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CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR AND THE RIGHT REV. LORD BISHOP POMPALLIER.
To the Editor of the NEW ZEALANDER.
SIR, --Having obtained from the Office of the Catholic Bishopric of Auckland, through the mediation of the Vicar-General the true copies of the letters of his Excellency Governor Browne, and of his Lordship Bishop Pompallier, respecting the last Meeting of the Bible Society at Auckland, we citizens of Auckland, in behalf of our fellow Catholics, request you will have the kindness to publish the within correspondence: it may interest in a high degree religious science, and lead to Christian charity.
Auckland, February 24, 1859.
To the Very Rev. JAMES MACDONALD, V. G.,
VERY REV. SIR, --We, the members of the Catholic community at Auckland, would be thankful to you for your kind compliance with the following request:
As we consider that the Catholic people of this diocese, have felt justly hurt at offensive expressions in the Report read at the late Meeting of the Auckland Auxiliary Bible Society, and as no satisfactory apology has yet been made, we trust that you will be so kind as to furnish us with a copy of the correspondence between his Excellency the Governor and his Lordship the Bishop of Auckland on that subject.
Very Rev. Sir,
Yours most respectfully,
Auckland, February 22, 1839.
Auckland, Feb. 23, 1839.
GENTLEMEN, --In reply to your letter of the 22nd inst., I have obtained the permission from our Venerable Bishop to give you
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the enclosed two copies of the letters you request, concerning the last Meeting of the Bible Society at Auckland.
Yours very devotedly,
JAMES MACDONALD, V. G.,
To Messrs. George Gallagher, James Grimley, Michael Haydon.
Government House, Auckland, 12th Feb., 1859.
MY DEAR LORD, --I do not notice or reply to remarks which appear in the public journals; but I think it due to your Lordship to state that I was present at a Meeting of the Bible Society, when remarks were made upon the Church of which you are the spiritual head in this Colony, which I considerd very objectionable.
Not having seen the report until it was read, I had not the power to prevent what occurred; before I left the platform, however, I informed an influential member of the Society that I entirely disapproved the use of expressions which could not fail to be offensive to a large and loyal part of Her Majesty's subjects, and requested him to inform the Committee that I could not preside again at any meeting where it was likely to be repeated.
My Dear Lord,
Yours very faithfully,
T. GORE BROWNE.
The Right Rev. The Lord Bishop Pompallier, &c., &c., &c.
Auckland, February 15, 1859.
SIR, --I feel thankful for your welcome letter of the 12th instant. It is an express disapprobation on the part of your Excellency of outrageous expressions against the Mother Church, the Holy Catholic Church, and her visible Chief Pontiff at Rome, of whom I have the honor to be a representative in the South Seas for more than 22 years.
Be your Excellency pleased that I open freely my mind to you, as I have done several times in written and oral correspondence, since Providence and Her Gracious Majesty have conducted you to New Zealand.
The Holy Catholic Church is a heavenly store of wisdom, in which we can at any time find principles quite sound in reason and faith, to apply them to circumstances of difficulties and trials which may be met during this short life.
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The principles and spirit of catholicity teach to love God and men, whoever and wherever they may be; to have respect and affection for the lawful and local superiors; and to obey them with the laws administered by them. Such principles, your Excellency, rendered at once your person and authority cordially dear to the Catholics of this Colony. To hear of your falling into false steps not foreseen, and met by accident, grieves their good feelings.
It is a Catholic principle that the goodness or badness of religious systems, is easily known by their effects or fruits. Hence, fanatical expressions, uncharitableness, misrepresentations of doctrine and facts, used in meetings, as it has been the case in the last meeting of the Bible Society at Auckland, show evidently that the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth and charity, was far from directing that assembly, and from being the inspirer of their system, proceedings, and wordings.
It is a Catholic principle that, when a tree is known by science or experience, the fruit which it may produce, are known also by anticipation, and are expected as a matter of course. Now as the Protestant Institutions, with its various Societies, is all grounded upon the principle of veneration for the written Christian law (the Holy Bible) and upon the rejection of, or disobedience to, the Christian Pastorship of the Mother Church, the Holy Catholic Church, of which the principal Head is at Rome, then expressions of contempt towards her Pastors, even these fanatical ones of Papal Antichrist, &c., &c., &c., imprudence, and all the faults emanating from disobedience, arise from the erroneous system itself, and do not surprise any men of sound learning, experience, and reflection. The temporal authorities can scarcely find any chair of wisdom and prudence amongst its religious societies, and incur frequently the danger of injuring the confidence and cordial respect of their Catholic subjects, led by the principles of catholicity and charity.
It is also a great Catholic principle, that the Holy Catholic Church is to be known, heard, believed, and obeyed in religious matters. This is of divine precept, according to the creed itself of the Apostles, which is common to all denominations, and desires every one to say: "I believe the Holy Catholic Church." To know the Bible is useful: to obey the Church is necessary for salvation and security of mind and conscience. The Bible Society and its work are an institution and exertion incompetent; because they are far from being sealed with the approbation of the Holy Catholic Church. Besides experience shows, that the population at large, want more elementary notions, catechetical instructions and abridgment of Christian doctrine and history, than to have all its depository in the Bible and other large books. The institution of the Bible Society therefore is not canonical,
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not logical, not prudent; reason, faith, and obedience, cannot agree with its foundation, direction, and exertion. If, in the Holy Catholic Church, the Bibles that emanate from such societies are forbidden, it is not because she wishes to keep in concealment the word of God; but because they are generally altered, incomplete, and very often delivered and read with comments that vitiate the true meaning of the Holy Bible; and at all events because they are incompetently written, incompetently published, incompetently explained, and consequently they are subject to all the defects of errors, and to all the deficiencies of omission, of addition, and alteration, which may accompany an Institution and Ministry uncommissioned by God and by the agency of His lawful Pastorship in the Holy Catholic Church. What danger for the prudence of gentlemen placed by Providence to rule people, to sit and preside at the work towards the written Christian law separated from the living Christian Pastorship. Quomodo audient sine proedicoente? Quomodo proedicabunt nisi mittantur (legitime)? Rom., Chap. 10, v. 14 and 15.
Finally, the antilogical vices of the Protestant system, are quite known by learned men, principally in England, where they are flocking by scores to the Holy Catholic Church as to the principle of life. But the vice of the protestant system, if applied to society itself, is indeed as palpable as terrific; for its principle, obedience to the written law, private and free interpretation of the law, and contempt of the living authority, could be followed by a deluge of evils. If, indeed, it could be said in the Colony, veneration to the English law, and some expressions equivalent to these, down with the English authority, as Protestantism says of the Pastorship of the Mother Church, what consequences of divisions, and scourges, and disturbances, would follow in the Country? In such a supposition, impracticable, the more the English law books would be multiplied, and the creation of incompetent chief rulers, judges, and magistrates, would be made in lieu of the lawful ones despised and disobeyed, then the more the venomous plant of disobedience would spread with all its elements of sedition, confusion, and ruin. God forbid such evils in society! and may His grace teach all people of the earth to obey their lawful superiors, as Jesus Christ himself, according to the Catholic principle preached by St. Paul, (Heb., 5. 17. Eph. Chap. 6, v. 5 & 7.) and consequently to venerate and obey both the Christian law and the Christian Pastorship, the divine truth, and the divine authority in its lawful Pastors, who, by the fact of their unbroken succession up to the first Pastors of Christianity, compose in all ages and nations a moral body, with which Jesus Christ remains every day up to the end of the world, according to his own promise. To insult then such Ministers, is a relative blasphemy to the adorable Master who is represented by them.
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Still, in the present circumstances of the religious divisions of Christians, the Holy Mother the Church and her rulers of wisdom, imitate the prudence of her heavenly Spouse, the Master of the evangelical field, saying: let them grow up to the harvest, sinite utraque crescere usque ad messem. (Mat. 13. 30). Then the fruits will show the nature of the seed and of the sowings, and be the object of condemnation for error, and of reward for truths. They assuredly will show the divinity of the Holy Catholic Church, which is a spiritual Mother in her spiritual parent Pastors, and can never be a sister Church to all the others which are her offspring according to the most notorious history. She is rejoicing for the obedience and salvation of those who remain united to her, and does not cease weeping over others who separate from her, as streams from their source, and leave behind them places more or less vast and long, and ending inevitably in dryness, sterility, and annihilation. They may during the lime of their existence, raise frequently matricidal hands against their Mother, as did Arius, Pelagius, and so many others who rebelled and disappeared; but they find always that her body of truths and faithful are like divine buildings of which the materials are hard like heavenly diamonds, which break asunder the weapons of aggression, and wound sometimes very severely the character of her antifilial aggressors. May they return to their Mother, whose merciful heart can never be closed against souls, who are her own children by baptism, and who have been like sheep led astray. Her bitterest tears are specially shed over those who, obstinate in blindness, will see in the visible Chief Pastor of the Church in his chair at Rome, a Pontiff Antichristian, as the Jews being obstinate to consider in the Adorable Saviour of men, a man led by the demon, have at length been struck by the hands of the living God, into which it is horrid to fall. Horrendum est incidere in manus Dei viventis. (Heb. 4O. 51.) Alas! the beautiful Temple of that beloved people, their city, their nation, have all perished, and their dispersion amongst the people of the earth, speak everywhere of their past great mischiefs. How grateful I am to God, whose hand has enabled my pastoral exertion to remove or prevent very serious evils, several times, in New Zealand!
May the flambeau of the living Bible, viz., the word of God either written or not but always united with the divine Testimonies and the living authority of the Church, light all nations, and apply to them the grace of Redemption! By this long letter, I hope not to have displeased your Excellency, but to have shown to you something of my great and cordial esteem.
I finish by repeating that I have received with gratitude, your letter of the 12th instant. It has brought to me some consolations, which were wanted not only by my respect and obedience
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to the Mother Church, whose lambs and sheep I feed in this Province, but also by my devotedness to the population of New Zealand, white and Natives, and by a confidence in your Excellency which I observe, was shaken in a great many persons of this Colony.
I am induced more and more by your letter, to be confirmed in a thought which 1 have received from my personal acquaintance with your Excellency, and which I am far from having lost, that your loyalty and nobility as a high officer in the Military profession, and a distinguished representative of Her Gracious Majesty, could never agree with anything that would breathe fanaticism in proceedings and expressions.
May your disapprobation, said on the platform of the Meeting to an influential Member of the Committee of the Bible Society, and written officially to me, please the Almighty, and cause the reparation of the notorious outrage committed in that Meeting, not only against the faithful Catholics and loyal subjects of Her Gracious Majesty in New Zealand, where they are a local minority and still a large population of this Colony, but also against the Holy Mother the Catholic Church, who is always the great majority of Christians on earth, and against her chief visible Head at Rome. May the confidence of all the Catholics of my flock be returned to you, with the blessings of the good Shepherd in Heaven!
Be pleased to accept, as a token of my cordial esteem, the enclosed small book on the Catechetical notion and history of the word of God, written and published by him,
Who has the honor to be, Sir,
Most humble, obedient, and devoted servant,
x J. BP. FS. POMPALLIER,
R. C. Bishop of Auckland,
To His Excellency,
T. Gore Browne, K.C.B.,
Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand.
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