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to greatness, and which was hallowed in the memories of her patriotic children by all the glorious recollections of renowned names, from the days of Romulus downwards; after the Pantheon had been emptied, and the names of Jupiter, and Mars, and Minerva, and the myriads of heathen gods and demi-gods had been eclipsed for evermore by the brightness of that one name, to which “every knee must bow;" after the stan dard of Christianity had been planted on the seven hills of Rome, and floated proudly over the palace of the Cæsars, the church was smitten with the curse of ambition, and with intense eagerness the contest for pre-eminence began. When the walls of Jericho fell down before the blast of the trumpets, blown by the priests, in the name of the Lord, a private individual took “a wedge of gold and a Babylonish garment, and secreted them in his own tent," and, by this forbidden act, brought wrath on Israel. But when the strongholds of paganism fell before the sweet sound of the silver trumpet of salvation, the wedge of gold and the Babylonian garment were taken by the rulers of the church, and enshrined within the inmost temple, beside the ark of the covenant. When the earthly house of that tabernacle in which paganism dwelt was dissolved, the disembodied spirit fled for sanctuary, and laid hold on the horns of the altar. There it was not only protected, but adopted, bap tized, consecrated, and set up anew for the worship of mankind. The first step towards this was the corruption of the clergy, by means of covetousness, pride, and vanity. When the church had risen to power, "the number of minsters began to increase, and out of these, in process of time, they chose the best and most learned for the senate and counsel of the church, and then the distinction of places began. They that had the greatest employments were called cardinals, and they who had the lesser, priests and deacons.” (“Il Cardinalismo," 69.) Before this, priests and deacons had been promiscuously, and without any distinction, admitted into the ecclesiastical assemblies, but they were now excluded, and the government of the church lodged entirely in the hands of the superior clergy. Even after the title cardinal had been conceded to the occupants of the superior charges, the cardinalate was inferior to the episcopate. In those times the cardinalship was only a step towards a bishopric. As the office of a bishop was the higher of the two, so the privileges attached to it by the holy mother church were greater. It possessed a much more abundant degree of that infallibility which resides in all its plenitude and perfection in his holiness. For the conviction of a bishop, seventy-two witnesses were required; and, if there was one less than that number, the accusation was accounted void. Thus, while in the presence of no more than seventy-one persons, a bishop could commit no sin; whereas, if a cardinal committed a crime in the presence of forty persons, this number was accounted sufficient for his conviction, and no more than twenty-seven were required for the conviction of a poor deacon. (Il Cardinalismo.) In course of time, however, the case was reversed. The cardinalate was not an indigenous plant in the church, yet, being planted in a congenial soil, and, falling in with a long succession of congenial seasons, it grew, and became great, and overshadowed all the native trees, and it shot far aloft, until it equalled the highest cedars in the garden of God, and cardinals became the equals of kings and emperors. Then, to be a bishop, was only a step towards being a cardinal. So much, at one period, was the episcopate considered inferior to a cardinalship, that a certain bishop of Naples, when he saw their eminences come forth in their Pontificialibus, having their mantles, and red caps on their heads, and the foot-clothes and trappings of their mules, also, of scarlet, the splendour of the sight so dazzled the poor prelate, that, says the author of “Il Cardinalismo," “he turned to me and told me, 'In Rome, it is better to be a cardinal's mule, than a prelate of the church.'”
The chief cause of the ascendency of the cardinals, was the union of the temporal with the spiritual monarchy, in the person of the supreme Pontiff. Pepin, and Charles the Great, his son, having bestowed several secular principalities upon the pope, so many important affairs were daily occurring, that the settlement of them could not be delayed till the next meeting of bishops, and it was therefore found necessary somewhat to alter the previous model of the church. The author to whom we have so frequently referred, illustrates this fact by means of an image so fine that it proves him to have been a man of true genius, and which, as well as many other parts of his work, in despite of the awkwardness of the translation, is tinged with a certain soft and sorrowful tenderness, which proclaims the heart of its author, though he was an Italian, to have been ill at ease in the Church of Rome. “The church in its minority," says he, “was like the Galley of Salamin, that, by the appointment of the Athenians, was never to sail but upon some religious desigu, it being sufficient now and then, upon occasion, to call their councils, to negotiate and regulate the most important affairs of Christendom, but, after the acquisition of so many states and seignories, they were forced upon new ways for the conservation of their temporals. For this reason, it was judged necessary to establish a council, or senate, that should be always near his holiness, and that it should be composed of cardinalpriests, and deacons, and rectors of the principal parishes of Rome, as those that were more capable to consult and determine in matters of the greatest importance, both in spirituals and temporals, which succeeded, without much difficulty, the ministers of Rome (to prevent any resentment in the bishops that the administration of the affairs of the church was taken out of their hands) endeavouring to persuade thein, that what was done was for the benefit of Christendom, that it was unfit the bishops should leave their charges with so much inconvenience to the people, and come so often to Rome to treat of affairs that more properly belonged to those who had no cures to distract them; and thus were the poor bishops constrained to truckle to the cardinals, and become inferior, that had been superior so long."
At first, the cardinals were chosen only from among the priests and deacons who ministered in Rome, and this practice continued about an age and a half, when the bishops, perceiving the great injury done then, succeeded in bringing it about that the cardinals should be chosen out of the whole bishops of Italy, all foreigners being excluded from that privilege. Afterwards, it was agreed that they might be chosen out of all the provinces of Europe and Asia, without exception of any, it being but reasonable, as St Bernard says, “ that those who judge the whole world, should be chosen out of all parts thereof."
According to Cardinal Bellarmine, the offices of a cardinal are three. " The first is common with other deacons, priests, and bishops: for all the cardinals have either the offices of a bishop, of a priest, or of a dea
con. A second office is, the right of electing the supreme pontiff. Lastly, to assist his holiness, and help bim by their prayers and their counsels in administering the affairs of the universal church.” The same writer thus defines the relative authorities of bishops and cardinals. “ A bishop, if we consider the potestas ordinis, is superior to a cardinal-presbyter or a cardinal-deacon, inasmuch as a bishop ordains presbyters, and confirms the baptised, which a cardinal, priest, or deacon, cannot do. On which account, also, the sovereign pontiff calls himself a bishop, and not a cardinal, and he styles all the bishops venerable brethren, while he calls the cardinals beloved sons, as he does the rest of the laity. For the same reason, if we shall consider jurisdiction over his own church, that is, of a bishop over his diocese, and a cardinal over his title, or deaconry, a bishop is greater than a cardinal-presbyter or deacon: for ordinarily the diocese of a bishop is greater than the place from which a cardinal has his title; and, besides, a bishop within his own diocese has the most ample jurisdiction, peculiar to himself
, as ordinary pastor, of making laws, of dispensing with them, of punishing, of granting indulgences; but a cardinalpresbyter or deacon, in the place from which he has his title being as a parish priest, subject to the bishop, can do nothing, unless in so far as the bishop shall permit. But if we consider the matter in reference to the government of the universal church, a cardinal-presbyter or deacon is superior to a bishop who is not a cardinal; for those who are simply bishops are never admitted to a share in the government of the universal church, unless, which happens most rarely, they are called to a general council. But cardinals almost daily are present with the pope, nor does he enter upon any affair of importance without their counsel. And hence it arises that bishops may be judged, may be created, may be deposed, by the cardinals as the coadjutors of the supreme pontiff, while, on the other hand, these things cannot be done by bishops to cardinals
, and thus, absolutely considered, a cardinal takes the precedence of a bishop who is not a cardinal."* Thus Bellarmine, in a roundabout manner, arrives at that supremacy of his own order, which the author of the “History of Cardinals,” with more honest plainness, thus enunciates: “All the cardinals, both bishops, priests, and deacons, have the pre-eminence over all bishops, archbishops, primates, and patriarchs, who are all obliged to acknowledge them for their supreme judges, as assistants to the pope, as the supreme council of the church, and principal citizens in the Christian commonwealth, as parts and members of the pontifical body, as organs of their power, as lieutenants to God's vicegerent, and coadjutors in a monarchy that is both spiritual and temporal."
The cardinals alone fill all the chief places in the secular government of Rome. Out of the general college of cardinals, there are several congregations formed, which, for that reason, are called the congregations of cardinals. These are fifteen in number; namely; that of the holy office, of the bishops and regulars, of the council, of the immunities of the church, of the state, de propaganda fide, of rights, of water, of streets, of the index, of consultation for the government of the church, of good government, and of easing of grievances, of the mint, of examination of such as are designed to be bishops, and of the affairs of the consistory.
De Clericis in Bellarmine's works, tome ii. p. 110-11l.
In the “Book of the Sacred Ceremonies of the most Holy Roman Church,” a long and highly entertaining account is given of all the steps gone through in the creation of a cardinal. Our limits not permitting us to enter on this at length, we shall merely insert from that work the form of address used by the pope before presenting the cardinals with the red cap. “My most beloved sons, ye are now endowed with the greatest and most excellent dignity; ye are called to the apostolic college as our counsellors and rulers together with us of the whole world; it will be yours to judge between cause and cause, between blood and blood, between leper and leper (inter lepram et lepram). Successors of the apostles, ye shall sit around the throne, ye shall be the senators of the city, and the equals of kings, and the true
hinges of the
world upon which the door of the church militant is to be turned. Think within yourselves, what kind of men, what talents, what integrity, this dignity requires humility, not pride; generosity, not avarice; abstinence, not intemperance; continence, and not lasciviousness; knowledge, not ignorance. This office demands all virtues, and no vice. If heretofore you have been vigilant, you must now watch still more against that malignant enemy, who never sleeps, and is ever thinking whom he may devour. If before you have been liberal, now pour forth your wealth on all laudable objects, and especially in cherishing the poor of Jesus Christ. If you have been abstemious in the use of meat and drink, now, above all things, beware of luxury. Let avarice be unknown; let cruelty be far from you; let arrogance be driven into exile. Let the sacred books be always in your hands; day or night, be either learning something yourselves, or teaching others. Perform works by which your light shall shine before men; and, in fine, be such as you judged cardinals ought to be, before you were raised to this elevation.” This speech being ended, and the newly-appointed cardinals having kissed the foot of his holiness, each of them in the order named bends the knee, and is presented by the pope with a red cap, who, in presenting it, uses these terms:—“To the praise of Almighty God, and the ornament of the holy apostolic see, accept a red cap, the illustrious ensign of the dignity of cardinalship; by which is signified, that, even to death and the shedding of blood, you ought to manifest your zeal for the exaltation of the holy faith, the peace and quiet of the Christian people, and for the prosperity and dignity of the most holy Roman Church. In the name of the Father, and the Son, &c."* The cardinals were habited like simple monks and friars, till Innocent the Fourth, in the year 1250, ordered them to wear the red cap. Boniface the Ninth afterwards enjoined them to wear red and purple habits. To make their pontifical robes the more splendid, Paul the Second added the silken mitre, the red bonnet, the gilt staff, and red cloath for their mules. These red habiliments were no doubt used in imitation of the dresses worn by the senators and the high priests of ancient Rome. The robes of knights and senators were adorned with purple knobs, the ensign of their orders, those of the senators being broader, and hence they were called laticlavü. A purple robe was also worn by the Pontifex Maximus and the Flamens. Hence that line of Ovid, " Illic purpurea canus cum veste sacerdos”_" The hoary-headed
* Rituum Ecclesiasticarum, lib. 1, section 8.
priest with the purple robe.” Hence, in Minutius Felix, we find Caecilius accusing the Christians," that, being half-naked themselves, they despised the dignity of the priests and their purple robes.” In thus adopting the insignia of the senators and priests of pagan Rome as the livery of the Church, there was probably a design to gratify patriotic associations, by bringing the modern into harmony with the ancient city. Had this been still to do, in more recent times, it is to be thought more caution would have been shown in the selection of the colour. They would, at least, have been a little more sparing of their purple and scarlet, were it only to prevent the profane imaginations of heretics from being reminded of a certain woman, seen in vision by the last of the apostles. When one thinks of the cardinals, clad in scarlet from top to toe—red caps, red slippers, red cloaks, and that even the trappings of their mules are red, and all this by the formal appointment of the infallible head of the Church, it is scarcely possible, even for those who have least of the enthusiasm of prophetical interpretation, to fail being struck with the following description from the pen of John the Divine:-“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness, and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls.” Have none of the speculators on prophecy heretofore interpreted this as meaning that scarlet and purple were to be the livery of the Church, worn by its head, and the special ornament of the prime supporters of his power? If no one has hitherto fallen upon this, we make a free gift of the discovery to the first student of the prophecies who has the genius to discern its merits, and hope that he will work it up into a theory of eminence, and clothe it with a garment of words, as ornamental to his ideas, as purple and scarlet are to the persons of the cardinals.
It will be necessary now to say a little respecting the title of cardinals. At first they were called reverendo; then they took the title of reverendissimo, which they kept for many ages, till it began to be usurped by the bishops, and then they exchanged it for illustrissimo, with which they were willing to have remained satisfied. Pope Urban the Eighth, however, “ upon the anvil of ambition, would forge a higher and more sublime title than that with which the cardinals were contented. Many and various were his thoughts about this matter, troubling and distracting himself (as is reported) several hours in the night to find out greater titles and prerogatives. At first, he thought to have given the title of highness; but, desirous to give the cardinals some title that might be peculiar to their dignity, it was some trouble to his spirits to consider that title was common to other princes. At last, after much watching and ambitious study, he found out the title of eminence, which was received with great applause by all the cardinals, who gave the pope solemn thanks that they were made eminentissimi in his kingdom.” (“Il Cardinalismo,” p. 95). The assumption of this new title discomposed all the princes of Christendom, and especially of Italy, and several conferences were held to concert measures which should prevent them from becoming inferior to the cardinals. At last, after several debates, they resolved to leave the title of excellence, and take up the title of highness, which is used at this day in Christendom as the highest of titles.” When the princes began to treat about assuming the title of highness,