Brother Francis Memorial Edition
The three articles by Fr. Gallitzin included here were originally published in sequence over a period of several years. The first, A Defense of Catholic Principles, was published in response to a public sermon of a protestant clergyman who used the occasion to attack the Church. The second, An Appeal to the Protestant Public, was published after the clergyman responded with a public “Vindication” of his remarks and accusations, which utterly failed to address Gallitzin’s Defense. One of the results of this exchange was that a friendship developed between Gallitzin and another protestant minister who eventually converted. It became clear to Gallitzin that any attempt to convince protestants of the truths of the Faith must depend for its effectiveness, not upon appeals to authority or tradition, but rather to scripture. This he did in his Letter to a Protestant Friend on the Holy Scriptures. All three articles are masterful, manly, and effective. Many protestants converted. We are pleased to make these writings available to a new generation of Catholic evangelists.
A Defense of Catholic Principles
Article One: A Summary of Catholic Doctrine
Article Two: Confession
Article Three: The Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper
Article Four: The Sacrifice of the Mass
Article Five: Communion under one kind or form
Article Six: Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead
Article Seven: Honoring the Saints and Applyng to their Intercession
Article Eight: Images, Pictures, and Relics
Article Nine: The Pope
Article Ten: Toleration
An Appeal to the Protestant Public
A Letter to a Protestant Friend on The Holy Scriptures
Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin
Six Final Points
Brother Francis Maluf, M.I.C.M.
Prince Demetrus Augistine Gallitzin
The Pope We believe that Jesus Christ, who would have his church to be one, and solidly built upon unity, hath instituted the primacy of St. Peter to support and cement it. To St. Peter alone, our blessed Savior said, “thou art Peter [a rock] and upon this rock I will build my church” (Mt. 16:18). T
o Peter alone, our blessed Savior said, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and thou being once converted confirm thy brethren” (Lk. 22:32).
To Peter alone, our blessed Savior proposed three times the following question: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (Jn. 21:15-17); and upon Peter’s answer in the affirmative, he tells him twice “feed my lambs” and the third time, “feed my sheep”.
Finally, although Jesus Christ tells all his Apostles collectively, “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven” (Mt. 28:19). Yet Peter is the only one who receives the power separately and individually; “I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shall bind upon earth” (Mt. 26:19).
The name of Peter is generally mentioned before the names of the other Apostles, although it appears that others were called to the Apostleship before him; and we find, upon all important occasions, Peter taking the lead among the Apostles. In the choice of an Apostle to supply the vacancy occasioned by the prevarication of Judas (Acts 3:4-6); in the defense before the high priests (Acts 4); in the judgment against Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5); in the calling of the Gentiles to the church of Christ (Acts 10); likewise in the first council held at Jerusalem (Acts 15:7). T
his primacy of jurisdiction, which was given to St. Peter we acknowledge in the successors of St. Peter, the bishops of Rome, to this present day. Their names are all upon record, and any person versed in the history of the church, and the writings of the holy fathers, will candidly confess, that a primacy of jurisdiction has always been acknowledged in the bishops of Rome.
St. Irenaeus, in the second age, says, that all churches, round about, ought to resort to the Roman church by reason of its more powerful principality (C. 3. c. 3).
In the third age, St. Cyprian says, we hold Peter the head and root of the church, and he calls the church of Rome, St. Peter’s chair (Epist. 55). In the fourth age, St. Basil calls St. Peter that blessed one, who was preferred before the rest of the Apostles (Serm. de Judicio Dei).
In the same age, St. Epiphanius says, he chose Peter to be the chief of his disciples (Heres. 51).
In the same age, again, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, says, Peter the prince, and most excellent of all the Apostles (Catechis. 2).
In the same age, St. Chrysostom says the pastor and head of the church was once a poor fisherman (Homil. 55 in Mt).
In the same age, Eusebius Emissenus calls St. Peter not only pastor, but the pastor of pastors (Serm. de Nativ. S. Jo).
Again, St. Ambrose says, Andrew first followed our Savior, yet Andrew received not the primacy, but Peter (2Cor. 12).
In the fifth age, St. Augustine calls Peter the head of the Apostles, the gatekeeper of heaven, and the foundation of the church (to wit, under Christ) (Epist. 88).
The first General Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325, defined that he who holds the See of Rome is the head and chief of all the patriarchs as being the vicar of Christ our Lord over all people, and the universal church of Christ; and whosoever shall contradict this, is excommunicated.
The same is declared by the General Council of Chalcedon (Sess. 15, Can. 58, A.D. 451); and in all subsequent general councils down to the last — the General Council of Trent, A.D. 1545 — the bishop of Rome, with the unanimous consent of all the bishops always presided.
Several learned protestant divines own this primacy of the church of Rome, and acknowledge its usefulness.
Hugo Grotius, a celebrated protestant divine, who was very industrious in examining into the root of all protestant divisions, and very zealous in composing them, positively declares in his last work written shortly before his death, “There can be no hopes of uniting protestants among themselves, except they are united together with those who are in communion with the See of Rome” (Close of last reply to Rivet).
Melancthon likewise confesses that “The primacy is even necessary for preserving unity.”
What is the reason, says the above quoted Grotius (Reply to Rivet, ad Art. 7), that those among Catholics who differ in opinion, still remain in the same body, without breaking communion, and those among the protestants who disagree, cannot do so, however they speak much of brotherly love? Whoever will consider this aright will find how great is the effect of primacy. “
As certain bishops preside over many churchs”, says Melancthon, “so the bishop of Rome is president over all bishops. And this canonical policy, no wise man, I think, does or ought to disallow, for the monarchy of the bishop of Rome is, in my judgment, profitable to this end, that consent of doctrine may be retained. Wherefore an agreement may easily be established in this article of the pope’s supremacy, if other articles could be agreed upon” (Cent. Epist. Theol. 74).
Mr. Thorndike, another celebrated protestant divine, confesses that “A pre-eminency of power and not of rank only has been acknowledged originally in the church of Rome,” (Epic. L. 3, cap. 20, p. 179).
I have in my possession a letter, written by Martin Luther to Pope Leo X, dated A.D. 1518, and printed among the other works of Luther, in Jena (A. p. 1579, Vol. 1. p. 74). This document is of so much the more importance as it proves beyond the possibility of a doubt that Martin Luther, the father of the pretended reformation, at the date of the letter, acknowledged the bishop of Rome as the head of the church, and his lawful superior, and that if he afterwards rejected the same authority, it was evidently the effect of passion, spite and malice, produced by the sentence of excommunication, which the pope pronounced against him; in this we are confirmed by the indecent, scurrilous, and malicious language made use of by Luther after his excommunication, whenever he speaks of the pope.
I shall only quote two passages of Luther’s letters to the pope, the beginning and the conclusion.
Epistola Luther ad Leonem X. Rom. Pont. Beatissimo patri Leoni Decimo Pont. Max. F. Martinus Lutherus Augustinianus aeternam saluter. Auditum audivi de me passinum Beatissime Pater, quo intelligi, quosdam amicos fecisse nomen meum gravissime coram te et tuis faetere, ut quia auctoritatem et potestatem clavium, et summi pontificis minuere molitus sim — sed rem ipsam, Beatissime Pater, digneres audire ex me.”
Epistle of Luther to Leo X, Roman pontiff. To the most holy father Leo the tenth, sovereign pontiff, brother Martin Luther, of the order of St. Augustine, wishes eternal welfare. I am informed, most holy father, that you have heard of me the very worst, and understand that certain friends have brought my name into very bad repute before you, etc., saying that I am trying to lessen the authority and power of the keys and of the sovereign pontiff — but deign, most holy father, to hear the whole business from me …
Luther concludes the letter with the following words:
Quare, Beatissime Pater, prostratum me pedibus tuae beatitudinis offero cum omnibus, quae sum et habeo. Vivifica, occide, voca, revoca, approba, reproba, ut placuerit; vocem tuam, vocem Christi in te praesidentis et loquentis agnoscam etc.
“Therefore, most holy father, prostrate at the feet of your holiness, I offer myself and all I have. Vivify, kill, call, recall, approve or reprove as you please in your voice I acknowledge the voice of Christ, who presides and speaks to you, etc. *
I shall not be detained in defending the temporal power exercised by some popes. That the pope has any such power was never an article of faith. It is true that this power has been assumed and exercised. Yet candor requires that we should view history as it is in itself, and not as it appears through the prism of misrepresentation. When ignorance and barbarity, which were the natural consequences of the dissolution of the Roman Empire, and of the invasion of the barbarians, had spread all over Europe, national and civil wars were the order of the day. Nations were arrayed against nations, kings and emperors against each other; myriads of petty chieftains, each one with his retinue, were laying waste the whole face of Europe. No safety was to be found, but destruction, violence, murder, and bloodshed were to be met with everywhere. Among the laity there were none who knew how, or were willing, or able to administer justice. In that general desolation, it was but natural that both the people and their chiefs should turn their attention towards the See of Peter, on which sat men to whom their eminent virtue and science gave a moral influence which placed them above all their contemporaries. All were anxious to take refuge under their protection. It was not the popes who sought for power, but it was power which forced itself, as it were, upon the popes. The people were like children calling on their common father to preserve them from destruction. Had the pope turned a deaf ear to their call, he would have been accused of egotism and indifference; he protected them, and he is accused of ambition, of thirst of power, etc., as well might a young man who has become of age, accuse his guardian of ambition, because, during his infancy, he watched over his interests.
It is a remarkable fact, that whenever the pope has exercised that temporal power, which is the object of so much and so bitter censure, he has exercised it for the interest of the people against their oppressors, by deciding that they were no longer, in conscience, bound to obey those princes who, instead of acting the part of fathers towards their subjects, had become their insufferable tyrants. It is also remarkable, that on those memorable occasions, when the pope is said to have deprived princes of their dominions, it was never for his own benefit, and they never acquired an inch of ground for themselves.
In short, the exercise of that power was grounded on the general jurisprudence of those times, and princes themselves contributed and gave sanction to it, by frequently applying to the Holy See for the settlement of their temporal concerns. Thus, the accusation of ambition, pride, etc., against the popes disappears when the facts are accurately investigated and truly stated.
What is called the patrimony of St. Peter is an estate which the pope owes to the munificence of his powerful friends, and which he has possessed for upwards of a thousand years; and when he has taken up arms, it has been either to protect it against aggressors, or to rescue it from the hands of those who had invaded it unjustly.
I shall never try to defend the conduct of all our popes. Peter denied his master; is it a wonder then if among so many of his successors, some should be found guilty of prevarications? Some, no doubt, were far from being edifying in their conduct. Christ foresaw it; what he says of the Pharisees and Jewish doctors may be said of them. “The Pharisees and Scribes have sitten upon the chair of Moses. All therefore whatsoever they shall say unto you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not” (Mt. 18:2, 3).
Although in their capacity as men, some popes have exhibited proofs of their weakness and corruption, yet as heads of the church, they have all during these eighteen hundred years taught one and the same Catholic doctrine. If the abuse of power were conclusive against the title of him who exercises it, there would be no longer any authority upon earth. On the contrary, I may safely advance, that the real or supposed abuse of power by some popes, not only proves nothing against the solidity of their title, but is an argument in favor of its existence.
If we take a retrospective view of the history of the world, we shall find that abuses of power have almost always been attended with the destruction of the power in which they originated. Thus the abuse of regal power turned Rome into a republic; the abuse of republican power, turned republican Rome into imperial Rome. Thus the abuse of imperial power turned Switzerland and other countries of Europe into republics, by abolishing the authority abused. Thus the abuse of English power turned the United States into a republic, by abolishing in these States the power of England.
What is the reason then that the abuses of papal power, supposing them to be as great and numerous as you represent them to be, have not been attended with the same consequences; the destruction of the papal power itself? Why does that power, after a lapse of eighteen hundred years, still continue to be acknowledged by three-fourths of Christendom.
Christ gives the answer to this interesting query; “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18).
Attacked with the most relentless fury for ages by the combined efforts of hell and earth, by fierce enemies in and out of the Catholic church apparently on the brink of destruction, its downfall has often been prophesied.
Many of the sovereign pontiffs fell victims to those persecutions. The majestic rock of St. Peter remained, Peter was put to death. Pius the VII was banished and kept in close confinement. During the period of about eighteen hundred years, from Peter to Pius VII, the chair of St. Peter has still been occupied, and we have upon the records of the Catholic church, the names of more than two hundred and fifty sovereign pontiffs, who followed one another in regular succession on the chair of St. Peter a great number of whom died martyrs for their faith, very few of whom can be said to have been scandalous.
Mr. Hume, who certainly will not be suspected of partiality for the Catholic religion, owns that although the popes sometimes misused the authority they had, they most commonly made a laudable and humane use of it, by promoting peace among Christian princes, by uniting them against the hordes of barbarians who were extending every day their bloody conquests, by repressing simony, violence and every kind of excess, which overbearing, cruel masters committed against their weak, oppressed subjects; it served to make, of the whole Christian world, one great family, whose differences were adjusted by one common father, the pontiff of the God of concord and justice. A grand and affecting idea that, of the most extensive and the noblest administration that could be thought of.
From what I have stated, you will plainly see, dear Sir, that all that can be alleged of the criminal conduct or abuse of power of some popes, makes nothing against the Catholic church. It only proves that popes are subject to human frailties in common with the rest of mankind; that with the Roman orator, they have a right to say, homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto, and that no power or authority, how great soever; no character, how sacred soever; affords sufficient security against the corruption of human nature, and the influence of the passions.
Far from affording an argument against the Catholic church, I rather think that the corruption of popes, and of the clergy, admitting it to exist even beyond the limits our adversaries would fain wish to suppose, affords a powerful argument in favor of the Catholic church.
Any person possessing the least knowledge of the nature of man, and versed in the history of religion, will own that religious opinions have but too often originated in the passions and the corrupted heart of man, their dictates being too often mistaken for those of cool and impartial reason. Neither will it be denied that the great variety of religious systems (which may be counted by hundreds) contradicting and condemning one another, owe their origin to the variety of human passions and interests. Before the coming of Christ, the objects of religious worship were more spiritual, or more carnal, according to the impulse given to the hearts of men, by their respective passions, either towards spiritual or carnal objects. The world, embracing Christianity, has introduced into the church its corruption and its passions. Although men ruled by the same passions are, by the overwhelming force of evidence, prevented from mistaking the main object of their worship, which is Jesus Christ, yet being under the influence of these various passions and interests they pretend to find out various ways of going to Jesus, ways more easy, more smooth, in short more congenial to each one’s passions and inclinations; ways more spiritual or more carnal, ways all differing from the old narrow road which alone was pointed out by Jesus Christ as leading to him. Now, Sir, starting from this undeniable position, and admitting popes, clergy, and if you choose, laypeople of the Catholic church by millions, to have been very much corrupted, the popes and clergy to have been ruled by pride, ambition, covetousness, and all the passions that corrupted hearts are subject to; to have set up and enforced the most extravagant claims, to have with Satan equaled themselves to the most high; if notwithstanding this sink of corruption, if not withstanding the wonderful irritation and opposition which such tyrannical claims and acts must have produced, if notwithstanding this dreadful conflict of passions and clashing of interest, the Catholic church has still continued to this day, during a period of eighteen centuries, to preserve its perfect unity, has still continued to acknowledge the same power, and the same head, though guilty of such enormous abuses, must we not confess, that here is the hand of the most high?
Travel over all the Catholic countries of Europe. Why has the demon of discord, who has so many times overturned their governments by the most dreadful revolutions? Why have the furious tempests raised by human passions, that have divided, destroyed, leveled with the ground; so many human institutions that seemed to bid defiance to time? Why have they not been able to divide, to destroy Catholic unity, to hurl the pope from the See of St. Peter, to emancipate Catholics from the tyrannical yoke (as it is called) of the Roman pontiffs?
The answer is plain. The Catholic church, the See of St. Peter, and Catholic unity, are all the work of God, which man cannot destroy.
Popes, bishops, and priests, as individuals, are subject to all the passions, and form of themselves nothing but a dead body, which, like any other human body, would soon become a prey to corruption and dissolution, were it not, according to the promise of Jesus Christ, animated, vivified and preserved forever in perfect unity by the Holy Spirit of Truth. The Holy Ghost being the soul of that body, keeps it alive, keeps it, head and members, in unity and harmony. Being himself the foundation of truth and holiness, he dispels the mists of falsehood and corruption, which the malice of Satan and the passions of individuals, whether clergy or laypeople, often cause to arise in order to obscure the bright and pure rays of divine revelation. Thus, the abuses in the church, whether in the members or the head, are reformed by the church, and the words of Christ accomplished: the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
I shall take but little time to refute the false and ridiculous charge of those who accuse our popes of granting indulgences to commit sin, requiring a certain sum of money, greater or smaller, according to the kind of sin for which the indulgence is granted.
That such a charge is frequently published in protestant books, and from protestant pulpits, you will not deny. Now, all Catholic books, sanctioned by the church, no matter where or when published, tell you plainly, that an indulgence is nothing but a remission or relaxation of certain temporal punishments, remaining due to sin, after the guilt and eternal punishment are remitted, as in the case of David, to whom Nathan said, “The Lord hath taken away thy sin; nevertheless the child that is born to thee shall surely die” (2Kings 12:13, 14).
Such indulgences are granted upon the sinner’s sincere repentance, and satisfaction for his past sins, the Apostles and their successors having received from Christ full authority to forgive the sins of those who are judged worthy of forgiveness. There is no doubt, but owing to the perverseness of many individuals among the clergy, the most shocking abuses have taken place sometimes in the dispensation of indulgences. However, as these abuses were not sanctioned, but reprobated by the church, as you can see if you read Chapter 9 of the 21st Session, and Decretum de Indulgentiis of the 25th Session of the Council of Trent, they of course make nothing against the holiness, purity, and infallibility of the church of Christ, and only prove that all human flesh is subject to infirmities.
I believe, dear Sir, that I have fulfilled my promise, and proved to everybody’s satisfaction, that Roman Catholics are not guilty of superstition in submitting to the spiritual jurisdiction of St. Peter and of his successors, the sovereign pontiffs or bishops of Rome.
Permit me to add a few words more on another important subject upon which our doctrine is grossly misrepresented, I mean the doctrine of the Catholic church on toleration.
*Such was the language of Luther till his doctrine was condemned, when he shook off all authority, and set up the tribunal of his own private judgment. No sooner had he done so than his disciples, proceeding on the same principle, undertook to prove that his own doctrine was erroneous. Carlstadt, Zuinglius, Oecolampadius, Muncer, and several others of his followers, wrote and preached against him and against each other with the utmost virulence. In vain did he claim a superiority over them; in vain did he denounce hellfire against them; he had the mortification to see his assumed authority, as well as threats, totally disregarded by them. His followers continued to act in open defiance of him, till their mutual abuse became so scandalous as to fill the more moderate among them with grief and shame. Experience convinced them that for preserving unity of faith, and regularity of discipline, a fixed supreme authority is required. Capito, minister of Strasburg, writing to Farel, pastor of Geneva, thus complains to him, “God has given me to understand the mischief we have done, by our precipitancy in breaking with the pope,” etc. Dudith, another reformer, writing to Beza, says, “In what single point are those churches which have declared war against the pope, agreed amongst themselves?”
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