A FEW weeks since, “Father” Phelan, editor of the Western Watchman, published some shamefully untrue things about Christian Endeavor conventions. These false charges, however, could not harm Christian Endeavorers; but since they were made, Christian Endeavorers have themselves said and done things that are harming them.
The proper thing for them to have done is thus stated by Christ:—
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:11, 12.
But instead of following the counsel of Christ and being “exceeding glad,” the Christian Endeavorers became “exceeding made,” and one of their spokesmen is reported as saying, in an address entitled, “Father Phelan’s base attack upon the young people of America“:—
Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with this shameless priest. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Iscariot would decline to recognize him below.
Father confessor! God pity the poor girl that should ever be so silly as to whisper her secrets in such a swine’s ears.
Retraction is no remedy. Swift and adequate punishment alone will reach the case, and if it does not soon follow, the whole Romish Church authorities will be held responsible.
But the Christian Endeavorers did not stop with rendering railing for railing, cursing for cursing, but have, astonishing to relate, petitioned Mgr. Satolli to curse “Father” Phelan also. The following is a copy of this remarkable document:—
To His Reverence, Mgr. Satolli, Roman Catholic University, Washington, D. C.:—
We, the undersigned Christian Endeavorers of Asbury Park, N. J., respectfully call your attention to the wicked, false, and slanderous statements published by Father Phelan, one of your priests in St. Louis. This base and inexcusable assault is made upon more than three millions of pious, earnest, godly, and irreproachable young Christians in America. It is unparalleled in its baseness and enormity, and should consign its author in everlasting infamy and contempt. We therefore ask that the creature from which it emanated be degraded, unfrocked, and deposed from the high position which he has so recklessly disgrace. We are encouraged to make this petition from the many protestations which you, as well as the Holy See which you ably represent, have recently fully and earnestly made, with full confidence that you will give it immediate and careful consideration.
We had not read five lines of this document before we predicted that this tacit acknowledgment of Satolli, as a representative of the “Holy See” to which not only Roman Catholics may appeal, but to which Protestants also may petition for redress of grievances, would be pointed to by Roman Catholics as a recognition of papal authority. In this prediction we were right.
The first to call attention to it was “Father” Phelan himself, who says:—
The preachers some time ago were shouting to Mgr. Satolli from the Atlantic to the Pacific to get out of the country; and to stand upon the order of his going, but go at once. Now they are on their knees to him to stay just long enough to cut our head off!—The Western Watchman, May 7.
The Northwestern Chronicle, of May 3, Archbishop Ireland’s official organ, regards the matter in much the same light. It says, after condemning “Father” Phelan’s utterances:—
Another thing is also observable in connection with the affair, and that is that the attacked parties themselves are glad to appeal to Archbishop Satolli for redress, which will unquestionably be given if it is in his power. So an apostolic delegate, even if he is an “eyetalian,” is not so bad a thing after all.
It was this appealing for redress of grievances that laid the foundation of the papacy which banished religious freedom from the earth. The disputing bishops appealed to the Bishop of Rome to decide their disputes. Later the Bishop of Rome claimed the prerogative to decide such questions, and later still pointed to the appeals to him as an acknowledgment of his authority. Rome always encourages such appeals and then never forgets them when made. An illustration of this is seen in the controversy between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church. Every petition from the bishops of England to the Bishop of Rome is now used to show that the Church in England once recognized the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, and that her failure to do so now is an evidence of apostasy.
Protestants, if you are not prepared to accept popery from A to Z, then don’t petition the papal delegate.