Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 18, 1954

Quoting Another Catholic Scholar

Luther W. Martin, Rolla, Missouri

Recently, we submitted material from the pen of a well-known Roman Catholic theologian of the 19th century, who disagreed with the dogma of Papal Infallibility, and was therefore excommunicated. The material to which we refer was originally written by Dr. J. J. I. von Dollinger, who wrote under the pen name of 'Janus.' At the time of his excommunication, Dr. Dollinger had been a priest of the Roman Church for forty-nine years.

In this present treatise, we introduce another Roman Catholic priest, scholar, and historian. We refer to Rene-Francois Guettee, a Frenchman, who was born at Blois, in the year 1816 and at the age of twenty-three years, was ordained to the Roman priesthood in December, 1839. By the year 1851, M. Guettee had written and published six volumes of an historical work entitled, "History of the Church of France." As a result of this monumental work the author received the approbation of more than forty French-Roman Catholic bishops. However, by the time M. Guettee completed the seventh volume of his historical work, his views regarding the Papacy diverged from those of the Uutramontanists, i.e., 'those beyond the mountains'.... the Papal supporters. The tone that pervaded more and more his History of the Church of France proceeded not from a deliberate point of view from which he wrote, but was the scrupulous and truthful rendering of history by his honest investigations, and the impartial and logical use of the materials out of which his history was to be made.

The first volumes of his history had been approved by over forty bishops, and six of them published under the direction and with the sanction of the Bishop of Blois, yet at the insistence of the Uutramontanes, his work was placed in the Index of books prohibited by the court of Rome. M. Guettee immediately asked permission of his Archbishop, Msgr. Sibour to defend his writings as attacked by the Papal party. This permission was granted.... to the ultimate regret of the Archbishop.

It was just one century ago, that all the Roman bishops were invited to Rome to be present for the promulgation of the new dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. But Msgr. Sibour, the Archbishop over M. Guettee, was not invited.... apparently due to his having cooperated with the author-historian, and also due to the fact that. Msgr. Sibour did not personally accept the doctrine. Being deeply mortified at not receiving an invitation to Rome, the Archbishop wrote to the Pope in a manner so submissive that he shortly received an invitation to the 1854 meeting. Thus Rome found that the immediate Superior over M. Guettee was a man who could be swayed by flatteries and bought by promises. When Msgr. Sibour returned from Rome, M. Guettee was deprived of his chaplaincy at the Archbishop's palace, and reduced to poverty. This reversal in no way discouraged the historian in his fight against the power of the Pope. He ultimately became a priest in the Russo-Greek branch of the Catholic Church, which does not recognize the Roman Papal pretensions.

We give herewith, a brief statement written by M. Guettee and contained in the Second Chapter of his volume entitled, "The Papacy":

"The Church, according to St. Paul, is a temple, a religious edifice, of which the faithful are the stones. 'You are,' said he to the faithful Ephesus, (2:20-22) 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.'

"Thus, according to St. Paul, the Church is the society of all the faithful of the Old as well as of the New Testament; the first, instructed by the prophets, and the second, by the apostles, form together a spiritual habitation, having for its foundation Jesus Christ, waited for by the one as the' Messiah, adored by the other as the Divine Word clothed in humanity.

"The prophets and apostles form the first layers of this mystic edifice. The faithful are raised on these foundations and form the edifice itself; finally Jesus Christ is the principal stone, the corner stone which gives solidity to the monument.

"There is no other foundation or principal stone other than Christ. St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, (1 Cor. 3:11) Tor other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' Paul gave to the Corinthians this lesson, because among them many attached themselves to the preachers of the Gospel, as though they had been the cornerstone of the Church. 'I have learned,' said he to them, `that there are contentions among you . . . . Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?'

"Peter himself could not be, according to St. Paul, regarded as the corner-stone of the Church, as the first vicar of Jesus Christ, any more than himself or Apollos. Peter and all the other apostles were only in his eyes the ministers of Jesus Christ, the first layers of the mystic edifice.

"St. Paul also compares the Church to a body, of which Jesus Christ is the head, and of which the members are the pastors and the faithful

"'Christ,' said he, 'gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measures of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love.'

"There is then but one Church, of which Jesus Christ is the head; which is composed of the faithful as well as the pastors, and in the bosom of which the pastors work in the various ministrations which are confided to them to develop the Christian life, of which charity is the sum.

"Do we perceive, in these notions of the Church, a monarchy governed by a sovereign pontiff, absolute and infallible?

"Now this Church which St. Paul regards as the depository of divine instruction — this Church as extended in its unity as in its universality — it is this that he calls the 'pillar and ground of the truth.' (1 Tim. 3:15.)

"The elders which are among you I exhort, who also am an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.' (1 Pet. 5:1, et seq.)

"St. Peter, then, whom the Roman theologians would make the absolute prince of the Church, knew but one chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. As for himself, he was the colleague of the other apostles by his priesthood; he speaks neither of his primacy nor of his sovereignty. He does not raise himself above the other pastors of the Church, whom, on the contrary, he addresses as his equals and his brethren; justifying himself solely in giving them counsel, in that he was a witness of the sufferings of Jesus Christ and also of his future glory, which had been revealed to him upon Mount Tabor.

"We have not met in Holy Scripture any text relating to the subject we are now considering, where Jesus Christ is not regarded as the sole head of the Church, (Emphasis mine, L.W.M.) nor in which the Church is not represented as a whole, one and identical, composed of the faithful as well as the pastors."

Is it not difficult to visualize a Roman Catholic priest of the twentieth century, penning the foregoing paragraphs? Yet, only a century ago a French priest came to a parting of the ways with the Papal sect, but not before his own scholarship had been approved by some forty French bishops of the Roman Church. Therefore, when we quote from the writings of M. Guettee, we do not think that we do Catholicism an injustice.