February 7, 1895
He asks for the Church the “Favor of the Laws and the Patronage of the Public Authority.
THE Papal Encyclical promised some weeks since, and referred to in these columns in our issue of January 3, has been made public by Mgr. Satolli.
This encyclical is addressed “To our venerable brethren, the Archbishops and Bishops of the United States of North America;” but as we previously indicated, it is designed really for the people of the United States.
That our estimate of the scope and design of the encyclical was not a mistaken one is evident from the language employed in many places. Referring to the World’s Fair, the pope says:—
Nor were we on that occasion content with offering prayers at a distance for your welfare and greatness. It was our wish to be in some manner present with you in your festivities. Hence we cheerfully sent one who should represent our person.
To the people and not to the archbishops and bishops of the United States belonged the World’s Fair; hence to the people, and not alone to the archbishops and bishops of the United States, does the pope “play” in this the latest of his numerous encyclicals.
At an early stage in his letter Leo reasserts the claim of the Roman Catholic Church to this country for the reason that its discoverer was a Catholic, and because “when America was as yet but a newborn babe, uttering in its cradle its first feeble cries, the church took it to her bosom and motherly embrace.”
And thus nursed at the breast and dandled upon the knee of Rome did the United States become a Catholic country; “for,” in the words of Leo XIII., pope of Rome, “as the ark of Noah, surmounting the overflowing waters, bore the seed of Israel, together with the remnants of the human race, even thus did the barks launched by Columbus upon the ocean carry into regions beyond the seas as well the germs of mighty States as the principles of the Catholic religion.”
But be it remembered that it was not until, as the fruit of years of patient efforts of well-meaning but misguided “Protestants” to “Christinianize” our Government, the Supreme Court declared this to be a Christian nation, basing its decision upon the fact that the country was discovered and settled by Christians; that Rome going only a step further proved(?) by the same token that it is a Catholic Christian nation. And from that hour until the present moment Rome has not ceased to assert her spiritual proprietorship of the people of this country, and by every means in her power emphasize the declaration that this is a Roman Catholic “Christian nation.”
It was in September, 1894, that the pope elevated this country “to the first rank as a Catholic nation,” and just prior to this action, Sept. 22, 1894, Bishop Keane, returning from Rome, announced that “the policy of the pope … is the union of the church with the great democratic powers of the future—that is, America and France.” And this purpose is clearly seen in the present encyclical. Of the relations of Church and State, and the prosperity of the church in America, the pope says:—
The church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and Government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the church; or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed his church; in virtue of which, unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth much more abundant fruits it, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.
The people of the United States not drunken with the wine of the wrath of Babylon’s fornication, not stupefied by the poison that distills from the deadly upas tree of Church and State, not already doing homage to the papal beast in his own proper person or to his image (referred to on page 42 of this paper), will thank the pope for this candid utterance, this bold avowal of the wish and purpose of the papacy concerning the Government of the United States. It is clearly the purpose of the Roman hierarchy to make this a Catholic country, not in the sense that it is not longer regarded merely as a mission field, but in the sense that the Roman Catholic Church shall enjoy “the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority;” in the sense that the Government and people humbly bow to the papal church accepting her as the spouse of Christ and her visible head, the pope of Rome, as the vicar of Christ.
American Romanists have steadfastly denied this. In “The Faith of Our Fathers,” chapter XVII., Cardinal Gibbons labors to convey the impression that the Catholic Church asks no special favors in the United States, and he has at least once publicly made the statement that he did not want to see the Church and the State in the United States more closely united than at present. But whatever may be the private opinion of the cardinal, according to her own confession, yea, according to this bold avowal of the pope, Rome asks not equal but exclusive rights. Her priests and prelates in America have been telling us that Catholics demanded only equality before the law; that the Roman Catholic Church desired only the free right to make disciples where and when she could; that she neither with the State than now existed; yea more, that she was the true friend and defender of rights of conscience; that she it was who planted upon our shores the first colony which guaranteed religious liberty to every man. But now the pope, the infallible head of the Roman Catholic Church, gives the lie to all this fair profession as well as to his own past professions of love for American institutions, by saying plainly that “it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the church; or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for  Church and State to be dissevered and divorced.”
Verily “Rome never changes;” and what she has done in the past for other nations she stands ready to do, yea, is doing for the United States. And every so-called Protestant who adopts papal principles for the advancement of “Protestantism,” is aiding her in her nefarious work.