Now, were this all, the difficulty never could have arisen. The mere “ora pro nobis,” so explained, could not have led any to stop short in the Saints, nor have called forth any protest, out of zeal for God’s honour. But, along with this, was that vast system as to the Blessed Virgin, which to all of us has been the special “crux” of the Roman system. This we have often insisted upon,136 as did those before us. It is impossible to condense the statements of a doctrine which presents itself in so many startling forms, co- extensive with the present Office of our Dear Lord for us. His Precious Blood, they of course say with us, is alone the meritorious cause of our salvation. But her intercession is held to be co-extensive with His, “Who ever liveth to make intercession for us,” our Divine Lord, and to be the access to His Intercession. And this is taught, not as the glowing expression of Southern feeling, but as the deliberate mind of the present Roman Church. It was one who has since been beatified,137 who formally rejected the “opinion of a certain modern author, who has written with great piety and learning on true and false devotion,” that “the proposition, ‘God gives no grace except through Mary,’ is an hyperbole and exaggeration, which fell from some of the saints in a moment of fervour, and is to be understood to mean that from Mary we have received Jesus Christ, through Whose merits we receive all graces.” God, it is granted, “could grant His graces without the intercession of Mary;”138 but it is asserted that “He will not.” It is one of their most learned writers139 who says, “it is the universal sentiment of the [Roman] Church that the intercession of Mary is not only useful, but also in a certain manner necessary;”with a moral necessity, because the Church seems to think, with St. Bernard, that God has determined to give us no grace except through the hands of Mary.”140 So, then, it is taught in authorized books that “it is morally impossible for those to be saved who neglect the devotion to the Blessed Virgin;”141 that “it is the will of God that all graces should pass through her hands;” that “no creature obtained any grace from God, save according to the dispensation of His holy mother;”142 that Jesus has, in fact, said, “no one shall be partaker of My Blood, unless through the intercession of My mother;”143 that “we can only hope to obtain perseverance through her;”144 that “God granted all the pardons in the Old Testament absolutely for the reverence and love of this Blessed Virgin;”145 that “our salvation is in her hand;”146 that “it is impossible for any to be saved, who turns away from her, or is disregarded by her; or to be lost, who turns to her, or is regarded by her;”147 that “whom the justice of God saves not, the infinite mercy of Mary saves by her intercession;”148 that God is “subject to the command of Mary;”149 that “God has resigned into her hands (if one might say so) His omnipotence in the sphere of grace;”150 “that it is safer to seek salvation through her than directly from Jesus.”151
134 “God and the saints are not to be prayed to in the same manner, for we pray to God that He Himself would give us good things, and deliver us from evil things; but we beg of the saints that they would be our advocates, and obtain from God what we stand in need of.”—Cat. of C. of Trent, quoted by Milner, End of Contr. Lett, xxxiii.
135 Milner, ib.136 Dr. Pusey’s Letter to Dr. Jelf, pp. 187-216, and Sermon, Rule of Faith, pp. 65-61. 137 Liguori, Glories of Mary, v. 1, quoted Rule of Faith, p. 57.138 Ib.139 Suarez, T. ii. in 3 P. Disp. 23, § 3.
140 Liguori, ib.
141 See the Proofs in Rule of Faith, p. 55.
142 Bernardine Sen. Serm. 61, Tr. i., Art. 8, quoted by Lig.
143 Contensonius, Theol. Mentis et Cordis, T. ii. L. x. D. iv. c. 1, in Lig.
144 See in Rule of Faith, p. 58.
145 Bernardine Sen. Serm. 61, c. 8.
146 Ric. a S. Laurent, de Laud. Virg. L. 3, p. 1, and others in Lig.
147 Eadmer de Excell. Virg. cxi., quoted as St. Anselm, in Lig. St. Antonin. ib.
148 Ascribed to St. Chrys. if not to St. Ignat., but spurious, in Lig.
149 “All things are subject to the command of the Virgin, even God Himself.” Bern. Sen. Serm. 61, Art. i. c. 6. Ussher, p. 417. “The Blessed Virgin is superior to God, and God Himself is subject unto her, in respect of the Manhood which He assumed from her.” Bern, de Bust. Marial. p. 9, Serm. 2, ib. “However she be subject unto God, inasmuch as she is a creature, yet she is said to be superior and preferred before Him, inasmuch as she is His mother.” Ib. p. 2, s. 2, ib. “You have over God the authority of a mother, and hence you obtain pardon for the most obdurate sinners.” Gl. of M. in Letter, p. 209.
150 Glories of M. p. 85, quoted Letter, p. 208. See also Treatise on the Scapular, c. 7, p. 43. Gl. of M. p. 130. On “participated omnipotency,” ib. 207.
151 As “in the vision which Burn. de Bust, reciteth as shown to St. Francis touching the two ladders, that reached from earth to heaven, the one red, upon which Christ leaned, from which many fell backward and could not ascend; the other white, upon which the holy Virgin leaned; the help whereof such as used, were by her received with a cheerful countenance, and so with facility ascended into heaven.” Marial. p. 9, Serm. 2, Assim. 2; also (as shown to Fr. Lion) Spec. vit. Franc, et soc. p. 2, c. 45, Spec. exempl. dist. 7, exempl. 41, in Ussher, p. 429, repeated in Glor. of M. p. 180.