Hague and it became necessary to consecrate another bishop in order to provide for the succession.

Meanwhile, Prospero Lambertini, the great canonist, had in 1740 become Pope under the name of Benedict XIV. This modest and learned Pope, the greatest occupant of the Roman See in the eighteenth century might have been expected, perhaps, to heal the schism. But Benedict XIV, though not as much under the influence of the Jesuits as some of his predecessors, was a thorough Ultramontane. Professor von Schulte, the great Old Roman canonist, says that Benedict XIV did for canon law what the Vatican Council did for dogmatic theology; he brought it under Papal control. He though that the Bull "Unigenitus" had been a mistake, perhaps did not even believe it, but he felt bound, in loyalty to his predecessors, to insist on its being accepted. And he not only excommunicated Archbishop Meindaerts, but also abused him in language exceeding that of his predecessors, as "a child of iniquity, a most unnatural son of the tenderest of fathers, a deceitful and savage wolf, an accomplished deceiver, a madman who case was almost desperate". The reason for this violence was that Meindaerts was supposed to have directly disobeyed the brief of Clement XII declaring the election invalid, although in reality that brief had not and indeed could not have reached Holland before the consecration.

Chapter Eleven

Archbishop Meindaerts lost no time in providing for the succession. The Chapter of Haarlem had continued to refuse to exercise their right of election and the metropolitan there had the right to nominate the bishop [per just devolutionis]. With the consent of those of the clergy of Haarlem who acknowledged his jurisdiction, he nominated Heironymus de Bock. de Bock had also been ordained in Ireland, and who was in charge of one of the parishes at Amsterdam, to the See of Haarlem, [vacant since 1587] and consecrated him on September 2, 1742. As usual, the Pope excommunicated everyone concerned. Bishop de Bock died within three years, and John van Stiphout was nominated as his successor and was consecrated on July 11, 1745.

Three different attempts to bring the schism to an end were now made. The first failed because Rome insisted that the archbishop and his clergy should accept the "Formulary" and the "Unigenitus" and revoke all their appeals to the future General Councils and that the archbishop should asked for absolution. Then a certain Father Norbert proposed that the Dutch clergy should not be required to accept the "Unigenitus' on the ground that if they did so, they would be breaking the civil law. But they found that they were being represented as really accepted the "Unigenitus", and only refusing to do so publicly for fear of civil penalties. As honest men, they could not permit themselves to be placed in such a false position. They explained their real attitude towards the Bull, whereupon the negotiations came to an end.

A third attempt failed through the death of Benedict XIV. The Marquis Nicolini, a Florentine, who made this attempt, declared his astonishment that Rome should accept the regicides of Portugal but anathematize the best Catholics in the Church. Cardinal Tamburini promised that if he were elected Pope he would at once reconcile the Church of Utrecht; but he was not elected and nothing was to be hoped for from Clement XIII, a weak man who could not resist the Jesuits.

As reunion appeared to be hopeless, at any rate for the present, Archbishop Meindaerts decided to strengthen his position by consecrating a third bishop. There was one faithful congregation in the diocese of Leeuwarden, and it appeared desirable to appoint a bishop for that See, but some of the clergy preferred a coadjutor-bishop. The canonists of Paris and Caen were consulted, and agreed unanimously that the archbishop had the right to consecrate a bishop for Leeuwarden, and indeed for all the other vacant Sees. Bishop Verthamon of Lucon supported this opinion. But as the Government of Friesland objected to the consecration of a bishop for that province, the archbishop, with the unanimous consent of the Chapter, nominated as Bishop of Deventer, Bartholomew John Byeveld, a canon of Utrecht, who was in charge of one of the parishes at Rotterdam.

He was consecrated on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 1758. The revived Bishopric of Deventer had never been more than a titular one; as there have never been any parishes in that diocese which have accepted the archbishop's jurisdiction. The nomination of Byeveld was denounced by the Pope as usual, and the archbishop replied with a letter which was translated into French, Latin, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese and went through three editions in France in less than a month; it also made a great impression at Vienna. No brief was issued against the consecration though it had been forbidden.

In 1763 Archbishop Meindaerts decided to hold a provincial synod. Though the Council of Trent had ordered that provincial synods should be held every three years, it had not been possible to hold one at Utrecht since 1565. The main purpose of the synod was to condemn the erroneous teaching published by Pierre Le Clerc, a French subdeacon living at Amsterdam. By7 which means it was hope that the Pope might be induced to judge the Church of Utrecht favourably; and at the same time to condemn the teaching of Hardouin, Berruyer, Pichon, and other Jesuits. The members of the synod were the three bishops, the Dean and Chapter of Utrecht, and representatives of the clergy of both dioceses. They met in the Cathedral Church of St. Gertrude at Utrecht.

The synod began by securing the rights of the rest of the clergy of the province if at any future time they should submit to the authority of their lawful bishops. Then formally recited the Nicene Creed, anathematized, and adopted Bossuet's Exposition de la Foi [Exposition of the Faith] as the expression of its own faith.

Le Clerc had declared that the Five Propositions attributed to Jansen contained the Catholic Faith on the question of grace. This opinion was formally condemned by the Synod; for the contention of the Dutch "Janenists" had always been, not that the Five Propositions were true or orthodox, but that they were not to be found in Jensen's Augustinus.

In condemning Le Clerc's account of the schism between Rome and Constantinople, the synod most injudiciously declared the Greek Churches to be schismatic because they were separated from the 'chair of Peter'. No doubt the synod was not acquainted with the case for the other side. It also condemned Le Clerc's opinion that the Church is never infallible except when it is assembled in Ecumenical Councils, and that bishops and priests are equal; and it renewed its adhesion to the creed of Pius IV, which Le Clerc had rejected.

It condemned various doctrinal errors of the most serious kind taught by the Jesuits, Hardouin and Berruyer [the former of whom had put forward the remarkable theory that all the classical literature was composed in medieval monasteries!] and errors in moral theology taught by Pichon, another Jesuits. It also condemned several works on Probabilism, one of which had already been condemned at Rome. In opposition to the opinion of the Jesuits, that the Pope might dispense subjects from their civil allegiance, and that regicide was in certain cases permissible, the synod rejected this dispensing power, and asserted the Divine right of kings. This was one of the main issues between the Roman and English Churches in the century after the Reformation: Pius V had declared Queen Elizabeth deposed, and released her subjects from allegiance to her, which had been the chief reason for the persecution of Romanists in England.

Attempts to murder her, as well as Henri IV of France and William the Silent in the Netherlands, successful in the last tow cases, and been defended on the principles now condemned. The Jesuits had been accused of attempting to murder King Joseph of Portugal, September 3, 1758 and this had led to their expulsion from the kingdom.

The synod also passed twenty-four canons on discipline. The most interesting of these directed that those who neglected the opportunity of being confirmed risked their salvation. That there should be no music during the Mass between the Elevation of the Host and the Lord's Prayer [as already directed by Archbishop Rovenius]. And that marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, even when performed without the forms required by the Council of Trent were valid, but, on the part of the Catholic partner, sinful. This was in accordance with the instructions of Pope Benedict XIV [based on the distinctions drawn by Archbishop van Neercassel], since the decrees of the Council of Trent had not been published in the United Provinces. A copy of the acts of the synod was sent to Pope Clement XIII.

The acts of the synod were very well received throughout Roman Catholic Europe, and many bishops sent letters of congratulation and communion to Archbishop Meindaerts.

Pope Clement XIII was much pleased with the acts of the synod, but the Jesuits insisted that it should be condemned. A commission of six cardinals was appointed to decide the matter; four of then prepared a formal condemnation, which was duly issued. It politely described the members of the synod as "men given over to destruction, children of iniquity, impious, headstrong, rebels against the judgment of the Church, and schismatics chased from her bosom." Bottari, the librarian of the Vatican, who declared that the majority of the commission had not the slightest knowledge of theology, observed that even if they burned the acts of the synod on the steps of St. Peter's they would only add fresh testimony to the affection and reverence of the synod towards the Roman See.

Archbishop Meindaerts died on October 31, 1767. Walter Michael van Nieuwenhuisen, was unanimously elected as his successor and was consecrated on Sexagesima Sunday, February 7, 1768. The new archbishop received letters of communion from bishops in France, Germany, Italy and Spain and from a large number of priests, who recognized fully, not only that the Church of Utrecht was orthodox in doctrine, but also that her claims to canonical jurisdiction were sound.

The history of the Church of Utrecht at this period, and indeed much later, shows that her members were still faithful Roman Catholics, desiring nothing so much as reconciliation with Rome, and that many Roman Catholic bishops in several countries maintained communion with Utrecht, in spite of all that the Pope might say. The Dutch bishops still hoped that a change of policy at Rome, such as might have occurred if Clement XIV had lived longer, would bring the schism to an end. The point in dispute was really the right of the Pope to blind obedience. The Dutch bishops and their flock, like all Galicans, held that he was a constitutional monarch, who could not enforce new dogmas upon his subjects without the consent of a General Council. Nor deprive local churches of their ancient canonical rights; and they would not sign any document, which they did not believe to be true, even for the sake of reconciliation with him whom they still believed to be the Vicar of Christ.

But the Popes with all their advisers at Rome, and the great majority of Roman Catholics, especially in the southern countries, where Romanism was strongest and where the Jesuits had long been in control of the schools, held that the Papacy was an absolute monarch, whose right to blind obedience came straight from God.

The synod of 1763 made clear that while the Holy See withheld its pastoral care, the Church in Holland remained Roman Catholic. It refused to acknowledge a schismatic statue, since schism is a condition in which the authority of the pope is repudiated or communion with the Apostolic See is refused. It was squarely on the authority of the Pope [to make the pre-Reformation grants] that the Dutch rested their case and they sought every avenue short of ultramontanism to reestablish the lines of communication between Utrecht and Rome.

Reconciliation with Rome means, and as long as Rome remains Rome, always must mean, unconditional submission.

Chapter Twelve

The faith, morals, doctrine and Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church remained wholly in tack among the ultrajectines.

While more negative incentives might be hurled against them, and indeed one can only say with any degree of dispassion that they were disobedient Roman Catholics, but not schismatic or heretical.

In 1823, the Archbishop of Utrecht met with the papal nuncio from Brussels. Both wanted to end the dispute and both offered Formularies by which the dispute might be concluded. Both called for the unequivocal obedience and submission of the ultrajectines to the Roman Pontiff. But the same issues arose again. One called for 'blind' obedience, while the other called for 'intelligent' obedience. What was acceptable to one was unacceptable to the other, so nothing came of the conference.

In 1827, another meeting took place, but the same issues arose. The ultramontanes insisted that the ultrajectines subscribe to something, which was manifestly contrary to the conscience of the ultrajectine party. Archbishop van Santen's words clearly enunciate the whole essence of ultrajectine Roman Catholicism. "Am I to understand that His Holiness asks that I should call God to witness that I do believe what I do not believe, what the Pope knows I do not believe, what Almighty God knows that I do not believe? Is Catholic unity to be maintained by perjury?"

The reply of Monsignor Capaccini typifies the position of the ultramontane party. "The Holy Father only requires what lies within the province of his authority. When the Church instructs you what to believe you are bound to silence all trifling scruples." The Archbishop was indignant and outraged by this gross infringement on his conscience, and upheld the ultrajectine position that one's conscience must be given greater consideration and attention that is reflected in the words "trifling scruples."

Ultramontanism became normative in the Church outside of Holland. The Dutch bishops, however, still hoped that a future pope or ecumenical council would come to their aid.

In 1853, Pope Pius IX established a rival hierarchy to that of the church in Holland, and so now there were two churches of Holland, both catholic, rivals, though not actually enemies. It was this "restoration" of the hierarchy which gave rise to the name "Old Roman Catholic" which began to be applied to the original Church to distinguish it from the new establishment of Pius IX

When Vatican I met in 1870, Utrecht had been in isolation for a hundred and fifty years. They looked with great hope to this council. They were the only Catholic prelates in the world that were denied admission to this Council, and the ultrajectine position was suppressed. Thus, all their hopes were dashed to pieces. Ultramontanism ostensibly became obligatory for all Roman Catholics. In fact, at the instigation of those unfavourable to the cause of the church of Holland, the Vatican Council abolished the principle of appeal to a general council of the Church.

The council declared the Pope infallible in matters of faith and morals when speaking officially "ex cathedra" - from the chair of Peter. The proclamation was as follows: "If, therefore, anyone says that the Roman Pontiff possesses only the office of Inspection or Direction, but not the full and highest power of Jurisdiction over the Universal Church, not only in things pertaining to faith and morals, but also in those pertaining to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or that he has only the more important share, but not the fullness of this highest power; or that such his power is not an ordinary and immediate one, as well over all and several Churches as over all and several pastors and faithful, let him be anathema." It was further taught and defined as a dogma divinely revealed that "when the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, i.e. when in the exercise of his office as the Pastor and Doctor of all Christians, through his supreme apostolic authority, he defines the teaching which is to be received by the Universal Church regarding faith and morals, then by virtue of the Divine assistance promised to him in St. Peter, he is invested with the infallibility with which it was the will of the Divine Redeemer that His Church should be endowed, in the definitions of the Roman Pontiff are unalterable in themselves, and not by consent of the Church."

No matter how seldom the pope had actually availed himself of this power, from then on, to the average Roman Catholic, all his other pronouncements assumed a degree of verity hardly distinguishable from the certitude of the Divine Word.

Chapter Thirteen

Opposition to the doctrine of papal infallibility and universal ordinary jurisdiction that were proclaimed at Vatican I led to the formation of the "Old Catholic Movement." Father Ignaz van Doellinger, Professor of Church History, led the "Old Catholics" at the University of Munich.

In 1870 an assembly was held at Nuremberg at which the Vatican declaration was rejected publicly by a large number of professors. Early in the next year Doellinger made his famous declaration in which he explained that "as a Christian, as a theologian, as an historian, as a citizen" he could not accept the new Vatican doctrine. This declaration came to be regarded in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France as the authoritative reply of the Old Catholics to the Vatican claim.

In September 1871, a conference of Old Catholics was held in Munich, and was attended by eight hundred delegates. The program adopted was as follows: "The retention of the old Catholic faith, assertion of rights as Catholics; rejection of the new dogmas. Retention of the constitution of the ancient Church, with omission of such declarations of the faith as were not in harmony with the actual belief of the Church. Reform of the Church, with such co-operation of the laity as was consistent with its constitution; efforts towards the reunion of Christian confessions. Reform of the training and position of the clergy; allegiance to the State, in opposition to the attacks of ultramontanism; rejection of the Jesuits; solemn protest in favour of claims as Catholics upon the endowments of the Church.

Against the wishes of Doellinger, however, the convention elected to erect rival parishes to those already in canonical existence. Thus, from the beginning, this "Old Catholic Movement" was a schismatic one.

No bishop had joined their ranks so they were at the very outset presented with a problem of securing the Apostolic Succession.

They rightly surmized that the bishops of Holland were at their lowest psychological ebb, having been just recently so grossly humiliated by the ultramontances. They went to the Bishop of Deventer [within the Province of Utrecht] and represented that their position was exactly that of the ultrajectines. He was prevailed upon to consecrate a bishop for them, Father Joseph Hubert Reinkens, a Professor of Theology at Breslan. The Bishop of Deventer consecrated him at Rotterdam according to the Roman rite.

Autonomous national churches were established in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Utrecht did not join this "Old Catholic" movement at first. Indeed, she remained in isolation, but was drawn into Old Catholic affairs by her deep concerns about the rapidity with which the Swiss repudiated the decrees of the Council of Trent; adopted married clergy, and broke with Roman Catholic tradition.

The Archbishop of Utrecht, Johannes Heykamp, performed his greatest service to the Old Catholic cause by summoning the conference, which led to the Declaration of Utrecht. [see Appendix V]

This conference met on September 24, 1889. It consisted of the five Old Catholic bishops, the Archbishop of Utrecht, the Bishops of Haarlem and Deventer, and Bishops Reinken and Herzog, together with theologians representing the Dutch, German and Swiss Old Catholic Churches.

The Archbishop of Utrecht took the chair. The Conference reached complete agreement, and decided to take three steps to unite the churches.

  • 1] The five bishops agreed to establish a Bishops' Conference for mutual consultation. No church was to have priority or jurisdiction over any other; all the bishops agreed that they would not consecrate any bishop without the consent of all the Old Catholic bishops.

  • 2] An international Old Catholic Congress was to be held every two years.

  • 3] The five bishops issued a declaration of doctrinal principles by which all Old Catholic bishops and priests were to be bound. This document, known as the Declaration of Utrecht [Utrechtserklarung], is still the doctrinal basis of Old Catholicism and Old Roman Catholicism.

Chapter Fourteen

Convinced long before the Vatican Council [1870] that the doctrines of papal infallibility and the universality of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the Church were absolutely erroneous, Old Roman Catholics did not allow that the simple fact of the dogmatization of these two errors by the pope and the majority of the Council was sufficient to transform them into truths - still less, divine truths; and after, as before, the 18th of July 1870, we rejected these two dogmas. It is hardly necessary to recall the proofs established by Old Roman Catholics of the falsity of these new dogmas - a falsity clearly shown up by the Scriptures, by universal tradition, by the history of the seven Ecumenical Councils, and by several other undoubted facts. Roman Catholic theologians have seriously refuted none of these proofs.

Old Roman Catholics, therefore, by rejecting these false dogmas, remained faithful to the Catholicism of the time before the Vatican Council. We did not leave the Catholic Church to form a new Church, we remained in the Catholic Church of which we had always formed a part; and we continue to set the 'universal' unvarying, and unanimous testimony of the Church in opposition to Roman innovations.

This attitude and the theological works, which we had had to produce to prove the truth of our cause, have led us to discover a number of errors made by Roman theologians and transformed into dogmas in the course of the ages. So that the protest against the false dogmas of the 18th of July 1870, has logically incurred on our part the protest against all the false dogmas previously promulgated by the papacy. [See especially W. Guettee, La Papaute schismatique, Paris, 1863, and La Papute heretique, do. 1874, and E. Michaud, La Papaute antichretienne, do. 1873].

This discovery of the errors of the Roman papacy from the 9th century to the present day, and in all the individual Churches under the jurisdiction of Rome, has given fresh impetus and considerable importance to the Old Roman Catholic movement. It is a complete history of Roman Theology, remade in accordance with authentic sources and contrary to the thousands of Roman falsifications pointed out recently by the most eminent theologians of the Churches, including even Roman theologians.

We may say that these new publications - this veritable resurrection of ancient documents believed to be buried in darkness - have created a new situation and started a thorough reformation of so-called Catholic theology.

After 1870, a truly General Council was no longer considered a remote possibility. The Old Roman Catholic Church [as it was now known] then resolved to bring about many desired reforms within its own organization. Until then it had kept fairly close to the traditional laws and liturgical customs of the Roman Church.

The chief aims of the Old Roman Catholic Church may be reduced to three:

  • 1] theological reform;
  • 2] ecclesiastical reform;
  • 3] union of the Christian Churches.

Theological Reform

This reform was not undertaken arbitrarily; nor is it conducted by each theologian according to his personal opinions on each of the disputed questions. A strict method governs all their actions, a method, which results especially in distinguishing dogma from theology. Dogma, which is the word of Christ as it is recorded in the Gospels, from theology, which is the explanation given by the apostles and scholars to secure the acceptance and practice of the precepts of Jesus Christ.

Christ, being 'the way, the truth, and the life', is the only Scholar, the only Master; He has declared it Himself to His disciples. It is therefore, He alone who, as the only Mediator and Saviour, possesses the words of eternal life, it is He alone who is the light of the world, and it is He alone who has the right to impose His doctrines, decrees, and dogmas on His disciples.

On the other hand, every disciple is entitled and even duty bound to try to understand the dogmas of Christ, to see their depth and beauty, and to derive profit from them for the sanctification of his soul. Dogma is the divine truth which is taught by Christ; theology is the explanation given by man - an explanation more or less luminous, which each one may judge according to the light of his reason, conscience, and knowledge: "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good" [1 Th. 5:21].

This distinction between dogma and theology is made by the application of the Catholic test to every disputed point. The test is the one so well epitomized by Vincent of Lerins: "What has been believed everywhere, always, and by all the Christian Churches is Catholic" [Commonitory, ii..6]. The Catholic faith is the universal, unvarying, and unanimous faith, because, even humanly speaking, all the Christian Churches cannot be making a mistake when they attest, as a fact, they have always believed or not believed, from their very foundation, in the doctrine which the apostle-founders of their particular Church has taught them or not.

It is not a question of settling an important discussion, but of making a simple statement of fact. As to the theological explanations, which may be given of the established doctrine, they depend, like all the explanations in this world, on reason, science, history, and the knowledge which humanity has at its disposal.

Thus faith and liberty are reconciled. The faith which depends not on any caprice or any school, but solely on the historical and objective testimony of the Churches; and liberty of criticism or of reason, which conscientiously speaking, belongs to the religious truths transmitted to all the Churches, to the best of the religious interests of each Church. Thus the faith is a depository. A depository of all the precepts confided by Jesus Christ to His disciples, a depository which does not belong exclusively to any one person, but to everybody, to the preservation of which all faithful Churches carefully attend, so that none of it may be suppressed, and also that no foreign doctrine may be surreptitiously introduced into it [depositum custodi]. And theology is a science which, like other sciences, belong to reason, to history, to criticism, and which also obeys fixed rules.

It is therefore neither a bishop nor a priest nor a scholar that is entrusted with the preservation of dogma, but all bishops, all priests, all scholars - in a word, all the faithful members of the Church. Christ being the only Master of His Church, there is no other rule than His; it is sufficient to guard His doctrine and precepts. The Church was not instituted to found a religion other than that of Christ, but merely to preserve it and spread it throughout the world ["Go ye therefore, and teach all nations"]. The Church is therefore a guardian of the teachings and precepts of Jesus Christ; its title, the 'teaching Church', means not that it has the right to teach any doctrines that it pleases, but that it is its duty to preach openly what Christ taught His disciples in secret.

Real theological reform should consist in communicating to all men the teachings of Jesus Christ, as they are collected in the Scriptures and recorded in the universal tradition of the Church - a tradition, which also belongs to all the members of the Church. It is the duty of pastors and scholars to explain them, and it is the duty of each member to study the explanation, which appear to them wisest and most useful. The good sense and the Christian spirit that prevail in the Church are sufficient to ensure the final triumph of truth over error; "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them".

Since the Church is not a chair to which might be addressed all questions that arise in the minds of the inquisitive and the imaginative, it is not obliged to solve them or to prevent men from discussing among themselves matters which neither God nor Christ has thought fit to make clear. It is the work of scholars to elucidate the mysteries of science; the apostles have simply to preach the truths, which Christ thought sufficient for the edification and sanctification of humanity.

The fruitfulness of the faith does not consist in discovering new dogmas or in transforming the Church into a revealer, charged with completing the revelation made by Christ. The faith is fruitful, it increases, it grows by the closeness of its adherence to the word of Christ, and not by the proclamation of unknown dogmas. It is Christ alone who is the religious light and the religious life of the world - the Church must only be His humble servant.

Ecclesiastical Reform

This reform should consist in reminding the Church what Christ wished it to be. Christ established a hierarchy for the service of the faithful. That hierarchy, therefore, ought to serve, and not to rule. Its offices are a ministry, and not an authority. There is no imperium in the Church of Christ; "neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you"; and the obedience of the disciples must be reasonable, and not servile.

If any member wanted to be first, he had to be the first to serve his brothers, and not to give them orders - to feed the flock, i.e. to lead it into good pastures, and not to enslave it by false dogmas or exploit it by superstitions. The main duties of pastors are to arouse the conscience of the faithful, to enlighten it, to act as if each of them were another Christ. Christ took a firm stand against the Pharisees of His day, but He did not charge any of His disciples to rebuke his brothers, still less to excommunicate them or curse them.

The mission of the Church also is essentially religious and spiritual. Christ did not give it any worldly and temporal authority; He chose apostles and disciples only to lay the most strict duties on them, and thus to make examples of them for the flock. The early bishops or superintendents were only the overseers, and not master: "for one is your Master" [Matthew 23.8].

The primitive Church, then, was simply a gathering or reunion in which the first and only Chief was, in the eyes of the faithful, Christ himself. Pastor5s and people simply formed a school, a body and soul. This was the parish, and, if a dispute arose between any of the members, it was 'the Church' that restored peace: "Die Ecclesiae".

Gradually bonds of brotherhood and charity were formed between the various local churches, and in this way synods came into being - special and very limited synods, before the idea of general councils were heard of. It is not only the idea of the true bishops, therefore, that has to be restored, but also that of the synod and the council.

Because the so-called ecumenical council was believed to be the representation of the whole Church, it was soon confused by the Church, and rights were assigned to it, which the Church itself hardly possessed. Under the pretext that the council was, as it were, the supreme jurisdiction of the Church, this jurisdiction was made a universal and absolute jurisdiction to which was soon joined the privilege of infallibility. The practical consequences resulting from this confusion and the numerous abuses arising from them to the detriment of the Church are well known.

Old Roman Catholics are engaged in restoring the true conceptions of pastor, bishop, synod, council, ecclesiastical authority, and even infallibility according to ancient traditions. The constitution of the Church is monarchical only because Christ is its only monarch. But, inasmuch as it is a society composed of men, the Church has been called from its very beginning a simple 'church' and it has been regarded in its universality, since the time when the question of universality arose, as a Christian 'republic'. It would give a wrong idea of the early bishops to represent their actions as an aristocratic government; the words of St. Peter himself are opposed to that.

The episcopal see of Rome was not long in attaining a certain priority. Rome being the capital of the empire; but it was merely a priority of honour, and not of jurisdiction. Christ did not appoint a master among His disciples. When He told Peter especially to feed His lambs and sheep, it was to restore to him the function of which he had proved unworthy, and of which he had been deprived in denying Christ. As Peter repented, he deserved to be reinstated, and he was, but it is a mistake to transform this reinstatement as a simple apostle into exaltation above all the other apostles. Rome accomplished the alteration of the constitution of the Church by means of grossly erroneous interpretations of texts; the policy and the ambition of the bishops of Rome did the rest.

Such is the spirit in which Old Roman Catholics have set about restoring the true conception of the Church and realizing the ecclesiastical reform claimed for such a long time 'in capite et in membris'.

Union of the Christian Churches

This reform of the Church would have been very imperfect if it had not from the very beginning implied the re-establishment of union among the separate Churches. It has been rightly said that 'it is as difficult to see Christ behind the Church as to see the sun behind the darkness of night'. From the very start of our work we have made it one of our aims to study means of reviving this union. Our efforts during our international congresses, and our writings on this question in Revue internationale de theologie [1893 - 1910], are well known; great reconcilations have been effected among all the Churches that have taken part in these, and, if the union has not yet been sanctioned, it is because there are still administrative obstacles to be overcome, and especially prejudices of a hierarchical kind to be put down - a matter of time, which more favourable social circumstances will undoubtedly help to bring to a successful issue.

It is already apparent to all eyes that the 'union' aimed at is on the 'unity' which many had at first imaged. That the latter is not necessary; and that, moreover, it is impossible, considering the needs of various kinds which are prevalent among the nations and which form part of human nature itself. The chimera of a false unity being removed, matter-of-fact men will return to the real nature of spiritual union and the 'bond of peace' [Eph. 4:3], which will be sufficient to form real Christian brotherhood throughout the world.

A better understanding has already been reached as to the respects in which the Christian Churches ought to be one, and those in which they ought to remain distinct and all. When all are one in loving one another, in working together for the social well-being, in banishing from their theology every trace of anthropomorphism and politics, in becoming more spiritually-minded after the pattern of Christ, and in establishing the reign of God in every individual conscience, then the union in question will be very near being declared.



Among the dogmatic results already attained we may mention the following: the rejection and refutation of papal infallibility and of the pope's absolute and universal jurisdiction over the whole Church. The rejection and refutation of the other false dogmas taught by Rome in the Syllabus and elsewhere. The re-establishment of the true idea of dogma, of its distinction from theological speculation. The restoration in practice of the Catholic test: "What has been believed everywhere, always, and by everybody is Catholic"; the ruling that purely Western and papist councils are not Ecumenical Councils, the latter being only seven in number [325 - 787]. The declaration of the orthodoxy of the Eastern Church, called the 'Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils' because it has no other faith than that which was taught by them. The bringing into prominence of the union of the Churches, which must be neither a submission to the pope nor a neglect of dogma, but the maintenance of the autonomy of each individual Church in the universality of the whole Church.


Of these we may mention the reduction of the primacy of the pope to the simple degree of primus inter pares. A title which does not confer any authority on him, but which lays on him the duty of attending more carefully than any other bishop to the decisions of the Church, to which he is subordinate. The binding of the pope to renounce every political vocation, and to confine himself to his essentially religious vocation. The return of the bishops to the simplicity of the early bishops, who were by no means prince-bishops. But who, simply elected by the members and the clergy, remained independent of the pope, and directed their dioceses in union with their synods; as active members of the Church. Who also attend to the guarding of the Church's interest and the maintenance of its discipline; and the revival of national and autonomous Church, Catholic by the unity of their faith: 'una fides, unus Christus, unam baptisma'.


Among disciplinary results are the following: the right of each individual Church to judge the manner most useful to itself of applying the canons of discipline formulated in the provincial synods and the Ecumenical Councils; and the right of restoring among the clergy the choice of celibacy or marriage. Liturgical

The liturgical results are: the return of the proper idea of the sacraments, which are neither empty symbols nor means of producing grace ' ex opera operator' but simply acts of worship in which Jesus Christ communicates His grace to well-affected souls. The revival of public penitence and the suppression of papal indulgences. The return of the spiritual conception of the Eucharist; the celebration of worship in the national language of each country, as well as the free gift of all religious work.

Politico - Ecclesiastical

Lastly, among politico-ecclesiastical results mention may be made of the independence of individual churches towards the political commands of Rome, and towards any political interference whatever, the Church being a spiritual and religious society, and in no way a political society.

Chapter Fifteen

In 1908 before abandoning the ultrajectine position of the Roman Catholic Church, on April 28th Archbishop Gerard Gul, who was assisted by Bishop van Thiel of Haarlem, Bishop Apit of Deventer consecrated Arnold Haris Mathew, as an envoy to Great Britain. Bishop Mathew's mandate was to provide a Roman Catholic hierarchy in England to which Anglo-Catholics might turn. [See appendix VI]

Bishop Mathew was an exceptional Roman Catholic scholar. As a priest he had received the degree Doctor of Divinity from the pope. But notwithstanding his personal qualities [and failings] his mission was unsuccessful. The Archbishop of Canterbury held to the position that the Church of England [not the Church in England] occupied the exact same position as the ultrajectine Roman Catholics in Holland, and that there was no need for either an 'old' Roman Catholic or an 'Old Catholic' movement in England.

In consequence, Bishop Mathew was in the unlikely position of being a bishop without retinue. He held to the opinion of the Archbishop of Utrecht [published in 1894] that Anglican orders were invalid, and so actively opposed the efforts of the Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar to negotiate inter-communion with the Dutch through dialogues with the Bishop of Deventer. Bishop Mathew's unpopularity was increased by this action.

In 1910, however, when Utrecht made its final swing into the 'Old Catholic' camp, by deleting the commemoration of the Roman Pontiff from the Missal, Bishop Mathew, standing alone in England, denounced Utrecht. [See Appendix VII]

We thus have an ecclesiastically expatriated Roman Catholic prelate standing by himself in England upholding the lawful ultrajectine Roman Catholic position.

In 1914 Bishop Mathew sent his legate to the United States in the person of Bishop Rudolph de Landas Berhes, an Austrian prince who was [at the time] an enemy alien. Bishop de Landas attempted to unite the scattered and disorganized 'Old Catholic' parishes that had been established there in consequence of the massive immigration from Europe in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Bishop de Landes Berghes, in spite of great difficulty and isolation from England, was able to plant the roots of an independent expression of Catholicism in America. He elevated to the episcopacy two priests, Carmel Henry Carfora and William Francis Brothers. Each of these bishops, in his own manner, continued the mission begun by Bishop de Landes Berghes.

The 'Old Catholics' of Europe eventually joined the Episcopal Communion [as an extension of the Church of England] but increasing numbers of Roman Catholics adopted the ultrajectine position.

With the passing of these original organizers [Carfora and Brothers] from the ecclesiastical scene, the Old Roman Catholic Church in the United States has evolved from a fairly centralized administration with structured oversight of ministry to a local and regional model of administration with self-governing dioceses and provinces [jurisdictions] more closely following St. Ignatius of Antioch's concepts of the Church as a communion of communities each labouring to proclaim the message of the Gospel.

Under the administration of Bishop Carfora, de Landas' successor, the number of ultrajectine, or Old Roman Catholics increased to over a million communicants. However, after Carfora's death, disorder and rivalry damaged the American hierarchy and five different jurisdictions evolved.

[On March 12, 1995, the Wexford Jurisdiction of the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America, acting under the ancient canons of the Church, solemnly canonized Arnold Haris Mathew as a saint of God as a Bishop and Confessor]. [See Appendix VIII]

Chapter Sixteen

The lawful position of ultrajectine Roman Catholics has been forcefully reasserted under the Formulary of 1823 and the decrees of the Provincial Synod of 1763. It is manifestly evident that the validity of the orders of ultrajectine bishops and priests remains.

In referring to the succession from Dominic Marie Varlet, 1739 to Archbishop Gul, 1908, "A Catholic Dictionary" written by Donald Attwater, commended to the public by a Roman Catholic Bishop of Menevie, and bearing the imprimatur of the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, boldly states of the Church of Holland: "Their orders and Sacraments are valid."

To safeguard the validity of its sacramental ministrations, Old Roman Catholics conform strictly to the prescriptions of the Pontificale, Missale and Rituale Romanum [pre Vatican II editions]. [see Appendix IX] Each of the seven sacraments is administered according to the Canons and prescriptions of the Roman Catholic Church [and as approved by the late Archbishop Gerard Gul of Utrecht, and St. Arnold Haris Mathew of England in 1909]. All the usual sacramentals are also used and devotion to the Blessed Virgin, veneration of the images and relics of the saints is taught, while avoiding the excesses that often lead to superstition.

True to her ancient heritage, the Old Roman Catholic Church holds the Catholic doctrines of the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and other personal union in Him of the two natures, the human and the divine. Unlike some of the 'Old Catholics' sectarians, who deny the doctrines of original sin, the eternal punishment of hell or the necessity of faith for salvation, we reaffirm the Catholic position on these doctrines. The Church honours the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and holds the true Catholic doctrine on the virgin birth of Christ. The Church teaches the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the spiritual efficacy of the Sacrifice of the Mass for the living and for the dead.

The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a tabernacle on the High Altar and the rite of Benediction is observed. The reading and study of Scripture by the laity is encouraged as a most salutary practice.

The creed of the Old Roman Catholic Church is that contained in the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. In the latter, the controversial words "and the son" [the filioque of theologians] are omitted since they were added by the Roman Catholic Church long after the Council of Nice and against its explicit directive that nothing be added or taken away from the Creed. The doctrinal of the first Seven Councils are part of the deposit of our faith.

Chapter Seventeen

The Old Roman Catholic Church stands for a Catholic viewpoint which is most reasonable when understood. It is this: The various divisions in the Church of Christ cannot be done away with unless a living body of Catholics exemplifies to the world that there is a middle way where all can meet. A body possessed of an undoubted validity of orders, of a democratic organization, of flexibility of adaptation, of clear-cut doctrine, of freedom as interpreted by St. Paul, of respect for the past but daring in its modern approach to the future. All Catholics and Protestants alike, must admit that what God has blessed for two thousand years, namely the Catholic conception of religion, with its creed, liturgies, priesthood and customs must have a central core of unimpeachable truths, which once divested of the human accretions of centuries, can hope form the basis of unity.

It may be said that in spite of the efforts put forth by the Old Roman Catholics, we have not realized all the hopes entertained in our movement at the beginning of our work. But it must be added that political and social circumstances, and still more, the almost universal religious indifference, have been exceedingly unfavourable to all advances. The stones, which may be thrown at us, strike all the other Churches at the same time. This is not a justification - for from it; but it is at least an explanation which may possibly arouse hopes for the future.

We Old Roman Catholics are convinced of the truth of our cause. If during the years of our existence we have not worked with great enough skill, we have the hope that by dint of struggling against thousands of obstacles, we have learned better how to struggle. That the serious events which are overturning the world at the present day will not pass without creating new religions and even ecclesiastical conditions which, with the grace of God and the zeal of the serious Christians of all the Churches, may become fruitful.

Old Roman Catholics welcomes into union all those devote and Catholic-minded independent clergy and groups who hold more or less the so-called 'Old Roman Catholic' position, but the Church will not sacrifice its orthodoxy simply to achieve such unity.

We pray that "as many grains are gathered into one loaf, so the many members of the Church by drawing near to God may become one bread, on Body", after the example of our Blessed Lord. That the Church and its clergy may give themselves for the life of the world, that men and women may find the abundance of life in an Undivided Church.

Our appeal is chiefly directed to those religious minded people, who, for one reason or another do not attend the Church of their Baptism. The step into the Old Roman Catholic Church is comparatively easy for them. We do not care to proselytize the regular members of other Churches for, if they are sincere and constant in their particular faith, it is our firm belief that they will attain salvation. On the other hand, to shake the foundations of such faith, however erroneous it may appear to us, would not only create a crisis in the individual soul, but it would be the cause of dissensions with other Churches which are altogether unnecessary. The number of churchless people is great enough to occupy all our time and all our efforts.

We hope that all Christians will give the Old Roman Catholic Church the enquiry it justly deserves.

NOTE - please see the Footnote on our Home Page.

Archbishop Mathew's Prayer for Catholic Unity

Let us pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, Whose only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, has said, "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd"; let Thy rich and abundant blessing rest upon the Old Roman Catholic Church, to the end that it may serve Thy purpose by gathering in the lost and straying sheep. Enlighten, sanctify, and quicken it by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, that suspicions and prejudices may be disarmed, and the other sheep being brought to hear and to know the voice of their true Shepherd thereby, all may be brought into full and perfect unity in the one fold of Thy Holy Catholic Church, under the wise and loving keeping of Thy Vicar, through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.

Appendix I

Apostolic Succession

The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which claimant, among the many contending for the title, was the true Church, and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants.

In its concrete form, apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops can have their lineage of predecessors traced back to the time of the apostles, something which is impossible in Protestant denominations [most of whom do not even claim to have bishops].

The role of apostolic succession in preserving true doctrine is illustrated in the Bible. To make sure that the teachings of the apostles would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy: "What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" [2 Tim. 2: 2]. In this passage he refers to the first four generations of apostolic succession - his own generation, Timothy's generation, the generation Timothy will teach, and the generation they in turn will teach.

The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. This was necessary because heretics simply put their own interpretations, even bizarre ones, on the Scriptures. Clearly, something other than Scripture had to be used as an ultimate test of doctrine in these cases.

Thus the early Church historian, J.N.D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes: "Where in practice was the apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? ... The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation... Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it" [Early Christian Doctrines, 37].

For the early Father, "the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles ... An additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church's bishops are ... Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed 'an infallible charism of truth'" [ibid.].

Thus on the basis of experience the Fathers could be "profoundly convinced of the futility of arguing with heretics merely on the basis of Scripture. The skill and success with which they twisted its plain meaning made it impossible to reach any decisive conclusion in that field" [ibid., 41].

The Church is not created by any messenger of the Gospel, nor can one create oneself to be a bishop. Bishops are made by other bishops, for the service of the already existing People of God in an unbroken line back to the Apostles of Jesus Christ. With the consent of the body of the baptized, bishops are made through the sacramental laying on of hands and the solemn invocation of the Holy Spirit by the bishops assembled, who welcome him into the fellowship of equals called to oversee and serve the holy people in their care. The bishops are linked by their shared heritage, the purity of their message and the unity of their worship. Anything that is called "Apostolic' must be placed under the universality, antiquity and consent 'canon' or measure described by Vincent of Lerins in A.D. 440: "Hold fast to what has been believed [in the Churches] everywhere, always and by all [Orthodox Catholic Christians]." [Commonitories 5:2]

Pope Clement I

"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believes. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier ... Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry." [Letter to the Corinthians 42:4-5, 44:1-3 (A.D. 80)].


"When I had come to Rome, I visited Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus died, Soter succeeded, and after him Eleutherus. In each succession and in each city there is a continuance of that which is proclaimed by the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord" [Memoirs 4:22:1 9A.D. 180)].

Irenaeus of Lyons

"It is possible, the, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the Tradition of the Apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about" [Against Heresies 3:3:1 9A.D. 189)].

Irenaeus of Lyons

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such as volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul - that church which has the Tradition and the with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because if its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition" [ibid., 3:3-2].

Irenaeus of Lyons

"Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, who I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried on earth a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" [ibid., 3:3:4].

Irenaeus of Lyons

"Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life ... For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant conversation, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?" [ibid., 3:4:1].

Irenaeus of Lyons

"The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere" [ibid., 4:33:8].


"The Apostle founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive church, [founded] by the apostles, from which they all spring. In this way all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity by their" [Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 (A.D.200)].


What it was which Christ revealed to them [the apostles] can, as I must here likewise prescribe, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the apostles founded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves ... If then these things are so, it is in the same degree manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches - those molds and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Church, and Christ from God. Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savors of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the Tradition of the Apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood" [ibid., 21].


"But if there be any heresies which are bold enough to plant their origin in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning is such a manner that their first bishops shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men - a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyma, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter' {ibid., 32].


"But should they even effect the contrivance of composing a succession list for themselves, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles as contained in other churches, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory" [ibid.].


"Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith" [ibid.].

Cyprian of Carthage

"The Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For is she is with the heretic Novatian, she was not with Pope Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop of Rome, Fabian, but lawful ordination, and who, beside the honour of the priesthood, the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way" [Letters 69[75]:3 (A.D. 253)].


"Pope Stephen ... boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16: 18] ... Stephen ... announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" [collected in Cyprian's Letters 74[75]:17 (A.D. 253)].


"Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ and through whose efforts also it is that we are Christians" [Letters 14:8 (A.D. 396)].


"There are many other things which most properly can keep me in the Catholic Church's bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keep me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called 'Catholic', when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" [Against the Letter of Mani Called 'The Foundation' 4:5 (A.D. 397)].

Appendix II

Table of Apostolic Succession

ANTONIO CARDINAL BARBERINI, as Archbishop of Rheims, 1657. He consecrated in the Church of the Sorbonne, Paris, the son of the Grand Chancellor of France,

CHARLEAS MAURICE LATELLIER, succeeding as Archbishop of Rheims, November 12, 1668. He, in turn, consecrated in the church of the Cordeliers, Pontois, the illustrious

JAMES BENIGNE BOSSUET [the Eagle of Meaux] as Bishop of Condom, September 21, 1670. He was transferred to the see of Meaux by Pope Clement X, 1671. He in turn, consecrated in the church of Chartreuse, Paris,

JAMES GOYDON DE MATIGNON, Bishop of Condom, 1693, son of Count De Thoringy. He was Doyen of Lisieux and Abbe Commendataire De St. Victor, Paris. By order of Pope Clement XI, he consecrated at Paris,

DOMINIC MARIE VARLET, as Bishop of Ascalon in partibus, and coadjutor to the Bishop of Babylon, Persia, February 12, 1719. Retiring later to Holland, he died twenty three years after in the Cisterian Abbey of Rhijnwick. In response to the appeals of the Chapter of the Old Roman Catholic Church of Utrecht, he consecrated,

PETER JOHN MEINDAERTS, as Archbishop of Utrecht, October 17, 1739. He had been one of several priests ordained in Ireland by Luke Fagan, Bishop of Meath, afterwards Archbishop of Dublin, with the view of sustaining the independence of the ancient Church of the Netherlands, founded by St. Willibrord in the VII Century. By his consecration to the Episcopate, the succession of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Holland has been perpetuated. Archbishop Meindaerts consecrated,

JOHN VAN STIPHOUT, as Bishop of Haarlem, July 11, 1745. He, in turn, consecrated,

WALTER MICHAEL VAN HIEUWENHUIZEN, as Archbishop of Utrecht, February 7, 1768. He consecrated,

ADRIAN BROEKMAN, as Bishop of Haarlem, June 21, 1778. He consecrated,

JOHN JAMES VAN RHIJIN, as Archbishop of Utrecht, November 7, 1797. He consecrated,

GILBERT DE JONG, as Bishop of Deventer, November 2, 1805. He consecrated,

WILLIBROD VAN OS, as Archbishop of Utrecht, April 24, 1814. He consecrated,

JOHN BON, as Bishop of Haarlem April 22, 1819. He consecrated,

JOHN VAN SANTEN, as Archbishop of Utrecht, June 14, 1825. He consecrated,

HERMAN HEYKAMP, as Bishop of Deventer, July 17, 1854. He consecrated,

GASPARD JOHN RINKEL, as Bishop of Haarlem, August 11, 1873. He consecrated,

GERARD GUL, as Archbishop of Utrecht, May 11, 1892. He consecrated,

ARNOLD HARRIS MATHEW, as Regionary Old Roman Catholic Bishop for Great Britain, April 28, 1908 at St. Gertrude's Church, Utrecht. He was elected Archbishop in 1911. He had been ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Eyre, at St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Glasgow, June 24, 1877. He came from distinguished Irish parents. He was the great-grandson of Francis Mathew, first Earl of Landaff, of Thomastown Castle, Tipperary. He consecrated, on June 29, 1913.

The Prince RUDOLPH EDOUARD DE LANDES BERGHES, as Regionary Bishop for Scotland. In 1914, Archbishop Mathew sent de Landes Berghes to the United States as his legate. He consecrated,

CARMEL HENRY CARFORA, on October 4, 1916. Carfora was elected Archbishop of the United States for all Old Roman Catholics. He consecrated

HUBERT AUGUSTAS ROGERS in 1942. He consecrated

EDWARD CARLTON PAYNE, in 1968, who consecrated

BONIFACE GROSVOLD, 1974. He consecrated,

ANDREW BERRY, as Titular Bishop of Hastings on August 6, 1978. He had been ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Walter Xavier Brown in the Chapel of St. Joseph the Worker, Ottawa, Ontario on July 29, 1972. Bishop Berry was elected Archbishop-Primate of the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America [Wexford Jurisdiction] on October 1, 1993.

Appendix III


An Apostolic Constitution of Clement XI, condemning 101 propositions of Pasquier Quesnel. In 1671 Quesnel had published a book entitled "Abrege de la morale de l'Evangile". It contained the Four Gospels in French, with short notes explanatory of the text, at the same time serving as aids for meditation. The work was approved by Bishop Vialart of Chalons. An enlarged edition, containing an annotated French text of the New Testament, appeared in three small volumes in 1678, and a later edition in four volumes appeared under the title "Le nouveau testament en francais avec dees reflexions morales sur chaque verse, pour en rendre la lecture plus utile et la meditation plus aisee" [Paris, 1693-94]. This last edition was highly recommended by Noailes, who had succeeded Vialart as Bishop of Chalons. While the first edition of the work contained only a few Jansenistic errors, its Jansenistic tendency became more apparent in the second edition, and in its complete form, as it appeared in 1692, it was pervaded with practically all the errors of Jansenism. Several bishops forbade its readiang in their dioceses, and Clement XI condemned it in his Brief, "Universi Dominici Gregis", dated 13 July 1708. The papal Brief was, however, not accepted in France because its wording and its manner of publication were not in harmony with the "Gallican Liberties". Noailles, who had become Archbishop of Paris and cardinal, was too proud to withdraw the approbation, which he had inadvertently given to the book while Bishop of Chalons, and Jansenism again raised its head. To put an end to this situation several bishops, and especially Louis XIV, asked the pope to issue a Bull in place of the Brief which the French Government did not accept. The Bull was to avoid every expression contrary to the "Gallican Liberties" and to be submitted to the French Government before publication. To avoid further scandal, the pope yielded to these humiliating conditions, and in February 1712, appointed a special congregation of cardinals and theologians to cull from the work of Quesnel such propositions as were deserving of ecclesiastical censure. The most influential member of this congregation was Cardinal Fabroni.

It took the congregation eighteen months to perform its task, the result of which was the publication of the Bull "Unigenitus Dei Filius" at Rome, 8 September 1713. The Bull begins with the warning of Christ against false prophets, especially such as "secretly spread evil doctrines under the guise of piety and introduce ruinous sects under the image of sanctity"; then it proceeds to the condemnation of 101 propositions which are taken verbatim from the last edition of Quesnel's work. The propositions are condemned respectively as "False, captious, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and its practices, contumelious to Church and State, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected and savouring of heresy, favouring heretics, heresy, and schism, erroneous, bordering on heresy, often condemned, heretical, and reviving various heresies, especially those contained in the famous propositions of Jansenius". The first forty-three propositions repeat the errors of Baius and Jansenius on grace and predestination, such as: grace works with omnipotence and its irrestible; without grace man can only commit sin; Christ died for the elect only. The succeeding twenty-eight propositions [44-71] concern faith, hope, and charity: every love that is not supernatural is evil; without supernatural love there can be no hope in God, no obedience to His law, no good work, no prayer, no merit, no religion; the prayer of the sinner and his other good acts performed out of fear of punishment are only new sins. The last thirty propositions [72-101] deal with the Church, its discipline, and the sacraments: the Church comprises only the just and the elect, the reading of the Bible is binding on all; sacramental absolution should be postponed til after satisfaction; the chief pastors can exercise the Church's power of excommunication only with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole body of the Church; unjust excommunication does not exclude the excommunicated from union with the Church. Besides condemning these 101 propositions, the Bull states that it finds fault with many other statements in the book of Quesnel, without, however, specifying them, and, in particular, with the translation of the New Testament, which, as the Bull reads, has been censurably altered [damnabiliter vitiatum] and is in many ways similar to the previously condemned French version of Mons.

Louis XIV received the Bull at Fontainebleau on 24 February 1713, and sent a copy to Cardinal Noailles, who, probably before receiving it, had revoked, on 28 September, his approbation of the "Moral Reflections" given in 1695. The king also ordered the assembly of the French clergy to convene at Paris on 16 October and designated the acceptation of the Bull as the purpose of the meeting. At the first session on 16 October, Noailles appointed a committee presided over by Cardinal Rohan of Strasburg to decide upon the most suitable manner of accepting the Bull. Noailles, who took part in a few sessions of the committee, attempted to prevent an unconditional acceptation of the Bull by the committee, and when his efforts proved fruitless he would have withdrawn from the assembly if the king had not ordered him to remain. The report of the committee was for an unqualified acceptance of the Bull, and at the session of the assembly on 22 January 1714, the report was accepted by a vote of forty against nine. By order of the king, the bull was registered by the Parliament on 15 February, and by the Sorbonne on 5 March. A pastoral instruction of Noailles, forbidding his priests under pain of suspension to accept the Bull without his authorization, was condemned by Rome. Of the bishops not present at the assembly, seven joined the opposition, while the remaining seventy-two accepted the Bull unconditionally. The opposition, with the exception of Bishop de la Brou of Mirepoix, also condemned the book of Quesnel. As a pretext of their non-acceptance of the Bull, they gave out that it was obscure. Ostensibly they postponed their acceptance only until the pope would explain its obscurity by special declarations. It is manifest that the pope could not yield to these demands without imperiling the authority of the Apostolic See.

It was the intention of Clement XI to summon Noailles before the Curia and, if needs be, despoil him of the purple. But the king and his councillors, seeing in this mode of procedure a trespass upon the "Gallican Liberties", proposed the convocation of a national council which should judge and pass sentence upon Noailles and his faction. The pope did not relish the idea of convoking a national council, which might unnecessarily protract the quarrel and endanger the papal authority. He, however, drew up two Briefs, the one demanding the unconditional acceptance of the Bull by Noailles within fifteen days, on pain of losing the purple and incurring canonical punishment, the other paternally pointing out the gravity of the cardinal's offence and exhorting him to go hand in hand with the Apostolic See in opposing the enemies of the Church. Both Briefs were put in the hand of the king, with the request to deliver the less severe in case there was well-founded hope of the cardinal's speedy submission, but the more severe if he continued in his obstinacy. On the one hand, Noailles gave no hope of submission, while, on the other, the more severe of the Briefs was rejected by the king as subversive of the "Gallican Liberties". Louis XIV, therefore, again pressed the convocation of a national council but died [1 September 1715] before it could be convened. He was succeeded as regent by Duke Philip of Orleans, who favoured the opponents of the Bull. The Sorbonne passed a resolution, 4 January 1716, annulling its previous registration of the Bull, and twenty-two Sorbonnists who protested were removed from the faculty on 5 February. The Universities of Nantes and Reims now also rejected the Bull, the former on 2 January, the latter on 26 June. In consequence Clement XI withdrew from the Sorbonne all the papal privileges which it possessed and deprived it of the power of conferring academic degrees on 18 November. He had sent two Briefs to France on 1 May. One, addressed to the regent, severely reproved him for favouring the opponents of the Bull; the other, addressed to the opposition, threatened to deprive Noailles of the purple, and to proceed canonically against all that would not accept the Bull within two months. These Briefs were not accepted by the regent because their text had not been previously submitted to his ministers. But he sent to Rome, Chevalier, the Jansenist Vicar General of Meaux whom the pope did not, however, admit to his presence, when it became known that his sole purpose was to wrest the admission from Clement XI that the Bull was obscure and required an explanation. In a consistory held on 27 June 1716, the pope delivered a passionate allocution, lasting three hours, in which he informed the cardinals of the treatment which the Bull had received in France, and expressed his purpose of divesting Noailles of the cardinalate. The following November he sent two new Briefs to France, on to the regent, whose co-operation he asked in suppressing the opposition to the Bull; the other to the acceptants, whom he warned against the intrigues of the recalcitrants, and requested to exhort their erring brethren to give up their resistance.

On 1 March 1717, four bishops [Soanen of Senez, Colbert of Montpellier, Delangle of Boulogne, and de La Broue of Mirepoix] drew up an appeal from the Bull to a general council, thus founding the party hereafter known as the "appellants" They were joined by the faculties of the Sorbonne on 5 March, of Reims on 8 March and of Nantes on 10 March; likewise by the Bishops of Verdum on 22 March, of Pamiers on 12 April, of Chalons, Condom, Agen, and St. Malo on 21 April, of Auxerre on 14 May, and more than a year later by the Bishop of Laon, also by the Bishops of Bayonne and Angouleme. Though a personal letter of the pope, dated 25 March, and a joint letter of the cardinals at Rome urgently begged Noailles to submit, he also drew up an appeal on 3 April, "from the pope manifestly mistaken, and from the Constitution Unigenitus, in virtue of the decrees of the Councils of Constance and Basle, to the pope better informed and to a general council to be held without constraint and in a safe place". He did not, however, publish his appeal for the present, but deposited it in the archives of the officialite of Paris. On 6 May he wrote a long letter to the pope, in which he endeavours to justify his position and that of his adherents. A few months later his appeal from the Bull was published. The appellants were soon joined by many priests and religious, especially from the Dioceses of Paris and Reims. To swell the list of the appellants the names of laymen and even women were accepted. The number of appellants is said to have reached 1800 to 2000, pitifully small, if we consider that about 1,5000,000 livres [$300,000] were spent by them as bribes.

On 8 March 1718, appeared a Decree of the Inquisition, approved by Clement XI, which condemned the appeal of the four bishops as schismatic and heretical, and that of Noailles as schismatic and approaching to heresy. Since they did not withdraw their appeal within a reasonable time, the pope issued the Bull "Pastoralis officii" on 28 August 1718, excommunicating all that refused to accept the Bull "Unigenitus". But they appealed also from this second Bull. Noailles finally made an ambiguous submission on 13 March 1720, by signing an explanation of the Bull "Unigenitus", drawn up by order of the French secretary of State. Abbe Dubois, and, later, approved by ninety-five bishops. After much pressure from the king and the bishops he made public this ambiguous acceptance of the Bull in his pastoral instruction of 18 November 1720. But this did not satisfy Clement XI, who required an unconditional acceptance. After the death of Clement XI, 19 March 1721, the appellants continued in their obstinacy during the pontificates of Innocent XIII [1721-24] and Benedict XIII [1724-30]. Noailles, the soul of the opposition, finally made a sincere and unconditional submission on 11 October 1728, and died soon after [2May 1729]. The Apostolic See, in concerted action with the new Archbishop of Paris and the French government, gradually brought about the submission of most of the appellants.

Appendix IV

Ad Sanctam Beati Petri Sedem [Formulary of Alexander VII]

This letter was issued by Alexander VII, and is dated at Rome, 16 October 1656, the second year of his pontificate. It is a confirmation of the Constitution of Innocent X, by which he condemned five propositions taken from the work entitled "Augustinus" of Cornelius Jansenius, Bishop of Ypres. The letter opens with an explanation of the reason for its publication. It observes that, although what has already been defined in the Apostolic Constitutions needs no confirmation by any future decisions, yet, since some try to cast doubt upon these definitions or to neutralise their effort by false interpretations, the apostolic authority must not defer using a prompt remedy against the spread of the evil. The letter then refers to the decision of Innocent X, and quotes the words of its title in order to show that it was a decision for all the faithful. But as a controversy had arisen, especially in France, on five propositions taken from the Augustinus, several French bishops submitted them to Alexander VII for a clear, definite decision. The letter thus enumerates these five propositions: [1] There are some divine precepts which are impossible of observance by just men willing and trying to observe them according to their present strength; the grace also is wanting to them, by which those precepts are possible. [2] In the state of fallen nature interior grace is not resisted. [3] For merit and demerit, in the state of fallen nature, libertas a necessitate [liberty to choose] is not necessary for man; libertas a coactione [freedom from external compulsion] is enough. [4] The Semipelagians admitted the necessity of interior preventing grace [praevenientis gratiae interioris] for each and every act, even for the beginning of faith [initium fidei]; and in that they were heretical, inasmuch as they held that grace to be such as the human will could resist or obey. [5] It is Semipelagian to say that Christ died, or shed His blood for all men.

The letter then goes on to declare that, those five propositions having been submitted to due examination each was found to be heretical. The letter repeats each proposition singly, and formally condemns it. It next declares that the decision binds all the faithful, and enjoins on all bishops to enforce it, and adds, "We are not to be understood, however, by making this declaration and definition on those five propositions, as at all approving other opinions contained in the above-named book of Cornelius Jansenius." Moreover, since some still insisted that those propositions were not to be found in the Augustinus, or were not meant by the author in the sense in which they were condemned, the letter furthermore declares that they are contained in the Augustinus, and have been condemned according to the sense of the author.

Appendix V

Declaration of Utrecht

[1] We adhere faithfully to the Rule of Faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins in these terms: "Id teneamus, quod ubique, quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est; hoc est etenim vere proprieque catholicum". For this reason we preserve in professing the faith of the primitive Church as formulated in the oecumenical symbols and specified precisely by the unanimously accepted decisions of the Ecumenical Councils held in the undivided Church of the first thousand years.

[2] We therefore reject the decrees of the so-called Council of the Vatican, which were promulgated July 18, 1870, concerning the infallibility and the universal episcopate of the Bishop of Rome - decrees which are in contradiction with the faith of the ancient Church and which destroy its ancient canonical constitution by attributing to the Pope all the plenitude of ecclesiastical powers over all dioceses and over all the faithful. By denial of his primatial jurisdiction we do not wish to deny the historic primacy which several oecumenical councils and the Fathers of the ancient Church have attributed to the Bishop of Rome by recognizing him as the Primus inter pares.

[3] We also reject the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception promulgated by Pope Pius IX in 1854 in defiance of the Holy Scriptures and in contradiction with the tradition of the first centuries.

[4] As for encyclicals published by the Bishops of Rome in recent times, for example, the Bulls "Unigenitus" and "Auctorem fidei', and the Syllabus of 1864, we reject them on all such points as are in contradiction with the doctrine of the primitive Church, and we do not recognize them as binding on the consciences of the faithful. We also renew the ancient protests of the Catholic Church of Holland against the errors of the Roman Curia, and against its attacks upon the rights of national churches.

[5] We refuse to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent in matters of discipline, and as for the dogmatic decisions of that Council we accept them only so far as they are in harmony with the teaching of the primitive Church.

[6] Considering that the Holy Eucharist has always been the true central point of Catholic worship, we consider it our duty to declare that we maintain with perfect fidelity the ancient Catholic doctrine concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, by believing that we receive the Body and the Blood our Saviour Jesus Christ under the species of bread and wine. The Eucharistic celebration in the Church is neither a continual repetition nor a renewal of the expiatory sacrifice which Jesus offered once for all upon the Cross; but it is a sacrifice because it is the perpetual commemoration of the sacrifice offered upon the Cross, and it is the act by which we represent upon earth and appropriate to ourselves the one offering which Jesus Christ makes in Heaven, according to the Epistle to the Hebrews 9.11.12, for the salvation of redeemed humanity, by appearing for us in the presence of God [Hebrews 9: 24]. The character of the Holy Eucharist being thus understood, it is, at the same time, a sacrificial feast, by means of which the faithful, in receiving the Body and Blood of our Saviour, enter into communion with one another [1 Corinthians 1: 17].

[7] We hope that Catholic theologians, in maintaining the faith of the undivided Church, will succeed in establishing an agreement upon questions which have been controverted ever since the divisions which have arisen between the churches. We exhort the priests under our jurisdiction to teach, both by preaching and by the instruction of the young, especially the essential Christian truths professed by all the Christian confessions, to avoid, in discussing controverted doctrines, any violation of truths or charity, and in word and deed to set an example to the members of our churches in accordance with the spirit of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

[8] By maintaining and professing faithfully the doctrine of Jesus Christ, by refusing to admit those errors which by the fault of men have crept into the Catholic Church, by laying aside the abuses in ecclesiastical matters, together with the worldly tendencies of the hierarchy, we believe that we shall be able to combat efficaciously the great evils of our day, which are unbelief and indifference in matters of religion.

September 24, 1889

Appendix VI

An Old Catholic Bishop for England

[Reprinted from the English newspaper "The Guardian" of June 8, 1908]

Sir, We, the Archbishop and Bishops of the Old Catholic Church of Holland, and the Old Catholic Bishops of Germany and Switzerland, having heard with much concern of certain events connected with our English branch of the Old Catholic Church, wish to say that we have been in correspondence with a suspended Roman Catholic priest in England since 1902.

This priest visited the Bishops of Bonn, Berne, Haarlem, Deventer, and the Archbishop of Utrecht, and we believed him to be in perfect accord with us. He accompanied Bishop Mathew on his visit to the Archbishop of Utrecht. On April 7th of the present year he, with others, signed the petition to the Bishops begging us to consecrate the Most Reverend A. H. Mathew.

All of the documents were sent by this priest to Bishop Herzog, accompanied by numerous letters urging upon us the immediate need of a Bishop, not only for his own congregation, but for those of other clergy and congregations specified by him. We had no reason to suppose that we were mistaken in complying with his request. We wish now to state that our confidence in Bishop Mathew remains unshaken, after carefully perusing a large number of the documents bearing upon this matter, and we earnestly hope that his ministrations will be abundantly blessed by Almighty God, and that he will receive the cordial support of the British people and Church in the trying circumstances in which he has been placed.

In the name of the Old Catholic Bishops of Holland, Germany, Switzerland,

The Secretary,

+ J. J. Van Thiel, Bishop of Haarlem

Appendix VII

Declaration of Autonomy and Independence A Pastoral Letter

[Reprinted from "An Episcopal Odyssey" by Arnold Harris Mathew, Archbishop of the Old Roman Catholic Rite in Great Britain and Ireland, November 1, 1915]

We the undersigned Bishop, on behalf of our clergy and laity of the Catholic Church of England, hereby proclaim and declare the autonomy and independence of our portion of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are in no way whatever subject to or dependent upon any foreign See, nor do we recognize the right of any members of the religious bodies known as 'Old Catholics' on the Continent, to require submission from us to their authority or jurisdiction, or the decrees, decisions, rules or assemblies, in which we have neither taken part nor expressed agreement.

We had supposed and believed that the Faith, once delivered to the Saints, and set forth in the decrees of the Councils accepted as Ecumenical no less in the West than in the East, would have continued unimpaired, whether by augmentation or by diminution, in the venerable Church of the Dutch Nation.

We anticipated that the admirable fidelity with which the Bishops and Clergy of that Church had adhered to the Faith and handed it down, untarnished by heresy, notwithstanding grievous persecution during so many centuries, would never have wavered.

Unfortunately, however, we discover with dismay, pain, and regret that the standards of orthodoxy, laid down by old by the Fathers and Councils of the East and West alike, having been departed from in various particulars by certain sections of Old Catholicism, these departures, instead of being checked and repressed, are, at least tacitly, tolerated and acquiesced in without protest, by the Hierarchy of the Church of the Netherlands.

In order to avoid misapprehension, we here specify nine of the points of difference between Continental Old Catholics and ourselves:

  • [1] Although the Synod of Jerusalem, held under Dositheus in 1672, was not an Ecumenical Council, its decrees are accepted by the Holy Orthodox Church of the Orient as accurately expressing its belief, and are in harmony with the decrees of the Council of Trent on the dogmas of which they treat. We are in agreement with the Holy Orthodox Church, regarding this Synod. Hence, we hold and declare that there are Seven Holy Mysteries or Sacraments instituted by Our Divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore all of them necessary for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessarily to be received by every individual, e.g. Holy Orders and Matrimony. Certain sections, if not all, of the Old Catholic bodies, reject this belief and refuse to assent to the decrees of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem.

  • [2] Moreover, some of them have abolished the Sacrament of Penance by condemning and doing away with auricular confession; others actively discourage this salutary practice; other, again, whilst tolerating its use, declare the Sacrament of Penance to be merely optional, therefore unnecessary, and of no obligation, even for those who have fallen into mortal sin after Baptism.

  • [3] In accordance with the belief and practice Of the Universal Church, we adhere to the doctrine of the Communion of Saints by invoking and venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary, and those who have received the crown of glory in heaven, as well as the Holy Angels of God. The Old Catholics in the Netherlands have not yet altogether abandoned this pious and helpful custom, but, in some other countries, invocation of the Saints has been totally abolished by the Old Catholics.

  • [4] Although it may be permissible and, indeed, very desirable, in some countries, and under certain circumstances, to render the Liturgy into the vernacular languages, we consider it to be neither expedient nor tolerable that individuals should compose new liturgies, according to their own particular views, or make alterations, omissions and changes in venerable rites to suit their peculiar fancies, prejudices or idiosyncrasies. We lament the mutilations of this kind which have occurred among the Old Catholics in several countries and regret that no two of the new liturgies composed and published by them are alike, either in form or in ceremony. In all of them the ancient rubrics have been set aside, and the ceremonies and symbolism with which the Sacred Mysteries of the Altar have been reverently environed for many centuries, have, either wholly or in part, been ruthlessly swept away. The Rite of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament has also been almost universally abolished among the Old Catholics.

  • [5] In accordance with the primitive teaching of the Church of the Netherlands, which prevailed until a very recent date, we consider it a duty of the part of Western Christians to remember His Holiness the Pope as their Patriarch in their prayers and sacrifices. The name of His Holiness should, therefore, retain its position in the Canon of the Mass, where, as we observed at our consecration in Utrecht, it was customary, and remained so until a recent date in the present year [1910], for the celebrant to recite the name of our Patriarch in the usual manner in the Mass and in the Litany of the Saints. The publication of a new vernacular Dutch Liturgy in the present year causes us to regret that the clergy of Holland are now required to omit the name of His Holiness in the Canon of the Mass. Happily, only a small number of other alterations in the text of the Canon have, so far, been introduced. These include the omission of the title, 'ever Virgin' whenever it occurs in the Latin Missal. Such alterations pave the way for others of an even more serious nature, which may be made in the future, and, as we think, are to be deplored.

  • [6] Following the example of our Catholic forefathers, we venerate the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass as the supreme act of Christian worship instituted by Christ Himself. We grieve that the Old Catholic clergy, in most countries, have abandoned the daily celebration of Mass, and now limit the offering the Christian Sacrifice to Sundays and a few of the greater Feasts. The corresponding neglect of the Blessed Sacrament, and infrequency of Holy Communion, on the part of the laity, are marked.

  • [7] In accordance with Catholic custom and with the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, we hold that the honour and glory of God are promoted and increased by the devout and religious use of holy pictures, statues, symbols, relics, and the like, as aids to devotion, and that, in relations to those they represent, they are to be held in veneration. The Old Catholics have, generally speaking, preferred to dispense with such helps to piety.

  • [8] We consider that the Holy Sacraments should be administered only to those who are members of the Holy Catholic Church, not only by Baptism, but by the profession of the Catholic Faith in its integrity. Unhappily, we find persons who are not Catholics are not admitted to receive Holy Communion in all Old Catholic places of worship on the Continent.

  • [9] The Old Catholics have ceased to observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence, and no longer observe the custom of receiving Holy Communion fasting.

For these and other reasons, which it is unnecessary to detail, we, the undersigned Bishop, desire, by these present, to declare our autonomy and our independence of all foreign interference in our doctrine, discipline and policy. In necessaries unites, in dubiis libertes, in omnibus caritas.

+ Arnold Harris Mathew

December 29, 1910

The Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury

Appendix VIII


WE ANDREW, by divine grace and favour, Archbishop - Primate of the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America [Wexford Jurisdiction] and with the Synod of Bishops of the Church, in accordance with the Canons of our Holy Mother the Church, do by these our letters:



Archbishop Mathew was born in 1852, ordained to the Sacred Priesthood, June 24, 1877. He was consecrated at St. Gertrude's Cathedral, Utrecht on April 28, 1908 by Archbishop Gerardus Gul, assisted by Bishop Johannes Jacobus van Thiel of Haarlem, Bishop Nicolas Bartholomaeus Petrus Spit of Deventer and Bishop Johan Josef Demmel of Germany.

Under difficult circumstances, Archbishop Mathew stood fast and confessed the Catholic Faith. When the European Old Roman Catholics deleted the commemoration of the Roman Pontiff from the Missal, Archbishop Mathew, standing alone in England upheld the lawful ultrajectine Roman Catholic position.

Archbishop Mathew went to his eternal rest on December 19, 1919.

WE THE BISHOPS of the Synod of the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America [Wexford Jurisdiction], do this twelfth day of March in the year of Our Lord, One thousand, nine hundred and ninety five, in the Primatial See City of Wexford, affix our hands and seals.

+ Most Reverend Andrew Berry
Archbishop - Primate

+ Most Reverend Boniface Grosvold
Archbishop - Metropolitan
Walsingham Jurisdiction

+ Most Reverend Robert MacKenzie
Missionary Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Appendix IX

Liturgical Books of the Old Roman Catholic Church

Missale romanum - The Roman Missal

In the early Church, most celebrations of the Mass were offered in the midst of a congregation that would sing the parts proper to them. The earliest liturgical books were, therefore, specific to the person who would be using them. Printing did not exist, and copying was expensive and labourious. The priest had a book containing the parts proper to his office, called a "sacramentary"; the deacon and subdeacon had one or two more containing the Epistle and Gospel, a "lectionary" or, perhaps a separate "epistolary" and "evangelary"; the singers had another containing the music that distinguished one Mass from another, an "antiphonar" or "gradual". The calendar of what feast days were to be observed, and the "ordo", explaining how these feasts wee to be observed, might have constituted an additional book.

In the Western Church, prior to the Council of Trent [1544-1563], there was relatively little liturgical standardization. The Canon of the Mass, edited by Pope St. Gregory the Great [540-604], and in use with relatively little modification ever since, formed the core of most Latin Rite sacramentaries. Yet, most dioceses and religious orders enshrined the Canon within their own particular variation of the Mass.

In the era of flourishing spirituality that we call the "Middle Ages", the Church had adequate time and freedom to evaluate its practices. With reflection, priests came to appreciate the infinite value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which they could renew on a daily basis. With Holy Mass being offered more regularly, and often without the benefit or singers and a large congregation, the recited Mass came into vogue. The priest would simply read the parts assigned to him and his lesser ministers, while the server or the congregation would respond with the less difficult parts assigned to the choir. This emphasis on multiple daily Masses offered by a small number of people brought about the development of what we know as the "Missal".

The first missals were simply sacramentaries to which had been added appendices containing the readings and chants that the priest would have to supply. Over the years the missal became a more integrated volume, presenting all of the texts for each feast on the same page in their proper order. Where true missals were produced, they were, at first, the work of diocesan bishops and superiors of religious orders attempting to achieve a measure of uniformity.

In trying to address the doctrinal confusion brought about by the Protestant Reformation, the Council of Trent determined that a standard missal, breviary, and catechism was needed for the Western Church. The Mass offered at Rome since the time of Saint Gregory the Great was standardized [with fixed preparatory, offertory, and Communion prayers; blessing and last Gospel], simplified [by eliminating many of the poetic sequences and proper prefaces'. The traditional rubrics were reduced to writing and the calendar brought into line with the new breviary. The revised missal was issued by the Holy See and promulgated by Pope Saint Pius V on 14 July 1570 with the Bull "Quo primum tempore". It became obligatory for all Western Rite churches and orders not having a rite of their own for at least two centuries at that time. Since 1570, minor revisions of the Roman Missal have occurred periodically, introducing new feasts and Mass texts, and refining the rubrics.

The introduction to the Missal contains copies of the papal bulls authorizing it, a section on the calendar and the rubrics of the Mass, the defects that may occur in a particular Mass and how they are to be remedied, and the prayers of preparation and thanksgiving for Mass. The body of the Missal includes the "Proper of Time", those Masses which are placed in the calendar in relationship to Christmas and Easter. The Ordinary of the Mass and the Canon. The "Proper of Saints", those feasts which fall on fixed days in the civil calendar. The "Common of Saints", the texts to be used for saints' feasts that have no proper Mass. "Votive" Masses and prayers which may be offered according to the day of the week [e.g. Saint Joseph on Wednesday] or for some pressing necessity [e.g. peace]; and Masses and prayers for the dead. An appendix often contains prayers connected with the Mass and excerpts from the Pontifical; Masses proper to a particular nation; and some additional Gregorian chant notations for the parts of the Mass sung by the priest.

Breviarum Romanum - The Roman Breviary

Apart from the Mass, the official public prayer of the Church is offered in the Divine Office. The Office, in turn, has its roots in the Psalms chanted by the earliest monks in deserts and monasteries. The modern Office contains hymns, prayers, and readings for the various days of the liturgical year. Over the centuries, the various books containing these elements were combined in what is called the Breviary. Like the Missal, there was a great deal of variation in the Breviary until its standardization following the Council of Trent. In 1568, the Breviary of Pope Saint Pius V was imposed on those not having one then at least two hundred years old. The Plan Breviary has been revised several times to include new feasts, to refine the arrangement of the Psalter, and to include the 1945 re-translation of the Psalms.

The Office is divided into eight "hours" which are distributed throughout the day: Matins during the night, Lauds at dawn, Prime at 6 am, Terce at 9 am, Sext at noon, None at 3 pm, Vespers at sunset, and Compline at bed time. Apart from the monastic environment or cathedral chapter, the exact times are not critical, and Matins may be prayed during the previous afternoon or evening. The recitation of the Office is of obligation for the clergy in Major Orders, and for those religious committed to it by the rule of their order. Each of the hours consists of a few Psalms, a hymn, a short scripture reading, and the collect of the day. Matins contains some longer readings and ends with the Ambrosian Hymn, "Te Deum". Lauds always contains the canticle of Zachary, "Benedictus", and Vespers always includes the "Magnificat", or canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In order to make it of manageable size, the Breviary is normally printed in three or four volumes, corresponding to the liturgical or solar seasons. Like the Missal, it contains a section for calendar and rubrics, a "Proper of Time", "Proper of Saints", and "Common of Saints". There is an "ordinary" which details the basic organization of each hour. The core of the Breviary is the "Psalter", which contains the 150 Psalms, organized by the "hours" of the day in such a way that they will be recited during the course of the week.

Pontificale Romanum - The Roman Pontifical

The Sacraments and ceremonies proper to bishops are detailed in the Roman Pontifical. These include Confirmation, Tonsure, Holy Orders; the blessing of Abbots and Abbesses, and the Consecration of Virgins. The Blessing of cornerstones, the consecration of churches, altars, chalices, and patens; the blessing of bells, crucifixes, knightly armor, and banners of war; the expulsion and the reception of penitents and converts and apostates, the degradation of wayward clergy; and the coronation of kings, queens, and emperors. There is even a section for the "Itineration of Prelates", which requires a horse for the prelate to be "itinerated" upon.

The modern Pontifical comes to us largely through the efforts of Pope Benedict XIV, who also formulated the regulations for the canonization of saints, and who contributed greatly to the Church's procedures for the discernment of spirits. In his Apostolic Letter, "Quam ardenti", [25 Marcy 1752] Pope Benedict cites the efforts of his predecessors, Popes Paul V, Clement VIII, Innocent X, and Benedict XIII.


With the Second Vatican Council came some major revisions in the opinions held by the majority party. The ultrajectine [Old Roman Catholic] tradition's teaching on the freedom of conscience was affirmed by the Council as a norm for the whole Church. In the following year, Pope Paul VI relaxed the untenable demand of previous pontiffs that members of the ultrajectine party [and some others] subscribe the Formulary, thus effecting a moral, of not a juridical, easing of the opposition pressure.

In 1967, negotiations in the United States between the Bishops' Commission chaired by John Cardinal Carberry and the Congregation of the Oblates of Saint Martin of Tours [Old Roman Catholic] resulted in a formal accord recognizing that the differences between the two parties were administrative, not doctinal, in character; sustaining the latter's position that essential unity had been maintained and membership in the Church safeguarded.

What has been said is not to suggest that all of the problems arising between the two parties in 300 years have been resolved. Neither does it suggest that what has been upheld by the Council, the holy Father, and the Bishops' Commission in America, is universally accepted among Roman Catholics. In some places, Old Roman Catholic clergy are unwelcomed and viewed as intruders. This is especially true where they are erroneously identified with the extreme liberal wing of the Church or with defectors who strayed from the essentials of the tradition. But even where correctly identified, it has been petulently asked if the continued existence of the Old Roman Catholic tradition [as a distinct entity within the Church] is justified, especially in view of its vindication by a more moderate post-Vatican II majority.

Such a question needs to be answered in context of the Old Roman tradition's service to the Catholic community, not its improved [or otherwise] relations with the majority party.

Wherever Catholic faithful feel alienated or impeded from full participation in the life and Sacraments of the parish church [often due to over zealous ultramontanism] the Old Roman Catholic tradition and its missions are not only justified but virtually mandated. Old Roman Catholic missions can and should provide a viable alternative for Catholics who wish to remain in the Faith and at peace with their consciences but for whom this possibility does not otherwise exist.

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