Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
512
INFAMY

(c) As a matter of fact the infallibility of the pope, when giving decisions in his character as head of the Church, was generally admitted before the Vatican Council. The only reservation which the most advanced Gallicans dared to formulate, in the terms of the celebrated declaration of the clergy of France (1682), had as its object the irreformable character of the pontifical definitions, which, it was claimed, could only have been acquired by them through the assent of the Church. This doctrine, rather political than theological, was a survival of the errors which had come into being after the Great Schism, and especially at the council of Constance; its object was to put the Church above its head, as the council of Constance had put the ecumenical council above the pope, as though the council could be ecumenical without its head. In reality it was Gallicanism alone which was condemned at the Vatican Council, and it is Gallicanism which is aimed at in the last phrase of the dehnition we have quoted.

(d) Infallibility is the guarantee against error, not in all matters, but only in the matter of dogma and morality; everything else is beyond its power, not only truths of another order, but even discipline and the ecclesiastical laws, government and administration, &c.

(e) Again, not all dogmatic teachings of the pope are under the guarantee of infallibility; neither his opinions as private instructor, nor his official allocations, however authoritative they may be, are infallible; it is only his ex cathedra instruction which is guaranteed; this is admitted by everybody. But when does the pope speak ex cathedra, and how is it to be distinguished when he is exercising his infallibility? As to this point there are two schools, or rather two tendencies, among Catholics: some extend the privilege of infallibility to all otlficial exercise of the supreme magislerium, and declare infallible, e. g. the papal encyclicals.1 Others, while recognizing the supreme authority of the papal magisterium in matters of doctrine, connne the infallibility to those cases alone in which the pope chooses to make use of it, and declares positively that he is imposing on all the faithful the obligation of belief in a certain definite proposition, under pain of heresy and exclusion from the Church; they do not insist on any special form, but only require that the pope should clearly manifest his will to the Church. This second point of view, as clearly expounded by Mgr Joseph Fessler (1813'1872), bishop of St Polten, wlro was secretary to the Vatican Council, in his work Die wahre und die falsche U nfehlbarkeil der Pdpste (French trans. La vraie et lafausse infaillibililé, Paris, 1873), and by Cardinal Newman in his “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, ” is the correct one, and this is clear from the fact that it has never been blamed by the ecclesiastical authority. Those who hold the latter opinion have been able to assert that since the Vatican Council no infallible definition had yet been formulated by the popes, while recognizing the supreme authority of the encyclicals of Leo XIII.

It is remarkable that the definition of the infallibility of the pope did not appear among the projects (schemala) prepared for the deliberations of the Vatican Council (1869). It doubtless arose from the proposed forms for the definitions of the primacy and the pontifical magislerium. The chapter on the infallibility was only added at the request of the bishops and after long hesitation on the part of the cardinal presidents. The proposed form, first elaborated in the conciliar commission de jide, was the object of long public discussions from the 50th general congregation (May 13th, 1870) to the 85th (July 13th); the constitution as a whole was adopted at a public session, on the 18th, of the 535 bishops present, two only replied “ Nan placet ”; but about 50 had preferred not to be present. The controversies It was in this sense that it was understood by Dollinger, who pointed out that the dentition of the dogma would commit the Church to all past official utterances of the popes, e.g. the Syllabus of 1864, and therefore to a war d oulrance against modern civilization. This view was embodied in the circular note to the Powers, drawn up b Dollinger and issued by the Bavarian prime minister Prince Filohenlohe-Schillingsfurst on April 9, 1869. It was also the view universally taken by the German governments which supported the Kuliurkampf in a greater or less degree.»~ED. occasioned by this question had started from the very beginning of the Council, and were carried on with great bitterness on both sides. The minority, among whom were prominent Cardinals Rauscher and Schwarzenberg, Hefele, bishop of Rotterdam (the historian of the councils) Cardinal Mathieu, Mgr Dupanloup, Mgr Maret, &c., &c., did not pretend to deny the papal infallibility; they pleaded the inopportuneness of the definition and brought forward difficulties mainly of an historical order, in particular the famous condemnation of Pope Honorius by the 6th ecumenical council of Constantinople in 680. The majority, in which Cardinal Manning played a very active part, took their stand on theological reasons of the strongest kind; they invoked the promises of Our Lord to St Peter: “ Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her ”; and again, “I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not; and do thou in thy turn confirm thy brethren ”; they showed the popes, in the course of the ages, acting as the guardians and judges. of the faith, arousing or welcoming dogmatic controversies and authoritatively settling them, exercising the éupreme direction in the councils and sanctioning their decisions; they explained that the few historical difficulties did not involve any dogmatic defect in the teaching of the popes, they insisted upon the necessity of a supreme tribunal giving judgment in the name of the whole of the scattered Church; and finally, they considered that the definition had become opportune for the very reason that under the pretext of its inopportuneness the doctrine itself was being attacked.

The definition once proclaimed, controversies rapidly ceased; the bishops who were among the minority one after the other formulated their loyal adhesion to the Catholic dogma. The last to do so in Germany was Hefele, who published the decrees of the 10th of April 1871, thus breaking a long friendship with Dollinger; in Austria, where the government had thought good to revive for the occasion the royal placel, Mgr Haynald and Mgr Strossmayer delayed the publication, the former till the 15th of September 1871, the latter till the 26th of December 1872. In France the adhesion was rapid, and the publication was only delayed by some bishops in consequence of the disastrous war with Prussia. Though no bishops abandoned it, a few priests, such as Father Hyacinthe Loyson, and a few scholars at the German universities refused their adhesion. The most distinguished among the latter was Dollinger, who resisted all the advances of Mgr Scherr, archbishop of Munich, was excommunicated on the 17th of April 1871, and died unreconciled, though without joining any separate group. After him must be mentioned Friedrich of Munich, several professors of Bonn, and Reinkens of Breslau, who was the first ibis hop of the “ Old Catholics.” These professors formed the “ Committee of Bonn, ” which organized the new Church. It was recognized and protected first in Bavaria, thanks to the minister Freiherr Iohann von Lutz, then in Saxony, Baden, Württemberg, Prussia, where it was the pretext for, if not the cause of, the Kulturkampf, and finally in Switzerland, especially at Geneva.

For the theolo ical aspects of the dogma of infallibility, see, among many others, L. Billet, S.]., De Ecclesia Christi (3 vols., Rome, 1898-1900); or G. Wilmers, S.]., De Christi Ecclesia (Regensburg, 1897). The most accessible popular work is that of Mgr F essler already mentioned. For the history of the definition see VATICAN COUNCIL; also PA PACY, GALLICANISM, FEBRONIANISM, OLD CArHoL1cs, &c. (A. Bo.*)


INFAMY (Lat. infamia), public disgrace or loss of character. Infamy (infamia) occupied a prominent place in .Roman law, and took the form of a censure on individuals pronounced by a competent authority in the state, which censure was the result either of certain actions which they had committed or of certain modes of life which they had pursued. Such a censure involved disqualification for certain rights both in public and in private law (see A. H. J. Greenidge, I nfamia, its Place in Roman Public and Private Law, 1894). In English law infamy attached to a person in consequence of conviction of some crime. The effect of infamy was to render a person incompetent to give evidence