April 4, 1895
THE Roman Catholic Church declares that the world is on the eve of a great political crisis; and she is right.
The same church further declares that she is the only force in the world that can pronounce the “pax vobixcum,” that can command peace in the coming storm. Is she right?
We propose to deal with this matter in a most practical way; first, by asking and answering the question, What is the record of the Roman Catholic Church as regards rioting and mob violence?
Her creed and supremacy have been perpetuated by violence and bloodshed. One of the many proofs of this statement is found in the murderous marches of Roman Catholic mobs against the Albigenses. We quote from Catholic authority: “Innocent [III.] proclaimed a crusade or holy war, with indulgences, against Albigensian heretics, and requested Philip II., the king of France, to put himself at its head. The king refused, but permitted any of his vassals to join it who chose. An army was collected composed largely of desperadoes, mercenary soldiers, and adventurers of every description, whose sole object was plunder…. The war opened in 1209, with the siege of Béziers and the massacre of its inhabitants…. The war lasted many years and became political; in its progress great atrocities were committed. Languedoc was laid desolate and the provincial civilization destroyed. Peace was made in 1227 and the tribunal of the Inquisition established soon after.”
Another historical event bearing on this matter is the massacre of St. Bartholomew. On this occasion, according to the Roman Catholic historian, Bossuit, twenty-five thousand Huguenots were butchered by Roman Catholic mobs. And the “infallible” pope, Gregory XIII., stamped the approval of the church upon the fiendish act, for “as soon as the news was received in Rome, the canons of St. Angelo were fired, a solemn Te Deum was sung, and the pope struck a medal bearing on the one side his own portrait, and on the other a picture rudely representing the massacre.”
With these facts and multitudes more that stain the pages of human history and are patent to all the world, the Roman Catholic Church which the Word of God calls the “mystery of lawlessness,” has the brazen effrontery to proclaim herself the one and only available power that can control the lawless in the soon-coming social revolution.
There are those who will attempt to apologize for this lawlessness by saying that it was the result of the times, and that civilization has mollified the church, that the church of to-day, and especially in America, is vastly different from the church of the Middle Ages.
For the benefit of such we will narrow the discussion to the Catholic Church in the United States in 1895. Here and now the church is on her good behavior. Here she is by every means in her power attempting to pose as the author and conservator of both civil and religious liberty, and the only power that can save the country from social and political ruin in the approaching crisis.
But just at the time when she was so eloquently arguing for these pretensions, an event occurred at Savannah, Ga., demanding an explanation. This event was a determined attempt on the part of a Roman Catholic mob to kill an ex-priest by the name of Slattery, who was advertised to speak in that city against Catholicism, February 26. We know nothing of Mr. Slattery. The Catholic Church gives him a bad name, and says the riot was due to this fact; but this does not palliate the crime, nor is it an excuse, for the same mob violence has greeted Father Chiniquy both in this country and Canada, and no attempt has been made to brand him as an immoral man before he left the church.
The following abridged description of the riot is from the Sun, which Roman Catholics will not accuse of misrepresentation:—
SAVANNAH, Feb. 26.—For five hours to-night the city was in charge of a mob and on the verge of a religious riot. The entire white military force of the city, except the artillery, was on duty.
There are ten infantry companies in the militia and the Georgia Hussars, the latter being dismounted. The actions of a mob estimated at 4,000, the greater part being Catholics, caused their summons to duty….
For three days it had been apparent that trouble was brewing, because the city was placarded with notices that ex-Priest Slattery and his wife, described as an ex-nun, would lecture here to-night on Catholicism.
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians at once took steps to prevent their appearance here. Petitions were circulated asking Mayor Myers to refuse to permit Slattery to appear….
“I cannot stop this man from lecturing,” said the mayor, who is a Hebrew, “but I can prevent disorder and I will do so. If the police have not sufficient force to do so, the military will be appealed to. Riot will not be tolerated.” …
The lecturer had hardly begun before brick-bats and cobblestones began to rain in through the windows. The police had closed all the heavy inside shutters, and this saved the audience from injury, only two or three persons being injured by flying glass….
Before nine o’clock the mob had grown to probably between 3,000 and 4,000 persons. Window after window in the Masonic Temple was smashed. Cries of “Kill him,” “Down with Slattery,” “Death to the renegade,” were heard. Chief McDermott summoned the mayor….
The mob hissed at the police and hooted at their orders to disperse. The military alarm, eleven taps on all fire bells in the city, was sent in. When it sounded the mob derided.
“Bring on your military,” some of the leaders shouted. “They can’t save Slattery.” …
The military were deployed so as to drive the mob back and to form a hollow square about the hall. While a consultation between the commanding officers and the mayor was held. Capt. John R. Dillon, one  of the best-known Catholics of the city, tendered his service as a peacemaker.
He brought Vicar-General Cafferty, who is in charge of the diocese in the absence of Bishop Becker, to the scene of trouble. The vicar-general addressed part of the mob:—
“This man Slattery,” said he, “can do your church no harm.
“You are bringing disgrace upon your religion by your conduct here to-night. It can meet but with condemnation. I plead with you to disperse and go home. Don’t render it necessary to shed blood here to-night.”
A few of those whom he addressed shook the vicar-general by the hand and left, but the majority stood still. Major Maldrem and others urged the mob to disperse, but to no purpose.
Later, repeated attempts were made both to burn and blow up the Masonic Temple where the lecture was held, and all this by the people of the church that claims to be the author and preserver of both religious liberty and public order.
Ever since this lawless occurrence, the Roman Catholic press has labored to explain it, and it is these comments that we wish to notice briefly. All started out to write editorials condemning the outrage, which should accord with the claim of the church as the author and conservator of religious liberty and civil order, but, with one exception, they all, so far as we have read, close with a practical justification of the action of the mob.
The Monitor of San Francisco, closes its editorial comment of March 2, thus:—
The trouble is Catholics have been too tolerant and too good natured, and this lesson of Savannah will not be without beneficial results.
Again, under date of March 9, the editor of the Monitor replying to the editor of the Redlands (Cal.) Citrograph, Mr. Craig, who suggested to Catholics that they should appeal to the civil law for redress and not to violence; after asking Mr. Craig what he would do if some Catholic priest should talk about the Congregational Church as Mr. Slattery does about the Catholic Church, writes thus:—
Why, if you didn’t go out and shoot the blackguard in his tracks, is there a man, woman or child in Redlands, Scipio Craig, that would not have the right to call you a coward and poltroon?
Other Catholic papers have advised that instead of appealing to violence it would be better to prevail upon the civil authorities to prohibit such lectures, and others still advise that persons be stationed at the door of the place of meeting to get the names of all who attend, and then they could be dealt with in an appropriate manner later.
As to the responsibility for the mob, the church has been compelled to take one of two positions; either that she did all she could to prevent the violence and failed, or that she connived at or directly incited the riot. It must be evident to all that either position would be damaging to the present plans of the church. If she did all she could to prevent the riot, it is clearly demonstrated that she cannot control her own mobs, and her bid for the job of controlling all the mobs of all the world is made to appear in a most ridiculous light. If she connived at the creation of the mob or directly incited it, then she is the enemy of free speech and the author of mob violence as of old.
She has chosen the first horn of the dilemma, and an official statement has been promulgated by the National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Judge J. P. O’Connor, and published in the Western Watchman (St. Louis), of March 11, in which it is stated that efforts were put forth to prevent violence. And the Catholic Review, of March 9, says that Vicar-General Cafferty addressed the mob, urging them to disperse; but to no purpose, as seen by the Sun’s account of the riot previously quoted.
The Catholic Mirror now comes forward to explain why Vicar-General Cafferty and the Hibernian Order could not control the Catholic mob. In its issue of March 9, the Mirror says:—
Protestants cannot understand the excitement among Catholics over lectures like those of Slattery. To the Protestant mind religion means holding a certain set of opinions, but the idea of getting excited about them when they are attacked, and especially of dying for them, is to them inconceivable. Of the Catholic attitude toward the faith they have not an idea. To Catholics, however, the faith is the dearest of all things, and not only is the true Catholic ready to give up his life for it, but at any attack upon it or upon the ministers of his religion, or the saintly women who devote themselves to a religious calling, the indignation is so great that with some, especially Catholics of the simpler sort [like the editor of the Monitor], a kind of frenzy ensues, and hence the blind and savage wrath exhibited by the mob at Savannah. Thus some allowance must be made for these good people, who, in hearing the church assailed, were aroused to the same pitch of fury that a loving son experiences when the honor of his mother is besmirched.
And this is the reason why the Roman Catholic Church cannot control her own mobs. But in saying that Catholics exhibit “a kind of frenzy,” a “blind and savage wrath,” a “fury” when the church is criticised, is to confess that “these good people,” including the editor of the Monitor, are not Christians. For Peter says of Christ, that “when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously;” and in doing this he “suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” And Christ himself says:—
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
When Jesus told the truth about the corrupt church of his day, the record states that the Jews were “filled with madness;” and the Lord explained this by saying to them, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth.” Yes, neighbor Mirror, we do understand “the excitement among Catholics.”
Thus we find that the Roman Catholic Church in America, in 1895, is true to her nature. That she is possessed of the same “frenzy” that was exhibited in the councils which created her creed; the same “blind and savage wrath” that characterized her conquering marches to universal supremacy; the same “fury” that perpetuated her power by massacring Waldenses, Albigenses, and Huguenots who told the truth about her.
And it is this “mystery of lawlessness,” this “lawless one,” that was born, reared, and perpetuated through violence, that now confesses that she is unable to control the “frenzy,” “savage wrath,” and “fury” of her own mobs,—it is this church that now declares that she is the only power that can control the mobs of the world, that is, that can pronounce the “pax vobiscum” over a world in anarchy.
And now we appeal to the rulers and people of America and the world to turn a deaf ear to the preposterous claims of the “mystery of lawlessness,” for God himself being judge, she can neither speak peace to the tempest-tossed soul nor the storm-rent State. And to those who are honestly trusting in her or her daughters for salvation, God says in his infinite love: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4, 5.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.