Page:Distinguished Churchmen.djvu/424

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Moreover, the Papacy has not abated any of its claims to absolute and infallible jurisdiction, authority and government over the whole Christian Church, not merely over the Roman Church properly so-called, but over all Christian Churches, and even over those communities which they would not acknowledge as churches at all, and over all baptised Christians, for all are in some sense claimed as belonging to the Church of Rome. Mr Gladstone stated in his Vatican Decrees that no one could now become a convert to the Roman Catholic Church without renouncing his mental and moral freedom, and putting his loyalty and civil duty at the mercy of another. Surely, then, this is hardly the time to weaken the safeguards of our Protestant Monarchy. It is said that the King has now no power that he must act through his Ministers and according to Parliament. That is quite true, but though his power may not be much, he has of necessity from his high position enormous influence, and so has his Consort, and their confessor would be behind them both. The back- stair intrigues of Charles II. and the open violation of law would probably follow. We have had enough of that sort of thing already. We do not want a repetition of it or even a suspicion of it. The fact is our constitution is utterly contrary to the avowed principles of the Papacy. Even Cardinal Vaughan says that, A Catholic King under present circumstances would be a cause of

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