Friday, 2 September 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 141.

SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.


I observe, first, That if the reformed religion had antiquity on its side, Martin Luther, the first and principal reformer, who neither wanted wit, nor learning, would not have overlooked, or slighted an advantage of that importance; because the ancient religion is certainly the true one. And, therefore, since it is an undeniable fact, that this capital reformer, instead of appealing to the ancient fathers, treated them as professed enemies, nay, declared in express terms, as will appear in the following chapter, that fathers, councils, and the practice of ages was against him, it follows that the doctrine of the reformation can lay no claim to antiquity, but has the infamous mark of novelty stamped upon it.

I observe, secondly, That though I have named several of the ancient fathers, who were censured for particular error, I have never heard of any father, or doctor of the Church in all antiquity, who ever was censured for any Popish error. I mean, for any of those pretended errors, which Protestants call Popery, as the mass, purgatory, invocation of saints, etc. Which, however, are clearly found in their writings. This is a demonstration, that the ancient Church did not look upon them as errors, but as orthodox doctrine. For had they been looked upon as errors, they could not have escaped the censure of the Church. As, for instance, the doctrine of the Mass would have been no less censured in St. Cyprian than his teaching the rebaptism of persons baptized by heretics; and since the one was really condemned, and not the other, it is an unanswerable proof, that the Mass was held to be the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles.

I shall conclude with summing up the principal heads of the argument, I have handled in this chapter, that the reader may have a clear view of them at once.

If Protestancy, as opposite to Popery, be the true religion, then it is that religion, which was taught by Christ and his Apostles; and by consequence, Protestancy had a being, before Popery. If so, then it follows that there happened in some age, or other, an entire change from Protestancy to Popery, which was in the possession of the whole Church for many hundred years. But it is morally impossible, that such a change should happen without opposition, nay, without causing great disturbances both in Church and State; and it is without example, that such considerable events should neither be recorded in any histories written about the time when they happened, nor transmitted to posterity by writers of the following age; therefore, if Protestants cannot produce any such history, as it is certain they cannot, the pretended change from Protestancy to Popery is wholly groundless ; and by consequence, the religion of the Church of Rome is as ancient as Christianity: and her enemies are guilty of as many calumnies, as they lay errors to her charge.