“Editorial” American Sentinel 9, 1, pp. 3, 4.

January 4, 1894

WITH this issue the AMERICAN SENTINEL enters upon the ninth year of its publication.

THE AMERICAN SENTINEL was established to opposed all connection between religion and the State, and all interference of religious bodies or organizations with affairs of the Government, and especially to expose the mischievous designs of the National Reform combination which was organized for the sole purpose of drawing the United States Government into an establishment of religion.

THIS National Reform combination never had any other purpose, nor any other aim, than to commit the Government of the United States, by whatever means possible, to the establishment and maintenance of “Christianity” as the national religion, and to the enforcement of “Christian laws, institutions, and usages,” and Sunday above all, upon all the people.

FOR, twenty-four years the National Reform Association of professed Protestants, worked steadily alone, to have “the Christian religion” named and legalized as the religion of this nation. In its twenty-fifth year, 1887, it secured the alliance of the National Prohibition party, and the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and with this additional power continued its efforts for the legal recognition of the Christian religion as the national religion. In 1888 this National Reform combination secured the alliance of the American Sabbath Union representing the great “evangelical” churches of the country, and with increased power the whole combination plied their efforts upon the national Government to secure the legal recognition of the Christian religion and the setting up of Sunday as the national holy day. In 1889, the National Reform Association, through the leadership of the American Sabbath Union, secured their long-desired “coöperation” of the Catholic Church for national Sunday observance. And in 1892 they were gratified with the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, declaring that “this is a Christian nation,” thus giving national, legal recognition of the Christian religion, and this was swiftly followed by the action of Congress in which Sunday was set up as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and of this nation, to the express exclusion of the Sabbath of the Lord.

THE aim and purpose of the National Reform combination was precisely the aim, the purpose, and the intense desire of the Church of Rome. Therefore, all these years Rome watched with interested attention the National Reform movement, and waited for that movement to grow to such a state as would be to her advantage to cooperate with. And it was not unadvisedly that in 1889 the Catholic Church joined hands with the National Reform combination, “to bring the Protestant masses over to the reverent observance of the Catholic Sunday.” And it was with great gladness that she heard the supreme judicial declaration that “this is a Christian nation,” with the citation of Catholic documents to prove it, and also saw Congress set up the sign of her own authority—the Sunday—as the holy day of the nation in express exclusion of the Sabbath of the Lord. It was with supreme satisfaction that she saw her own sign of her own salvation set up here by a national act as the symbol of the salvation of the nation.

IN the columns of the AMERICAN SENTINEL, from the beginning, we have told the National Reformers over and over, that in all their efforts and arguments they were but playing into the hands of Rome. As a sample of our oft-repeated words to this effect we copy the following from Vol. I, number 12 of the SENTINEL:

“Although the Catholic Church apparently takes no very active interest in this movement itself, we may rest assured that there is not a single writer, nor a single official, of the Catholic Church, from the pope to the lowest priest in America, who ever ‘for an instant’ loses sight of the movement, or of the ‘prescriptions’ which the pope has given in view of it.

“THEN when the matter comes to the enforcement of the laws, what is to hinder the Catholics from doing it, and that, too, in the Catholic way? Every priest in the United States is sworn to root out heresy. And Monsignor Capel, in our own cities and at our very doors, defends the ‘Holy Inquisition.’ The refusal to observe Sunday becomes heresy that can be reached by the law, what then is to hinder the Catholics from rooting out the heresy? Certainly when the National Reformers shall have been compelled by the necessity of the situation to surrender to the Catholics, it would not be in their power, even were it in their disposition, to repeal the laws; so there would then be nothing left but the enforcement of the laws—by Catholics, if by nobody else. This view of the case alone ought to be sufficient to arouse every Protestant and every American to the most uncompromising opposition to the National Reform party.

“IT is of no use for the National Reformers to say that they will not allow the Catholics to do these things. For when the National Reformers, to gain the ends which they have in view, are compelled by ‘the necessities of the situation,’ to unite with Rome, having, by the help of Rome, gained those ends, it will be impossible, without the help of Rome, either to make them effective, or to reverse them, or to hinder Rome from making them effective in her own way. When the thing is done, it will be too late to talk of not allowing this or that. The whole thing will then be sold into the hands of Rome, and there will be no remedy.

“LORD MACAULAY made no mistake when he wrote the following:—

It is impossible to deny that the polity of the Church of Rome is the very masterpiece of human wisdom…. The experience of twelve hundred eventful years, the ingenuity and patient care of forty generations of statesmen, have improved that polity to such perfection that, among the contrivances which have been devised for deceiving the oppressing mankind, it occupies the highest place.—Essays, Von Ranke.

“And it is into the hands of this mistress of human deception and oppression that the National Reformers deliberately [2] propose to surrender the United States Government and the American people. But just as surely as the American people allow the National Reform party, or anything else, out of seeming friendship for Christianity, or for any other reason, to do this thing, they are undone.

“WE know that a good many people have regarded the AMERICAN SENTINEL as exerting itself to no purpose, because they think there is no danger of the success of National Reform. But in the National Reform party, allied with Rome, there is danger. Then put with this the almost universal demand for more rigorous laws, more vigorously enforced, for the stricter religious observance of Sunday—the very thing above all others at which the National Reform movement aims—the danger is increased and is imminent. In view of these facts there is great danger that through the sophistry of the National Reform arguments, the ill-informed zeal of thousands upon thousands of people who favor Sunday laws, will be induced to support the National Reform movement, and so they and the whole nation be delivered into the hands of Rome. There is danger in the National Reform movement. We know it, and by the evidences we here give in their own words, it is high time that the American people began to realize it.

“WE say that if the National Reformers and the Catholics, or any others, want to keep Sunday, let them do it. But heaven forefend that they shall ever succeed in securing the laws that they ask by which they will compel others to do it. And we do most devoutly pray, God forbid that they shall ever succeed in their scheme of putting into the hands of Rome the power to enforce religious laws, and to correct heresy. God forbid that they shall ever succeed in making free America a slave to Rome.

“The success of the National Reform movement is to support Rome. How many, then, of the American people are ready to enter into the National Reform scheme?”

AND now in view of this we ask a careful consideration of the following important facts and statements: All these years, and even to the very latest document issued November, 1893, the National Reform combination has constantly presented as the basis, and the leading argument, for the governmental recognition of their religion, that “this country was settled by Christian men having Christian ends in view.” And now that they have secured their long desired governmental recognition of “the Christian religion,” the Catholic Church appropriates bodily the argument, and boldly declares that this country was first discovered and settled by Catholic Christian men, having Catholic Christian ends in view. At the late World’s Congress of Religions this was made plain beyond all chance for question. In a paper read by Professor Thomas O’Gorman, of the Catholic University of Washington, D.C., it is presented more fully and compactly than in any other place we have found, and we shall therefore quote largely from it. On this point of the discovery and settlement of the country “by Christian men having Christian ends in view,” he says:—

By right of discovery and possession, dating back to almost nine hundred years, America is Christian. On, the waters of Lake Michigan, close to the Convent of La Rabida are moored three Spanish caravels and a little farther away one Viking ship. All three—convent, caravels, and Scandinavian craft—are evidences of an acquaintance between America and the church in times when the only Christianity in existence was Catholic. This fact is sufficient justification for a change I have allowed myself to make. In the programme, this paper has for title, “Relation of the Catholic Church to America.” For wider latitude and juster account I make it “Relation of Christianity to America.”

The strange Viking boat carries the relation to a period antedating Columbus by almost five hundred years. About the year 1000, Christian colonists from Norway founded in Greenland a Christian community, which for four hundred years—that is, almost down to the days of Columbus—possessed a body of Catholic priests and a continuous line of bishops in communion with the popes of Rome. From Greenland, traders and missionaries pushed westward to the mainland. Trading posts and mission stations, if not permanent settlements, arose on the coasts of New England, and the natural products of this country found their way to Europe and even to Rome, the capital of Christendom, as payment of the Peter pence from the Catholic people of far away Greenland and Vinland. In the showcases of the Convent of La Rabida in your White City are some of the many contemporary documents which prove these facts, and imply a relation existing long before Columbus, between Rome and the land that was to become in later ages the cradle of the American Republic. For reasons, which it is not my present task to indicate, the intercourse had gradually grown intermittent and had all but ceased when Columbus appeared. At any rate, it had never dawned on the mind of Europe that the far away Scandinavian colony was in a new continent. Greenland and Vinland were supposed to be connected in some way with northern Europe, and to be a southern dip of the known continent into habitable western latitudes from uninhabitable polar regions. So much for the older acquaintance between the church and America.


The Spanish convent and caravels indicate a relation that began four hundred years ago; a relation which was to Europe the revelation of a new world, what the Scandinavian relation had not been; a relation that has not ceased since, as had the Scandinavian; a relation that at first flitted like some distant dream before the eyes of Spain in the solemn halls of Salamanca, that gradually took on some faint reality beneath the walls of Granada, in the quiet port of Palos, that finally became fact on the newly-found shores of San Salvador, in the shadow of the cross raised on American soil by the successful discoverer. The books, pamphlets, lectures, and articles written in this Columbian anniversary prove beyond a candid doubt that the discovery of America was eminently a religious enterprise, and that the desire to spread Christianity was, I will not say the only, but the principal, motive that prompted the leaders engaged in that memorable venture. Before you can strip the discovery of its religious character, you must unchristen the admiral’s flagship [Santa Maria] and tear from her bulwarks the painting of the patroness [the Virgin Mary], under whose auspices the gallant craft plowed her way through the terrors of the unknown ocean.


The inspiration that gave the Old World a new continent was also the cause of its colonization and civilization. Various popes from Alexander VII, 1498, to Leo XI. 1514, approved and legalized discovery and occupation in America. The purpose of their bulls was to prevent or settle difficulties and wars between rival claimants to the new lands. The indirect results of their intervention were of untold benefit to humanity. That intervention promoted the geographical study and knowledge of the globe, instigated Magellan’s voyage around the world, created the partition of the continent, and hence also the colonial system out of which this great nation is born.

Thus the National Reformers see their fundamental argument appropriated by Rome and used to her sole advantage, and not one of them nor yet all of them together, can successfully dispute it for a moment. And so we and they see fulfilled to-day that which we have told them all the time, that in all their efforts they were but playing into the hands of Rome.

AGAIN: The National Reform combination has always made the fallacious claim that the union of religion and the State is not the union of Church and State; and vice versa, the separation of Church and State does not mean the separation of the State from religion. This claim the Catholic Church now appropriates and declares:—

We may truly say that with us separation of Church and State is not separation of the nation from religion.—Id.

And thus again we and they see fulfilled that which we told them long ago, and repeatedly.

AGAIN: The National Reform combination has argued that Sunday laws, Thanksgiving proclamations, and other official documents of presidents and governors, laws which uphold “Christian marriage” by prohibiting polygamy, chaplains in army and navy, in Congress and legislatures, and decisions of courts that Christianity is part of the common law,—all prove that this is a Christian nation. All this also the Catholic Church has adopted as proof of her claims upon the nation. Professor O’Gorman continues:—

Of what I should call the State’s Christianity, I give the following evidences:—not only does the Federal Government make Sunday a legal day of rest for all its officials, but the States have Sunday laws which do not enforce any specific worship, but do guard the day’s restfulness. Moreover, certain religious holy days are made legal holidays.

Presidents and governors in official documents recognize the dependence of the nation on God and the duty of gratitude to him….

The action of Congress in regard to Mormonism is an upholding of the Christian marriage, and in all the States bigamy is a crime. Immorality is not allowed by the civil power to flaunt itself in public, but is driven to concealment, and the Decalogue, inasmuch as it relates to the social relations of man, is enforced.

Celebrations of a public and official character, sessions of State legislatures and Congress are opened with prayer. Chaplains are appointed at public expense for Congress, the army, the navy, the military and naval academies, the State legislatures and institutions….

More than once it has been decided by courts that we are a Christian people, and that Christianity is part of our unwritten law, as it is part of the common law of England.

Such, briefly, is the relation of Christianity to the American Republic, when we consider only its internal life. Are we not justified in concluding that here Christianity has added to her domain a nation which is the most active, the most progressive, and not the least intellectual in this nineteenth century!

When it is borne in mind that by the term “Christianity,” Professor O’Gorman means Catholicism and Catholicism alone, the force of this array of National Reform “evidences” clearly seen and appreciated.

AGAIN: The Supreme Court of the United States declared that “we are a Christian people” and that “this is a Christian nation.” This the National Reform combination hailed as containing “all that the National Reform Association seeks;” and this they have been using ever since as the official and ultimate authority that must settle every question and silence every word of doubt or dissent. As proofs of its declaration that “this is a Christian nation” or that this is the meaning of the Constitution, the Supreme Court not only cited the commission of Ferdinand and Isabella to Columbus, but also “the form of oath universally prevailing;” the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath; the constitutional proviso “that the Executive shall have ten days (Sunday excepted) within which to determine whether he will approve or veto a bill,” etc. This whole ground is covered in just two sentences by Professor O’Gorman with direct reference to the Constitution, as follows:—

Our political charter presupposes God and Christianity, presupposes the main facts and the past history of Christianity, and is bound to them by discovery and colonization. The oath required from all officers [3] of the Federal Government, the exemption of Sunday from their working days, the subscription, “In the year of our Lord” are a recognition of God and imply that the Lord Jesus Christ is the turning point of humanity, the source and beginning of a new order.

ONCE more: The Supreme Court also cited the Declaration of Independence as proof that this is a Christian nation. Professor O’Gorman follows to the same extreme, and then declares that the Catholic Church is the foundation of it all. Here are his words:—

Look at the fundamental articles, the formative principles of the Republic,—“All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” These are Christian principles asserting God, creation, the rights of the creature, and by implication the duties that are correlative to those rights. To these principles the Catholic Church gave an impregnable foundation when in the council of Trent, she defined that reason is not totally obscured, and will is not totally depraved.

Then in his closing sentences he sums up all, covers the whole ground, and swallows up everything into the Catholic Church, as follows:—

Our roots are in the good, our up-growth must needs be toward the better. The affirmation of any one truth, logically followed out, leads to the knowledge and affirmation of all truth. The American Republic began in the affirmation of certain fundamental evident truths of reason; our dominant tendency, therefore, the law of our progression, is toward complete truth, if we but remain true to the spirit that called us into being, and still, thank God, animates our present living.

We believe that divine Providence led to the discovery of this continent and directed its settlement and guided the birth of this nation, for a new and more complete application to political society of the truths affirmed by reason and Christian revelation, for the upbuilding of a nation as great religiously as it is politically, of a nation that shall find its perfection in Catholic Christianity. With that freedom allowed every speaker in this parliament of religions, I affirm my sincere conviction that Catholic Christianity is the fullness of truth, natural and supernatural, rational and revealed; that Catholic Christianity is the strongest bulwark of law and order in this Republic. If ever our country should fail and fall, it is not from the Catholic Church that shall come the shout of triumph at the failure and the fall, for never has she had a fairer field of work than the United States of America.

THUS Rome sets herself forward as the end and all, and hers the prior and supreme right, in all things pertaining to this union of “religion and the State” in this “Christian nation.” And the blindness of professed Protestants and of the Supreme Court has given her the complete legal, legislative, and governmental basis for all her claims. And we say again that there is not one person in the National Reform combination, nor in the whole combination together; not one member of the Supreme Court, nor yet the whole court together; who can successfully dispute the argument or the claim Rome is now making upon the foundation which they themselves have so surely laid for her. And so we and they see fulfilled to-day before the eyes of the whole nation, that which we have all the time told them, that they were only playing into the hands of Rome. To-day Rome is profiting by that in which the National Reformers have always fondly hoped they themselves might be profited.

AND Rome knows it; and all these assumptions and logical claims from National Reform, and Supreme Court, premises, arguments, and declarations, she also backs up with the publicly announced plan of Leo XIII, with respect to the United States and through this for Europe and “all humanity,” as follows:—

In his [Pope Leo’s] view, the United States has reached the period when it becomes necessary to bring about the fusion of all the heterogeneous elements in one homogeneous and indissoluble nation…. It is for this reason that the pope wants the Catholics to prove themselves the most enlightened and most devoted workers for national unity and political assimilation…. America feels the need of this work of internal fusion…. What the church has done in the past for others, she will do for the United States…. That is the reason the Holy See encourages the American clergy to guard jealously the solidarity, and to labor for the fusion of all the foreign and heterogeneous elements into one vast national family….

Finally, Leo XIII desires to see strength in that unity. Like all intuitive souls, he hails in the united American States and in their young and flourishing church, the source of new life for Europeans. He wants America to be powerful, in order that Europe may regain strength from borrowing a rejuvenated type. Europe is closely watching the United States…. Henceforth we [Europeans] will need authors who will place themselves on this ground: “What can we borrow, and what ought we to borrow from the United States for our social, political, and ecclesiastical reorganization?” The answer depends in great measure upon the development of American destinies. If the United States succeed in solving the many problems that puzzle us, Europe will follow her example, and this outpouring of light will mark a date in the history not only of the United States, BUT OF ALL HUMANITY.

That is why the holy father, anxious for peace and strength, collaborates with passion in the work of consolidation and development in American affairs. According to him, the church ought to be the chosen crucible for the molding and absorption of races into one united family. And that, especially, is the reason why he labors at the codification of ecclesiastical affairs, in order that this distant member of Christianity may infuse new blood into the old organism.Letter from the Vatican to the New York Sun, July 11, 1892.

AND this was swiftly followed by the establishment of Satolli as permanent apostolic delegate here to carry out this plan; and Satolli openly declared at the Catholic Congress in Chicago Sept. 5, 1893, not only that this is his place and work here, but commanded the Catholics of the United States to carry out this scheme. His words are as follows:—

In the name of Leo XIII, I salute the great American Republic, and I call upon the Catholics of America to go forward, in one hand bearing the book of Christian truth and in the other the Constitution of the United States….

To-day this is the duty of the Catholics: To bring into the world the fullness of supernatural truth and supernatural life. This especially is the duty of a Catholic Congress. There are the nations who have never separated from the church, but who have neglected often to apply in full degree the lessons of the gospel. There are the nations who have gone out from the church, bringing with them many of her treasures, and because of what they have brought, shedding partial light. But cut off from the source, unless that source is again brought into close contact with them, there is danger for the future.

Bring them in contact with their past by your action and teaching. Bring your fellow-countrymen, bring your country into immediate contact with that great secret of blessedness—Christ and his church. And in this manner shall it come to pass the word of the psalmist shall be fulfilled: “Mercy and justice have met one another, justice and peace have kissed.” ….

Now all these great principles have been marked out in most illuminous lines in the encyclicals of the great pontiff, Leo XIII. He has studied them. Hold fast to them as the safest anchorage, and all will be well. These several questions are studied the world over. It is well they be studied in America, for here in America do we have more than elsewhere the key to the future. [Applause.]

Here in America you have a country blessed specially by Providence in the fertility of field and the liberty of its Constitution. [Loud applause.] Here you have a country which will repay all efforts [loud and prolonged applause] not merely tenfold, but, aye, a hundredfold. And this no one understands better than the immortal Leo. And he charges me, his delegate, to speak out to America words of hope and blessing, words of joy. Go forward! in one hand bearing the book of Christian truth—the Bible—and in the other the Constitution of the United States. [Tremendous applause the people rising to their feet].”

The Constitution of the United States as it was made, and as it was intended by its makers to remain, was directly opposed to every principle and every purpose of Rome. The founders of this Government said that “to judge for ourselves and to engage in the exercise of religion agreeably to the dictates of our own consciences is an unalienable right, which, upon the principles on which the gospel was first propagated, and the reformation from popery carried on, can never be transferred to another.” They said further that, “it is impossible for the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the various sects which profess the Christian faith, without erecting a claim to infallibility which would lead us back to the Church of Rome.” Thus certainly did the makers of this Government intend that the people of the United States should never, by any act of the Government, be led back to the Church of Rome; and thus certainly did they intend that the Government of the United States should never touch any question of religion, and specifically “the Christian religion,” in order that their expressed purpose might prevail,—that the people should not be led back to the Church of Rome and popery.

AND that Constitution, as our fathers made it and intended it, no Catholic was ever commanded by any pope to take in one hand, with the Catholic Bible in the other. But when that Constitution was interpreted to mean that this is a Christian nation, when that Constitution was interpreted according to Rome’s principles and the sign of her authority with Catholic documents was cited to support this interpretation, then it was, and not till then, that all Catholics were commanded to take this Catholic Constitution in one hand and the Catholic Bible in the other; and with Satolli at their head, go forward to their “hundredfold” reward in the United States, and through this bring again “all Europe” and “all humanity” back into close contact with “the church.”

And now with the Catholic Bible in one hand, and the Catholic Constitution of the United States in the other, the Catholic Church steps forth and declares that this is a Catholic Christian nation. The arguments which the National Reformers have used all these years, to prove that this is a Christian nation, she now boldly appropriates, and says that they man that this is a Catholic Christian nation. All the claims which the National Reform combination has presented for the governmental recognition of religion, the Catholic Church now adopts and declares as the consequence that it is governmental recognition of the Catholic religion.

AND with all this prestige and power already within her grasp she grows enthusiastic, and is now circulating official documents in the United States in which she openly announces the “collapse of Protestantism,” and her hope to “missionize” the United States “in half a decade;” and at the same time abruptly challenges all Protestants to show why they keep Sunday; and to cap it all she publishes to the people of the United States the following, which she herself pronounces “bold doctrines to preach to Americans:“—

The friends of Catholicity assure us that, as God in his providence creates a new soul for every human body that is born into the world, so the American Republic was no sooner born from the womb of time than he in like manner created a spiritual republic to be its companion, its protector, and infallible guide through all the eyars of its existence.

They tell us furthermore that as the soul can live without the body, but the body cannot live without the soul; so the Church can live without the Republic, but the Republic cannot live without the Church. In a word, that the Church is necessary to the Republic, and without her spiritual guidance the Republic [4] must inevitably fail as have all the ancient republics of history before her….

Is not this whole country stamped for a Catholic land? With the great doctor, St. Augustine, guarding the Atlantic Coast, and the heroic missionary, San Francisco, the Pacific; with the indomitable apostle, St. Paul, kindling zeal and enthusiasm in the North, and the gentle San Antonio inspiring love and peace in the South; with the Warrior King, St. Louis, in the center, and the great St. Joseph and Notre Dame, the gracious queen of heaven, hard by,—with all these powerful intercessors pleading for her, can we, I say, expect anything less than a glorious triumph for Catholicity in America?

Surely God’s plans are manifest. America is the last and greatest of nations; and he means to possess her for himself…. The nets of St. Peter will drag this continent from ocean to ocean, till they are filled to breaking with the souls of men that shall be saved.—The Catholic Church and the American Republic, Historically, Analytically, and Prophetically Considered, 1893, pp. 2, 3, 15, 16.

NO more proofs are needed to show that upon the basis of the arguments furnished, and the governmental action secured, by the National Reform combination, the Catholic Church now claims, and with all her native arrogance assume, actual possession of our country. With the mouths of the Protestants, and Congress, and the Supreme Court, and the Executive, completely stopped by their own arguments and actions flaunted in their faces and before the whole country, by the Catholic Church, our country to-day is practically held by the Catholic Church, and, in view of the situation as described in the quotation from No. 12, is therefore practically a Catholic country. And every man and woman who ever aided the National Reform movement, or petitioned Congress for legislation in favor of Sunday, is responsible for it.

THIS is the situation, as it really is to-day in the United States. It is precisely the situation that we have expected, and that we have said would come. We shall have yet much more to say of it: and especially of that which is certainly to come of it. For there are things all-important to come from this, just as certainly as this has come from the National Reform scheme. We knew this was certainly coming from that; and we know that these other things are as certainly coming from this. Again we bespeak a serious consideration of the points presented in this paper, and of those which will follow. For not only is the National Reform combination still going on in its blundering blindness, putting yet further power into the hands of Rome, but Rome herself is all zeal and activity to make all her power felt to the utmost.

A. T. J.

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