“OPEN the Convents,” says the Michigan Christian Advocate, of May 22, in commenting upon the death of an unfortunate inmate of one of those institutions, while attempting to escape. The victim was a young woman twenty-two years of age, and her death resulted from injuries caused by leaping from a second-story window of the “Convent of the Good Shepherd,” in Indianapolis, Ind. The Advocate says it is scandalous that such things can happen in “the land of the free.”
It is very true that such happenings are altogether incompatible with the theory upon which this Government assumes to stand, and such involuntary servitude should be at once abolished by the strong arm of the law. To quote the Advocate’s word, “Ecclesiastical prisons are not compatible with civil liberty. Barred doors, rusty keys, dark recesses, unscalable walls, mysterious secrecy, are forbidding enough under State auspices…. What was the American Government established for, anyway? If Spanish institutions are to be fostered and perpetuated here, Columbus might as well have refrained from his big discovery.”
But what the liberty-loving people of this country need to realize is that more formidable than all the ecclesiastical prisons which Rome maintains, as a menace to American liberty, is the presence of Romish principles in the beliefs and practices of the American people. While these principles remain to enslave the understanding, there can be no safety for that personal liberty which is lost behind barred doors and unscalable walls.