“The Catholic Moral Standard” American Sentinel 10, 19, pp. 146, 147.

IN giving his reasons, in the Converted Catholic, for January, for becoming a Protestant, Rev. Jas. A. O’Connor says:—

Butler’s Cathechism [sic.] told me in those days of my youth that “a grievous offense or transgression against the law of God” is called a “mortal sin,” because “it kills the soul and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul;” while venial sin does not kill, but only “hurts the soul by disposing to mortal sin.” Furthermore I was taught by this Catechism that the gravity of an evil action was intensified by being perpetrated on Sunday. The question was: “Is the sin the greater for being committed on Sunday?” and the answer was: “Most certainly.”

That this is still the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church was illustrated by Rev. Henry A. Braun, D.D., Rector of St. Agnes’ Roman Catholic Church on East Forty-third Street, this city, when in company with another converted priest I called on him for tickets for the service in his church, the feast of St. Agnes, in February, 1893, when Bishop McQuaid preached and Archbishop Corrigan, Bishop McDonnell of Brooklyn, and a score of priests were present. Father Braun received us as intelligent gentlemen who called on him for press tickets that would give us good seats, and he detained us for half an hour while eulogizing the parochial school system. We listened with apparent interest, and when he had concluded he illustrated the necessity of parochial school teaching as distinguished from the public schools by saying that a Catholic boy who had done wrong or was guilty of sin would realize the gravity of the offense more keenly if told by his teacher that the day in which the transgression occurred was, for example, Good Friday, the day on which our Lord died, or the Lord’s day, Sunday. That, said he, would be an appeal to the boy’s faith that would restrain him from future transgressions. “Don’t you think so?” he said to me.

Very quickly and forcibly I replied, “Not at all. That is one of the reasons why the American people will never consent to allow public money to be given to your schools. You teach a false and unchristian system of morality. A sin is a sin whether committed on Friday, Sunday, Monday, or any other day of the week.”

Father Braun’s face grew scarlet, but he tried to recover his ground by the question: “Don’t you think [147] the sin is greater by being committed on a holy day—for example, is it not a greater sin to get drunk on Sunday than on any other day of the week?”

His manner was embarrassed and I replied good-humoredly, “It depends on the kind of a drunk. If it is a case of intoxication it is as bad as Sunday as on any other day of the week, no more or less; a drunk is a drunk whenever it occurs, and the drunkard’s sin is as great on Wednesday as on Sunday. That is another instance of the immoral teaching of your church. Your standard of morality is totally different from that of the American people, and they will never indorse such doctrine by giving support to your schools.”

Mr. O’Connor is quite right in regard to the quality of an act. Sin is sin on whatever day it is committed. But we are not so sure that he is right about the views of the American people. In fact, everything goes to show that the “American” view is substantially the Catholic view. Indeed, almost every American State prohibits on Sunday some things which are not prohibited to Catholics by the church except for such hours of the day as are devoted to public worship, and then only that the people may be the more free to attend Sunday services. This shows that even in the “American” conception the time of the commission of an act changes the quality of the act. [152]

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