February 8, 1894
THE papacy is posing before the Government and people of the United States as the support of society and the stay of civil order.
OPPORTUNITIES are sought for and even created on every possible occasion by the dignitaries and prominent men of “the church” to proclaim her as the conservator of public order, and that there can be no assured safety without the “benign offices” of “the church.”
IN taking his seat as temporary chairman of the Catholic Congress at Chicago, September 4, 1893, Morgan J. O’Brien, of the Supreme Court of New York, said:—
That the solution of the present social difficulties is to be found in the Catholic Church, we know; for as has been well said, “That church … is recognized as the synonym of authority, the foe to lawlessness, and the champion of law and order.”
IN the same congress, September 5, Archbishop Watterons, of Columbus, said:—
If society is to be saved from a condition worse in some respects than that of pagan times, it is from the Vatican the saviour must come…. Leo XIII. is recalling to the minds of men those great bedrock truths on which the health and life of nations and society depend…. He shows that the papacy is this great social necessity, this universal moral power in the world, the bond of union and the principle of order.
THESE are only samples of what may be found in almost every Catholic speech and Catholic paper. Thus she sounds her own trumpet before her, and, in this as in other things, “Protestant” preachers and papers toot their little horns behind her, saying, “That is so.” There are many examples of this, and there have been many in recent years.
FOR instance, in the Evangelist, of this city, a Presbyterian paper, whose editor speaks of Cardinal Gibbons as “Our Cardinal,” February 9, 1888, a Presbyterian D.D. of Princeton, described the papacy as—
The church of all races, ranks and classes, which gives signs of becoming American as well as Roman, and the only church fitted by its hold upon the working masses, to grapple with that labor problem before which our Protestant Christianity stands baffled to-day.
And in the North American Review for January, 1894, Bishop Doane, of the “Protestant” Episcopal Church, of Albany, in this State, strikes the same key to the following effect:—
The Roman Catholic Church throughout the world is really two or three absolutely distinct and different things. Whatever one may feel about the schism which it is, and the schisms it has caused; or, however deeply one may deplore the novelties with which it has overlaid the old faith (which, like all novelties, being on the top are the things most thought of and most dwelt on by her people), these are not matters for discussion here or now. In spite of these, she is to every intelligent mind an ancient and venerable portion of the Christian Church; and in her discharge of her ecclesiastical and religious duties, is to be protected and respected, teaching other Christians many lessons of devotion, consistency and courage, which we should do well to learn. Besides this, she is a factor in the lives of thousands of people, citizens of our country, who are kept from evil living by her ministrations and control; and when we consider the fact that the enormous majority of the crowded poor belong to her communion, that perhaps the most turbulent element in our citizenship owes at least a faint and nominal allegiance to her authority, that without the control of her priesthood, we should be powerless to deal, except by brute force, with great masses of the workingmen of America; we must certainly be ready to secure to her every opportunity for doing the legitimate work of a great Christian Church. Over and above this—and I say it with no unkindness—since an overwhelming proportion of the inmates of our institutions of reform consist of her people, it seems right to me, provided no money for the support of religious services come from the State funds, that her clergymen should have access to the inmates of these institutions under proper regulations. The Roman Church is also a beneficent institution, with multiplied and manifold orders and agencies of mercy and charity, in the support of which, and in their methods of administration, she is not only to be protected, but greatly admired and imitated by others.
And that such papers as the Independent and the Christian at Work, indorse it all, needs not to be proved by quotations.
THIS claim of the papacy and its admission by Protestants, is worth examination for its own sake, and more in view of the use that is made of it. When viewed in the light of facts of open every day experience, it will be seen to be as void of truth, as perfectly fraudulent, as was ever any claim that was made by the papacy. Nor do we need to go outside of good Catholic authority for evidence to start with. In the Chicago Catholic Congress, September 6, 1893, Archbishop Ireland said:—
We say this is a glorious church of ours—as, indeed, she is—and yet what a fearfully large proportion of those so-called saloons are held by Catholics; and what a fearfully large proportion who lose in them their souls, are children of the church.
And the same day in the congress Mr. M. T. Elder read a paper, in which he stated this and more, thus:—
When I see how largely Catholicity is represented among our hoodlum element, I feel in no spread-eagle mood. When I note how few Catholics are engaged in honestly tilling the honest soil, and how many Catholics are engaged in the liquor traffic, I cannot talk buncombe to anybody.
AMEN, say we. And yet throughout that whole congress, with the exception of Mr. Elder’s paper and one more, there was nothing else than one continuous stream of this same “spread-eagle” stuff and “buncombe” as to “the church” being the “champion of law and order” and “the saviour of society.” And all this, too, in fact of the patent and conscious fact that “Catholicity” is so “largely represented” among the “hoodlum element” of the nation; and that a “fearfully large proportion” of saloon keepers and those who patronize them are “Catholics” and “children of the church”—yes, of “this glorious church of ours.”
THERE is another illustration strictly to the point, and which is fresh in the minds of all the people of the country. Everybody knows that for the greater part of the month of January, 1894, the whole executive authority of the State of Florida, from the governor down, was kept on the alert, and even the authorities of the adjoining State of Georgia—and all in vain, too—to prevent a prize fight, in which one of the principals and a majority of the trainers, etc., were “good” Catholics. And yet not a single official of the Catholic Church said a single word or did a single thing to prevent that fight, when, if any of these claims on behalf of “the church” are true, a single word from any of them could have stopped it. This is not saying that “the church” should  have come to the aid of the State of Florida. But it is to say that if she is of any kind of good to society and civil order, she ought to be able so to instruct and civilize “her children” that they would not want so much to fight that all the power of the State cannot keep them from it. It is also worth remarking in this connection that any one who will read the names in the “sporting” notes of the daily papers, or the “sporting” papers, will have no difficulty in seeing that a “fearfully large proportion” of the prize fighting element, as well as of the saloon element and the “hoodlum element” in general, are “children of the church.”
THERE is another fact in illustration of the point which we are making—that the Catholic Church is not in any sense the champion of law and order—and which is late enough to bear an air of considerable “freshness.” Thursday night, January 18, 1894, in Kansas City, Mo., an ex-priest was making a speech, when the meeting was broken up by a riot. As is always done in such cases, the “police,” instead of quelling the riot and arresting the rioters, arrested the speaker whom the rioters had attacked. Further proceedings are clearly enough described in the following dispatch to the Atlanta Constitution, a Catholic paper, January 21:—
KANSAMS CITY, MO., January 20.—Had not the police authorities to-day taken extra precautions to guard the life of J. M. McNamara, the ex-Catholic priest, who lectured last Tuesday night when a riot occurred, he would probably have received rough treatment, if not lynched. At his preliminary hearing to answer to the charges of malicious libel and circulating foul and obscene literature, such a large crowd gathered that the authorities decided to transfer the hearing to the county fail, where McNamara was incarcerated. The news that the hearing was to be held there quickly spread, and a mob numbering fully 4,000 people gathered outside of the jail. A number of extra policemen were detailed to endeavor to keep the crowd in order. When McNamara was brought from his cell his countenance was very white. The court room was packed and the spectators regarded him with anything but friendly glances. When the case was called McNamara’s attorneys moved for a continuance, they not having conferred with him, and it was granted, not only for this reason, but because of the threatening aspect of the mob. The hearing was set for Thursday next.
Nobody will have any difficulty in deciding who these rioters were. Everybody knows well enough that this whole mob was made up of the “children” of “this glorious church,” which is confessedly so “largely represented” in the “hoodlum element” of the Nation. The despatch further states that a local paper declares that Mr. McNamara in his speech “said nothing that would warrant his arrest on the charges preferred against him.” This, however, is evident enough on the face of the report.
NOW, if it be in any sense true that “the Catholic Church is the foe to lawlessness,” why does she not antagonize this lawlessness in her own membership? If it be in any sense true that she is “the champion of law and order,” then why does she not champion law and order in her own ranks and inculcate the principles of law and order upon her own “children”? If it be in any sense true that “the solution of the present social difficulties is to be found in the Catholic Church,” then why does she not solve these social difficulties that are so prevalent amongst her own people? If “it is from the Vatican that the saviour must come,” who is to save society from this condition that is fast becoming worse than pagan times, why is it that the Vatican is unable to save its own organization from this condition that is “worse in some respects than pagan times”? If she is in any sense the source of so much good to States and nations, as is proclaimed for her, then why is it that she is not the source of enough good to her own communicants to keep them from overawing the civil authorities and intimidating justice by riotous demonstrations? If it be in any sense true that the Catholic Church is “the synonym of authority,” then why is it that she has no authority enough to check the native deviltry of her own children?
THERE is an apparent shadow of truth in the observation, that the Catholic Church is better qualified than any other church “to grapple with” the strikes and the consequent riot and violence of “the labor problem” “by her hold upon the working masses.” And this because such “a fearfully large proportion” of the strikers, with their rioting and violence, are members in good and regular standing in that church! This is the hold which she ha son the working masses. But here is the question: Having such a hold upon these striking, rioting, violent masses, why is it that she cannot so control them that there will be no danger of any of this evil work, which makes the “labor problem” such a serious and dangerous question to society and to the State? Having already such a hold upon these masses, that she owns the vast majority of them, body and soul, and yet being impotent to prevent any kind of evil or violence from them, what could possibly show more plainly that all this boasting about the Catholic Church being “the champion of law and order,” “the synonym of authority,” and “saviour of society,” etc., etc., is nothing but a downright, huge, and unconscionable fraud?
IF there were any truth at all in these claims put forth in behalf of the papacy by Catholics, and sanctioned by “Protestants,” it would prove itself in the quietude and peaceful demeanor of the whole body of the membership of the Catholic Church. There would not be a single saloon keeper, nor a visitor of saloons, nor a user of intoxicants, among all the vast membership of that Church; there would not be a single prize fighter, nor a single rioter, nor a single striker, nor gambler, nor any uncivil person of any kind, among all her children. Instead of this being so however, everybody knows, and facts of daily experience keep it ever within their knowledge, that the opposite is the truth of the matter, and that all these characters are found, and abide, in her communion for ever and everywhere; and that she has no power to prevent it. This is not saying that there are no characters of others kinds in her communion but these; it is only saying what everybody knows, that these characters are there, and she has no power to cause it to be otherwise. And that as she has no power to cause it to be otherwise; so all the claims put forth in her behalf as being the stay of civil order and the saviour of society are absolutely fraudulent.
THE plain, unvarnished truth is, that the papacy is so entirely the synonym of lawlessness, that the Word of God describes it as the “lawless one” and the very “mystery of lawlessness.” It is the corrupter of society, the disabler of States, and the weakener of nations. It never was, and never will be, of any kind of good under the sun. That church is “Babylon the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” The Word of God says so, and it is so.
A. T. J.