SUPREMACY

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SUPREMACY. According to the Roman Catholics, St. Peter was not only the head of the apostolical college, but the pastor of the universal church. The Roman pontiff is the successor of this prince of the apostles, and, like him, has authority and jurisdiction over the whole church, all believers, without exception, owing him respect and obedience. The council of Trent declared that the sovereign pontiffis the vicar of God upon earth, and has supreme power over all the church. The extent of the authority thus assumed by the pope, is different in different countries, and the whole doctrine of the papal supremacy is of course rejected by the Protestant, Greek and other churches. In 1534, Henry VIII assumed the title of the only supreme head, on earth, of the church of England. The oath of supremacy (that is, of renunciation of the papal supremacy), with the oath of abjuration (q, v.), was formerly required to be taken by all persons in office, and might be tendered, by two justices of the peace, to all persons suspected of disaffection in England. Some modifications of the law requiring this oath were made in 1793 (see Catholic Emancipation); but it was still, with the declaration against transubstantiation, the invocation of saints, and the sacrifice of the mass, requisite as a qualification for sitting and voting in parliament, and for holding certain offices, until the passage of the Catholic relief bill. This bill repeals all former acts on the subject, and requires of a Roman Catholic peer, or member of the house of commons, &c, besides the oath of allegiance and abjuration, the following oath of supremacy: I do declare that it is not an article of my faith, and that I do reject, renounce and abjure the opinion, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the pope, or any other authority of the see of Home, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or by any person whatsoever ; and I do declare that I do not believe that the pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, person, state or potentate, hath, or ought to have, any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority or preeminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm.