By Charles Chiniquy
We read in the history of Paganism that parents were often, in those dark ages, slaying their children upon the altars of their gods, to appease their wrath or obtain their favours. But we now see a strange thing. It is that of Christian parents forcing their children into the temples and to the very feet of the idols of Rome, under the fallacious notion of having them educated! While the Pagan parent destroyed only the temporal life of his child, the Christian parent, for the most part, destroys his eternal life. The Pagan was consistent: he believed in the almighty power and holiness of his gods; he sincerely thought that they ruled the world, and that they blessed both the victims and those who offered them. But where is the consistency of the Protestant who drags his child and offers him as a sacrifice on the altars of the Pope! Does he believe in his holiness or in his supreme and infallible power of governing the intelligence? Then why does he not go and throw himself at his feet and increase the number of his disciples? The Protestants who are guilty of this great wrong are wont to say, as an excuse, that the superiors of colleges and convents have assured them that their religious convictions would be respected, and that nothing should be said or done to take away or even shake the religion of their children.
Our first parents were not more cruelly deceived by the seductive words of the serpent than the Protestants are this day by the deceitful promises of the priests and nuns of Rome.
I had been myself the witness of the promise given by our superior to a judge of the State of New York, when, a few days later that same superior, the Rev. Mr. Leprohon, said to me: "You know some English, and this young man knows French enough to enable you to understand each other. Try to become his friend and to bring him over to our holy religion. His father is a most influential man in the United States, and that, his only son, is the heir of an immense fortune. Great results for the future of the Church in the neighbouring republic might follow his conversion."
I replied: "Have you forgotten the promise you have made to his father, never to say or do anything to shake or take away the religion of that young man?"
My superior smiled at my simplicity, and said: "When you shall have studied theology you will know that Protestantism is not a religion, but that it is the negation of religion. Protesting cannot be the basis of any doctrine. Thus, when I promised Judge Pike that the religious convictions of his child should be respected, and that I would not do anything to change his faith, I promised the easiest thing in the world, since I promised not to meddle with a thing which has no existence."
Convinced, or rather blinded by the reasoning of my superior, which is the reasoning of every superior of a college or nunnery, I set myself to work from that moment to make a good Roman Catholic of that young friend; and I would probably have succeeded had not a serious illness forced him, a few months after, to go home, where he died.
Protestants who may read these lines will, perhaps, be indignant against the deceit and knavery of the superior of the college of Nicolet. But I will say to those Protestants, It is not on that man, but on yourselves, that you must pour your contempt. The Rev. Mr. Leprohon was honest. He acted conformably to principles which he thought good and legitimate, and for which he would have cheerfully given the last drop of his blood. He sincerely believed that your Protestantism is a mere negation of all religion, worthy of the contempt of every true Christian. It was not the priest of Rome who was contemptible, dishonest and a traitor to his principles, but it was the Protestant who was false to his Gospel and to his own conscience by having his child educated by the servants of the Pope. Moreover, can we not truthfully say that the Protestant who wishes to have his children bred and educated by a Jesuit or a nun is a man of no religion? and that nothing is more ridiculous than to hear such a man begging respect for his religious principles! A man's ardent desire to have his religious convictions respected is best known by his respecting them himself.
The Protestant who drags his children to the feet of the priests of Rome is either a disguised infidel or a hypocrite. It is simply ridiculous for such a man to speak of his religious convictions or beg respect for them. His very humble position at the feet of a Jesuit or a nun, begging respect for his faith, is a sure testimony that he has none to lose. If he had any he would not be there, an humble and abject suppliant. He would take care to be where there could be no danger to his dear child's immortal soul.
When I was in the Church of Rome, we often spoke of the necessity of making superhuman efforts to attract young Protestants into our colleges and nunneries, as the shortest and only means of ruling the world before long. And as the mother has in her hands, still more than the father, the destinies of the family and of the world, we were determined to sacrifice everything in order to build nunneries all over the land, where the young girls, the future mothers of our country, would be moulded in our hands and educated according to our views.
Nobody can deny that this is supreme wisdom. Who will not admire the enormous sacrifices made by Romanists in order to surround the nunneries with so many attractions that it is difficult to refuse them preference above all other female scholastic establishments? One feels so well in the shade of these magnificent trees during the hot days of summer! It is so pleasant to live near this beautiful sheet of water, or the rapid current of that charming river, or to have constantly before one's eye the sublime spectacle of the sea! What a sweet perfume the flowers of that parterre diffuse around that pretty and peaceful convent! And, besides, who can withstand the almost angelic charms of the Lady Superior! How it does one good to be in the midst of those holy nuns, whose modesty, affable appearance and lovely smile present such a beautiful spectacle, that one would think of being at heaven's gate rather than in a world of desolation and sin!
O foolish man! Thou art always the same—ever ready to be seduced by glittering appearances—ever ready to suppress the voice of thy conscience at the first view of a deductive object!
One day I had embarked in the boat of a fisherman on the coast of one of those beautiful islands which the hand of God has placed at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In a few minutes the white sail, full-blown by the morning breeze, had carried us nearly a mile from the shore. There we dropped our anchor, and soon our lines, carried by the current, offered the deceitful bait to the fishes. But not one would come. One would have thought that the sprightly inhabitants of these limpid waters had acted in concert to despise us. In vain did we move our lines to and fro to attract the attention of the fishes; not one would come! We were tired. We lamented the prospect of losing our time, and of being laughed at by our friends on the shore who were waiting the result of our fishing to dine. Nearly one hour was spent in his manner, when the captain said, "Indeed, I will make the fishes come."
Opening a box, he took out handfuls of little pieces of finely-cut fishes and threw them broadcast on the water.
I was looking at him with curiosity, and I received with a feeling of unbelief the promise of seeing, in a few moments, more mackerel than I could pick up. These particles of fish, falling upon the water, scattered themselves in a thousand different ways. The rays of the sun, sporting among these numberless fragments, and thousands of scales, gave them a singular whiteness and brilliancy. They appeared like a thousand diamonds, full of movement and life, that sported and rolled themselves, running at each other, while rocking upon the waves.
As these innumerable little objects withdrew from us they looked like the milky way in the firmament. The rays of the sun continued to be reflected upon the scales of the fishes in the water, and to transform them into as many pearls, whose whiteness and splendor made an agreeable contrast with the deep green colour of the sea.
While looking at that spectacle, which was so new to me, I felt my line jerked out of my hands, and soon had the pleasure of seeing a magnificent mackerel lying at my feet. My companions were as fortunate as I was. The bait so generously thrown away had perfectly succeeded in bringing us not only hundreds, but thousands of fishes, and we caught as many of them as the boat could carry.
The Jesuits and the nuns are the Pope's cleverest fishermen, and the Protestants are the mackerel caught upon their baited hooks. Never fisherman knew better to prepare the perfidious bait than the nuns and Jesuits, and never were stupid fishes more easily caught than Protestants in general.
The priests of Rome themselves boast that more than half of the pupils of the nuns are the children of Protestants, and that seven-tenths of those Protestant children, sooner or later, become the firmest disciples and the true pillars of Popery in the United States. It is with that public and undeniable fact before them that the Jesuits have prophesied that before twenty-five years the Pope will rule that great republic; and if there is not a prompt change their prophecy will probably be accomplished.
"But," say many Protestants, "where can we get safer securities that the morals of our girls will be sheltered than in those convents? The faces of those good nuns, their angelic smiles, even their lips, from which seems to flow a perfume from heaven—are not these the unfailing signs that nothing will taint the hearts of our dear children when they are under the care of those holy nuns?" Angelic smiles! Lips from which flow a perfume from heaven! Expressions of peace and holiness of the good nuns! Delusive allurements! Cruel deceptions! Mockery of comedy! Yes, all these angelic smiles, all these expressions of joy and happiness, are but allurements to deceive honest but too trusting men!
I believed myself for a long time that there was something true in all the display of peace and happiness which I saw reflected in the faces of a good number of nuns. But how soon my delusions passed away when I read with my own eyes, in a book of the secret rules of the convent, that one of their rules is always, especially in the presence of strangers, to have an appearance of joy and happiness, even when the soul is over-whelmed with grief and sorrow! The motives given to the nuns, for thus wearing a continual mask, is to secure the esteem and respect of the people, and to win more securely the young ladies to the convent!
All know the sad end of life of one of the most celebrated female comedians of the American Theatre. She had acted her part in the evening with a perfect success. She appeared so handsome, and so happy on the stage! Her voice was such a perfect harmony; her singing was so merry and lively with mirth! Two hours later she was a corpse! She had poisoned herself on leaving the theatre! For some time her heart was broken with grief which she could not bear.
Thus it is with the nun in her cell! forced to play a sacrilegious comedy to deceive the world and to bring new recruits to the monastery. And the Protestants, the disciples of the Gospel, the children of light, suffer themselves to be deceived by this impious comedy.
The poor nun's heart is often full of sorrow, and her soul is drowned in a sea of desolation; but she is obliged, under oath, always to appear gay! Unfortunate victim of the most cruel deception that has ever been invented, that poor daughter of Eve, deprived of all the happiness that heaven has given, tortured night and day by honest aspirations which she is told are unpardonable sins, she has not only to suppress in herself the few buds of happiness which God has left in her soul; but, what is more cruel, she is forced to appear happy in anguish of shame and of deception.
Ah! if the Protestants could know, as I do, how much the hearts of those nuns bleed, how much those poor victims of the Pope feel themselves wounded to death, how almost every one of them die at an early age, broken-hearted, instead of speaking of their happiness and holiness, they would weep at their profound misery. Instead of helping Satan to build up and maintain those sad dungeons by giving both their gold and their children, they would let them crumble into dust, and thus check the torrents of silent though bitter tears which those cells hide from our view.
I was traveling in 1851 over the vast prairies of Illinois in search of a spot which would suit us the best for the colony which I was about to found. One day my companions and myself found ourselves so wearied by the heat that we resolved to wait for the cool night in the shade of a few trees around a brook. The night was calm; there were no clouds in the sky, and the moon was beautiful. Like the sailor upon the sea, we had nothing but our compass to regulate our course on those beautiful and vast prairies. But the pen cannot express the emotions I felt while looking at that beautiful sky and those magnificent deserts opened to our view. We often came to sloughs which we thought deeper than they really were, and of which we would keep the side for fear of drowning our horses. Many a time did I get down from the carriage and stop to contemplate the wonders which those ponds presented to our view.
All the splendours of the sky seemed brought down in those pure and limpid waters. The moon and the stars seemed to have left their places in the firmament to bathe themselves in those delightful lakelets. All the purest, the most beautiful things of the heavens seemed to come down to hide themselves in those tranquil waters as if in search of more peace and purity.
A few days later I was retracing my steps. It was day-time; and, following the same route, I was longing to get to my charming little lakes. But during the interval the heat had been great, the sun very hot, and my beautiful sheets of water had been dried up. My dear little lakes were nowhere to be seen.
And what did I find instead? Innumerable reptiles, with the most hideous forms and filthy colours! No brilliant start, no clear moon were there any more to charm my eyes. There was nothing left but thousands of little toads and snakes, at the sight of which I was filled with disgust and horror!
Protestants! when upon life's way you are tempted to admire the smiling lips and unstained faces of the Pope's nuns, please think of those charming lakes which I saw in the prairies of Illinois, and remember the innumerable reptiles and toads that swarm at the bottom of those deceitful waters.
When, by the light of Divine truth, Protestants see behind these perfect mockeries by which the nun conceals with so much care the hideous misery which devours her heart, they will understand the folly of having permitted themselves to be so easily deceived by appearances. Then they will bitterly weep for having sacrificed to that modern Paganism the future welfare of their children, of their families, and of their country!
"But," says one, "the education is so cheap in the nunnery." I answer, "The education in convents, were it twice cheaper than it is now, would still cost twice more than it is worth. It is in this circumstance that we can repeat and apply the old proverb, 'Cheap things are always too highly paid for.'"
In the first place, the intellectual education in the nunnery is completely null. The great object of the Pope and the nuns is to captivate and destroy the intelligence.
The moral education is also of no account; for what kind of morality can a young girl receive from a nun who believes that she can live as she pleases as long as she likes it—that nothing evil can come to her, neither in this life nor in the next, provided only she is devout to the Virgin Mary?
Let Protestants read the "Glories of Mary," by St. Liguori, a book which is in the hands of every nun and every priest, and they will understand what kind of morality is practiced and taught inside the walls of the Church of Rome. Yes; let them read the history of that lady who was so well represented at home by the Holy Virgin, that her husband did not perceive that she had been absent, and they will have some idea of what their children may learn in a convent.
The word education is a beautiful word. It comes from the Latin educare, which means to raise up, to take from the lowest degrees to the highest spheres of knowledge. The object of education is, then, to feed, expand, raise, enlighten, and strengthen the intelligence.
We hear the Roman Catholic priests making use of that beautiful word education as often, in not oftener, than the Protestant. But that word "education" has a very different meaning among the followers of the Pope than among the disciples of the Gospel. And that difference, which the Protestants ignore, is the cause of the strange blunders they make every time they try to legislate on that question here, as well as in England or in Canada.
The meaning of the word education among Protestants is as far from the meaning of that same word among Roman Catholics as the southern pole is from the northern pole. When a Protestant speaks of education, that word is used and understood in its true sense. When he sends his little boy to a Protestant school, he honestly desires that he should be reared up in the spheres of knowledge as much as his intelligence will allow. When that little boy is going to school, he soon feels that he has been raised up to some extent, and he experiences a sincere joy, a noble pride, for this new, though at first very modest raising; but he naturally understands that this new and modest upheaval is only a stone to step on and raise himself to a higher degree of knowledge, and he quickly makes that second step with an unspeakable pleasure. When the son of a Protestant has acquired a little knowledge, he wants to acquire more. When he has learned what this means, he wants to know what that means also. Like the young eagle, he trims his wings for a higher flight, and turns his head upward to go farther up in the atmosphere of knowledge. A noble and mysterious ambition has suddenly seized his young soul. Then he begins to feel something of that unquenchable thirst for knowledge which God Himself has put in the breast of every child of Adam, a thirst of knowledge, however, which will never be perfectly realized except in heaven.
The object of education, then, is to enable man to fulfill that kingly mission of ruling, subduing the world, under the eyes of his Creator.
Let us remember that it is not from himself, nor from any angel, but it is from God Himself that man has received that sublime mission. Yes, it is God Himself who has implanted in the bosom of humanity the knowledge and aspirations of those splendid destinies which can be attained only by "Education."
What a glorious impulse is this that seizes hold of the newly-awakened mind, and leads the young intelligence to rise higher and pierce the clouds that hide from his gaze the splendours of knowledge that lay concealed beyond the gloom of this nether sphere! That impulse is a noble ambition; it is that part of humanity that assimilates itself to the likeness of the great Creator; that impulse which education has for its mission to direct in its onward and upward march, is one of the most precious gifts of God to man. Once more, the glorious mission of education is to foster these thirstings after knowledge and lead man to accomplish his high destiny.
It ought to be a duty with both Roman Catholics and Protestants to assist the pupil in his flight toward the regions of science and learning. But is it so? No. When you, Protestants, send your children to school, you put no fetters to their intelligence; they rise with fluttering wings day after day. Though their flight at first is slow and timid, how happy they feel at every new aspect of their intellectual horizon! How their hearts beat with an unspeakable joy when they begin to hear voices of applause and encouragement from every side saying to them, "Higher, higher, higher!" When they shake their young wings to take a still higher flight, who can express their joy when they distinctly hear again the voices of a beloved mother, of a dear father, of a venerable pastor, cheering them and saying, "Well done! Higher yet, my child, higher!"
Raising themselves with more confidence on their wings, they then soar still higher, in the midst of the unanimous concert of the voices of their whole country encouraging them to the highest flight. It is then that the young man feels his intellectual strength tenfold multiplied. He lifts himself on his eagle wings, with a renewed confidence and power, and soars up still higher, with his heart beating with a noble and holy joy. For from the south and north, from the east and west, the echoes bring to his ears the voices of the admiring multitudes—"Rise higher, higher yet!"
He has now reached what he thought, at first, to be the highest regions of thought and knowledge: but he hears again the same stimulating cries from below, encouraging him to a still higher flight toward the loftiest dominion of knowledge and philosophy, till he enters the regions where lies the source of all truth, and light, and life. For he had also heard the voice of his God speaking through His Son Jesus Christ, crying, "Come unto Me! Fear Not! Come unto Me! I am the light, the way! Come to this higher region where the Father, with the Son and the Spirit, reign in endless light!"
Thus does the Protestant scholar, making use of his intelligence as the eagle of his wing, go on from weakness unto strength, from the timid flutter to the bold confident flight, from one degree to another still higher, from one region of knowledge to another still higher, till he loses himself in that ocean of light and truth and life which is God.
In the Protestant schools no fetters are put on the young eagle's wings; there is nothing to stop him in his progress, or paralyze his movements and upward flights. It is the contrary: he receives every kind of encouragement in his flight.
Thus it is that the only truly great nations in the world are Protestants! Thus it is the truly powerful nations in the world are Protestants! Thus it is that the only free nations in the world are Protestants! The Protestant nations are the only ones that acquit themselves like men in the arena of this world; Protestant nations only march as giants at the head of the civilized world. Everywhere they are the advanced guard in the ranks of progress, science and liberty, leaving far behind the unfortunate nations whose hands are tied by the ignominious iron chains of Popery.
After we have seen the Protestant scholar raising himself, on his eagle wings, to the highest spheres of intelligence, happiness, and light, and marching unimpeded toward his splendid destinies, let us turn our eyes toward the Roman Catholic student, and let us consider and pity him in the supreme degradation to which he is subjected.
That young Roman Catholic scholar is born with the same bright intelligence as the Protestant one; he is endowed by his Creator with the same powers of mind as his Protestant meighbour; he has the same impulses, the same noble aspirations implanted by the hand of God in his breast. He is sent to school apparently, like the Protestant boy, to receive what is called "Education." He at first understands that word in its true sense; he goes to school in the hope of being raised, elevated as high as his intelligence and his person efforts will allow. His heart beats with joy, when at once the first rays of light and knowledge come to him; he feels a holy, a noble pride at every new step he makes in his upward progress; he longs to learn more, he wants to rise higher; he also takes up his wings, like the young eagle, and soars up higher.
But here begin the disappointments and tribulations of the Roman Catholic student; for he is allowed to raise himself—yes, but when he has raised himself high enough to be on a level with the big toes of the Pope he hears piercing, angry, threatening cries coming from every side—"Stop! stop! Do not rise yourself higher than the toes of the Holy Pope! . . . Kiss those holy toes, . . .and stop your upward flight! Remember that the Pope is the only source of science, knowledge, and truth! . . .The knowledge of the Pope is the ultimate limit of learning and light to which humanity can attain . . . You are not allowed to know and believe what his Holiness does not know and believe. Stop! stop! Do not go an inch higher than the intellectual horizon of the Supreme Pontiff of Rome, in whom only is the plenitude of the true science which will save the world."
Some will perhaps answer me here: "Has not Rome produced great men in every department of science?" I answer, Yes; as I have once done before. Rome can show us a long list of names which shine among the brightest lights of the firmament of science and philosophy. She can show us her Copernicus, her Galileos, her Pascals, her Bossuets, her Lamenais, etc., etc. But it is at their risk and peril that those giants of intelligence have raised themselves into the highest regions of philosophy and science. It is in spite of Rome that those eagles have soared up above the damp and obscure horizon where the Pope offers his big toes to be kissed and worshipped as the ne plus ultra of human intelligence; and they have invariably been punished for their boldness.
On the 22 of June, 1663, Galileo was obliged to fall on his knees in order to escape the cruel death to which he was to be condemned by the order of the Pope; and he signed with his own hand the following retraction: "I abjure, curse, and detest the error and heresy of the motion of the earth," ect., ect.
That learned man had to degrade himself by swearing a most egregious lie, namely, that the earth does not move around the sun. Thus it is that the wings of that giant eagle of Rome were clipped by the scissors of the Pope. That mighty intelligence was bruised, fettered, and, as much as it was possible to the Church of Rome, degraded, silenced, and killed. But God would not allow that such a giant intellect should be entirely strangled by the bloody hands of that implacable enemy of light and truth—the Pope. Sufficient strength and life had remained in Galileo to enable him to say, when rising up, "This will not prevent the earth from moving!"
The infallible decree of the infallible Pope, Urban VIII, against the motion of the earth is signed by the Cardinals Felia, Guido, Desiderio, Antonio, Bellingero, and Fabriccioi. It says: "In the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ, the plenitude of which resides in His Vicar, the Pope, that the proposition that the earth is not the centre of the world, and that it moves with a diurnal motion is absurd, philosophically false, and erroneous in faith."
What a glorious thing for the Pope of Rome to be infallible! He infallibly knows that the earth does not move around the sun! And what a blessed thing for the Roman Catholics to be governed and taught by such an infallible being. In consequence of that infallible decree, you will admire the following act of human submission of two celebrated Jesuit astronomers, Lesueur and Jacquier: "Newton assumes in his third book the hypothesis of the earth moving around the sun. The proposition of that author could not be explained, except through the same hypothesis: we have, therefore, been forced to act a character not our own. But we declare our entire submission to the decrees of the Supreme Pontiffs of Rome against the motion of the earth." (Newton's "Principia," vol. iii., p.450.)
Here you see two learned Jesuits, who have written a very able work to prove that the earth moves around the sun; but, trembling at the thunders of the Vatican, which are roaring on their heads and threaten to kill them, they submit to the decrees of the Popes of Rome against the motion of the earth. These two learned Jesuits tell a most contemptible and ridiculous lie to save themselves from the implacable wrath of that great light-extinguisher whose throne is in the city of the seven hills.
Had the Newtons, the Franklins, the Fultons, the Morses been Romanists, their names would have been lost in the obscurity which is the natural heritage of the abject slaves of the Popes. Being told from their infancy that no one had any right to make use of his "private judgment," intelligence and conscience in the research of truth, they would have remained mute and motionless at the feet of the modern and terrible god of Rome, the Pope. But they were Protestants! In that great and glorious word "Protestant" is the secret of the marvelous discoveries with which they had read a book which told them that they were created in the image of God, and that that great God had sent His eternal Son Jesus to make them free from the bondage of man. They had read in that Protestant book (for the Bible is the most Protestant book in the world) that man had not only a conscience, but an intelligence to guide him; they had learned that that intelligence and conscience had no other master but God, no other guide but God, no other light but God. On the walls of their Protestant schools the Son of God had written the marvelous words: "Come unto Me; I am the Light, the Way, the Life."
But when the Protestant nations are marching with such giant strides to the conquest of the world, why is it that the Roman Catholic nations not only remain stationary, but give evidence of a decadence which is, day after day, more and more appalling and remediless? Go to their schools and give a moment of attention to the principles which are sown in the young intelligences of their unfortunate slaves, and you will have the key to that sad mystery.
What is not only the first, but the daily school lesson taught to the Roman Catholic? Is it not that one of the greatest crimes which a man can commit is to follow his "private judgment?" which means that he has eyes, but cannot see; ears, but he cannot hear; and intelligence, but he cannot make use of it in the research of truth and light and knowledge, without danger of being eternally damned. His superiors—which mean the priest and the Pope—must see for him, hear for him, and think for him. Yes, the Roman Catholic is constantly told in his school that the most unpardonable and damnable crime is to make use of his own intelligence and follow his own private judgment in the research of truth. He is constantly reminded that man's own private judgment is his greatest enemy. Hence all his intellectual and conscientious efforts must be brought to fight down, silence, kill his "private judgment." It is by the judgment of his superiors—the priest, the bishop and the pope—that he must be guided in everything.
Now, what is a man who cannot make use of his "private personal judgment?" Is he not a slave, an idiot, an ass? And what is a nation composed of men who do not make use of their private personal judgment in the research of truth and happiness, if not a nation of brutes, slaves and contemptible idiots?
But as this will look like an exaggeration on my part, allow me to force the Church of Rome to come here and speak for herself. Please pay attention to what she has to say about the intellectual faculties of men. Here are the very words of the so-called Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Society:-
"As for holy obedience, this virtue must be perfect in every point—in execution, in will, in intellect; doing which is enjoined with all celerity, spiritual joy and perseverance; persuading ourselves that everything is just, suppressing every repugnant thought and judgment of one's own in a certain obedience; and let every one persuade himself, that he who lives under obedience should be moved and directed, under Divine Providence, by his superior, just as if he were a corpse (perinde asi cadaver esset) which allows itself to be moved and led in every direction."
Some one will, perhaps, ask me what can be the object of the popes and the priests of Rome in degrading the Roman Catholics in such a strange way that they turn them into moral corpses? Why not let them live? The answer is a very easy one. The great, the only object of the thoughts and workings of the Pope and the priests is to raise themselves above the rest of the world. They want to be high! high above the heads not only of the common people, but of the kings and emperors of the world. They want to be not only as high, but higher than God. It is when speaking of the Pope that the Holy Ghost says: "He opposeth and exalted himself above all that is called God, shewing himself that he is God." (2 Thess. ii.4). To attain their object, the priests have persuaded their millions and millions of slaves that they were mere corpses; that they must have no will, no conscience, no intelligence of their own, just "as corpses which allow themselves to be moved and led in any way, without any resistance." When this has been once gained, they have made a pyramid of all those motionless, inert corpses which is so high, that though its feet are on the earth, its top goes to the skies, in the very abode of the old divinities of the Pagan world, and putting themselves and their popes at the top of that marvelous pyramid, the priests say to the rest of the world: "Who among you are as high as we are? Who has ever been raised by God as a priest and a pope? Where are the kings and the emperors whose thrones are as elevated as ours? Are we not at the very top of humanity?" Yes! yes! I answer to the priests of Rome, you are high, very high indeed! No throne on earth has ever been so sublime, so exalted as yours. Since the days of the tower of Babel, the world has not seen such a huge fabric. Your throne is higher than anything we know. But it is a throne of corpses!!!
And if you want to know what other use is made of those millions and millions of corpses, I will tell it to you. There is no manure so rich as dead carcasses. Those millions of corpses serve to manure the gardens of the priests, the bishops and the popes, and make their cabbages grow. And what fine cabbages grow in the Pope's garden!
But that you may better understand the degrading tendencies of the principles which are as the fundamental stone of the moral and intellectual education of Rome, let me put before your eyes another extract of the Jesuit teachings, which I take again from the "Spiritual Exercises," as laid down by their founder, Ignatius Loyola: "That we may in all things attain the truth, that we may not err in anything, we ought ever to hold as a fixed principle that what I see white I believe to be black, if the superior authorities of the Church define it to be so."
You all know that it is the avowed desire of Rome to have public education in the hands of the Jesuits. She says everywhere that they are the best, the model teachers. Why so?
Because they more boldly and more successfully than any other of her teachers aim at the destruction of the intelligence and conscience of their pupils. Rome proclaims everywhere that the Jesuits are the most devoted, the most reliable of her teachers; and she is right, for when a man has been trained a sufficient time by them, the most perfectly becomes a moral corpse. His superiors can do what they please with him. When he knows that a thing is white as snow, he is ready to swear that it is black as ink if his superior tells him so. But some may be tempted to think of these degrading principles are exclusively taught by the Jesuits; that they are not the teachings of the Church, and that I do an injustice to the Roman Catholics when I give, as a general iniquity, what is the guilt of the Jesuits only. Listen to the words of that infallible Pope Gregory XVI., in his celebrated Encyclical of the 15th of August, 1832:- "If the holy Church so requires, let us sacrifice our own opinions, our knowledge, our intelligence, the splendid dreams of our imagination, and the most sublime attainments of the human understanding."
It is when considering those anti-social principles of Rome that Mr. Gladstone wrote, not long ago: "No more cunning plot was ever devised against the freedom, the happiness and the virtue of mankind than Romanism." ("Letter to Earl Aberdeen.") Now, Protestants, do you begin to see the difference of the object of education between a Protestant and a Roman Catholic school? Do you begin to understand that there is as great a distance between the word "Education" among you, and the meaning of the same word in the Church of Rome, than between the southern and the northern poles! By education you mean to raise man to the highest sphere of manhood. Rome means to lower him below the most stupid brutes. By education you mean to teach man that he is a free agent, that liberty within the limits of the laws of God and of his country is a gift secured to every one; you want to impress every man with the noble thought that it is better to die a free man than to live a slave. Rome wants to teach that there is only one man who is free, the Pope, and that all the rest are born to be his abject slaves in thought, will and action.
Now, that you may still more understand to what a bottomless abyss of human degradation and moral depravity these anti-Christian and anti-social principles of Rome lead her poor blind slaves, read what Liguori says in his book "The Nun Sanctified": "The principal and most efficacious means of practicing obedience due to superiors, and of rendering it meritorious before God, is to consider that in obeying them we obey God Himself, and that by despising their commands we despise the authority of our Divine Master. When, thus, a religious receives a precept from her prelate, superior or confessor, she should immediately execute it, not only to please them but principally to please God, whose will is made known to her by their command. In obeying their command, in obeying their directions, she is more certainly obeying the will of God than if an angel came down from heaven to manifest His will to her. Bear this always in your mind, that the obedience which you practice to your superior is paid to God. If, then, you receive a command from one who holds the place of God, you should observe it with the same diligence as if it came from God Himself. Blessed Egidus used to say that it is more meritorious to obey man for the love of God than God Himself. It may be added that there is more certainty of doing the will of God by obedience to our superior than by obedience to Jesus Christ, should He appear in person and give His commands. St. Phillip de Neri used to say that religious shall be most certain of not having to render an account of the actions performed through obedience; for these the superiors only who commanded them shall be held accountable." The Lord said once to St. Catherine of Sienne, "Religious will not be obliged to render an account to me of what they do through obedience; for that I will demand an account from the superior. This doctrine is conformable to Sacred Scripture: 'Behold, says the Lord, as clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hands, O Israel!' (Jeremiah xviii. 6.) A religious man must be in the hands of the superiors to be moulded as they will. Shall the clay say to Him that fashioneth it, What art Thou making? The Potter ought to answer 'Be silent; it is not your business to inquire what I do, but to obey and to receive whatever form I please to give you.'"
I ask you, American Protestants, what would become of your fair country if you were blind enough to allow the Church of Rome to teach the children of the United States? What kind of men and women can come out of such schools? What future of shame, degradation, and slavery you prepare for your country if Rome does succeed in forcing you to support such schools? What kind of women would come out from the schools of nuns who would teach them that the highest pitch of perfection in a woman is when she obeys her superior, the priest, in everything he commands her! that your daughter will never be called to give an account to God for the actions she will have done to please and obey her superior, the priest, the bishop, or the Pope? That the affairs of her conscience will be arranged between God and that superior, and that she will never be asked why she had done this or that, when it will be to gratify the pleasures of the superior and obey his command that she has done it. Again, what kind of men and citizens will come out from the schools of those Jesuits who believe and teach that a man has attained the perfection of manhood only when he is a perfect spiritual corpse before his superior; when he obeys the priest with the perfection of a cadaver, that has neither life nor will in itself.
Talleyrand, one of the most celebrated Roman Catholic bishops of France, once said, "Language is the art of concealing one's thoughts." Never was there a truer expression, if it had reference to the awful deceptions practiced by the Church of Rome under the pompous name of "Theological studies."
Theology is the study of the knowledge of the laws of God. Nothing, then, is more noble than the study of theology. How solemn were my thoughts and elevated my aspirations when, in 1829, under the guidance of the Rev. Messrs. Rimbault and Leprohon, I commenced my theological coarse of study at Nicolet, which I was to end in 1833!
I supposed that my books of theology were to bring me nearer to my God by the more perfect knowledge I would acquire, in their study, of His holy will and His sacred laws. My hope was that they would be to my heart what the burning coal, brought by the angel of the Lord, was to the lips of the prophet of old.
The principal theologians which we had in our hands were "Les Conferences d'Anger," Bailly, Dens, St. Thomas, but above all Liguori, who has since been canonized. Never did I open one without offering up a fervent prayer to God and to the Virgin Mary for the light and grace of which I would be in need for myself and for the people whose pastor I was to become.
But how shall I relate my surprise when I discovered that, in order to accept the principles of the theologians which my Church gave me for guides I had to put away all principles of truth, of justice, of honour and holiness! What long and painful efforts it cost me to extinguish, one by one, the lights of truth and of reason kindled by the hand of my merciful God in my intelligence. For to study theology in the Church of Rome signifies to learn to speak falsely, to deceive, to commit robbery, to perjure one's self! It means how to commit sins without shame, it means to plunge the soul into every kind of iniquity and turpitude without remorse!
I know that Roman Catholics will bravely and squarely deny what I now say. I am aware also that a great many Protestants, too easily deceived by the fine whitewashing of the exterior walls of Rome, will refuse to believe me. Nevertheless they may rest assured it is true, and my proof will be irrefutable. The truth may be denied by many, but my witnesses cannot be contradicted by any one. My witnesses are even infallible. They are none other than the Roman Catholic theologians themselves, approved by infallible Popes! These very men who corrupted my heart, perverted my intelligence and poisoned my soul, as they have done with each and every priest of their Church, will be my witnesses, my only witnesses. I will just now forcibly bring them before the world to testify against themselves!
Liguori, in his treatise on oaths, Question 4, asks if it is allowable to use ambiguity, or equivocal words, to deceive the judge when under oath, and at no. 151 he answers: "These things being established, it is a certain and common opinion amongst all divines that for a just cause it is lawful to use equivocation in the propounded modes, and to confirm it (equivocation) with an oath . . . Now a just cause is any honest end in order to preserve good things for the spirit, or useful things for the body."*
"The accused, or a witness not properly interrogated, can sear that he does not know a crime, which in reality he does know, by understanding that he does not know the crime, concerning which he can be legitimately enquired of, or that he does not know it so as to give evidence concerning it."**
When the crime is very secret and unknown to all, Liguori says the culprit or the witness must deny it under oath. "The same is true, if a witness on another ground is not bound to depose; for instance, if the crime appear to himself to be free from blame. Or if he knew a crime which he is bound to keep secret, when no scandal may have gone abroad." ***
"Make an exception in a trial where the crime is altogether concealed. For then he can, yea, the witness is bound to say that the accused did not commit the crime. And the same course the accused can adopt, if the proof be not complete, ect., because then the judge does not legitimately interrogate."****
Liguori asks himself, "Whether the accused legitimately interrogated, can deny a crime, even with an oath, if the confession of the crime would be attended with great disadvantage." The saint replies:- "Elbel, ect., denies that he can, and indeed more probably because the accused is then bound for the general good to undergo the loss. But sufficiently probable Lugo, ect., with many others, say, that the accused, if in danger of death, or of prison, or of perpetual exile, the loss of property, the danger of the galleys, and such like, can deny the crime even with an oath (at least without great sin) by understanding that he did not commit it so that he is bound to confess it,—only let there be a hope of avoiding the punishment." *
"He who hath sworn that he would keep a secret, does not sin against the oath by revealing that secret when he cannot conceal it without great loss to himself, or to another, because the promise of secrecy does not appear to bind, unless under this condition, if it does not injure me."
"He who hath sworn to a judge that he would speak what he knew, is not bound to reveal concealed things. The reason is manifest." **
Liguori says whether a woman, accused of the crime of adultery, which she has really committed, may deny it under oath? He answers: "She is able to assert equivocally that she did not break the bond of matrimony, which truly remains. And if sacramentally she confessed adultery, she can answer, 'I am innocent of this crime,' because by confession it was taken away. So Card, who, however, here remarks that she cannot affirm it with an oath, because in asserting anything the probability of a deed suffices, but in swearing certainty is required. To this it is replied that in swearing moral certainty suffices, as we said above. Which moral certainty of the remission of sin can indeed be had, when any, morally well disposed, receives the sacrament of penance."***
Liguori maintains that one may commit a minor crime in order to avoid a greater crime. He says, "Hence Sanchez teaches, ect., that it is lawful to persuade a man, determined to slay some one, that he should commit theft or fornication." *
"Whether is it lawful for a servant to open the door for a harlot? Croix denies it, but more commonly Bus. ect., with others answer that it is lawful."
"Whether from fear of death, or of great loss, it may be lawful for a servant to stoop his shoulders, or to bring a ladder for his master ascending to commit fornication, to force open the door, and such like? Viva, ect., deny it, and others, because, as they say, such actions are never lawful, inasmuch as they are intrinsically evil. But Busemb, ect., speak the contrary, whose opinion, approved of by reason, appears to me the more probable."**
"But the salmanticenses say that a servant can, according to his own judgment, compensate himself for his labour, if he without doubt judge that he was deserving of a larger stipend. Which indeed appears sufficiently probable to me, and to other more modern learned men, if the servant, or any other hired person, be prudent, and capable of forming a correct judgment, and be certain concerning the justice of the compensation, all danger of mistake being removed." ***
"A poor man, absconding with goods for his support, can answer the judge that he has nothing. In like manner an heir who has concealed his goods without an inventory, if he is not bound to settle with his creditors from them, can say to a judge that he has not concealed anything—in his own mind meaning those goods with which he is bound to satisfy his creditors." *
Liguori, in Dubium II., considers what may be the quantity of stolen property necessary to constitute mortal sin. He says:-
"There are various opinions concerning this matter. Navar too scrupulously has fixed the half of regalem, others with too great laxity have fixed ten aureos. Tol., ect., moderately have fixed two regales, although less might suffice, if it would be a serious loss."**
"Whether it be mortal sin to steal a small piece of a relic? There is no doubt but that in the district of Rome it is a mortal sin, since Clement VIII. and Paul V. have issued an excommunication against those who, the rectors of the churches being unwilling, steal some small relic: otherwise Croix probably says, ect., if any one should steal any small thing out of the district [of Rome], not deforming the relic itself nor diminishing its estimation; unless it may be some rare or remarkable relic, as for example, the holy cross, the hair of the Blessed Virgin, ect." ***
"If any one on an occasion should steal only a moderate sum either from one or more, not intending to acquire any notable sum, neither to injure his neighbour to a great extent by several thefts, he does not sin grievously, nor do these, taken together, constitute a mortal sin; however, after it may have amounted to a notable sum, by detaining it, he can commit mortal sin. But even this mortal sin may be avoided, if either then he be unable to restore, or have the intention of making restitution immediately, of those things which he then received."****
"This opinion of Bus. is most probable, viz., if many persons steal small quantities, that none of them commit grievous sin, although they may be mutually aware of their conduct, unless they do it by concert: also Habert, ect., hold this view; and this, although each should steal at the same time. The reason is, because then no one person is the cause of injury, which, per accidens, happens by the others to the master." *
Liguori, speaking of children who steal from their parents, says:- "Salas, ect., say that a son does not commit grievous sin, who steals 20 or 30 aurei from a father possessing yearly 1500 aureos, and Lugo does not disprove of it. If the father be not tenacious, and the son have grown up and receive it for honest purposes. Less, ect., say that a son stealing two or three aureos from a rich father does not sin grievously; Bannez says that fifty aureos are required to constitute a grievous sin who steals from a rich father; but this opinion, Lug, ect., reject, unless perchance he is the son of a prince; in which case Holzm. consents."**
The theologians of Rome assure us that we may, and even that we must, conceal and disguise our faith.
"Notwithstanding, indeed although it is not lawful to lie, or to feign what is not, nevertheless it is lawful to dissemble what is, or to cover the truth with words, or other ambiguous and doubtful signs for a just cause, and when there is not a necessity of confessing. It is the common opinion."***
"Whence, if thus he may be able to deliver himself from a troublesome investigation, it is lawful (as Kon has it), for generally it is not true that he who is interrogated by public authority is publicly bound to profess the faith, unless when that is necessary, lest he may appear to those present to deny the faith."****
"When you are not asked concerning the faith, not only is it lawful, but often more conducive to the glory of God and the utility of your neighbour to cover the faith than to confess it; for example, if concealed among heretics you may accomplish a greater amount of good; or if, from the confession of the faith more of evil would follow—for example, great trouble, death, the hostility of a tyrant, the peril of defection, if you should be tortured. Whence it is often rash to offer one's self willingly." * The Pope has the right to release from all oaths.
"As for an oath made for a good and legitimate object, it seems that there should be no power capable of annulling it. However, when it is for the good of the public, a matter which comes under the immediate jurisdiction of the Pope, who has the supreme power over the Church, the Pope has full power to release from that oath." (St. Thomas, Quest. 89, art. 9, vol. iv.)
The Roman Catholics have not only the right, but it is their duty to kill heretics.
"Excommunicatus privatur omni civili communicatione fidelium, ita ut ipsi non possit cum aliis, et si non sit toleratus, etiam aliis cum ipso non possint communicare; idque in casibus hoc versu comprehensis, Os, orare, communio, mensa negatur."
Translated: "Any man excommunicated is deprived of all civil communication with the faithful, in such a way that if he is not tolerated they can have no communication with him, as it is in the following verse, 'It is forbidden to kiss him, pray with him, salute him, to eat or to do any business with him.'" (St. Liguori, vol. ix., page 62.)
"Quanquam heretici tolerandi non sunt ipso illorum demerito, usque tamen ad secundam correptionem expectandi sunt, ut ad sanam redeant ecclesiae fidem; qui vero post secundam correptionem in suo errore obstinati permanent, non modo excommunicationis sententia, sed etiam saecularibus principibus exterminandi tradendi sunt."
Translated: "Though heretics must not be tolerated because they deserve it, we must bear with them till, by a second admonition, they may be brought back to the faith of the Church. But those who, after a second admonition, remain obstinate in their errors must not only be excommunicated, but they must be delivered to the secular powers to be exterminated."
"Quanquam heretici revertentes, semper recipiendi sint ad poenitentiam quoties cujque relapsi furint; non tamen semper sunt recipiendi et restituendi ad bonorum hujus vitae participation nem . . . recipiuntur ad poenitentiam . . . non tamen ut liberentur a sententia mortis."
Translated: "Though the heretics who repent must always be accepted to penance, as often as they have fallen, they must not in consequence of that always be permitted to enjoy the benefits of this life. When they fall again they are admitted to repent. But the sentence of death must not be removed." (St. Thomas, vol. iv., page 91.)
"Quum quis per sententiam denuntiatur propter apostasiam excommunicatus, ipso facto, ejus subditi a dominio et juramento fidelitatis ejus liberati sunt."
"When a man is excommunicated for his apostasy, it follows from that very fact that all those who are his subjects are released from the oath of allegiance by which they were bound to obey him." (St. Thomas, vol. iv., page 91.)
Every heretic and Protestant is condemned to death, and every oath of allegiance to a government which is Protestant or heretic is abrogated by the Council of Lateran, held in AD1215. Here is the solemn decree and sentence of death, which has never been repealed, and which is still in force:
"We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy that exalts itself against the holy, orthodox and Catholic faith, condemning all heretics, by whatever name they may be known; for though their faces differ, they are tied together by their tails. Such as are condemned are to be delivered over to the existing secular powers, to receive due punishment. If laymen, their goods must be confiscated. If priests, they shall be first degraded from their respective orders, and their property applied to the use of the church in which they have officiated. Secular powers of all ranks and degrees are to be warned, induced, and, if necessary, compelled by ecclesiastical censure, to swear that they will exert themselves to the utmost in the defense of the faith, and extirpate all heretics denounced by the Church who shall be found in their territories. And whenever any person shall assume government, whether it be spiritual or temporal, he shall be bound to abide by this decree.
"If any temporal lord, after being admonished and required by the Church, shall neglect to clear his territory of heretical depravity, the metropolitan and the bishops of the province shall unite in excommunicating him. Should he remain contumacious for a whole year, the fact shall be signified to the Supreme Pontiff, who will declare his vassals released from their allegiance from that time, and will bestow the territory on Catholics to be occupied by them, on the condition of exterminating the heretics and preserving the said territory in the faith.
"Catholics who shall assume the cross for the extermination of heretics shall enjoy the same indulgences and be protected by the same privileges as are granted to those who go to the help of the Holy Land. We decree, further, that all who may have dealings with heretics, and especially such as receive, defend, or encourage them, shall be excommunicated. He shall not be eligible to any public office. He shall not be admitted as a witness. He shall neither have the power to bequeath his property by will, nor to succeed to any inheritance. He shall not bring any action against any person, but anyone can bring an action against him. Should he be a judge, his decision shall have no force, nor shall any cause be brought before him. Should he be an advocate, he shall not be allowed to plead. Should he be a lawyer, no instruments made by him shall be held valid, but shall be condemned with their author."
But why let my memory and my thoughts linger any longer in these frightful paths, where murderers, liars, perjurers and thieves are assured by the theologians of the Church of Rome that they can lie, steal, murder and perjure themselves as much as they like, without offending God, provided they commit those crimes according to certain rules approved by the Pope for the good of the Church!
I should have to write several large volumes were I to quote all the Roman Catholic doctors and theologians who approve of lying, of perjury, of adultery, theft and murder, for the greatest glory of God and the good of the Roman Church! But I have quoted enough for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
With such principles, is it a wonder that all the Roman Catholic nations, without a single exception, have declined so rapidly?
The great Legislator of the World, the only Saviour of nations, has said: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
A nation can be great and strong only according to the truths which form the basis of her faith and life. "Truth" is the only bread which God gives to the nations that they may prosper and live. Deceitfulness, duplicity, perjury, adultery, theft, murder, are the deadly poisons which kill the nations.
Then, the more the priests of Rome, with their theology, are venerated and believed by the people, the sooner that people will decay and fall. "The more priests the more crimes," a profound thinker has said; for then the more hands will be at work to pull down the only sure foundations of society.
How can any man be sure of the honesty of his wife as long as a hundred thousand priests tell her that she may commit any sin with her neighbour in order to prevent him from doing something worse? or when she is assured that, though guilty of adultery, she can swear that she is pure as an angel!
What will it avail to teach the best principles of honour, decency and holiness to a young girl, when she is bound to go many times a year to a bachelor priest, who is bound in conscience to give her the most infamous lessons of depravity under the pretext of helping her to confess all her sins?
How will the rights of justice be secured, and how can the judges and the juries protect the innocent and punish the guilty, so long as the witnesses are told by one hundred thousand priests that they can conceal the truth, give equivocal answers, and even perjure themselves under a thousand pretexts?
What government, either monarchical or republican, can be sure of a lease of existence? how can they make their people walk with a firm step in the ways of light, progress, and liberty, as long as there is a dark power over them which has the right, at every hour of the day or night, to break and dissolve all the most sacred oaths of allegiance?
Armed with his theology, the priest of Rome has become the most dangerous and determined enemy of truth, justice, and liberty. He is the most formidable obstacle to every good Government, as he is, without being aware of it, the greatest enemy of God and man.
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