Papacy, a Mystery of Contradictions.—Who can measure it [the Papacy], or analyze it, or comprehend it? The weapons of reason appear to fall impotent before its haughty dogmatism. Genius cannot reconcile its inconsistencies. Serenely it sits, unmoved amid all the aggressions of human thought and all the triumphs of modern science. It is both lofty and degraded; simple, yet worldly wise; humble, yet scornful and proud; washing beggars' feet, yet imposing commands on the potentates of earth; benignant, yet severe on all who rebel; here clothed in rags, and there reveling in palaces; supported by charities, yet feasting the princes of the earth; assuming the title of "servant of the servants of God," yet arrogating the highest seat among worldly dignitaries. Was there ever such a contradiction?-"glory in debasement and debasement in glory,"-type of the misery and greatness of man? Was there ever such a mystery, so occult are its arts, so subtle its

policy, so plausible its pretensions, so certain its shafts? How imposing the words of paternal benediction! How grand the liturgy brought down from ages of faith! How absorbed with beatific devotion appears to be the worshiper at its consecrated altars! How ravishing the music and the chants of grand ceremonials! How typical the churches and consecrated monuments of the passion of Christ! Everywhere you see the great emblem of our redemption,-on the loftiest pinnacle of the medieval cathedral, on the dresses of the priests, over the gorgeous altars, in the ceremony of the mass, in the baptismal rite, in the paintings of the side chapels; everywhere are rites and emblems betokening maceration, grief, sacrifice, penitence, the humiliation of humanity before the awful power of divine Omnipotence, whose personality and moral government no Catholic dares openly to deny.

And yet, of what crimes and abominations has not this government been accused? If we go back to darker ages, and accept what history records, what wars has not this church encouraged, what discords has she not incited, what superstitions has she not indorsed, what pride has she not arrogated, what cruelties has she not inflicted, what countries has she not robbed, what hardships has she not imposed, what deceptions has she not used, what avenues of thought has she not guarded with a flaming sword, what truth has she not perverted, what goodness has she not mocked and persecuted? Ah, interrogate the Albigenses, the Waldenses, the shades of Jerome of Prague, of

Huss, of Savonarola, of Cranmer, of Coligny, of Galileo; interrogate the martyrs of the Thirty Years' War, and those who were slain by the dragonnades of Louis XIV, those who fell by the hand of Alva and Charles IX; go to Smithfield, and Paris on St. Bartholomew; think of Gunpowder Plots and Inquisitions, and Jesuit intrigues and Dominican tortures, of which history accuses the papal church,-barbarities worse than those of savages, inflicted at the command of the ministers of a gospel of love! . . .

As for the supreme rulers of this contradictory church, so benevolent and yet so cruel, so enlightened and yet so fanatical, so humble and yet so proud,-this institution of blended piety and fraud, equally renowned for saints, theologians, statesmen, drivelers, and fanatics; the joy and the reproach, the glory and the shame of earth,-there never were greater geniuses or greater fools: saints of almost preternatural sanctity, like the first Leo and Gregory, or hounds like Boniface VIII or Alexander VI; an array of scholars and dunces, ascetics and gluttons, men who adorned and men who scandalized their lofty position.—"Beacon Lights of History," John Lord, LL. D., Vol. V, pp. 99-102. New York: James Clarke & Co.

Papacy, Essence of.—The supremacy is the essence of the whole Roman system. Take away the assertion of St. Peter's supremacy and the Pope's equal power as his successor, and the Roman Church is

 Roman and imperial no longer: it is then no more to the rest of Christendom than the church of Ethiopia or Armenia would be, except so far as one branch might be more pure, enlightened, or efficient than another.—"The Rise of the Papal Power," Robert Hussey, B. D., Preface, p. xxx. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1863.

Papacy, Offspring of Man.—No one can study the development of the Italian ecclesiastical power without discovering how completely it depended on human agency, too often on human passion and intrigues; how completely wanting it was of any mark of the divine construction and care-the offspring of man, not of God, and therefore bearing upon it the lineaments of human passions, human virtues, and human sins.—"History of the Intellectual Development of Europe," John William Draper, M. D., LL. D., Vol. I, p. 382. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1876.

Papacy, Growth of.—We undertake to trace the story of the Roman see from the earliest evidence that can be found, to show that in the primitive times there neither existed in fact, nor was claimed as of right, any such supremacy as that which the see of Rome now claims; we undertake to show how the Roman power advanced step by step, in age after age, until at length, not by any prerogative divinely conferred on it from the beginning, but by a slow, gradual, and distinctly traceable progress, by means which, without forgetting the overruling control of the divine Providence, we may call simply natural, it attained

 its greatest fullness under such popes as Gregory VII in the latter half of the eleventh century, and Innocent III in the beginning of the thirteenth.—"Plain Lectures on the Growth of the Papal Power," James Craigie Robertson, M. A., pp. 4, 5. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.    

The history of the growth of the papal power, i. e., popery, properly so called, exhibits clearly the rise and progress of a worldly principle within the church.  

Setting out from an acknowledged precedence among equals in rank, possessing from the first an actual influence well earned by distinguished merit, Rome proceeded by degrees to the fictions of St. Peter's supremacy, and the Pope's inheritance of a divine right to govern the whole church. When we observe how these doctrines, unheard of in primitive ages, were first obscurely intimated, then more broadly asserted, after this perpetually referred to, introduced into every opening, never omitted, but every incident taken advantage of, and all circumstances dexterously turned into an argument to support them; how succeeding popes never retracted, but adopted and uniformly improved upon the pretensions of their predecessors; how an Innocent went beyond a Julius, as Leo beyond Innocent, and a Gregory VII, in later times, overshot him; when we see the care and anxiety with which popes seem in all things, and sometimes above all things,

 to have provided for the security of their own authority; and how this end was carried out by interpolations and falsification of ecclesiastical documents, which, when detected, were never retracted or disavowed, and somewhat later grew into a notorious and scandalous system of forgery; when we weigh all these things, it seems impossible for unprejudiced readers to acquit the papal seat of the charge of worldly ambition and corrupt motives.—"The Rise of the Papal Power," Robert Hussey, B. D., pp. 148, 149. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1863.  

Papacy, Culmination of Apostasy.—The history of the Christian church does not record a steady progress in the pathway of truth and holiness, an uninterrupted spread of the kingdom of God on earth. On the contrary, it tells the story of a tremendous apostasy. Even in the first century, as we learn from the New Testament, there set in a departure from the gospel, and a return to certain forms of ritualism, as among the Galatians. In the second and third centuries, antichristian doctrine and antichristian practices, sacramentarianism and sacredotalism, invaded the church, and gradually climbed to a commanding position, which they never afterwards abandoned. In the fourth cen tury, with the fall of paganism, began a worldly, imperial Christianity, wholly unlike primitive apostolic Christianity, a sort of Christianized heathenism; and in the fifth and sixth centuries sprang up the Papacy, in whose career the apostasy culminated later on.—"Romanism and the Reformation," H. Grattan Guinness, D. D., F. R. A. S., pp. 60, 61. London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1891.

Papacy, Five Steps in the Development of.—The papal power was gradually developed, and it is not difficult to trace the principal steps of its development.

First Step.-The influence of the pseudo-Clementine Letters and Homilies, a forgery probably of the middle of the second century. These writings profess to be from the hand of Clemens Romanus, who writes to James after the death of Peter, and states that the latter shortly before his death appointed the writer his successor. Here we have the origin of the story, repeated by Tertullian, that Clement was ordained Bishop of Rome by St. Peter. The bishop of Manchester is of opinion that "the whole early persuasion of St. Peter's Roman Episcopate 'was due' to the acceptance in the third and following centuries of the Clementine fiction as genuine history. . . . No one had any suspicion that the Clementine romance was a lie invented by a heretic. The story was accepted on all sides."  

With this view coincides the encyclical letter of the Holy Orthodox Church of the East already referred to: "Those absolutistic pretensions of popedom were first manifested in the pseudo-Clementines."  

Second Step.-The action of the Council of Sardica (a. d. 343) in giving a right of appeal to the Bishop of Rome on the part of any bishop who considered himself unjustly condemned. This led to the consolidation of power in the hands of the Bishop of Rome, although the decree of the council was not accepted by the churches of Africa or the East. 

Third Step.-The decree of the emperor Valentinian I, that all ecclesiastical cases arising in churches in the empire should be henceforth referred for adjudication to the Bishop of Rome.  

Fourth Step.-The appeals provided for by the Council of Sardica and by the decree of Valentinian were voluntary appeals; but Pope Nicolas I, in the ninth century, set up the claim that, with or without appeal, the Bishop of Rome had an inherent right to review and decide all cases affecting bishops.  

Fifth Step.-The forged Isidorian Decretals, which pretended to be a series of royal orders, and letters of ancient bishops of Rome, represented that primitive Christianity recognized in the bishops of Rome supreme authority over the church at large. They became a strong buttress and bulwark of the vast powers now claimed by the popes in the person of Nicolas I.—"Romanism in the Light of History," Randolph H. McKim, D. C. L., pp. 97, 98. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1914.  

Papacy, "the First Essay of Papal Usurpation."—But what most of all distinguished the pontificate of Victor was the famous controversy about the celebration of Easter, between the Eastern and Western bishops; the former keeping that solemnity on the 14th day of the first moon, on what day soever of the week it happened to fall; and the latter putting it off till the Sunday following. . . .  

Victor, not satisfied with what his two immediate predecessors had done, took upon him to impose the Roman custom on all the churches that followed the contrary practice. But, in this bold attempt, which we may call the first essay of papal usurpation, he met with a vigorous and truly Christian opposition.—"The History of the Popes," Archibald Bower, Vol. I, p. 18. Philadelphia: Griffith and Simon, 1847.  

Papacy, Formal Claim to Supremacy by.—The supremacy of the see of Rome began in the fourth century. Then for the first time the precedence among equals willingly conceded to Rome in early ages was turned into a claim of authority; which was demanded on a new ground, and from that time never ceased to advance in pretensions, until it assumed the form of The Supremacy, that is, absolute dominion throughout Christendom.—"The Rise of the Papal Power," Robert Hussey, B. D., p. 1. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1863.  

Papacy, Effect of Removal of Capital from Rome to Constantinople.—The removal of the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330, left the Western Church practically free from imperial power, to develop its own form of organization. The Bishop of Rome, in the seat of the Caesars, was now the greatest man in the West, and was soon forced to become the political as well as the spiritual head. To the Western world Rome was still the political capital-hence the whole habit of mind, all ambition, pride, and sense of glory, and every social prejudice favored the evolution of the great city into the ecclesiastical capital. Civil as well as religious disputes were referred to the successor of Peter for settlement. Again and again, when barbarians attacked Rome, he was compelled to actually assume military leadership. Eastern emperors frequently recognized the high claims of the popes in order to gain their assistance. It is not difficult to understand how, under these responsibilities, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, established in the pre-Constantine period, was emphasized and magnified after 313 [Edict of Milan]. The importance of this fact must not be overlooked. The organization of the church was thus put on the same divine basis as the revelation of Christianity. This idea once accepted led inevitably to the medieval Papacy.—"The Rise of the Medieval Church," Alexander Clarence Flick, Ph. D., Litt. D., pp. 168, 169. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1909.


1919, SBBS 329-333