“Editorial” American Sentinel 9, 36, pp. 281, 282.

September 13, 1894

SATOLLI, “apostolic delegate” to the United States in an address delivered before the Catholic Congress in Chicago, Sept. 5, 1893, made use of the following words, with the immediate results indicated in brackets:—

Here, in America, you have a country blessed of Providence in the fertility of field and I the liberality 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 has charged 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.]

When we heard these words we remained seated. There were “Protestants” who joined in the “tremendous applause,” but we didn’t and wondered why they did.

BUT does not this utterance indicate a change in papal attitude toward the Bible and liberty of conscience?—No: “Rome never changes.” When she recommends the Bible it is with a Jesuitical mental reservation. To explain: In the first place Rome did not refer to the Protestant, or King James’ Version. This is evident from the following quotation from Mgr. Segur’s “Plain Talk about Protestantism of To-day,” a Roman Catholic book indorsed by Joannes Josephus, Episcopus Boston, and for sale at all Catholic book stores. The author says on page 118: “The Protestant Bible is only a false skin, in which infidelity and resolution wrap themselves.” Now did Satolli mean the Catholic Bible as it reads. He meant the Catholic Bible as interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church. In proof we submit the following from the creed of “Pope Pius IV.,” which every Catholic is taught to recite and to which every prelate is required to subscribe:—

I do also admit the Holy Scriptures, according to that sense which our holy mother, the church, has held and does hold, to which it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures; neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

Unanimous consent of the fathers! In order then to interpret the Scriptures the Roman Catholic must possess all the books written by all the “fathers” during a decade of centuries and must “go forward” carrying all this “in one hand.” It can’t be done. The poor fellow would have to charter a freight train. Nevertheless it must be done for Pope Leo XIII., speaking on the same subject and quoting the above rule, says:—

The professors of Holy Scripture, therefore, amongst other recommendations, must be well acquainted with the whole circle of theology and deeply read in commentaries of the holy fathers and doctors and other interpreters of mark.

Has the “church” and “the fathers” yet interpreted all the Bible so that if one should possess all the writing of all the “fathers” and “doctors” of the church he would then have all the Bible interpreted?—No: and Leo XIII. says no. He says there are “passages of Holy Scripture which have not as yet received a certain and definite interpretation.” Has the “church” ever published a list of the passages interpreted by “our holy mother, the church, whose place it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scripture,” together with those which have not been thus interpreted so that the Roman Catholic could go forth “bearing” this official “Bible” “in one hand”?—No: she has not. And now we challenge any man, whether Protestant or Catholic, Jew or Gentile, black or white, bond or free, to arise, and, resisting for the moment the impulse to applaud, tell us what, if not the soul-destroying dogmas of the papacy, Satolli meant the Catholic should go forward carrying in that “one hand.”

AND now let us examine “the Constitution of the United States” which Satolli tells Roman Catholics to go forward bearing in that “other” hand. But rest assured it is no more the Constitution of the United States as written by its framers and interpreted by the spirit of their times than is Satolli’s “Bible,” the Bible written by the prophets and apostles and interpreted by the Spirit of God. That the Roman Catholics have long ago repudiated the true interpretation of the Constitution is evident from the following utterance of the Catholic World, for September, 1871, Vol. 13, page 736:—

But as it [the Constitution] … is interpreted by the Protestant principles, so widely diffused among us … we do not accept it or hold it to be any government at all, or as capable of performing any of the proper functions of government; and if it continues to be interpreted by the revolutionary principle of Protestantism, it is sure to fail…. Protestantism, like the heathen barbarism which Catholicity subdued, lacks the element of order, because it rejects authority [the authority of the pope] and is necessarily incompetent to maintain real liberty or civilized society [like that of Spain and Mexico]. Hence it is we so often say that if the American Republic is to be sustained and preserved at all it must be by the rejection of the principles of the Reformation and the acceptance of the Catholic principle by the American people.

TO show that the interpretation of the Constitutions here so vigorously condemned is the true interpretation, and that the “principles of the Reformations” are the principles of the Constitution, further quotations are cited:—

No one thought of vindicating religion for the conscience of the individual, till a voice in Judea, breaking day for the greatest epoch in the life of humanity, by establishing a pure, spiritual, and universal religion for all mankind, enjoined to render to Cesar only that which is Cesar’s. The rule was upheld during the infancy of the gospel for all men. No sooner was this religion adopted by the chief of the Roman empire, than it was shorn of its character of universality, and enthralled by an unholy connection with the unholy State; and so it continued till the new nation,—the least defiled with the barren scoffings of the eighteenth century, the most general believer in Christianity of any people of that age, the chief heir of the Reformation in its purest forms,—when it came to establish a government for the United States, refused to treat faith as a matter to be regulated by a corporate body, or having a headship in a monarch or a State.

Vindicating the right of individuality even in religion, and in religion above all, the new nation dared to set the example of accepting in its relations to God the principle first divinely ordained of God in Judea. It left the management of temporal things to the temporal power; but the American Constitution, in harmony with the people of the several States, withheld from the Federal Government the power to invade the home of reason, the citadel of conscience, the sanctuary of the soul; and not from indifference, but that the infinite Spirit of eternal truth might move in its freedom and purity and power.—Bancrofts, History of the Formation of the Constitution, book 5, chap. 1, pars. 10, 11.

The Constitution of the United States is therefore the “chief heir of the Reforma- [282] tion in its purest form,” and the “principles of the Reformation” so savagely assailed are the principles of the Constitution.

The framers of the Constitution understood that separation of Church and State and liberty of conscience was the result of the Reformation. Madison and Jefferson, the champions of a separation of Church and State in the constitutional convention which framed the constitution, said, in a petition signed and presented by them to the Virginia Assembly in a struggle which resulted in disestablishing the church in that colony, and from which struggle they came to the national convention:—

We would also humbly represent, that the only proper objects of civil government are the happiness and protection of men in the present state of existence, the security of the life, liberty, and property of the citizens, and to restrain the vicious and encourage the virtuous by wholesome laws, equally extending to every individual; but that the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can only be directed by reason and conviction, and is nowhere cognizable but at the tribunal of the universal Judge.

To illustrate and confirm these assertions, we beg leave to observe 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.

When, therefore, the Roman Catholic condemns that interpretation of the Constitution which recognizes the “principles of the Reformation,” he condemns the Constitution as interpreted by its framers. Rome’s interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is in harmony with the papal principle which curses the separation of Church and State; [93] curses the denial of the church’s right to use force; [94] curses the claim that priests may be punished by civil courts for their crimes; [95] curses the doctrine that “it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State to the exclusion of all other modes of worship;” [96] curses the claim “that persons coming to reside therein [in a Catholic country] shall enjoy the public exercise of their own worship;” [97] curses the rights of conscience as a most “fatal pestilence,” etc., etc., and yet tells its votaries to “go forward! in one hand bearing the book of Christian truth—the Bible—and in the other the Constitution of the United States.” And when she says it there is a “tremendous applause, the people rising to their feet.” Protestants, Americans, keep your seats! [282]

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