The True Story of the Vatican Council

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The True Story of the Vatican Council (1877)
by Henry Edward Manning
131935The True Story of the Vatican Council1877Henry Edward Manning

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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Henry S. King & Co., London.



This brief Story of the Vatican Council was written at the request of two lay friends, who thought that a true and sufficient estimate of the Council was seldom to be found in what is called public opinion. I call it a Story, because to write a History of the Vatican Council would be the work of a man's life. Slight as I know it to be, I know it also to be true. The facts narrated rest partly upon the authority of the Archbishop of Florence, and none can be more amply provided with documents; and partly upon that of the Secretary of the Council, the Bishop of St. Polten. To this I may also add that, for many details, I have before me the Diary of a very learned and distinguished Bishop present in the Council; and also my own knowledge of facts of which I was personally a witness.

Archbishop's House,

Westminster, September 8th, 1877.


First thought of holding an Œcumenical Council proposed by Pius IX.—Commission given to certain Cardinals.—Their answers.—Commission of Direction.—Cardinals and Theologians, Roman and Foreign.—Interrogatories to the Bishops.—Their Answers.—True motive of the Vatican Council an adequate remedy to the disorders, intellectual and moral, of the Christian world.—Disintegration of Europe, and impending dangers,
pp. 1-40
Eighteenth Centenary of St. Peter's Martyrdom.—The assemblage of 500 Bishops in Rome a powerful cause of the Definition.—First announcement of the Future Council.—Address of the Bishops.—Council of Florence.—Historical outline of the Infallibility.—Bull of Indiction, June 29, 1868.—Conspiracy against the Council.—Diplomatic agitation.—Prince Hohenlohe.—Commission of Direction.—Partition of work.—Letters to the Bishops of the Oriental Churches, and to the new Catholic bodies of the West.—Constitution to regulate the Council.—Subjects to be treated.—Infallibility set aside,
pp. 41-84
Opening of the Council, Dec. 8, 1869.—Bishop Fessler.—Cardinal de Reisach.—Commission of Postulates.—Commissions of Faith, Discipline, and Religious Orders.—First Public Session.—Profession of Faith. Method of Discussion, and voting of amendments and reports in the General Congregations.—First Constitution on Catholic Faith passed unanimously in the Second Public Session, and confirmed by Pius IX.—Schema on the Church of Christ.—Petitions for and against the introduction of the Infallibility.—Reasons for and against.—Conclusion of the Majority.—Petition granted.—Chapter on Infallibility, added to the Scheme on March 7, 1870.—Synopsis of the First Constitution on Catholic Faith.—Intellectual aberrations in Philosophy.—Society and Science subject to Faith,
pp. 85-135
Discussion of the Schema on the Church.—On the Infallibility.—Sixty-four Speakers.—A hundred inscribed to speak on General Discussions.—Five Special Discussions still to come.—Closing of General Discussion.—Amendments, and final vote in General Congregation on July 13th.—Protest of Cardinal Presidents.—Fourth Public Session, July 18th.—First Constitution on the Church of Christ passed and confirmed by the Pope.—Franco-German war broke out on the next day.—Opposition in the Council.—Exultation and disappointment of the world.—Defeat of rationalistic intrigues by Bishops of Rottenburg and Mayence.—Freedom of the Council.—Archbishops of Paris and of Cologne.—Tumults and tragedies in the Council.—Cardinal Vitelleschi, Pomponio Leto.—Bishop Strossmayer.—Unity of the Episcopate throughout the World,
pp. 136-166
The Text of the Definition of the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.—What it does not mean.—What it does mean.—Apotheosis.—Deification.—Divine Attributes.—Divine Nature, and other absurdities.—Decree of the Council of Florence.—Evidence of Original MS.—Reasons for the remodelling of the Constitution, and for its speedy discussion.—Consequences imputed to the Council.—Failure of Old Catholic Schism.—True effects of the Council, like those of Trent, to be seen hereafter.—Unity and solidity of the Church to be seen now,
pp. 167-206