1859 - Harding, I. Roman Catholicism: a Letter to Colonel Thomas Gore Browne - [Appendices] p 17-24

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  1859 - Harding, I. Roman Catholicism: a Letter to Colonel Thomas Gore Browne - [Appendices] p 17-24
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HIS Excellency Colonel Gore Browne, Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand, being President of the Auckland Auxiliary Bible Society, was called to the chair at the Annual Meeting held on 1st February, in the Mechanics' Hall. The Committee's Report was read by the Secretary; and its adoption having been moved by the Venerable Archdeacon Kissling, and seconded by the Rev. Mr. Burrows, it was put to the meeting by the Governor, and carried unanimously.

After the proceedings had terminated, a member of the Committee informed myself and other members, that his Excellency had just then expressed to him the unpleasantness he felt, as Chairman, at the use of language which might be offensive to any portion of the community over whom, without distinction of religious denomination, he was placed; and that, if he was to be Chairman, such grounds of offence should be avoided.

The following are the passages in the Report which moved the Governor to apologise to the Bishop:

Excepting the houses of Romanists, he (the Colporteur) has discovered but six without a bible.

Tahiti. --The revision of the Tahitian Bible has been continued by the Rev. W. Howe, notwithstanding the prolonged prosecution to which he has been subjected by the hostility of the Roman Catholic Bishop.

In South America the veil of Popery has long hidden the light from the minds of thousands.

Bible-burning is resorted to whenever the priest, can overawe his credulous parishioners, (but God will) cause the glorious Gospel of Jesus to triumph over the Papal Antichrist.


Government House,
Auckland, 12th Feb., 1859.

MT 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 considered 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.

Believe me, my Dear Lord,
Yours very faithfully,
The Right Rev., The Lord Bishop Pompallier, &c., &c., &c.

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Just then the Bishop Pompallier held a meeting of his priests and leading friends, and consulted upon the passages in the Report, and upon the Governor's position as Chairman; and the Bishop mentioned that he had received a letter from his Excellency, addressing him as "My dear Lord."

The Bishop then, by advice of his council, sent the following letter to the Governor, together with the Catechism:

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 honour 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 the circumstances of difficulties and trials which may be met during this short life.

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 Institution 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 cannot 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 he 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

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being sealed with the approbation of the Holy Catholic Church. Besides experience shows, that the populations 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, 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 praedicaente? Quomodo praedicabunt 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 of 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 Protestanism 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., 13. 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.

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. 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 time of their ex-

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istence, 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. 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 greatful 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 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 I 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 as 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,
Your Excellency's
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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At a special Meeting of the Committee of the Auckland Auxiliary Bible Society, held on Tuesday, the 22nd February, it was unanimously resolved that the following Address be presented to his Excellency the Governor:

To His Excellency Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, C. B., Governor-in-Chief.

1. We, the Committee of the Auckland Auxiliary Bible Society, beg leave respectfully to express to your Excellency the deep regret with which we have observed statements in the public prints reflecting on your Excellency on account of certain passages in the Report read at the recent meeting of this Society, over which your Excellency presided; and which although far from being intended to give offence, have proved offensive to some of our Roman Catholic fellow-colonists. We feel bound to bear our distinct testimony that your Excellency was in no wise responsible for anything contained in that Report, or, indeed, cognisant of it until it was publicly read.

2. At the same time, we must, as British subjects, and as a Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society, which is essentially a Protestant Institution, firmly maintain our right to give free and full expression to our views of religious truth, --a right which we cheerfully and entirely accord to all who differ from us.

3. We desire, however, to do so without bitterness, or a spirit of controversy; deprecating everything like insult, or personal ill-feeling toward any portion of the community; and anxious only to promote the religion of the Gospel, of which the Bible is the Charter, and which is deigned to advance peace and good will towards men, as well as Glory to God in the Highest.

On behalf of the Committee,
Hon. Secs.


Government House, Auckland,
February 23, 1859.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your address, dated 22nd February, and thank you for hearing testimony that I was in no way responsible for anything contained in the Report of the Bible Society.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,
The Rev. I. Harding,
Mr. John Rout.

Private Secretary's Office,
February 23rd, 1859.

SIR, --

I have the honor to enclose the Governor's reply to the Address of the Committee of the Auckland Bible Society.

I am to express His Excellency's regret at the continuance of the controversy, and he would leave it to your own discretion to publish the address or not, according as you may consider most desirable.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
F. G. Steward,
Pri. Sec.
Rev. I. Harding.

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In the Catichetical notion, which the Bishop has presented to the Governor, it is declared:--

1. That there is not a Divine precept to read the whole Bible.

2. That it is as necesssary to believe the Holy (Roman) Catholic Church as it is to "believe in God the Father Almighty, in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost."

3. That (this) Catholic Church "is indeed the living book, the depository of Heaven for all the thoughts of God about faith; She is the real teacher of God for all men of the world."

The following are some of her teachings with the dates when she began to teach them:--

The use of Holy Water

120 after Christ.


157 "

Monasteries and Convents

328 "

Latin Mass

394 "

Extreme Unction

558 "


593 "

Invocation of the Virgin and of Saints

594 "

Papal Supremacy

607 "

Kissing the Pope's toe

709 "

Image Worship

715 "

Canonization of Saints

793 "

The Baptism of bells

1000 "


1000 "

Celebracy of the Clergy

1015 "


1190 "


1200 "

The Inquisition

1204 "

Confession to the Priest for Absolution

1215 "

Elevation of the host or wafer

1222 "

All these inventions have been introduced by the Church of Rome, and according to the doctrine of the "Catechetical Notion" are all of the same authority as the Holy Bible itself; yea more, for "The Holy Bible is not the only rule of faith, for there is nothing so evident as that the instruction of the Church is the principal rule of faith. 1 So that when she forbids to marry and calls her Priestly Misogamists the successors of the married Apostle Peter, we are to believe that she has higher authority than the Holy Bible!

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1   Catechetical Notion, Page 14.

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