THE Roman Catholic press of the United States, evidently by preconcerted action, is attempting to convince Americans that they are indebted to the Roman Catholic Church for religious freedom. This is a part of a great scheme to hypnotize Americans until the Catholic Church gets in a position to strike the final, fatal blow to crush religious freedom.
The Monitor, a Catholic paper claiming to have the largest circulation of any religious paper on the Pacific Coast, concludes an article entitled, “Religious Liberty,” with the following ridiculous claim:
And it remains a supreme and significant fact that we owe all the blessings of religious freedom to the influence of a Catholic nation [France] and the teaching of a prelate [Bishop Fenelon] of the church of Rome.
As silly as is this statement, there is something more silly, and that something is a Protestantism that believes just that kind of nonsense, and is fawning and flattering Romanists while rebuking as a bigot, him who fearlessly exposes the wiles of Rome and holds the “mother of harlots,” drunk with the blood of the saints, rigidly to the logic of her claim that “Rome never changes.”
Were it not that there are so many non-Catholics who accept such nonsensical assertions, the SENTINEL would not stoop to notice them. But the situation demands that they be refuted with facts.
In refutation of the statement that America borrowed her religious liberty principles from the French nation, it is enough to state that there never has been a separation of Church and State in France like that inaugurated by the founders of the American Constitution; and if there had been, it would have been accomplished in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, rather than by its aid.
If any wish to read of the attitude of Roman Catholic France to the principle of religious freedom, let them read the history of Roman Catholic France. Let them read of the fiendish slaughter of Albigenses; the satanic torture of the Waldenses; and the unutterable crimes committed against the Huguenots; all of which were instigated by Roman Catholic popes, engineered by French Roman Catholic rulers, and enacted by French Roman Catholic soldiers. Roman Catholic France the author of religious freedom? No, no more than was the devil the author of the sermon on the mount.
The second claim, that America is indebted to Bishop Fenelon, a French prelate, for its principles of religious freedom, is equally absurd. Fenelon, according to the Monitor, wrote his religious liberty ideas in 1745, but the Monitor ought to know that Martin Luther and the Augsburg Confession, more than two centuries before, had reannounced to the world the primitive Christian truth of separation of Church and State.
It would be indeed amusing if it did not involve serious considerations, to see the frantic efforts of Roman Catholic authorities in America to manufacture for themselves a certificate of character. After passing all the popes, cardinals, and archbishops in the whole history of the church, they finally claim to have found a bishop in France who was opposed to burning men’s bodies to save their souls. Eureka! Let Americans calm their fears; the Roman Catholic Church is the author and conservator of religious freedom in America and the world.
Never mind the incessant thunderings of infallible popes against religious freedom; never mind the warning of more than a thousand years of papal torture, inflicted upon dissenters by sword and flame, dungeon and rack; never mind all this, we have found a bishop in France who was opposed to proselyting by the sword. Never mind the fact that for holding these views, he was charged by his brother prelates with being a Protestant, never mind all this, just keep your mind on the thought that America owes its liberties in religion to the Roman Catholic Church.
We just now think of an imaginary parallel. It is like the late Jesse James asserting that he was the author and conservator of public safety, and as a reason why everybody ought to believe it, and elect him president of the United States, he should refer to a dead second cousin who never killed anybody. Americans, don’t be fooled by this religious liberty song of the papists. It is composed and sung exclusively for Americans. Whenever it is sung, meet it with a dirge composed from the groans of tortured Protestant men and the wails of outraged Protestant women.