PROTESTANTISM stands silent before Rome. The former must either disavow what has been done in her name, or surrender to Rome the fortress of consistency, without which successful warfare cannot be waged.
When Protestantism—as represented by the vast majority who disavow allegiance to Rome—would lift her voice against Romish tradition and in favor of the Bible only as the rule of faith, Rome has but to ask, Why, then, do you keep Sunday? And there being no Scripture in support of it, they can give Rome no reasonable reply.
And now Rome asks another question. Certain prominent Protestants in America have been complaining because their brethren in the faith in Ecuador and some other Catholic countries of South America were oppressed on account of their religion. They made this complaint to the highest Roman Catholic official here, and through him to the pope, asking that the latter exercise his sovereign authority to secure for those Protestants religious freedom. Of course, the pope—if the petition ever came before him—easily found a way to disclaim any responsibility in the matter, and the credulous Protestants who expected him to raise his voice against the long-standing policy and practice of the papacy, in every country where she has ruled, obtained no definite reply. But this was not the end of it. The Pilot (Boston), the leading Catholic journal of New England, in its issue of August 10, takes up the subject and speaks as follows:—
The Pilot is most assuredly in favor of religious freedom everywhere…. It is against intolerance in every form and every country; and if Mr. Lee [chairman of the committee that petitioned the pope] and his co-workers will extend their crusade so as to cover religious proscription in every latitude and longitude, they will find no more zealous supporter than the Pilot. But what about a country called the United States of America, where Jews and Seventh-day Baptists are punished by fine and imprisonment at hard labor, even in the chain-gang, if they do not keep holy a day which their Bible and their religion tells them is not to be so honored? We have not much admiration for the second of these classes; for, in truth they are the narrowest of all the narrow bigots we know; but that does not affect their right to religious liberty; and the beauty of their case is that it is not necessary to ask an American cardinal to ask an Italian cardinal to ask the pope of Rome to ask the president of a foreign republic to rectify the wrong. All that Mr. Lee and his brethren have to do is to ask the Congress of our own United States to enforce that clause of the Constitution which forbids any discrimination against religious liberty.
What will Protestants of the United States say to this? Will they disavow and condemn the evil thing and use their influence to have it stopped? If so, what means the ever-increasing agitation in Protestant circles everywhere for the passing and enforcing of Sunday laws? But if they do not, they will be their silence justify the papacy in every step of her long, dark career of oppression for conscience’ sake.