The Church of the Servant-girls
Was it for this--that prayers like these Should spend themselves about thy feet, And with hard, overlabored knees Kneeling, these slaves of men should beat Bosoms too lean to suckle sons And fruitless as their orisons?
Was it for this--that men should make Thy name a fetter on men's necks, Poor men made poorer for thy sake, And women withered out of sex? Was it for this--that slaves should be-- Thy word was passed to set men free? ~Swinburne.
As everyone knows, the "society lady" is not an independent and self-sustaining phenomenon. For every one of these exquisite, sweet-smelling creatures that you meet on Fifth Avenue, there must be at home a large number of other women who live sterile and empty lives, and devote themselves to cleaning up after their luckier sisters. But these "domestics" also are human beings; they have emotions--or, in religious parlance, "souls;" it is necessary to provide a discipline to keep them from appropriating the property of their mistresses, also to keep them from becoming enceinte. So it comes about that there are two cathedrals in New York: one, St. John the Divine, for the society ladies, and the other, St. Patrick's, for the servant-girls. The latter is located on Fifth Avenue, where its towering white spires divide with the homes of the Vanderbilts the interest of the crowds of sight-seers. Now, early every Sunday morning, before "Good Society" has opened its eyes, you may see the devotees of the Irish snake-charmer hurrying to their orisons, each with a little black prayer-book in her hand. What is it they do inside? What are they taught about life? This is the question to which we have next to give attention.
Some years ago Mr. Thomas F. Ryan, traction and insurance magnate of New York, favored me with his justification of his own career and activities. He mentioned his charities, and, speaking as one man of the world to another, he said: "The reason I put them into the hands of Catholics is not religious, but because I find they are efficient in such matters. They don't ask questions, they do what you want them to do, and do it economically."
I made no comment; I was absorbed in the implications of the remark--like Agassiz when some one gave him a fossil bone, and his mind set to work to reconstruct the creature.
When a man is drunk, the Catholics do not ask if it was long hours and improper working-conditions which drove him to desperation; they do not ask if police and politicians are getting a rake-off from the saloon, or if traction magnates are using it as an agency for the controlling of votes; they do not plunge into prohibition movements or good government campaigns--they simply take the man in, at a standard price, and the patient slave-sisters and attendants get him sober, and then turn him out for society to make him drunk again. That is "charity," and it is the special industry of Roman Catholicism. They have been at it for a thousand years, cleaning up loathsome and unsightly messes--"plague, pestilence and famine, battle and murder and sudden death." Yet--puzzling as it would seem to anyone not religious--there were never so many messes, never so many different kinds of messes, as now at the end of the thousand years of charitable activity!
But the Catholics go on and on; like the patient spider, building and rebuilding his web across a doorway; like soldiers under the command of a ruling class with a "muddling through" tradition--
Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.
And so of course all magnates and managers of industry who have messes to be cleaned up, human garbage-heaps to be carted away quickly and without fuss, turn to the Catholic Church for this service, no matter what their personal religious beliefs or lack of beliefs may be. Somewhere in the neighborhood of every steel-mill, every coal-mine or other place of industrial danger, you will find a Catholic hospital, with its slave-sisters and attendants. Once when I was "muck-raking" near Pittsburgh, I went to one of these places to ask information as to the frequency of industrial accidents and the fate of the victims. The "Mother Superior" received me with a look of polite dismay. "These concerns pay us!" she said. "You must see that as a matter of business it would not do for us to talk about them."
Obey and keep silence: that is the Catholic law. And precisely as it is with the work of nursing and almsgiving, so it is with the work of vote-getting, the elaborate system of policemen and saloon-keepers and ward-heelers which the Catholic machine controls. This industry of vote-getting is a comparatively new one; but the Church has been handling the masses for so many centuries that she quickly learned this new way of "democracy," and has established her supremacy over all rivals. She has the schools for training the children, the confessional for controlling the women; she has the intellectual machinery, the purgatory and the code of slave-ethics. She has the supreme advantage that the rank and file of her mighty host really believe what she teaches; they do not have to listen to table-rappings and flounder through swamps of automatic writings in order to bolster their hope of the survival of personality after death!
So it comes about that our captains of industry and finance have been driven to a more or less reluctant alliance with the Papacy. The Church is here, and her followers are here, before the war several hundred thousand of them pouring into the country every year. It is no longer possible to do without Catholics in America; not merely do ditches have to be dug, roads graded, coal mined, and dishes washed, but franchises have to be granted, tariff-schedules adjusted, juries and courts manipulated, police trained and strikes crushed. Under our native political system, for these purposes millions of votes are needed; and these votes belong to people of a score of nationalities--Irish and German and Italian and French-Canadian and Bohemian and Mexican and Portuguese and Polish and Hungarian. Who but the Catholic Church can handle these polyglot hordes? Who can furnish teachers and editors and politicians familiar with all these languages?
Considering how complex is the service, the price is extremely moderate--the mere actual expenses of the campaign, the cost of red fire and torch-lights, of liquor and newspaper advertisements. The rest may come out of the public till, in the form of exemption from taxation of church buildings and lands, a share of the public funds for charities and schools, the control of the police for saloon-keepers and district leaders, the control of police-courts and magistrates, of municipal administrations and boards of education, of legislatures and governors; with a few higher offices now and then, to flatter our sacred self-esteem, a senator or a justice on the Supreme Court Bench; and on state occasions, to keep up our necessary prestige, some cabinet-members and legislators and justices to attend High Mass, and be blessed in public by Catholic prelates and dignitaries.
You think this is empty rhetoric--you comfortable, easy-going, ultra-cultured Americans? You professors in your classic shades, absorbed in "the passionless pursuit of passionless intelligence"--while the world about you slides down into the pit! You ladies of Good Society, practicing your "sweet little charities," pursuing your "dear little ideals," raising your families of one or two lovely children--while Irish and French-Canadians and Italians and Portuguese and Hungarians are breeding their dozens and scores, and preparing to turn you out of your country!
You remember "Bishop Blougram's Apology," Browning's study of the psychology of a modern Catholic ecclesiastic. He is not unaware of modern thought, this bishop; he is a man of culture, who wants to have beauty about him, to be a "cabin passenger":
There's power in me and will to dominate Which I must exercise, they hurt me else; In many ways I need mankind's respect, Obedience, and the love that's born of fear.
He wishes that he had faith--faith in anything; he understands that faith is all-important--
Enthusiasm's the best thing, I repeat.
But you cannot get faith just by wishing for it--
But paint a fire, it will not therefore burn!
He tries to imagine himself going on a crusade for truth, but he asks what there would be in it for him--
State the facts, Read the text right, emancipate the world-- The emancipated world enjoys itself With scarce a thank-you. Blougram told it first It could not owe a farthing,--not to him More than St. Paul!
So the bishop goes on with his role, but uneasily conscious of the contempt of intellectual people.
I pine among my million imbeciles (You think) aware some dozen men of sense Eye me and know me, whether I believe In the last winking virgin as I vow, And am a fool, or disbelieve in her, And am a knave.
But, as he says, you have to keep a tight hold upon the chain of faith, that is what
Gives all the advantage, makes the difference, With the rough, purblind mass we seek to rule. We are their lords, or they are free of us, Just as we tighten or relax that hold.
So he continues, but not with entire satisfaction, in his role of shepherd to those whom he calls "King Bomba's lazzaroni," and "ragamuffin saints."
I wander into a Catholic bookstore and look to see what Bishop Blougram is doing with his lazzaroni and his ragamuffin saints here in this new country of the far West. It is easy to acquire the information, for the saleswoman is polite and the prices fit my purse. America is going to war, and Catholic boys are being drafted to be trained for battle; so for ten cents I obtain a firmly bound little pamphlet called "God's Armor, a Prayer Book for Soldiers." It is marked "Copyright by the G. R. C. Central-Verein," and bears the "Nihil Obstat" of the "Censor Theolog." and the "Imprimatur" of "Johannes Josephus, Archiepiscopus Sti. Ludovici"--which last you may at first fail to recognize as a well-known city on the Mississippi River. Do you not feel the spell of ancient things, the magic of the past creeping over you, as you read those Latin trade-marks? Such is the Dead Hand, and its cunning, which can make even St. Louis sound mysterious!
In this booklet I get no information as to the commercial causes of war, nor about the part which the clerical vote may have played throughout Europe in supporting military systems. I do not even find anything about the sacred cause of democracy, the resolve of a self-governing people to put an end to feudal rule. Instead I discover a soldier-boy who obeys and keeps silent, and who, in his inmost heart, is in the grip of terrors both of body and soul. Poor, pitiful soldier-boy, marking yourself with crosses, performing genuflexions, mumbling magic formulas in the trenches--how many billions of you have been led out to slaughter by the greeds and ambitions of your religious masters, since first this accursed Antichrist got its grip upon the hearts of men!
I quote from this little book:
Start this day well by lifting up your heart to God. Offer yourself to Him, and beg grace to spend the day without sin. Make the sign of the cross. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, behold me in Thy Divine Presence. I adore Thee and give Thee thanks. Grant that all I do this day be for Thy Glory, and for the salvation of my immortal soul.
During the day lift your heart frequently to God. Your prayers need not be long nor read from a book. Learn a few of these short ejaculations by heart and frequently repeat them. They will serve to recall God to your heart and will strengthen you and comfort you.
You remember a while back about the prayer-wheels of the Thibetans. The Catholic religion was founded before the Thibetan, and is less progressive; it does not welcome mechanical devices for saving labor. You have to use your own vocal apparatus to keep yourself from hell; but the process has been made as economical as possible by kindly dispensations of the Pope. Thus, each time that you say "My God and my all," you get fifty days indulgence; the same for "My Jesus, mercy," and the same for "Jesus, my God, I love Thee above all things." For "Jesus, Mary, Joseph," you get three hundred days--which would seem by all odds the best investment of your spare breath.
And then come prayers for all occasions: "Prayer before Battle"; "Prayer for a Happy Death"; "Prayer in Temptation"; "Prayer before and after Meals"; "Prayer when on Guard"; "Prayer before a long March"; "Prayer of Resignation to Death"; "Prayer for Those in their Agony"--I cannot bear to read them, hardly to list them. I remember standing in a cathedral "somewhere in France" during the celebration of some special Big Magic. There was brilliant white light, and a suffocating strange odor, and the thunder of a huge organ, and a clamor of voices, high, clear voices of young boys mounting to heaven, like the hands of men in a pit reaching up, trying to climb over the top of one another. It sent a shudder into the depths of my soul. There is nothing left in the modern world which can carry the mind so far back into the ancient nightmare of anguish and terror which was once the mental life of mankind, as these Roman Catholic incantations with their frantic and ceaseless importunity. They have even brought in the sex-spell; and the poor, frightened soldier-boy, who has perhaps spent the night with a prostitute, now prostrates himself before a holy Woman-being who is lifted high above the shames of the flesh, and who stirs the thrills of awe and affection which his mother brought to him in early childhood. Read over the phrases of this "Litany of the Blessed Virgin":
Holy Mary, Pray for us. Holy Mother of God. Holy Virgin of Virgins. Mother of Christ. Mother of divine grace. Mother most pure. Mother most chaste. Mother inviolate. Mother undefiled. Mother most amiable. Mother most admirable. Mother of good counsel. Mother of our Creator. Mother of our Savior. Virgin most prudent. Virgin most venerable. Virgin most renowned. Virgin most powerful. Virgin most merciful. Virgin most faithful. Mirror of justice. Seat of wisdom. Cause of our Joy. Spiritual vessel. Vessel of honor. Singular vessel of devotion. Mystical rose. Tower of David. Tower of ivory. House of gold. Ark of the covenant. Gate of heaven. Morning Star. Health of the sick. Refuge of sinners. Comforter of the afflicted. Help of Christians. Queen of Angels. Queen of Patriarchs. Queen of Prophets. Queen of Apostles. Queen of Martyrs. Queen of Confessors. Queen of Virgins. Queen of all Saints. Queen conceived without original sin. Queen of the most holy Rosary. Queen of Peace, Pray for us.
For another five cents--how cheaply a man of insight can obtain thrills in this fantastic world!--I purchase a copy of the "Messenger of the Sacred Heart", a magazine published in New York, the issue for October, 1917. There are pages of advertisements of schools and colleges with strange titles: "Immaculata Seminary", "Holy Cross Academy", "Holy Ghost Institute", "Ladycliff", "Academy of Holy Child Jesus". The leading article is by a Jesuit, on "The Spread of the Apostleship of Prayer among the Young"; and then "Sister Clarissa" writes a poem telling us "What are Sorrows"; and then we are given a story called "Prayer for Daddy"; and then another Jesuit father tells us about "The Hills that Jesus Loved". A third father tells us about the "Eucharistic Propaganda"; and we learn that in July, 1917, it distributed 11,699 beads, and caused the expenditure of 57,714 hours of adoration; and then the faithful are given a form of letter which they are to write to the Honorable Baker, Secretary of War, imploring him to intimate to the French government that France should withdraw from one of her advances in civilization, and join with mediaeval America in exempting priests from being drafted to fight for their country. And then there is a "Question Box"--just like the Hearst newspapers, only instead of asking whether she should allow him to kiss her before he has told her that he loves her, the reader asks what is the Pauline Privilege, and what is the heroic Act, and is Robert a saint's name, and if food remains in the teeth from the night before, would it break the fast to swallow it before Holy Communion. (No, I am not inventing this.)
I quoted the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, and pointed out how deftly the Church has managed to slip in a prayer for worldly prosperity. But the Catholic Church does not show any squeamishness in dealing with its "million imbeciles", its "rough, purblind mass". There is a department of the little magazine entitled "Thanksgiving", and a statement at the top that "the total number of Thanksgivings for the month is 2,143,911." I am suspicious of that, as of German reports of prisoners taken; but I give the statement as it stands, not going through the list and picking out the crudest, but taking them as they come, classified by states:
For many of these favors Mass and publication were promised, for others the Badge of Promoter's Cross was used, for others the prayers of the Associates had been asked.
Alabama--Jewelry found, relief from pain, protection during storm.
Alaska--Safe return, goods found.
Arizona--Two recoveries, suitable boarding place, illness averted, safe delivery.
British Honduras--Successful operation.
California--Seventeen recoveries, six situations, two successful examinations, house rented, stocks sold, raise in salary, return to religious duties, sight regained, medal won, Baptism, preservation from disease, contract obtained, success in business, hearing restored, Easter duty made, happy death, automobile sold, mind restored, house found, house rented, successful journey, business sold, quarrel averted, return of friends, two successful operations.
And for all these miraculous performances the Catholic machine is harvesting the price day by day--harvesting with that ancient fervor which the Latin poet described as "auri sacra fames". As Christopher Columbus wrote from Jamaica in 1503: "Gold is a wonderful thing. By means of gold we can even get souls into Paradise."
The Holy Roman Empire
The system thus self-revealed you admit is appalling in its squalor; but you say that at least it is milder and less perilous than the Church which burned Giordano Bruno and John Huss. But the very essence of the Catholic Church is that it does not change; semper eadem is its motto: the same yesterday, today and forever--the same in Washington as in Rome or Madrid--the same in a modern democracy as in the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church is not primarily a religious organization; it is a political organization, and proclaims the fact, and defies those who would shut it up in the religious field, The Rev. S. B. Smith, a Catholic doctor of divinity, explains in his "Elements of Ecclesiastical Law":
Protestants contend that the entire power of the Church consists in the right to teach and exhort, but not in the right to command, rule, or govern; whence they infer that she is not a perfect society or sovereign state. This theory is false; for the Church, as was seen, is vested Jure divino with power, (1) to make laws; (2) to define and apply them (potestas judicialis); (3) to punish those who violate her laws (potestas coercitiva).
And this is not one scholar's theory, but the formal and repeated proclamation of infallible popes. Here is the "Syllabus of Errors", issued by Pope Pius IX, Dec. 8th, 1864, declaring in precise language that
The state has not the right to leave every man free to profess and embrace whatever religion he shall deem true.
It has not the right to enact that the ecclesiastical power shall require the permission of the civil power in order to the exercise of its authority.
Then in the same Syllabus the rights and powers of the Church are affirmed thus:
She has the right to require the state not to leave every man free to profess his own religion.
She has the right to exercise her power without the permission or consent of the state.
She has the right of perpetuating the union of church and state.
She has the right to require that the Catholic religion shall be the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all others.
She has the right to prevent the state from granting the public exercise of their own worship to persons immigrating from it.
She has the power of requiring the state not to permit free expression of opinion.
You see, the Holy Office is unrepentant and unchastened. You, who think that liberty of conscience is the basis of civilization, ought at least to know what the Catholic Church has to say about the matter. Here is Mgr. Segur, in his "Plain Talk About Protestantism of Today", a book published in Boston and extensively circulated by American Catholics:
Freedom of thought is the soul of Protestantism; it is likewise the soul of modern rationalism and philosophy. It is one of those impossibilities which only the levity of a superficial reason can regard as admissable. But a sound mind, that does not feed on empty words, looks upon this freedom of thought only as simply absurd, and, what is more, as sinful.
You take the liberty of thinking, nevertheless; you feel safe because the Law will protect you. But do you imagine that this "Law" applies to your Catholic neighbors? Do you imagine that they are bound by the restraints that bind you? Here is Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical of 1890--and please remember that Leo XIII was the beau ideal of our capitalist statesmen and editors, as wise and kind and gentle-souled a pope as ever roasted a heretic. He says:
If the laws of the state are openly at variance with the laws of God--if they inflict injury upon the Church--or set at naught the authority of Jesus Christ which is vested in the Supreme Pontiff, then indeed it becomes a duty to resist them, a sin to render obedience.
And consider how many fields there are in which the laws of a democratic state do and forever must contravene the "laws of God" as interpreted by the Catholic Church. Consider for example, that the Pope, in his decree Ne Temere, has declared that all persons who have been married by civil authorities or by Protestant clergymen are living in "filthy concubinage"! Consider, in the same way, the problems of education, burial, prison discipline, blasphemy, poor relief, incorporation, mortmain, religious endowments, vows of celibacy. To the above list, as given by Gladstone, one might add many issues, such as birth control, which have arisen since his time.
What the Church means is to rule. Her literature is full of expressions of that intention, set forth in the boldest and haughtiest and most uncompromising manner. For example, Cardinal Manning, in the Pro-Cathedral at Kensington, speaking in the name of the Pope:
I acknowledge no civil power; I am the subject of no prince; I claim more than this--I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the consciences of men---of the peasant that tills the field, and of the prince that sits upon the throne; of the household of privacy, and the legislator that makes laws for kingdoms; I am the sole, last supreme judge of what is right and wrong.
What this means is, that here in our American democracy the Catholic Church is a rebel; a prisoner of war who bides his time, watching for the moment to rise in revolt, and meantime making no secret of his intentions. The pious Leo XIII, addressing all true believers in America, instructed them as to their attitude in captivity:
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 .... But she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and patronage of the public authority.
Accordingly, here is Father Phelan of St. Louis, addressing his flock in the "Western Watchman", June 27, 1913:
Tell us we are Catholics first and Americans or Englishmen afterwards; of course we are. Tell us, in the conflict between the church and the civil government we take the side of the church; of course we do. Why, if the government of the United States were at war with the church, we would say tomorrow, To hell with the government of the United States; and if the church and all the governments of the world were at war, we would say, To hell with all the governments of the world .... Why is it that in this country, where we have only seven per cent of the population, the Catholic church is so much feared? She is loved by all her children and feared by everybody. Why is it that the Pope has such tremendous power? Why, the Pope is the ruler of the world. All the emperors, all the kings, all the princes, all the presidents of the world, are as these altar boys of mine. The Pope is the ruler of the world.
You recall what I said at the outset about Power; the ability to control the lives of other men, to give laws and moral codes, to shape fashions and tastes, to be revered and regarded. Here is a man swollen to bursting with this Power. Dressed in his holy robes, with his holy incense in his nostrils, and the faces of the faithful gazing up at him awe-stricken, hear him proclaim:
The Church gives no bonds for her good behavior. She is the judge of her own rights and duties, and of the rights and duties of the state.
And lest you think that an extreme example of ultramontanist arrogance, listen to the Boston "Pilot", April 6, 1912, speaking for Cardinal O'Connell, whose official organ it is:
It must be borne in mind that even though Cardinals Farley, O'Connell and Gibbons are at heart patriotic Americans and members of an American hierachy, yet they are as cardinals foreign princes of the blood, to whom the United States, as one of the great powers of the world, is under an obligation to concede the same honors that they receive abroad.
Thus, were Cardinal Farley to visit an American man-of-war, he would be entitled to the salutes and to naval honors reserved for a foreign royal personage, and at any official entertainment at Washington the Cardinal will outrank not merely every cabinet officer, the speaker of the house and the vice-president, but also the foreign ambassadors, coming immediately next to the chief magistrate himself.
Incidentally, it may be mentioned that when a royal personage not
of sovereign rank visits New York it is his duty to make the
first call on Cardinal Farley.
Knights of Slavery
Such is the worldly station of these apostles of the lowly Jesus. And what is their attitude towards their brothers in God, the rank and file of the membership, whose pennies grease the wheels of the ecclesiastical machine? His Holiness, the Pope, sent over a delegate to represent him in America, and at a convention of the Federation of Catholic Societies held in New Orleans in November, 1910, this gentleman, Diomede Falconio, delivered himself on the subject of Capital and Labor. We have heard the slave-code of the Anglican disciples of Jesus, the revolutionary carpenter; now let us hear the slave-code of his Roman disciples:
Human society has its origin from God and is constituted of two classes of people, the rich and the poor, which respectively represent Capital and Labor.
Hence it follows that according to the ordinance of God, human society is composed of superiors and subjects, masters and servants, learned and unlettered, rich and poor, nobles and plebeians.
And lest this should not be clear enough, the Pope sent a second representative, Mgr. John Bonzano, who, speaking at a general meeting of the German Catholic Central-Verein, St. Louis, 1917, declared:
One of the worst evils that may grow out of the European war is the spreading of the doctrine of Socialism, and the Catholic Church must be ready to counteract such doctrines. We must be ready to prevent the spread of Socialism and to work against it. As I understand, you have a society of wealthy people in St. Louis ready for such a campaign. You have experienced leaders who are masters in their kind of work. They are always insistent to show that this wealth was and is in close touch with the Church, and therefore it will not fail.
This, you perceive, is the complete thesis of the present book, which therefore no doubt will be entitled to the "Nihil Obstat" of the "Censor Theolog.", and the "Imprimatur" of "Johannes Josephus, Archiepiscopus Sti. Ludovici." No wonder that the "experienced leaders" of America, our captains of industry and exploiters of labor, are forced, whatever their own faith may be, to make use of this system of subjection. A few years ago we read in our papers how a Jewish millionaire of Baltimore was presenting a fortune to the Catholic Church, to be used in its war upon Socialism. The late Mark Hanna, the shrewdest and most far-seeing man that Big Business ever brought into power, said that in twenty years there would be two parties in America, a capitalist and a socialist; and that it would be the Catholic church that would save the country from Socialism. That prophecy was widely quoted, and sank into the souls of our steel and railway and money magnates; from which time you might see, if you watched political events, a new tone of deference to the Roman Hierarchy on the part of our ruling classes. Today you cannot get an expression of opinion hostile to Catholicism into any newspaper of importance. The Associated Press does not handle news unfavorable to the Church, and from top to bottom, the politician takes off his hat when the Sacred Host goes by. Said Archbishop Quigley, speaking before the children of the Mary Sodality:
I'd like to see the politician who would try to rule against the church in Chicago. His reign would be short indeed.
Priests and Police
And how is it in our national capital, the palladium of our liberties? As a means of demonstrating the power of the church and the subservience of our politicians, the Catholics have invented what they call the "Cardinal's Day Mass": An elaborate procession of high ecclesiastics, dressed in gorgeous robes and jewels, through the streets of Washington, accompanied by a small army of policemen, paid by non-Catholic taxpayers. The Cardinal seats himself upon a throne, and our political rulers make obeisance before him. On Sunday, January 14, 1917, there were present at this political mass the following personages: Four cabinet members and their wives; the speaker of the House; a large group of senators and representatives; a general of the army and his wife; an admiral of the navy and his wife; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his wife, and another Justice of the Supreme Court and his wife.
And understand that the church makes no secret of its purpose in conducting such public exhibitions. Here is the pious Pope Leo XIII again, in his Encyclical of Nov. 1, 1885:
All Catholics must make themselves felt as active elements in daily political life in the countries where they live. They must penetrate, wherever possible, in the administration of civil affairs; must constantly exert the utmost vigilance and energy to prevent the usages of liberty from going beyond the limits fixed by God's law. All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of states and legislation to be modeled on the principles of the true Church.
And following these instructions, the Catholics are organized for political work. There are the various Catholic Societies, such as the Knights of Columbus, secret, oath-bound organizations, the military arm of the Papal Power. These societies boast some three million members, and control not less than that many votes. The one thing that you can be certain about these votes is that on every public question, of whatever nature, they will be cast on the side of ignorance and reaction. Thus, it was the influence of the Catholic Societies which put upon our national statute books the infamous law providing five years imprisonment and five thousand dollars fine for the sending through the mail of information about the prevention of conception. It is their influence which keeps upon the statute-books of New York state the infamous law which permits divorce only for infidelity, and makes it "collusion" if both parties desire the divorce. It is these societies which, in every city and town in America, are pushing and plotting to get Catholics upon library boards, so that the public may not have a chance to read scientific books; to get Catholics into the public schools and on school-boards, so that children may not hear about Galileo, Bruno, and Ferrer; to have Catholics in control of police and on magistrates benches, so that priests who are caught in brothels may not be exposed or punished.
You are shocked at this, you think it a vulgar jest, perhaps; but during a period of "vice raids" in New York I was told by a captain of police, himself a Catholic, that it was a common thing for them to get priests in their net. "Of course," the official added, good-naturedly, "we let them slip out." I understood that he had to do that; for the Pope, in his "Motu Proprio" decree, has forbidden Catholics to bring a priest into court for any civil crime whatsoever; he has forbidden Catholic policemen to arrest, Catholic judges to try, and Catholic law-makers to make laws affecting any priest of the Church of Rome. And of course we know, upon the authority of a cardinal, that the Pope is "the sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong." He has held that position for a thousand years and more; and wherever you consult the police records throughout the thousand years, you find the same entries concerning Catholic ecclesiastics. I turn to Riley's "Illustrations of London Life from Original Documents," and I find in the year 1385 a certain chaplain, whose name is considerately suppressed, had a breviary stolen from him by a loose woman, because he has not given her any money, either on that night or the one previous. In 1320 John de Sloghtre, a priest, is put in the tower "for being found wandering about the city against the peace", and Richard Heyring, a priest, is indicted in the ward of Farringdon and in the ward of Crepelgate "as being a bruiser and nightwalker." That this has been going on for six hundred years is due, not to any special corruption of the Catholic heart, but to the practice of clerical celibacy, which is contrary to nature, a transgression of fundamental instinct. It should be noted that the purpose of this transgression, which pretends to be spiritual, is really economic; it was the means whereby the church machine built up its power through the Middle Ages. The priests had children then, as they have them today; but these children not being recognized, the church machine remained the sole heir of the property of its clergy.
The Church Militant
Knowing what we know today, we marvel that it was possible for Germany to prepare through so many years for her assault on civilization, and for England to have slept through it all. In exactly the same way, the historian of a generation from now will marvel that America should have slept, while the New Inquisition was planning to strangle her. For we are told with the utmost explicitness precisely what is to be done. We are to see wiped out these gains of civilization for which our race has bled and agonized for many centuries; the very gains are to serve as the means of their own destruction! Have we not heard Pope Leo tell his faithful how to take advantage of what they find in America--our easy-going trust, our quiet certainty of liberty, our open-handed and open-homed and hail-fellow-well-met democracy?
We see the army being organized and drilled under our eyes; and we can read upon its banners its purpose proclaimed. Just as the Prussian military caste had its slogan "Deutschland ueber Alles!" so the Knights of Slavery have their slogan: "Make America Catholic!"
Their attitude to democratic institutions is attested by the fact that none of their conventions ever fails in its resolutions to "deeply deplore the loss of the temporal power of Our Father, the Pope." Their subjection to priestly domination is indicated by such resolutions as this, bearing date of May 13th, 1914:
The Knights of Columbus of Texas in annual convention assembled, prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, present filial regards with assurances of loyalty and obedience to the Holy See and request the Papal blessing.
On June 10th, 1912, one T. J. Carey of Palestine, Texas, wrote to Archbishop Bonzano, the Apostolic Delegate: "Must I, as a Catholic, surrender my political freedom to the Church? And by this I mean the right to vote for the Democratic, Socialist, or Republican parties when and where I please?" The answer was: "You should submit to the decisions of the Church, even at the cost of sacrificing political principles." And to the same effect Mgr. Preston, In New York City, Jan. 1, 1888: "The man who says, 'I will take my faith from Peter, but I will not take my politics from Peter,' is not a true Catholic."
Such is the Papal machine; and not a day passes that it does not discover some new scheme to advance the Papal glory; a "Catholic battle-ship" in the United States navy; Catholic chaplains on all ships of the navy; Catholic holidays---such as Columbus Day--to be celebrated by all Protestants in America; thirty million dollars worth of church property exempted from taxation in New York City; mission bells to be set up at the expense of the state of California; state support for parish schools--or, if this cannot be had, exemption of Catholics from taxation for school purposes. So on through the list which might continue for pages.
More than anything else, of course, the Papal machine is concerned with education, or rather, with the preventing of education. It was in its childish days that the race fell under the spell of the Priestly Lie; it is in his childish days that the individual can be most safely snared. Suffer little children to come unto the Catholic priest, and he will make upon their sensitive minds an impression which nothing in after life can eradicate. So the mainstay of the New Inquisition is the parish-school, and its deadliest enemy is the American school system. Listen to the Rev. James Conway, of the Society of Jesus, in his book, "The Rights of Our Little Ones":
Catholic parents cannot, in conscience send their children to American public schools, except for very grave reasons approved by the ecclesiastical authorities.
While state education removes illiteracy and puts a limited amount of knowledge within the reach of all, it cannot be said to have a beneficial influence on civilization in general.
The state cannot justly enforce compulsory education, even in case of utter illiteracy, so long as the essential physical and moral education are sufficiently provided for.
And so, at all times and in all places, the Catholic Church is fighting the public school. Eternal vigilance is necessary; as "America", the organ of the Jesuits, explains:
Sometimes it is a new building code, or an attempt at taxing the school buildings, which creates hardships to the parochial and other private schools. Now it is the free text book law that puts a double burden on the Catholics. Then again it is the unwise extension of the compulsory school age that forces children to be in school until they are 16 to 18 years old.
And if you wish to know the purpose of the Catholic schools, hear Archbishop Quigley of Chicago, speaking before the children of the Mary Sodality in the Holy Name Parish-School:
Within twenty years this country is going to rule the world. Kings and emperors will pass away, and the democracy of the United States will take their place. The West will dominate the country, and what I have seen of the Western parochial schools has proved that the generation which follows us will be exclusively Catholic. When the United States rules the world the Catholic Church will rule the world.
The Church Triumphant
The question may be asked, What of it? What if the Church were to rule? There are not a few Americans who believe that there have to be rich and poor, and that rule by Roman Catholics might be preferable to rule by Socialists. Before you decide, at least do not fail to consider what history has to tell about priestly government. We do not have to use our imaginations in the matter, for there was once a Golden Age such as Archbishop Quigley dreams of, when the power of the church was complete, when emperors and princes paid homage to her, and the civil authority made haste to carry out her commands. What was the condition of the people in those times? We are told by Lea, in his "History of the Inquisition" that:
The moral condition of the laity was unutterably depraved. Uniformity of faith had been enforced by the Inquisition and its methods, and so long as faith was preserved, crime and sin was comparatively unimportant except as a source of revenue to those who sold absolution. As Theodoric Vrie tersely puts it, hell and purgatory would be emptied if enough money could be found. The artificial standard thus created is seen in a revelation of the Virgin to St. Birgitta, that a Pope who was free from heresy, no matter how polluted by sin and vice, is not so wicked but that he has the absolute power to bind and loose souls. There are many wicked popes plunged in hell, but all their lawful acts on earth are accepted and confirmed by God, and all priests who are not heretics administer true sacraments, no matter how depraved they may be. Correctness of belief was thus the sole essential; virtue was a wholly subordinate consideration. How completely under such a system religion and morals came to be dissociated is seen in the remarks of Pius II, that the Franciscans were excellent theologians, but cared nothing about virtue.
This, in fact, was the direct result of the system of persecution embodied in the Inquisition. Heretics who were admitted to be patterns of virtue were ruthlessly exterminated in the name of Christ, while in the same holy name the orthodox could purchase absolution for the vilest of crimes for a few coins. When the only unpardonable offence was persistence in some trifling error of belief, such as the poverty of Christ; when men had before them the example of their spiritual guides as leaders in vice and debauchery and contempt of sacred things, all the sanctions of morality were destroyed and the confusion between right and wrong became hopeless. The world has probably never seen a society more vile than that of Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The brilliant pages of Froissart fascinate us with their pictures of the artificial courtesies of chivalry; the mystic reveries of Rysbroek and of Tauler show us that spiritual life survived in some rare souls, but the mass of the population was plunged into the depths of sensuality and the most brutal oblivion of the moral law. For this Alvaro Pelayo tells us that the priesthood were accountable, and that, in comparison with them, the laity were holy. What was that state of comparative holiness he proceeds to describe, blushing as he writes, for the benefit of confessors, giving a terrible sketch of universal immorality which nothing could purify but fire and brimstone from heaven. The chroniclers do not often pause in their narrations to dwell on the moral aspects of the times, but Meyer, in his annals of Flanders, under date of 1379, tells us that it would be impossible to describe the prevalence everywhere of perjuries, blasphemies, adulteries, hatreds, quarrels, brawls, murder, rapine, thievery, robbery, gambling, whoredom, debauchery, avarice, oppression of the poor, rape, drunkenness: and similar vices, and he illustrates his statement with the fact that in the territory of Ghent, within the space of ten months, there occurred no less than fourteen hundred murders committed in the bagnios, brothels, gambling-houses, taverns, and other similar places. When, in 1396, Jean sans Peur led his Crusaders to destruction at Micopolis, their crimes and cynical debauchery scandalized even the Turks, and led to the stern rebuke of Bajazet himself, who as the monk of St. Denis admits was much better than his Christian foes. The same writer, moralizing over the disaster at Agincourt, attributes it to the general corruption of the nation. Sexual relations, he says, were an alternation of disorderly lust and of incest; commerce was nought but fraud and treachery; avarice withheld from the Church her tithes, and ordinary conversation was a succession of blasphemies. The Church, set up by God as a model and protector of the people, was false to all its obligations. The bishops, through the basest and most criminal of motives, were habitual accepters of persons; they annointed themselves with the last essence extracted from their flocks, and there was in them nothing of holy, of pure, of wise, or even of decent.
God in the Schools
But that, you may say, was a long time ago. If so, let us take a modern country in which the Catholic Church has worked its will. Until recently, Spain was such a country. Now the people are turning against the clerical machine; and if you ask why, turn to Rafael Shaw's "Spain From Within":
On every side the people see the baleful hand of the Church, interfering or trying to interfere in their domestic life, ordering the conditions of employment, draining them of their hard-won livelihood by trusts and monopolies established and maintained in the interest of the Religious Orders, placing obstacles in the way of their children's education, hindering them in the exercise of their constitutional rights, and deliberately ruining those of them who are bold enough to run counter to priestly dictation. Riots suddenly break out in Barcelona; they are instigated by the Jesuits. The country goes to war in Morocco; it is dragged into it solely in defense of the mines owned, actually, if not ostensibly, by the Jesuits. The consumos cannot be abolished because the Jesuits are financially interested in their continuance.
We have read the statement of a Jesuit father, that "the state cannot justly enforce compulsory education, even in case of utter illiteracy." How has that doctrine worked out in Spain? There was an official investigation of school conditions, the report appearing in the "Heraldo de Madrid" for November, 1909. In 1857 there had been passed a law requiring a certain number of schools in each of the 79 provinces: this requirement being below the very low standards prevailing at that time in other European countries. Yet in 1909 it was found that only four provinces had the required number of elementary schools, and at the rate of increase then prevailing it would have taken 150 years to catch up. Seventy-five per cent of the population were wholly illiterate, and 30,000 towns and villages had no government schools at all. The government owed nearly a million and a half dollars in unpaid salaries to the teachers. The private schools were nearly all "nuns' schools", which taught only needle-work and catechism; the punishments prevailing in them were "cruel and disgusting."
As to the location of the schools, a report of the Minister of Education to the Cortes, the Parliament of Spain, sets forth as follows:
More than 10,000 schools are on hired premises, and many of these are absolutely destitute of hygienic conditions. There are schools mixed up with hospitals, with cemeteries, with slaughter houses, with stables. One school forms the entrance to a cemetery, and the corpses are placed on the master's table while the last responses are being said. There is a school into which the children cannot enter until the animals have been sent out to pasture. Some are so small that as soon as the warm weather begins the boys faint for want of air and ventilation. One school is a manure-heap in process of fermentation, and one of the local authorities has said that in this way the children are warmer in winter. One school in Cataluna adjoins the prison. Another, in Andalusia, is turned into an enclosure for the bulls when there is a bull-fight in the town.
These conditions excited the indignation of a Spanish educator by the name of Francesco Ferrer. He founded what he called a "modern school", in which the pupils should be taught science and common sense. He drew, of course, the bitter hatred of the Catholic hierarchy, which saw in the spread of his principles the end of their mastery of the people. When the Barcelona insurrection took place, they had Ferrer seized upon a charge of having been its instigator; they had him tried in secret before a military tribunal, convicted upon forged documents, and shot beneath the walls of the fortress of Montjuich. The case was thoroughly investigated by William Archer, one of England's leading critics, a man of scrupulous rectitude of mind. His conclusion is that Ferrer was absolutely innocent of the charges against him, and that his execution was the result of a clerical plot. Of Ferrer's character Archer writes:
Fragmentary though they be, the utterances which I have quoted form a pretty complete revelation. From first to last we see in him an ardent, uncompromising, incorruptible idealist. His ideals are narrow, and his devotion to them fanatical; but it is devoid, if not of egoism, at any rate of self-interest and self-seeking. As he shrank from applying the money entrusted him to ends of personal luxury, so also he shrank from making his ideas and convictions subserve any personal ambition or vanity.
There are, of course, many people in America who will not rest idle while their country falls into the condition of Spain. There are anti-Catholic propaganda societies, which send out lecturers to discuss the Church and its records; and this is exasperating to devout believers, who regard the Church as holy, and any criticism of it as blasphemy. So we have opportunity to observe the working out of the doctrine that the Church is superior to the civil law.
On June 12th, 1913, there came to the little town of Oelwein, Iowa, a former priest of the Catholic Church, named Jeremiah J. Crowley, to deliver a lecture exposing the Papal propaganda. The Catholics of the town made efforts to intimidate the owner of the place in which the lecture was to be given; the priest of the town, Father O'Connor, preached a sermon furiously denouncing the lecturer; and after the lecture the unfortunate Crowley was surrounded by a mob of men, women and boys, and although he was six feet three in size, he was beaten almost to death. At the trial which followed it developed that Father O'Connor and also his brother, a judge on the Superior Bench, were accessories before the fact.
Nor is this a solitary instance. The Catholic military societies, with their uniforms and their armories, are not maintained for nothing. As Archbishop Quigley declared before the German Catholic Central Verein:
We have well ordered and efficient organizations, all at the beck and nod of the hierarchy and ready to do what the church authorities tell them to do. With these bodies of loyal Catholics ready to step into the breach at any time and present an unbroken front to the enemy we may feel secure.
And so, on the evening of April 15th, 1914, a group of Catholics entered the Pierce Hotel in Denver, Colorado, overpowered a police guard and seized the Rev. Otis L. Spurgeon, an anti-Catholic lecturer. They bound and gagged him, took him to a lonely woods, and beat him to insensibility. The same thing happened to the Rev. Augustus Barnett, at Buffalo; the Rev. William Black was killed at Marshall, Texas. In each case the assailants avowed themselves Knights of Columbus, and efforts to punish them failed, because no jury can be got to convict a Catholic, fighting for his Pope against a godless state. The most pious Leo XIII has laid down:
It is an impious deed to break the laws of Jesus Christ for the purpose of obeying the magistrates, or to transgress the law of the Church under the pretext of observing the civil law.
There are papers published to warn Americans against the plotting of this political Church. One of them, "The Menace," has a circulation of more than a million; and naturally the Knights of Slavery do not enjoy reading it. Year after year they have marshalled their power to have this paper barred from the mails--so far, in vain. They caused an obscenity prosecution, which failed; so finally the press rooms of the paper were blown up with dynamite. At the present time there is a "Catholic Truth Society" with a publication called "Truth", to oppose the anti-Catholic campaign; and that is all right, of course--except when the agents who collect the two-dollar subscriptions to this publication make use of Untruth in their labors--promising absolution and salvation to the families, dead and living, of those who "come across" with subscriptions. In the "Bulletin of the American Federation of Catholic Societies" for September, 1915, I find a record of the ceaseless plotting to bar criticism of the Catholic Church from the mails. Fitzgerald, a Tammany Catholic congressman, proposes a bill in Washington; and Judge St. Paul, of New Orleans, a member of the Federation's "law committee", points out the difficulties in the way of such legislation. You cannot pass a law against ridiculing religion, because the Catholics want to ridicule Christian Science, Mormonism, and the "Holy Ghost and Us" Society! The Judge thinks the purpose of the Papal plotters will be accomplished if they can slip into the present law the words "scurrilous and slanderous"; he hopes that this much can be done without the American people catching on!
You read these things for the first time, perhaps, and you want to start an American "Kultur-kampf." I make haste, therefore, to restate the main thesis of this book. It is not the New Inquisition which is our enemy today; it is hereditary Privilege. It is not Superstition, but Big Business which makes use of Superstition as a wolf makes use of sheep's clothing.
You remember how, when Americans first awakened to the universal corruption of our politics, we used to attribute it to the "ignorant foreign vote." Turn to Lecky's "Democracy and Liberty" and you will see how reformers twenty years ago explained our political depravity. But we probed deeper, and discovered that the purely American communities, such as Rhode Island, were the most corrupt of all. It dawned upon us that wherever there was a political boss paying bribes on election day, there was a captain of industry furnishing the money for the bribes, and taking some public privilege in return. So we came to realize that political corruption is merely a by-product of Big Business.
And when we come to probe this problem of the spread of Supersition in America, this amazing renascence of Romanism in a democracy, we find precisely the same phenomenon. It is not the poor foreigner who troubles us. Our human magic would win him--our easy-going trust, our quiet certainty of liberty, our open-handed and open-homed and hail-fellow-well-met democracy. We should break down the Catholic machine, and not all the priests in the hierarchy could stop us--were it not for the Steel Trust and the Coal Trust and the Beef Trust, the Liquor Trust and the Traction Trust and the Money Trust--those masters of America who do not want citizens, free and intelligent and self-governing, but who want the slave-hordes as they come, ignorant, inert, physically, mentally and morally helpless!
No, do not let yourself be lured into a Kultur-kampf. It is not the pennies of the servant-girls which build the towering cathedrals; it is not the two-dollar contributions for the salvation of souls which support the Catholic Truth Society and the Knights of Columbus and the Holy Name Society and the Mary Sodality and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and all the rest of the machinery of the Papal propaganda. These help, of course; but the main sources of growth are, first, the subsidies of industrial exploiters, the majority of whom are non-Catholic, and second, the privilege of public plunder granted as payment for votes by politicians who are creatures and puppets of Big Business.
The proof of these statements is written all over the industrial life of America. I will stop long enough to present an account of one industry, asking the reader to accept my statement that if space permitted I could present the same sort of proof for a dozen other industries which I have studied--the steel-mills of Western Pennsylvania, the meat-factories of Chicago, the glass-works of Southern Jersey, the silk-mills of Paterson, the cotton-mills of North Carolina, the woolen-mills of Massachusetts, the lumber-camps of Louisiana, the copper-mines of Michigan, the sweat-shops of New York.
In a lonely part of the Rocky Mountains lies a group of enormously valuable coal-mines owned by the Rockefellers and other Protestant exploiters. The men who work these mines, some twelve or fifteen thousand in number, come from all the nations of Europe and Asia, and their fate is that of the average wage-slave. I do not ask anyone to take my word, but present sworn testimony, taken by the United States Commission on Industrial Relations in 1914. Here is the way the Italian miners live, as described in a doctor's report:
Houses up the canyon, so-called, of which eight are habitable, and forty-six simply awful; they are disreputably disgraceful. I have had to remove a mother in labor from one part of the shack to another to keep dry.
And here is the testimony of the Rev. Eugene S. Gaddis, former superintendent of the Sociological Department of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company:
The C. F. & I. Company now own and rent hovels, shacks and dug-outs that are unfit for the habitation of human beings and are little removed from the pig-sty make of dwellings. And the people in them live on the very level of a pig-sty. Frequently the population is so congested that whole families are crowded into one room; eight persons in one small room was reported during the year.
And here is what this same clergyman has to say about the bosses whom the Rockefellers employ:
The camp superintendents as a whole impressed me as most uncouth, ignorant, immoral, and in many instances, the most brutal set of men that I have ever met. Blasphemous bullies.
Sometimes the miner grows tired of being robbed of his weights, and applies for the protection which the law of the state allows him. What happens then?
"When a man asked for a checkweighman, in the language of the super he was getting too smart."
"And he got what?"
"He got it in the neck, generally."
And when these wage-slaves, goaded beyond endurance, went on strike, in the words of the Commission's report:
Five strikers, one boy, and thirteen women and children in the strikers' tent colony were shot to death by militiamen and guards employed by the coal companies, or suffocated and burned to death when these militiamen and guards set fire to the tents in which they made their homes.
And now, what is the position of education in such camps? The Rev. James McDonald, a Methodist preacher, testified that the school building was dilapidated and unfit. One year there were four teachers, the next three, and the next only two. The teacher of the primary grade had a hundred and twenty children enrolled, ninety per cent of whom could not speak a word of English.
Every little bench was seated with two or three. It was over-crowded entirely, and she could hardly get walking room around there.
And as to the political use made of this deliberately cultivated ignorance, former United States Senator Patterson testified that the companies controlled all elections and all nominations:
Election returns from the two or three counties in which the large companies operate show that in the precincts in which the mining camps are located the returns are nearly unanimous in favor of the men or measures approved by the companies, regardless of party.
And now comes the all-important question. What of the Catholic Church and these evils? The majority of these mine-slaves are Catholics, it is this Church which is charged with their protection. There are priests in every town, and in nearly every camp. And do we find them lifting their voices in behalf of the miners, protesting against the starving and torturing of thirty or forty thousand human beings? Do we find Catholic papers printing accounts of the Ludlow massacre? Do we find Catholic journalists on the scene reporting it, Catholic lawyers defending the strikers, Catholic novelists writing books about their troubles? We do not!
Through the long agony of the fourteen months strike, I know of just one Catholic priest, Father Le Fevre, who had a word to say for the strikers. One of the first stories I heard when I reached the strike-field was of a priest who had preached on the text that "Idleness is the root of all evil," and had been reported as a "scab" and made to shut up. "Who made him?" I asked, naively, thinking of his church superiors. My informant, a union miner, laughed. "We made him!" he said.
I talked with another priest who was prudently saving souls and could not be interested in questions of worldly greed. Max Eastman, reporting the strike in the "Masses", tells of an interview with a Catholic sister.
"Has the Church done anything to try to help these people, or to bring about peace?" we asked. "I consider it the most useless thing in the world to attempt it," she replied.
The investigating committee of Congress came to the scene, and several clergymen of the Protestant Church appeared and bore testimony to the outrages which were being committed against the strikers; but of all the Catholic priests in the district not one appeared--not one! Several Protestant clergymen testified that they had been driven from the coal-camps--not because they favored the unions, but because the companies objected to having their workers educated at all; but no one ever heard of the Catholic Church having trouble with the operators. To make sure on this point I wrote to a former clergyman of Trinidad who watched the whole strike, and is now a first lieutenant in the First New Mexico Infantry. He answered:
The Catholic Church seemed to get along with the companies very cordially. The Church was permitted in all the camps. The impression was abroad that this was due to favoritism. I honor what good the Church does, but I know of no instance, during the Colorado coal-strike or at any other time or place, when the Catholic Church has taken any special interest in the cause of the laboring men. Many Catholics, especially the men, quit the church during the coal-strike.
The Unholy Alliance
Everywhere throughout America today the ultimate source of all power, political, social, and religious, is economic exploitation. To all other powers and all other organizations it speaks in these words: "Help us, and you will thrive; oppose us, and you will be destroyed." It has spoken to the Catholic Church, for sixteen hundred years the friend and servant of every ruling class; and the Church has hastened to fit itself into the situation, continuing its pastoral role as shepherd to the wage-slave vote.
In New York and Boston and Chicago the Church is "Democratic"; so in the Blaine campaign it was possible for a Republican clergyman to describe the issue as "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion." But the Holy Office was shrewd and socially ambitious, and the Grand Old Party was desperately in need of votes, so under the regime of Mark Hanna, the President-Maker, there began a rapprochement between Big Business and the New Inquisition. Under Hanna the Catholic Church got representation in the Cabinet; under him the Cardinal's Mass became a government institution, a Catholic College came to the fore in Washington, and Catholic prelates were introduced in the role of eminent publicists, their reactionary opinions on important questions being quoted with grave solemnity by a prostitute press. It was Mark Hanna himself who founded the National Civic Federation, upon whose executive committee Catholic cardinals and archbishops might work hand in glove with Catholic labor-leaders for the chloroforming of the American working-class. Hanna's biographer naively calls attention to the President-maker's popularity among Catholics, high and low, and the support they gave him. "Archbishop Ireland was in frequent correspondence with him, and used his influence in Mr. Hanna's behalf."
And this tradition, begun under Hanna, was continued under Roosevelt, and reached its finest flower in the days of Taft, the most pliant tool of the forces of evil who has occupied the White House since the days of the Slave Power. President Taft was himself a Unitarian; yet it was under his administration that the Catholic Church achieved one of its dearest ambitions, and broke into the Supreme Court. Why not? We can imagine the powers of the time in conference. It is desired to pack the Court against the possibility of progress; it is desired to find men who will stand like a rock against change--and who better than those who have been trained from childhood in the idea of a divine sanction for doctrine and morals? After all, what is it that Hereditary Privilege wants in America? A Roman Catholic code of property rights, with a supreme tribunal to play the part of an infallible Pope!
Under this Taft administration the country was governed by the strangest legislative alliance our history ever saw; a combination of the Old Guard of the Republican Party with the leaders of the Tammany Democracy of New York. "Bloody shirt" Foraker, senator from Ohio, voting with the sons of those Irish Catholic mob-leaders whom the Federal troops shot down in the draft-riots! By this unholy combination a pledge to reduce the tariff was carried out by a bill which greatly increased its burdens; by this combination the public lands and resources of the country were fed to a gang of vultures by a thievish Secretary of the Interior. And of course under such an administration the cause of "Religion" made tremendous strides. Catholic officials were appointed to public office, Catholic ecclesiastics were accorded public honors, and Catholic favor became a means to political advancement. You might see a hard-swearing old political pirate like "Uncle Joe" Cannon, taking his cigar out of the corner of his blasphemous mouth and betaking himself to the "Cardinal's Day Mass", to bend his stiff knees and bow his hoary unrepentant head before a jeweled prelate on a throne. You might see an emissary of the United States government proceeding to Rome, prostrating himself before the Pope, and paying over seven million dollars of our taxes for lands which the filthy and sensual friars of the Philippine Islands had filched from the wretched serfs of that country and which the wretched serfs had won back by their blood in a revolution.
This Taft administration, urged on by the Catholic intrigue, made the most determined efforts to prevent the spread of radical thought. Because the popular magazines were opposing the plundering of the country, a bill was introduced into Congress to put them out of business by a prohibitive postal tax; the President himself devoted all his power to forcing the passage of this bill. At the same time the Socialist press was handicapped by every sort of persecution. I was at that time in intimate touch with the "Appeal to Reason", and I know that scarcely a month passed that the Post Office Department did not invent some new "regulation" especially designed to limit its circulation. I recall one occasion when I met the editor on his way to Washington with a trunkful of letters from subscribers who complained that their postmasters refused to deliver the paper to them; and later on this same editor was prosecuted by a Catholic Attorney General and sentenced to prison for seeking to awaken the people concerning the Moyer-Haywood case.
From my personal knowledge I can say that under the administration of President Taft the Roman Catholic Church and the Secret Service of the Federal Government worked hand in hand for the undermining of the radical movement in America. Catholic lecturers toured the country, pouring into the ears of the public vile slanders about the private morality of Socialists; while at the same time government detectives, paid out of public funds, spent their time seeking evidence for these Catholic lecturers to use. I know one man, a radical labor-leader, whose morals happened to approach those of the average capitalist politician, and who was prevented by threats of exposure and scandal from accepting the Socialist nomination for President. I know a dozen others who were shadowed and spied upon; I know one case--myself--a man who was asking a divorce from his wife, and whose mail was opened for months.
This subject is one on which I naturally speak with extreme reluctance. I will only say that my opponent in the suit made no charge of misconduct against me; but those in control of our political police evidently thought it likely that a man who was not living with his wife might have something to hide; so for months my every move was watched and all my mail intercepted. In such a case one might at first suspect one's private opponent; but it soon became evident that this net was cast too wide for any private agency. Not merely was my own mail opened, but the mail of all my relatives and friends--people residing in places as far apart as California and Florida. I recall the bland smile of a government official to whom I complained about this matter: "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear." My answer was that a study of many labor cases had taught me the methods of the agent provocateur. He is quite willing to take real evidence if he can find it; but if not, he has familiarized himself with the affairs of his victim, and can make evidence which will be convincing when exploited by the yellow press. In my own case, the matter was not brought to a test, for I went abroad to live; when I made my next attack on Big Business, the Taft administration had been repudiated at the polls, and the Secret Service of the government was no longer at the disposal of the Catholic machine.
Today the Catholic Church is firmly established and everywhere recognized as one of the main pillars of American capitalism. It has some fifteen thousand churches, fourteen million communicants, and property valued at half a billion dollars. Upon this property it pays no taxes, municipal, state or national; which means, quite obviously, that you and I, who do not go to church, but who do pay taxes, furnish the public costs of Catholicism. We pay to have streets paved and lighted and cleaned in front of Catholic churches; we pay to have thieves kept away from them, fires put out in them, records preserved for them--all the services of civilization given to them gratis, and this in a land whose constitution provides that Congress (which includes all state and municipal legislative bodies) "shall make no law respecting a religious establishment." When war is declared, and our sons are drafted to defend the country, all Catholic monks and friars, priests and dignitaries are exempted. They are "ministers of religion"; whereas we Socialists may not even have the status of "conscientious objectors." We do not teach "religion"; we only teach justice and humanity, decency and truth.
In defense of this tax-exemption graft, the stock answer is that the property is being used for purposes of "education" or "charity". It is a school, in which children are being taught that "liberty of conscience is a most pestiferous error, from which arises revolution, corruption, contempt of sacred things, holy institutions, and laws." (Pius IX). It is a "House of Refuge", to which wayward girls are committed by Catholic magistrates, and in which they are worked twelve hours a day in a laundry or a clothing sweat-shop. Or it is a "parish-house", in which a celibate priest lives under the care of an attractive young "house-keeper". Or it is a nunnery, in which young girls are held against their will and fed upon the scraps from their sisters' plates to teach them humility, and taught to lie before the altar, prostrate in the form of a cross, while their "Superiors" walk upon their bodies to impress the religious virtues. "I was a teacher in the Catholic schools up to a very recent period," writes the woman friend who tells me of these customs, "and I know about the whole awful system which endeavors to throttle every genuine impulse of the human will."
Concerning a large part of this church property, the claim of "religious" use has not even the shadow of justification. In every large city of America you will find acres of land owned by the Catholic machine, and supposed to be the future site of some institution; but as time goes on and property values increase, the church decides to build on a cheaper site, and proceeds to cash in the profits of its investment, precisely as does any other real estate speculator. Everywhere you turn in the history of Romanism you find it at this same game, doing business under the cloak of philanthropy and in the holy name of Christ. Read the letter which the Catholic Bishop of Mexico sent to the Pope in 1647, complaining of the Jesuit fathers and their boundless graft. In McCabe's "Candid History of the Jesuits" appears a summary:
A remarkable account is given of the worldly property of the fathers. They hold, it seems, the greater part of the wealth of Mexico. Two of their colleges own 300,000 sheep, besides cattle and other property. They own six large sugar refineries, worth from half a million to a million crowns each, and making an annual profit of 100,000 crowns each, while all the other monks and clergy of Mexico together own only three small refineries. They have immense farms, rich silver mines, large shops and butcheries, and do a vast trade. Yet they continually intrigue for legacies--a woman has recently left them 70,000 crowns--and they refuse to pay the appointed tithe on them. It is piquant to add to this authoritative description that the Jesuit congregation at Rome were still periodically forbidding the fathers to engage in commerce, and Jesuit writers still gravely maintain that the society never engaged in commerce. It should be added that the missionaries were still heavily subsidized by the King of Spain, that there were (the Bishop says) only five or six Jesuits to each of their establishments, and that they conducted only ten colleges.
And if you think this tax-exemption privilege should be taken away from the church grafters, let me suggest a course of procedure. Write a letter about it to your daily newspaper; and if the letter is not published, go and see the editor and ask why; so you will learn something about the partnership between Superstition and Big Business!
It is not too much to say that today no daily newspaper in any large American city dares to attack the emoluments of the Catholic Church, or to advocate restrictions upon the ecclesiastical machine. As I write, they are making a new Catholic bishop in Los Angeles, and all the newspapers of that graft-ridden city herald it as an important social event. Each paper has the picture of the new prelate, with his shepherd's crook upraised, his empty face crowned with a rhomboidal fool's cap, and enough upholstery on him to outfit a grand opera company. The Los Angeles "Examiner", the only paper in the city with a pretense to radicalism, turns loose its star-writer--one of those journalist virtuosos who will describe you a Wild West "rodeo" one day, and a society elopement the next, and a G. O. P. convention the next; and always with his picture, one inch square, at the head of his effusion. He takes in the Catholic festivity; and does it phaze him? It does not! He is a newspaper man, and if his city editor sent him to hell, he would take the assignment and write like the devil. To read him now you might think he had been reared in a convent; his soul is uplifted, and he bursts forth in pure spontaneous ecstacy:
Solemnly magnificent, every brilliant detail symbolically picturing the holy history of the Roman Catholic Church in the inexorable progress of its immense structure, which rises from the rock of Peter, with its beacons of faith and devotion piercing the fog of doubt and fear which surround the world and the worldly, was the ceremony yesterday at the Cathedral of St. Vibiana, whereby Bishop John J. Cantwell was installed in his diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles.
And then, a month later, comes another occasion of state--the Twenty-third Annual-Banquet of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association of Los Angeles. I should have to write a little essay to make clear the sociological significance of that function; explaining first, a nation-wide organization which has been proven by congressional investigation and by the publication of its secret documents to be a machine for the corruption of our political life; and then exhibiting our "City of the Angels", from which all Angels have long since fled; a city in the first crude stage of land speculation, without order, dignity or charm; a city of real estate agents, who exist by selling climate to new arrivals from the East; a city whose intellectual life is "boosting", whose standards of truth are those of the horse-trade. Its newspapers publish a table of temperatures, showing the daily contrast between Southern California and the East. This device is effective in the winter-time; but last June, when for five days and nights the temperature was over 110, and several times 114--the Los Angeles space was left empty!
In the same way, there is a rule that our earthquake shocks are never mentioned, unless they destroy whole towns. On the afternoon of Jan. 26th, 1918, a cyclone hit Pasadena, of violence sufficient to lift a barn over a church-steeple and deposit it in the pastor's front yard. That evening a friend of mine in Los Angeles called up the office of the "Times" to make inquiry; and although they are only thirteen miles away, and have a branch office and a special correspondent in Pasadena, the answer was that they had heard nothing about the cyclone! And next morning I made a careful search of their columns. On the front page I read: "Fourth Blizzard of Season Raging in East"; also: "Another Earthquake in Guatemala". But not a line about the Pasadena cyclone That there was plenty of space in that issue, you may judge from the fact that there were twenty headlines like the following--many of them representing full page and half page illustrated "write-ups":
Where Spring is January; Wealth Waits in California; The Bright Side of Sunshine Land; Come to California: Southland's Arms Outstretched in Cordial Invitation to the East; Flower Stands Make Gay City Streets; Southland Climate Big Manufacturing Factor; Joy of Life Demonstrated in Los Angeles' Beautiful Homes; Nymphs Knit and Bathe at Ocean's Sunny Beach; etc.
Now we are in the War and our business is booming, we are making money hand over fist. It is all the more delightful, because we are putting our souls into it, we are lending our money to the government and saving the world for Democracy! Our labor unionists have been driven to other cities, and our Mexican agitators and I. W. W.'s are in jail; so, in the gilt ball-room of our palatial six-dollar-a-day hotel the four hundred masters of our prosperity meet to pat themselves on the back, and they invite the new Catholic bishop to come and confer the grace of God upon their eating.
The Bishop comes; and I take up the "Times"--the labor-hating, labor-baiting, fire-and-slaughter-breathing "Times"--and here is the episcopal picture on the front page, the arms stretched four columns wide in oratorical beneficence. How the shepherd of Jesus does love the Merchants and Manufacturers! How his eloquence is poured out upon them! "You represent, gentlemen, the largest and the most civilizing secular body in the country. You are the pioneers of American civilization..... I am glad to be among you; glad that my lines have fallen in this glorious land by the sunset sea, and honored to meet in intimate acquaintance the big men who have raised here in a few years a city of metropolitan proportions."
And then, bearing in mind his responsibilities as guardian of Exploitation, the Bishop goes on to tell them about the coming class-war. "On the one side a statesman preaching patience and respect for vested rights, strict observance of public faith; on the other a demagog speaking about the tyranny of capitalists and usurers." And then, of course, the inevitable religious tag: "How will men obey you, if they believe not in God, who is the author of all authority?" At which, according to the "Times", "prolonged applause and cheers" from the Merchants and Manufacturers! The editor of the "Times" goes back to his office, and inspired by this episcopal eloquence writes a "leader" with the statement that: "We have no proletariat in America!"
In order to see clearly the ultimate purpose of this Unholy Alliance, this union of Superstition and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association, we have to go to Europe, where the arrangement has been working for a thousand years. In Europe to-day we see the whole world in conflict with a band of criminals who have been able to master the minds and lives of a hundred million highly civilized people. As I write, the Junker aristocracy is at bay, and soon to have its throat cut; but there comes a Holy Father to its rescue, with the cross of Jesus uplifted, and a series of pleas for mercy, written in Vienna, edited in Berlin, and sent out from Rome. The Holy Father loves all mankind with a tender and touching love; his heart bleeds at the sight of bloodshed and suffering, and he pleads the sacred cause of peace on earth and good-will toward men.
But what was the Holy Father doing through the forty-three years that the Potsdam gang were preparing for their assault on the world? How was the Holy Father manifesting his love of peace and good will? He is, you understand, the "sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong," and his followers obey him with the utmost promptness and devotion--they express themselves as "prostrate at his feet." And when the masters of Prussia came to him and said: "Give us the power to turn this nation into the world's greatest military empire"--what did the Roman Church answer? Did it speak boldly for the gentle Jesus, and the cause of peace on earth and good-will towards men? No, it did not. To Bismarck in Germany it said, precisely as it said to Mark Hanna in America: "Give us honors and prestige; give us power over the minds of the young, so that we may plunder the poor and build our cathedrals and feed fat our greed; and in return we will furnish you with votes, so that you may rule the state and do what you will."
You think there is exaggeration in that statement? Why, we know the very names of the prelates with whom the master-cynic of the Junkerthum made his "deal." He had tried the method of the Kultur-kampf, and had failed; but before he repealed the anti-Catholic laws, he made sure that the Church had learned its lesson, and would nevermore oppose the Prussian ruling caste. We know how this bargain was carried out; we have the record of the Centrum, the Catholic party of Germany, whose hundred deputies were the solid rock upon which the military regime of Prussia was erected. Not a battle-ship nor a Zeppelin was built for which the Black Terror did not vote the funds; not a school-child was beaten in Posen or Alsace that the New Inquisition did not shout its "Hoch!" The writer sat in the visitors' gallery of the Reichstag when the Socialists were protesting against the torturing of miserable Herreros in Africa, and he heard the deputies of the Holy Father's political party screaming their rage like jaguars in a jungle night. All over Europe the Catholic Church organized fake labor unions, the "yellows," as they were called, to scab upon the workers and undermine the revolutionary movement. The Holy Father himself issued precise instructions for the management of these agencies of betrayal. Hear the most pious and benevolent Leo XIII:
"They must pay special and principal attention to piety and morality, and their internal discipline must be directed precisely by these considerations; otherwise they entirely lose their special character, and come to be very little better than those societies which take no account of Religion at all."
It is so hard, you see, to keep a man thinking about piety and morality while he is starving! I am quoting from the Encyclical Letter on "The Condition of Labor," issued in 1891, and addressed "to our Venerable Brethren, all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic World in Grace and Communion with the Apostolic See." The purpose of the letter is "to refute false teaching," and the substance of its message is:
This great labor question cannot be solved except by assuming as a principle that private property must be held sacred and inviolable.
And again, the purpose of churches proclaimed in language as frank as any used in the present book:
The chief thing to be secured is the safe-guarding, by legal enactment and policy, of private property. Most of all it is essential in these times of covetous greed, to keep the multitude within the line of duty; for if all may justly strive to benefit their condition, yet neither justice nor the common good allows any one to seize that which belongs to another, or, under the pretext of futile and ridiculous equality, to lay hands on other peoples' fortunes.
And this, you understand, in lands where rapine and conquest, class-tyranny and priestly domination have been the custom since the dawn of history; in which no property-right can possibly trace back to any other basis than force. In Austria, for example--Austria, the leader and guardian of the Holy Alliance--Austria, which had no Reformation, no Revolution, no Kultur-kampf--Austria, in which the income of the Catholic Primate is $625,000 a year! In other words, Austria is still to a large extent a "Priestly Empire;" and it was Austria which began the war--began it in a religious quarrel, with a Slav people which does not acknowledge the Holy Father as the ruler of the world, but persists in adhering to the Eastern Church. So of course to-day, when Austria is learning the bitter lesson that they who draw the sword shall perish by the sword, the heart of the Holy Father is wrung with grief, and he sends out these eloquent peace-notes, written in Vienna and edited in Berlin. And at the same time his private chaplain is convicted and sentenced to prison for life as Austria's Master-Spy in Rome!
It is a curious thing to observe--the natural instinct which, all over the world, draws Superstition and Exploitation together. This war, which is hailed as a war against autocracy, might almost as accurately be described as a war against the clerical system. Wherever in the world you find the Papal power strong, there you find sympathy with the Prussian infamy and there you find German intrigue. In Spain, for example; in Ireland and Quebec, and in the Argentine. The treatment of Belgium was a little too raw--too many priests were shot at the outset, and so Cardinal Mercier denounces the Germans; but you notice that he pleads in vain with the Vatican, which stands firm by its beloved Austria, and against the godless kingdom of Italy. The Kaiser allows the hope of restoration of the temporal power at the peace settlement; and meantime the law forbidding the presence of the Jesuits in Germany has been repealed, and all over the world the propagandists of this order are working for the Kaiser. Sir Roger Casement was raised a Catholic, and so also "Jim" Larkin, the Irish labor-leader who is touring America denouncing the Allies. The Catholic Bishop of Melbourne opposed and beat conscription in Australia, and it was Catholic propaganda of treachery among the ignorant peasant-soldiers from Sicily which caused the breaking of the Italian line at Tolmino. So deeply has this instinct worked that, in the fall of 1917 while the Socialist party in New York was campaigning for immediate peace, the Catholic Irish suddenly forgot their ancient horrors. The Catholic "Freeman's Journal" published nine articles favoring Socialism in a single issue; while even "The Tablet," the diocesan paper, began to discover that the Socialists were not such bad fellows after all. The same "Tablet" which a few years ago allowed Father Belford to declare that Socialists were mad dogs who should be "stopped with a bullet"!
Note to second edition: Since the above was written, the war fervor has swept America, including even the rank and file of the Catholics, and what has here been said might seem unfair to persons who have forgotten the attitude of the Church during the early part of the conflict, and the struggle it cost to bring the hierarchy into line. It is one of the ironies of history that the most reactionary organization in the world should be lending its aid to the destruction of the second most reactionary. When the Catholic Church marches forth to war for Democracy, it is not drawing America down into the pit, but is letting America pull it out of the pit--at least for a time, and the spectacle is one in which all lovers of progress will rejoice.
THE END of BOOK III.
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