The Purpose of the Papacy by John S. Vaughan


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Page 1

It is a remarkable and outstanding fact that never before in the
history of the Church has the Roman Papacy, though shorn of every
vestige of its once formidable temporal might, loomed greater in the
world, ruled over such vast multitudes of the faithful, or exercised
a greater moral power than at the present day. Never has the
_conscious_ unity of the whole world-wide Church with its Visible
Head--thanks to the marvellous developments of modern means of
communication and transport--been so vivid, so general, so intense as
in these times. Not only does "the Pope's writ run," as we may say, by
post and telegraph, and penetrate to the inmost recesses of every part
of the globe, so that the Holy See is in daily, nay hourly
communication with every bishop and every local Catholic community;
but never has there been a time when so many thousands, nay tens of
thousands of Catholic clergy and laity, even from the remotest lands,
have actually seen the Vicar of Christ with their own eyes, heard his
voice, received his personal benediction. Well may we say to Pius X.
as to Leo XIII.: "Lift up thy eyes round about and see; all these are
gathered together, they are come to thee; thy sons shall come from
afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side. Then shalt thou see
and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the
multitude of the sea shall be converted to thee, the strength of the
Gentiles shall come to thee" (Isaias, lx. 4, 5).

But not only is the present position of the Papacy thus unique and
phenomenal in the world; as the Author of this little book shows in
his first part, its career across the more than nineteen centuries of
the world's chequered history, from Peter to Pius X., is no less
unique and no less phenomenal. This is a fact which may well rivet the
attention, not of the Catholic alone, but of every thinking man, be he
Christian or non-Christian, and which surely calls for some
explanation that lies beyond and above that of the ordinary phenomena
of history. The only possible satisfactory solution of this problem is
the one so concisely, yet so simply, set forth in the following
pages.

The second part is concerned with a more particular aspect of the same
problem, in its relation to the Church in this country, and especially
to that incredible latter-day myth which goes by the name of "the
Continuity Theory". It is difficult to us to realise how such a theory
can possibly be held by thoughtful and earnest men and women who have
even a moderate acquaintance with history. Bishop Vaughan applies more
than one touchstone, which, one would imagine, ought to be sufficient
to prove to any unprejudiced mind the falsity of that theory. Among
these, what I may call the "pallium touchstone,"--which still bears
its irrefragable testimony in the arms of the Archbishops of
Canterbury,[1]--has always appeared to me peculiarly conclusive.[2]

In the present small volume, Bishop Vaughan adds another to the series
of popular and instructive books which have made his name a household
word among Catholic writers. May its success and its utility be as
great as in the case of those which have preceded it.

[cross] LOUIS CHARLES,
_Bishop of Salford_.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Not in those of York since 1544, see Woodward's
_Ecclesiastical Heraldry_, p. 191 and plate XX.]

[Footnote 2: See _The Pallium_, by Fr. Thurston, S.J., (C.T.S.) and
the striking list in Baxter's _English Cardinals_, pp. 93-98.]




AUTHOR'S PREFACE.


The following chapters were not intended originally for publication.
If they are now offered to the public in book form, it is only in
response to the expressed request of many, who listened to them when
delivered _viva voce_, and who now wish to possess a more permanent
record of what was said.

In the hope that they may help, in some slight measure at least, to
promote the sacred cause of truth, we wish them Godspeed.

[cross] JOHN S. VAUGHAN,
_Bishop of Sebastopolis_.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Mon 20th May 2019, 19:10