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Popery! As it Was and as it Is.
by William Hogan.
In submitting the following pages to the public, I can say, with truth, that I am actuated by no other motive than a sincere desire to promote the interest, and contribute all in my power to perpetuate the free inst.i.tutions, of this, my adopted country.
It is many years since I have had any intercourse or connection with the church or priests of Rome; and I vainly imagined that, after the first outbreak of their animosity, for repudiating their doctrines, it would succeed into a calm indifference. I was aware of the custom, in that church, to defame and calumniate all who "went out from her;" but especially those who have held any distinguished position.
Against such, appeals are immediately made to the people by their priests, until, finally, maddened by sophistry, fanaticism, and falsehoods, they look upon the seceder as one whom it is their duty to destroy; and in whose word, honor, and virtue, no confidence is to be reposed. The object of the Romish church, in this, cannot be mistaken.
it is too plain to escape even the least observant eye. A lawyer who can render legally valueless the testimony of opposing witnesses, seldom fails in establis.h.i.+ng his case; and hence it is that the Romish church never fails to destroy, if she can, the credibility of all who break loose from her, knowing them to be the best witnesses of her iniquities.
But for some years back, and until recently, the violence of Popish priests against myself seemed to slumber. This was natural. In the body ecclesiastic, as well as in the natural body, a morbid excitement often succeeds a stupor; and recently these _gentlemen_ have a.s.sailed me again. To apparent indifference succeeded a frantic zeal; and from one end of this continent to the other, they have tried to injure me, by appeals to the public through their presses, and especially through the _confessional_. All this I would have disregarded, as usual, but I find that these priests have become politicians, and that every blow aimed at me, for the free exercise of my judgment as to the best mode of wors.h.i.+pping G.o.d, is aimed at the const.i.tution of my adopted country, which grants this blessing, without let or hindrance, to all the children of men.
Well aware that Americans are not acquainted with the designs of Popery against their country and its inst.i.tutions, I feel it my duty to lay before them the following pages. The perusal of them will satisfy every American that our country is in danger, not so much from enemies abroad as from foes within. They will find that Papists have reduced political, as well as religious corruption, to a system, and are, at this moment, practising it amongst us, upon a great and gigantic scale.
SYNOPSIS OF POPERY, AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS.
When this country renounced its allegiance to the British crown, and proclaimed itself independent Popery was on the wane in Europe; it was there getting more sickly, more languid and feeble, until it had little more than a mere nominal existence; but while its blossoms were fading, its thorns retained their vitality, inflicting pains and wounds on all who came in contact with them. The Jesuits, one of the most influential orders of friars belonging to the Roman church, continued still active as ever in their fiendish avocations; they roamed about, like so many gnomes, from country to country, and from people to people, carrying with them, and strewing on their paths, the seeds of moral death on all that was precious and valuable in the social system. Whatever they touched was blighted; whatever they said or preached breathed treachery; wherever they went, vice, crime, and duplicity marked their track. But dark as the times were then, enshrouded as they had been in ignorance, and idolatrous as the people were, they began to manifest some dissatisfaction at the machinations of Jesuits in their efforts to acquire temporal power. They began to feel it in the loss of their property, out of which they too late saw themselves gradually swindled; they felt it in the loss of their liberty and civil rights, out of which they had been persuaded, all for the good of the church. Endurance became intolerable, and those unhallowed agents had to be partially suppressed.
The Popish church, at this time, seeing the influence of her most active agents gradually diminis.h.i.+ng, her ancient glories fading, and her power vanis.h.i.+ng from her grasp; and scarcely able to breathe any longer in the putrid atmosphere which her own corruption and impurities had created, very naturally turned her eyes towards this brilliant new world. It was then young and beautiful; it abounded in all the luxuries of nature; it promised all that was desirable to man. The holy church, seeing these irresistible temptations, thirsting with avarice, and yearning for the reestablishment of her falling greatness, soon commenced pouring in among its unsuspecting people hordes of Jesuits and other friars, with a view of forming among them inst.i.tutions which were already found to be destructive to the peace and morals of all social and religious principles in Europe. We now see Popish colleges, and nunneries, and monastic inst.i.tutions, springing up in our hitherto happy republic; and, if similar causes continue, as they have ever done, to produce similar effects, it needs no prophet's eye to see, nor inspired tongue to tell, what the consequences must be to posterity. Many suppose that Popery has been modified; that it is different now from what it was in ancient times; that the spirit which actuated Papists in those dark days ceases to influence them now that the f.a.ggot, the rack, and various other modes of torture, are not still in use in the Roman church, and that it has long ceased to lay claim, by divine right, to temporal sovereignty, or to any other of those prerogatives which they formerly insisted upon.
There are some so fastidiously liberal as to grant them all immunities which may be with safety granted to other sects; others there are, so patriotic as to hold at defiance all their power; and others so self-conceited as to fancy themselves an over-match even for Jesuits, in religious chicanery and political intrigue.
All this arises, not from want of true zeal in American Protestants, but because they are unacquainted with the canons of the Romish church.
These canons are inaccessible to the majority of the American people, even of theologians, and with the purport and meaning of them none but those who have been educated Roman Catholic priests have much or any acquaintance. I hesitate not to say--although I do so with the utmost respect and deference--that there are but few American theologians who have much acquaintance with the doctrines or canons of the Romish church. They form no part of their studies; a knowledge of them is not necessary in the legitimate discharge of their pastoral duties; and hence it is, that in many of their controversies with Romish priests, they are not unfrequently browbeaten, bullied, and often almost ignominiously driven from the arena of controversy by men who, in point of general information, virtue, piety, zeal, and scriptural knowledge, are greatly their inferiors. He who argues with Catholic priests must have had his education with them; he must be of them and from among them. He must know, from experience, that they will stop at no falsehood where the good of the church is concerned; he must know that they will scruple at no forgery when they desire to establish any point of doctrine, fundamental or not fundamental, which is taught by their church; he must be aware that it is a standing rule with Popish priests, in all their controversies with Protestants, to admit nothing and deny every thing, and that, if still driven into difficulty, they will still have recourse to the archives of the church, where they keep piles of decretals, canons, rescripts, bulls, excommunications, interdicts, &c, ready for all such emergencies; some of them dated from three hundred to a thousand years before they were written or even thought of; showing more clearly, perhaps, than anything else, the extreme ignorance of mankind between the third and ninth centuries, when most of these forgeries were palmed upon the world. With the aid of these miserable forgeries, they attempt to prove, among other things, that the _divine right of the Pope_ to the sovereignty of this world was acknowledged by the fathers of the church, in the earliest days of Christianity.
There are to be found now, in the Vatican at Rome, canons and decretals which go to show that the Pope was considered "equal to G.o.d," as early as the third century. More of these impious forgeries attempt to show that some of the most pious fathers of the church, in the days of her unquestioned sanct.i.ty and piety, acknowledged "Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be equal to G.o.d the Son, and deserved supreme adoration."
With these forged instruments, they attempt to show that the primitive Christians believed in the real and actual presence of the whole body and blood of Christ, in the wafer which they call the _Eucharist_.
Monstrous, horrible, and impious, as these absurdities are, I once believed them myself. So much for the prejudices of education.
The object of the following pages is to show, first, the origin of Papal power; secondly, to call the attention of Americans to its rapid growth in many of the nations of the earth; and, thirdly, to put my fellow citizens on their guard against giving it any countenance or support within the limits of the United States.
ORIGIN OF THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE POPE.
We have no authentic evidence that the bishops or presbyters of the primitive Christian church laid claims to temporal power, much less to universal sovereignty, such as Popes have arrogated to themselves, in subsequent times, even down to the present day. Constantine, as we are informed by the best authorities, was the first to unite civil and ecclesiastical power. He introduced Christianity among the Romans by civil authority. This occurred between the years 272 and 337; but never during his reign, nor before it, was there an instance of a bishop or presbyter of the church aspiring to temporal jurisdiction. They were poor and persecuted; they were meek and humble; they were well content with the privilege of wors.h.i.+pping G.o.d in peace. The instructions of their divine Master were fresh in their minds--they almost still rung in their ears. They felt that they were sent into the world with special instructions to "preach the gospel to every creature." Their heavenly Master told them that his "kingdom was not of this world." They felt the full force of that high and holy admonition, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to G.o.d the things that are G.o.d's." They cheerfully submitted to the civil authorities. They claimed not the right of giving away kingdoms, crowning emperors, deposing princes, and absolving their subjects from their oaths of allegiance. These pure Christians and devout men asked for no distinctions, but those of virtue and zeal in the cause of Christ; they sought for no wealth but that of Heaven; they desired no crown but that of glory; they sought no tiara save that of martyrdom; they were surrounded by no court but that of the poor; no college of cardinals waited on their pleasure; there were no nuncios sent from their court; no foreign amba.s.sadors pa.s.sed between them and the powers of this earth. The only court with which they had business to transact, and in which their treasures were laid up, was the court of Heaven; and their only amba.s.sadors at that court were the angels of heaven, sent forth to minister unto them. But this state of things did not last long. As a modern writer beautifully expresses it, "the trail of the serpent is over us all." The Emperor Constantine, seeing the poverty of the primitive church,--her vast and progressive increase in numbers and the consequent demand upon her charities,--granted to her bishops permission to hold property, real and personal. This concession on the part of Constantine, simple and trifling as it seemed to be; this commingling of the things of heaven and earth, was unnatural. It contained within itself the principles of dissolution, or rather of entire destruction; and became, in time, the source from which have sprung most of the wars, ma.s.sacres, and b.l.o.o.d.y strifes, that have desolated and divided into fragmentary sections, the richest, the fairest, and the finest portions of the globe, during the last fifteen hundred years; and will continue to do so, unto the end of time, unless the advance of civilization, and the great progress which the human mind has made in ethics, morals, and metaphysics, on this continent, puts an immediate check to Popish interference with the policy of our country.
Could we suppose an individual, who knew nothing of ancient times; who was an entire stranger to the darkness which pervaded Europe during the middle ages; who had no acquaintance with the pretensions, arrogance and insolence of Roman pontiffs; who knew no other const.i.tution and no other laws but those of our own country; he could not but feel surprised at being first told, that there now lived in Rome, an upstart ecclesiastic, called _a Pope_, who has the hardihood to a.s.sert that he is Sovereign Lord, and that too by divine right, of these United States, as well as of all other kingdoms of this world. He goes even further, and contends that his predecessors had similar divine rights, and that all the citizens and inhabitants of this country owed allegiance to him personally, and to no one else, unless delegated by him to receive it.
But strange as this may appear, it is no less true, as I will show from authorities, which cannot be questioned, by those who claim such extravagant immunities.
The Pope of Rome predicates his claim to universal sovereignty upon the power of _loosing and binding on earth and in heaven_; which, in the exuberance of their fancy, Roman Catholic writers contend was given to St. Peter. Their next step is to prove, that this supremacy was acknowledged by the primitive fathers of the church, and consequently their rights and claims are beyond dispute. But before I proceed to give any of the authorities, upon which Roman Catholic writers rest the antiquity of the recognition of their Pope's temporal power, it may not be amiss to inform the reader that the very first on which they rely is one of the most unblus.h.i.+ng forgeries on record; and is dated about six hundred years previous to the time at which it purports to have been written. It is taken from the words of a conveyance of certain temporal concessions, said to be made by the Emperor Constantine to Pope Sylvester, some time between the second and third centuries. It is in the following words:
"We attribute to the chair of St. Peter all imperial dignity, glory, and power. We give to Pope Sylvester, and to his successors, our palace of Lateran, one of the finest palaces on earth; we give him our crown, our mitre, our diadem, and all our imperial vestments; we resign to him all our imperial dignity. We give the Holy Pontiff, as a free gift, the city of Rome, and all the western cities of Italy, as well as the western cities of other countries. To make room for him, we abdicate our sovereignty over all these provinces, and we withdraw from Rome, transferring the seat of our empire to Byzantium; since it is not just that a terrestrial emperor shall retain any power where G.o.d has placed the head of the church."
It would be a waste of time to show that no such donation as the above ever existed. No mention is made of it in any history of the Popes that has ever been written, or in any other doc.u.ment which had reference to them during the reign of Constantine. It is a forgery so shallow, unreal, and unsubstantial, that there is no well-educated historian, and never has been one, who gave it any credence. The historian Flewry p.r.o.nounces it a falsehood; and he, being a Roman Catholic, must be considered good authority upon all matters relating to the _holy church_. The quotation, however, from this supposed deed of concession, by Constantine to Pope Sylvester, is not without instruction to the citizens of this country. It should arouse them to a sense of the dangers which are hovering over them. It should remind them that every thing is perishable. The fairest flower must fade; the loveliest lily must wither; the laughing rose must droop; even our fair republic may lose its bloom, and pa.s.s away. A state of things may arise in this country, when its executive may be a Papist, its judiciary Papists, and a majority of its population may be Papists. These things are not beyond the range of possibility; and are you sure that your own descendants, and those of the pilgrim fathers, may not, one day or other, give this republic as a free gift to the head of the Papal church? You are now strong--so was Rome. Your power is now irresistible--so was that of Rome and other countries. Your arms are invincible--so were those of Rome.
You are now distinguished all over the world, for your progress in the arts and sciences; the world looks to you as models of patriotism and pure republicanism--so did the world once look to Rome. But what is Rome now, and what drove her from the high position she once occupied? I will tell you;--the intrigues of the Popish church. And a similar fate awaits you, unless you cut off all connection, of whatever name, between the citizens of the United States and the church of Rome. While this sink of iniquity breathes, it will carry with it destruction and death wherever it goeth.
We have had several histories of the Popes, and the first mention made of donations to them, at least of any comparative value, is by Anastasius, who wrote about the beginning of the tenth century, or a little before the close of the ninth. He informs us that Charlemagne conferred upon the Holy See (as that hotbed of iniquity is impiously, even at the present day, called) _whole provinces_, and acknowledged that they belonged to the Pope _by divine right_; though it is well understood, and denied by no competent historian, that Charlemagne never even owned these provinces. It is well known to the readers of history, that there existed no empire of any extent, but that of the East, until the beginning of the eighth century. Charlemagne a.s.sumed the t.i.tle of King of Italy, in the year eight hundred. He received homage from the Pope, and so far from being subject to him, he acknowledged no divine right in him; but on the contrary, he held the Pope in strict subjection to himself. He even went so far as to prohibit the _Holy See_ from receiving donations of any kind, when given without the consent or to the prejudice of those who had just and equitable claims to them.
This, if there were no other proof, is sufficient to show that neither the Popes nor the Holy See had any pretensions to universal supremacy, or to supremacy of any kind, as far down as the eighth century. It will not be denied that the civil authorities of Rome were liberally disposed towards the Popes or fathers of the church in the early days of Christianity. The Emperor Theodosius the Great, who died in the year three hundred and ninety five, recommended to all his subjects to pay "a due respect to the See of Rome." Valentian III. commanded his subjects "_not to depart from the faith and customs of the Holy See_." It will however be borne in mind, that this Valentian was acknowledged emperor at the age of six, and his affairs were managed princ.i.p.ally by his mother. So dissipated were his habits, that he finally fell a victim to them. But up to this period there is no evidence whatever that the Popes either claimed or exercised temporal authority.
About this time several councils met for the purpose of adjusting disputes that arose between the sons of the successor of Charlemagne, who unwisely, as historians suppose, divided his empire into three equal parts among them. It was at one of these councils, that the doctrine of the _divine right of Popes to temporal authority_ was first broached by the production of some of those forged doc.u.ments to which I have heretofore alluded. Pope Gregory the Fourth took an active part in fomenting the dissensions which necessarily arose from the division which the successor of Charlemagne had made of his empire among his sons. The Pope, with that craft peculiar to all ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic denominations, was active in widening the breach between father and sons, and having effected this to his content, his next move was to sow further dissensions between the sons themselves, and finally to create such a general confusion and dissatisfaction among all parties, as to render a mediator necessary. Having attained his object, he offered his services to the Imperial Father, and it was accepted. He presented himself at his camp, obtained an entrance, and what were the consequences? History tells the tale--it was a tale of treachery.
Americans will bear in mind that Roman Catholics believe their church to be infallible; that she never changes; that what was deemed right by her in the days of Gregory and those of his immediate successors, is right now, and, _vice versa_, what she deems right now was right then. In a word, the church of Rome is _infallible_. This is believed by every one of her members at the present day. It is taught by every Popish bishop and priest in the United States.
The following curse is contained in the Roman Catholic Breviary, in which, every Romish priest reads his prayers three times every day.
"_Qui dicit ecclesiam catholicam Romanam non esse infallilrilem, anathema sit_--Whoever says that the Roman Catholic church is not infallible, let him be accursed." Such is the belief of every Roman Catholic. Will not Protestant Americans pause and reflect for a moment?
The population of the United States is about twenty millions, and about two millions are Papists. Consequently, seventeen millions and a half of our people are _accursed_ and _d.a.m.ned_, according to the doctrine of the Romish ritual; and yet we Protestants are called upon to extend the hand of friends.h.i.+p to these Papists, and our legislators are asked to grant them charters to build colleges, churches, nunneries, and monk-houses, not for the purpose of teaching the growing generation the revealed will of G.o.d, as read in the Scriptures, but to persuade them that all other religions, except that of Rome, are erroneous; that their parents, brothers, and sisters, are heretics, accursed forever, and by implication ent.i.tled to no allegiance from them.
The Pope is now setting on foot a movement which is intended to embrace the whole world, and of which he desires Rome to be the sole representative, centre, and circ.u.mference. The powers of the Pope have met with several severe shocks since the Reformation. His forces have been broken, his armies of Jesuits, his friars of all orders, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Capuchins, have been scattered and enfeebled. He determined to arm himself afresh, and this new world appeared to him as the safest ground on which he could unite his scattered forces in Europe. This he well knows cannot be done, without throwing some fire-brand of dissension among our people, which at this moment he is trying to effect; and which nothing but the resistance offered to him by American Republicans can check or prevent.
On the continuance, strength, and union of this party, depends the stability of our government. This the Romish priests and bishops well know, and are beginning to feel; and hence they are denouncing them from their pulpits, and in all their presses. But no Protestant opposes this party Why call it a party? It is no party. It is but the spontaneous move of the good and the virtuous of all parties who love their G.o.d, their Bibles, and their country, and upon whose strong arm and bold hearts rests the question whether Americans shall be free or the slaves of his royal holiness the Pope of Rome. Often have I lifted my voice, a feeble one, indeed, in favor of _American Republicans_. I believe their cause is the cause of G.o.d and freedom, and upon them every American and every Protestant foreigner must rely for protection against the merciless spirit of Popery.
It requires no stretch of imagination to fancy a difference of opinion, or even of interest, between the citizens of this country. Suppose, for instance, that the North and South were at variance; suppose them actually at war with each other; what would be the course of the Pope's emissaries, hundreds of whom are now roaming through this land? The safest course and the surest mode of ascertaining what they would do in such an event, is to look back and ascertain what they have invariably done under similar circ.u.mstances. It is seldom wrong, and as a general principle it is safe, to judge of the future from the past; and if so, there can be no doubt of the course which Jesuits and Roman Catholics would pursue in the event of any difficulties or collisions between the people of the different sections of this country. Would they try to reconcile them? Did they ever do so in a like case? What was the conduct of the Jesuits and Popes as early as the eleventh century, when the Roman people differed in opinion as to their form of government, and some points of religious faith? The Pope laid an interdict upon the whole people; the weaker party was overpowered by the Papal authorities; and their leader, as Flewry informs us, was burned alive by order of the Pope Adrian. Frederick, called Barbarossa, who was the tool of the Pope on this occasion, became the next victim to his barbarity. And why? what had he done? what crime did he commit against the state? His only crime was,--he refused to hold the Pope's stirrup. For this he incurred the displeasure of Adrian, nor did he ever enjoy a day's peace until the Pope seduced him into an expedition against Saladin; where, together with thousands of others, who were persuaded to undertake that religious crusade, he died after several hard fought victories.
The history of the Popes, in all ages, shows that they never abandon any temporal or spiritual authority to which they lay claim; and had they the power of enforcing it now, they would exact from this country the same obedience which they did in the most benighted days of the middle ages. Should a separation of these States take place; should the chain that has bound us together for the last half century, in links of love and social happiness, be unfortunately broken, by any untoward circ.u.mstances; think you, fellow citizens, that foreign Papists in this country would try to re weld it? Far from it. They would unite in breaking it, link by link, Until not a particle of it remained. This they have done in every country where they obtained a footing; this they are doing now, under various pretences, all over Europe; and should this country escape the fate of others, where Jesuits and Popes dare to exercise their supposed authorities, it will stand prominent and proudly, though solitary and alone, amid the records of ages, and ruins of time. I have no such hope. The efforts which are now making to check the progress of Popery, may, perhaps, r.e.t.a.r.d the day of our downfall; but come it must, unless the allegiance, which is now demanded by the Pope of Rome from his subjects in the United States, is unqualifiedly forbidden. The Pope is a temporal prince. Like other kings and princes, he should never be permitted to meddle, directly or indirectly, temporally or spiritually, with this country. He should not be permitted to appoint bishop or priest to any church, diocese, living, or office in the United States. The Pope's _bulls_, rescripts, letters, &c., &c., should not be published or read from any pulpit this side of the Atlantic; and, though Roman Catholics should not be prevented from the free exercise of their religion, they should be compelled to do so without reference to foreign dictation. If they must have a Pope, let him be an American, and sworn to support our const.i.tution. Let him, and all Roman Catholics, be denied the right of voting, or of holding any office of honor, profit, or trust, under the government of the United States, until they forswear all allegiance, in spiritual as well as temporal affairs, to all foreign potentates and Popes. Until this is done, an oath of allegiance to this government, by a Roman Catholic, is ent.i.tled to no credit, and should not be received. This will appear evident to Americans, if they will turn their attention for a moment to the following oath, which is taken by every Romish bishop, before he is permitted to officiate, as such, in any of these United States:-- "I do solemnly swear, on the holy evangelist, and before Almighty G.o.d, to defend the domains of St. Peter against every aggressor; to preserve, augment, and extend, the rights, honors, privileges, and powers of the Lord Pope, and his successors; to observe, and with all my might to enforce, his decrees, ordinances, reservations, provisions, and all dispositions whatever, emanating from the court of Rome; to _persecute and combat, to the last extremity, heretics, schismatics, and all who will not pay to the sovereign pontiff all the obedience which the sovereign shall require_."
While this oath is obligatory upon Romish bishops, they are not to be trusted. They should not be permitted to interfere, directly nor indirectly, with the inst.i.tutions, laws, or ordinances of any Protestant country. Their oaths should not be taken in courts of justice; their followers, every one of whom is bound by a similar oath of allegiance, should be excluded from our grand juries, from our pet.i.t juries, but more especially, from our halls of legislation; for wherever and whenever the supposed interest of the Pope clashes with that of the civil authority, or even with the administration of reciprocal justice, a Papist, under the control of his bishop, will not hesitate to sacrifice the good of the country, the interest, life, and prosperity of his fellow-being, for the good of the church. Of the truth of this, history abounds with examples, and Popish writers are replete with authorities.
Thomas Aquinas, whose authority no Roman Catholic questions, says in his work _de Regem_., "The Pope, as supreme king of all the world, may impose taxes and destroy towns and castles for the preservation of Christianity." The American reader will bear in mind, that by Christianity, St. Thomas means Popery. Pope Gregory the Seventh, about the year one thousand and fifty, has made use of the following language, and proclaimed it as the doctrine of the Romish Church. "The Pope ought to be called Universal Bishop. He alone ought to wear the tokens of imperial dignity; all princes ought to kiss his feet; he has power to depose emperors and kings, and is to be judged by none." Pope John the Twelfth, in the year nine hundred and fifty-six, announced the following to be the universal belief, that "Whosoever shall venture to maintain that our lord the Pope cannot decree what he pleases, let him be accursed." Pope Bonifice the Eighth, in 1294, declares, _ex cathedra_, "that G.o.d has set Popes over kings and kingdoms, and whoever thinks otherwise declares him accursed." The same Pope, in another place, says, "We therefore declare, say, define, and p.r.o.nounce it to be necessary to salvation, that every human creature should be obedient to the Roman pontiff." The Pope of the present day, as every Roman Catholic writer maintains and teaches the laity to believe, has the same power _now_ that the Popes had at any period of church history.
The council of Trent, the last held in the Popish church, declares that Pius the Fifth, who was then Pope of Rome, "was prince over all nations and kingdoms, having power to pluck up, destroy, scatter, ruin, plant, and build." Cardinal Zeba, a sound theologian according to Popish belief, maintains, with much ingenuity, "that the Pope can do all things which he wishes, and is empowered by G.o.d to do many things which he himself cannot do." All writers upon canon law compliment the Pope by calling him _our Lord the Pope_, and this t.i.tle was confirmed to him by the council of Lateran. In the fourth session of that council, it is maintained "that all mortals are to be judged by the Pope, and the Pope by n.o.body at all." Ma.s.sonius, who wrote the life of Pope John the Ninth, tells us that a bishop of Rome, namely, a Pope, cannot commit even sin without praise.
Were there no other reproach upon the Romish church but the bare utterance of such blasphemy as this, it would be enough to disgust mankind; it should raise every voice in her condemnation, and every hand to pull down this masterpiece of satanic ingenuity. But strange as it may appear, the present Pope maintains similar claims, and enforces obedience; nay, more;--in this year of our Lord, 1845, insists upon the right of deposing all in power, and of absolving their subjects from further allegiance.
But, extravagant as Papal pretensions were between the ninth and tenth centuries, it was only about the middle of the eleventh that they began to show themselves in the full blaze of their hideous deformity.
Hildebrand, whom we have had occasion to mention as Gregory the Seventh, shook off all civil restraint, and proclaimed the universal and unbounded empire of the Popes over the rest of the world.
As Shoberl expresses it, "he caused to be drawn up a declaration of independence in all things, temporal and spiritual, expressly specifying the Pope's divine right of deposing all princes, giving away all kingdoms, abrogating existing laws, and subst.i.tuting in their place such as the holy Pope for the time being may approve of." This declaration, or bill of rights, is correctly translated by Shoberl, and published in his work, ent.i.tled, "The Rise and Progress of the Papal Power." Many, probably, may read this volume, who have had no opportunity of seeing Shoberl's work; and others there are, who may refuse giving his statement that credence which circ.u.mstances compel them to give the writer.
Having been educated a Roman Catholic priest, and the fact being well known that admission cannot be had into her priesthood without being well versed, at least in her own doctrines, it is fairly to be presumed that my statements are ent.i.tled to full credit, when those of Protestants may be denied by Romish priests, who, while united with that church, are compelled, under pain of being cursed, to subscribe to any falsehood, however gross, provided it subserves the interest of the Pope; and deny any truth, however plain, rather than contradict or weaken the authorities by which the impious follies and wicked pretensions of the church of Rome are supported. I will give this bill of rights to my readers. It should be in the hands of every American.
It should find a place in every primary school in the United States. It should be among the first lessons of infancy, so that every child, when he grows up and sees a Roman Catholic bishop or priest, should pause and ask himself, Does that man believe those things? Are we called on to pa.s.s laws for the support and protection of churches, where such doctrines, as this _bill_ contains, are promulgated? Can we trust the man who promulgates them, or those who subscribe to them? Is it safe to live in the same community with them? Do they not endanger our civil inst.i.tutions? Do they not jeopardize the morals of our children? Will it not, at some future day, be a blot upon the page of our history, and a foul stain upon our character for intelligence, that we have ever sanctioned such doctrines, or that we had ever allowed men who professed them, any partic.i.p.ation in our civil rights? But let Pope Gregory's declaration of Papal divine rights speak for itself.
"The Romish church is the only one that G.o.d has founded.
"The t.i.tle of universal belongs to the Roman pontiff alone.
"He alone can depose and absolve bishops.
"His legate presides over all the bishops in every council, and may p.r.o.nounce sentence of deposition against them.
"The Pope can depose absent persons.