“Spiritualism in Baltimore” American Sentinel 11, 23, pp. 178, 179.

THE Catholic Mirror, of May 23, devotes a column of editorial comment to the prevalence of Spiritualism in Baltimore. “Every morning,” says the Mirror, “in the [Baltimore] Sun we find half a column of announcements of where wonderful mediums are to be seen and séances are to be held, and all over town one hears of signs and wonders. Last week Spiritualism even figured in a murder trial, and at least one juryman was governed in his contribution to the verdict by his belief in the reality of certain incidents that were sworn to as having occurred at a sitting where spirits were called up…

“Everybody, it is said, attends these séances, and many do beyond doubt; otherwise the mediums, who, while dealing in unsubstantial things otherwise, handle only hard cash, would not flock here in such numbers. Some of them are declared to be coining money, and in their waiting rooms, as described to us, are gathered, morning after morning, crowds of visitors of all classes, the scene not unlike that at some fashionable physician’s.”

What seems to have called forth this comment from the Mirror, is the fact that Roman Catholics are included among these visitors to the haunts of professed intercourse between the living and the dead; and at this the Catholic organ professes some surprise. “Catholics among the rest,” it says, “are said to go to these places; but one naturally wonders what sort of Catholics. By the church, dabbling in Spiritualism is distinctly forbidden, and Father Clarke, S.J., of England, in an interesting pamphlet, has pointed out why. Any one who consults mediums positively imperils his or her spiritual welfare. The sincere Spiritualists frankly admit that at least nine-tenths of the operators are frauds and their exhibitions the dreariest sort of humbuggery… But if any part of the exhibitions given belongs to the other world, what world is it? Father Clarke plainly tells us that such manifestations can only come from a diabolic source, with which any God-fearing and sensible person wishes as little to do as possible.”

This view given by “Father” Clarke and indorsed by the Mirror is undoubtedly true; but what consistent ground has either of these Catholic authorities for advocating it? Do they not both believe in communication between the living and the dead? Is not the Roman Catholic religion based upon the doctrine of prayers to the dead, which bring aid from the latter to the living? Does that religion not hold that prayers to the Virgin Mary and a large number of “saints” who have been many years dead, are of vital importance to our welfare? Does it not also countenance many tales of the miraculous appearances of the Virgin and these dead “saints” to the living? There can be no denial upon these points. How then can Roman Catholics consistently oppose the idea that the dead appear and communicate with the living in the manner which Spiritualism sets forth?

We think it not at all strange that the city which is the seat of the highest papal authority in this country, should also be distinguished as a center of the manifestations of Spiritualism. The two religions are founded upon the same idea, and naturally belong together.

The time will come,—has indeed all but come,—when false religions and religious bodies which have fallen away from God and retain merely the forms of godliness, will join hands with Spiritualism for mutual support and advancement. The testimony of the dead, who are supposed to know so much [179] more than do even the wisest of the living, and especially of men noted for their high moral standing in this life, is a source of power which the politico-religious “reformers” of our time cannot much evidence(?) of this nature may have come to the surface as yet, it is as certain as that Scripture is true that there will be plenty of it forthcoming when these “reform” movements shall have progressed a little further. It is in such communications that Sunday “laws” and other oppressive enactments against such as adhere to God’s moral code, will yet find one of their chief sources of support.

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