THE “Delegate Apostolic,” Mgr. Satolli, has just rendered a decision which involves the eternal damnation, so far as the Catholic Church controls this deplorable destiny, of all saloon keepers who violate the law forbidding the sale of “liquid damnation” on Sunday. It came about thus: Bishop Watterson, of the diocese of Columbus, Ohio, addressed a letter to the Catholic clergy of his diocese, in which he withdrew his approbation “from any and every Catholic society” “that has a liquor dealer or saloon keeper at its head, or any where among its officers,” and refused to approve all new societies or new branches of old societies having saloon keepers either as members or officers.
The letter further says:—
If there are saloon keepers in your parish who call themselves Catholics, and yet carry on their business in a forbidden and disedifying way, or sell on Sundays, either openly or under any sort of guise or disguises, in violation of civil law, and to the hurt of order and religion and the scandal of any part of the community, you will refuse them absolution, should they perchance come to receive the sacraments, unless they promise to cease offending in these or other ways and to conduct their business blamelessly if they can, or get out of it and keep out of it altogether.
An appeal was taken from this action of Bishop Watterson to Mgr. Satolli. The ablegate decided in favor of the bishop. The decision sums up as follows:—
Therefore the delegate apostolic sustains Bishop Watterson’s action and approves of his circular letter and regulations concerning saloons and the expulsion of saloon keepers from membership in Catholic societies.
The religious press, professedly Protestant, has joined in a chorus of congratulations to the ablegate for this great temperance(?) decision. The Independent goes so far as to say that “Archbishop Satolli, the apostolic delegate, has given a decision for which Protestants will thank him as heartily as his warmest Catholic supporters.”
Protestants will do no such thing. An examination of the case reveals the fact that the decision favors the legal enforcement of the papal Sunday more strongly than it favors temperance.
According to Bishop Watterson’s letter, Catholics may manufacture and sell the soul and body destroying liquor and still belong to the already organized Catholic societies. The Catholic saloon keeper can for six days out of the seven deal out to his fellow-creatures “distilled damnation,” rob men and women of their reason, make widows and orphans, rob mothers and children of bread, and still be a member of the Catholic Church and receive absolution from the hand of the priest. All this he can do for six days, but should he continue this death-dealing work on the first of the seven days, and “sell on Sunday, either openly or under any sort of guise or disguise, in violation of civil law,” then heaven is to be closed against him,—absolution, the pardon of sins, is to be refused, which means to the Catholic eternal destruction. Therefore it is not the selling of this liquid death to men and women that brings down the severest discipline on the Roman Catholic saloon keeper, but his selling on Sunday. The decision exalts the papal Sunday, the mark of papal power, but falls far short of a  temperance measure. It is no wonder that professed Protestants who still wear the badge of Rome—the Sunday-Sabbath—should “thank” Rome “heartily” for this decision; but no true Protestant will join in the thanksgiving.