1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vatican Council, The
VATICAN COUNCIL, THE, of 1869 and 1870, the last ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, and the most important event in her historical development since the Tridentine synod. The preliminaries were surrounded by the closest secrecy. As early as the end of the year 1864, Pius IX. had commissioned the cardinals resident in Rome to tender him their opinions as to the advisability of a council. The majority pronounced in favour of the scheme, dissentient voices being rare. After March 1865 the convocation of the council was no longer in doubt. Thirty-six carefully selected bishops of diverse nationalities were privately interrogated with regard to the tasks which, in their estimation, should be assigned to the prospective assembly. Some of them proposed, inter alia, that the doctrine of papal infallibility should be elevated to the rank of a dogma. In public, however, Pius IX. made no mention of his design till the 26th of June 1867, when Catholic bishops from every country were congregated round him in Rome on the occasion of the great centenary of St Peter. On the 29th of June 1868 the bull Aeterni Patris convened the council to Rome, the date being fixed for the 8th of December 1869. And since the Roman Catholic Church claims that all baptized persons belong to her, special bulls were issued, with invitations to the bishops of the Oriental Churches, to the Protestants and to the other non-Catholics, none of which groups complied with the request.
The object of the council was long a mystery. The Bull of Convocation was couched in perfectly general terms, and specified no definite tasks — a circumstance which at first ensured a favourable reception for the scheme, as it allowed ample scope to hope and imagination. But, among liberal Catholics, this mood underwent a complete reversal when information began to leak out as to the object of the Curia in convening the council. The first — epoch-making — revelation was given, in February 1869, by an article in the Civiltà Cattolica, a periodical conducted under Jesuit auspices. It was there stated, as the view of many Catholics in France, that the council would be of very brief duration, since the majority of its members were in agreement. As a presumptive theme of the deliberations, it mentioned inter alia the proclamation of papal infallibility. The whole proceeding was obviously an attempt, from the Jesuit side, to gauge the prevalent opinion with regard to this favourite doctrine of ultramontanism. The repudiation was energetic and unmistakable, especially in Germany. Certain articles on “The Council and the Civiltà,” published by Döllinger in the Allgemeine Zeitung, worked like a thunderbolt. Unions of the laity, designed to repel the encroachments of ultramontanism, sprang up immediately; and all manner of old ideas for the remodelling of the clergy were broached anew. It must, however, be admitted that counter demonstrations were not lacking. The attitude adopted by the German episcopate well exemplifies the ecclesiastical situation of that period. The bishops tried to allay the excitement by publishing a pastoral letter drawn up in common; but in a written address to the pope they declared against the contemplated definition of infallibility. In France also a violent conflict broke out. Here it was principally the writings of Bishop Maret in Paris (Du concile général et de la paix religieuse, 2 vols., 1869), and of Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans, which gave expression to the prevalent unrest, and led to those literary controversies in which Archbishop Manning of Westminster and Dechamps of Mechlin came forward to champion the opposite cause. In Italy the free-thinkers considered the moment opportune for renewing their agitations on a larger scale. They even attempted — though with no success worth the name — to counteract the Vatican Council by a rival council in Naples. That the projected dogma had weighty opponents among the higher clergy of Austria-Hungary, Italy and North America was demonstrated during the progress of the council; but before it met all was quiet in these countries. The credit of inviting the European governments to consider their attitude towards the forthcoming synod belongs to the president of the Bavarian ministry, Prince Chlodwig of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, the future imperial chancellor. In his circular note to the Powers of the 9th of April 1869 he analysed the political import of the doctrine of papal infallibility, and proposed a common course of action. But his overtures met with no response. In view of the strained international situation, none of the Powers approached was willing to take a step which might easily have resulted in a bitter conflict with the Church; and the studied vagueness of the Curia in its official pronouncements on the council enabled them to assume an attitude of reserve and suspension of judgment. France was equally inactive, though it rested with her to decide whether the council could even meet in Rome: for the withdrawal of her troops from the papal state would have been the signal for a patriotic Italy to sweep this last impediment to national unity from the face of the earth.
On none of the previous ecumenical councils did the Roman see exercise so pronounced an influence as on the Vatican. As early as the year 1865 a committee of cardinals had been formed as a “special directive congregation for the affairs of the future general council,” a title which was usually abbreviated to that of “Central Commission.” Among the earliest preliminaries, a number of distinguished theologians and canonists were retained as consultors to the council. In the selection of these the preference for men of ultramontane tendencies was so pronounced — Döllinger, for instance, was not invited — that the influences at work in the convocation of the council were obvious long before its opening. Under the control of the Central Commission were six sub-commissions: (1) for dogma; (2) for matters of ecclesiastical discipline; (3) for the religious orders; (4) for the Oriental Churches and the missions; (5) for the secular policy of the Church; (6) for the ceremonial of the council. The pope nominated the presidents of the council (Cardinals Reisach, de Luca, Bizarri, Bilio and Capalti); also the secretaries and the remaining officials. Again, before the proceedings began, he determined the order of business on his own initiative (Multiplices inter d. d. Nov. 27, 1869), — thus precluding the members of the synod from any opportunity of co-operating in the task. In these regulations the right of fixing the subjects for debate was reserved to the pope. The members of the synod, it is true, enjoyed the privilege of proposing motions; but these motions could never reach the stage of discussion, except by the papal sanction. Another fact of great importance was the strict privacy in which the labours of the council were to be conducted, the members being pledged to silence on every point. For their deliberations, two forms of assembly, analogous to those employed at Trent, were instituted: the congregationes generales and the sessiones. The General Congregations, presided over by cardinals, were employed in considering the schemata (drafts) submitted to the synod; and provisory votes — not regarded as binding — were there taken. The sessions witnessed the definitive voting, the results of which were to be immediately promulgated as ecclesiastical law by the pope. The form of this promulgation was, in itself, sufficiently characteristic; for the pope was represented as the real agent, while the acknowledgment of the share of the council was confined to the phrase sacro approbante concilio. In contrast to this, we may refer to the synods of Constance and Trent (C. Mirbt, Quellen u.s.w., pp. 155-202, and the articles Constance, Council of, and Trent, Council of). In the event of the drafts submitted by the Curia not being unanimously adopted by the General Congregations, they were to be remitted, together with the objections raised, to special committees chosen from the body of the council. These committees (congregationes speciales deputationes), the presidents of which were also nominated by the pope, were four in number: (1) for matters of belief; (2) for questions of ecclesiastical discipline; (3) for the religious orders; (4) for affairs of the Oriental Churches. The whole proceedings took place in the church of St Peter, the south transept of which had been prepared especially for the purpose. That the acoustic properties of the structure were unequal to the demands made upon them was obvious from the first day, and occasioned numerous complaints.
On the 8th of December the first session met, and the council was solemnly opened by Pius IX. From beginning to end it was dominated by the “Infallibility” problem. At the elections to the committees the fact was already obvious; for the leaders of the synodal majority in favour of the dogma took excellent care that no one should be chosen who was known to lean toward the opposite side. The order of procedure excited considerable dissatisfaction in many; and a series of petitions, with alternative suggestions, was submitted to the pope, but without success. The very first transactions of the council gave proof that numerous bishops held the theory that their convocation implied the duty of serious and united work, and that they were by no means inclined to yield a perfunctory assent to the papal propositions, which — in part at least — stood in urgent need of emendation. The Curia awoke to this unpleasant fact during the discussion upon the first draft laid before the council, the schema De Fide, — and some perplexity was the result; for on the 8th of December the second session had already been announced for the 6th of January. Since the consideration of the schema could not possibly be completed by that date, and since it was now futile to hope that the doctrine of infallibility would be carried by acclamation, and without debate, in that session, — Archbishop Darboy informing Cardinal de Luca that, in this event, a hundred bishops would leave Rome at once, — the second session, on the 6th of January, was reduced to a mere formality, the delegates again declaring their allegiance to the Professio Fidei Tridentinae, to which they had already pledged themselves at ordination. On the 10th of January the schema De Fide was referred to the committee “for matters of belief,” to receive further revision.
From the 10th of January to the 22nd of February 1870 the council was occupied with proposals concerning ecclesiastical discipline and with questions of church life. On this occasion it became evident that the synod was not blind to the necessity for many and various reforms. Even the College of Cardinals and the Curia did not escape. Complaint was made, for instance, that the papal chair and the Roman Congregations were filled almost exclusively by Italians; while the control of the Church was too much centralized in Rome. Again, the treatment of impediments to marriages, of licences and of the scales of charges, was submitted to criticism. The fact was elicited that the resolutions of provincial synods, when transmitted to Rome for approbation, were there subjected to arbitrary changes, so that the contents no longer corresponded with those to which the bishops had affixed their signatures. Even the desire for national assemblies and for ecumenical councils, held at regular intervals, found expression. The delicate subject of the compulsory celibacy of the clergy was also discussed; the notorious defects of the Roman Breviary were considered, and a long debate ensued with regard to the policy of drawing up a short catechism for the whole of Catholic Christendom. Even the proposals which led to these declarations of opinion — many of which were neither anticipated nor desired — were not accepted by the council, but returned for revision to the respective committees.
That matters progressed slowly was undeniable. It was the third month, and not one of the proposals under consideration had been despatched. That this unexpected delay was a natural sequel to the character of the proposals themselves was a fact which the Curia declined to recognize. Consequently, as that body could rely upon a complacent majority, it resolved to proclaim a new order of procedure, by means of which it would be possible to end these unwelcome discussions and quicken the pace of the council. By the papal decree of the 20th of February the influence of the committees was increased; the majority was allowed to cut short a debate by accepting a motion for its closure; a plurality of votes was declared sufficient to carry a proposal; and the voting itself was modified by the institution of a “conditional affirmative” (placet iuxta modum) in addition to the regular affirmative and negative (placet and non placet). Since neither the presidents nor the majority of the council could well be expected to employ the extensive powers thus placed at their disposal with much consideration for the rights of the minority, protests by the weaker party against the new regulations were handed in to the pope, but to no effect.
The main object, however, of this alteration in procedure was to ensure that if the council could not be induced to accept the doctrine of infallibility by acclamation, it should at least do so by resolution. From the first the general interest was almost exclusively concentrated on this question, which divided the members of the synod into two hostile camps. The adherents of the contemplated dogma — among whom Archbishop Manning of Westminster and Bishop Senestrey of Regensburg admittedly held the leading position — circulated petitions to the pope requesting the introduction of a proposal to meet their views; and, as a result of their efforts, the signatures of 480 bishops were obtained. This manœuvre aroused the other side. Petitions to the opposite effect were now similarly distributed, and signed by 136 bishops. On the 9th of February the committee of examination as was only to be expected resolved to recommend the pope to grant the wishes of the majority. The remarkable feature of the situation created by these agitations was not that the majority of members declared in favour of the dogmatization of infallibility — that was a foregone conclusion in view of the strides made by ultramontanism in the Roman Catholic Church — but that so many could be found with courage enough to withstand the aspiration to which Pius IX. had given open expression on every possible occasion. The weight of their opposition was accentuated by the fact that the finest intellects and the ablest theologians of Catholicism were included in their ranks. The presence of striking personalities, whose devotion to the Church was beyond question, — Archbishop Scherr of Munich, Melchers of Cologne, Bishop Ketteler of Mainz, Bishop Hefele of Rottenburg, Cardinal Schwarzenberg of Prague, Cardinal Rauscher of Vienna, Archbishop Haynald of Kalossa, Bishop Strossmayer of Sirmium, Archbishop Darboy of Paris, Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans, to say nothing of the others, — assured this group an influence which, in spite of itself, the opposing faction was bound to feel. If the minority indeed had formed one compact phalanx, the council might possibly have taken a different course; but this it was not, and the fatal truth could not be concealed from the pope and his advisers. The bond which united its members was not a repudiation of the doctrine of infallibility itself, but simply a common sentiment that its elevation to the rank of dogma was inopportune at the time. Some — possibly many — may have entertained serious doubts with regard to that doctrine; but, if such was the case, they succeeded in repressing and disciplining their suspicions, and the greatest anxiety was shown to avoid the least attempt at founding their resistance on a dogmatic basis. And here the weakness of the opposition is at once manifest; it lacked a clear and positive goal.
In outside circles the proceedings at Rome were followed with strained attention, and the battle round the question of infallibility was waged with equal violence in France and Germany. In the one country public interest was focused on the writings of Gratry, the former Oratorian; in the other on the trenchant attacks of Döllinger. In England, Newman protested against the dogma. The progress of the council was marked by a plethora of controversial literature with which it was almost impossible to keep pace; articles and pamphlets were poured forth in increasing volume month after month, and even yet no classified collection of them is extant. Among them all, none exceeded in influence the Römische Briefe, first published in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, which gave a regular account of the most intimate transactions of the council, and maintained a high reputation for accuracy in spite of all attempts to discredit their authenticity. Important service in disseminating information among widely extended circles was done by the brochure Ce qui se passe au concile (May 1870), which revealed a number of proceedings never intended for publicity.
Among the secret propositions submitted to the council by the Curia was the schema De Ecclesia Christi, which was distributed to the members on the 21st of January. This contained fifteen sections, in which were defined the nature of the Church, the position of the pope in the Church, and, more especially, the relationship between the Church and the State. In case the harmony between these two magnitudes is disturbed, the responsibility lies with the State, because it thereby disregards the rights and duties of the Church (cap. 13). The divine law is binding on temporal sovereigns, but the administration of that law is a question which can only be decided by the supreme doctrinal authority of the Church (cap. 14). In addition to the education of youth, the Church demands absolute freedom in the training of its clergy and the abrogation of all restrictions on the religious orders, &c. Thus the superiority of Church to State was here enunciated in the same drastic terms as in the Syllabus of Pius IX. (1864) — a declaration of war against the modern political and social order, which in its day provoked the unanimous condemnation of public opinion. When, in spite of the injunction of secrecy, the schema became known outside Rome, its genuineness was at first impugned; but as soon as the authenticity of the text was established beyond the possibility of doubt, this attempt to dogmatize the principles of the notorious Syllabus excited the most general indignation, even in the strongholds of Catholicism — France and Austria. It almost appeared as if both governments, incensed by these encroachments on the sphere of the State, were at last bent upon bringing pressure to bear on the future deliberations of the council; but the international situation enabled the Curia to persist in its attitude of strict negation towards the despatches of Count Beust and Count Daru. On political grounds Napoleon was not inclined to employ any form of coercion against the synod; Bismarck maintained a like reserve; and although Lord Acton influenced Gladstone in the contrary direction, Lord Clarendon followed Odo Russell, his chargé d'affaires in Rome, who was himself adroitly kept in hand by Manning. Thus the danger that the attitude of the secular powers might imperil the liberties of the council was averted for the second time.
From the 22nd of February to the 18th of March no meetings of the General Congregations took place, on account of structural alterations in the aula itself. During this interval all uncertainty as to whether the question of infallibility would actually be broached was dispelled. On the 6th of March a supplementary article to section 11 of the schema De Ecclesia, dealing with the primacy of the Roman see, was transmitted to the members, and in it the much disputed doctrine received formal expression. But before the animated discussions which centred round this problem could begin, it was imperative to conclude the debate on the schema De Doctrina Catholica. From the deputation “for matters of faith” it returned to the plenum in a considerably modified form, and there it occupied the attention of the assembly for a full month, beginning with the 18th of March. Even in this later stage it frequently gave rise to trenchant criticism; but the greatest sensation was created by a speech of Bishop Strossmayer, who took exception to the terms of the proposal on the ground that it described Protestantism as the fountain-head of naturalism and as an unclean thing (pestis). There followed a dramatic scene: the orator was interrupted by the president and compelled by the outcries of the indignant fathers to quit the tribune. Nevertheless, Strossmayer by his courageous protest succeeded in modifying the objectionable clauses. The bishops of the minority were still dissatisfied with several passages in the schema, but, desirous of concentrating their whole available force in opposition to the next proposal, they suppressed their doubts; and the result was that, on the 24th of April, in the third public session, the Constitutio dogmatica de Fide Catholica was adopted unanimously and immediately confirmed by the pope.
Meanwhile, the elaboration of the all-important business of the council had been quietly proceeding. Influenced by the alarming number of amendments to the schema De Ecclesia, and anxious above all to ensure an early acceptance for the dogma of infallibility, the deputation abandoned the idea of subjecting the entire doctrine of the Church to debate, and resolved to eliminate everything save the one question of papal authority, and to submit this to the council alone. That this procedure directly challenged criticism was obvious enough, and, within the synod, several speakers drew attention to the capriciousness of a method which required them to consider the infallibility of the pope before the nature of the Church herself had been defined. The event, however, justified the wire-pullers of the council in their policy, for the path they chose obviated the danger that the discussion might lose itself in a maze of generalities. It is impossible to give a short and, at the same time, an adequate account of the debate: lengthy disquisitions were the order of the day, and the disputants did not scruple to indulge in verbose repetition of arguments worn threadbare by their predecessors. A pleasant impression is left by the great candour of the opposition speakers, who, in the course of the next few weeks, made every point against the doctrine, which in their position it was possible to make. In the general debate, begun on the 13th of May, Bishop Hefele of Rottenburg, author of the well-known Konziliengeschichte, criticized the dogma from the standpoint of history, adducing the fact that Pope Honorius I. had been condemned by the sixth ecumenical council as a heretic (680). Others were of opinion that the doctrine implied a radical change in the constitution of the Church: one speaker even characterized it as sacrilege. The contention that the dogma was necessitated by the welfare of the Church, or justified by contemporary conditions, met with repeated and energetic repudiation. The champions of infallibility were, indeed, confronted with no slight task: — to establish their theory by Holy Writ and tradition, and to defend it against the arguments of history. But to them it was no hypothesis waiting to be verified, but an already existing truth, the possession of which no extraneous attacks could for a moment affect. On the 3rd of June the general debate was closed, and forty prospective orators compulsorily silenced.
In the special debate, which dealt with the proposal in detail, every important declaration with regard to the pope was impugned by one party and upheld by the other. The main assault was naturally directed upon the fourth section, “concerning the doctrinal authority of the pope,” and Archbishop Guidi of Bologna, in particular, incurred the resentment of the majority through his outspoken utterances on the subject. Immediately after the session he was summoned to the Vatican, and, on defending his attitude by an appeal to tradition, received from Pius IX. the celebrated answer, “I am the tradition.” From the beginning of July onwards it became increasingly evident that the council was on the verge of exhaustion: the great heat was positively dangerous to members accustomed to a colder climate, and the opinion gained ground that the spokesmen of both parties had sufficiently elucidated their views for the benefit of the conclave. Many delegates who had announced their intention of speaking relinquished the privilege, and on the 13th of July it was found possible to conclude the debate. On that day the voting in the 85th General Congregation, on the whole schema, showed that, out of 601 members present, 451 had voted placet, 88 non placet and 62 placet iuxta modum. That the number of prelates who rejected the placet would amount to 150 had not been expected. The question was now: Could the doctrine of infallibility be raised to dogmatic rank when it was repudiated by so formidable a minority? At the height of the crisis several leaders of the opposition attempted, by a direct appeal to the pope, to secure a modification in the terms of the dogma, which might enable them to give their assent. On the evening of the 15th of July six bishops were accorded an audience with Pius IX., in which they preferred their modest requests. Ketteler threw himself at the feet of the pope and implored, him to restore peace to the Church by a little act of compliance. The touching scene appeared to have made some impression on Pius IX.; but, after the deputation had left, opposing influences gained the ascendant, and the result was simply that the clauses on which everything hinged received an addition the reverse of conciliatory (General Congregation, 16th July). The bishops who had hitherto formed the recalcitrant minority were now face to face with the final decision. On the one hand was their loyalty to the pope, allied with the desire to avoid any demonstration calculated to impair the prestige of the Church; on the other, their conviction that the very doctrine which the council was about to proclaim as dogma was a gigantic error. There was but one way out of the impasse, — to leave Rome before the deciding session, — and on the 16th of July the pope met their wishes and accorded the leave of absence previously withheld. A section of the dissentient bishops reiterated their views in a letter to Pius IX., and agreed to direct their subsequent actions in common, — a compact which was not observed. On the 18th of July, in the fourth public session, the dogma was accepted by 535 dignitaries of the Church, and at once promulgated by the pope; only two members, repeated their non placet, and these submitted in the same session. The council continued its labours for a few more weeks, but its main achievement was over, and the remainder of its time was occupied with affairs of secondary importance. When, coincident with the outbreak of the Franco-German War, the papal state collapsed, the pope availed himself of the altered situation, and prorogued the council by the bull Postquam Dei munere (October 20). The Italian government at once protested against his statement that the liberties of the council would be prejudiced by the incorporation of Rome into the kingdom of Italy.
The resolutions of the Vatican Council entirely revolutionized the position of the pope within the Church. He is first accredited with “complete and supreme jurisdictionary authority over the whole Church, not simply in matters of faith and morality, but also in matters touching the discipline and governance of the Church; and this authority is a regular and immediate authority, extending over each and every Church and over each and every pastor and believer” (Sessio iv. cap. 3, fin.; Mirbt, Quellen, p. 380). These words conceded to the pope a universal episcopate in the entire Church, in virtue of which he may, at any time, in any diocese, exercise the functions of the regular bishop: the individual bishop forfeited the independence which he had formerly enjoyed, and the episcopate as a whole was dispossessed of that position which, in preceding centuries, had enabled it to champion the true welfare of the Church against a decadent papacy. Nor was this all: it is laid down “as a dogma revealed by God, that the Roman pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, — that is to say, when, in virtue of his supreme apostolical authority, and in the exercise of his office as pastor and instructor of all Christians, he pronounces any doctrine touching faith or morality to be binding on the whole Church, — is, by reason of the divine assistance promised to him in the person of St Peter, endowed with that infallibility which, according to the will of the Redeemer, is vouchsafed to the Church when she desires to fix a doctrine of faith or morality; and that consequently all such decisions of the Roman pontiff are per se immutable and independent of the subsequent assent of the Church. But if any man, — which Heaven forefend!” proceeds the document, “shall venture to deny this definition, let him be accursed!” (Sessio iv. cap. 4; Mirbt, Quellen, p. 381). These clauses contain the doctrine of papal infallibility, and make the recognition of that doctrine incumbent on all Catholic Christians. But how are we to recognize whether the decision of the pope is given “in the exercise of his doctrinal office,” or not? No criterion is assigned, and no authentic interpretation has been accorded from the chair of St Peter. Thus great uncertainty prevails with regard to utterances ex cathedra; and the result has been that every papal declaration has tended to be invested with the halo of infallibility. Again, the dogma implies a fundamental change in the position of the ecumenical councils, which, in conjunction with the papacy, had till then been supposed to constitute the representation of the Roman Catholic Church. By the Vaticanum they lost every vestige of actual, independent authority, for their function of defining the doctrine of the Church now passed to the pope; and, though in the future they may still be convened, their indispensability is a thing of the past. They have ceased to form a constituent organ of the Church, and are sunk to the level of a decorative or consultative assembly. Thus the decrees of the council possess a double significance; they have not only erected the papacy into the sole tribunal for questions of belief, but have at the same time radically transformed the constitution of the Church. The two factors which previously served to check the papal ambition have been shorn of their strength, and the papacy has attained the status of an absolute monarchy. The concurrent loss of the papal states, so far from enfeebling this new absolutism, tended, in spite of the protests of the Curia, to increase its strength, for its position now became unassailable, and it was enabled to concentrate its energies on a purely international policy to a greater extent than formerly.
The bishops, who, on the council, had impugned the doctrine of papal infallibility, submitted without exception to the promulgated dogma. Confronted with the alternative of either seceding from the Church or adopting a theory which they had previously attacked, they resorted to the “sacrifice of reason,” many with bleeding hearts; many, as it would seem, without any pangs of conscience. But though they submitted they failed to carry with them the whole of the theologians and laymen who had ranged themselves at their side in the battle against the dogma; and after the conclusion of the council a new Church was formed, which, in contrast with the fin de siècle Catholicism which, by the Vatican Synod, had cut itself loose from the traditions of the past, was termed Old Catholic (see the special article).
In the sphere of politics also the Vaticanum was attended by important results. The secular governments could not remain indifferent to the prospect that the proclamation of papal infallibility would invest the dicta of the medieval popes, as to the relationship between Church and State, with the character of inspired doctrinal decisions, and confer dogmatic authority on the principles enunciated in the Syllabus of Pius IX. Nor was the fear of these and similar consequences diminished by the proceedings of the council itself. The result was that on the 30th of July 1870, Austria annulled the Concordat arranged with the Curia in 1855. In Prussia the so-called Kulturkampf broke out immediately afterwards, and in France the synod so accentuated the power of ultramontanism, that, in late years, the republic has taken effectual steps to curb it by revoking the Concordat of 1801 and completely separating the Church from the State.
The antecedent history of the council was long; its subsequent history is a chapter which has not yet been closed. That the dogma was carefully prepared beforehand, mainly by the Society of Jesus, is a demonstrable and demonstrated fact, notwithstanding the denials emanating from writers belonging to the society.
The general position of Roman Catholicism was consolidated by the Vatican Council in more respects than one; for not only did it promote the centralization of government in Rome, but the process of unification soon made further progress, and the attempts to control the intellectual and spiritual life of the Church have now assumed dimensions which, a few decades ago, would have been regarded as anachronistic. On the other hand, however, a counter-movement can be traced in all countries with a predominant Catholic population, — the so-called Reformed Catholicism, which may wear a different aspect in different districts and different strata of society, but is everywhere distinguished by the same fundamental aspiration towards increased liberty. Thus the victory gained by ultramontane influences within the Church — a victory for which the Vaticanum was largely responsible — closes one period of development, but a second has already begun, the keynote of which is the search for a modus vivendi between this Vatican system and the Catholicism which is rooted in the intellectual life of the modern world.
- The note was drafted by Döllinger (see Infallibility).
- Mirbt, Quellen, 371-77.