Page:History of Freedom.djvu/592
ESSAYS ON LIBERTY
The general debate had lasted three weeks, and forty- nine bishops were still to speak, when it ,vas brought to a close by an abrupt division on the 3rd of June. For twenty- four hours the indignation of the minority \vas strong. It \vas the last decisive opportunity for them to reject the legitimacy of the CounciL There were some who had despaired of it from the beginning, and held that the Bull M ultiplices deprived it of legal validity. But it had not been possible to make a stand at a time when no man kne\v whether he could trust his neighbour, and when there was fair ground to hope that the worst rules \vould be relaxed. When the second regulation, interpreted according to the interruptors of Strossmayer, claimed the right of proclaiming dogmas which part of the Episcopate did not believe, it became doubtful whether the bishops could continue to sit without implicit submission. They restricted themselves to a protest, thinking that it was sufficient to meet words \vith \vords, and that it would be time to act when the new principle was actually applied. By the vote of the 3 rd of June the obnoxious regulation was enforced in a \vay evidently injurious to the minority and their cause. The chiefs of the opposition were now convinced of the invalidity of the Counci1, and advised that they should all abstain from speaking, and attend at St. Peter's only to negative by their vote the decree which they disapproved. In this way they thought that the claim to æcumenicity would be abolished \vithout breach or violence. The greater number were averse to so vigorous a demonstration; and Hefele threw the great weight of his authority into their scale. He contended that they \vould be worse than their word if they proceeded to extremities on ,this occasion. They had announced that they would do it only to prevent the promulgation of a dogma \vhich \vas opposed. If that were done the Council \vould be revolutionary and tyrannical; and they ought to keep their strongest Sanctissimi Pontificis independens infallibilitas praejudicia et objectiones destruat quae permultos a fide avertunt, ea pot ius auget et aggravate . . . Nemo non videt si politicae gnarus, quae semina dissensionum schema nostrum contineat et quibus periculis exponatur ipsa temporalis Sanctae sedis potcstas.