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understand it! No doubt Doctors are often of different sentiments, but what signifies that? Each renders his own opinion probable and safe. We all know well enough that they are far from being of the same mind; what is more, they scarcely ever agree. There are very few questions indeed in which you do not find the one saying Yes, and the other saying No. Still, in all these cases, each of the contrary opinions is probable. And hence Diana says: “Ponce and Sanchez hold opposite views of it; but as they are both learned men, each renders his own opinion probable.
““But father," I remarked, “a person must be sadly embarrassed in choosing between them !" “Not at all," he rejoined ; "he has only to follow the opinion which suits him best.” 66 What if the other is more probable?” “It does not signify." “ And if the other is safer ?” “It does not signify,” repeated the monk; “this is made quite plain by Emanual sa of our Society, in his Aphorisms: A person may do what he considers allowable according to a probable opinion, though the contrary may be the
The opinion of a single grave doctor is all that is requisite.'' " And if an opinion be at once the less probable and the less safe, is it allowable to follow it," I asked, even in the way of rejecting one which we believe to be more probable and more safe?" « Once more I say, Yes," replied the monk. “ Hear what Filiuccius, that great Jesuit of Rome, says : • It is allowable to follow the less probable opinion, even though it be the less safe one.
That is the common judgment of modern authors.' Is not that quite clear ?”
66 Well, reverend father,” said I,“ you have given us sinners room enough, at all events! Thanks to your probable opinions, we have liberty of conscience with a vengeance! But are your casuists allowed the same latitude in giving your responses ?” “O) yes,” said he, “we answer just as we please ; or rather, I should say, just as it may please those who ask our advice. Here are our rules." “Well, seriously, father," I said, “your doctrine is an uncommonly agreeable one! Only think of being allowed to answer Yes or No, just as you please! It is impossible to prize such a privilege too highly. "I see now the advantage of the conflicting opinions of your doctors. One of them is always ready to serve your purpose, and the other never gives you any annoyance. If you do not find your account on the one side, you fall back on the other, and always land in perfect safety." “ That is quite true,” he replied, “and accordingly, we may always say with Diana, on finding that Father Bauny was on his side, while Father Lugo was against him : Sæpe premente Deo fert Deus alter opem.”
In like manner Garnet, in the “Treatise of Equivocation, lays it down as certain that when both opinions are probable, a man may without sinne folow either, if it may be done with"out prejudice of our neighbour,' and that it is within the compasse of probability, if' it have two or three grave autours.'
A common opinion' is supposed to be that on which all or most doctors agree. We say supposed, because, except on points, where neither obtuseness nor over-subtlety of intellect could fail of coming to the right conclusion, they never do agree; nor is even a respectable majority found on one side or the other. In other words, when their agreement might be of use, it never exists; so irreconcilable are the differences between the strict and the lax schools. No one can read a dozen pages of Liguori without finding that, whatever may be said of Rome's dogmatic precepts, his dream of anything like certainty in her moral teaching has passed away for ever. This doctor is opposed to that doctor, while the third and fourth agree with neither of them, nor with themselves, and the inquirer of the oracle finds, to his dismay, that he is left with a mass of opinions of all shades of difference, out of which he may take his choice, or his director may choose for him.
We cannot pass over the inferences drawn from the quotations made in the
which we have extracted without some criticism. These quotations are made from our Lord's words, as related in the Gospels, from S. Augustine, and from Thomas Aquinas. From the first two an inference is drawn that nonpure mental restriction is allowable, and the third is given as favourable to the same view. Let us see if such an inference can fairly be drawn from the words.
'I go not up to this feast,' said our Lord, understanding, adds Liguori, by non-pure mental restriction, openly, but I do go up secretly. An appeal to the words of Him who was and is the Truth, for the purpose of showing that He used towards His brethren a form of expression the effect of which would inevitably be to deceive them, is grating to our moral feelings.
any other hypothesis would satisfy the account in the Gospel narrative, we cannot doubt that it would be the part of reverence to accept it in place of this explanation. Not only, however, are there more natural explanations of the words, but they will not even bear this explanation. Let us turn to the original, and what do we find ? Υμείς ανάβητε εις την εορτήν εγώ ούπω αναβαίνω εις την εορτήν ταύτην ότι ο καιρός και έμος O Ở TW Telýpura.. 'Go ye up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fully come. Accordingly, when it was fully come, He went up, and tîs éoptís uecouons, when the feast was about half over, began to teach. But it may be said that the reading or w ávaßaivw is not found in all the MSS. True, in the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Bezæ, and the Codex Cyprius, the reading is ook åvaßaivw. But the authority of these three Codices, important as the first two are, cannot be equal, or nearly equal to that of all the rest ; and further, if the reading were oủk instead of očnw the sense would remain identically the same. To get any other meaning out of the words, the tense of avaßaivw must be changed (for as it stands it cannot avow any intention or purpose of not going up, but merely a present act), and the second očrw must also be got rid of—for which there is not the shadow of an excuse in a single MS. My time' says our Lord (o èpòs is used as distinguishing it from that of His brethren who were urging Him to go and manifest Himself at once), “is not yet fully come;
therefore I am not yet going up [oőrw], or, I am not at present going up [oúk] to this feast. The oủk åvaßaivw of the three MSS. combined with the oŰTW TETÀýpwtal, equally with the general reading oumw, overthrows the unworthy hypothesis that our Blessed Lord was using non-pure mental restriction. S. Augustine, in a sermon on the passage, rejects by anticipation the Liguorian interpretation with indignation and horror. He would sooner believe that Christ was deceived Himself than that He was deceiving others; falli enim pertinet ad infirmitatem, mentiri ad iniquitatem. But the plain words of Scripture, he continues, show that He was neither deceived nor deceiving. And this he says with the reading "non ascendo' before him, and unconscious that the true reading was probably nondum,' which would of course have strengthened his argument. Even if it had been necessary to understand “not openly but secretly, what need could there have been of supposing that our Lord was taking in His brethren ? Even in that case, it would have been more natural to conceive that they understood His meaning, and thus, again, there would be no case of non-pure mental re
This case is thus put in the “Treatise of Equivocation :'-"The words are to be expounded thus: “I will not go upp yet," or, to this feast,” or, “I will not go with you," or, “manifestly as the Messiah, but in secrett;" which is an evident defence of our cause, for the use of such propositions which have somewhat reserved or understoode in the mynde for theire verification ...
*First we must examine whether in the speech of our Saviour, “Ego autem non ascendo ad diem festum hunc,” the word ascendo have the force of the present tense or the future ; for albeit in some texts it be ascendam, yet the best Vulgate edition and all the Greeke have the present tense. Yet, notwithstanding, I say that it hath the force of a future; as if our Saviour had sayed, “Non ascendam," I will not go upp ... This is a thinge well knowen to the grammarians, who have a certaine figure which they call Enallage, one kynd whereof is Enallage temporum, when one tense is putt for another, whereof we may read in Lynacre and Emanuell's grammar, and such as have written on figures at large...
Secondly, we must determine whether our Saviour sayd, “Non ascendo," or “nondum ascendo;" for if he sayed, “I go not upp yet to this feast, there is then not so great strength in this argument by the force of the words themselves as would otherwise be. Although it be very probable that our Saviour spoke in sort that his brethren understoode that he would not go at all at that feast, insomuch that we may very well take those words, “Nondum ascendo ad diem festum hunc," that he would not go at all at this tyme. And so the argument may still be of force, for he sayed he would not go, and yet afterward he went ... So that we probably defend that our Saviour used such words (although he sayed nondum) as made them understand that he would not come to that feast, and yet went after, which, if it be so, it skylleth not whether we read non or nondum. But letting this passe, I saye that albeit in all the Greeke copyes now extant it be, oímu nondum, and so did S. Chrysostome and Eutimius reade, yet did S. Cirill, a Greeke authour, read enegatively non. Also all the Latyn ffathers reade non, and therfore the very Heretickes themselves oughte to admitte this readinge, at the least so far forth as to seeke out some sufficient and trewe exposition therof; and all Catholickes are bounde to admitte non, because so it is in the Vulgate edition. Then doth it remaine that our Saviour Christe, sayinge that he would not go and going after, did reserve some secret words to make a perfect explycation of his trew meaninge.'-Pp. 37-41.
? S. Aug. Serm. 133, vol. v. p. 739.
striction. At any rate, if it had been mental restriction at all, it would not have been non-pure but pure mental restriction; for the difference between the two we have seen to consist in this, that the last takes place solely in the mind, and can by no means be discovered from outward circumstances; which would have been the case in the present instance: while the first can become known from the circumstances connected with it, which would not have been the case in the present instance. Either, then, our
. Lord's words have nothing to do with mental restriction, which we have shown to be undoubtedly the case, or if they have, they go to justify not non-pure, but pure mental restriction, which, however, Liguori declares to be never allowable, and Pope Innocent XI. has condemned.
The other quotations may be, for the present, at least, more summarily dismissed. S. Augustine writes, Although every one who tells a lie may wish to conceal what is true, yet not every one who wishes to conceal what is true tells a lie. Most assuredly; for they either speak the truth against their wishes, or they are silent; they do not employ non-pure mental restriction, whereby they would tell a lie and pass off a juggle on themselves to boot, vainly persuading themselves that in some way or other the self-juggle made amends for the lie. When such a sentence as the above is brought forward for the purpose of inferring from S. Augustine's authority that non-pure mental reservation is justifiable, we cannot be surprised that the following statement of Thomas Aquinas is tortured into being
favourable' to the same conclusion: To be silent about the truth, and to express falsehood, are different things. The doctrine of non-pure mental restriction may be fathered on Augustine and Aquinas in virtue of these quotations with as much truth as they might be attributed to any other writer who has happened to make use of the words truth and falsehood in the same sentence. But our author is not remarkable for the pertinency or accuracy of his quotations. In his Glories of Mary' he has made innumerable extracts from early writers, 'not only,' as he says, 'for use, but also that they may show the high idea that the
saints had of the power and mercy of Mary, and the great con'fidence they had in her patronage.' A critic' is obliged to warn his simpler co-religionists that they must not use the book in controversy, for, “to name but one, and that not the chief cause of “this unfitness, it is only necessary to mention that S. Alphonsus did not scruple to make most important additions to the passages which he quoted from the Fathers; and this, though perfectly 6 allowable in a book of meditations' (Populus vult decipi et decipiatur), of course destroys its value as a work of authority in
matters of controversy'-because, we presume, a moderately ol informed opponent might be inconvenient.
What lies at the foundation of the theory of Amphibology is clearly a confusion between moral and material falsehood. The enunciation of a material truth is an assertion concerning a fact, which assertion is objectively true. For example, if I affirm that the sun stands still, I affirm a material truth; if I assert that it moves, I affirm a material falsehood. These affirmations have, of themselves, and as such, no moral character. If I had no intention to deceive in stating that the sun moved, as in common conversation I frequently do—much more if it was my conviction that it did move, as would have been the case before the discoveries of philosophers—I should not have been guilty of any moral obliquity, or be justly charged with moral falsehood. Moral truthfulness, on the other hand, consists in speaking out the honest convictions of the heart. I am guilty of moral falsehood when I say anything with intent to deceive my neighbour. Thus if I assert either that the sun inoves or that the sun stands still, with some ulterior object of my own, and with a purpose of deceiving the person to whom I am speaking, I am equally culpable in a moral point of view. It appears, then, that the material truth or falsehood of the thing asserted has no effect whatever upon the moral truthfulness or want of truthfulness of the person who makes the assertion. The moral character of the act, as of all other acts, depends upon the deliberate purpose of the agent. Wherever there is an attempt to deceive, whether by a material truth or by a material falsehood, there is moral falsehood.
But the theory of Amphibology confounds this vital distinction. Its essence consists in being a moral falsehood conveyed by means of a material truth. Romish theologians would try to persuade us that the latter compensates for the former, whereas we have seen that it does not annihilate or remove one grain of its native deformity. That this is what lies at the bottom of systematized equivocation or amphibology will appear at once from the following instances, which we choose at random from Liguori. In his Homo Apostolicus he puts the case of a man who has spoken ill of his neighbour, which ill is true, but yet which the speaker ought not to have divulged. What is he to do? “I am accustomed,' says Liguori, “to recommend people ',
to equivocate, and say, " I said it out of my own head,” for all words do come out of the mind, for which the head is taken.'1 It is a material truth that all words do come out of the mouth, or mind, or head, and therefore Liguori thought that the moral
| Hom. Ap. Tr. xi. 18.