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The following is a brief extract from Gladstone's fiery response to the Papal declaration on infallibility in matters of faith. As E.R. Norman says, "Gladstone's pamphlet was one of the most celebrated criticisms of the claims of Rome made during the nineteenth century" (Norman 212). The Vatican Decrees in their bearing on Civil Allegiance: A Political Expostulation (London, 1874) is quoted from Norman 212-21.

The Rome of the Middle Ages claimed universal monarchy. The modern Church of Rome has abandoned nothing, retracted nothing. Is that all? Far from it. The worst by far is that whereas, in the national Churches and communities of the Middle Ages, there was a brisk, vigorous, and constant opposition to these outrageous claims, an opposition which stoutly asserted its own orthodoxy, which always caused itself to be respected, and which even sometimes gained the upper hand; now, in this nineteenth century of ours, and while it is growing old this same opposition has been put out of court, and judicially extinguished within the Papal Church, by the recent decrees of the Vatican. And it is impossible for persons accepting those decrees justly to complain, when such documents are subjected in good faith to a strict examination as respects their compatibility with civil right and the obedience of subjects. . . .

My propositions, then, as they stood, are these: --

1. That 'Rome has substituted for the proud boast of semper eadem, a policy of violence and change in faith.'

2. That she has refurbished and paraded anew every rusty tool she was fondly thought to have disused.

3. That no one can now become her convert without renouncing his moral and mental freedom, and placing his civil loyalty and duty at the mercy of another.

4. That she ('Rome') has equally repudiated modern thought and ancient history

Last modified 1990