“The Explanation Does Not Explain” The American Sentinel 4, 34, p. 266.

September 18, 1889

SINCE our publication of Cardinal Gibbons’ letter to Mr. Lindsay of Baltimore, stating that in indorsing the Sunday movement last winter, he spoke only for himself and that he had neither the authority nor the intention of binding the archbishops, bishops, or the Catholic laymen of the United States, Mr. Crafts finds himself in hot water, about everywhere he goes. In the Chicago News of May 21, Mr. Edward Cadman published a communication upon which Mr. Crafts replied in the News of July 13, in which he flounders considerably. He says:—

“The American Sabbath Union, not the ‘American Sunday Union,’ when Cardinal Gibbons’ letter was first presented at the National Sabbath Convention, distinctly said through my lips, as the letter was directed to me, that the letter (which was read in full, that each hearer might judge for himself what is meant) was not equivalent to the signature of the whole Catholic Church, although it was hoped it would be equivalent to a negative indorsement by that church in that the approval of the Cardinal, it was thought, would prevent opposition to the Sunday-rest petition by any loyal Catholic.”

Yes, Mr. Crafts, on that point, said:—

“The letter is not equal in value to the individual signatures of the millions he represents, but no Catholic priest or pastor or person will oppose what has thus been indorsed.”

But in that very statement he speaks of the millions whom the Cardinal represents when the Cardinal distinctly asserts that his action in that thing was not representative. More than this; Mr. Crafts makes the Cardinal’s action a test of loyalty to every Catholic priest, paper, and person, when the Cardinal distinctly affirms that he had not the authority to make his action in that a test of the loyalty of Catholics, and that “as he had not the authority, so he had not the intention” of doing it. And still, Mr. Crafts insists that it is a test of Catholic loyalty. The fact is, his explanation is more wicked and far less excusable than his original statement.

Nor is this all. When Mrs. Bateham stood on the platform of the Foundry Methodist Church of Washington City, on the night of December 11, 1888, and spoke of the petitions with which that church was festooned, and told who were in favor of it, she distinctly said:—

“Cardinal Gibbons has indorsed for all his people.”

I myself was there, within thirty feet of her, and was paying the strictest attention when she made the statement, and I wrote down the words as they fell from her lips. Mr. Crafts speaks of the explanation (which doesn’t explain), which was given through his lips, but these are the words which came through her lips.

Yet more than this. In document No. 1, of the American Sabbath Union, issued December, 1888, after the convention was over, there is this sentence:—

“Cardinal Gibbons also sent him (Dr. Crafts) an official letter indorsing the petition on behalf of the plenary council of the Roman Catholic Church.”

And also this one, which editors are asked to publish:—

“The Catholic Church has indorsed the petition through a letter of its Cardinal.”

This shows that the American Sabbath Union did intentionally, and without authority, count all the Roman Catholics of the country in Cardinal Gibbons’ name. It shows also that they intentionally made the Cardinal’s indorsement binding even to the test of loyalty upon all the Catholics of the country, thus transcending both the authority and the intention of the Cardinal himself.

These are facts which the American Sabbath Union and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union cannot escape. Nor can they escape the just condemnation which goes with the facts. No explanation that has been, or that can be presented, will clear them. Every effort to defend their action, and every effort by explanation to shield themselves from just condemnation, only makes the matter worse. There is only one way out, and that is by open confession. Let them confess that they committed a fraud. Or, if they think that that would be too much for them, we are inclined to be charitable, let them confess that in the matter of the Roman Catholic petitions they have wholly misrepresented; then let them stop circulating the documents which contain the misrepresentation. This will clear them from any further guilt in the matter, then we will count all that in the past, and hold them no longer responsible for it, and will say no more about it. But so long as they defend their action in this matter, just so long will we see to it that the facts shall be set before the people and that the authors of the wickedness are held up to the just condemnation that belongs with the facts.

In the above extract Mr. Crafts says that at the National Sabbath Convention at Washington, the Cardinal’s letter was read in full that such hearer might judge for himself what it … Upon this, it must be said, to put it in the mildest possible way, that Mr. Crafts has forgotten the facts. I say again, that I was there, and was within thirty feet of Mr. Crafts when he referred to the letter; and listened carefully, hoping that the whole of the letter might be read, and was disappointed that the whole of it was not read. We therefore say upon the evidence of distinct remembrance that the letter was not read in full, because Mr. Crafts stated that it was “for the Senate, Committee.”

Mr. Crafts further says:—

“Another misrepresentation in the letter of Mr. Cadman is the statement that ‘the admission of a single Catholic to the Union was strenuously posed.’ The fact is dishonestly withheld that it was more strenuously favored, and that a Catholic was elected as a member of the Executive Committee.”

It is not in any sense a misrepresentation to say that the admission of a single Catholic to the Union was strenuously opposed. That is a positive fact. It was opposed, and that by Mr. Crafts himself. Even to the extent of trying repeatedly to adjourn the meeting, and it was only owing to the fact that it was more strenuously favored that even one Catholic was elected as a member of the Executive Committee. Although there isn’t a great deal of credit attaching to the Union on that account, because the Catholics, according to the count, were the majority of all—7,200,000 to 5,977,693—and yet they were allowed only one member upon an Executive Committee more than a dozen.

The American Sabbath Union had better start new, and do its work fairly.

A. T. J.

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