AMONG the many unscriptural doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, one of the most pernicious is the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. What the doctrine is was told in these columns June 7. It is further discussed this week. Let no reader fail to familiarize himself with this subject; for whoever accepts the immaculate conception of Mary, by the same act surrenders the Christ of the New Testament. If Mary was without sinful tendencies then Christ is without human sympathy, not being as the Scriptures declare he is, “touched with the feeling of our infirmities;” nor could he, in that case, have been “tempted like as we are.” Surely he who accepts this doctrine must with it adopt the sad lament, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”
THE article on another page, “Catholics and Social Action,” is deserving of careful attention, not because of any merit in it, but because of the significance of the facts which it states.
No pope of modern times has labored to untiringly as has Leo XIII. to make the papacy necessary to the governments of the earth. Papal rehabilitation has been the supreme object of his reign; and that the papacy has regained very much of its lost prestige under his leadership, cannot be denied.
It is asserted, and truthfully so, too, that the papacy has designs on this country; that for years it has been the deliberate purpose of Rome to dominate the United States in the interest of “the true church.” But this is not all; Rome means that her sway shall be universal, and Leo XIII. has left no act undone, no word unspoken, the tendency of which would be to advance the interests of the papacy.
Personal qualities and political and social conditions have alike been favorable to the designs of the present pope. A born diplomat, he is personally gratus to the crowned heads and rulers of the world. Moreover the times have been favorable to the ambition of the pope to become arbitrator of the world. Peoples have been uneasy and rebellious, and rulers have been perplexed and troubled by domestic broils and problems, while for years the nations have been armed to the teeth, ready at a word to rush to battle, each bent on the destruction or subjugation of its neighbors. Of course each nation has been deeply concerned to retain the loyalty of its people, and to make friends wherever it could. Thus the papacy, which holds in its hands the allegiance of millions in every land, has become, as never before since the Reformation, a supposed necessity to the rulers of the world.
THE article, “Absence of Faith in Protestantism,” printed on anther page, under “Significant Paragraphs,” contains much food for reflection. Is there or is there not a vital principle in Protestantism? Are there or are there not vital reasons in the minds of their votaries, for the existence of the several sects of Protestantism? The denomination that does not hold doctrines, a steadfast belief in which is vital to the Christian life, has no reason for existence. Christian charity means love for God and for souls for whom Christ died, not indifference to the truths of God’s Word.
To change one’s religion from conviction is noble, and honors God; but to do so as a mere matter of convenience or of wordly [sic.] profit is ignoble, and dishonors God. Luther said: “I consent…. to resign my person and my life to the emperor’s disposal; but the Word of God-never!” How different this from the course pursued by so many so-called Protestants of to-day—by the scions of royalty no more than by thousands of others, just as responsible to God as though of royal blood.
But the fault is not attributable, as the Monitor supposes, to Protestantism, but to the denial of the fundamental principle of Protestantism, which is that “there is no sure doctrine but such as is comformable [sic.]to the Word of God; that the Lord forbids the teaching of any other doctrine.” Inspired by this conviction, many of the German princes of Luther’s day, noble father’s of a degenerate posterity, said to their royal kindred:—
We PROTEST by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviour, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to his holy Word, to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spires.
But not so the degenerate Protestantism of to-day which makes merchandise of faith and thereby gives to the enemies of the Lord great occasion to blaspheme.