A Curious Instance of Papal Infallibility
by C. H. Spurgeon
From the July 1888 Sword and Trowel
Hardly can we remember so singular an incident as that which Dr. Wright records in the interesting pamphlet which now lies before us. If we had hitherto believed in the infallibility of the Pope of Rome, the fact here recorded would have delivered us from the delusion, and we trust the making of it known may have a like effect upon those who are now the victims of that fiction.
It seems that a certain M. Henri Lasserre found great benefit for his sore eyes from his faith in the water of the Lourdes Grotto, and invocations of the Blessed Virgin. Abundant facts prove that faith in anything has a curative effect. Whether it is a doll dressed in satin, as at Larghetto, or a doctor with a wide reputation, or a quack medicine, or an old woman, or a broom-stick; if you have confidence that you will be cured, it goes a long way towards curing you. That, however, is not the point. M. Lasserre was grateful for his cure, and, moved by that gratitude, wrote a book, entitled, "Notre Dame de Lourdes." It was the making of the place. His pen caused Our Lady of Lourdes to be much sought after; for his writing was charmingly attractive, and secured a host of readers.
On a happy day, M. Lasserre discovered the Four Gospels, and was greatly impressed by them. He thought that the fourfold story of Jesus was the very book that France wanted; and he thought most wisely. He devoutly set to work to translate the original into the French of the day; making, not exactly a literal translation, but one which would command a reading from the ordinary Frenchman. Not in chapters and verses, but like an ordinary book, the gospel narrative flowed on in a charming manner. The version was as faithful as Henri Lasserre could make it; it would not quite satisfy an evangelical believer, but it was a wonderful performance for a Roman Catholic. For a preface, it bore in its forefront a lamentation over the neglect of the gospels by Catholics. He exclaims, "The gospelthe most illustrious book in the worldis become an unknown book." Strange that such a book, with such a preface, should be dedicated to "Notre Dame de Lourdes." But there was something stranger. The book appeared with the imprimatur of the Archbishop of Paris, and the approval and benediction of the Pope!! Note this
"The Holy Father has received, in regular course, the French translation of the Holy Gospels which you have undertaken and accomplished, to the delight and with the approval of the Archiepiscopal authority. His Holiness commissions me to express to you his approval of the object with which you have been inspired in the execution and publication of that work, so full of interest," &c.Miracles will never cease; the Pope had sanctioned a preface extolling the reading of the Scriptures, and had also given his countenance to a popular translation of a portion of the New Testament.
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