17 AUGUST 1944, Page 13

The Primacy of Rome

The Church and the Papacy. By Trevor Jalland, D.D. (S.P.C.K. 25s.)

BAmvrort lectures are- almost always important. Dr. Jalland is to be congratulated on .having made a very notable addition to the series. His review of the subject covers the whole period from the New Testament down to the year 1870. I do not know of any other survey so comprehensive, and indeed it is not easy to see how a more comprehensive one could be made within the limits of a single volume. Almost every page gives ,evidence in text and footnotes alike. of the extent of the author's reading, and of his power of handling very large quantities of material. If the book might be supplemented usefully by a few monographs on particular pontifi- cates, including 'that of Leo XIII (which fell outside its range, but is not irrelevant in view of the events of 1895-6) and by a dissertation on The Papacy and the Religious Orders (which might have to be of considerable length) it is, I think, unlikely to be superseded for a long time to come.

Dr. Jalland begins with a sketch of the Vatican Council of 1870, which he regards as • the spiritual apotheosis of the Papacy, and then conducts the reader with very great skill through the long run of events which led up to it. Frequently he reviews familiar evidence with a fresh eye and puts a fresh interpretation upon it, e.g., the two versions of Cyprian's De Unitate where he shews (conclusively as I think) that Archbishop Benson's view of the discrepancy is mistaken. Incidentally, he inclines to the view of the Dirlache taken by Armitage Robinson, that it does not give a picture of any Church which ever was, but is the first of a long series of attempts, all in the nature of things foredoomed to failure, to deduce an ideal Church Order' from the pages of the New Test- ament. Hitherto this theory never commanded general acceptance. It has always commended itself to me personally. Dr. Jalland thinks that there is more in the Petrise claim than most English historians have been prepared to admit. It may well be so. But it does not follow that there is enough to bear the enormous superstructure which the Papacy has placed upon it. There is not, and probably never will be, unanimity as to the exact facts of Tu es Petrus or Pasce oyes meal even in relation to any primacy held by S. Peter during his life-time ; much less in relation to the position of his successors, if such there be. It may be true that the bones of the Apostle -repose where tradition places them now—or it may not. In any case, the idea that the grave of a saint or hero is a perennial source of spiritual power (as distinct from historic interest) is much older than Christianity and can hardly be called anything but sub- Christian.

In tracing the rise of the Roman see to a primacy in doctrine, and so to the position of universal referee, and thence to a primacy of jurisdiction and so to the later claim with which everyone is familiar, Dr. Jalland has perhaps done less than justice to geographical conditions. If there were to be a Christian capital in which a Universal Referee were to have his seat (which a Church created in the Roman empire would almost certainly regard as desirable what- ever we may think today) the first condition to be satisfied must be general accessibility. These were only four places in the Medi- terranean world which could serve—Rome, Byzantium, Alexandria and Carthage. The two latter did exercise a peculiar and consider- able primacy for some time. But obviously they were at a disadvant- age compared with their northern rivals. If the rivalry between Rome and Constantinople was acute, various circumstances, amongst them the entrance of the emperor, combined to tilt the scales. in favour of the older city, which retained all the advantages of its geographical situation when it touched its political nadir. Its partial and temporary eclipse by Milan was due to the fact that Milan was more easily accessible, by way of the Via Aessitie, from Constantinople. If Milan had been nearer to a convenient seaport on the west the Primacy of Italy, and all that goes with it, might have been established there.

At the end of the book Dr. Jalland returns to the Council of 187o and considers whether the COnstitution Pastor Acternur could be interpreted in any way which we could accept. The divisions of Christendom arc to be deplored, but, as long as the Papacy is as it is, it is difficult to see how the conscience of the Church of England can meet any proposal for corporate union with the Church of Rome except by a resolute non placer. Some words which Lord Macaulay wrote of Francis Bacon are perhaps not inapplicable, if the word religion be substituted for philosophy.

"Had his civil word remained moderate he would have been not only the Moses but the Joshua of philosophy. He would have fulfilled a large part of his own magnificent predictions. He would have led his followers not only to the verge, but into the heart of the promised land. And we should conclude our survey . . . with feelings very different from these with which we now turn away from the checkered spectacle of so much